Google Simply Katherine, a Christian on campus: 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Shepherd of Our Souls

Psalm 23:3,
"He restores my soul; He guides me on the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
The Lord is our shepherd
Today I had an eye-opening fellowship. So let me explain my situation. I have been serving the Lord for a few years and regardless of how that looks like on the outside, in essence it's always about shepherding people. 

Throughout the years, I've been in the process of learning how to shepherd others. I'm learning to listen more, speak in a genuine way, offer practical help, be less rigid, more sympathetic, considerate, and the list continues. It's a true privilege to have this opportunity at my stage of life to labor with my fellow serving ones helping the young ones grow in the Lord.

It takes time to try shepherding someone's soul: to make them happy and warmed up. Of course, eventually the goal is to grant them spiritual nourishment not just to comfort them for the sake of comfort. Great learning, isn't it?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Christ Making Home in Our Hearts

A couple weeks ago I posted that I Need a Home. As I contemplated the need I soon realized that actually God is my home thus I must be firstly anchored in Him. Since then I had many conversations, considerations, fellowships with the Lord and with a few of my companions.

One of my conversations involved Ephesians 3:17, "That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith..." It suddenly dawned on me that I felt the most restful in the Lord when I allowed Him to come and settle down in my heart.

I think we all know how complicated our human hearts are with the many compartments and secret chambers. There are multiple doors! And the Lord continues to knock on the deeper doors asking our permission to let Him in until our whole heart opens to Him.

These days I've been trying so hard to read my Bible for at least 30 minutes everyday. I would muster up strength to be faithful yet oftentimes I fail so I would get frustrated with myself... and everything else. The Lord nudges me gently, "Let Me come into your Bible reading. Let Me read with you. Let Me in. What about putting down your iPhone and get away from your laptop right now, and talk to Me as you read?"

Every morning I also struggle to wake up to spend time with Him. Believe it or not, my first sentence of the day has always been "Lord, help me I want to sleep more! Can You please live today in place of me?" So the Lord touched me and knocked on this door with a huge sign that reads "My sleeping time." I told Him, "Fine, Lord. You can come in and adjust my sleeping time so I can wake up earlier the next morning."

Monday, September 22, 2014

I Need a Home

Three years ago, I wrote a similar post on this topic: Christians on Campus - I Needed a Home. At that time, I introduced you to this older couple whose home I found real rest. I was a freshman then.

These few days I've been revisiting the matter of needing a home because one of my housemates brought it up in a conversation. The phrase, I need a home, may be simple to some but to many it can develop into a profound defining of basic human and spiritual need.

First, let's explore the human perspective of having a home. Economists would say the most basic unit of an economy is a household. A home is where real formative activities happen. Whether or not the constituent of an economy is happy and healthy depends on what's happening at the most basic level. Society today realizes how crucial it is to nurture a healthy home where their children can rest, grow, and develop in a normal way. Humanly we all need a healthy home where we can rest and care for our young. Likewise in our spiritual life we need to find a home to rest and nurture our spiritual children.

God is our home

God is Our Home

From the spiritual perspective firstly our anchor, the foundation of our rest, is the Lord Jesus - God Himself. He is our dwelling place.

"O Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations." -Psalm 90:1

I'm not sure if I would ever be able to fully explain this point. At times I still feel restless because life is full of responsibilities. Nevertheless, instead of going outward trying to do my best to solve everything, I'm learning to turn inward - to God in my spirit who is my home, comfort, and rest.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Joseph's Two Dreams

Continuing from my last post, in Genesis chapter 37 Joseph had two dreams that he related to his brothers and father. He dreamed that his brothers' sheaves of wheat were bowing down to his, and still yet another dream where the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars were bowing down to him. His father rebuked him and his brothers hated Joseph even more because they perceived that Joseph dreamed of reigning over them all.

A Natural, Immediate Reaction

My initial reaction and assessment toward Joseph's dreams were similar to that of his family. I thought Joseph was just a naive, arrogant boy, but recently I attended an in-depth study of this particular section of the Bible and came across these points:

"In his first dream Joseph saw sheaves in the field bowing down to his sheaf; this dream reveals that, at the most Joseph was just a sheaf and that, at the worst, his brothers were also sheaves; Joseph was a sheaf, and his brothers were sheaves.

The only difference between him and them was that God had chosen him to reign, but this does not mean that he was better than they were; God's people are all sheaves of life in Christ."

I felt exposed while reading these. I felt like my view had been pickled in the worldly concepts of "fairness" and "politics." That is why to some extent I actually sympathized with his brothers' jealousy and vengeance. Terrible, isn't it? This is what the world all about: justifying evil for good but none of it is God. I need to be saved from such view and attitude by seeing God's view.

joseph's dreams

God's View

God views His people as sheaves of wheat full of life and heavenly bodies full of light. Yet oftentimes when we view other Christians, we only focus on their shortcomings and condemn their weaknesses. There are multiple times in the Bible that God says He has not beheld iniquity in His people nor has He seen trouble in them, that He has reserved for Himself a particular group of people. Obviously we have read about the iniquities and troubles in Israel, among God's people. Yet God's view transcends time, all the way to New Jerusalem, where there is nothing but sheaves full of life and stars full of light.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dream the Dream of God

About a month ago, I was pressed with a need to dream. Humanly I may not have gone through a lot but since young, I have tasted the vanities of the world. Consequently, I became a dreamless person with no ambition to pursue earthly achievements.

Yet here I am, presented with another dream. God has a dream. The dream that He granted to Jacob in the book of Genesis chapter 28 is called the Dream of Bethel. Bethel means the house of God so God's dream is to have His house, where the heavenly ladder is located to connect the earth to the heavens.

god's dream

I do not know how to expound on the dimensions of God's dream. It's profound, high, and all-encompassing.

God desires not a physical building but a household, a living entity that would express Himself. Therefore the gospel needs to be preached, sinners must become sons of God, the children of God must grow in a normal way, and there must be a harmonious, functioning Body of Christ that would only express one Person- Christ.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Life is a Person

For those of you who know Romans 8:6 by heart, you must be quite familiar with this notion "for the mind set on the spirit is life and peace." This verse is indeed profound, leading us to the conscious choosing of our spirit, which is mingled with the Spirit, versus the flesh. Furthermore, it leads us to take heed of the sense within the deepest part of our being-- the sense of our spirit.

To recognize the sensation of death and the byproducts of death, e.g., depression, oppression, indifference, coldness, hardness, etc., then turn to our spirit by calling on the Lord Jesus so that we may experience life and peace is such a healthy and reviving practice!

Christ is life
Nevertheless, most of us are somehow too complacent to seek and desire to fully grasp this life. As I was reading a Christian periodical, entitled The Ministry of the Word: The Mending Ministry of John, I came across a powerful, heart-engraving paragraph:

"Life is not some kind of thing, power, or influence, and neither is it a mere blessing or a spiritual condition. Life is a person; life is actually the person of the Triune God."

Oftentimes because we would like to achieve a lofty spiritual state, we simply do whatever we can to attain a thing, called "life and peace." However, God does not give us a thing, He gives us Christ the Son, who is actually the full embodiment of the Trinity Himself, who then through His death and resurrection and through our receiving Him into our inner being, has become our life and everything. 

"We must not depersonalize life."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Who is Qualified to Serve

Today someone asked me, "When we feel like we are not qualified to serve the Lord, is it really true or is it an attack from the enemy?"

Reflecting on that question, based on the Bible and my own experience serving the Lord Jesus full-time, I can only tell her, "It's true but that fact may also be misused by the enemy."

serving by grace

No one is qualified to serve the Lord because there is only one Person who can be well-pleasing to the Father, that is the Son Himself. However to this day, many have served the Lord and ministered to Him because "grace and reality came through Jesus Christ."

In other words, Christ Himself has become the grace to be enjoyed and experienced by us as well as all the reality of who the Triune God is and can be to us. Christ has become the secret to empower us to do all things in Him. Of course, the "all things" here pertains to everything that is aligned to the Father's perfect will.

The enemy uses the fact that we are not qualified to serve so that we would give up on finding grace, give up on subjectively experiencing Christ as everything to us in our life and service. We have to realize that when we give up on finding Christ as grace, we will only be left with our own condition. When we give up on experiencing the practical Christ daily, we will be stuck in our pitiful state.

The way to experience Christ daily is by turning to our spirit who has been joined to the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). One simple way to turn is by calling on His name, "O Lord Jesus, how I need You today. Cause me to love You more."

1 Corinthians 15:10 says,
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Love Letters

About four years ago, I lived with a house full of pursuing Christian girls who gave themselves to love the Lord and poured out their youth upon Him to gain more Christ. The lyrics of this song were co-written by all of us in light of our experiences with Christ and in Christ during those precious two years of our lives. The stanzas of this song are our love letters to the Lord Jesus.

love letters

Note: The tune of the song is from a popular song with the same title, "Jesus, What a Wonder You Are." 
The first stanza is from the original song.

Jesus, What a Wonder You Are

Jesus, what a Wonder You are.
You are so gentle, so pure, and so kind.
You shine like the bright morning star.
You are so wonderful, what a Wonder You are.

Jesus, what a Wonder You are.
You are our Dwelling Place and our Resting Place. 
We are in You and You are in us:
A mutual Indwelling, What a Wonder You are.

Jesus, what a Wonder You are.
You are building us into the Triune God.
The infrastructure of the Triune God,
We are now part of it, the Building of God.

Jesus, what a Wonder You are.
You are the Way, Resurrection, and Life.
As long as we take You as our Person and Life,
Wherever we may go, we will have the Way.

Jesus, What a Wonder You are.
You are our Leader and our Savior today.
You are the Fighting One and the Absolute One.
We give ourselves to be, one spirit with You.

Jesus, You’re the most precious One.
You are so lovely, You’ve captured our hearts.
We pour our alabaster flask upon You.
We’re wasted upon You for Your satisfaction.

Jesus, what a Wonder You are.
You came to woo us by drawing us near.
We cannot help but falling in love with You.
You are so wonderful, what a Wonder You are.

Jesus, what a Wonder You are.
Hidden in all of our situations.
We may not understand Your mysterious ways,
But gain our trust through the course of each day.

Jesus, what a Wonder You are.
We’ve seen Your preciousness and our hearts are won. 
Keep us calling on Your precious Name.
Jesus, what a wonder You are.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Christ Has a Need

Christ has a need

Have you thought about the divine romance
That your Maker is your Husband
That He formed you with a deep intent of love?

Even though we fell away so far...
But our God has covenanted to gain His bride.

Being saved is not enough;
We must match Him in every way.
Loving Him is not enough;
But also His appearing!

Christ is longing for His counterpart.
What must you and I then do?
Will we only care for ourselves?
Will we only love selfishly?
Our Christ has a need.

As we speak to Him we come to realize
That our Maker is our Husband.
We sense His heart and His deep intent of love.

Conversations with our lovely Groom,
Time spent in His presence dear
Bring us into this divine romance
'Till we echo with our whole being:
Our Christ has a need.

By: Simply Katherine & Rebs C.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Regulation and Balance

God is our regulation and balance.

Regulation BalanceThis past week, I had been feeling uneasy about a certain matter. The pressing sense of saving someone from falling off the cliff. Have you had such feeling before? Maybe it is a more common sensation among close family members. But eventually, because we are all members of the household of God, we are bound to have a deeper and more personal concern for those who are spiritually, closely related to us.

When I was younger, I would always be led by feelings. They were of good intentions, so why not follow them? However, as I was trying to carry through my initial good intentions, I soon realized that I would end up being either too much or too little. In the end, whatever I did left a bad aftertaste: something like a concoction of regrets and disappointments, here and there wishing I would do things differently.

Today I finished reading The Bridge and Channel of God by Witness Lee. I read the chapter on God being the center of our human life. The chapter begins by showing how independence from God is a sin. The first sin in the Bible is actually an act of doing something apart from God. This is why we need to have a personal and intimate relationship with God and moreover, be regulated by God.

"A regulated life is like a musical piece that is pleasing to the ear; it is graceful and harmonious. God is man's regulation."

So then, how can God regulate our being and our living? The answer is we need to take Him as the center of our human life. Taking God as the center means we allow Him to pass through everything in our life. For instance, in the world, the rich blames the poor because poverty causes the poor to sin. Likewise, the poor blames the rich because indulgence causes the rich to sin. But the truth is the world is evil because "everyone lacks God's regulation and does not take God as their center." The rich has not let God pass through their riches and the poor has not let God pass through their poverty.

Another example is the fact that every normal person has a temper. However, if we allow our temper to pass through God, our temper will be within measure. This is all not by our own efforts but by turning to God Himself. When we take God as our glorious center, somehow our living will be balanced by Him.

Now back to my week. The uneasiness that I experienced throughout the week, I believe, was symptomatic of falling into an extreme. How did I know? It's because my soul burned with zeal but the sense of life and peace was only faintly present. Okay, let's pause right here. If you think I'm dissecting this matter too much and you start dissecting your own situation by being introspective, you may stop reading this post because that's not the point. I'm unraveling my experience simply to show you how learning to take God as my center has balanced me.

So all week long, I tried to seek for some fellowship so someone could point out and stop my extremity. Those fellowship times were indeed wonderful and helpful. I even received a comforting word, "Katherine, it's okay. It's okay to be too much in your care and concern for someone because God will balance you." Yet my heart still was unrestful. 

At the end of the week, as I was sitting in a church meeting, I was reminded by the Lord that He is God. He is the God who desires to be my glorious center, regulation, and balance. So right then I simply utter, "Lord, balance me." Soon after, the knot in my heart disappeared. 

Has the concern disappeared? No. Has my feeling changed? No. Is the situation resolved? No. But God has passed through something in my living. Actually He has passed through me. He has passed through to become more of my center today. I'm still learning to take Him as the center of my human life.

Lord, be my center. Regulate me, balance me. 
Lord, be my living today.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year's Resolutions 2014

Two thousand fourteen is here! Another new year has dawned. Looking back to 2013, all I can do is give thanks unto the Lord Jesus for all that He is and all that He has done. At the closing of 2013, I was enlightened to consider how many of my days in 2013 were counted in the Lord's eyes. I mean not to be introspective and be gloomy about it, but to have a new beginning with repentance and returning to God Himself. It's been a refreshing experience!

new year resolutions 2014

Also, the month of January is usually the month where people make new year's resolutions. A lot of people have decided to buy new exercise clothes to start living healthy this year and so forth. So I took some mornings to sit before the Lord and began to converse with Him concerning what kind of resolutions I should make this year.

During those times, item by item concerning my past, present, future life flew by. In a brief moment, where my whole being stopped, laid bare my anxieties and cares, my contingency planning to deal with those issues, and all the decision-making blueprints in my head and my heart. I realized how much I internalized all these concerns but simply forgot to open and tell the Lord about them.

And so right then, at the tip of my tongue were promises that I would do better. Yet before I could muster up determination to make such new year's resolutions, I was reminded of the Apostle Peter, a person of good intention and resolution to defend the Lord Jesus yet failed miserably by denying the Lord with cursing in his mouth.

So, in the end, going back item by item concerning this coming year, only these words come forth, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

I'm not saying we should not have determination to choose the Lord Jesus in our daily living. I'm just saying that instead of putting demands on ourselves, we shall turn to Him and receive the supply to meet God's demand.

Finally, this hymn has touched me again and again as I sit upon this topic this week. Hope you'd find it inspiring and faith-and-love-infusing as well. Happy new year, everyone!

O Love, that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light, that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy, that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross, that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.