Beautiful Day

    Thursday, May 19, 2005  

It took me a few years to write this, and it took me quite another few years to write the following. So have a read and pls let me know what you think.

I thought I understood Abraham and Ishmael before, but today some new thoughts came to my mind that totally revolutionized my way of thinking and understanding.

First of all, Abraham taking his wife's maid is culturally acceptable for that time. Rachel and Leah's maids could be an example, also David and Solomon all had concubines. Moses' law wasn't yet available. In this sense it's not a sin.
Abraham and Sarah lived a purpose driven life. Sarah went on an extra mile to see the promise fulfilled. It was a sacrifice for her to give her maid to her husband. The result? They had Ishmael, and it's interesting what the name means: "God listens." In other words, it means that's a prayer answered.
Let's see what's God's promise in the first place..."I'll make you a great nation"(12:2)"descendants like the stars"(15:5)
Did Ishmael fulfill God's promise? He actually did. He became a big nation. His descendants were like the stars.
Did God reject Hagar and Ishmael? No. He sent His angels to comfort them and gave them promises, on one condition though, they must go back and submit.(16:9)
What happened in the end? Ephesians 2:14-18 "He made both groups into one" Does Isaac's descendants today and Ishmael's descendants today have the same chances of salvation and blessings through Christ? Does God love us and the Iraqi people the same?

In Chapter 15 verse 6,"Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Abraham believed what the Lord said was gonna happen. And that was his righteousness. This was before today's chapter.But how was it to happen? It actually showed us two ways: one is by supernatural encounter, and one is by action.

Maybe I'll use some examples. Say speaking in tongues. You can get it in a supernatural way, God just did it to you in a miraculous way, and you had a supernatural, spectacular experience. That's awesome. Some people decide that they would wait for that moment to happen....they could end up waiting for 20 years. But there's also another way of getting it... you step out in faith by making some sound, by moving your lips and tongue....and you'll get it straight away.I've witnessed hundreds of people getting the tongues in this way I know it works. But it starts with human effort,and it's less spectacular. But in the end? Both were filled with the Holy Spirit.
In Benny Hinn's meetings, at first they were waiting for supernatural healings to happen, but gradually they encourage more people to actively getting involved in the healing process, by trying to move, trying to stand up...etc.
Joyce Meyer once said, that she was so afraid that she'd miss God's perfect will that she dared not do anything. But God said to her, "Joyce...if you miss me, I'll find you."

If purpose driven life, fulfilling God's promise and calling only involves waiting for God to show up, then why do we need to have so many teachings and books on how to succeed in life?
Like it or not, today's churches are mostly following the principles of Ishmael. By passionately follow our dreams, by taking actions, by trying new ways, making sacrifices, going the extra making it happen. And of course, by submission, following the principles and guidelines.
And most of the time, after the Ishmaels, God will add to us the Isaacs as well.
In a nutshell, Ishmael speaks of human effort, and also answered prayers. It's not God's perfect will, not His perfect method of doing things, but if we're persistent enough, we pray hard enough, the prayer still gets answered. We might get into some troubles, some people might not like the way it happened as it's less spectacular, but in the end we still get the result and God will help us out with the problems we created.

We can't drive out Hagar and Ishmael. Abraham and Sarah did. But an angel found them and told them to go back! I don't know how Sarah reacted when she saw Hagar again...."hey I thought I just got rid of you..."
Have you found yourself saying things like..."this is too hard, what have I done? what have I got myself into? Can I just abort mission? Why do I have to continue with this journey?"
Somehow I believe God wants us to have both: Isaacs are for our blessings, but Ishmaels are for our character, our growth. Maybe that's why God didn't show up in this case until Ishmael's already a teenager.
All we want is Isaac. But maybe God is more interested in our character and our growth in maturity. There's a saying, "Our gifts can't take us where our character can't sustain."

So......, has your Ishmael grown up yet? If he's still a toddler, you know you still got a few years to go then....

In other words, a modern term, Isaac is just a new level of annointing and blessing. We start with Ishmael, and we'll encounter Isaac along the way.
We can't control God, but we can control ourselves. We can't determine when Isaac's gonna come, but we can determine when to start with Ishmael. We're waiting for Isaac, but God's waiting for Ishmael to be born and grow up; Ps.Brian Houston taught a few weeks ago,"to be faithful with your hand to fulfill what's in your heart." If we're responsible for the present, then God will take care of the future; We do what we can, even if we can't, we still can by making sacrifice, by getting help(finding Hagar), then God will fulfil what we can't. Ishmael is actually a stepping stone for us to get to Isaac. The sooner we start, the better we get at raising Ishmael, the sooner Isaac will come.

    As seen by Susan @ 2:29 PM

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    Monday, May 16, 2005
Enjoy every moment

Phil Dooley preached a message a couple weeks ago about life's about loving God every moment of your life. It didn't mean too much to me at the time, until today it suddenly hit me.
Too often, we're so focused on the future, on our goals, purposes, callings, plans, destinies, mountain tops...whatever you want to call it. But the very promise itself can be an idol. We can lose our attention to God in the pursuit of our dreams.
Although it would be wonderful for the dreams to come true, but the greatest joy in life is not in dream itself, but in loving God in every moment. God is our primary purpose in life, and any other purposes in life, even a God given purpose can take our eyes off the Lord and miss the true meaning and purpose of life.

Last week I had a 7 day partial fast, to find out what my purpose in life would be. And today the revelation I had is that God is my purpose. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." I sort of understant that from different angles, and last week I even wrote a song about psalm 23. But today I realised that no matter what mountain I'm gonna climb, the first thing I need to sort out is that mountain top is not all I need, but every step, every moment while climbing the mountain is of the same importance in God's eyes.

    As seen by Susan @ 6:05 PM

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    Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Bible college

Today is the first day of the second term.
Last term I did Songwriting basics. I really enjoyed it. There's nothing about songwriting this term, so I chose three other subjects: Prophetic literature, counselling and communication.

My husband doesn't really like the idea that I go to Bible college, he always says that I should go get a degree for a career. But I just can't find any desire in me to go after a career and start school from zero. I've been wanting to do some Bible college course for the last 10 years. So, even though he thinks I'm just wasting my time and money, I still enrolled today without telling him.

Ever since Kate's settled in daycare, I've been having some struggles trying to find where I belong and what I should do with my life. I still don't have anything clear. I'm quite happy to just stay home, but my husband seems to be quite bothered with that idea and wants me to find a job. I always have a passion for missions, but he's just happy with the way it is with church.

So anyways, I'm going to the college two days a week this term...and hopefully after that I'll have more settled ideas of what I'll do with myself.

    As seen by Susan @ 10:23 PM

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    Friday, May 06, 2005
Take the nation, shake the world

This week at Hillsong there's this AOG conference with the theme "Take the nation, shake the world." Delegates are from all over the world and they're pastors of large congregations.

I had been wanting to go to this conference, but it's over 200 dollars for the registration... so I only go to the night meetings which are free, plus the Thursday morning combined Hillsong women and conference.

It's been so good. Some teachings in churches are like milk, some are like solid food, but this conference is like the bony meat, tough to eat but they're so yummy.

Monday night it was Steve Penny, and his message was about perspective. God can give us a vision, but the way we look at it, the way we interprete it can bring dramatically different response and results. Like in Jeremiah, you can see your vision as a sprouting branch, or a boiling pot. Or you can be like the story of Elisha sending the servant to look at the cloud. You can see the sky as dry as anything, or you can see God's promise beyond the clear sky.

Tuesday night it was Alan Davies. His story was when the Israelites heard the Lord's call to go out to fight, they did, but first time, 22,000 were cut down. They failed. The second time they went into the fight again, and 18,000 were cut down. And then they went up the third time, and they won. So the message was sometimes you heard God's call, and you did all you can, you didn't sin, you did your best, yet you fail. You hurt, you want to give up and stop. But the command is, get up and do it again! He mentioned some examples, like he invested 30,000 dollars trying to set up a church, but in a year it crumbled down, nobody wanted to listen to him. Then he managed to raise money to send a missionary to overseas, and that guy ended up in jail. A lot of the pastors have tried all they could, but failed. But definately, they can still feel that their dreams haven't released them yet. So the theme was, just get up and do it again, but with the willingness to change.

I didn't go on Wednesday night, as it was Peter's birthday so we went out for dinner. Brian Houston spoke about purpose from psalm 23, out of the series he's doing at the moment in church on Sundays.

Thursday morning's message was by Paul Weaver about seeing beyond the impossibilities. Like Mary, when she heard the angel's word to her, she couldn't figure out in her natural mind how she can conceive a baby without the natural procedure. But God is bigger than the impossibilities in our natural logic, and He'll make a way where there seems to be no way.

Thursday night it was Tommy Barnett, sharing his journey of his dream centre. He has a 16 story building that had become a shelter for the lost sinners, among which are the prostitutes, gangs, gays, lesbians, drug addicts...etc. And their lives are changed. He encouraged everyone to pursue the dreams, and to catch the annointing and flow of the duplication power.

    As seen by Susan @ 10:12 AM

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About Me

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My beloved
You hold me now
Some Chinese sayings
The Word becomes flesh
Audible voice
A few recent pictures
Back to school
The battle goes on

My other blog
Jia Lin

Some Other Posts
China trip
Death of seed
Mother's day thoughts
Rachel and Leah

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