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Meditation upon creation

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But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;  or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. 
Job 12: 7-10
(One) kind of contemplative prayer is meditation upon the creation. Now, this is no infantile pantheism, but a majestic monotheism in which the great Creator of the universe shows us something of his glory through his creation. The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God and the firmament does show forth his handiwork (Ps. 19:1).

Evelyn Underhill recommends, "...begin with that first form of contemplation which the old mystics sometimes called 'the discovery of God in his creatures!'" So give your attention to the created order. Look at the trees, really look at them. Take a flower and allow its beauty and symmetry to sink deep in…

On Christian Meditation

This, in brief, forms the biblical foundation for meditation, and the wonderful news is that Jesus has not stopped acting and speaking. He is resurrected and at work in our world. He is not idle, nor has he developed laryngitis. He is alive and among  us as our Priest to forgive us, our Prophet to teach us, our King to rule us, our Shepherd to guide us. All the saints throughout the ages have witnessed to this reality. How sad that contemporary Christians are so ignorant of the vast sea of literature on Christian meditation by faithful believers throughout the centuries! And their testimony to the joyful life of perpetual communion is amazingly uniform. From Catholic to Protestant, from Eastern Orthodox to Western Free Church we are urged to "live in his presence in uninterrupted fellowship." The Russian mystic Theophan the Recluse says, "To pray is to descend with the mind into the heart, and there to stand before the face of the Lord, ever-present, all seeing, within …

Going to sleep is an act of faith

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“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, 
make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8
We begin our lives asleep in the womb, formed by another. Passive in the darkness, we are made. When we finally venture into daylight action, we are not done with the passivities of sleep but return to them at once. In our early days we are more asleep than awake, as another, and others nourish us into the wholeness that we have neither the wisdom nor the strength to fashion ourselves. Gradually our waking hours lengthen and we take up for ourselves tasks others did for us, entering into the work of the world—loving, helping, feeding, healing, building, teaching, making.

But we never arrive at a condition where we are beyond sleep, self-sufficient in twenty-four-hour control. Daily we give up consciousness, submitting ourselves to that which is deeper than consciousness in order to grow and be healed, be created and saved. Going to sleep is a biological necessity; it can also be an act…

On silence and meditation

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It is hard to find a silent moment in our churches today. Pastors and musicians feel like loud music is equal to intense worship. As if the period of quietness should be filled with noises like soft background music or prayers.  There is nothing wrong with that but I always think that a moment of silent prayer and meditation should be important in contemporary worship.

"Contemplation is not a psychological trick but a theological grace." - Thomas Merton
In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in "muchness" and "manyness," he will rest satisfied. Psychiatrist Carl Jung once remarked, "Hurry is not of the Devil; it is the Devil."
If we hope to move beyond the superficialities of our culture, including our religious culture, we must be willing to go down into the recreating silences, into the inner world of contemplation. In their writings, all the masters of meditation beckon …

Book I Read: Celebration of Discipline

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I read this book when I was in the Seminary almost 30 years ago. Now that I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and having radical nephrectomy of my right kidney, I thought it would have a long and hard road to recovery. I have been struggling with my personal spirituality. But I know that during the difficult times, it is my spirituality that will help me stay strong. So I am revisiting this book on spirituality. No, I won’t write a book review but I will just post few nuggets that I hope will inspire those who will read to grow in their spiritual life. Here is the descritption of the book written by Richard J. Foster. From the Inside FlapIn the twenty years since its publication, Celebration of Discipline has helped over a million seekers discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God. For this special twentieth-anniversary edition, Richard J. Foster has added an introduction, in which he shares the story of how this beloved and enduring spiri…

Don't Worry

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Whenever we are staying in the house with Narlin’s sister, a little bird land by our window, sings some notes, hangs out for about ten minutes to “chat” with us, then flies away. She will be back in the late afternoon to do the same. What a joy to start and end our day, it seems that God is telling us not to worry about Joey’s health situation, reminding us of His promise in Matthew 6:25-27:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”

It has been two months since we left Thailand and we are still here in the Philippines. Yes, it’s about my health. The last CT Scan in Thailand shows that a tumor is growing on my right l…

Rain is A Blessing

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We woke up with the sound of pouring rain and soft thunder, a welcome relief to long scorching summer heat. The rainy season has officially begun in Thailand. We have waited longingly for this season when the air is now refreshingly clean and cool, the grass and trees will be greener. It soon will be beautiful out here.

I (Joey) was preparing a message for Sunday when I came across this verse reminding us of God’s faithfulness in our life.

"The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands." - Deut. 28:12 Thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers. We are sharing with you how God is working in our lives these days.

The Kids Are Back to School The school opens on the second week of May. The children were so excited to go back to school. They have new uniforms, bags, and school supplies. They would meet their old friends again and would make new ones as well.

Four of the children,…

By His stripes we are healed

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He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. -Isaiah 53:6
In about two days Narlin and I are flying back to Mae Sai. We have been away from home for practically three months. The longest time we have been away since we came to Thailand in 2006. It is also the longest time we are away from the children. We couldn’t wait to see them again. We are grateful to the Lord that under Jillian’s watch they did well performing their household duties and other responsibilities.

The unexpected surgery, the pains and the initial false-negative biopsy results had led to confusion about my disease. It is only after the further immunostain test and consulting with the oncologist that we understood better.  The oncologist told us that the tumor is renal cell carcinoma, a kidney cancer. The urologist’s decision to remove my kidney was right and probably eliminates cancer.  The only serious threat is …

God Heals

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It's been a while since I post in this blog. I am sharing to you a post from my other blog about my health. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog. Here it is:

They brought me to the operating room at 10 o'clock in the morning. The doctors would remove my right kidney, part of the liver and gall bladder because of a tumor.  At about eleven thirty, I was put under general anesthesia. The last thing I remembered was they were putting the surgical cap on my head and I passed out as I was praying to Jesus to take care of me during the surgery.

I woke up to a comforting voice of the nurse telling me that that the operation is over. I glanced at the wall clock and saw that it was almost one o'clock in the morning. I learned later that the operation went on for over eight hours and I was at the recovery room for five hours. I was in so much pain and I was shivering, it was cold. The anesthesiologist gave me more morphine. Then I was brought back to the ward. It w…

Jesus: A Universal Icon

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An idea is floating around that Islam is the fastest growing religion. Perhaps it's true. However, I still believe that the number of persons who know and believe in Jesus are getting bigger.  Below is an excerpt from the page of the book written by Richard Bauckham about the increased of number of persons who believe in Jesus.

Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ (as Christians call him), is undoubtedly the best known and most influential human person in the world history. Two billion people today identify themselves as Christians, with the implication that Jesus is the focus of their relationship to God and of their way of living in the world. Such followers of Jesus are now more numerous and make up a greater proportion of the world's population than ever before. It is estimated that they are increasing by some 70,000 persons every day.

This growth of Christianity is taking place despite its decline in the West, especially in Western Europe, and those who think the figure of J…

He Is Indeed Faithful

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We had a great time spending a week in the Philippines with our youngest son, Reuven. We joined him on his graduation day. It was one of the happiest moments of our lives.  We realized just how we missed our son. We are thankful to the Lord for making a way for us to spend time with him.

If you are a parent, you would understand how sad we were when we left him especially when we had been with him for a few days. As we were walking away and waving goodbye, Narlin said, “I can’t help but cry, I am sad we are leaving our son again but joyful just to remember how faithful God was to see our children through college.”

God’s provision for our children’s education is one of the most beautiful testimony we share about God’s faithfulness in our lives as missionary. We know some people who believe that God has called them to mission but could not go because of their children’s schooling. Likewise, we know people  who were in the field but decided to go home for the same reason.

When we went f…

Book I Read: Jesus: A Very Short Introduction

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Bauckham, Richard. Jesus: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, 2011.

Two billion people today identify as Christians, with the implication that Jesus is the focus of their relationship with God, and their way of living in the world. Such followers of Jesus are now more numerous and make up a greater proportion of the world's population than ever before. Despite its decline in the West, Christianity is rapidly increasing in areas such as Africa and China. 

 Richard Bauckham explores the historical figure of Jesus, evaluating the sources and concluding that they provide us with good historical evidence for his life and teaching. In order to place Jesus in his proper historical context, as a Jew from Galilee in the early first century of our era, Bauckham looks at Jewish religion and society in the land of Israel under Roman rule. He explores Jesus' symbolic practices as well as his teachings, looks at his public career and emphasises how his actions, such as healing and his associa…