The Knowledge of the Holy – God is Immutable and Omniscient (Chapters 9-10)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from week 5. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

In the ninth and tenth chapters of “The Knowledge of the Holy,” A.W. Tozer teaches that God is immutable and omniscient.

Immutable means unchanging. “Im-“ is a prefix meaning “not” or “opposite of,” and “mutate” means “to change.”

Maybe you have heard the word “mutate” before. The verb mutate is related to “mutant,” like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, turtles that began as ordinary turtles but mutated to be walking, talking, ninja turtles.

In many ways, our changing world is getting worse year after year. Our broken world suffers from earthquakes, hurricanes, droughts, and snowstorms. Our broken bodies suffer from cancer and viruses.

But we can also be thankful that God allows us to change! Praise God that we can change! We can be transformed, changed, to be more like Jesus!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
‘若有人在基督里,他就是新造的人,旧事已过,都变成新的了。 ‘ 哥林多后书 5:17

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
‘我们众人既然敞着脸得以看见主的荣光,好像从镜子里返照,就变成主的形状,荣上加荣,如同从主的灵变成的。’ 哥林多后书 3:18

How have you changed since you were a child?

How have you changed since becoming a follower of Christ?

God will never mutate. God will never get better and He will never get worse. God is immutable.

God cannot forget His children. God cannot break His promises. He can never love you more or love you less. God’s hatred for sin is immutable, and God’s love for His children is immutable.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
‘我们不致消灭, 是出于耶和华诸般的慈爱; 是因他的怜悯不致断绝。每早晨,这都是新的; 你的诚实极其广大! ‘ 耶利米哀歌 3:22-23

God’s immutability is especially great when we remember that God is also omniscient.

Omniscient means all-knowing.Omni” comes from Latin for “all” and “science” comes from Latin for “knowledge.” Omni + science = omniscience. God already knows everything, so he never needs to learn anything. God knows every language. God knows the answer to every question to every math test, every science test, every history test. No one can teach God anything because He already knows it all!

What is something you would like to learn?

God’s omniscience means we are never hidden from God … and we cannot hide from God.

We can trust that God knows the good deeds that we did that no one else knew. God knows that our hearts were right even if someone said we were wrong. If you are ever punished or imprisoned unjustly, you can trust that God is all-knowing! God knows the thoughts, motives and intentions of our hearts – for good and for bad.

We cannot hide anything from God. God knows our thoughts. God knows when we are lying. No one can hide from God.

“If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:11-12
‘我若说:黑暗必定遮蔽我, 我周围的亮光必成为黑夜;黑暗也不能遮蔽我,使你不见, 黑夜却如白昼发亮。 黑暗和光明, 在你看 都是一样。 ‘ 诗篇 139:11-12

When I was about 10 years old, my older sister saved up her money to buy an Atari video game console. Then, my sister told me I had to pay her to play it, maybe $.50 (50 cents) or $1.00 (one dollar). I didn’t want to pay her, so I secretly stole some money from her piggy bank and then gave it to her. I was paying her with the money that I had stolen from her. My sister never knew that I was taking that money, but God did. God knew that I was stealing, and God knew that I was lying.

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.’ Isaiah 54:10
“大山或可移开,小山或可挪动, 但我的慈爱必不离开你, 我平安 的约也不挪移!” 这是怜悯你的耶和华说的。” 以赛亚书 54:10

Nothing you have ever done is hidden from God, so you do not have to fear that God will suddenly discover something about you and not love you anymore. God knows your thoughts
and your actions. You can always confess and repent of your sins to God, because God knows everything you have ever done … and the blood of Jesus is sufficient to cover you.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
‘我们若认自己的罪,上帝是信实的,是公义的,必要赦免我们的罪,洗净我们一切的不义。 ‘ 约翰一书 1:9

I am so thankful that God is omniscient, that He knows everything, and that He loves me with an immutable, everlasting, infinite love! Let’s pray together.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

https://youtu.be/zyzO5vvh584


Great is Thy Faithfulness – Shane and Shane
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me

Knowledge of the Holy – God is Eternal and Infinite (Chapters 7-8)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from our fourth week. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

In the seventh and eighth chapters of “The Knowledge of the Holy,” A.W. Tozer teaches that God is eternal and infinite.

Eternal means everlasting, endless, without end. Imagine a rope that goes on and on without beginning or end.

Infinite means unlimited, limitless, without limit. Imagine a piece of paper that goes out in all four directions covering your room, your house, your city, your nation, the globe, the universe.

Eternal is primarily used to describe time, while infinite is used to describe time as well as other things, like space or patience or mercy.

God has infinite wisdom, infinite patience, and infinite power, but people are not infinite in our wisdom or patience or power. We have limits on what we can think and do. We are finite. There are all kinds of things that we can’t do.

I can’t be in China and America at the same time. I can’t know what you are thinking. I can’t see what my children are doing right now in the other room of my house.

I can’t fly. I can’t bend steel or jump over tall buildings or shoot spiderwebs out of my hands.

We don’t like these limits. We can be frustrated by all of these things that we are unable to do! I think that’s a big reason why people like superheroes so much! Superheroes can do things that regular people can’t do.

What is something you wish you could do, but you can’t?

God alone is infinite (without limit) and God alone is eternal (without beginning or end).

God existed before time began and God will still exist after time comes to an end. Some number of years ago, God created the enormous universe and everything in it. The sun, moon and stars were created at a point in time. Time began at some point.

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2

诸山未曾生出, 地与世界你未曾造成, 从亘古到永远,你是 神。” 诗篇 90:2

God created every human with an eternal soul, but every man, woman, and child who has ever lived came into being on a certain day.

I was born in January of 1973, and I was created by God about 9 months before that! 😊 Right now, I am 48 years old.

When is your birthday? How old are you?

The English language uses a lot of different verb tenses. My students must spend a lot of time and effort in learning how to use the correct verb tense. “Yesterday, I ran. Now, I am running. Every day I run to school. Tomorrow I will run at the park.” They also must learn: “comes before” and “comes after.” January comes before February. February comes after January. 2020 comes before 2021. 2021 comes after 2020.

God alone is the great “I am.” (Exodus 3:14) God came BEFORE the first day of creation and God will exist for all eternity. God is the only one who always WAS, who always IS, and who always WILL BE!

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Revelation 4:8b

圣哉!圣哉!圣哉!主 神是昔在、今在、以后在的全能者。启示 4:8

As human beings, created in the image of God, we are born with a desire to live forever. We have “eternity in our hearts.” But sometimes we forget that our time on earth will not last forever. We should remember that our days here on earth are numbered.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

求你指教我们怎样数算自己的日子, 好叫我们得着智慧的心。”  诗篇 90:12

Yet our lives after we die are eternal. We have souls that will never die. Our souls will live for eternity. We will either live forever with God in heaven, or with the devil in hell. In God’s infinite love and mercy, God sent His own Son Jesus Christ into the world to pay the price for our sin, that through faith in Him we, too, could have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

爱世人,甚至将他的独生子赐给 ,叫一切信他的,不致灭亡,反得永生。 约翰福音 3:16

God’s love for us is both eternal and infinite. He loved us before the foundation of the world and His love for us is boundless, measureless, limitless. There is no limit to His love. God’s love is so infinite that He sent His own Son to die in our place. Can you imagine love like that?

When have you experienced human love?

When have you experienced God’s love?

Who do you know who needs to be reminded of God’s infinite, eternal love?

Grace Greater Than Our Sin – Sovereign Grace Music

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe,
All who are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin

The Knowledge of the Holy – God is Self-Existent and Self-Sufficient (Chapters 5-6)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from our third week. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

In the fifth chapter of The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer discusses the “Self-existence of God.” Self-existence means that God is the One who has always existed, the great “I am.” God has no beginning. God has no origin.

“origin” (noun) – source, where things come from

“Origin” is also a term used in math. The origin on a graph is at (0,0). Everything on a graph is measured relative to the origin, whether positive or negative from that original point.

America has often been called the “Melting Pot of the World,” because it is filled with people from every nation around the globe. In America, people here might ask, “What is your national origin? Where did your family come from?” I would answer that my mother’s family was from Wales and England, and my father’s family was from Germany.

How about you? What is your national origin? Where did your family originate? What is your original hometown?

God didn’t come from anywhere or anyone, rather God is who made everything.

God has no origin, rather God is who made everything.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

“起初, 神创造天地。” (创世记 1:1)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him,
and without him was not any thing made that was made. “ (John 1:1-3)

“太初有道,道与 神同在,道就是 神。 这道太初与 神同在。 
万物是藉着他造的;凡被造的,没有一样不是藉着他造的。” (约翰福音 1:1-3)

When we think about God’s self-existence, we can appreciate even more that God created everything in creation, and we can especially appreciate that God created man in the image of God.

As selfish humans, we do not like someone else to rule over us. Like Eve in the garden of Eden, we want to make our own choices. We may want God to rule over the universe, over the nations, over other people, but we rebel against God ruling over our own lives. This is the essence of sin. Like foolish sheep, we want to go our own way.

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

“我们都如羊走迷;各人偏行己路;
耶和华使我们众人的罪孽都归在他身上。” (
以赛亚书 53:6)

We were created to worship and glorify God. God is our creator, our Father, and our King … but we choose (intentionally or unintentionally) to put ourselves on the throne. We want God to rule “with us,” but we don’t want God to rule “over us.”

Jesus Christ, the Almighty Son of God, lived a sinless life, obeying His Father perfectly, and He wants us to obey Him perfectly. In fact, we will be the most fulfilled in life when we follow Him, rather than our own selfish desires.

As a follower of Jesus Christ and a child of God, we must take ourselves off the throne and give Jesus His rightful place on the throne of our lives. Paul wrote about this in Galatians 2:20.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

“我已经与基督同钉十字架,现在活着的不再是我,乃是基督在我里面活着;
并且我如今在肉身活着,是因信 神的儿子而活;他是爱我,为我舍己.” (加拉太书 2:20)

Putting God on the throne is easier when we remember that we need God for everything, but God does not need us. The Father and the Son have life in themselves (John 5:26). God has created man for His own good pleasure, not because He needs us. God is the only one who doesn’t need anything outside of Himself to survive.

Chapter 6 is about the “Self-Sufficiency of God.” The word “sufficient” means enough. God is sufficient in Himself. He is self-sufficient. He is enough in Himself. Paul often uses the words “sufficient” and “sufficiency” in 2 Corinthians.

“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.
Not that we are sufficient in ourselves
to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5)

“我们因基督,所以在 神面前才有这样的信心。 并不是我们凭自己能承担什么事;
我们所能承担的,乃是出于 神。” (哥林多后书 3:4-5)

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9a)

“他对我说:「我的恩典够你用的,因为我的能力是在人的软弱上显得完全。” (哥林多后书 12:9)

We are not self-sufficient, but God’s grace is sufficient. His grace is enough. In fact, our need for God draws us closer to Him. All created things need something outside of themselves to survive. All living things need air, water, and food. And all living things need God’s sustaining grace.

Humans are naturally full of pride. We think we can provide for our own needs. We take pride in our self-sufficiency. We don’t want to need other people or God. I remember my little children saying, “I do it myself” when they were trying to feed themselves with a spoon or get a t-shirt over their head.

Additionally, we want to think that God needs us. We take pride in our human accomplishments, wrongly thinking God needs our help to achieve His plans.

No, sisters. No. God does not need us to accomplish His purposes. Rather, it is an honor and joy to serve God. It is an honor and joy to take up our cross and follow Him. It is an honor and joy to take up the yoke of Christ for the glory of God and the good of mankind. Not because we need to repay Him for a gift, but because we are grateful to be used by Him.

Where do you struggle with feeling like you are self-sufficient and don’t need any help? Where do you need God’s help today? How can you praise God today for His self-sufficiency and His provision for your every need?

Song: Your Grace is Sufficient for Me – Shane and Shane

Your grace is sufficient for me
Your strength is made perfect
When I am weak
And all that I cling to, I lay at Your feet
Your grace is sufficient for me

Your grace is sufficient for me
Your strength is made perfect
When I am weak
And all that I cling to, I lay at Your feet
Your grace is sufficient for me

Your grace is sufficient for me
Your strength is made perfect
When I am weak
All that I cling to, I lay at Your feet
Your grace is sufficient, Your grace is sufficient, Your grace is sufficient for me

To see the Lord in the promised land
Wherein all sin’s pearly gates look bland
And what was once a pearl, now sand
That blows away, that blows away
In light of Him

The Knowledge of the Holy (preface, chapter 1 and 2)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from our first week. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

We are all effected by our mental image of God.

  • Do you think God is angry or mean?
  • Is He busy and uninterested?
  • Does He care about you, your family, your country?
  • Is God all-powerful?
  • Does He see and know everything?

How would you describe God in just one sentence?

I would describe God as the Almighty creator and ruler of the universe, full of steadfast love, justice, and mercy. But I’m afraid that I also sometimes feel like God is far away, so I try to take care of my life by my own strength instead of depending on Him.

In the book, “The Knowledge of the Holy,” published in 1961, A.W. Tozer says that most modern Christians no longer have an accurate view of God. He says that most modern Christians have replaced a HIGH, BIG view of God with a LOW, SMALL view of God. This has happened gradually over years and generations. We have not done this intentionally, rather our view of God has been reduced so slowly that most Christians are not even aware it has happened.

Do you think it has improved since 1961 or gotten worse?

One consequence of our world’s low view of God is immoral attitudes and actions by both Christians and non-Christians. One reason immorality is becoming so common is that people today have a wrong view of God.

How do you see a low view of God causing people to make immoral choices – lying, stealing, sexual immorality, gossiping, pride?

We must have an accurate belief of who God is, so we can think about Him rightly, worship Him rightly, and follow Him rightly. Unfortunately, we often make God more like us. We make God in the image of man. We imagine God to be more like a human, but we are wrong!

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19)
“神 非 人 , 必 不 致 说 谎 , 也 非 人 子 , 必 不 致 後 悔 。他 说 话 岂 不 照 着 行 呢 ?
他 发 言 岂 不 要 成 就 呢 ?” (民 數 記 23:19)

“Thought and speech are God’s gifts
to creatures made in His image.”

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 1)

We speak because God speaks. It is essential to use correct words to describe and think about
God, but it is also essential to actually believe the words that we say about God.


What you truly believe will determine your thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

We can say aloud a statement about God, a “creed,” such as these first two sentences of the Apostles Creed, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.”

But do we truly believe this, or do we just say that we believe it? Do you truly believe that God is the Father Almighty? Do you truly believe that God created the heavens and the earth? Do you truly believe that Jesus Christ is really the Son of God born from a virgin mother?

The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal (worldly) problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long.

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 1)

When you believe in an all-powerful eternal God, then you can encourage yourself that your time on earth will not last very long…. But when you believe in an all-powerful, eternal God, then you have an even greater problem: you must obey and worship this all-powerful, eternal God! But … When you believe in an all-powerful, eternal God who sent His own Son to die in your place, trusting in the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then God can FREE you from those fears!

You can truly and rightly believe that God loved you while you were a sinner, that He redeemed you by the blood of Jesus, and that He has freed you to obey and worship Him rightly through His Son, Jesus Christ! Praise GOD!

In Chapter 2, Tozer describes God as “Incomprehensible.” “Incomprehensible” means = not able to be understood. We cannot fully understand God because God is not exactly like anything or anybody.

We learn by using what we already know
as a bridge over which we pass to the unknown.

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 2)
Jianbing – YUMMMY!

If you were trying to tell me how amazing a “Jianbing” is, you would describe it using things that I know. You might say, “They’re like crepes wrapped around a crispy chip with eggs and potatoes, a yummy sauce and onions.” But no matter how hard you worked to describe it, I wouldn’t fully understand it unless I tasted it. YUMMY!!!

St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

I remember when my husband and I visited the world-famous St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow, Russia. I had seen dozens of picture and videos of it, but until I saw it in person, I had no idea how breathtakingly beautiful it was.


I’d heard women tell me how incredible it is to give birth and what a miracle adoption is, but until I gave birth myself, and until I adopted my own son myself, I simple couldn’t really understand. What a gift to be a mommy!

“Whatever we visualize God to be, He is not,
for we have constructed our image
out of that which He has made …
and what He has made is not God.”

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 2)

John, Isaiah, and Ezekiel all tried to describe their visions of God and heaven, but they couldn’t fully do it. They were limited by human language and experience.

When have you experienced this? When have you tried to understand something, but you couldn’t understand it until you experienced it for yourself?

In God’s great goodness, He sent Jesus, His own Son, God in the flesh, to live on earth with men.

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Colossians 2:9 ESV)
“因 为 神 本 性 一 切 的 丰 盛 都 有 形 有 体 的 居 住 在 基 督 里 面.” (歌 羅 西 書 2:9)

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“道 成 了 肉 身 , 住 在 我 们 中 间 , 充 充 满 满 的 有 恩 典 有 真 理 。
我 们 也 见 过 他 的 荣 光 , 正 是 父 独 生 子 的 荣 光.” (約 翰 福 音 1:14)

Though we are unable to fully describe or understand God because He is incomprehensible,
God has revealed so much about who He is in His Word! We should study the scriptures
diligently and we should trust that God will reveal Himself to us by faith, as we worship Him
each day with humility.

Let’s close our time together singing, “Behold Our God,” worshipping God together with our
hearts, souls and minds.

What will we do with our Freedom?

“Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies.” Psalm 119:157 ESV

Excerpt from The Insanity of God – Nik Ripken

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:10-16 ESV

Please watch the full movie or order a copy of the DVD.

Please pick up a copy of the riveting true book, The Insanity of God, by Nik Ripken

Please commit to pray daily for our brothers and sisters who are living under daily persecution, as well as those brothers and sisters who remain silent despite their freedom. God help us all.

Father, strengthen us. Grow our faith. Help us to be confirmed to the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to love others, to seek out the lost, to share the good news of the gospel for those who are perishing.

Let us not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Lord, you have not given us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Let us be willing to share in suffering for the gospel by the power You give us, for You saved us and called us to a HOLY calling, not because of our works but because of Your own purpose and grace, which You gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began! Thank You for giving us Your grace. Thank You for giving us purpose! Thank You for your LOVE!

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

What does God value?

This is my lesson for this week. May it bless many and bear fruit to the glory of Jesus.

I am the younger of two children. I have only one sister. She is older than me. Her name is Kristan.

Growing up, I was always competing with Kristan. I never felt like I was as good as her. She was a quiet girl who didn’t cause much trouble. I always thought she was prettier than me. She was taller than me – and she still is. She was an excellent piano player while I struggled through my piano lessons.

Because I felt like she was better than me in so many ways, I tried to be better than her in other ways. I showed off by being talkative, friendly, outspoken, and loud. I earned awards in science fairs and debate competitions. I went to a special school for the top students in my city, yet I still felt like I was in her shadow.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever compared yourself to someone else and felt like you weren’t as good, as smart, or as pretty as them?

Last week we talked about what people like to share on social media like WeChat and Facebook.

I think one reason why people like sharing on social media is because they want people to praise them. We all want people to think we’re smart, beautiful, kind, and good. We all want people’s praise.

Now that I am an adult, I still find myself comparing my strengths to others’ weaknesses. I like to share the highlights of my week when my family did something special. I don’t share the moments when I got mad at my husband. I don’t share when my house was a mess and I served frozen pizzas for dinner. I don’t share when I spent 2 hours scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. I want to show the good things my kids or my husband or I did. I still want so much for people to praise and value me. This is still a struggle for me.

How about you?

I want to show you a short video of a young man with Down Syndrome speaking at a meeting for some American government leaders. While you’re watching this video, I want you to think about how you feel watching this young man and how you would feel if he was your son.


You can watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/vtS91Jd5mac

If you were this young man’s mom, would you be proud to call him your son? Why? Why not?

Now let’s think about our own families. If you had a son, would you value him more if he was the top student in his Chinese class? What if he won a track meet or an English competition? What would he have to do to make you proud?

What about God? What does God value? What makes God proud? To find an answer, let’s consider the story of the shepherd boy David who grew up to be the King of Israel. The first king of Israel, King Saul, had disobeyed God and God was looking for a new man to be king of Israel. God sent His prophet Samuel to a man named Jesse to find a new king from one of Jesse’s sons. When Jesse’s first son arrived, Samuel thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed,” but Samuel was wrong.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him.
The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.”” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

但耶和华对撒母耳说:“不要看他的外貌和他高大的身材,因为我不拣选他。
耶和华看人不像人看人,人是看外表,耶和华是看内心。

Let’s try reciting this verse together. First, you can listen to me say it. Then, we will say it together.
Finally, I’d like a few sisters to try it by themselves.

God had chosen Jesse’s youngest son who was out in the field caring for the sheep. As we are told in Acts 13:22, God had chosen David, the son of Jesse, because he was a man after God’s own heart who would do everything God wanted him to do.

Does that mean that David never sinned? Does that mean that David never broke God’s laws? No, it doesn’t. In fact, David committed adultery with a married woman and had her husband killed. Yet, David was repentant over his sin. David grieved over his sin and turned to God for forgiveness. David held fast to God and had faith in God even when life was very hard.

So, what exactly is in a man’s heart which makes God value him?

What do you think, sisters? What makes a person worthy to be called God’s child?

God created each and every person in His very own image. Every single person ever made was created in the image of God – no matter their skin color, no matter their wealth, no matter their intelligence or ability level, no matter how much money they have. Every single person has value in the sight of God because every single person is created in the image of God.

But not everyone is God’s child.

Jesus “came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:10-13)

The only thing that can make you God’s child is faith, faith in Jesus Christ, the only Son of our Heavenly Father God. This alone is what makes you worthy. Faith is the greatest value.

And even this faith is a gift, as we read in Ephesians 2:8, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

As you trust in God, then He will strengthen you and guide you to do great things for Him. He will change you, grow you and make you more like His Son as you trust in Him.

Like I once worked so hard to be better than my sister, when I became a Christian, I worked so hard to earn God’s love. But I was wrong. There was nothing I could do to deserve God’s love.

“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might,
let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this,
that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD
who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

耶和华这样说:“智慧人不可夸耀自己的智慧,勇士不可夸耀自己的勇力,财主不可夸耀自己的财富。
夸口的却要因了解我,认识我而夸口;认识我是耶和华,我在地上施行慈爱、
公正、公义;因为我喜悦这些事。”这是耶和华的宣告。

Let’s try reciting this verse together. First, you can listen to me say it. Then, we will say it together.
Finally, I’d like a few sisters to try it by themselves.

God delights in steadfast love, justice and righteousness. Yes, He does. And He wants us to do these things, too, but He wants us to do them by faith. He wants us to obey Him by faith.

Jesus chose the intellectual Paul, a Jewish Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians, to share the good news of salvation with the lost. But Jesus also chose four common fishermen like Peter to spread the gospel. Does Jesus love the intellectual Paul more than simple Peter? No.

As Paul wrote in the beginning of his letter to the church in Corinth,

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,
not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29
)

弟兄们,你们想想,你们这些蒙召的,按人“人”或译:
“世上的标准”、“世界的标准”来看有智慧的不多,有权势的不多,出身尊贵的也不多。
但是 神却拣选了世上愚笨的,使那些有智慧的羞愧。他也拣选了世上软弱的,使那些刚强的羞愧。
他也拣选了世上卑贱的和被人轻视的,以及算不得甚么的,为了要废弃那些自以为是的,
使所有的人在 神面前都不能自夸。

Do you think if your child got better grades or your husband had a better job, then God would love you more?

Do you think that if you were prettier or smarter or richer, then God would love you?

What if you memorized more Bible verses or prayed more or went to church more often, then would you be worthy of God’s love?

What if you gave all you owned to the poor or gave up your life as a martyr for Christ, then would you finally be valuable to God? (See 1 Corinthians 13 for more on this!)

Look at these pictures of my husband and my son in our backyard. My husband is much taller than my son when you look at them up close, but when you compare either of them to the height of the trees, they are both so tiny.

We may like to compare ourselves to one other, but when we compare ourselves to God, then we see how short we truly are. None of us are perfectly good, wise or holy. Only God. God loves you because He is God. He is your Creator, and He wants to be your Father. There is nothing you can say or do or think to make yourself worthy of His love.

In your own power,
you are unworthy and undeserving,
but in Christ Jesus you have infinite worth.

I don’t know whether you need to hear this because you need to be reminded not to show favoritism to your children or your coworkers or your friends, or because you need the reminder that you can’t earn God’s love, but I know that you need to hear this. 

When you place your trust in Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. When God looks at you, He sees His Son, Jesus Christ, in your heart. Jesus Christ is who makes you worthy and valuable, completely worthy and infinitely valuable, and Jesus Christ is the truly the only one truly worthy of praise.

Let me encourage you to share this good news with someone else this week.

Worth, Value and Worthlessness

This is my lesson from last week with the international women’s discipleship group. I pray it would bless many!

WORTH can describe either a monetary value (cost) or a personal, moral value. This coat is worth more money than that coat. Spending time with my mom is worth more than watching TV. Let’s try this dialogue to learn more about the word “worth.”

  • Abby: Hey, Mom. Look at these shoes! Aren’t they cool?
  • Mom: Yes, they are. Those shoes are beautiful. How much do they cost?
  • Abby: $120.
  • Mom: Wow, Abby. They are so expensive! Are they worth that much to you?
  • Abby: Not really, Mom. I found this pair over here. They’re only $40 and I think they’ll be great.
  • Mom: Good work, Abby. I think these shoes are worth $40. Let’s get them.

When we’re buying something, we look at how much the thing is worth. How much will I pay for a car or a house or a pair of shoes? How much will I pay someone to clean my house or take care of my children? It depends how much it’s worth.

VALUE has a similar meaning to WORTH. VALUABLE has a similar meaning to WORTHY.

Let’s try this dialogue to learn about the words, “value” and “valuable.”

  • Betty: Honey, I love you so much. I really value the time that we spend together. Thank you for taking me out for dinner tonight. I had a great time.
  • Husband: Betty, I love you, too. You are my most valuable treasure. You are worth so much to me!

We can also use the word “WORTHLESS” to describe something that is not important, something that is not valuable. Worth + less = not worthy.

In looking at the Bible for “worthless,” I really liked this Bible verse. Let’s learn it together.

“Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word.” Psalm 119:37.
求你使我转眼不看虚空的事;又使我在你的道中存活。

First, listen to me say it, then we will say it together. Finally, I’d like three ladies to try it on their own.

“Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word.” (Psalm 119:37 NLT)

Just like we have limited amounts of money, we also have limited amounts of time. Our lives here on earth won’t last forever. There are only 24 hours in a day. There are only 365 days in a year. We don’t want to waste our time or our money on worthless things.

One way you can see what is valuable to you is by looking at where you spend your time and your money. Pay attention to your calendar and your bank account.

If you suddenly had three hours of free time what would you do?

  • Go shopping or go to a fancy restaurant?
  • Clean the house or play with your children?
  • Read through WeChat or read through the Bible?

I’d like three new women to share their answers.

If you were surprised to receive an extra 1,000 yuan, what would you do with it?

  • Would you pay your electric bill or buy your groceries?
  • Would you buy a new purse or a new book?
  • Would you give it to your parents or to someone in need?

I’d like three women to share their answers.

Let’s look at another Bible verse about what is valuable versus what is worthless.

Job 28:17-18 says, “Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal.
It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold.
Coral and jasper are worthless in trying to get it. The price of wisdom is far above rubies.”
黄金和玻璃不能与它比较,纯金的器皿不能与它交换。
珊瑚和水晶都不值一提,取得智慧胜过取得红宝石。

We can also show what we value by what we think about and talk about. What do you fall asleep thinking about and wake up thinking about? What are you excited to talk about to your parents, friends, kids or husband? What do you post on social media?

  • Your cats or your kids?
  • Your favorite movies and music?
  • A new restaurant or a new coat?
  • A Bible verse or prayer request?

I’d like three new women to share their answers.

As a women’s group, we want to value what God values. We want to love what God loves.

We’re going to talk about this more next week, but tonight let’s just look at this one Bible verse:

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry,
or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within,
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
(1 Peter 3:3-4 NLT)
不要单注重外表的装饰, 就如鬈头发, 戴金饰, 穿华丽衣服;
却要在里面存着温柔安静的心灵, 作不能毁坏的装饰, 这在 神面前是极宝贵的

What is valuable to God? What should a woman value? What should a woman not value?

Further reading: Proverbs 31:10-31, Matthew 6:19-34

Mercy and Grace

Here is last week’s lesson from my online international women’s ministry. I hope it blesses you, too!

Hello, sisters! Today we are going to look at the ideas of MERCY and GRACE.

Before we talk about mercy and grace, we need to talk about three more words: Earn, deserve, and wage.

  • Earn – er+n – rhymes with learn
  • De-serve – dee-zerv
  • Wage – long a – way+j. Way – wage.

First, I’ll explain these three words to you using a story from my life.

I remember when I got my first job. I was only 14 years old. I worked as a cashier in a fast-food restaurant. I EARNED $3.35 for every hour that I worked. $3.35 was my hourly WAGE.

I really looked forward to getting my paycheck every week. I worked hard for every dollar that I earned. I EARNED money every week for my hard work. I DESERVED my paycheck because I worked hard at the fast-food restaurant.

Now I work as an English teacher online. I work hard before class to prepare for the lessons. During class, I pay attention carefully to my students’ pronunciation and grammar, so I can help them learn English well. After class, I write a report for the parents, so my students can review and prepare for their next lesson. 

In exchange for my hard work, I earn an hourly WAGE. I DESERVE every dollar that I EARN for my hard work. 

What would happen if I didn’t show up to teach my classes? What if I forgot to come to class? What if I slept through my classes?

Would I still get paid? Would I still earn by hourly wage if I didn’t work? Would I deserve to get paid if I didn’t work? Would I keep my job?

No, I wouldn’t. I would LOSE my job. I would be FIRED. 

So, what if VIPKID said, “Oh, Kim. We understand. You had a hard week. You weren’t feeling well, and you were so busy. We like you so much that we will not fire you. You can keep working for us.”  This, my friends, is MERCY

Mercy means NOT getting what you DESERVE

Mercy means NOT getting what you have EARNED

Let’s try learning those sentences. First, I’ll say them slowly while you listen and watch. Then, we will repeat those sentences together. Finally, I’d like three people to try saying it by themselves.

Mercy means NOT getting punished when you’ve done something bad. Mercy is not getting fired when you don’t show up to work. 

What if I was a really bad worker? What if I played on my phone during class instead of teaching? What if I taught my students the wrong pronunciation and grammar?

Now, I should be FINED. I should be PUNISHED. I should get in TROUBLE. 

What if VIPKID said, “Oh, Kim. We understand. You haven’t had enough training. You didn’t really know what you were doing. You aren’t in trouble. We like you so much. We will not punish you.” This, too, is MERCY. 

Mercy means NOT getting what you DESERVE. 

Mercy means NOT getting what you have EARNED. 

Let’s repeat those sentences together again. Now, I’d like three new people to try saying it by themselves.

Remember, Mercy means NOT getting punished when you’ve done something bad.

Now what if VIPKID said, “Oh, Kim. We love you so much that we hired a teacher to teach in your place. Teacher Beth has agreed to teach your classes for you. She will give YOU her pay. She will give you her hourly wage. She will give you what she earns. You will still get paid every week your hourly wage, because she will do your work for you, and give you what she deserves.”

This, my sisters, is GRACE. This is GRACE. Grace is GETTING what is NOT deserved … what is undeserved. Grace is GETTING what is NOT earned … what is unearned.

GRACE means GETTING what you do NOT DESERVE. 

GRACE means GETTING what you have NOT EARNED. 

Let’s try learning those sentences. First, I’ll say them slowly while you listen and watch. Then, we will repeat those sentences together. Finally, I’d like three people to try saying it by themselves.

GRACE means GETTING what you do NOT DESERVE. 

GRACE means GETTING what you have NOT EARNED. 

Grace is GETTING an A when you deserve an F. 

Grace is GETTING a hug when you deserve a slap.

Grace is GETTING heaven when you deserve hell.

Grace is getting kindness, goodness, favor, and love when you DESERVE punishment, anger, and wrath. 

Romans 4:4-5 tells us, “When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” 

God gives you righteousness, not because of your good deeds, but because of your faith in Jesus Christ who died in your place. God gives you Jesus’s righteousness. 

God takes Jesus’s perfect holiness and gives it to you, a sinner. Not because of anything that you DO, but because of your FAITH in Jesus.

In God’s great grace, He gives us His love. In God’s great grace, He gives us eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord. 

Romans 6:23 explains that, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

God’s grace gives us His Holy Spirit and His Living Word. God’s grace gives us joy and peace and comfort. God’s grace gives us purpose and hope. 

The Bible is so FULL of stories of God’s mercy and grace.

One of these stories is about a poor servant who refused to have mercy on another servant, even though the king had shown him great, great mercy. You can read the whole story in Matthew 18:21-35, but I’m going to read you just one verse, Matthew 18:33. “Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?'” 

Let’s try learning that verse together. First, I’ll say it slowly while you listen and watch. Then, we will repeat the verse together. Finally, I’d like three people to try saying it by themselves.

“Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?'” 

Last week we talked about encouraging words – God encourages us with His Word and now we can encourage others … So, God gives mercy and grace to us and we can have mercy and grace to others.

This week you can read about the story of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35), the story of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) and the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).

This week you can read Psalm 51, Ephesians 2:1-8 and Romans 5:1-11.

Try reading these stories in English and in Chinese. Try reading them aloud. Tell someone else about what you learned this week! You could even try making a video of yourself reading and share it with someone else.

Before we end, I want you share my favorite passage in the Bible with you. This is my favorite passage in the Bible because it describes my life. Paul wrote this about himself, but I feel like he was talking about me.

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. 

But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 

— 1 Timothy 1:12-17 ESV

Let’s pray together and then we can talk about a few questions.

What are some ways that God has had mercy on you?

How has God given you His grace?

How can you give mercy and grace to someone else this week?

Encouraging Words

Last week I started teaching an international women’s group over the internet. I thought my notes from our lessons might be helpful to others, especially to international students of the Bible. Here are my notes from last Saturday. I chose to use the New Living Translation, rather than the English Standard Version like I usually use, because NLT is easier for those who are learning English as a second language. Feel free to share them or send me a private message!

Today I want to talk with you about encouraging words. Speaking encouraging words is something I would like to see within this women’s group, as well as in our homes, schools, communities, churches and jobs.

Ephesians 4:29b NLT,
“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

 以 弗 所 書 4:29b  “却要适当地说造就人的好话,使听见的人得益处。”

Let’s work together on saying this Bible verse.

First, I want you to listen carefully while I say it.

  • Pay attention to how my voice rises and falls and how I put words together into phrases.
  • See how my hands and my voice tone help you to understand the meaning of the verse. Using hand motions and stressing words will help you to remember and understand the meaning of the verse.

Next, we will say this verse together.

Then, I will give each person a chance to try saying it by themselves.

Ephesians 4:29  “Let everything you say …. be good and helpful… so that
your words will be an encouragement …. to those who hear them.”

Now, let’s talk about the word ENCOURAGE. The word encourage comes from en + COURAGE…
“en” – to cause to have” + COURAGE!

In Matthew 14, we read about some of Jesus’s disciples who were on a boat in the middle of the night. There was a terrible storm, and the men were afraid. They were “terrified.” They were so scared because they were sitting in their boat far away from land in the middle of heavy waves in a storm.

Then, at 3 o’clock in the morning, Jesus walked out to them! When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 

“Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Matthew 14:27

耶稣立刻对他们说:“放心吧!是我,不要怕。”  马太福音 14:27 CNVS

Let’s try saying that verse now. First, I will say it by myself. Pay attention to my voice pattern and pronunciation.

Jesus spoke to them at once … Don’t be afraid .. he said .. Take courage. …. I am HERE!

Now, let’s try it together:

Jesus spoke to them at once … Don’t be afraid .. he said .. Take courage. …. I am HERE!

I’d like to give everyone who hasn’t spoken yet a chance to try it first.

Jesus spoke to them at once … Don’t be afraid .. he said .. Take courage. …. I am HERE!

What do you think, “Take courage” means? Courage doesn’t mean that you’re not afraid. Feeling afraid, feeling fear is a normal emotion that comes into your heart when you are facing a scary situation.

When you have courage, you are choosing to take heart, to overcome fear. Courage is choosing to do what is right, even when you feel afraid. Courage is choosing to say or do what you should even, when it’s scary.

Riding a chairlift
to the top of the Great Wall

Last year, my husband and I visited China for the first time. We stayed with a Chinese family that we had never met before. My husband and I don’t speak Chinese. It was scary to go to an unknown land, but God gave me courage through the Words of Scripture. I remembered when God called Abram to go to an unknown land. God promised that He would be with Abram and show him where to go.

While we were in China, we visited the Great Wall at Mu Tian Yu. Our friends got tickets for all of us to ride on a chair lift up to the Wall. I was so scared! I didn’t want to do it. My stomach was upset, and my hands were sweating, but my Chinese sister encouraged me with a sweet smile and kind words.

We, too, can help our friends, our husband and our children to have courage. We can help our coworkers and our students and even people we don’t know. We can help them by speaking encouraging words, by en-courage-ing them!

We can speak kind words, uplifting words, true words. We can remind them that God is WITH them, like Jesus said, “I am HERE!” We can remind them of God’s power and goodness. We can remind them that God has a special purpose for them.

I want this women’s group to encourage each other. We want to speak words of love, truth and kindness. We don’t want to cause others to fear, to discourage others!

Just as ENCOURAGE means to “give courage,” “to cause to take heart,” DISCOURAGE  (dis+courage)  means to “take away courage,” “to cause to lose heart!” Our words can either encourage others, or discourage others.

Don’t discourage anyone
who is making progress,
no matter how slow.

When I was a new believer in Jesus, I didn’t know anything about the Bible. I didn’t know that the book of John was in the Bible. I didn’t know who Paul or Peter were. I didn’t know how to look for a verse in the Bible using chapter and verse numbers.

My mother-in-law encouraged me. She helped me and was patient with me. Her encouraging words gave me courage to learn and study, rather than discouraging me by pointing out how little I knew.

We are all climbing English Mountain together. Some of us can speak and read English very well, but some of us are still near the bottom of the mountain. We can all help each other to climb to the next peak. You can help the person who is farther down on the mountain.

We are also all climbing Bible Mountain together. Some of us have lots of Bible knowledge, but some of us are still near the bottom of the mountain. We can also help each other to climb to the next peak. We can all help someone to climb to the next peak.

We can’t use a “chairlift” to reach the top of English Mountain or Bible Mountain. We all need to climb step by step, so let’s encourage one another as we do!

For more learning about encouragement, here are some Bible passages to read:

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11-15

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
Hebrews 10:24-25

“And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”
Romans 15:4-7

2 Chronicles 30 is a great example of how the Lord encouraged the Israelites through Hezekiah’s encouragement.