Tuesday, September 14, 2021

How Do You See God?

 Reading: Psalm 18:25-29

To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.

How do you see God? How do you perceive Him to be? The opening lines of today’s psalm reading tell us plainly that the state of our heart determines our perception of God. God reveals Himself to us according to the condition of our soul. Therefore, David makes this observation: To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.

The truth expressed in this straightforward observation has enormous implications for every human on the planet. Our relationship with God is shaped by our perception of Him, and our perception of Him is reflective of the state of our heart. For example, one person goes through a period of hardship and loss and becomes bitter and angry toward others and God. Another person goes through a similar period of hardship and loss, but emerges passionately in love with his Creator. How can this be?

The answer can be found in David’s observation: To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. The blameless assign no blame to God, but the sin-darkened soul blames Him for even the slightest adversity.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). Do you want to see God at work in your life? Then ask the Lord Jesus to give you a pure heart. God shows Himself—becomes visible—to those with a pure heart. The pure in heart see God in the glory of the sunset, in the face of a child, in kindness of a stranger. The sin-polluted soul can view the same scene—experience the same events—and see God in none of it. He is blind to God.

Our eyes open the moment we humble ourselves before God. David’s words ring true today. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

Response: Heavenly Father, give me a pure heart. I want to see you. I want to see you, Lord Jesus, alive and active all around me today. Give me eyes that see beyond the natural and into the realm of the spirit where you are at work. Amen.

Your Turn: Did you see God today? How did He show Himself to you?

Today's blog post is an excerpt from Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by David Kitz

May you see God at work in your life today. 



Saturday, September 11, 2021



I find proverbs interesting to read. It’s like a mini lesson in communication and human relations. Maybe not all of them, but certainly a lot. It reminds me that I do not need to have the answers to life’s riddles; I still have much to learn.

Proverbs can be wisdom taken from various books.  Chinese proverbs certainly show up this way, not necessarily the ones on the fortune cookies, but those are also fun to think on, if not to pattern your life after.

Here are two such proverbs from Thought.com:

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." - Reading helps people to grow intellectually.

"Better the cottage where one is merry than the palace where one weeps." - It is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable.

Philosophers are deep thinkers and their words feel like proverbs too. Many of them offer wisdom. The saying that the only thing certain is change was spoken was back in ancient Greece by Heraclitus (c. 535-475 BCE)

There is nothing permanent except change.


Plato was another deep thinker of the time (c. 428-348 BCE). He founded one of the “world's first known institutions of higher learning, the Academy in Athens.”


We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

Greek thinkers were not the first to coin helpful and wise words to live by, at least of the kind we know today. And some of them, including Socrates, were certainly not appreciated for their ideas. While we do have deep thinkers of our time, speaking to our issues today, there’s yet another source of wisdom to live by.

King Solomon, to whom the biblical proverbs are attributed, was reputed to be wise. He asked God for advice on how to rule his kingdom. Sure, he was rich in resources and material wealth, and likely education too, but he knew he needed help with that large responsibility. Asking for help from one who knows and guides is a great place to start. It’s smart too. Proverbs 1 starts off this way: 

For learning about wisdom and instruction,
   for understanding words of insight,
for gaining instruction in wise dealing,

    righteousness, justice, and equity;

 If you are also intrigued by proverbs, try reading this book of the Bible. You can read it here, get a copy of your own, or borrow the book from a library near you. Because reading is gaining knowledge too.

Carolyn Wilker







Thursday, September 09, 2021

Hudson Taylor: To China with Sacrificial Love

 Hudson Taylor: To China with Sacrificial Love

By Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird

-an article for the Engage Light Magazine

Who would have imagined that today’s China probably have more Christians (100 million+) than Communist party members(90 million)? With our senior bishop Dr. Silas Ng reaching many new Chinese believers, we are fascinated by how the gospel initially impacted China.

Born in 1832, Hudson Taylor had a burning heart of love for the people of China. His Methodist parents James and Amelia Taylor were fascinated with the Far East. They prayed to God for their newborn baby Hudson, saying "Grant that he may work for you in China."  He did not even attend school until he was eleven.  By age thirteen, his schooling was terminated. Even though he loved learning, he suffered a lot with health problems which affected his studies. By age seventeen, he was outwardly a carefree young man, but inwardly he was rebellious and full of unbelief. After trying to be a good Christian and failing, he initially decided that he could not be saved.

After receiving a pamphlet at age 17 on the finished work of Christ, he was radically converted, developing a great hunger for the bible and a heart for the lost.  Hudson soon after received a call to go to China as a missionary where there were only a few hundred believers. This passion was fostered by a little book called China: Its State and Prospects by Walter Henry Medhurst, a London Missionary Society printer serving in China. Hudson read and reread the book until he almost knew it by heart. It saddened him when believers were uninterested in the Great Commission, 

Oh, how it must grieve the heart of God when He sees His children indifferent to the needs of that wide world for which His beloved, His only Son suffered and died.

This deep sacrificial love for Christ and China caused Hudson to do things that some missionaries saw as scandalous.  In the 1800s, missionaries to China were expected to stay in missionary compounds in designated coastal cities. Taylor felt called to the unreached inland areas of China, which is why his new missionary agency came to be called China Inland Mission(CIM), now Overseas Missionary Fellowship.  Living by faith like his mentor George Mueller, he never asked his supporters for financial offerings, but rather gave a praise report to them after God miraculously provided.  Even the well-known Charles Spurgeon and his 10,000-strong congregation cheerfully supported Taylor, often praying with him while he was on furlough.  Taylor was persuaded that money given in the name of Jesus was a loan which God would pay back.  He firmly believed that “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies.”  

Unlike most coastal missionaries, his volunteers were much younger and less highly educated.  The most shocking innovation that Taylor and his CIM team did as westerners was to embrace traditional Chinese food, clothing and hairstyle.   He commented, “…I resigned my locks to the barber, dyed my hair a good black, and in the morning had a proper queue (pigtailwith shaven foreheadplaited in with my own, and a quantity of heavy silk to lengthen it out according to Chinese custom.Some of Taylor’s CIM missionaries, stationed in Siaoshanmissed western culture so much that they soon returned to western dress.  Sadly, they were soon ejected and beaten by the local Mandarin.  Paraphrasing the Apostle Paul, Taylor said, "Let us in everything not sinful become like the Chinese, that by all means we may save some." Taylor embraced missional contextualization years before it became normal in the wider missionary culture.

Memorably, Taylor commented,

I am not alone in the opinion that the foreign dress and carriage of missionaries, the foreign appearances of chapels, and indeed the foreign air imparted to everything connected with their work has seriously hindered the rapid dissemination of the Truth among the Chinese…We wish to see chinese christians raised up—men and women truly christian, but nonetheless truly chinese in every sense of the word.

At age twenty-one, Taylor sailed off to China for the first time in September 1853. He eventually travelled to China eleven times, involving almost five years of his life on ships.  His eyes, never strong, became irritated through the sunshine and excessive dust. In spite of this, he studied the Chinese language around five hours a day. He became fluent in several varieties of Chinese, including Mandarin, Chaozhou, and the Wu dialects of Shanghai and Ningbo. 

In 1860, life-threatening hepatitis brought Taylor back to England on medical furlough.  While home for four years, he was able to write a colloquial edition of the New Testament written in the Ningbo dialect for the British and Foreign Bible Society. His extended furlough also allowed him to complete his medical degree with the Royal College of Physicians. Ever prolific, he also wrote during his furlough a book called China's Spiritual Need and Claims in 1865 which was instrumental in generating sympathy for China and volunteers for the mission field. In his book, Taylor wrote: “Oh, for eloquence to plead the cause of China, for a pencil dipped in fire to paint the condition of this people.’ While at Brighton, England, on June 25th 1865, Taylor at age 33 received the vision, committing himself to raising up missionaries for the China Inland Mission:

There (at Brighton) the Lord conquered my unbelief, and I surrendered myself to God for this service. I told him that all responsibility as to the issues and consequences must rest with him; that as his servant it was mine to obey and to follow him.

His apostolic vision was “to evangelize all China, to preach Christ to all its peoples by all and any means that come to hand.”He encouraged others to dream a dream so big that unless God intervenes, it will fail.  Taylor loved to trust God for the seemingly impossible: “There are three stages to every great work of God; first it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”  

Sailing to China in 1866 with his first twenty-two CIM missionaries was a major ordeal.   For fifteen days and nights, the stress of storm and tempest crashed upon their Lammermuirship. Caught in one typhoon after another in the China Sea, their sails and masts were all gone. Yet Taylor stayed inexplicablycalm. The sailors gave up hope, refusing to even try to save the ship.  Taylor told the sailors that God would bring them through it, but they had to play their part. Returning to their duties, all survived without serious injury. A vessel, however, coming right after them lost sixteen out of 22 crewmen.

In 1885following Taylor’s second furlough, the Cambridge Seven responded to thmissionary call to China, including CT Studd who later felt called to Africa.  Over time, over eight hundred missionaries joined Taylor serving in three hundred different CIM mission stations and one hundred and twenty-five schools. Today, sixteen hundred missionaries serve with CIM/OMF in East Asia.

The missionary life was often a lonely one.  Taylor eagerly anticipated letters from home. When none arrived, he wouldoften feel disappointment.  As part of Taylor’s recruiting new missionaries, he invited them to carry their cross and be willing to lay down their life

If you want hard work and little appreciation; if you value God’s approval more than you fear man’s disapprobation; if you are prepared to take joyfully the soiling of your goods, and seal your testimony if necessary with your blood…

Sacrifice and humility, like Jesus did, was the key for missionary breakthrough.  Self-indulgence was the enemy.  Taylor commented, “China is not to be won for Christ by self-seeking, ease-loving men and women. Those not prepared for labour, self-denial, and many discouragements will be poor helpers in the work. Because Taylor and the CIM missionaries were on the front-lines, they were sometimes the target of violence during times of unrest.  Even though Taylor vigorously opposed the opium trade, all western missionaries were falsely linked with the British pro-opium policy.  The Duke of Somerset in 1868 urged in the House of Lords that all British missionaries should be recalled from China because they were not good for British business. In 1900, during the Boxer rebellion, there were fifty-eight CIM missionaries and twenty-one of their children killed, more than any other mission agency. Taylor nearly died of grief, saying “"I cannot read, I cannot pray, I can scarcely think...but I can trust."

Taylor was passionate about Christlikeness in the missionary adventure.  Deeper surrender to God’s will brought greater missionary breakthrough“The real secret of an unsatisfied life lies too often in an unsurrendered will.”  Taylor discovered that in obedience to the Lord, the burden and responsibility rested with the Lord.  He did not have to produce the results. His favorite missionary song became “Jesus, I am resting, in the joy of what Thou art.”  Reflecting on his initial surrender,

Well do I remember as in unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all upon the altar, the deep solemnity that came over my soul with assurance that my offering was accepted. The presence of God became unutterably real.’

One of the great joys of his life was in his marriage to Maria Dyer, a fellow missionary in China. Under pressure from her missionary mentor, she initially rejected Hudson’s marriage proposal.  Six weeks after their wedding, Taylor wrote “Oh, to be married to the one you do love, and love most tenderly and devotedly, that is bliss beyond the power of words to express or imagination conceive.” He and Maria created a publication later called China’s Millions, which became a missionary catalyst for many. His wife, Maria at just 33, passed away soon after their 5th son died of cholera.  Hudson`s second wife, fellow missionary Jenny Faulding, was a great consolation to Hudson. Both wives shared Hudson`s deep love for China. Sadly, four of Hudson`s eight children died before the age of 10.

Hudson was sacrificially generous. In 1860, he wrote, “If I had a thousand pounds, China should have it—if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a precious Saviour?”

Our prayer is that Hudson Taylor’s missionary example will inspire us to love the Chinese people with Christ’s sacrificial love.


Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird

Co-authors, the Blue Sky Novel

 and the upcoming God’s Firestarters book

Friday, September 03, 2021

The Favour of God by Rose McCormick Brandon

 You share with me the special favour of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. Philippians 1:7(a)

God’s favour equips us to live a holy life in an unholy world. 

His favour rested on Joseph when he lived with his father and brothers. It rested on him when he was sold into Egyptian slavery. He had it when he became the administrator of Potiphar’s household. He valued God’s favour so much he refused the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, though he had the same desires as everyone else. That refusal landed Joseph in prison, falsely accused of sexual assault.

God’s favour went to prison with Joseph.  He came to the notice of the prison manager who made him an overseer. It happened that two of Pharaoh’s household managers ended up in Joseph’s prison where both had dreams. Hearing their dreams, Joseph, by the favour of God, interpreted them. One dreamed of doom, the other of deliverance. On Pharaoh’s birthday, he impaled the doom-dreamer and re-instated the other. Joseph asked the delivered one to remember him to Pharaoh, but he forgot about Joseph. Still, God’s favour equipped Joseph.

Pharaoh had a dream none of his advisors could interpret. The manager whose life had been spared remembered Joseph. The lone God-follower on whom His favour rested, was brought up from the dungeon to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. After that the favoured one became a vice-regent of Egypt.   

Moral excellence counts. Faithfulness to God is always the right choice. Wherever you are, God will make a way. Why? Because His favour rests upon you in the prisons and in the palaces of life.

When his family arrived in Egypt they found Joseph with God’s favour still resting on him. In a moving and dramatic scene, he forgave his wicked brothers, wept over them and hugged them. Our trials aren’t random; they bear the fingerprint of God. 

His favour rests on His obedient servants. Always.

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