• Christ and Church Life and Building Spirit and Bride

    基督與召會
    生命與建造
    那靈與新婦



    As a lover of Christ and a pursuer of truth, I write down my joys, memories and reflections.

    May God lead us all into the secret of His presence, and build us into the oneness of His body in love.
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Prayers at Presidential Inauguration Day 2017

1 Timothy 2:1-3
I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men; On behalf of kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and gravity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of our Savior God,

I am not political and I do not endorse Donald or either party. Still, it is glorious to see and hear our Lord’s name being honored at the presidential inauguration of the greatest country on earth.

Prayer played a major role in the inauguration of Donald Trump. The ceremony featured six religious leaders, more than any other inauguration in history. The list included Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Paula White, one of his spiritual advisors, Rabbi Marvin Hier, Rev. Franklin Graham, and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson.

Pre-Inauguration:

Cardinal Timothy Dolan beseeched God for wisdom for the new president as he read from the scriptures.

Rodriguez read from the Sermon on the Mount, in chapter five of the Gospel of Matthew.

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs

And God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. For you are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on its stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

He ended his prayer in the name of Jesus.

Paula White prayed,

We come to you Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus with grateful hearts thanking you for this great country that you have decreed to your people.

We acknowledge we are a blessed nation…every good and perfect gift comes from you,” she too referenced the name of Jesus after her prayer.


Post-Inauguration

Rabbi Marvin Hier also led a prayer.

Bless President Donald J. Trump and America our great nation,

Guide us to remember the words of the Psalmist, “Who may dwell on your holy mountain? One who does what is right and speaks the truth. Bless all of our allies around the world who share our beliefs. ” By the rivers of Babylon we wept as we remembered Zion… If I forget thee o’ Jerusalem may my right hand forget its skill.”

Rev. Franklin Graham pointed out that it started to rain as President Trump delivered his inaugural speech.

Mr. President, in the Bible, rain is a sign of God’s blessing,” he said. “And it started to rain Mr. President when you came to the platform.

Graham also quoted a passage of scripture from from 1 Timothy 2.

I urge then first of all that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people,” he said. “For kings, for all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This is good and it pleases God our Saviour who wants all people to be saved,” he added.

Graham also acknowledged,

There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.

 

Bishop Wayne T. Jackson rendered the benediction at the close of the inauguration. He hosted the then-Republican presidential candidate at his Great Faith Ministries International in Detroit during the presidential campaign. He prayed for the new president and for unity and healing in the country.

We’re not enemies. We’re brothers and sisters. We’re not adversaries, but we’re allies. We’re not foes but we’re friends. Let us be healed by the power of your love and united by the bond of your spirit.

 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving 感恩節宣言

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

感恩節宣言

正進入尾聲的今年,我們享有果實累累的土地與祈求中的好天氣。對這些我們時常享受的慷慨贈予,我們很容易忘記他們來自何處,這是全能上帝的保佑,上帝的巨大力量,即使是無動於衷的心都會被穿透軟化。

在史無前例的嚴重與艱苦的內戰中,有時甚至似乎會挑起列強的侵略時,和平卻保持住了,秩序也維持了,法律被重視並遵守,除了軍事衝突的戰區之外,其他地方還能平靜無事。聯邦前進的軍隊與海軍也使戰區大大地縮小。財富與力量必須從和平的企業轉移到國防,但這並沒有抑制農業,陸運或海運,鐵和煤礦與貴重金屬的礦物產出比以往更多。儘管在營地,圍城與戰場有損傷,人口穩定增加,而且國家為實力與活力的提高而欣喜,未來自由將持續大幅增加。人類的忠告或凡人之手無法做出這些偉大的成就。它們是最高造物主慈悲的禮物,主為我們的犯罪而發怒時仍然慈悲。

對我而言,這些應該被全體美國人民一心一意、莊嚴地、恭敬地、感激地道謝。我因此邀請我全美各地、海上以及居留外國的同胞們,騰出時間將下個月11月最後一個星期四作為感恩的一天,並且向我們在天上的天父祈禱和感恩。我也建議美國人,當對上帝這樣非凡奇特的賜福而對天父獻祭時,也謙卑的為我們國家的墮落與違抗懺悔,讚許他溫柔的看護,對那些在這場無法避免的悲慘內戰中所有成為寡婦、孤兒、送葬者或受難者,並且強烈地懇求全能的神伸手治療國家的傷並且修補它,儘快與神聖的目的一致,享有完全的和平、融洽、寧靜與團結。

總統亞伯拉翰.林肯

One quote from John Nelson Darby

Learn to grapple with souls.

Aim at the conscience.

Exalt Christ.

Use a sharp knife with yourself.

Say little, serve all, pass on.

This is true greatness, to serve unnoticed and work unseen.

Oh, the joy of having nothing and being nothing, seeing nothing

but a living Christ in glory, and being careful for nothing but His interests down here.

—J.N.D.

Luke’s person and writings

Colossians 4:14
Luke, the beloved physician, greets you, as well as Demas.

2 Timothy 4:11
Luke alone is with me. Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for the ministry.

Philemon 1:24
As do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.

Luke as a historical figure is usually under-appreciated among other prominent ones in the New Testament, such as Paul or Peter. In fact, other than the two books he authored, the entire New Testament only mentioned his name three times. However I always like the person and the character of Luke. Today, for a special reason, I would like to summarize his person as revealed in history and his writings.

Person

  • Author of two Bible books: The early church recognized Luke as the author of both Gospel of Luke and the Acts.
    • Luke’s authorship is evident from the style of composition of two books.
    • The two books were all one book at one time but was later separated into two books for ease of reading. As reading the end of the Gospel of Luke and the beginning of the Book of Acts, one can see that it is a continuous book that was intentionally written as one book.
  • Historian of the first rank:
    • The Gospel of Luke, the record of the life of Christ, was one of the best historical documents ever written.
    • Besides numerous mentions of things with historical and archaeological significance, he also mentioned 32 countries, 54 cities, 9 islands, dozens of other historical figures at the time.
    • Sir William Ramsay, one of the greatest archaeologists of all time, studied under teaching that the New Testament was written in the mid-200s AD, and not an historical document recorded in the first century. Believed in this teaching, Ramsay purposefully went to Asia Minor to find physical evidence to refute Luke’s biblical record. After 25 or more years of field study, he was overwhelmed with the evidence, that he completely reversed his view of the Bible and first century history, and eventually converted to Christianity. He wrote:

I began with a mind unfavorable to it…but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth…

Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense…in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.

  • Faithful companion and coworker of Apostle Paul:
    • Beginning in Troas, he joined Paul in his ministry and accompanied him in his last three ministry journeys (Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:15). He was a faithful companion of Paul until Paul’s martyrdom (Philem. 24; 2 Tim. 4:11).
  • Gentile: Luke was a Gentile, probably an Asiatic Greek
  • Physician (Col. 4:14)
  • Some Christian tradition also states that he was 
    • A native of the Hellenistic city of Antioch in Syria
    • Artist and Painter
    • Unmarried and without children
    • Martyr: He is believed to have died a martyr at age 84

Writings:

Allow me to use the beginning of the Gospel of Luke to illustrate the character of Luke and the methodology he employed in writing Gospel of Luke:  

Luke 1:1-4
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to draw up a narrative concerning the matters which have been fully accomplished among us, Even as those who from the beginning became eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, It seemed good to me also, having carefully investigated all things from the first, to write them out for you in an orderly fashion, most excellent Theophilus, So that you may fully know the certainty of the things concerning which you were instructed.

路加福音 1:1-4
提阿非罗大人哪,因为有好些人已经着手作书,述说在我们中间所完全成就的事,是照那些从起初亲眼看见,又将这道供应我们的人,所交付我们的;这一切的事我既从起头都详确考察了,就认为也该按着次序写给你,使你深知所教导你的事,都是确实的。

First of all, Luke wrote under the divine inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16). Hence, the Holy Spirit Himself guaranteed the accuracy of Luke’s gospel, including Luke 1:1-4. When introducing his Gospel, Luke indicated a few items concerning his account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and in these verses God showed us how He used human (Luke) mind and ability for writing down the divine revelation.

  1. He acknowledged the precedent of other gospels
  2. He recognized the reliability of the narratives, for they were based on eyewitness testimony.
  3. He outlined the process he went though to accomplish his writings
  4. He revealed the purpose of he records

His Research and Writing Style

Luke indicated that his research was thorough. He said that he investigated ‘all things.’ Luke’s research was also comprehensive since he wrote that he investigated all things ‘from the first.’ Luke also indicates that he was concerned with the truth, not just a good story. When he spoke of the ancient world, he was accurate. When he used political terminology, he was precise. When medical insights were appropriate, his skill enabled him to paint a more vivid picture.

The Central Thoughts of Gospel of Luke: 

There are 3 central thoughts of the Gospel of Luke, as excerpted from Recovery Version Bible Footnotes:

  • Christ as a Perfect Man and Man-Savior: The purpose of the Gospel of Luke is to present the Savior as a genuine, normal, and perfect man. It gives a complete genealogy of the man Jesus, from His parents back to Adam, the first generation of mankind, and shows that He is a genuine descendant of man. Its record of this man impresses us with the completeness and perfection of His humanity. Hence, this Gospel stresses the Lord as the Man-Savior.
  • Universal Morality: Based on the moral principles that apply to all men, it presents gospel messages, as in 4:16-21; 7:41-43; 12:14-21; and 13:2-5; gospel parables, as in10:30-37; 14:16-24; 15:3-32; and 18:9-14; and gospel cases, as in 7:36-50; 13:10-17; 16:19-31; 19:1-10; and 23:39-43. None of these are recorded in the other Gospels.
  • Gospel to all People: It is the Gospel written to mankind in general, and it announces the good news to all people (2:10). Its characteristic is absolutely not Jewish but Gentile (4:25-28). It is a Gospel to all sinners, both Jewish and Gentile.

Footnote Reference

Summary

Here is my personal summary of Luke, which is not necessarily scriptural but are the reasons why I like Luke as a person.

  1. He is faithful follower of the New Testament ministry
  2. He is scientific; he writes down after careful investigation
  3. He is thorough and comprehensive; He investigates all things from the first
  4. He is precise and accurate; he writes with accuracy and certainty
  5. He is orderly; he writes and presents in an orderly fashion
  6. He is considerate and helpful; he help others to know the truth

References

李常受弟兄-主恢復的歷史-䦕頭的禱告

李常受弟兄䦕頭的禱告

主阿!我們敬拜你,我們敬拜你的憐憫,我們敬拜你是憐憫的神,你有豐富的憐憫,早晨提醒我們,哦!提醒我們主,不在乎定意的,也不在乎那奔跑的,乃在乎你這發憐憫的神,並且主阿,你要憐憫誰,就憐憫誰。主啊,在大馬色路上你得著一個頂撞的人,你能使他一個仇敵,變成事奉你的人,我們信你在我們身上,主如果你願意,如果你憐憫,你能作同樣的事。主啊!我們坐在這裡,我們等候你,我們向你敞開,我們不依靠我們的性情,主阿,我們只依靠你的眷顧,主阿,我們靠寶血,再向你仰望,主阿,洗去我們天然的汙穢,哦!舊造的玷污,主阿,是在自己裡,是在肉體裡,喔,在自己的個性裡,所有的生活和行動,主啊!都求你赦免,直到今天,主阿,我們需要你多方的潔淨,需要寶血多方的潔淨。主啊,沒有一次我們來到你面前,不需要經過祭壇,不需要帶著血。主啊,我們早晨帶著血來仰望你。噢!在血底下眷顧我們,不依靠我們作的,我們也不依靠我們的知識,主啊,我們只依靠你的眷顧,依靠你臨到我們,臨到我們每一個人。

今天早晨,主!你臨到這個聚會,你也單單個個臨到我們每一個人。主啊!你臨到我們每一個人,我們每一人,光景雖然不同、我們在你的面前實在的情形,原則是相同的。就是我們需要你的眷顧,不管我們的天性如何、不管我們屬靈造就多高,主啊!我們需要你的眷顧。主啊!你對我們說話、我們沒有成見、你知道我們沒有定規,我們仰望你、說隨時的話。我們不願意講故事、我們不願意講歷史、我們也不願望說到往事,主啊!我們願意向你敞開。主啊!在說話的事上,我們信你是與我們一靈,主啊!你在我們說話裡說話,主啊!你從這些說語中、說出你的心願。主啊!歷史的事我們來提多少、說到什麼境地、你帶領。什麼是不應該說的、什麼是不應該摸的、你也帶領。主啊!人名、地名、應該提起多少、釋放多少,也求主給我們清楚的帶領。毀壞你的仇敵,當我們事奉你的時候,主啊,叫我們永遠不能忘記你的仇敵。哦!主耶穌啊!捆綁那惡者,哦!主耶穌啊!靠你十字架的得勝,我們賤踏蛇在我們腳下,主啊!你羞辱他,羞辱他,今天早晨你就羞辱他。主啊!榮耀你自己,叫父因你得榮耀,我們蒙憐憫,我們蒙祝福。

Congressional Record on Br Witness Lee

Not that we seek the glory from government or the praises from men, but our late Brother Witness Lee received a recognition from the Congressman Joseph R. Pitts of Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives on April 29th, 2014. The original text is copied below with link to the original document. Praise the Lord!

WATCHMAN NEE AND WITNESS LEE

HON. JOSEPH R. PITTS OF PENNSYLVANIA 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, a little over four years ago my esteemed colleague from New Jersey, the honorable CHRIS SMITH, rose in this chamber to bring due attention to one of the great Christians of the twentieth century— the noted Chinese teacher and church-planter, Watchman Nee. Today, I rise to complete the circle on this compelling story by honoring Watchman Nee’s closest co-worker, Witness Lee. Together they labored tirelessly in China from 1932 until the conquest of mainland China by the Communist Red Army under Mao Tse Tung in 1949. Today, the story of Watchman Nee is somewhat well known, given his numerous writings that have become Christian classics, such as The Normal Christian Life and Sit, Walk, Stand. Capping his inspirational biography was his martyrdom in a Chinese labor farm in 1972.

Witness Lee’s story is less known in the West but is in no way less significant. Although Nee was the clear leader when they labored together in China, it was left to Witness Lee, to preserve and continue their work outside of China and to spread it far beyond the Chinese-speaking world. When it became apparent in 1949 that the Communists would prevail in China, Watchman Nee insisted that Witness Lee emigrate to carry on their work in Taiwan and throughout the Far East. Lee agreed. Subsequent developments not only validated Nee’s insight (he was imprisoned shortly thereafter, and the churches raised up under his and Lee’s ministry were forced underground), but also confirmed that their message and ministry had the potential to reach far beyond China.

Almost immediately Lee’s ministry began to have a profound impact in Taiwan. Tens of thousands turned to Jesus Christ for their salvation and began congregating in simple, New Testament churches, as their Chinese brethren had done in China during the previous two decades. Today, there are more than 200 such local churches in Taiwan with more than 200,000 believers. It is a similar story in the Far East and Australasia, with churches established in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

Witness Lee did not confine his work to Asia. In 1962 he came to North America and began to minister from Los Angeles, where he established Living Stream Ministry, the publisher of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee in English and over fifty other languages. Witness Lee’s speaking and writing continued to emphasize ‘‘Christ as life’’ and God’s desire to ‘‘build His church’’ on the basis of the oneness of God’s people, rather than on any ethnic or cultural differences. This was the same message that he had learned from his spiritual mentor, Watchman Nee. Since the early 1960s the spread of the local churches under Lee’s ministry throughout the North and South America, Europe, and Africa has been remarkable. There are more than 4,000 churches and 400,000 believers meeting on every inhabited continent, including 200 churches and several thousand believers in Russia and the Russian speaking world.

Inside mainland China the number of ‘‘hidden’’ believers following the ministry of Nee and Lee has continued to grow despite the Chinese government’s often extreme measures to suppress and openly persecute them. Historically, members of the churches in China who appreciate the ministry of Nee and Lee have been among the most harshly persecuted. Thousands have been imprisoned, countless beaten, and many even martyred. It is estimated today that there may be two million believers and thousands of local churches in China that draw their spiritual nourishment and supply from the ministry of Nee and Lee. Recently, reports have reached the West that Christian believers in two provinces have been imprisoned merely for possessing copies of the Recovery Version, a study Bible published by Living Stream Ministry and Taiwan Gospel Book Room, the publishing entity Lee established in Taiwan. Today Watchman Nee is still labeled as a ‘‘dangerous counter-revolutionary,’’ and Witness Lee is officially branded as a ‘‘cult leader.’’ The writings of both men are banned in China. It is tragic that Watchman Nee died in a Chinese prison farm, totally unaware of how profoundly his life and ministry would impact the entire world. It is a similar tragedy that Witness Lee died in 1997 with such a blatant, gross distortion hanging over his name and his ministry in his homeland.

It is ironic that at a time when China is taking such a prominent role on the world stage in so many areas of society, it is missing an obvious opportunity to further improve its reputation with in the international community. Rather than slander the names of two faithful men of God, China should take national pride that two of its own, neither of whom were political in either their message or their leadership of the flock, have had extraordinary impact far beyond the Chinese-speaking world.

Mr. Speaker, I call upon the Chinese government today to release all those being held simply because of their faith in Christ and to abandon this national campaign to discredit and distort the record of two brave followers of the One who came with the message of salvation, forgiveness and peace, and instead, to celebrate with us the contributions of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee to believers the world over.

http://beta.congress.gov/crec/2014/04/29/CREC-2014-04-29-pt1-PgE621-3.pdf

Br Watchman Nee’s Prayer at Keswick convention in 1938

In 1938, Br Watchman Nee attended the Keswick Convention. At Keswick, speaking before fellow believers, that included a Japanese gentleman, Watchman invoked an intercessory prayer:

The Lord reigns; we affirm it boldly. Our Lord Jesus Christ is reigning, and he is Lord of all; nothing can touch his authority It is spiritual forces that are out to destroy his interests in China and Japan. Therefore we do not pray for China, we do not pray for Japan, but we pray for the interests of thy Son in China and Japan. We do not blame any men, for they only tools of thine enemy. We stand for thy will. Shatter, O Lord, the kingdom of darkness, for the persectuions of thy Church are wounding thee. Amen.

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