This is the sunset we saw on early Tuesday morning as we headed to retreat for our second day of regreat. God paints some masterpieces! The photos below are a few of our time in Thailand. I've added more on my page in Facebook
This is going to be a short update this week due to Chinese New Year. I had it finished but before I could get it send out to the list my computer crashed. Fortunately I'd just backed it up the day before.
We didn’t get back to Hong Kong from Thailand until late Saturday evening. Then we had three 12-hour days in a row at the church, starting Sunday. Monday to Wednesday were public holidays for Chinese New Year.
It was nice to be in Phuket. There are lots and lots of people there, though, because it was the height of the tourist season. The languages we heard the most besides Thai, were Russian and Mandarin.
The hotel where we stayed was on the main business strip of Karon Beach and about a 5-minute walk from the beach, so it was a convenient with lots of restaurants and shops close by. Food was very reasonable… actually cheap by Hong Kong standards, and delicious.
The program and scheduled activities were minimized to allow free time to time to relax, walk, swim at the beach or hotel pool, and simply to be refreshed. There were 22 attendees from various Asian countries. Our retreat theme centered on the experience of being in the wilderness, which all of us go through as Christians. We discussed how we end up in the wilderness, what to expect when we’re in it, what to do or not do, depending on the circumstances, and how to get out of the wilderness with our faith intact.
While there, I was honored to dedicate a baby for one of our couples and I also baptized the 13-year-old son of one of our friends. That was fun.
As for our 2-day retreat back in Hong Kong on Day 1 and 2 of Chinese New Year, the team from the Philippines ministered to our Filipino ladies and a few other non-Filipinos that came, and to the ladies of another Filipino Church. We learned more about the Father’s heart of love for us.
That’s it for this week. Make it a great week! Since I’m so late this week, I may take another pass on Monday. I’ll see how the week goes. Blessings, Dave
We are settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves. -- David Platt
Nowhere does the Bible call the [Christian] faith a leap - it calls it a walk. Think about it. What is a walk? It is a lot of little steps in the same direction. It is
a journey taken one step at a time. -- Eddie Rasnake
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Hebrews 10:11-14 (11) Now every high priest stands ministering day by day, offering the same sacrifices repeatedly, which are never able to remove sins; (12) But He, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. (13) Since that time, He is waiting until His enemies are placed as a footstool for His feet. (14) For by one offering He has obtained eternal perfection for those who are sanctified.
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We are those who are "perfected forever." However, "perfected forever" does not mean we are morally perfected. Rather, His one sacrifice is perfectly adequate to assure our standing before God. As we have seen, the sacrifices show Him proclaiming how He lived His life, but here we are seeing its impact, the consequences of what He did so well. We see man, sinning and imperfect, becoming at one with God through Christ.
By means of the burnt, meal, peace, sin, and trespass offerings, we see all of God's holy requirements met in Christ so that we might be quickened by His Holy Spirit, be in continual fellowship with Them, and grow to become fully at one with Them. Ephesians 1:3-6 adds Paul's thoughts on this:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
The consequences of Christ's sacrifices do not end with our acceptance before God. Acceptance creates the requirement of being conformed to the image of the Son; we are expected to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Peter frames his instruction on our responsibility once we accept Christ's sacrifice in our stead in this way: "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (I Peter 2:4-5).
This is in language any of God's children can understand. We are to offer up sacrifices in the way He did. There is not one record of Him ever making a sacrifice at the Temple. Rather, He lived their intent as a living sacrifice. This is why our identification with Him is so important. We are now part of His body; we represent Him. He lives in us, and we experience life with Him as part of us. Our conduct is open to the view of all who care to look. Are we glorifying Him?
Please understand that, though our offerings will be poor and weak in comparison to His, they are not worthless by any means. They are still acceptable to God because of Christ, and they are still a witness.
Consider these illustrations: If a couple have a small child of perhaps just a few years of age, do they expect him to run one hundred yards in nine seconds? Are they disappointed because he cannot drive a car or understand Einstein's theory of relativity? Of course not! If their child is only one year old, he may just barely be able to toddle across a room! If he falls a couple of times, do they lose their temper and put him out of the house?
Of course, they are neither disappointed at his present inabilities nor do they even think of putting him out of the house. Why? Because they know he is just a baby, and they adjust their expectations and judgments accordingly. They are confident he will get better as he matures and gains experience. They know that someday he will stride confidently across the room and much more besides. Someday, he may run a hundred yards in under ten seconds and grasp the essentials of the theory of relativity.
In other words, growth is anticipated. God's judgment of us is much the same. When we are first in Christ, He considers us as babes (I Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:13). At this point, He very well may consider us as "perfect" for the time since our regeneration, and we are acceptable because of Jesus Christ. He allows us time to grow, even though we may make mistake after mistake because of our weakness and immaturity. Because of Christ, He keeps judging us as "perfect."
This is a wonderful gift! He is not overly concerned about our individual sins as long as He sees in us a steady, upward trajectory toward maturity in our conduct to reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. If a child falls as he toddles across the floor, will not his parents set him upright, dust him off, comfort him, and show him, "This is the way you do it"? Can we expect any less from God, in whose image we are? Therefore, our acceptance before Him gives us time to grow.
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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A young woman drove into the garage where I had a part time job. She told me this was her first car, and it was time for an oil change.
Wanting only the best for her prized possession, she'd brought her own filter and oil.
When I crawled under the car, she watched my every move. After the old oil was drained, she gave me the new filter, saying she had bought the very best product for her car after overhearing a conversation between her mother and a neighbor on the subject of oil. With a confident smile, she handed me two cans of Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
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Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
This is how it manifests:
I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.
So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.
I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Pepsi aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.
The Pepsi is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water.
I put the Pepsi on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.
I realize that tonight t when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on to the floor.
So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.
Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter, the flowers don't have enough water, there is still only 1 check in my check book, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day, and I'm really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail....
@Sent by Joyce Sams
Two 90-year old guys, Leo and Frank, had been friends all of their lives. When it was clear that Leo was dying, Frank visited him every day. One day Frank said 'Leo, we both loved playing softball all our lives, and we played all through High School. Please do me one favor: when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there's softball there.'
Leo looked up at Frank from his deathbed and said, 'Frank you've been my best friend for many years. If it's at all possible, I'll do this favor for you.'
Shortly after that, Leo passed on.
A few nights later, Frank was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to him, 'Frank... Frank '
'Who is it?' asked Frank sitting up suddenly. 'Who is it?'
'Leo-- it's me, Leo'
Where are you?'
'In Heaven,' replied Leo. 'I have some really good news and a little bad news.'
'Tell me the good news first,' said Frank
'The good news,' Leo said, 'is that there's softball in Heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we're all young again. Better still, it's always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired.'
'That's fantastic,' said Frank 'It's beyond my wildest dreams! So what's the bad news?'
'You're pitching Tuesday.'
@Sent by Anna Ruth