I usually take a couple of hours off on my birthday so I can spend extended time with the Lord. My favourite place is the Botanic Gardens under this big shady tree. I looked forward to that quiet retreat with the Lord again this year. However, even on the day of my birthday, I was still undecided about my place of retreat. Then I left the house late…Finally, I told CM to send me to the Yunnan Garden at NTU.
Although it was a sunny morning, the garden was very quiet and breezy except for the sound of traffic from the PIE. With the welcome shelter of the red and white oriental pavilion, I felt a sense of contentment and peace. In fact, NTU, previously known as Nantah (南大）, was where I grew up. When I was small, my mom was a tutor in the university and we lived in the staff accommodation on the campus premises. Frankly, I didn’t remember very much of it except from what I saw in the photos.
As I sat there reminiscing the past, tears kept flowing down my cheeks. I remembered how my parents loved my brother and I, how tough it was for my parents when we were young and the good family times we spent together. I was reminded that I must make time and effort to honour my parents (Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20.12). This is an area that I have much room for improvement. I was grateful that my parents willingly helped me take care of the children that day so CM and I could spend some time together. I must bring my parents back for a walk some time in this beautiful garden along with my children so they can tell them many stories about my childhood home and their mommy. And I did. Check out our photos here Childhood Memories at Nantah 南大
That morning, I was working on Chapter 7 ‘Covenant is A Walk into Death’.* While I remembered where I was born as a child, God also brought me back to spiritual basics with Him. I was reminded of some fundamental truths:
– Covenant is serious business and not to be taken lightly. (Read God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15)
– When two people enter into covenant, neither belongs to himself any longer because those who enter into covenant take on an obligation to their covenant partner.
– When I choose to be in covenant with God, I go to Him on His terms, not mine, because it is God’s covenant. Jesus said in Mark 8.34
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
– In covenant, I no longer live for yourself; there is a Covenant Partner to consider, and I must be true to that Covenant Partner. That is, there’s a death to independent living. As Paul said in Galatians 2.20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
– Genuine salvation is when there’s a genuine life change. A spiritual birth is possible only with a full surrender.
– Have I moved from ‘decision’ to ‘conversion’? When I made the decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, was I convicted of my sins, truly converted in my heart, therefore leading me to a new and abundant life with Christ?
After that day, I suddenly understood what it means to fear God. It’s not really being afraid of God. It’s knowing the greatness of God, knowing the extent of His Power yet marveling at His everlasting love, forgiveness and grace.
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
I’m so thankful that God is ever so patient with me and will continue to nudge me when I’m distracted or forgetful no matter how old I am physically and spiritually.
*Kay Arthur, Our Covenant God