God Can Restore Your Lost Years (ZT)

Money can be restored. Property can be restored—broken-down cars, stripped painting, old houses. Relationships can be restored. But one thing that can never be restored is time. Time flies and it does not return. Years pass and we never get them back.

Yet God promises the impossible: “I will restore the years that the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). The immediate meaning of this promise is clear. God’s people had suffered the complete destruction of their entire harvest through swarms of locusts that marched like an insect army through the fields, destroying the crops, multiplying their number as they went.

For four consecutive years, the harvest was completely wiped out. God’s people were brought to their knees in more ways than one. But “the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people.” God said, “Behold I am sending to you grain, wine and oil, and you will be satisfied (Joel 2:18-19).

In the coming years, God said, their fields would yield an abundance that would make up for what had been lost: “The threshing floor shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. . . . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied” (Joel 2:24, 26).

This wonderful promise for those people meant that years of abundant harvests would follow the years of desolation brought about by the locusts.

But God has also put this promise in the Bible for us today.

Lost Years of Our Lives

What do “lost years” look like for us? Lost years (or locust years) are years that you can’t get back, and they come in many varieties.

Lost years are fruitless years. A lot of hard work was done in the years the locusts had eaten. After everything was destroyed, the people must have thought, All this work and what do I have to show for it? Some of you know this pain in the world of business—a failed venture, a bad investment, a misguided policy, and all the effort that you put in day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year led only to massive disappointment. You think, What has come of all my time and all my effort? 

Lost years are painful years. I’m thinking of those who have lost a loved one. You had plans for the future, but now you fear the coming years may be empty. I’m thinking also of those who live with illness in the body or the mind. You assumed that you would always be able to do what you used to do. You have to find a way to live with the disappointment that you cannot.

Lost years are selfish years. Here’s a story that’s been repeated thousands of times. There’s a person (let’s call him Jim) who made a commitment to Christ, but it didn’t run deep. Faith in Jesus was a slice of the big pie of his busy life, filled with all the things that Jim wanted to pursue. Then one day, God gets hold of Jim. He is spiritually awakened. He says to himself, What in the world have I been doing? There’s no substance in my life. I really want it to count for Christ. I want to live in the power of the Spirit. I want to make a difference in the world, but the locusts have eaten half my life! I’ve wasted my years on myself.

Lost years are loveless years. A division comes to a family, alienating loved ones. Children grow up, and those years cannot be recovered. A marriage quietly endures in which love has been burning low for many years. You see a couple who are really in love, and you say, “I wish I could be loved like that.” Or you have not yet met the person you would like to meet. It feels like the years are moving on. You can never get them back. The locusts have eaten them.

Lost years are rebellious years. Perhaps you grew up with many blessings, but in your heart you wanted to rebel. You didn’t fully understand this urge, but you gave yourself to it. Instead of bringing you pleasure, rebellion brought you pain. Now you look back on those years with regret, the years that the locusts have eaten.

Lost years are misdirected years. The path you chose in your career or at college was a dead end. You just didn’t fit. Often in your mind, and sometimes in your conversation, you say, “How did I end up here? If only. . . . If only I had made that move. . . . If only I had taken that opportunity. . . . If only I had chosen a different path.” But the moment has passed. It’s gone. You can’t go back to it. You’re left with locust years.

Lost years are Christ-less years. All Christ-less years are locust years. This point is worth thinking about if you have not yet made a commitment to Christ. Ask anyone who came to faith in Christ later in life, and they will tell you that they wish they’d come to Christ sooner than they did: “How much foolishness I would have avoided. How much more good might have been done through my life.”

How God Restores Lost Years

Take heart! There is hope, because God can restore your lost, locust years. He does so in three ways.

God can restore lost years by deepening your communion with Christ. “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God” (Joel 2:27). These people, who have endured so much, enjoy a communion with the Lord that is far greater than anything they had ever known before in their religious lives. Christ can restore lost years by deepening your fellowship with him.

Why not ask him for this? Tell him, “Lord, I have spent too many years without you, too many years at a distance from you. Fill my heart with love and gratitude for Christ. Let the loss of these years make my love for Christ greater than it would ever have been. Restore to me the years the locusts have eaten. “

God can restore lost years by multiplying your fruitfulness. The harvests for these people had been wiped out for four years, but God restored the years that the locusts had eaten by giving bumper harvests.

This provision makes me think about the parable where Jesus spoke about a harvest that could be 30-, 60-, or 100-fold. There’s a huge difference between these three harvests. Three years at 100-fold is as much fruit as a decade at 30-fold.

Why not ask him for this? “Lord, the locusts have eaten too many years of our lives. You have called us as your disciples to bear fruit that will last. Too many fruitless years have passed. Now Lord, we ask of you, give us some years now in which more lasting fruit will be born than in all of our years of small harvests.”

God can restore lost years by bringing long-term gain from short-term loss.The effect of these great trials in your life will be that “the tested genuineness of your faith . . . may result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). The praise, glory, and honor go to Christ because his power guarded you and kept you through the hardest years of your life.

Thinking about “years that the locust has eaten,” years that have been taken, I think of something Isaiah said about our Lord Jesus: “He was cut off out of the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:8).

Here was the Lord Jesus in the prime of life. He was three years into his ministry at 33 years old. You would think that a man launching a new enterprise at the age of 33 has everything in front of him. But Isaiah says, “He was cut off.” He was cut off because he came under the judgment of God, not for his own sins—because he had none—but for ours.

Our sins, our grief, our sorrows, were laid on him. Our judgment fell on him. Our locusts swarmed all over him. The life of God’s tender shoot was “cut off.” Then, on the third day, the Son of God rose in the power of an eternal life. He offers himself to you, and he says what no one else can ever say: “I will restore the years that the locusts have eaten.”

God Can Restore Your Lost Years, by Colin Smith

Be humble and My Dream

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” I truly believe faith (not religion) guides the science you are doing. If you truly believe God created the world, and you want to find the origin of the universe as an astrophysicist, if He reveals to you, then read Genesis. The universe has billions of years of history, and yet the first 380,000 years after the creation, no one understand how it begins. Be humble, do your work 100%, prepare your heart, wait for His answer. 

I have a dream that in the beginning of every class I teach, I can pray for the whole class. Everyone prepares their hearts to be wise with listening ears. I don’t know if ever I am allowed to do this, it is my dream.

Reflection 2015

  

也不知道是张家界的莓茶,甩手运动,适量的走路,饮食的注意,还是心情的愉快,坚持的读经。我的体重降到比16岁时还低的水平[偷笑](不知是不是以前稍微胖点),睡觉睡到自然醒[呲牙],思维活跃,渴慕学习。“万事都互相效应,让爱神的人得益处。”
  
What is love? Corinthians I 13:1-13:什么是爱?哥林多前书13:1 我若能说万人的方言,并天使的话语,却没有爱,我就成了鸣的锣,响的钹一般。13:2 我若有先知讲道之能,也明白各样的奥秘,各样的知识,而且有全备的信,叫我能够移山,却没有爱,我就算不得什么。13:3 我若将所有的周济穷人,又舍己身叫人焚烧,却没有爱,仍然与我无益。13:4 爱是恒久忍耐,又有恩慈;爱是不嫉妒;爱是不自夸,不张狂,13:5 不作害羞的事,不求自己的益处,不轻易发怒,不计算人的恶,13:6 不喜欢不义,只喜欢真理;13:7 凡事包容,凡事相信,凡事盼望,凡事忍耐。13:8 爱是永不止息;先知讲道之能终必归于无有;说方言之能终必停止;知识也终必归于无有。13:13 如今常存的有信,有望,有爱,这三样,其中最大的是爱。

Conquer Depression

To: Jing

我想对你说一声迟来的“谢谢”。 for you talked to Xiaoyu to see me, take care of me during my depression. I was praying tonight and had the move that I should email those who helped me go through the tough times. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and you are my precious sister in the Lord. I pray God pour his blessings upon you and your family!

Jing replied:

You are very welcome! Thank you for telling me this. It brings tears to my eyes (I cry easily nowadays). I appreciate your prayers and support too, as I go through tough times. God is faithful. He is worthy of our trust.

To: Suzanne

Hello from Montana! I am in a workshop here at Helena and really enjoy it.

This is a late Thank you letter that when I was praying tonight, I was touched to write to you.

I want to thank you for everything you did in 2005 (and all the time) during my depression. I never got a chance to Thank you. I really appreciated the things you did behind the scene, especially when I tried to quit my PhD, you said my mind wasn’t clear so that I couldn’t make the right decision. I thank you for the calls, visits, cards, prayers, etc., everything you’ve done for me.

I had to admit that I had 2 more times depression after graduation, and I tried to ask myself why this happened to me, and for multiple times. I pray to God as much as I could, finally I learned my weakness and the real problem underneath it. I boldly declare I am depression free by the grace of God, and I stopped the medicine in 2009. I’ve never felt better at this moment, and experienced God’s almighty power, his faithfulness and love.

I’ve learned so much from you, you are the real model in my life that positively affects me tremendously. I just thank God that I had the opportunity to meet with you and chose you as my advisor. It is such a blessing to me and for my children as the next generation from me.
I just want to say Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Suzanne replied:

I appreciate this honest message.

love Suzanne

To: Pam

Hello from Montana! I am in a workshop here at Helena and really enjoy it.

This is a late Thank you letter that when I was praying tonight, I was touched to write to you.

I want to thank you for everything you did in 2005 during my depression time behind the scene. I heard about it later, but never got a chance to Thank you.
I really appreciated the things you did behind the scene, like asked John to substitute for my teaching, kept my scholarship and all the other ” little tiny bit” things.

I had to admit that I had 2 more times depression after graduation, and I tried to ask myself why this happened to me, and multiple times. I pray to God as much as I could, finally I learned my weakness and the real problem. I boldly declare I am depression free by the grace of God, and I stopped the medicine in 2009. I’ve never felt better at this moment, and experienced God’s almighty power, his faithfulness and love.
I just want to say Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Pam replied;

Hello back to Montana! I hope you are enjoying your trip and are having a chance to take in some of the scenery while you are there. I hear it is beautiful!

I really appreciate you taking the time to think about me and send your message. Sometimes late message show up at just the right time. I’m especially glad I was there to be able to help you. Everyone has a rough patch from time to time. Recognizing the problem and working on it is the hardest part, but provides peace when we do. I’m glad you are doing well and hope I get the chance to see you sometime soon.

Take care and keep in touch,
Pam

10 things (ZT)

1、倾听,不要打断 Listen without Interrupting.

静静的聆听,是对他人的尊重,也是内心谦虚的表现。你若爱他,就多聆听!“心傲是灭亡的前导,心谦是光荣的前驱。”(箴言 18:12)

2、说话,不要指责 Speak without Accusing.

不要养成指责他人的习惯,尤其是在尚未弄清事情原委之前。很多人做错事情后,更渴望得到接纳,而不是指责。就像你在犯过错误之后,所渴望的一样。你若爱他,就不要指责!“我亲爱的弟兄们,你们应知道:每个人都该敏于听教,迟于发言。”(雅各伯书 1:19)

3、给予,不要保留 Give without Sparing.
面对别人的恳求,不要拒绝。能帮助别人的时候,不要迟疑。你今天帮了别人,明天别人也会帮你。即使他们都辜负了你,你在天上的父,也会给予你百倍的赏报,因为祂把一切都看在了眼里。你若爱他,就不要保留!“正义的人,广施不吝”(箴言 21:26)

4、祈祷,不要停止 Pray without Ceasing.

爱一个人,不仅仅只是给他一点东西。爱与不爱,并不是做给外人看的,而是做给自己的心看。请你常常在心里为他祈祷,不要停止。因为你真的爱他,就会让他先住在你的心里。爱他,就时时为他祈祷!“自从我们得到了报告那天起,就不断为你们祈祷,恳求天主使你们对祂的旨意有充分的认识,充满各种属神的智慧和见识。”(哥罗森书 1:9)

5、回答,不要争执 Answer without Arguing

人与人的相处,在于和睦,而不在于争执。家庭里面的人们,常常为了证明自己有理,而不断的为自己辩护,当每个人都在想着证明自己是正确的时候,争吵就不可避免。到最后,争论并没有带来和睦,反而是隔膜越来越大。你若爱他,就不要争执!“干饼一张而平安共食,胜过满屋佳肴而互相争吵。(箴言17:1)

6、分享,不要假裝 Share without Pretending

如果你真的在乎一个人,那么把你真实的自己与他分享。不要总是带着虚假的面具,装出一副迎合他的样子。假装,并不会让对方对你的喜欢增加一层,反而会在时间的流失中, 慢慢失去对你的信任。做最真实的自己,坚守来自天主的真理。你若爱他,就不要假装!你要在“爱德中持守真理,在各方面不断长进”(参阅厄弗所书4:5)

7、享受,不要抱怨 Enjoy without Complaint.

人在生活中,常常会陷入抱怨的漩涡。妻子抱怨丈夫,父母抱怨孩子,学生抱怨老师, 老板抱怨下属。每一个人总觉得对方亏欠了自己,每一个人都觉得自己受尽了委屈。但很少有人会在抱怨的同时,扪心自问,我是否也会成为别人抱怨的对象,我是否也曾亏欠过别人, 让别人受尽委屈?抱怨,并不能解决事情,只会让原本微小的事情越变越大。抱怨可以让你一时解气,但最终却会使你的气量越变越小,自己把自己孤立出别人的世界。你若爱他,就停止抱怨!“你们做一切事,总不可抱怨,也不可争论 ”(斐里伯書2:14)

8、信任,不要動搖 Trust without wavering.

很多时候,我们失去一个自己所爱的人,并不是谁把他夺走了,而是我们一步步将他推走。推走,不是因为我们不珍惜,而是因为我们太珍惜。太珍惜,就总想把他抓在自己的手里,慢慢的干涉多了,自由少了;专横多了,信任少了,隐藏多了,交流少了。爱,是信任中的责任,而不是猜疑中的束缚。“凡事包容,凡事相信,凡事盼望,凡事忍耐” (哥林多前書13:7)

9、原谅,不要惩罚 Forgive without Punishing.

不是别人做错了事情,就一定要去惩罚。你是为了他的成长,而不是为了让他难堪。有时候宽恕的力量胜过惩罚,柔软的力量强过坚硬。当你年老时,牙齿已经掉落,舌头却依旧健康。不要把别人的犯错,化为自己内心报复的机会。爱他,就原谅不要惩罚。

“上主慈悲为怀,宽宏大方,缓于发怒,仁爱无量。”(咏148:8)

10、承諾,不要忘記 Promise without Forgetting.
说过的话,总不要忘记。做不到就不要轻易承诺,爱你的人,不在乎你给他什么东西,却在乎你兑现诺言这个行为。爱一个人,就不要让他对你的盼望落空,多次的等待看不到结果,会让他以为在你心里已经没有了位置。爱他,就承诺不要忘记。

“希望迟不兑现,令人心神烦恼;愿望获得满足,是株生命树。” (箴言 13:12)

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一只蘑菇的故事(ZT)

有一个精神病人,以为自己是一只蘑菇,于是他每天都撑着一把伞蹲在房间的墙角里,不吃也不喝,像一只真正的蘑菇一样。
心理医生想了一个办法。有一天,心理医生也撑了一把伞,蹲坐在了病人的旁边。病人很奇怪地问:你是谁呀?医生回答:我也是一只蘑菇呀。病人点点头,继续做他的蘑菇。
过了一会儿,医生站了起来,在房间里走来走去,病人就问他:你不是蘑菇么,怎么可以走来走去?医生回答说:蘑菇当然也可以走来走去啦!病人觉得有道理,就也站起来走走。
又过了一会儿,医生拿出一个汉堡包开始吃,病人又问:咦,你不是蘑菇么,怎么可以吃东西?医生理直气壮地回答:蘑菇当然也可以吃东西呀!病人觉得很对,于是也开始吃东西。
几个星期以后,这个精神病人就能像正常人一样生活了,虽然,他还觉得自己是一只蘑菇。

一个人可以带着过去的创伤继续生活,只要他把悲伤放在心里的一个圈圈里,不要让苦痛浸染了他的整个生命,他就可以像正常人一样快乐的生活。
       当一个人悲伤得难以自持的时候,也许,他不需要太多的劝解和安慰,训诫和指明,他需要的,只是能有一个人在他身边蹲下来,陪他做一只蘑菇。
不要以为自己是最悲惨的,每个看似幸福的笑脸背后,都有可能藏着一个比你更大的蘑菇。

后记:人生充满着各种问题与困难,并且问题与困难常常轻重大小不一。当这些问题,如果仍在我们身外时候,那么,无论它们有多么大多么难,总会有解决的办法。可是:如果它们发生在我们内心,我们把它们当一回事,它们就会迅速膨胀,压倒性让我们稍有微微颤抖之心来接受它们的强大,以至于它们会占据我们的全部心思,侵蚀我们的内心,蚕食我们的信心。一旦我们发现它们、认可它们的强大到,超过自己的想象、自己的能力,自己的意料。它的危险性就会加剧了。—我们无法完全影响控制外在的环境,但是,我们却能控制我们的内心境况。把握内心的关注方向,一个人的内心信念坚定,就可以站在不败之地,一个人可以被打倒,但永不能被打败!!!

荒漠甘泉7月5日(ZT)

7月5日 
『…我必勸導他,領他到曠野,對他說安慰的話。從那裏我必賜他葡萄園,又賜他亞割谷作為指望的門,他必在那裏歌唱,與幼年的日子一樣。』(何西阿書二章十四、十五節,直譯。)

在甚麼地方找到『葡萄園』?在『曠野』裏!真奇怪,在一個連出路也難找的『曠野』裏找到『葡萄園』!讀者,這給我們看見:我們屬靈的豐富能在『曠野』裏-寂靜的地方-找到。不但能找到『葡萄園』,也能找到『亞割谷(亞割意即苦難)作為指望的門』。『他必在那裏歌唱,與幼年的日子一樣!』

是的,神知道我們需曠野的經歷。祂知道在甚麼地方能生出忍耐來,祂也知道怎樣能生出忍耐來。我們的心是叛逆的,善於崇拜偶像的,最會忘記神,也最會固執地說:『我要隨從我所愛的』(五節直譯)。到我們絕了望被人棄絕的時候,神卻說:『我必勸導他,領他到曠野,對他說安慰的話。』啊,我們的神是一個慈愛的神啊!-碎錦(Crumbs)

不要浪费你的癌症-Don’t waste your cancer(ZT)

I read the following from “A letter to God”, where Shuya Wang cited John Parker in Chinese. I translated into English, if I find the English version, I would like to read it and compare.

if you don’t believe the cancer is arranged by God, you will waste your cancer. If you think cancer is a curse rather than a gift, you will waste it. If you seek compassion from the probability of cure, rather than from God’s promise, you will waste your cancer. If you refuse to think over your cancer, you will waste it. If you let your cancer being the excuse to be isolated from people, rather than trying your best to strengthen your relationship with others, you will waste it. If you are desperate like those who lost hope, you will waste your cancer. If you treat your sin randomly as you were, you waste your cancer. 

他说,如果你不相信那是上帝安排给你的,你就会浪费你的癌症。如果你认为癌症是诅咒而不是礼物,你就会浪费你的癌症。如果你从痊愈几率而不是从上帝的应许那里寻求安慰,你就会浪费你的癌症。如果你拒绝思考死亡,你就会浪费你的癌症。如果你让癌症将你与世人隔绝,而不是最大限度去加深你跟别人的关系,你就浪费了你的癌症。如果你像那些没有指望的人一样悲叹,你就浪费了你的癌症。如果你像以前那样随意对待自己的罪,你就浪费了你的癌症。

荒漠甘泉7月4日(ZT)

7月4日 

  『因為這默示有一定的日期,…雖然遲延,還要等候。因為必然臨到,不再遲延。』(哈巴谷書二章三節)

有一本美麗的小書,名叫『期望所』(Expectation Corner),裏面講到斯羅門(Adam Slowman)在異象中進入神的儲藏室,在那裏他看見了許多奇異的東西。在許多奇異的東西中間,有一間『延福室』(Delayed Blessings Office),裏面藏著人們向神求告的一切東西,神將那些東西留在儲藏室內,等候相當的時日賜給人們。

許多人不明白,『遲延』不是『拒絕』。他們不能領會『遲延』是神的慈愛和智慧!以賽亞三十章十八節說:『耶和華必然等候,要賜恩給你們。』你遭遇的患難,祂都知道。祂必定不是叫過於你能忍受的試煉臨到你,祂必須等到你裏面的廢物都燒盡了,才來救助你。

讀者,你不要懷疑神的慈愛來傷神的慈心。你應當為著正在途中的拯救抬起頭來讚美祂。這樣,你一定會得到更豐富的報償。-選