Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

When I first set eyes upon Him, He called out: Come and I will make your fishers of men…

The last time I gazed upon His eyes, He said: Go and make disciples of all nations…

A fisherman needs a boat and fishers of men need a heart.

A boat can take you out to sea but only love can catch men.

sea
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

When life throws you a curve ball, it came at you with such unexpected speed and places leaving you focus on its power and your fear. CANCER is such an unwelcomed 6-letter curve ball; it suddenly appeared with devastating power that can overcome you emotionally and physically. It really depends on where we choose to focus, besides the suffering and pain caused by this disease I saw sacrificial and unconditional love manifested. This is not an easy journey each one of our family members struggle differently but we shared the common love and hope endowed by our God. I picked this photo taken at the same park in the Suburb of Chicago while walking, reflecting, and seeing the beauty and trying to choose where should I focus in a photo as well as in life.

focus

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways

I have been traveling again and didn’t get much time to take photos but I know I needed relaxing so I grabbed my camera and went to the nearest park. Here is what I came up with for the photo challenge of “one shot, two ways”. I can’t help but add the third shot in because at times we needed to force ourselves to see beyond the big picture and realize the beautiful details in the midst of so much going on in life. (A member of our family is fighting with cancer at this time.)

1-1 1-2 1-3

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

A couple of weeks ago, I set foot on top of a mountain in Peru at the altitude of 4,335 meter which is 14,222 feet high!  It was very cold even in July and yes I did experienced high altitude sickness. Despite shaky hands, shortness of breath, and headaches, I fumbled out my camera in order to capture my masterpiece. I pick this photo because it contrast God’s masterpiece against man’s , which can be purchase with a price.

masterpiece

I Know… I Don’t Know…

by Judi Chow

I can’t stand it when people think they have all the answers, particularly when I know that person doesn’t know anything regarding to the subject matter. Did you catch me? I just became that presumptuous person when I wrote, I know that person…! The revelation came during seminary graduation with a little panic, now I know I don’t know much about God, theology, the Bible, and myself for that matter! It was years later that I am thankful I have this awareness- that I don’t know. The next question is, do I really want to know, how much or how deep do I really want to know about God, life, and the future?

An old hymn came to mind– “I don’t know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day… Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.” I have to admit there are many things I don’t understand and have no answers to. I won’t pretend a philosophical answer to “Why does God allow suffering?” will ease the pain of those sobbing or shouting, “Where is God when the building’s crashing down on my parents? Why didn’t God save my wife? How can I go on living while my only son is dead?”

Suffering is painful and separation is difficult no matter how you look at it. How can anyone endure the unbearable and have the strength to face tomorrow? I believe only love can dry the tears and restore hope. Don’t you remember John 3:16? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” Because of love, God endured separation from His only son. Because of love, Jesus endured suffering for our sake. Because of love, we have hope of restoration. Buildings might crumble, lives would change, but the spirit is not crushed because I know who holds my hand.

Take time to contemplate the meaning of Psalm 119:71 “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.” I will never have the answers to many life questions until when I meet Jesus face to face. Meanwhile, get to know God more and more, than I might be able to understand His decrees a little better. I don’t know about you, but I know 1 Corinthians 13:13 “Three things will last forever…” I particularly like the Message translation: “…Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” Let love be our motivating force to face each new day and to accept the unknown reasons behind the suffering we witness.

The Second Ten Commandments for Missionaries

by Judi Chow

The Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites dealing with moral precepts such as love and relationships with God and man. It is a good idea to re-examine it here in order to see how the second ten commandments which missionaries need to obey to honor our Lord in all we do and all we can be.

Take time to review, reflect, and renew our commitment to obey not only the first Ten Commandments but seriously consider obeying each one of the second Ten Commandments also if you are a missionary.

The Ten Commandments From Exodus 20
Essence
1.  You shall have no other Gods before me
2.  You shall not make for yourselves an idol
3.  You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God
4.  Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
5.  Honor your father and your mother
6.  You shall not murder
7.  You shall not commit adultery
8.  You shall not steal
9.  You shall not give false testimony
10. You shall not covet
Loyalty
Worship
Reverence
Sanctification
Respect for Parents
Respect for Human life
Purity
Honesty
Truthfulness
Contentment
The Second Ten Commandments For Missionaries
Focus
11.  You shall not put people’s needs before me
12.  You shall not make ministry your idol
13.  You shall not misuse the gifts I’ve entrusted to you
14.  Remember to live a holy life by keeping the Sabbath
15.  Honor your senders and supporters
16.  You shall not lead in all things for all times
17.  You shall not expect of yourself more than I asked of you
18.  You shall not hold onto your accomplishment
19.  You shall not leave your station/ field until I tell you
20.  You shall not forget I am always by your side
Priority
Worship
Stewardship
Sanctification
Accountability
Humility
Reality
False Security
Faithfulness
Assurance

Do You Want to Get Well?

by Judi Chow

I have never had the opportunity to step into the cancer ward of a hospital, but I know the ordeals of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Many missionaries have gone through these kinds of treatment, some recovered and some went “home” to be with the Lord. After several rounds of treatments, a friend decided enough is enough since all the treatments she went through didn’t work, hair lost is minor compared to the puffy-yellowish face with weakening strength and will each day. I don’t have to ask if she wants to get well; of course she does – leaving her husband and two teenagers behind is unbearable! I did ask if she will try other treatments; she told me it won’t make any difference since it is just a waste of time and money resulting in more torture and disappointment. My friend has lost faith in medical treatments; she wants to get well but she has no hope of getting well!

About two thousand years ago by the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, Jesus asked a man the same question: Do you want to get well? (John 5:1-9) Of course he did, day after day, year after year, lying there waiting – listening to the pain, smelling the sick, and watching people rushing into the pool – to get well. That’s why he replied to Jesus – how can I? No one helped me and I can’t help myself. (My interpretation) Maybe you don’t know what is it like to be a helpless invalid for 38 years, but you can imagine or even have experienced hopelessness. I assume this man wanted to get well but he had no hope of getting well!

A pastor who had three major brain surgeries has proclaimed health is not the most important thing in life. Maybe the surgeries affected the brain’s normal function? Don’t we all pray for health and wish for wealth? This pastor lives with a time-bomb in the brain and decreasing sensations in all four limbs and has proclaimed the most important thing in life is: HOPE! I didn’t ask if this pastor wants to get well, but by the continuing treatments, therapy, and exercise the answer is evidently yes. In this case, getting well is not as important as having hope. How true, as a counselor and missionary, I don’t have all the answers or solutions to people’s problems but I am there to instill hope.- hope not necessarily in the things we wanted or the health we seek but in a way out through Christ!

Jesus took away the question, the blame, and the doubt by commanding that man by the pool to get up, pick up his mat, and walk! Instant healing took place, restoration of strength on all four limbs happened before this man knew who did what. Out of so many people who wanted to get well, Jesus chose to heal that man and welcomed my friend “home” to be with Him. Why? Maybe He loves her more; maybe she has fulfilled her destiny. I can rationalize and justifiy but I am not in the position to question God’s decision. It’s a life-long learning of trusting and accepting His will is better than my will and His ways are higher than my ways.

When you feel stuck, no one seems to understand, no one is reachable to help, and no hope of getting well (physically or emotionally), please remember Jesus is only a prayer away. He can pull you out of that state of hopelessness!