How Can Jesus Be God and Man?

At this season of celebrating the coming of Jesus as a baby, it is appropriate to discuss the importance of the Incarnation.

How Can Jesus Be God and Man?

Equally amazing to the doctrine of the Trinity is the doctrine of the Incarnation — that Jesus Christ is God and man, yet one person, forever. As J.I. Packer has said, “Here are two mysteries for the price of one — the plurality of persons within the unity of God, and the union of Godhead and manhood in the person of Jesus. . . . Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.”1

The early church considered the Incarnation to be one of the most important truths of our faith. Because of this, they formulated what has come to be called the Chalcedonean Creed, a statement which sets forth what we are to believe and what we are not to believe about the Incarnation. This creed was the fruit of a large council that took place from October 8 to November 1, 451, in the city of Chalcedon and “has been taken as the standard, orthodox definition of the biblical teaching on the person of Christ since that day by” all the major branches of Christianity.2 There are five main truths with which the creed of Chalcedon summarized the biblical teaching on the Incarnation:

  1. Jesus has two natures — He is God and man.
  2. Each nature is full and complete — He is fully God and fully man.
  3. Each nature remains distinct.
  4. Christ is only one Person.
  5. Things that are true of only one nature are nonetheless true of the Person of Christ.

A proper understanding of these truths clears up much confusion and many difficulties we may have in our mind. How can Jesus be both God and man? Why doesn’t this make him two people? How does his Incarnation relate to the Trinity? How could Jesus have hungered (Matthew 4:2) and died (Mark 15:37) when he was on earth, and yet still be God? Did Jesus give up any of his divine attributes in the Incarnation? Why is it inaccurate to say that Jesus is a “part” of God? Is Jesus still human now, and does he still have his human body?

Jesus has two natures — God and man

The first truth we need to understand is that Jesus is one Person who has two natures: a divine nature and a human nature. In other words, Jesus is both God and man. We will look at each nature accordingly.

Jesus Is God

The Bible teaches that Jesus is not merely someone who is a lot like God, or someone who has a very close walk with God. Rather, Jesus is the Most High God himself. Titus 2:13 says that as Christians we are “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Upon seeing the resurrected Christ, Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Likewise, the book of Hebrews gives us God the Father’s direct testimony about Christ: “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever” and the gospel of John calls Jesus “the only begotten God” (John 1:18).

Another way the Bible teaches that Jesus is God is by showing that he has all of the attributes of God. He knows everything (Matthew 16:21; Luke 11:17; John 4:29), is everywhere (Matthew 18:20; 28:20; Acts 18:10), has all power (Matthew 8:26–27; 28:18; John 11:38–44; Luke 7:14–15; Revelation 1:8), depends on nothing outside of himself for life (John 1:4; 14:6; 8:58), rules over everything (Matthew 28:18; Revelation 1:5; 19:16;), never began to exist and never will cease to exist (John 1:1; 8:58), and is our Creator (Colossians 1:16). In other words, everything that God is, Jesus is. For Jesus is God.

Specifically, Jesus Is God the Son

In order to have a more complete grasp of Christ’s incarnation, it is necessary to have some sort of understanding of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one being, and this one God exists as three distinct Persons. This truth means, first of all, that we must distinguish each Person of the Trinity from the other two. The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit, the Son is not the Holy Spirit or the Father, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. They are each a distinct center of consciousness, a distinct form of personal existence. Yet, they all share the exact same divine nature/essence. Thus, the three persons are one being. The divine being/essence is not something that is divided between the Persons with each Person receiving one-third. Rather, the divine being is fully and equally possessed by all three Persons such that all three Persons are each fully and equally God.

How does the fact that God is three Persons in one Being relate to the incarnation? To answer, let’s consider another question: Which Person became incarnate in Jesus Christ? All three? Or just one? Which one? The biblical answer is that only God the Son became incarnate. The Father did not become incarnate in Jesus and neither did the Holy Spirit. Thus, Jesus is God, but he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God the Son.

The truth that it is only God the Son who became incarnate is taught, for example, in John 1:14, which says “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In context, the Word is God the Son (cf. 1:1, 18, and 3:16). Thus, it wasn’t the Father or the Holy Spirit who became man, but God the Son.

Likewise, at Jesus’ baptism we see the Father affirming, “You are my beloved Son, in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). He did not say, “You are me, and with myself I am well pleased.” Rather, the Father affirmed that Jesus is the Son, his Son, and that Jesus is well pleasing to him. In this same verse we also see that the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son, for the Holy Spirit is present in “bodily form like a dove.”

Why is it important to know that Jesus is specifically God the Son? For one thing, if we do not understand this truth, we will be mistaken about the very identity of our Savior. Further, it greatly affects how we relate to our triune God. If we think that Jesus is the Father or the Holy Spirit, we will be greatly misguided and confused in our prayers. Last, it is considered heresy to believe that the Father became incarnate in Jesus.

Jesus Is Man

It should be obvious that if Jesus is God, then he has always been God. There was never a time when he became God, for God is eternal. But Jesus has not always been man. The fantastic miracle is that this eternal God became man through the incarnation approximately 2,000 years ago. That’s what the Incarnation was: God the Son becoming man. And that is the great event we celebrate at Christmas.

But what exactly do we mean when we say that God the Son became man? We certainly do not mean that he turned into a man in the sense that he stopped being God and started being man. Jesus did not give up any of his divinity in the incarnation, as is evident from the verses we saw earlier. Rather, as one early theologian put it, “Remaining what he was, he became what he was not.” Christ “was not now God minus some elements of his deity, but God plus all that he had made his own by taking manhood to himself.”3 Thus, Jesus did not give up any of his divine attributes at the incarnation. He remained in full possession of all of them. For if he were to ever give up any of his divine attributes, he would cease being God.

The truth of Jesus’ humanity is just as important to hold to as the truth of his deity. The apostle John teaches how denying that Jesus is man is of the spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7). Jesus’ humanity is displayed in the fact that he was born as a baby from a human mother (Luke 2:7; Galatians 4:4), that he became weary (John 4:6), thirsty (John 19:28), and hungry (Matthew 4:2), and that he experienced the full range of human emotions such as marvel (Matthew 8:10) and sorrow (John 11:35). He lived on earth just as we do.

Jesus Is a Sinless Man

It is also essential to know that Christ does not have a sinful nature, and neither did he ever commit sin — even though he was tempted in all ways (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, Jesus is fully and perfectly man and has also experienced the full range of human experience. We have a Savior who can truly identify with us because he is man and who can also truly help us in temptation because he has never sinned. That is an awesome truth to cherish and sets Christianity apart from all other religions.

Taken from an article by Matt Perman  https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-can-jesus-be-god-and-man

 

A False Jesus

I was crying for more of Jesus when Jesus appeared to me and opened his robe to invite me inside. Willingly I stepped inside and pressed against his chest. For several days I was aware of increased power when praying for people. Then life got harder.

One day I was trying to love Jesus and kissed his chest where my face rested. He shouted in surprise and it sounded like thunder. I was shocked at his reaction, apologized, and decided that I needed to be more respectful.

I had asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the personality of God the Father and Jesus His Son, so I thought this experience was part of the revelation I had asked for. Eventually, Jesus became increasingly insistent on receiving my love in physically demonstrable ways. One morning when I awoke, his presence was overpowering and I began to feel aroused. I kept saying to him, “This isn’t right. My relationship with you is not physical.” But the pressure increased until I could barely resist. The next day, he came again with overpowering pressure to submit to physical union. Again, I tried to reason with him, and called on the Holy Spirit to help me. At last I decided that his behavior was not acceptable and that I needed to set some boundaries. These experiences were stressing my faith.

I began to do computer searches about the incarnation and who Jesus is. He is both God the Son and the perfect Man – wholly God and wholly Man. He is also called the last Adam as contrasted with the first Adam who was also created perfect and sinless. But, having choice, the first Adam chose to sin and thus brought sin into God’s perfect world. The last Adam, Jesus, appeared as a Baby about 2000 years ago, of the lineage of King David of Judah. This was Jesus the perfect Man, the last Adam. When He returned to Heaven after His resurrection, He did not discard His humanity, but sits as King of kings, a sinless, perfect Man within the Son of God. There are two natures within Jesus. I had thought that when Jesus returned to Heaven after His resurrection, He was no longer a Man but resumed His identity as God the Son. But Jesus chose to maintain His dual identity to be our High Priest and offer His own precious blood as a sacrifice for our sins and iniquities, our sickness, and our griefs and sorrows. I was filled with wonder I as discovered these things about the human, sinless Jesus.

When I considered the behavior of the Jesus who was pressuring me for sex, I was struck by the contrast and the increasing difficulty in getting along with him. His overbearing attitude finally did him in, and I realized he was a false Jesus. I felt so confused that I called a friend who immediately urged me to kick this imposter out! She commented that the imposter was focused on sex because I possibly had sexual abuse close up in my ancestry. Freemasonry was on both sides of my family ancestry, the closest being my mother’s grandfather who belonged to two different lodges: one for men only and one that included women. His second wife was a member of the second lodge.

With my friend’s help I renounced all generational curses and vows. I have done that several times, but my friend explained that sometimes there are layers of this defilement, especially when Satanic Ritual Abuse is exposed. Within a couple of hours I was free of the filthy false Jesus and eagerly greeted by the sweet Holy Spirit for healing and restoration.

While this is intensely personal, I believe there are others who can benefit from reading what happened to me. There were other aspects of this encounter that can’t be shared publically, but are like sign-posts along the way to alert the believer that a counterfeit is present to derail your intimate relationship with the true Son of God.

Reference: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-can-jesus-be-god-and-man

 

Intercessor-Priest

A Levite of the Family of Kohath

At the end of the first semester the hotel was quiet since the foreign teachers and students had gone to travel and visit friends during the Spring Festival, so I stayed home and went on a week Daniel fast, eating only vegetables, then two days of a normal fast, praying for guidance and refreshment.  It was a terrible fight but well worth the blessing, far beyond anything I deserve.  One of the books I read was The Heavens Opened by Anna Roundtree.  In chapter five she said, “I am an intercessor for the Church, the Bride of Christ, because the Spirit has declared me to be a Levite of the family of Kohath but not a priest.  The non-priestly Kohathites were servants of the temple and the priests.”  Anna Roundtree was a woman of very high spiritual rank, feeding others what she had received at the Father’s hand.

In I Chronicles 16:4 David appointed some Levites to make petition (minister) before the ark of the Lord, including Obed-edom and Jeduthan, his father, who were also gatekeepers (v. 38).  According to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, Minister #8334 is to attend as a menial or worshipper: to serve or wait on.

Gatekeeper or porter #7778/8179 as also used in Ezra 7:24

#8652 is a janitor, a doorkeeper; to split or open; keeper of a palace gate.

The name Jeduthan #3038 means laudatory; open extended hands as in reverence and worship; make confession; give thanks.

Obed-edom #5654 means worker of Edom. To serve, till; bondservice, worshipper.  I love these meanings because today’s “ministers” claim much importance when the Lord meant those with higher callings to be servants.

Chinese Spring Festival

Chinese Spring Festival is a lunar holiday falling in January or February and lasting about five weeks.  When the academic Chairman of the English Department, realized I was planning to stay my whole Spring Festival in my apartment, he invited me to spend a week at his home with his family after getting official permission from the Party Whip.  In one of our conversations Professor M. mentioned that the Beijing authorities couldn’t get along with the authorities of his city.  The local city authorities were much too proud of themselves.  He was also open about his Cultural Revolution experience.  Chinese teachers were relatively bolder than those in authority because they had so little to lose.  Although teachers are respected in China, they are not paid well, thus they had little fear of economic punishment during the Cultural Revolution.  I knew a number of Chinese teachers who paid dearly for their ability to speak fluent English and superior education at missionary schools prior to the Cultural Revolution, but I made no comment when Professor M. spoke of his experiences.

Uncle William

According to a Monday, February 7th email, Uncle William Esselstyn died Sunday evening at 8pm.  I keenly felt the loss of his faithful, compassionate prayers and wept off and on throughout the day.  Uncle William was a  missionary in Africa for approximately 50 years and spoke several languages and dialects.  He was the field director of all the work for his church in Africa for many years, a beloved man and one of my favorite people.  I already miss his wise, discerning prayers. In his 90s, he wrote to me often in his shaky penmanship admonishing me to value the privilege of teaching in China, and how much he missed his children in Africa.

 

Temptations of Jesus

Jesus Fully God, Fully Man

The writer of Hebrews assures us that in Jesus Christ we  have a high priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses, for He has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (4:15). Some people believe that the mere experience of temptation means there are sinful desires in the tempted individual. Contributing to this confusion is the apparent disagreement between James’s teaching that “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13) and the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ triumph over temptation (Matt. 4; Mark 1; Luke 4).

How could Jesus be tempted as we are, and thus be sympathetic with our weaknesses, if He is perfectly sinless? Moreover, how was God Incarnate tempted if God cannot be tempted? The answers to these questions lie in a proper understanding of the relationship between temptation and desire.

Genuine Temptation. Purely external suggestions to do evil that cause no internal struggle are not  genuine temptations. The opportunity to steal a loaf of bread, for example, would not constitute a praiseworthy act of resisting temptation for me as it might for someone who is hungry and unable to buy food.

Had Jesus’ temptations produced no inner desire, it is hard to imagine how we are to be comforted by the thought that He is our sympathetic high priest. We must conclude that as it is for us, so it was for Jesus—genuine temptation always involves some desire for whatever one is tempted to do or get.

We must learn to distinguish nonsinful desires from sinful desires, which are themselves (sinful desires) both sin and sources of further temptation (see James 1:14).

The Temptations and Desires of God Incarnate. God Incarnate cloaked Himself in human flesh and took on the physical and psychological needs of human bodies and minds. The God‐Man experienced the sting of hunger, thirst, sleep deprivation, disrespect, abandonment, betrayal, torture, and even death. Theologian Marguerite Shuster explains that “as a man, [Jesus] was subject to the needs, limitations, and frailties of a human being in this world…He had a body with nerve endings like ours, emotions that tore him as do ours. That is what it means for him to have been fully human.”

It would be absurd to think that after 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, Jesus did not intensely desire the relief from hunger that could have been His if only He had given in to the Devil’s temptation to turn stones into bread (Matt. 4:3; Luke 4:3). Jesus’ severe hunger rendered the temptation to turn stones into bread much more than a mere external test; yet, His intimacy with the Father and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that He cultivated through a lifetime of solitude, prayer, and meditation on Scripture enabled Him to resist Satan by reciting the truth that “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4; cf. Deut. 8:3). The satisfaction of hunger is not inherently sinful, but Jesus recognized that giving in to the Devil’s temptation to end His physical suffering in that way would have constituted disobedience to His Father’s will. The Son knew that if He needed bread, He had only to ask His Father and the one who miraculously provided manna for the wandering Israelites would provide bread and not a stone (cf. Matt. 7:9‐11).

Jesus’ desire for food, like His desire to avoid impending torture and death, which He expressed in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, was far from sinful. As for Jesus in the wilderness and the garden, so too for us in this sin‐tainted world—it occurs not when we desire to end suffering, but when we will or act to end suffering in the wrong way or at the wrong time. Moreover, temptation occurs not only when we indulge sinful desires, but also when we can satisfy legitimate (nonsinful) human needs or desires through illegitimate (sinful) means.

Through the miracle of the Incarnation God endured the pain of physical and psychological needs. As the self‐sufficient sovereign of the universe, however, God has no needs. It is thus entirely rational to say that whereas God as man can be tempted, God as God cannot.

The Character and Sympathy of Christ. How could Jesus be “tempted in every way, just as we are” if He had the “unfair” advantage of being born without original sin?

In response, it is important to note that being born without sin is no guarantee against temptation. Adam and Eve were created without sin, but nonetheless yielded to the temptation of the Devil. God’s creation of Adam and Eve without sin demonstrates, further, that our sinful condition is not a requirement of  human nature. It is, therefore, a mistake to think that Jesus was not fully human because He was born without sinful inclinations. Through perfect obedience to His heavenly Father, Jesus represented without defect God’s design for humanity. As such, Jesus, the “second Adam,” is even more fully human than you or I and uniquely qualified to raise humanity from the depths of the first Adam’s fall (see Rom. 5:12‐21; 1 Cor. 15:45–49).

Although Jesus was born without sinful inclinations, He is nevertheless morally praiseworthy for maintaining His righteous inclinations. From His youth Jesus exemplified unfailing commitment to the spiritual disciplines we must all exercise in order to rid ourselves of sinful tendencies and incline ourselves toward righteousness. Scripture in no way suggests that Jesus resisted temptation by relying on the privileges of deity; rather, in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, “Christ resisted temptations by quoting the authority of the Law, not by enforcing His [divine] power.” Indeed, Jesus is as praiseworthy for His sinless inclinations, which He maintained through disciplined spiritual growth, as He is for His sinless behavior. As philosopher Roger Trigg has noted, “The morally good man does not just control his passions, but also trains them to certain courses of action so that he grows to like what is good and hate what is evil. We who are born guilty of original sin therefore must strive to become more like Jesus by engaging, with the help of the Holy Spirit, in spiritual disciplines that prepare us to resist temptation by reversing our sinful predispositions.

Underscoring the intensity of Jesus’ struggles, the writer to the Hebrews reminds us that “during the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death” (5:7).

In light of these considerations, we should not doubt Jesus’ ability to sympathize with our weaknesses. Instead, looking to Jesus as our sympathetic high priest and sinless moral example, we can learn to stand in the face of temptation comforted by the knowledge that “because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18).

Condensed from Genuine Temptation and the Character of Christ by Adam C. Pelser  http://www.equip.org/articles/genuine-temptation-character-christ/

 

 

 

Hunger and Thirst for Jesus

Be Not Afraid

My undergraduate students are opening up and coming privately to ask for Bibles.  There are four churches here, two Catholic and two Protestant.  One of the Protestant churches has been closed down repeatedly but continues underground. I visited that church, now open again, with American friends who speak fluent Mandarin.  The leaders are sound and have active programs to disciple new converts.  That is good to know because I can send inquiring students to the church where they can learn about Jesus and the Bible and be encouraged in their own language by their own people.

Be not afraid of sudden fear,

neither of the desolation of the wicked when it comes,

For the Lord shall be thy confidence

and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

Proverbs 3:25-26

Wang MingDao

November the 26th I went with Mr. and Mrs. G. to Beijing to meet the tour group that was bringing my airfare receipt.  They were late arriving so hotel and sleeping arrangements had to be made before we could chat.  After the very late meal together, Wang Ming Dao spoke to us.  This elderly man was imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution for his faith and tortured to make him recant.  He did, but then repented just outside the prison gate. Turning around, he knocked on the gate and told the guard that he had changed his mind and would not deny his Lord. People gathered around to have photos taken with him, but I could only watch his sober face from a respectful distance, and imagine the mountain of love in his heart for his Master.  I felt like a stripling in his humble presence.

On Sunday Pat Robertson spoke to a packed out auditorium that holds about 3,000 at the Beijing International Christian Fellowship.  His huge vision for America touched me deeply and I left the auditorium immediately upon dismissal to be alone at the train station with my private thoughts.  I happened to meet the G.s on the train coming back to our city and we had a good time sharing our faith.

Mrs. G.’s parents are Burmese Chinese and strong believers who come to visit their daughter often in order to speak to any students they can about Jesus.  G.’s mother comes to my apartment to speak to students who may wish to talk.  One student gave her heart to Jesus and three others who came to argue are seriously considering the claims of the Lord on their lives.  They fear persecution in their classes, but, thank goodness for the local Protestant church that can take over their teaching so that we may not risk deportation.

Strength in Unity

These past two weeks I’ve fasted slightly less than 48 hours each week with good success regarding classes and paper grading to go smoothly.  Also, we need spiritual strengthening in subtle persecution.  The enemy’s strategy is to drive us out, but not only do we refuse to go, but we pray corporately for our protection.  What a difference corporate unity makes!  Sure not like last year.

One reason Paul was delivered from many crises beyond his strength was the corporate prayers of the early Church.  They were not perfect but they had awesome corporate strength in prayer.  Paul in his maturity, anointing, and commitment could not enter into his calling by himself.  That could only take place through the praying church in unity (II Cor. 1:8-11).  One can only go so far in protecting oneself and still advance in intercession.  There is a limitation beyond which I cannot go without the corporate prayers of my brothers and sisters.  The Lord intends us to be dependent on one another.  That’s what the beautiful Body of Christ is all about.  Leviticus 26: 7-8 and Joshua 23:10 speak of one chasing a thousand and two chasing ten thousand.  Deut. 32:30 and Eccl. 4:12 speak of a three-fold cord not being easily broken.

Christmas

Christmas with my classes was wonderful.  We decorated the classroom several times because when we came the next week, the decorations had been removed.  So we decorated each time we met.  Students listened raptly to the story of Adam and Eve, their fall, and God’s great love in sending Jesus.  From the Hong Kong Bible Society I was given bilingual books about special issue postal stamps from nations around the world celebrating Christ’s birth, death and resurrection.  Also in Hong Kong I found a couple of books of Chinese Christian art painted by converted Buddhists showing various scenes in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  My students poured over these books intently.  The art books showing Jesus as Chinese utterly amazed and fascinated them.  I borrowed Mrs. G.’s large computerized keyboard to play carols for the classes.  When they heard my competent keyboarding and singing voice they broke out in smiles and joined in singing the carols enthusiastically.

So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth;

It shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish that which I please.

And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11 Amp. (paraphrased)

Christmas week I made enough fudge for every student to have two pieces and invited them six at a time, every fifteen minutes for two hours each evening.  I really enjoyed their coming, their cards and notes and little gifts.  I’ve also had lunch in the dining halls and talks with individuals.  There’s a good foundation forged for friendships this coming semester.

Walter decorated an outdoor evergreen with lights but the Foreign Language Department failed to get electricity for him. His students made a pretty paper Christmas tree for the foyer of the Foreign Language building – three times.    He also organized a candle-light carol sing so four or five other foreign teachers came along to help carry the music.  Then we split up to have five small groups around each of us for an English Corner event about Christmas.

 

A Parable

The king had everything his heart could wish for, but he was lonely. Companionship was lacking in the midst of riches beyond measure. He considered how he could use his creative genius to create companionship. He could make a couple of creatures with his traits and character, his personality. If he made them to have choice then he would persuade them of his goodness and entice them to love him. If he gave them choice there was the risk of their choosing their own way and abandoning him. So he planned how he could redeem them to himself if and when they chose not to be friends with him. Actually, he would eventually like to be married to these creatures made in his image, but that would take some serious sacrifice on his part. It would be worth it, though, for he was so lonely.

These creatures, called man and woman, were made with huge holes in their souls that could only be filled with the king’s love. They went on life-time quests to find what might fill the void within them – primarily physical pleasures that lasted such a short time. Small gods such as other humans or tame animals. Some delighted in sports and personal skills such as hunting and fishing. Others learned to make stringed instruments and created music. It satisfied to a degree but never quite filled their inner emptiness. The king looked down at his creation and felt a deep yearning to be intimate with these beautiful creatures who had no idea of his existence or his ability to satisfy their deepest longings.

At some point in the centuries of earth-time, the king decided it was time for him to redeem his fallen creatures, so he put on the identity of a man-child born of a young woman and lived in the corrupted world of humanity. As the perfect man, the king always made a place in his life for his mother and brothers and sisters, even when they scorned him. He learned carpentry from his earthly father and became a skilled tradesman. The king as a man later became a teacher who trained, encouraged and challenged his followers to love him. He invited them to become his friends in his teaching, his rest, and all the joys that were his. Even when taken captive by the religious police of that day, the king remembered to entrust his mother’s care to one of his followers. He invited a criminal on one side of his cross to be with him in Paradise. In unbearable pain and anguish the king never stopped loving the people he had created.

Having paid the terrible sacrifice of his human body and blood, the king returned to his kingdom, forever a king-human to prepare dwellings for his lovely bride. He sent the spirit of his father to walk as intimately with those who chose to follow him as they would allow. The deeper the submission and yearning humans expressed, the deeper the intimacy the king enjoyed with them. His created beings had cost him everything he had, but, oh, it was worth the shame he suffered to gain the love of those who chose to follow him.

During his time on earth as a man, the king spoke often about his desire to marry those who loved him as a collective bride. They were dull of hearing but eventually some of the king’s teaching began to penetrate their thinking. During the king’s human infancy, royal visitors brought him gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were often worn by a groom on his wedding day. In the first of the king’s creative miracles as a man, he turned water into fine wine at a wedding. When the king’s followers asked when he would come back he said he didn’t know – only his father knew. The king explained that he was going back to his kingdom to build dwelling places for his bride. In a Jewish betrothal, the groom built an addition to his father’s house for his bride. But it was the father’s decision when the bride would be invited to come. During the king’s last meal with his followers, he took a cup of wine and passed it around. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” The king wouldn’t drink again from that cup until the wedding feast with them in his father’s kingdom.

Along with these subtle messages of the king’s desire for a bride that was his equal, the king also realized that further creative power was necessary to transform his bride into the stunning creature he cried out for within himself.

“He who began a good work in you will continue developing that good work, perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you (Phil.1:6).”

(reference: https://www.charismamag.com/spirit/bible-study/33090-6-surprising-ways-scripture-says-jesus-is-your-bridegroom) 

 

 

 

 

TB

Playing with Grades

Since it’s the end of first semester, two transfer students came to ask how much money I wanted to give them passing grades.  I asked a third student to make up several missed lessons, but he thought I wanted money!  He told me grades cost 30 to 50 Yuan.  It seems there are three sets of grades: the teachers’, the department’s, and the final negotiated record.  Thus, transcripts are meaningless.

I have kept a private record of names and grades for every semester I’ve taught in China because I knew grades were often changed in the office.  However, until now students were not willing to let foreign teachers know what went on.  I’ve had English Department Chairmen ask for grade lists, thinking they were getting the only record.  Then they would “lose” the record and ask if I happened to have another copy.  I don’t know what complications they experienced when I gave them a second copy.  Also, I allowed any student that earned less than a “C” to make up the missed work, and everyone was allowed an opportunity to repeat an assignment for an average of the two grades.  This helped to give students hope of improving and they could calculate their own grade average.  I wanted them to know their foreign teacher could be trusted.  When university  records became corrupt I assigned students numbers for privacy and gave class monitors a copy of the class list using numbers instead of names, with grades.

The other foreign teachers also followed this procedure.  A teacher of a different nationality warned me not to get too deeply into Chinese officials’ pockets, putting myself in physical danger.  She also had words of advice concerning a recurrence of what I thought was the flu again.  She pointed out that my attitude toward pervasive corruption was breaking my health and I needed to learn how to compromise.  I needed to change my vocation if I wanted to preserve my health.  I decided to return to the States for the six weeks of Spring Festival, and the wife of one of my former students who works as an airlines ticket agent found me a $600 round trip airfare on Northwest!

Home at Midterm

The first week home I mostly slept.  When I was awake I was aware of being depressed.   At the Health Department I got flu and pneumonia shots and a TB test.  The TB skin test on my wrist was swelled and bright red so I was required to get an x-ray.  The x-ray showed some damage to the upper right lung which explained why I had felt beyond sick last year, and again this winter.  When I came home this past summer I had to take the TB test again to work and it was positive again, so I had to get another x-ray which showed healed scars.  (I got a third X-ray in 2012 and it showed  significant healed lung damage.)

One morning while I was home, Mom woke but couldn’t move.  One of my sisters took her to a doctor who put Mom on steroids.  She is quite stiff and can hardly feed herself, but improving slowly.  Mom needs me and I want to be available to help her in her time of vulnerability.

My sister and her husband gave me half the airfare and three other individuals gave me money to help on the unexpected expense of returning home for rest and medical care.

The wife of the couple who own the local Christian Bookstore took Mom and me to the charter bus where I would ride to O’Hare for my return  flight, and Mom would go home with my sister.  In the bus parking lot I noticed with a start that my sis had a shuffling gait and stiff posture.  (She was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.)

I cut myself too short on cash, as usual, so I could only tip the shuttle bus driver $2 to and from the hotel in Chicago.  With the remaining $1.25 I bought a McDonald’s burger for lunch.  Of course, I arrived at the Beijing International Airport flat broke. Fortunately, the university met me to bring me back to my university several hours away.

 

 

 

God Encounters

The Mount of Transfiguration

Matthew 17

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

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14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

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Most people live for their encounters with Jesus. Encounters happen most often during corporate worship rather than during their daily devotional times in Bible reading and prayer.

It was after Jesus was transfigured that He cast the demon out of the epileptic child. Jesus lived from intimate encounters with His Father and He came down the mountain with power and authority.

It is good for us to have intimacy with our Lord, but there is more. To live from our intimacy is better. The encounters are meant to fulfill our destiny. They are for a purpose. God’s presence changes us. His presence impregnates us so that we can do the greater things that He desires for us.

Let me give you a simple illustration. I was praying for a man on dialysis to receive new kidneys and knew I was connected with the power and authority as the Holy Spirit flowed through me to the man. When I got home and could sit down to be quiet, I realized just how weary I was. Dog-tired!

“Lord, I can’t do this,” I told the precious Holy Spirit. “Please increase my energy.”

During the night Jesus came to me for a major encounter. He opened His robe and invited me in. With no hesitation I stepped in and pressed myself against His chest. He felt like a warm but very powerful dynamo and I heard Him say, “This is not a visit.” This was a place to dwell and to work from. Now, when I release His power, the flow is sustained but I don’t walk away bone-weary. Learning to work with my Bridegroom is a work of joy.

Learning to heal and do miracles (driving out what doesn’t belong and restoring what is missing) can come by praying for many who need prayer, or it can come through seeking God’s face as your priority. Saturating oneself in God’s holy presence opens us to increasing access to His power and character, and insight into His mysteries. As we seek His face a greater level of supernatural encounters will unfold. (Reference: http://www.thekingsofeden.com/2017/11/8-keys-to-engaging-the-supernatural-part-1/)

 

 

 

Spring Semester, 2000

Easter, 2000

It was during April 1st to the15th that the US spy plane landed in Guangzhou.  China published much anti-American propaganda and freely falsified verifiable information.  It was announced that the Americans would be freed the Thursday before Easter, and the day of the 12th the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officers moved into our hotel, even into empty rooms on the fourth floor where we were living.  Our computer and telephone lines had been disconnected but Mrs. G. and I found some services still in operation so we hurriedly called friends in Beijing, packed almost frantically, and rushed to the train station where we met other foreigners living in our city doing the same thing.  The Mexican-American lady was so frightened of PLA aggression that she actually flew home and didn’t return.

Tea Party

The week after we returned to campus and the army men were gone, I held a tea party for a couple of other lady teachers. That was fun.  Two intercessors came for visits at the same time, so naturally, we held a praise and worship meeting.  One of the ladies had lived in this city previously a couple of years and was a major intercessor, so our time with the Lord was awesome.

V.I.P.

A Dr. Hu from Australia had come as a visiting scholar so I took him some of my birthday cake, and he came to get acquainted when he brought back my plate – two hours of tiresome bragging about his outstanding accomplishments.  The following week my grad class was divided to give Dr. Hu some students and a time slot.  I was offended to be ignored in the process and wrote a note to Professor Jiang suggesting that I resign since I was overloaded anyhow.  He called to apologize and I agreed to continue with twelve students.  Getting an apology is rare, so I kept my feelings to myself.  May 25th Dr. Hu taught his last class before returning home, but I had a class at his departure time, so when he poked his head in my classroom door to say goodbye, I blew him a kiss.  Romantics at heart, my grads loved it and so did he.

Yesterday one of the English Department professors came to speak to me about returning next semester to teach the same class schedule as I did this year.  Several students have come to thank me for my strict, careful teaching.  One of my undergraduate English major students is the Student Body President for this university and also for this province.  He has come several times to visit and brought me a gift of natural pearls, praising me to the skies. Five of the English major graduates came to visit me, and four sophomore students, bringing gifts.  Everyone is more open to me than in the beginning while E.s and the American CEO were feuding with me.

Appearance Is Everything

Oddly, the American organization notified me of their end of the year conference at their State-side offices, expecting me to be in attendance.  They sent me a letter after the meeting saying that a number of individuals who met me last August had asked about me and were very disappointed that I hadn’t come.  It seemed strange that they wanted me to attend the year-end meeting after all that had transpired, including the “excommunication.”

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Tutoring the Wife of a University Official

I have been tutoring the wife of one of the university vice presidents.  Mrs. L. is a sharp dresser and has very good English.  She is the organizer and administrator of a popular preschool that emphasizes English language teaching for preschoolers and has been invited to a university in America this summer as a Chinese scholar.  Chinese university presidents and vice presidents are social and political equals to our elected Federal congressmen, so I felt honored to be her choice of a tutor.

Mrs. L. was refused a visa by the American Embassy on grounds that she wanted to immigrate.  A high percentage of teachers from this university who were studying in America chose not to return to China. Four teachers from the English Department alone within the last year have failed to return.  I suggested that Mrs. L. go back every week as long as necessary to present her request and ask what she might do to show good faith for returning to China.  When I returned in August Mrs. L. had already departed for America, successful in her strategy to obtain a visa.

Female English Majors as Maids in Singapore

Ariel, the class II monitor told me five junior girls had been chosen to interrupt their studies to go to work in various hotels in Singapore from this August through Spring Festival of the coming year.  Tears came to my eyes and I struggled to control my voice.  The Provincial Foreign Affairs offered this opportunity but why would they send university English major females to work in Singaporean hotels as maids?  Southeast Asia is known for its tourist trade in sex rings.

In distress I mentioned this to Mrs. L. and asked if she could inquire about this new program.  It didn’t sound good to me and I was concerned about my girl-students’ welfare.  I never found out what transpired over the summer, but when I returned in August the girls were still in university and said the program had failed for this university though not for other schools in the province.

Chinese Propriety

June 4th the foreign teachers still didn’t have visas to return in August.  We were leaving within the coming two weeks, so I decided to fast that our documents would be expedited.  The French teacher got his visa that same day.  June 15th I got my reentry visa, but only received my signed contract as I was getting in a car to leave for Beijing and America.  Even though it came at the last possible moment, faith kept me in peace.

The university Foreign Affairs Official waited to make hotel reservations at the last moment so my stay in Beijing really cost them a whopping price (No reservations, thus, full tourist price).  I had invited one of my male undergraduate students to go with me because the FAO hadn’t made arrangements, but when the official realized what I’d done, he quickly tried to negate my plan by sending a female graduate English major Party member to accompany me, to keep me from doing anything immoral or politically compromising.   Nevertheless, the male student risked favor with the Party by insisting on going with me. (I paid for his hotel room since rates for Chinese are only a fraction of foreigners’.)

Confirmation

On the plane from Beijing to Tokyo I sat beside a Chinese business woman who confirmed my impressions of the city I had been teaching in, its cancerous underground prostitution, and students’ dull mindedness.  I was deeply grateful for her confirmation since this had been a year of continuous conflict not only with the American organization but with Chinese personnel.  In Tokyo I was upgraded to business class with wider seats, foot rests, free access to a lovely fruit bowl, drinks, and a generous blanket for napping.

Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered

at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality

as though something alien and unusual to you and your position

were befalling you.

See to it that your conscience is entirely clear

so that when you are falsely accused as evildoers,

those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed of slandering your good life.

For it is better to suffer unjustly for doing right if that should be God’s will, than to suffer justly for doing wrong.

But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings,

rejoice so that when His glory (full of radiance and splendor) is revealed you may also rejoice with triumph.

If you are censored and suffer abuse for the name of Christ,

blessed are you because the Spirit of God is resting upon you.

I Peter 3:16-17; 4:12-14 Amp. paraphrased

 

 

Worthy Is the Lamb

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…Rev. 5:9

12 saying with a loud voice,  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might honor and glory and blessing!” Rev. 5:12

8 and all who dwell on earth will worship (the Lamb), everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. Rev.13:8

7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Is. 53:7

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God,  who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” John 1:36

19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. I Peter 1:19

Even before God made Adam and Eve, He knew man would fail to keep the Lord’s one command – to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil or the Tree of Life. God’s desire was to give man the freedom of choice so that when he chose to worship his Creator, both God and man could take great pleasure in that free choice.

In creating the human race God took a risk. In His desire for meaningful companionship, He made a way to buy back mankind from the enemy – at great cost to Himself. In the Old Testament God taught  the Hebrew people to offer a perfect lamb from their flocks each year to atone for their sins. But His ultimate intention was to offer His only Son as the sole worthy, perfectly sinless sacrifice to reinstate mankind for the companionship He yearned for. The salvation He planned included not only perfect, sinless blood to cover our sins, but that salvation included His plan to take our griefs and sorrows, and our sicknesses and diseases, and put them all on Jesus. Jesus became a curse for us. Now we can choose to accept this incredible, priceless opportunity to be lifted out of the slavery of sin and sorrow and disease. We can choose to be washed clean in Jesus’ precious, living blood and kept continuously pure by the power of His blood. His blood is Life supreme.

When God looks down on us, He sees the precious blood of His only Son and He is filled with a passionate love for us. When we look up to the throne, we see our own faults and failures. It is very important to keep in mind God’s point of view to maintain fellowship with Him. Our heavenly Father is loving beyond expression and lavish in caring for us. All thanks to Jesus Who, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame (Hebrews 12:2AMP). The prize Jesus was willing to die for was you and me. Our fellowship. Our friendship. Now that’s passionate love!

Here is a link to a song by the Gaithers that expresses our response to God’s sacrifice to buy us back from the enemy of our souls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaM1a0Vv_UE