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CULTIVATE YOUR BARREN LAND

April 8th, 2017 Comments off


Speaker:Rev. E.E. Abraham, Emmanuel Christian Fellowship Center

Sermon: January 15, 2017 at the Newbern Chinese Alliance Church in Vancouver

Recorded by:Rosa Yau

Translated by Stephen Li

Edited by: Rev. Paul Lai (including material from the book [Why Die Before Your Time]

 

Snatched from the Jaws of Death — It’s All God’s Grace

Over 20 years ago, I did not know what I was living for. Life was filled with gloom and a sense of helplessness. As life’s dreams could not be fulfilled, there was no point in continuing to live, so I decided to end my life under the train that passed through the suburbs every evening.

As I was contemplating killing myself, suddenly a thought crossed my mind:  my death must not bring trouble upon my kind and loving parents, so I should at least leave a note behind, absolving them from any involvement in my death. The police were sure to question them.

To do this, I entered another room in search for a piece of paper. I knew that I could find some under my grandfather’s Bible that was kept in one of the cupboards. I reached out and lifted up the Bible. Suddenly, I heard a voice saying ?on, open the book and read!??o:p>

I held the Bible and let it just fall open. My eyes fell upon Ecclesiastes 7:16-18: [—–Do not be over wicked, and do not be a fool. Why die before your time? It is good to grasp the one and let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes,]

[Who is setting all of this up? Did someone find out my suicide plan?] I wondered. Although no one was around, yet I kept hearing a voice saying, ——-persist in keeping this, and do not avoid it or disobey.??This was so wonderful ??it appeared to be directed right to me. At precisely that moment, within the depths of my heart, I knew that God was speaking to me, even though I did not know Him. Thank the Lord, He rescued me from death, led me into His grace and salvation, and even called me into full time ministry.

A Barren Land – An Unreached People

For many years I served in mission work in southern India. As time passed, I experienced various trials and buffeting, even assassination attempts by religious radicals who opposed Christianity, but was amazingly protected by the Lord. After a period of ministry there, God called me to northern India to take the gospel to a barren land, where the inhabitants were poor and abandoned. They had not heard of the gospel. They had not experienced God? grace, peace, joy and eternal life!

 

 

Categories: 生命再思

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YVONNE

April 3rd, 2017 Comments off

By:Paul Lai

 ranslated by:Edwina Leung

 

 

Yvonne Believed She Was Her Father’s Favorite Child

 

Yvonne had three sisters.? Among the sisters, she was the most filial towards her father.? She would take care of the housework; whether it be washing the dishes or sweeping the floor, she did it all.? When she brewed coffee in the morning, she always gave the first brew of coffee to her father.? Then she would brew a second pot for herself.? While he was enjoying his coffee, Yvonne would run down from their three-story home into the street market to buy a freshly baked baguette for him.? (That’s why I would always give Yvonne the first brew of coffee.? I did this after we married as a treat because she was such a filial daughter.)

 

To avoid jealousy or conflict among the children, Yvonne’s father never mentioned whether he had a favorite daughter.? Naturally, all of the children thought they were his favorite.? Of course, Yvonne also believed with certainty that she was his favorite child.? But why?? It was because of their deep conversations.? In particular, he asked her to take care of her three sisters. Because she had been accepted into a school in France, he asked that she do everything she could to help her sisters prepare for the same course of study overseas.? Yvonne met this promise.? Within a year, she helped her third-youngest sister move to France.? She also helped enroll her youngest sister into a French high school in Ottawa, where we lived at the time.? Unfortunately, when her sister and her father received the airplane tickets in the mail, Phnom Pehn was in a stage of political unrest, and they were unable to fly to Ottawa.  

 

“You Never Bat an Eye at Me When You are Preaching”

 

Yvonne once candidly told me, “When you’re preaching on stage, I sit in the congregation praying incessantly for the Lord to give you strength in your message and in your preaching.? I always look up and give you a smile, but you’re always so focused on preaching, you never bat an eye.”

 

I immediately answered, “It’s not that I don’t want to look at you, but if I did, I’d be afraid I’d smile back.? Then I’d probably become distracted from my message.? Therefore I can’t; I have to be responsible to God and to the audience.”

 

In Sermon Preparation and in My Writings, Yvonne Helped Me a Lot

 

As pastors, we often have the opportunity to further our studies.? The same goes for pastors’ wives.? Once, a guest speaker said that in preaching, one of the most important factors is attention to cultural themes and applying spiritual truths from the Bible.? Yvonne heard this advice and understood immediately.? When she was studying French language and culture, she learned the relationship between the culture and the language, and therefore she understood the art of Scriptural translation.? Therefore, Yvonne helped me in preparing numerous sermons, as well as drafts for my writings.

 

Because Yvonne spent a great deal of time in France, her thoughts and speech reflected that of a Westerner.?? She often asked “Do you love me?”? To which I would reply, “Well of course, why do I need to say it out loud!”? She said, “Love needs to be acknowledged by saying it out loud!”? That’s why she would tell me “I say ‘I love you’ many more times than you.”

 

 

 

I Can Learn a Lot From Yvonne!

 

She easily forgives.? You can tell what she thinks about someone because she is honest and tells it like it is.? But I am lacking her eloquent and graceful display of godly character!? She says “I love you,” “sorry,” and “thank you,” countless times more than I say these to her, and that is why we only had a handful of arguments over the years.? I’ve done things offensive to her, and miscommunicated with her many more times than she has to me!? This, I think, must come from the traditional Chinese idea to “man up” and run the house!

 

“Yvonne is so Westernized!”

 

In my early days at Phnom Penh, a brother said to me, “Yvonne is so Westernized!? Why are you dating her?? Aren’t you afraid she will spread her Western influence to you?”? I really didn’t understand his reasoning at the time.? Maybe he was being influenced by the popular Communist education in Cambodia!? I think it was wrong for him to have prejudice against Western education.? In fact, it is quite the opposite of what he was thinking!

 

Why Do You Only Ask for 10 Years?

 

Before I became ill, I was really impressed by the book “10 Years with Blood Cancer.”? When my doctor told me I was in stage three and not quite stage four of cancer, I prayed to the Lord and asked Him to extend my life for 10 more years.? Yvonne heard this and immediately asked me to take back my prayer; she said I was naive because 10 years is too short.? “You shouldn’t pray like that!? You need to have more faith!” she said.? Thank God for her advice and reminder.

 

Yvonne’s Remarkable Dream

 

 About one year ago, Yvonne had a dream.? She dreamt that she was like a princess, riding into town.? The people around her were waving, welcoming her with much excitement.? At that time, I thought her dream symbolized the possibility of moving to a new mission field where we were being welcomed by the crowds.

 

It hadn’t crossed my mind to compare her dream to her inevitable passing and entering into the Lord’s embrace.? Now that I think about it, I sense God used Yvonne’s dream to give her a glimpse of her heavenly home.? Therefore, Yvonne experienced a deep sense of peace ten days before she passed; she was ready to go to her heavenly home.

 

The night before we held her last fellowship meeting in our home, she said the hymn “God Prepares” was impressed upon her.? She was inspired by God to know that it was time to go home, and in the middle of the night, she asked that we sing this song together.? She requested we sing the second phrase “Whether now, or later, God prepares.? Although it is not according to my timing, not according to my timing, it is according to His timing.”? When to live?? When to die?? It is all according to God’s perfect timeline.? We only need to accept it.

 

That amazing hymn is one that I haven’t sung in years.? So on that night of fellowship, she invited the brothers and sisters to sing “God Prepares.”

 

GOD PREPARES

 

Verses:

  1. Whether this way, or that way, God prepares.? Although it is not according to my plans, or your plans, He has His plan, He prepares.

 

  1. Whether now, or later, God prepares.? Although it is not according to my time, or according to your time, He has His timing, He prepares.”

 

Chorus:

I depend on Him, because He prepares.? I wholeheartedly depend on Him, because He prepares.

Categories: 生命再思