Fear of Failure Part II

This is part two of a chapter from the book The Mind of Christ by David Murry. With his permission I post it here for affirmation of my brothers and sisters. The book is available as a free PDF download from David’s blog. Click on “Books”. This is chapter 2 from Section Two. https://dwmurry.wordpress.com/author/dwmurry/

The Good News is we are reconciled to the Father!!

To the degree that we do not understand and embrace this is the degree to which we will walk in pride. Pride is to seek worth apart from God. (Joyce’s emphasis) Our rest and completeness is in abiding in His presence and communing with Him and in Him. Ministry is not our reward. He is our reward.

“After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a
vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your
very great reward.”
Genesis 15:1

There is a growing movement and trend, especially in men’s fellowships, to try to give men of God identity and purpose by filling them with a sense of destiny. This is misplaced vision. Depression, despair, and any perceived lack is a result of not knowing who we are as His child. Seeking God so that we can fulfill our destiny leads to a
perversion of who we are called to be. Fellowship is not to be “me” centered. When this occurs, our motive is now to find meaning…and the Word says we already have meaning.

 Failure to embrace His truths toward us leads to:

  1. Intellectual Ascent (our worth comes from our mind) we turn to the soul as our source of worth and our relationship becomes one of mental understanding. The realm of the spirit becomes a closed door to us. (study the Pharisees)
  2. Spiritual Mysticism (our worth comes from our spiritual experience) – this is a grave danger. Seeking experiences is never to be our goal either. We must instead seek Christ. We spend time in His presence and develop our spiritual senses through communion. Spiritual understanding is a natural result. We do not seek Him in order to experience the “supernatural.” We seek Him to spend time with our first Love. To seek Him in order to get something from Him is spiritual prostitution. It leads to all sorts of experiences that have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. (read the Book of Jude, Acts 8:9-25). We will never get to hear or know the heart of the Father with this
    attitude.
  3. Pride (by the power of our own will, not the Holy Spirit, we accomplish our goals) – now we see ourselves as superior to those around us. Worse still, we attempt to swallow up others in our drive to see our vision fulfilled. Our vision is linked to our identity and worth. Titles and presumption begin to fill our soul and the motive of our heart is to try to “become more.” The spirit of Pride seeks to strip others of their identity. People become an extension of our own driven self. Many of God’s children are suffering under this bondage today. (Read Kings and Chronicles, & story of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel.)

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that
in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2
Corinthians 5:21

Our calling, our God given vision, our meaning, our purpose, our destiny is to be reconciled by the ONLY means that salvation comes: The blood of Jesus Christ.

This is not the end. This is the doorway to which intimate fellowship may be experienced. This is how the realms of his kingdom are made visible to us without compromise. It was not the outer court of the Temple that was split when Jesus died. It was not in the inner court either. Man could worship in either of these places already. It was the Holy of Holies shroud that was torn in two. We have access to a place that would have caused man to die before the Atonement of the blood of Christ.

Make sense? Under the old covenant… up until Jesus died, if a person walked through that curtain… it was “curtains” for them.

Death. Instant death.

And yet…

Anyone who received the Spirit at Pentecost weeks later (the new covenant being initiated with the Holy Spirit now dwelling IN the believer) could have walked right in there though. Our destiny is to live with Him, in the Holy of Holies.

Look at any person in scripture that was willingly used by God. They were not seeking a commission. They were seeking Him. They were seeking His face. Their calling came as a result of their communion. God initiates. The answer to the growing sense of lack of purpose is not resolved by a 12-point self help book or an emotional stirring of our “purpose” to “do.” We are not called to “do.” We are called to “be.”

Our destiny is the throne. That throne is in us by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. The answer to the sick heart of the Body of Christ is found in communion with Him. This is not exciting to many because we do not have a revelation of our self worth coming from Him alone. Instead, ministry, calling, and “doing” feeds our worth to the degree that we continue to cooperate with the carnal mind.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mindgoverned by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

“But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Romans 8:9

When we received Christ, we died to the carnal man. We now have the Spirit of the living God inside us. We are His Temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)

“Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in His death?” Romans 6:3

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

We are given a new mind and a new identity. We are partakers of His righteousness and we are now thinking His thoughts. As a redeemed child, we now have the ability to do this, by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16

Sadly, the carnal mind, which we died to when we accepted salvation, is still being dug up and communed with, within the Body of Christ. This is a spirit of necromancy. It is communion with the dead. It produces no Godly fruit, no life, nothing of eternal standing. It brings forth death.

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Revelation 2:2-4

My brothers and sisters, this is Jesus speaking. He is talking to born again believers!

We are to walk by the mind of Christ which we are given and is in us. If we truly understood what it means to be the righteousness of Christ, we would want nothing more than to spend time with Him. It is in His presence that we experience the fullness of His nature. We commune in Spirit and Truth. This is not a mental experience. It is a
spiritual one. To live on the other side of the veil is a world beyond anything else we can experience on this side of eternity.

Friends in China

An African Brother

A. was a passionate believer with an amazing story. He was a little goat herder and by chance a local teacher discovered that he was very intelligent. With her recommendation, the government invested in his education and sent him to Russia to learn the language and study engineering. Officials changed their minds and decided they needed dental surgeons, so they sent him to Beijing to study Mandarin after which he was transferred to Wuhan to study dentistry. But A. never forgot his beginnings and God’s plans for his life. He also had a strong sense of justice which caused him serious trouble.

A. and I spent quite a few weekend hours talking. I had so much to learn about other nationalities and their journeys with the Lord. We attended the same weekday worship group and I found out that the Russian students in Beijing were violent. The dorm rooms didn’t have locks and the Chinese police wouldn’t come into the building because they were afraid of the Russians. A. and his African roommate were very afraid for their safety since occasionally there were murders in the dorm. A. asked me to pray for their safety so I asked the Lord to set a Big angel at their dorm door to keep them safe. I prayed that the angel would be visible to human enemies as a huge warrior with a cowhide shield and tall spear and a cruel-looking face. Weeks passed and A. and his roommate said nothing. Finally one day the roommate told me they had been left alone and I revealed my prayer request. The young man looked shocked and said nothing more although he looked thoughtful. I had to laugh.

After two years of language study A. was transferred to Wuhan to a teaching hospital to study dentistry. A.’s nation paid for their students’ food and housing but the Chinese withheld food and did not heat the buildings. A. lead a protest which in China can get you arrested. The protest was broken up but A.’s food was withheld. He is a poor communicator and although we wrote letters, he didn’t say one word about his dire situation. Meantime, I felt that I would like to send him about 1,000 Yuan a month. Chinese hate how foreigners help each other and I couldn’t get bank money orders or postal money orders, so at last I sent registered letters with cash. When I saw A. briefly at the end of the spring semester his first year in Wuhan he was very thin and just commented that if it hadn’t been for my letters, he would have starved. A. calls me Mom but I am very unworthy of such a title for he is certainly my spiritual superior in every way. A. is now a teaching professor specializing in children’s dental surgery in his home nation.

He got married in January, 2013, and a year later in January he and his wife had a baby boy.  A. was ecstatic.  Then in 2014 I had the impression that he and his wife had some difficulties so I carefully emailed him – we generally don’t email at all – and he answered that I had the correct impression. I’ve heard nothing more and realize that he is in a dangerous place so I just pray as I am lead.

Charles and Diana

(Chinese students choose their own English names, and some are pretty unusual.)

I decided to eat in a student lunch room with a group of students which included Charles and Diana.  Charles was as nervous as a sparrow and about as thin.  One evening he came, looking harried, to tell me he was  taking a western tranquilizer, and had been for some time.  He was the third generation of a former land-owning family who lost their fortunes in 1949 at the Communist takeover.  He described being jeered at and ridiculed in school, and could never gain good grades.  He had to take the college entrance exam three times before getting into a normal school (similar to American junior college) from which he transferred to university where I met him.

Charles appeared to have some nutritional deficiencies so I began urging him to change his eating habits.  As he added protein to his diet he started  gaining weight and becoming calmer.  He had a pervasive attitude of hopelessness that bordered on self-destruction, but he didn’t want to hear about the Solution to his problems.  I noticed that he had talked with a Canadian tour group (Christians), so perhaps the seed would bear fruit.

Eventually this young man was able to come to America to earn a certificate in his chosen field.  He married Diana when she came to join him and she eventually obtained her certification, also.  Charles and Diana both are now believers.  He called and we had long chats by phone.  Someone loaned him a nice car to drive from the East Coast to visit me one weekend so I took him to yard sales, a fast food joint, and we laughed like sillies over shared experiences in China.

Charles and Diana finally returned to China where they are working in their chosen fields. Rarely does Charles call me and he is not permitted to email me, but I believe he and Diana are faithful in their walk with Jesus.

 

 

Fear of Failure, Part I

This is part one of a chapter from the book The Mind of Christ by David Murry. With his permission I post it here for your affirmation as my brothers and sisters. The book is available as a free PDF download from David’s blog. Click on “Books”. This is chapter 2 from Section Two. https://dwmurry.wordpress.com/author/dwmurry/

Fear of Failure
(a.k.a. my self-worth will rise and fall)
“and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.” Colossians 2:10

Lie #2- My Worth is Determined by My Calling, Function & Actions

I am going to address a widely spread misconception about who we are as His children…and who we are not. The truth is, our worth is never changing. It cannot be added to, nor can it be diminished. Our calling (or “purpose, or “anointing,” or “vision,” etc…) is independent of our value as a child of God.

Ministry is an outflow and by-product of our relationship with the Lord. We are called to Himself, not to ministry.

“Such as I have, I give to you…” Acts 3:6

If we derive comfort from our “calling,” we misplace our identity and self-worth. Invariably the question of “who am I?” will have its answer centered around what we believe He has commissioned us to do.

Our fullness is given to us in Christ. It is forever established. It cannot rise and fall. Our fullness is in His righteousness that was given to us. It can never change. It cannot be altered.

Without embracing this, we misplace our rest. Our rest is not in our calling. Our rest is not in our ministry. Our rest is not in the way we function in the Body of Christ or in our gifts. Our rest is in Christ. Him alone.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

This is another verse that is so often twisted. How often this verse is used to encourage this “quest” for our identity. When we get wrapped up in trying to determine what our “ministry” or “calling” is, we will feel lost unless we know what we are “supposed to do.” This is misplaced identity and it is another area which reveals we are drawing from the fallen thinking of the carnal mind. We will remain feeling lost. Or worse yet, we will become a Pharisee. We accept Christ and then instead of being taught the truths about how special and wonderful we are as His child, we simply run to another idol for our sense of well being and value. Only this time we do it under the guise of spiritual maturity.

One of the main reasons the body of Christ struggles so much to look different from the world is that we don’t feel much different from the world. What is more, we have not been taught to think from the mind of Christ that is now inside us, and is accessible through His word and prayerful communion. We are discouraged, sullen, depressed, without peace and rest. Above all, we don’t understand the vision we are called to walk in.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you.” Isaiah 26:3

The vision we are to have is not a vision of ministry. It is the vision of our Savior. We keep our eyes fixed on Him. He is our vision.

He is our calling. We are called to Him.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

The reason so many children of God fall to deception, discouragement, depression, witchcraft and pride is because our hope is misplaced. Our hope is never meant to be in how He will use us. Nor is it in what He will “do” through us. That is not our true vision. If we study the Word, and look at how our brothers and sisters who had a relationship with their Redeemer lived, we will see a common theme. A principle of His Kingdom is this: Greater revelation of Him will reveal greater revelation of what He wants to do.
Study the prophets. Every vision God gave them, whether it was events to come (foretelling) or expounding on events or principles that already exist (forth-telling) was aimed at entering that child into a deeper understanding of the nature and heart of God. This is to be our vision. The definition of “vision” is this: the faculty or state of being able to see.

The more we seek the heart of our Creator, the more we will think what He thinks, feel what He feels, and see what He is desiring to reveal to His Church. We will be more passionate about the things He has passion for. This is called “communion.” This is fellowship.

And this is why we were created. It is our true purpose, our true ministry, our true vision, our true calling.

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11

It brings Him great pleasure to spend time with His creation. I urge you to read Genesis, The Songs of Solomon, The Psalms, Hosea….

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” John 13:23

Did you catch that? John was literally resting his head against our Lord’s chest. This picture often chokes me up. Both Jesus and this man were so secure in who they were, the freedom to give and receive from each other was without hindrance. I say “both” because we often forget Jesus was also a man. In fact, He was the – perfect – man.

Did you hear that my friend? Want to know what a man is? Read about Jesus. Begin to let go of what fallen man says, and let yourself be who you are created to be. Stop stuffing it behind the veil of this fallen world, constructed by the one who made himself unworthy to stand in the presence of God.

Misplaced vision causes us to begin to create a conditional sense of self-worth, contrary to what God says about us. We are complete because we are His child. Not because of our calling. Not because of the vision He has given us to minister to others.

NOTE: If we seek to find worth, not acknowledging that our worth is already forever established as His child, servant, and friend, we will fall into self-deception.

That deception will come in the form of legalism, spiritual excessiveness, self-delusion and pride, to name a few.

NOTE: Any area in our life that we pursue because we think it will add to our worth IS IN OPPOSITION to the Kingdom of God, to His word and to His will for our life.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel….” Colossians 1:19-22

We are already complete. It is finished. What we do or don’t do cannot alter this reality. All we can do is live in the realm of self-deception. A “vision-based” identity, at its root, is to say that there is more to get than what Christ has already imparted to you. This is another lie.

This is one of the greatest deceptions being perpetuated in the Church today.

Let’s read the rest of the verse:

“…this is the gospel that you heard and that has been
proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”
Colossians 1:23

What is the Gospel? The word gospel means good news. The good news is NOT that God has a vision for us in terms of ministry. The good news is NOT that He has a plan for us to make ourselves feel special and unique based on the unique, one-of-a-kind blueprint for our life.

No…..
 

Angels Watchin’ Over Me

Expelled

When I first met David he was a Ph.D. student in petroleum engineering.  His English was fluent and he had even taken bit parts as an English speaker in Chinese films.  We became fast friends, spending hours together discussing each other’s cultures and everything in between.

He knocked at my apartment one day without an appointment and when I opened the door it was to his very white face.

“I have been expelled!”

“Expelled?” I echoed.  “Why!?”

David had no idea why.  In Chinese culture, entry to a school or program is cause for celebration because if one is accepted, completion is assured.  Neither David nor I had ever heard of a university student being expelled for any reason.  Old professors had a lot of political power and were only replaced at death.  Now that schools of higher education were required to raise most of their financial support, the old profs became entrepreneurs and their students were exploited.  David was a high-achieving student but he didn’t enter into the prof’s personal scheme for making money.

I suggested that David ask his advisor for reasons for his expulsion.  If no reasons were given then David should go to the department chair, then to the college dean.  His last resort would be to go to the university vice president in charge of petroleum engineering (there are many vice presidents in Chinese universities, each in charge of some specific area.).  David went to each of these men and discovered that the men above this professor were unwilling to offend him.

There was no precedent for what to do next, so we decided to use a Western strategy. I suggested that David write some resume letters selling himself to schools needing his skills and education.  “Choose only those places you would like to go, where the offers most please you,” I advised.  David thought I was overly optimistic but followed my suggestions and soon was receiving eager replies.  I had told him I would pray that this situation would be turned for his good even though he was a Buddhist, and he was impressed with the effectiveness of prayer to the Christian God.

After judicious consideration of the several offers of employment, David chose a school where there were American teachers.  We stayed in touch and he was delighted with his job and colleagues.  Apparently one of the Americans had been observing David and conversing with him about his field of engineering because at the end of the school year he invited David to come to the States as a doctoral student with a full fellowship.  David was thunderstruck.  He called to tell me the news, nearly frantic with elation.   “What if I had not been expelled?” he wondered.

In due time David came to America and earned his advanced degree with high honors.  When his funding ran out he found an assistant professorship at a prestigious school of petroleum engineering.  The school eventually ran into a financial crunch, so again David searched for a teaching position.  Meantime, he got his American citizenship, was married with two little children to support.

He and his family were converted and baptized.  Eventually he called to say he had found a job abroad, largely as the result of being a published author in an international journal of petroleum engineering. Now, years later, her is enjoying the benefits of being an American and enjoying the American dream as one who has paid his dues. God’s lavish goodness never ceases to amaze me.

                                        Angels Watching Over Me

In our vulnerability God delights in protecting His own.  One time I was trying to get across Beijing to have dinner with an American colleague.  At a major bus connection I got on a minibus and told the ticket taker where I wanted to get off.  Although several passengers repeated my destination for the ticket lady, she and the driver forced me off the bus several miles out of the city on the side of a busy limited access highway.  To say I was dismayed would be an understatement.  A man on the other side of the divided highway saw what happened and came to ask me where I wanted to go.  He had a strong dialect and I couldn’t understand him but I had a map and showed him where I wanted to go.  He understood and indicated that we should return to the bus terminal.  As we walked along he must have realized that I was frightened of him because he chattered incessantly and was kind and patient with me.  At the terminal I continued to walk on since he seemed to delay.

At a large five-way intersection with no traffic lights or policeman I hesitated, and again the man appeared.  He helped me cross safely and continued to walk with me for more than an hour, still chattering reassuringly.  At last we reached another major street with city bus service past my colleague’s school.  Not all buses with the same number stopped at all the stops.  I didn’t know that, but the man prevented me from boarding the first bus to arrive.  I was puzzled as he struggled to explain the system, but finally the reason occurred to me and I was so grateful that he had taken the time to accompany me.  He helped me to board the right bus and told the ticket taker where I wanted to go.  It occurred to me that this man must surely be an angel! Again, the bus conductor ignored me when the bus stopped at my exit, so several passengers alerted me. I exited and stood, looking around the street. It was getting late and there were no pedestrians to ask for further help, but there was a policeman at a gate, so I walked over to ask for directions. I showed him the directions written in Mandarin and he recognized the address immediately. This is where you want to go, he motioned. And he actually walked with me to my friend’s door.  This type of kindness occurred at least twice more and always humbled me. Father God knew my address and phone number, but He also knew where I was at any given time.

Dead Man in the Bathtub

Another time expatriates had arranged a baptism for new believers at a certain home where there was a bathtub.  One of the new converts had been lead to the Lord by a lady who phoned him every day to see how he was doing.  Phones are a good source of information for the Public Security Bureau and calls are monitored through a central office.  This lady quizzed her new convert over the phone: who, what, when, where, and why.  Meantime, the lady of the house we were planning to visit had a dream that a dead man was in her tub!  She called the organizer and canceled the offer of her home for the baptism.  Only later did we discover the phone conversations with the new convert, but Father God was watching over His little children.

                             

Fear of Failure

This is part one of a chapter from the book The Mind of Christ by David Murry. With his permission I post it here for your affirmation as my brothers and sisters. The book is available as a free PDF download from David’s blog. Click on “Books”. This is chapter 2 from Section Two. https://dwmurry.wordpress.com/author/dwmurry/

Fear of Failure
(a.k.a. my self-worth will rise and fall)
“and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.” Colossians 2:10

Lie #2- My Worth is Determined by My Calling, Function & Actions

I am going to address a widely spread misconception about who we are as His children…and who we are not. The truth is, our worth is never changing. It cannot be added to, nor can it be diminished. Our calling (or “purpose, or “anointing,” or “vision,” etc…) is independent of our value as a child of God.

Ministry is an outflow and by-product of our relationship with the Lord. We are called to Himself, not to ministry.

“Such as I have, I give to you…” Acts 3:6

If we derive comfort from our “calling,” we misplace our identity and self-worth. Invariably the question of “who am I?” will have its answer centered around what we believe He has commissioned us to do.

Our fullness is given to us in Christ. It is forever established. It cannot rise and fall. Our fullness is in His righteousness that was given to us. It can never change. It cannot be altered.

Without embracing this, we misplace our rest. Our rest is not in our calling. Our rest is not in our ministry. Our rest is not in the way we function in the Body of Christ or in our gifts. Our rest is in Christ. Him alone.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

This is another verse that is so often twisted. How often this verse is used to encourage this “quest” for our identity. When we get wrapped up in trying to determine what our “ministry” or “calling” is, we will feel lost unless we know what we are “supposed to do.” This is misplaced identity and it is another area which reveals we are drawing from the fallen thinking of the carnal mind. We will remain feeling lost. Or worse yet, we will become a Pharisee. We accept Christ and then instead of being taught the truths about how special and wonderful we are as His child, we simply run to another idol for our sense of well being and value. Only this time we do it under the guise of spiritual maturity.

One of the main reasons the body of Christ struggles so much to look different from the world is that we don’t feel much different from the world. What is more, we have not been taught to think from the mind of Christ that is now inside us, and is accessible through His word and prayerful communion. We are discouraged, sullen, depressed, without peace and rest. Above all, we don’t understand the vision we are called to walk in.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you.” Isaiah 26:3

The vision we are to have is not a vision of ministry. It is the vision of our Savior. We keep our eyes fixed on Him. He is our vision.

He is our calling. We are called to Him.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

The reason so many children of God fall to deception, discouragement, depression, witchcraft and pride is because our hope is misplaced. Our hope is never meant to be in how He will use us. Nor is it in what He will “do” through us. That is not our true vision. If we study the Word, and look at how our brothers and sisters who had a relationship with their Redeemer lived, we will see a common theme. A principle of His Kingdom is this: Greater revelation of Him will reveal greater revelation of what He wants to do.

Study the prophets. Every vision God gave them, whether it was events to come (foretelling) or expounding on events or principles that already exist (forth-telling) was aimed at entering that child into a deeper understanding of the nature and heart of God. This is to be our vision. The definition of “vision” is this: the faculty or state of being able to see.

The more we seek the heart of our Creator, the more we will think what He thinks, feel what He feels, and see what He is desiring to reveal to His Church. We will be more passionate about the things He has passion for. This is called “communion.” This is fellowship.

And this is why we were created. It is our true purpose, our true ministry, our true vision, our true calling.

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11

It brings Him great pleasure to spend time with His creation. I urge you to read Genesis, The Songs of Solomon, The Psalms, Hosea….

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” John 13:23

Did you catch that? John was literally resting his head against our Lord’s chest. This picture often chokes me up. Both Jesus and this man were so secure in who they were, the freedom to give and receive from each other was without hindrance. I say “both” because we often forget Jesus was also a man. In fact, He was the – perfect – man.

Did you hear that my friend? Want to know what a man is? Read about Jesus. Begin to let go of what fallen man says, and let yourself be who you are created to be. Stop stuffing it behind the veil of this fallen world, constructed by the one who made himself unworthy to stand in the presence of God.

Misplaced vision causes us to begin to create a conditional sense of self-worth, contrary to what God says about us. We are complete because we are His child. Not because of our calling. Not because of the vision He has given us to minister to others.

NOTE: If we seek to find worth, not acknowledging that our worth is already forever established as His child, servant, and friend, we will fall into self-deception.

That deception will come in the form of legalism, spiritual excessiveness, self-delusion and pride, to name a few.

NOTE: Any area in our life that we pursue because we think it will add to our worth IS IN OPPOSITION to the Kingdom of God, to His word and to His will for our life.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel….” Colossians 1:19-22

We are already complete. It is finished. What we do or don’t do cannot alter this reality. All we can do is live in the realm of self-deception. A “vision-based” identity, at its root, is to say that there is more to get than what Christ has already imparted to you. This is another lie.

This is one of the greatest deceptions being perpetuated in the Church today.

Let’s read the rest of the verse:

“…this is the gospel that you heard and that has been
proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”
Colossians 1:23

What is the Gospel? The word gospel means good news. The good news is NOT that God has a vision for us in terms of ministry. The good news is NOT that He has a plan for us to make ourselves feel special and unique based on the unique, one-of-a-kind blueprint for our life.

No…..

Qi Gong

Qi (pronounced che as in cheese) gong is a general term for the process of manipulating neutral powers in the air to one’s advantage. (These powers are not neutral. This is merely what the Chinese believe.) The philosophy is rooted in Daoism and Buddhism and is believed by Chinese practitioners to be magic because it cannot be explained.  Qi gong is used comprehensively in Chinese food and tea cultures, physical exercise, arts, medicine and martial arts as well as the scheduling of important events.  The greater the skill in using qi gong, the greater one’s skill in his area of interest – calligraphy, healing, situating building sites, choosing auspicious days for important events.  Tai ji or shadow boxing is a form of qi gong as is acupuncture, acupressure, and certain types of massage including reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine, and feng shui.

China was in the midst of a qi gong revival during the time that I was injured.  I took papers to be graded out to the grounds where my students practiced various kinds of martial arts every afternoon.  There I sat on a low stone wall watching and listening.  The students were eager to explain what they were doing, the rules of courtesy in martial arts, the various styles of intricate movements and their historic philosophies.  One young man told me that he had become very powerful and easily got into fights because nobody could beat him.  Once he got into such a fierce battle that he nearly killed a fellow villager and his parents begged him to stop practicing.  So he did until he was out from under their control and could start again.  Only the most skillful practiced in pairs because each player was to be the mirror image of his partner.  Players’ backs would be to each other requiring split-second mind reading in anticipation of each other’s moves.

A Qi Gong Meeting

A young lady invited me to a qi gong healing meeting where a video was played and a local practitioner was present to help “seekers.”  The video lecturer warned people not to leave once the session started or bad qi would follow them.  For example, a man left early and was struck by a car.

A few people in the rather large crowd were transported into a trance where they sounded like grunting pigs and made other earthy sounds.  A dirty smell wafted through the hall.  No supernatural events took place, however, much to my student’s disappointment.  The local practitioner was under an “anointing.” evidenced by a power circle around his body that those in the audience were eager to step into, and he had hot, trembling hands.  The video lecturer explained these manifestations to the audience as the practitioner staggered across the front of the large auditorium.  Under the power, he directed qi toward individuals with his hands using throwing motions.

Sometimes these meetings would go on for three or four hours, but after awhile I leaned over to tell my student that I needed to use the toilet.  She wanted to go with me, so we slipped out as quietly as possible.  She asked what I thought of the meeting and expressed disappointment that it wasn’t more interesting.

“Aren’t you afraid to leave early?” she asked apprehensively.

“No,” I responded.  “First of all, I forbade any evil spirits to manifest, including any that might try to punish us for leaving early.  Besides, God is Creator and Master of all and He is my God.  Why should I be afraid of any lesser gods?”

On the public bus returning to the university campus the student was uneasy so I kept talking about God’s character of love and peace and purity.

I was astonished at the similarities between Daoism and charismatic Christianity and began asking more questions of the young men who practiced every afternoon.  I have witnessed feats such as practitioners biting nails in two and breaking and grinding glass to powder with their bare fingers.  Fortune telling is common and counterfeits the spiritual gifts in Christianity of prophesy, wisdom, knowledge, healings and miracles.  Magic has always been a part of Asian mysticism.  Daoists believe that everything good comes from the gods and that man’s basic nature is good.

A Descendent of the Shaolin Masters

One of my students was a descendant of the famous Shaolin monks.  This is a group of Daoists who, centuries ago, dedicated their lives to the philosophy of self-effacement, classical Daoist courtesy, and supernatural abilities.  Huang was greatly admired and respected by his classmates and colleagues for his integrity, respect for authority, and incredible creativity in the lab.  He was a qi gong master and I have seen him leap into the air from a prone position, both from his front and from his back.  There were no hidden ropes or wires to help him – he didn’t need any!  He said he practiced in his room at night because when he tried to practice during daylight hours a crowd would soon gather.  The disadvantage of practicing in his room, however, was that various personal objects would be transported to other locations, usually outdoors.  Once we were out walking and came across his comb lying in the grass behind his apartment building.  Consistent with claims, this young man was nationally published in calligraphy.  It seemed that everything he set his hand to was done excellently.

During one of my summer visits back home I met a Christian man who told me of having a severe back problem.  After only three visits to an acupuncture practitioner he was cured.  The man was offended when I pointed out the all-encompassing claims of qi gong.  The Bible says there will be counterfeit miracles and healings.  Demonstrations of the power of qi gong are thrilling but by nature they call attention to the one performing the feat.  It so mimics Christianity that there is a measure of satisfaction in its practice, but it does not bring glory to God.

Recently I met a Japanese professor who lives near me. She told me she was a Christian but she didn’t believe in Jesus. The Bible was full of myths, she assured me. Then how was she a Christian? Oh, she ascribed to the philosophy of Jesus concerning love and how to treat one’s neighbor. There is only one way to be a Christian, I started to explain, but she cut me off asserting that it is possible to separate the philosophy from the founder.

Christianity Is A Precious Relationship

Why would an Asian want to give up qi gong for something that doesn’t lend itself to manipulation?  Christianity is a relationship with the Creator that requires one to give up control and manipulation (Zech. 4:6) because it is founded on Love and ends in eternal life.  Asian religion is a philosophical system that demands nothing, claiming that man is born pure.  It gives momentary power aside from God’s, so it is less than pure whether human or demonic.  And it is motivated by fear, causing one to ask what can be expected to happen tomorrow.  In direct contradiction to Christianity, Asian religions believe the life cycle is repeated in many reincarnations.  If you miss perfection in this present life, you will be recycled to try again, and again, and again.  The Asian view of all life being equal (a grasshopper is as good as a man) has been revised to appeal to western minds in New Age (that a man will be reincarnated to be a man again, not a lower life form).  The Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Ro.3: 10-12).  Christianity and Asian religions are mutually exclusive for Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No man can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).  What’s more, man will die once and then face his Maker (Heb. 9:27).

Can I Be Healed from DID?

God never does anything half way. Jesus provided healing of sicknesses and diseases, and also griefs and sorrows through His terrible suffering at Pilate’s Court and on Golgotha. He provided everything we need, but the journey may be a complex one.

Holy Spirit as Facilitator

While counselors tell people with DID (Dissociative identity Disorder) they need a facilitator, you can definitely be healed by informing yourself of the situation and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Few people have the motivation and commitment to stay the course, however. A trusted, godly friend who can affirm you as you progress would be a blessing, and I had such a friend. For her I am thankful.

The Holy Spirit was my Facilitator. He started me on the path to healing by coming to me one night as I called out to Him to come and love me. God my Father came and I ran to meet Him eagerly. He gave me a full frontal hug that lingered and I melted into Him. He felt so good. As a believer I knew God was Love and that I was created to receive His Love, but in all my life I had never experienced this depth of poured out Love. And I didn’t ever want to be separated from Him after this one taste. If you go back into the archives of my journey, you can read in more detail how He came to me night after night and gently lead me. To know Him is to want more of Him!

Your motivation and perseverance are critical to your healing. If you enjoy the attention your condition gets, you will never experience healing. Why do you want to be healed?

Another critical issue is your relationship with the Creator of all things. You cannot experience freedom from spiritual bondage without a committed relationship with the Savior. This is especially true of those who have suffered ritual abuse.

There are few trained Christian counselors who understand God’s principles adequately to guide a trauma survivor to wholeness. Relying on someone to “fix” you will result in disappointment, for only God knows you from the inside out. You will need to inform yourself to understand what DID is and how to approach a healing strategy. This is probably one of the most important keys to integration and wholeness.

Denial keeps Dissociation in place

Most counselors focus on memories and alternate personalities found within the DID survivor’s “system”. However, think about this: denial is a natural outcome of dissociation. Denial is what keeps dissociation in place. There could be no conflict if there were no violation of the victim’s beliefs and/or expectations. For example, trauma and personality-splits occur when a parent repeatedly fails to protect an infant. The infant needs parental protection and is traumatized when his/her expectation is not met. The victim must come to realize that her mother did indeed beat her unmercifully every time she cried for food or to be changed or to be held and cuddled. When the survivor faces  up to what happened, healing can begin in earnest. When denial is resolved, dissociation is no longer needed.

Changing Perspective – Identity Crisis

Changing my perspective involved acknowledging and correcting false beliefs, especially about my identity. Having an intimate relationship with Jesus and Abba, I talked with them as I would trusted friends and they gave me Scriptures to confess about myself. At first, making Scriptural confessions was difficult because I struggled to believe what they said about me. But God’s Love flowed and overflowed me almost constantly.

Changing perspective means coming face-to-face with emotions that the precious Holy Spirit so gently counters with compassion and mercy. Getting acquainted with Him is still on-going, but I look back and smile with delight at His long-suffering and dry wit. I believed so strongly in Isaiah 53:4-5 that I was persistent in seeking wholeness. Matthew 11:12 says the violent take the Kingdom by force and I was violent in pressing for what I knew was mine.

The triune God was so caring and loving, but we also had times of laughter because they knew my very heart. What a joy they are. When I had a (bad)  day of focusing on myself, I would offer the sacrifice of joy, and sing to them. My singing drew them to stand in front of me, listening with pleasure. Then they drew me in and I was refreshed once more by their intensely passionate Love.

Ask yourself, “What would it mean if these memories were true?” An honest answer will dissolve the conflict when beliefs merge with truth. This brings healing to one’s memories and facilitates the merging of alters with the core person. If it were true that my mother hated me as soon as she knew she was pregnant, and she neglected me in favor of housework and laundry, beat me when I cried, etc. – if all that were true, yet Abba was there, never leaving my side even for one moment. He knew to whom He was sending me.

When the core person’s perspective changes, that effects the alters who receive healing concurrently. Their separate existence is no longer needed. The survivor is able to own all her history and all her parts.

I had little attachment to my mother but owning the truth that she was abusive was still difficult. My father was a violent man with a temper that bordered on temporary insanity. Nevertheless, both my parents were well-known and respected in our community, so telling any of my early life memories has been difficult and is usually met with resistance. It would be so much easier to simply remain silent, but I have felt that finalizing healing includes telling of my early experiences. Two of my friends, both mothers with adult children, have backed away from me. I suspect that what I have said has caused them to look at their own lives more closely and made them extremely uncomfortable. Denial at work.

You can’t be healed of what you don’t have

Denial is a wily thing. Actually, denial protects the wounds (hinders healing). You can’t be healed of what you don’t have! It can show up at unexpected junctions and the survivor must truly want transparency. I’ve  mentioned in my archives how the Holy Spirit urged me to disrobe, i.e. become transparent before Abba and my Bridegroom. Not easy! But absolutely necessary. They already knew me better than I knew myself, but I needed to take this step toward truth. Their response to my choice of having no barriers was compassion and Love. That was a major step in my healing process!

If you believe that emotional healing is not possible, your God is too small.  The One who made the universe, the earth, the nations – He can surely cleanse our wounds, take our pain, and restore to us wholeness and the joy of knowing Him.

Most of the material for this post came from http://www.rcm-usa.org They are a professional Christian ministry and have many articles and newsletters available for download free on their site.

Miracles

Cancer

Three guests attended the lecture I was giving about Christmas, but none of my students seemed to know who they were so I felt uneasy.  They stayed after class to ask more questions, cautiously revealing that they were students at a neighboring school and wanted to hear the Christmas story from me.  Students from my university had told them that I was a Christian, and their hunger to hear more about Jesus touched my heart.

One of the three young men was faithful to visit me every week and we would go out for long walks to avoid listening ears.  During one of our walks he told me that his mother had esophageal cancer.  She had recently undergone radical surgery to remove the cancer cells but the doctor didn’t know about reconstructive surgery, so she had to stay upright all the time to keep the contents of her stomach from spilling.  However, the doctor expected her to die because she had been vomiting blood and couldn’t keep anything down.  Would I please pray for her?  The village he and his family lived in was nearly all Christian and they were praying for her complete healing.

Spring came and I didn’t see Li for a long time.  I began to worry about him, and although I continued to pray for his mother, I wondered if he had gone home because of her dying?  Then he came one day to tell me that he hadn’t gone home nor had he heard any word about her health.  He was finished with exams and planned to go home that weekend.  The next day he returned with another young man whom he introduced as his brother who had finally come to the city to bring news of their mother to him.  Would I please attend church with them on Sunday morning?  It was not my habit to attend Chinese church because I knew I would be watched and those who spoke to me would possibly be questioned.  Nevertheless, I accepted the invitation.

Although we arrived at the church compound early, the building was already full, so someone found me a little stool and the three of us sat together outside.  Soon there was standing room only even in the courtyard.  Li translated what was being said and commented that the pastor was courageous to speak of things forbidden by the government.  The congregation sang some songs I knew, but they sang slowly and mournfully in a lower key to better suit their voices.  I sang either harmony or an octave higher.  Li’s little brother leaned against me, and I sensed his enjoyment.

After the service we ate together and Li translated for his brother who spoke no English.  Little Brother thought I sang like an angel.  They had kept me in suspense about their mother’s condition until now and I was eager to hear how she was.  Little Brother said he had delayed coming to the city because their mother was eating normally and sleeping normally by lying down at night.  The family wanted to be sure that she was actually recovering and not merely rallying before dying.  It had been a couple of months now, and she had gained weight and was actually helping with the fieldwork.  The two brothers were beside themselves with joy and thanked me for adding my prayers to theirs.  This was my first experience with miracles in China, but not my last.

Bicycle Wreck

James and I had walked down to the shore of the lake behind the hotel housing foreigners.  It was a beautiful spring weekend and people had to buy tickets to enter our university campus. The flowering trees and shrubs were in full bloom and the fragrance-laden air was intoxicating.  Suddenly we heard two sharp reports just over the rise at the road.  Nobody acted like they heard anything, but often the Chinese deal with trauma this way, so I asked James what that noise was.  He didn’t know and he didn’t care, he assured me.  Well I was curious.  James tried to persuade me to stay at the lake, but I began to walk toward the road coming down steeply from the hotel set on a bluff above the water.  Reluctantly James followed.

There was a circle of curious onlookers already gathered around a young man lying motionless on the pavement.  His bike lay at the foot of the retaining wall, twisted grotesquely, both tires burst. Immediately I began to pray silently for the boy whose brakes had failed.  His skin was turning black.  One knee of his jeans was ripped, but there was no blood other than the skinned knee.

“Lord, he’s dying!  Please don’t let him be taken until he has a chance to hear about You.”

We stood quietly for perhaps ten minutes.  James was impatient but I refused to leave.  “Lord, if he dies, or if he has severe injuries, his life won’t be worth much.  I plead the blood of Jesus over him, to give him life and health so that he can hear about Your love for him, and give his life to You.”

The injured boy stirred slightly.  An elderly man stepped forward and gave the boy a hand to stand up.

“We can go now,” James urged.  “He’s alright.”

Without replying I stepped in front of the boy and looked directly into his eyes to see if they were focused.  Not only were they focused, he spoke to me.

“Hello!” I exclaimed.  “You speak English!”

His color didn’t change, so I persisted in petitioning for total recovery.  Someone gave him directions to the campus hospital and I listened closely because I was not familiar with the campus, either.  I wasn’t sure the boy could walk so I asked James to walk with us, but James was extremely reluctant because according to Chinese custom, when one aids a needy person he is committing himself to that person for the rest of the needy one’s life!

We shuffled very slowly toward the hospital and I continued to bombard heaven on the injured student’s behalf.  Little by little his color changed, as though unwillingly.  I asked if he had feeling in his hands, in his legs.  Did he feel cold?  The hospital was far away, giving me time to watch him gradually regain color and a sensation of pain in his knee.  Color crept back into his hands and legs and the limp disappeared.  The severe abrasion merely looked like a skinned knee.  By the time we reached the hospital the doctor was disgusted that he had to bother with the boy at all, and wrapped his knee only because I insisted.

As we were exiting the building the boy’s companions came racing up on their bicycles and we said our good-byes.  Lord, I didn’t get to say anything about You to him.  When he wakes tomorrow morning I pray that he will be sore enough to realize that he narrowly escaped death and understand that he was preserved for some important reason.  Please send laborers into his harvest.

Fear of Rejection. Part II

This is part two of a chapter from the book The Mind of Christ by David Murry. With his permission I post it here for your affirmation as my brothers and sisters. The book is available as a free PDF download from David’s blog. Click on “Books”. This is chapter 1 from Section Two. https://dwmurry.wordpress.com/author/dwmurry/ 

Fear of Rejection. Part II

….What we are doing is walking in tremendous strength of our willpower. One of the lies of the carnal mind is the lie that we need the approval /acceptance of others to make us feel valued. On a good day we act as if we don’t care (denying the flesh/carnal mind), we suppress our carnal impulse, we ignore the pain, stuff it down with some comfort crutch in order to dull this searing discomfort, and we declare ourselves Spirit-led and abiding in the mind of Christ. After all, we are the victorious church! Jesus described that type of person as a “white washed tomb.” That is not who we are. We are “the redeemed.”

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

The Holy Spirit is in us to give us the Mind of Jesus, so that from the innermost man, now in union with Life itself, we are changed into His image by accepting His Word as truth and walking in it. He works from the inside out.

Some believers may be quick to recognize that they struggle with the fear of rejection. Others may boldly state that they could not care less what others think of them. Yet how many bear witness to controlling anger when we are wronged? Genuine sarcasm in response to someone who says something cutting toward us? A need to let others know just how much we “don’t care” what others think? The compulsion to be rude and say, “I just tell it like it is”? Feelings of anger when we are disrespected…by complete strangers!? These are all signs we are walking in the carnal mind. Specifically, walking around believing one way or another, that our sense of worth is tied to how others accept or reject us. If we, in any way, are conscious of the possibility that others may reject us – to that degree, we are not walking in the mind of Christ. We are fearing rejection.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18

NOTE: The punishment we fear is the rejection we might face from others. This fear is the carnal mind exposed in us.
I am going to go one step further and take one of the most quoted sections of Corinthians and bring it home.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…” 1 Corinthians 13

This famous “love” chapter is often cited in regard to “works” or how we act or behave. This is one of the most propagated distortions of scripture. “Walk in love” means literally to have your motion, activity or anything else that is being done, be accomplished from a position where one is submerged, immersed and abiding IN the reality and power of His nature (Love).

Nowhere…nowhere, does the Covenant of Jesus Christ discuss love as an act, except as an outpouring of the heart. That thinking is old covenant. The old covenant exposed the carnal mind by saying “don’t give in to your carnal desires.” The new covenant says we are given a new mind. Walk in that new mind. That new mind is love.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love… My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:9,12

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” I John 4:16

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” Colossians 3:16

The phrase “In Him” means to be immersed in His nature.This is not an “act.” It is a state of being. A state of existence. We either are abiding in His mind/nature, or we are abiding in the carnal mind, which is no longer who we are. We have the mind of Christ now, and if we allow it,the Holy Spirit guides us in the wisdom and mind of Christ moment by moment. (1 Corinthians 2:16, John 16:13)

At any time, at any moment, we are either abiding in one of two places: The carnal mind or the mind of Christ. What the Body of Christ needs to understand is that it is a thought by thought decision. Meaning, every thought we chose to mediate on, on any and all subjects, is a choice on whether we will exalt the Word of God on that subject, or exalt the carnal mind. Abiding in the mind of Christ, the new man, is meant to completely envelop us. Why? Because God is interested in our performance? Is it a works based righteousness He is after?

Not at all.

It is all about love. We can only enjoy fellowship with Him in the areas we are walking in His truth. And He is such a jealous Dad, He wants all of us. So does His Son, and so does the Holy Spirit. They love us that much. The second reason, as with all other topics related to His Kingdom, stems from the first. Because of His love for His children, He rages at the thought of us being held captive to fear, pain, anxiety, torment, or any other emotion that is in violation to His rest. (Joyce’s emphasis)

Whenever we are looking to receive acceptance from man, which is another way of saying we are fearing rejection, we must examine the lie we are believing at that moment. That lie is in direct conflict with the truth that God said we are the righteousness of Christ, which means we are fully pleasing to Him and cannot be made more perfect.

“For He who had not known sin made Himself to become sin in your place that we would become the righteousness of God in Him.” 1 Corinthians 5:21

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Colossians 1:19-22

It is work in the beginning. To begin to recognize that our worth is independent of anything we can or cannot do, and is not attached in any way, to the acceptance, approval, dislike or outright rejection of others takes some time. We died to the carnal mind. It is time we enjoyed the blessings of the cost warranted to give you His mind. There was a bounty on our head. He paid the ransom so that we can forever be free from the task master of performance and the sting of fear.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Our worth is forever settled. The world says worth is the aggregate of your performance and conditional value in the eyes of those around you.

This is a lie. Our worth has forever been determined by our Creator and has forever been severed from anything else. The land of rest lies in our midst. It is among us, around us. It is in us. It is His spirit and His mind released that enters us into His rest. His eternal Sabbath. The rest is yours to possess. The Kingdom is already within you and released by agreeing with His Word. Take hold of that which is already yours.

Take it.

The Demonstrations of 1989 Part II

Tension in the Open-Air Market

There were days and weeks of no classes and nothing to do.  Travel was not an option and even going out of our neighborhood brought some risk.  I went to the local open-air vegetable market one day and noticed an old man I’d never seen before.  He was selling apricots and I asked for one jin (approximately a pound).  I didn’t have change so I handed him a 10-Yuan bill which he kept without giving me change.  I asked for the correct change but he still refused.  Soon a crowd gathered to watch and I was uneasy.  I indicated that I would go find the market policeman and the crowd urged the old man to give me back my money.  When he would not, I poured out the fruit, walked around his table, took back my 10 Yuan and left.

The peasants who sold vegetables in the market were very kind to me.  Sometimes I wanted to buy only one of a thing and they refused to accept my money.  So the next time I came, and they still refused to accept money for only one of something, I put down double the money where they could see it.  How could I accept free commodities from such poor people?  This kind of respect was not lost on the sellers, so I found out later that the old man who tried to cheat me was forbidden to return to their market.

Another time at a different market I wanted to buy two or three tomatoes.  Eagerly the seller heaped up a pyramid of tomatoes on the scales and I walked away in disgust.

“Don’t you want to buy these tomatoes?” he shouted after me.

“No!  Ni ting bu dong!  You can’t listen!” I shot back.

The man looked utterly amazed that I would answer him idiomatically and begged me to come back – how many did I want?  The other sellers were laughing, and although I was disgusted, I, too, was chuckling inside.  The man indeed listened after that and I loyally bought my vegetables from him.

The Public Announcement of Tragedy

Classrooms continued to be empty, so the other American professors left their universities.  But I was an independent teacher and needed the plane ticket the Foreign Affairs Office was supposed to provide.  Although there were no classes, the semester wasn’t officially ended until sometime in July, so I couldn’t leave and the FAO didn’t have authority to release me.

During this time I watched televised state-run news to learn what the official reports might be.  The most accurate news was on short wave from BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and VOA (Voice of America).  The Sunday morning of the massacre in Tiananmen I was riding a bus when I heard the announcement over the city public address system.  Chinese faces betrayed no emotion at all for the people have learned to “eat bitter”!  As soon as I could I returned home and turned on the TV.  All electricity had been disconnected on campus except in the foreign teachers’ apartments, so students came to watch my TV.  There was one clip only – a student going from public bus to public bus burning and pillaging.  My students were amazed that any student would be guilty of such wanton behavior.  Surely their beloved Chinese government wouldn’t disseminate misinformation!  At last the foreign compound was plunged into darkness so students left.

Several students from my university were in the Square when the tanks and troops rolled in.  It was another week before I was able to leave the campus.  In that time two students returned who had been in the Square when the troops marched in.  They pretended to be dead and crawled out very slowly on their bellies.  In the two or three hours they were making their escape they saw soldiers raping and shooting so brutally that my students couldn’t believe they were Chinese.  No Chinese would ever be as barbaric toward their own people as these unidentified assailants were.  Behind the soldiers came the tanks….

Home

When the Voice of America broadcast that all Americans should go to either Beijing or Shanghai to be airlifted home, I went to the Foreign Affairs Office to see if they would help me.  They gathered enough of their personal money to pay for my airfare to Los Angeles since the State Education Commission hadn’t released funds yet.  This was an incredible act of generosity that I appreciated deeply.  By this time campuses were deserted and the cities seemed empty.  What a strange thing to be able to walk about the main streets in Shanghai, get on any bus and easily find a seat, or to find an empty cafe for lunch.  The FAO officer from my university got me a ticket and I was on my way home in a few days.

When I tried to buy a ticket from Los Angeles to an airport near my home, it was $750!  Perhaps my face betrayed my dismay because the clerk kindly asked if I had a passport to show that I had just come from China, and of course I did.  How grateful I was when she sold me a ticket through her account!  But as I sat down and leaned back in my seat on the plane, the horror of what I had just left swept over me.  Two men behind me were discussing photos of the Tiananmen incident published in an American periodical.  That’s when I began to weep for the students and friends I had left without saying goodbye.

I didn’t know how to deal with my grief and it seemed to never end.  One day on the street in my hometown I met an old war veteran who asked me my whereabouts during the demonstrations and subsequent action in Tiananmen.  Predictably, I began to cry but he wasn’t put off and talked to me with the compassion and wisdom of experience.  That’s where healing started.

Could it have been coincidental that ten years later I taught in a university in the city from which the People’s Liberation Army troops that marched into Tiananmen were sent?

After the Massacre

After the Massacre I couldn’t be satisfied to stay safely in America, not knowing how my Chinese students were faring.  A wealthy Chinese-American sending organization that knew about my love for China offered to pay a one-way airfare if I would return.  It was a difficult decision because Dad had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but he was doing well, so I decided to accept their offer.  One evening in June in Wuhan, Hubei, as I was having a devotion, it seemed to me that Dad had stopped fighting and wanted to die.  My brother and I had agreed together that Dad would live and not die, so I began to weep and plead with the Lord for his life, but that wasn’t to be.  In a couple of days I got a telegram saying that he had died.  I didn’t have the money to go home and neither the organization nor my family offered to buy a ticket, so I stayed in China and grieved alone.  I came home for only one month that summer and went out to the cemetery to grieve alone at his grave.

Bitterness

Mom and my brothers and sisters were angry with me for not coming home and Mom had given some of his things to family but saved nothing of his for me.  I couldn’t understand why she had left me out.

“Because you didn’t come home for his funeral – in fact, why did you even go?”  she demanded.

“I had to go back, Mom.  And I had no money to come home for his funeral.  You know that the Chinese organization bought the ticket for me to go, but I had no way to get home.”

It turned out that the Chinese sending agency, without my knowledge, had pressured Mom to repay the airfare.  Mom was aghast at their insensitivity since the leader had sent the telegram to me concerning Dad’s death at Mom’s request, so she knew our family’s grief and unexpected financial drain.  When Mom told me that, it was my turn to be ashamed for an organization that seemed to know no shame.

I had obligated myself to the university where I had been teaching when the Massacre happened, so I went back to China after only one month at home, but at the end of that year I resigned and came home for three years to be with Mom.  These three years were a time of deep grieving for Mom but it was a time for me to be near her and help keep her from sinking into depression and withdrawal.  My heart went out to her as I began to see her as a person and not just as my mother.  During that time I prayed a prayer that I earnestly hoped the Lord would answer – that I could be with Mom when it came time for her to need someone. (Thankfully, the Lord granted my petition. He is a compassionate heavenly Father.)