Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Citizens of heaven

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies. And change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. - Philippians 3:20

Nine months. Yes, we have been back home in Thailand that long. We failed to return for two years because of the pandemic. So, the Thai immigration canceled our visa. They are extending our visa one month at a time.

The process of getting and extending a visa is a constant source of stress for us. We need to check our passport stamps to see if we must go to the immigration office for a ninety-day appearance. We need to follow all the rules and regulations of immigration if we want to stay here.

We do not have the same rights and privileges of the citizens of Thailand. These problems do not exist if we are living in our own country. We want to go home but at the same time we want to stay and continue the Lord's work here.

When Paul says, "we are citizens of heaven" we understand a little of what he means. Heaven is our home. Our true citizenship belongs there but he does not mean that we are waiting for our lives to be over and live off there. It does not mean that God will scrap our physical body and have no regards for it.

In this passage, what He means is that our Lord Jesus our King will come from heaven to earth. He will change the present situation. By His power He will transform our present body like His own then will put everything under His control. Heavenly citizenship is about human resurrection. When He finally gives the citizenship that we all long for when He transforms the whole universe.

Photo by ConvertKit on Unsplash

Friday, January 13, 2023

Who knows tomorrow?

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”- James 4:13-15

Sometimes it takes time for us to fall asleep at night. When this happens, our brain cannot stop working. Our memory goes back to past years. The realization dawns on us that time has wings, and it flies faster than any birds. This is truer when we are getting older. Ten years feels like a week.

Then we start thinking about the future. We know that ten years will pass by like a week. The year 2023 is still new, but we ask ourselves, "how will this year be for me?" "What will happen to me in the next ten years?" These are the questions that we will not find an answer to. We can only predict what will happen in the next few hours. But the next day will be a total unknown.

Henri Nouwen says that "the art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark."  Trust the Lord for the next step we take. Thank Him that He shows us the way for the next step. Walk through life with joy and we will be in awe at how far we have gone. 

The only thing we are sure of is today. Tomorrow is the Lord's to give and guide.

We thank you Lord for today. Help us to trust you for every step we take to the future. Amen

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Hopeful in 2023


Happy new year. 2022 is over. If you are like us, we expected the past year to be a better year than the two previous years. It was so but it was not what we hoped to be. After two years, we came back to Thailand unprepared for the changes that would happen.

It was a challenging year for us. The series of events drain our energy and savings. The kids going to college, being sick of covid. Moreover, house repair, truck repair, visa problems, death in the family, and lately the accident. God is faithful. He helped us through the tough times.

Being grateful when good things happen in our lives is easy. But we can choose to be thankful for the good as well as the bad. For the moments of joy as well as moments of sorrow. For the successes as well as failures. This is faith. This is trust in God for everything he has brought us. We trust that we will see God’s loving hand in everything.

This year we celebrated the new year together with Jared and Jillian. Singing, dancing, watching fireworks, eating, and praying. The first we have done it in a long time. We are hopeful that this year will be the most exciting for the kids. We know that God will open more opportunities for them in their studies and their service to God.

We envision that together with the kids we will work as a team in sharing the love of God, in the university, schools, and community. In two years, four of them will graduate and who know what God has in stored for them. 

Opportunity to connect people to Jesus

Christmas! Yes, it is the busiest month for us. We heard people say that the Thai do not celebrate Christmas. I beg to disagree. The Thais always find things to celebrate. Christmas is not an exception. They celebrate it in their own ways. They just do not understand why Christians celebrate it. It is a challenge for us to communicate to them the true meaning of Christmas. This is the best occasion to share the gospel.

Local churches and schools invited our team (Narlin, the kids and I) to tell the story of Jesus in schools and villages. We did it through drama skit, dance, and carol singing. Of course, it includes the local Pastor preaching the gospel. Please pray that the seed of the gospel planted in the hearts of the people will grow.

This year, our relationship with our church has grown stronger. We came to know the members more. Our Pastor trust us to preach on regular basis. Jai does the interpretation. Narlin uses her gifts to decorate the church and help the women’s ministry. We now take part in meetings and decision making. They ask for our ideas about the programs and activities of the church. 

Moreover, the children are active in youth ministry and in the worship team. We are thankful that through the church we have the opportunity to connect with more people. In so doing, connect them to Jesus and help them grow in their faith. 

Thanksgiving and Prayer Concerns

  1. We are thankful for another year. God’s provision for a fresh start after a tough 2022. Thankful to the Lord for the couple of friends who helped us out financially at the start of the year. We can take care of our obligations to the university and friends who lent us funds during our time of need. God is indeed faithful.
  2. Thankful for two children will graduate this year. Tee from high school and Pia from middle school. Tee will go to technical school. Pia will choose her course that she wants to get for college. Please pray for them both.
  3. Please pray for our visa. The immigration extends it for two months. Then we will have a “long-stay interview” on 17th of January by the Department of Social Welfare and Human Security. This is a requirement to get a one-year visa. Please pray that they will give it to us this time.

Friday, January 06, 2023

Be Worthy of the Gospel of Christ

Today is the first day of the new year 2023. Many of us take this opportunity to change many things in our lives. We make resolutions but we do not keep them. In the start of the new year causes us to have to make real decisions.

Here are the top ten new year’s resolutions.

  • 10- Spend time with family
  • 9-Fall in love
  • 8-Help others
  • 7- Quit smoking
  • 6-Learn something new
  • 5-Staying fit and healthy
  • 4-Enjoy life to the fullest
  • 3-Spend less, save more
  • 2-Getting organized
  • 1-Lose weight

Today, we will think of one resolution that we should keep by. This one resolution is important because what we do with this resolution reflects our commitment tour Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In our passage today, we learn that the Apostle Paul is writing to the Church in Philippi about the importance of living for Jesus no matter what happens.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel… -Philippians 1:27

Let us all be worthy of the Gospel of Christ. How can we be worthy of the Gospel of Christ?

By our manner of life

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. -Philippians 1:27

In the previous verses Paul speaks about the choices he wants with his life. His real desire is to be in heaven with Jesus. He wishes for that time, but he realizes that God has a plan and purpose for his life, so he needs to stay on the earth a little bit longer.

In verses 21-22, we can see how he thinks and feels.

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

Although Paul wants to be with the Lord, he needs to wait because God wants Paul to help others to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.

In verse 27, he starts the verse by saying, “Whatever happens.” This means it is the most important thing in our life as a Christian. He is saying that no matter what happens we must follow this instruction.

So, what does the “manner of life” mean? This word usually means to refer to our life as citizens. As people, are we citizens of the country where we were born and live? Almost all of us are born in Thailand, then those are citizen of Thailand. Some of us are born in Myanmar. Then these people are citizen of Myanmar. Some of us were born in the Philippines.

What is so special about this word? The people of Philippi have a great pride of their Roman citizenship. They have the special privilege of living under a Roman colony. They know the honor and implications of their high status.

As a Roman colony, the city also has the highest privilege obtained from the Roman government. As citizens of Rome, they can buy and sell property. They are exempt from land tax and other taxes. They are also protected by Roman law.

We know that Paul is a Roman citizen. He used that citizenship so he can be released from prison. In using this word, the readers are encouraged to put the same pride and zeal into living as citizens of heaven.

Our citizenship has a higher standard than the great Roman empire. Our citizenship in heaven is more important than being a citizen of our great nation.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 3:20

When we do not live up to being good citizens of our country, it reflects poorly on our country. When we do not strive to live a life worthy of the gospel, it will reflect poorly on God we serve and the heaven in which we are citizens.

What does it mean for us today? The challenge for us is we must let our manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Jesus. People will know how good God is if we are good. But people will not believe that God is good if our manner of life is not worthy of the gospel. Our life should reflect our heavenly citizenship.

By standing firm

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel… Philippians 1:27

For Paul, standing firm is necessary to make our life worthy of the gospel. The Christians in Philippi should stand firm not for Paul. They must stand firm in Paul’s absence. Our motivation for standing firm is Jesus only. Not any other person.

The phrase translated “standing firm” is a military term used by a Roman soldier at his post. This is serious matter because if a Roman soldier fell asleep or failed to carry his duty he will be put to death.

This is what the word means used by Paul. This word is very meaningful to his readers. They know exactly what it means. For us today, we have different understandings of standing firm. We are to stand for Jesus as if our very lives depend on it.

We are called to stand firm in any and every circumstance. Too many times we let circumstances determine our decision and action. A Romans soldier could not say he fell asleep on duty because he was tired. He was to stand firm no matter what the situation.

Sometimes, when we face a difficult situation, when it involves some money, when it involves big effort, when it takes a lot of time, we failed to stand firm in the promises of God. I believe today many Christians have become situational Christians. Our faith depends on what situation we are in. Our God is bigger that our situation.

What does it mean for us? Just like Paul says, whatever happens, whatever the situation, no one will stop us doing ministries for our church. No one will stop us to worship God. Nothing will stop us from doing good in the name of Jesus.

By striving for unity

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

When we are united, we are strong. When we strive to be united in our vision, mission, and action we can accomplish great things for God. If we are not united, we cannot do so much. When we are standing firm together, our community will take notice.

Just recently Argentina became the champion in football. We all know that it is because of their teamwork. Because they are united. A team that is not united in purpose will not win even if it has the greatest player in the world. We all know that.

Even Messi will not win until he worked together and trusted his teammates. If a team is full of people who just care about their own accomplishments, the team will fail.

What does this mean for us? As Christians if our faith is only about ourselves, we will fail. If we think only about our own personal growth, we will not grow. We grow together as one. The only way we will grow in our spiritual life is if we will all grow together as one. God is calling us to strive for unity of spirit and mind.

The word of God is challenging us to be concern with the spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters in the church.


This new year we want to change. We may want to make resolutions. But God is challenging us to make and keep this one resolution for 2023.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

  • By our manner of life
  • By standing firm
  • By striving for unity

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Reading Notes: Existentialism

Existentialism is not a school of thought so much as a trend that appears throughout philosophy during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prior to this time, philosophical thought had grown to become increasingly more complex and abstract. In dealing with ideas of nature and truth, philosophers began to exclude the importance of human beings.

However, starting with Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche in the nineteenth century, several philosophers emerged placing a newfound focus on the human experience. Though there are significant differences between philosophers of existentialism (a term that would not be used until the twentieth century), the one common theme among all of them is the notion that philosophy should focus on the experience of human existence in this world. In other words, existentialism seeks out the meaning of life and finding oneself.

Though existentialist thought varies from philosopher to philosopher, there are several common themes. One of the key ideas of existentialism is that the meaning of life and discovering oneself can only be attained by free will, personal responsibility, and choice.

Paul Kleinman, Philosophy 101

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Notes on Philosophy: Belief

Your beliefs are your map of reality. They guide you through the day. They are the lenses through which you perceive the world. They are also the deep well from which your actions, attitudes, and feelings flow.

There is nothing more important about you than what you believe. What you value is equally important. But some philosophers think that this is just because a value is nothing more than a special sort of belief. When you value something, you just believe that it is important and worthy of honor.

Your feelings are certainly an important part of who you are. And so are your desires, hopes, and dreams. But they are all either result of your beliefs, or else are in some other way dependent on those beliefs. You desire what you believe to be good or pleasant. You hope for something because you believe it will contribute to your personal happiness or your overall success. Repeatedly, belief is foundational to who you are.

Philosophy is the love and pursuit of wisdom. At some level, we all want wisdom for living. No one wants to wander this world like a fool, hobbled by false beliefs about important matters and misled by counterfeit values that can lead to nothing but misery. Because of this, philosophers have always suggested that it is important for us to examine our beliefs. Are those beliefs justified? Are they true? Are they capable of giving us good guidance in life? Do we have among our current beliefs a concrete knowledge about the world in which we live, as well as about ourselves, or are we all just stuck with nothing better than mere opinion? These are questions we all need to ask, and answer.

 Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know. — Montaigne

by Thomas Morris
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash