A Former Atheist Looks at the Attributes of God

My newest ebook is now available on Kindle. In fact, it’s FREE from September 6-8, so get yourself a copy!

Just search for Kim Endraske on Amazon. 😀 One of the blessings of an unusual name!

I’m still working on getting it in paperback form – hopefully it will be ready soon!

God transformed me from an Evangelical Atheist to Evangelical Christian when I was 21 years old. Believing that God existed was step one … truly knowing God was step two.

Have you ever wished that someone would clearly and simply explain to you what God is like?

Do you want to know the self-existent and self-sufficient, infinite and eternal, immutable and omniscient, all-wise and all-powerful, transcendent and omnipresent, good and faithful and loving and merciful and sovereign and holy God?

As a new Christian, I needed someone to help me to know God. “A Former Atheist Looks at the Attributes of God” does just that.

I am certain that the more you know God, the more you will love and trust Him.

This book is based on the notes for an online study I led with a group of international women. It includes many scripture passages in English as well as Chinese.

Each chapter includes a variety of self-reflection and discussion questions which I hope will be used for your personal study or your own small group study!

May God be glorified as we know Him more fully and accurately.

May our passion to make Him known to the ends of the earth grow as we know God more.

May the Lord Jesus shine brightly as we better know who He is and what He has done for us.

Glow in the Dark

Jesus is the true light of the world (John 8:12, John 12:46). He is the source of all that is good and light.

But the Bible also says that, as His children, we are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-16)

It reminds me of the moon. The moon cannot make its own light. The moon reflects the light from the sun. Likewise, I shine because God lives in me and His light shines from me.

I want to be a spotlight – pointing people to Jesus, the source of the light coming from me 👉 ✝️

“Glow In The Dark” by Jason Gray

Sometimes the world feels like a mess
Full of drama, full of stress
And life puts a fist right in your ribs
You can hide if you choose to
And no one would even blame you
Or you can let them see how you deal with it

That even in the darkest place
His love can make you radiate

Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark

Don’t be ashamed of your past
If you’re shattered like a piece of glass
The more broke you are the more the light gets through
Show your wounds and your flaws
Show them why you still need the cross
Let them see the work He’s doing in you

That even in the darkest place
His love can make you radiate

Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark

Doesn’t matter how deep, how dark the night is
Keep hoping, keep on shining
And they’ll see His light burning in your heart
And if the road gets rough, just keep your head up
Let the world see what you’re made of
That His love’s alive in your deepest parts
Like a flame, like a burning star you can shine right where you are
He made you to glow in the dark
Glow in the dark

The Knowledge of the Holy – God is Transcendent and Omnipresent (Chapters 13-14)

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 9. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

In the past two months, we have already discussed that God is eternal, unchanging, all-knowing, all-wise and omnipotent.

Today we will be studying chapters 13 and 14 of “The Knowledge of the Holy,” where A.W. Tozer teaches that God is transcendent and omnipresent. How wonderful to study God’s transcendence and omnipresence on the same day!

God is transcendent. The word “transcend” reminds me of the more common words “ascend” and “descend.” Ascend (a+scend) means to climb up, while descend (de+scend) means to go down. We can ascend and descend ladders or stairs or mountains. 

In Genesis 28:12, Jacob saw a vision of angels ascending and descending on a ladder, and in John 1:51, Jesus tells Nathanael that he will see heaven opened and see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

But transcend means “to rise above or go beyond, to exceed.” A man or a book or a movie might transcend other men or books or movies, yet there will always be a better man, or a better book, or a better movie.

  • We might think of a goldfish as transcending a single cell amoeba.
  • We might think of a dolphin as transcending a goldfish.
  • We might think of young boy transcending a dolphin.
  • And a grown man transcends a young boy.
  • Surely the glory of an angel transcends the glory of a man.

But the gap between a single cell amoeba and an angel is small compared to the gap between angels and the Almighty God. Even the most wise, powerful, glorious angel is still a created being. God created the amoeba, the goldfish, the dolphin, the man, and the angel. God designed them in His own creative mind. God created each of them for His purposes. All of these created things are “that-which-is-not-God and can never be God.”

Tozer wrote, God is “exalted far above the created universe.” To exalt means to lift high, to praise, to glorify. In our modern world, people often praise and lift high worldly things.

Who are some people or what are some things that people today wrongly exalt?

God is the only one worthy to be exalted. God is the only one who is worthy of worship and praise. Before building a temple for the Lord, King Solomon said,

“The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods.
But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him?
Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?” (2 Chronicles 2:5-6 ESV)

“我所要建造的殿宇甚大;因为我们的 神至大,超乎诸神。
天和天上的天,尚且不足他居住的,谁能为他建造殿宇呢?我是谁?
能为他建造殿宇吗?不过在他面前烧香而已。” 历代志下 2:5-6

When Solomon had finished the temple, he worshipped the Lord before all the people of Israel, saying,

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven
cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27 ESV)

“神果真住在地上吗?看哪,天和天上的天尚且不足你居住的,何况我所建的这殿呢?”列王纪上 8:27

In our pride, we want God to fit into a little box. We want to live as if God is merely a man, limited in His power, limited in His knowledge, living far away and unconcerned with our lives.

Satan tempted Eve in the garden of Eden, telling her to eat the forbidden fruit. Satan told Eve that if ate the fruit, her “eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) We, too, want to be “like God.” But none of us can truly be like God, because God is transcendent.

Only God is perfectly transcendent. God rises above everyone and everything. God transcends space and time. God transcends wisdom and knowledge. As His faithful children, we must humble ourselves and worship Him.

Think of this – this Almighty, Eternal, Unchanging, Self-existent, Self-sustaining God hears our prayers!

In Psalm 34, Solomon’s father, King David, worshipped God saying,

“My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!”

Psalm 34:2-3

How can you praise and exalt God today? Let’s pause right now to praise and exalt God together!

This almighty, eternal, unchanging, self-existent, self-sufficient, transcendent God is also close and personal. God is omnipresent. Omni- means “all,” and “present” means “here, close to, next to.”

No matter where you go – in the middle of the greatest desert, at the top of the most remote mountain peak, at the deepest depth of the ocean, to the farthest reach of outer space – God is there. God is with me here in my little town in America and God is also with you in your big city on the other side the globe.

As Tozer writes, “there is no place in heaven or earth or hell where men may hide from His presence.”

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:7-10 ESV)


‘我往哪里去躲避你的灵? 我往哪里逃、躲避你的面? 我若升到天上,你在那里;
我若在阴间下榻,你也在那里。 我若展开清晨的翅膀,飞 到海极居住,
就是在那里,你的手必引导我; 你的右手也必扶持我。” 诗篇 139:7-10

“The knowledge that we are never alone
calms the troubled sea of our lives
and speaks peace to our souls.”

A.W. Tozer – The Knowledge of the Holy – Chapter 14

Let’s sing and pray together.

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

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.

A simple, but powerful, way to read through the Bible – John 1

Let me share with you one simple way that I’ve found to really personalize and apply the scripture that I’m reading that day.

Read through the Bible, one book at a time, one chapter (or a portion of a chapter) each day. Each day, choose one specific verse that really speaks to you that day and use that verse to write out a prayer.

Today I read through John 1 and chose John 1:34 for my verse of the day.

“And I have seen and borne witness
that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:34

I wrote this prayer based on that chapter and verse.

Father, thank You for making Yourself visible so that we can be Your witnesses. Thank you for the witnesses who came before me, for John the Baptist who told his disciple Andrew who told his brother Peter, and for Philip who told his friend Nathanael. Thank you for those who have told me their stories, testifying to the realness of God! I pray that You would make me Your faithful witness. Give me the wisdom and the words to testify to the TRUTH of what I have seen and heard. I pray that my children and my husband and those that I’m discipling would be Your faithful witnesses, too, not giving way to fear, not being ashamed of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who came to take away the sins of the world. Amen.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how this worked for you. How do you study the Bible every day?

A Few Good Friends

I’m on Day 6 of a 40 Day Facebook fast. I’m using a devotional by Wendy Speake called “The 40-Day Social Media Fast.” Today’s devotional was entitled, “A Few Good Friends” and it hit me right between the eyes.

I spent most of my teenage years as an outsider. As a brainiac and an atheist, though I wanted to fit in, I didn’t.

As an adult and born again follower of Jesus, I never want others to feel left out, like I was.

I cast my net wide.

I love everyone.

I invite everyone.

Any age, any skin color, any religion, any economic level, whatever – I love you all.

I love to greet the new people who wander nervously into church. I love to seek out the person sitting in the corner at a party. I love to make the newcomer and the outsider feel appreciated and valued.

8 or 80, male or female, made up or beat up, I want to be your friend.

The struggle for me is that love isn’t always reciprocated, even in the family of Christ. Sometimes I’m too serious, too friendly, too deep, too religious, too loud, too … whatever. And it still hurts me more deeply than I wish it did. 😰

I love getting likes and shares on my FB feed (and my blog). I purposely share some fun family photos and silly memes on my Facebook feed, just so people don’t think I’m too “religious” or too “deep.”

The most personal things I write, which are usually both deep and religious, don’t garner nearly so many likes or shares, but I keep on writing them because that’s how God made me. I think these writings are some of the works that God has prepared for me to do, that God has uniquely designed me to write. (Ephesians 2:10)

Thanks to each of you for being on this journey with me. Whether you’re one of my 3 special friends or whether we’ve never even met, I love you and I want you to know Jesus.

Your love or disdain for me does not change my value in my Father’s eyes. Whether you like my post or not, Jesus likes me. In fact, Jesus died for me, and His approval is all that really matters. ❤

“We don’t need everyone to like us, love us, invite us, or include us. In God’s economy, two or three faithful friends make for great wealth.”

Wendy Speake, The 40-Day Social Media Fast

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?