5 Jan 2023
It is the second day of my alone-time staycation with God. Thankful for a good night's sleep and after a very healthy breakfast, I asked the Lord what I should do next.
Okay… not the book I started reading yesterday which was so good; I pulled out one of the two files I brought instead. The Nov 2022 Retreat file. And started going through my notes from the sharing session with our China members.
My spirit was so lifted and encouraged by their faith and delight in the Lord, young and old, despite all the setbacks and insurmountable challenges they faced.
But most of all, I’m reminded of God’s ever presence - all the signs and wonders, crazy miracles and turnarounds - through it all.
One of them related how a powerful and very aggressive party-appointed man came to take over her business as mandated. It was hopeless, like “an elephant trampling on the ant”, as she described. She turned to the Lord in prayer and assured her partner, a non-believer, that God can help them overcome. Soon enough, this elephant was suddenly arrested, possibly for corruption. A new guy was appointed, a much more reasonable man, and they were able to handover the business to him for fair compensation.
Remember the watermelon picking family I shared in an earlier post? Without an income for three months, they gave away their first watermelon picking of ¥333 as a first fruit offering. Thereafter, every picking was sold for more than ¥1000 each. XL got all of us rolling with laughter with her joyful and childlike account, sharing how in that month, they reaped more than ¥20,000! Enough to feed their family of 5 over the entire winter.
A young lady, Grace, lost her dad and her job during the pandemic. She had been unable to find employment during the lockdown. It was about then the Lord showed her face to one of our members who then invited her back to worship God. Having strayed for several years away from the Lord, she returned with her mother. As they started to worship God again, their depression lifted. Her joy returned. She was ravenous for the word and studied the Bible furiously, something she had never been able to do.
She fell crazy in love with the Lord this time. Her spiritual gifts flourished. The members in China are amazed by how sharp and how effortless she is growing spiritually in faith, power and strength. Grace shared that she saw a vision of a Bible buried in a big desert during the silent fast at our November retreat. The wind blew and the Word of God was revealed underneath the sand. I am particularly intrigued by this vision.
I thought, “Jesus, The Word, is going to be revealed - in desert lands. In the Middle East? Africa? Or Inner Mongolia in China?”
After breakfast, I moved myself to a poolside cabana. And saw many Vs :)
Many upside down “V”s. A good place to hear more 🙂
I continued my question about China. “Lord, what do you say about China and our China community? What is their year going to be like?”
I saw the word “JOY” in bold, red letters.
I was happy for them but it also means that things may not be great for China… may be a period of great sorrow, as God’s words are usually paradoxical. Nevertheless, through the sorrow, God promises joy for His people - true joy that comes from within. And the joy of the Lord will be their strength.
I WAS HAPPY FOR THEM BUT IT ALSO MEANS THAT THINGS MAY NOT BE GREAT FOR CHINA...MAY BE A PERIOD OF GREAT SORROW
During YP’s sharing at the November retreat, I had seen a vision of someone knocking on a door. YP, who had suffered two heartbreaking miscarriages during the hard lockdown, opens the door and someone hands her a little dog.
It was a cute little dog and God says: “Your joy has returned.”
I asked if she has a dog. She replied she does not but she had one in her childhood, a little dog, for ten years.
Pondering Grace’s vision, I thought, yes “The Lord will be revealed in China. Perhaps starting from the desert lands (which incidentally is where V has led us to visit over a few years). The Word of God will be revealed when the wind blows. And there will be such great rejoicing! Hallelujah!
And I suddenly remembered. The little baby was born to our Ukrainian/Chinese couple on Dec 23! We were interceding for them as the mother had contracted Covid just before the baby was due for delivery. The entire family returned home safely from the hospital, at a time when Covid was raging after the long hard lockdown was lifted in China.
They have named her Joy! What a beautiful baby and a divinely chosen and timely name, that in a time of danger and trouble, God has safely delivered Joy to them 🤩
Baby Joy 🥰 (picture used with permission)
Baby Joy was born on Dec 23 in the year of 2022. So I said a prayer from Psalms 23, not only for our China members, but also for Ukraine, where Joy’s father comes from.
“You, O Lord, are their shepherd,
They shall lack nothing.
They shall lie down in restful places,
And cruise through 2023 in peace and quiet,
Their souls will be refreshed.
They will walk on the right paths for your name’s sake.
Even though they walk through the darkest valley,
They will fear no evil, for you are with them;
Your discipline, your power and authority
They will be a great comfort to them.”
2.15 pm: YY texts
When I saw “JOY” shared by Sara, suddenly I had a prompting to spell JOY backwards.”
Then I saw:
“Year of Jesus”
How interesting I laughed. Indeed, the Year of Joy is also the Year of Jesus for them.
A few hours earlier, YY also sent me a picture she took from her home.
She asked if it looked like a dove or a phoenix that had settled on the cross.
I replied instinctively that it was a phoenix.
The phoenix is a mythical bird that is featured widely in Chinese paintings and art. Many years ago I was led to read up about how early bible scholars equate it with Jesus, as it sacrifices itself in a fiery death for others and then resurrects from the ashes.
Ah, I see now that the phoenix is perched on the Cross. Looks like the Cross is flying northwards. Maybe taking the Phoenix, the Lord, to China. Hallelujah! May the Lord and His glory be revealed in China soon. And more will come to praise and worship Him.
This will be China’s Year of Joy!
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