Jason was born and raised in Hong Kong, and has been going to a Christian school since he was young. He knew the stories about Jesus but as he went to university, he grew even more distant from the faith. He eventually returned to Hong Kong as an investment banker and while things were going well; he began to feel a deep sense of emptiness. After searching for a way to fill that gap in his heart, Jason was invited to Alpha by a colleague and began to relearn the faith again. In a mission trip to Mongolia, Jason found Jesus.
Karen feels that she is able to better portray her feelings through art. She struggles fitting in because Hong Kong values certain academic pursuits, and for university, Karen subscribed to these requirements by majoring in mathematics. She returned to Hong Kong to work for the marketing department at Uber and her creative passions were rekindled. She walked away from everything to pursue this dream, which brought a lot of difficulties but she was encouraged by a Christian. This led her to become curious about God and from there, she came to deeply know God.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:9-11
My son is transitioning from a baby to a toddler. He’s making funny faces, learning to walk, baby talking his way through conversations, and pressing any button he lays eyes on. Whenever he wants to be freed from his “prison”, I mean playpen, he stretches his arms above his head, spreads his fingers, stares at me wide-eyed, and makes this sound that mimics a small injured animal. When he does that, I have the hardest time resisting to pick him up. Such difficulty in refusing a request is something I have never experienced until I became a father.
Upon pondering this feeling and where my son’s influence comes from, I came up with two reasons. First, he is my son, and this unique relationship creates a responsibility in me that is greater than all of my other responsibilities. Being a father makes me want to provide for his needs, attend to him at all times, and make sacrifices for him. The second reason is, that he is a helpless baby who depends on and trusts my wife and me for everything. Knowing this makes it hard for me to refuse his requests. This is especially true when the request is something as simple and innocent as holding him.
When someone relies on and trusts you 100%, it brings out an eagerness to try and satisfy one’s request. I imagine that this is the same between God and us. He is our Heavenly Father and when we rely on Him completely, He wants to satisfy us. As Matthew puts it, God’s natural tendency is to give us great gifts and blessings that are good for us. Our issue is that we don’t usually rely on Him the way babies rely on their caregivers. Instead we feel that we know better, we quit relying on our Heavenly Father and act like spiritual adolescents.
Let us come before God:
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honour and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. 1 Peter 1:16-18
Testimonies can be a powerful thing. People testify to events that have happened in their lives everyday. We tell our friends stories about daily encounters that we’ve had or major events that have happened, and many of those moments are so powerful that they can be recalled with vivid clarity.
I was talking with my dad the other day about the first major sporting event he ever went to. He was 10 years old and he saw his favourite athletes play. To him, these guys were his heroes. This moment had a huge impact on him. He recounted the event like it just happened yesterday… that game was 61 years ago.
In the above passage, the Apostle Peter is recounting the transfiguration of Jesus Christ. This moment was seared into his memory. And not only him, other disciples that were there. And why wouldn’t it have an impact? God the Father literally spoke to Jesus (God the Son) from heaven! Peter says, “we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” And of course, that event wouldn’t be the last amazing thing to happen before their eyes.
Peter is using this memory to remind us of the truth of our faith. He’s letting us know that the message he is delivering is not a cleverly devised myth, but a genuine reality. And how does he know it’s the truth? Because he was there. He saw it. He was an eyewitness.
So if there’s every a doubt in our minds about our faith, we can rest assured that we are following the truth. This really happened. And every book of the Bible, every sermon, and every testimony is pointing to one thing: the power, majesty, and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation that comes from His sacrifice on the cross.
I started on the book of John for my daily bible reading. I planned to read one chapter a day, so I read chapter 1 yesterday and I read chapter 2 today. I must have been really tired because, this morning, I turned to 1 John chapter 2, instead of chapter 2 in the book of John and read without realising it.
I read the following from 1 John 2:24 (ESV)
“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
I didn’t think much of it until I read my devotional book for the day, which talks about the story of Hudson Taylor facing hardships and difficulties in his missions work in China. John McCarthy, a good friend of Taylor, wrote a letter to him and the letter greatly encouraged Taylor with new perspectives and new hope in the work that God has called him to do.
Below is Taylor’s response to his friend’s encouragement:
“To let my loving Saviour work in me His will, my sanctification, is what I would live for by His grace. Abiding, not striving nor struggling; looking off unto Him; trusting Him for present power; resulting in the love of an almighty Saviour.
From the consciousness of union springs the power to abide. Let us, then – not seek, not wait, not pursue – but now accept by faith the Saviour’s word, “you are the branches.”
As McCarthy encouraged Taylor, God used this God-incident to minister to me; I had experienced a stressful week, I was worn out, emotionally drained and I was striving to stay afloat and on top of everything life was throwing at me… However, God in His infinite wisdom, allowed me to turn to chapter 2 of 1 John instead of the book of John. He reminded me of His presence; He reminded me that I neither needed to struggle nor strive, but all I needed to do was remain in Him – to abide in Him.
Friends, what are you struggling with today? What are you striving for in your life? Let us all abide in Jesus, whether they are issues at work or relationships that are strained. Let us encourage one another and be reminded that we are attached to the real source of power and the real rhythm of peace! Your work circumstances and difficult relationships might remain the same, but your spirit and heart will be very different, and then you can make a difference because of Him!