Monday, August 29, 2016


On the surface of the ocean a monstrous storm can be churning up roiling, boiling, turbulent, crashing waves higher than ships which are at the mercy of the powerful temperament of weather. So it is with the ever-changing circumstances and calamities and adversities of our lives. We are not in control of the assaults of life.

However, that's all surface stuff. Whatever is happening to us is temporal, of this world, common to mankind, temporary—and it will eventually pass although it might leave devastation in its wake.

But we don't have to live up there on the dangerous surface of life. In the ocean analogy, the deeper you descend into the ocean, the calmer and quieter it becomes until it is totally peaceful, serene, and tranquil in the depths. Life's storms on the surface can't reach us if we are deep in Christ, “dwelling in Him in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91)

Available to God's children is a “place of quiet rest near to the heart of God” no matter what the circumstances. This is not a denial of reality. Hiding in Christ, in the Rock that is higher than I, is not escapism—it is spiritual wisdom. It is a response of obedience to Jesus' invitation, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

I embrace this analogy to myself, whatever my lot, whatever the portion of adversity I might be going through physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, relationally, whatever. It is all under the Lord's control. God doesn't cause the negative circumstances, but He allows them as teaching times to perfect me into His image. So it is all good!

No, the trials are not pleasant at the time, but His plan for me is good and right altogether. He wants my obedient yes. Then He works out all things, (Romans 8:28) even the things that others might have caused or things beyond my control. And I love Him and I thank Him that I'm “called according to His purpose.”

Bad stuff going on at the surface of my life—of your life? Let's take a dive into Christ “and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Thursday, August 25, 2016


IT HAS BEEN A MESS! For the greater part of the year, the construction of the massive new gymnasium complex/addition to the Academy at our parish went on. For all of us it's been a traffic snafu to and from the many regular Masses and a plethora of other activities and events always on-going.

Single lane, orange cones everywhere, workmen in hard hats and reflective vests directing detours, monster equipment making monster noise, dust clouds, cement trucks, and gravel piles everywhere—seemed that it would never end.

In the midst of the rubble was a sign that begged our patience, stirred our hope, and fired our imagination: THINK RESULTS! No, it wasn't notifying us of our pastor's forthcoming homily topic, but it could have. No apology was offered, the worker persons were just doing their job, following the architect's plans, and, would you believe, beating their own deadline.

Silently the sign shouted, as it were, “You ain't seen nothin' yet!” as with jaw-dropping awe we watched the shining steel building rise from its cement foundation out of the seeming chaos. And then the millions of rusty red bricks were applied to create a matching facade to the other buildings of our church campus. Perfect! The finishing touch. It was an arduous but beautiful work in progress! Worth it all. Our patience and endurance of the inconveniences will be rewarded.

As I drove by the construction site to and from Church at a snail's pace, bumper to bumper, I leaned out of my car window to take this picture. It reminded me of the total mess that we so often go through in the process of living and walking pleasing to the Lord. Some call it the "fellowship of His sufferings" or afflictions. Others call it trials or tribulatin' or adversity. Still others call it stress or pressure. In the extreme it might be off-with-your-head persecution, the real thing. For some it is outward, for others it is inward, unseen but nevertheless excruciating pain or mental agony.

The disciple James reminds us in his letter, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). THINK RESULTS!

Often I can't understand why I'm going through one catastrophe after another. I can only see my particular trees and not the entire forest. My human construction site looks like a rubbish heap to me. Orange cones slow me down to a snail's pace but they do keep me in line through the mess. I continue to plod along the dusty, noisy, one lane periphery of life's circumstances wondering how it all could make sense to my finite mind. God's signpost also shouts to me in the process of my own affliction: THINK RESULTS!

God is working on me according to His Holy Spirit tailored, unique-to-me, spiritual architectural plans to gradually transform me into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. And He is right on schedule. “Father knows best” and I'm glad that His ways are higher than my ways. I can't go wrong if I simply trust Him through my adversity and keep walking step by step until He figures that I'm “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” and ready for His joyful presence forevermore.

THINK RESULTS! "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us....if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we also may be glorified with Him" (Romans 8:17, 18). 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


The people of each country in the world whose top athletes were competing in the Olympics in Rio, have eagerly watched their country's contestants and cheered them on in front of the TV toward winning a GOLD Medal—or at least a silver or bronze.

Some athletes won more than one GOLD. Michael Phelps, for example, has won more than twice as many GOLD medals as any other Olympian—and more than many entire nations. Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, 63 countries have taken home fewer GOLD medals in all than the 23 GOLDS accrued by Phelps in his past four appearances at the Summer Olympics!

Today is the day and the special date, August 23, for me to thank God by COUNTING MY GOLD!

I am counting my GOLD daily! I am incredibly rich! From the time I was a 21 year old bride, I've always celebrated this special date, August 23.
Today would have been our 69th wedding anniversary if my husband, Ted, had not preceded me to Heaven after 46 years of marriage, parenting, and ministry. I regret that we didn't make it together for our GOLDen wedding anniversary. Ted would have celebrated his birthday—100 earthly years—this year. But in the Eternal realm, time is not counted since everything and everyone is forever.

I am counting my GOLD daily! I am incredibly rich! Not in GOLD medals for athletic competition, but GOLD in relationships with which God has blessed me. I am celebrating our four precious sons, ten beloved grandchildren, and ten cherished great-grandchildren (soon to be eleven counting a precious one still in the womb.)

The number includes a few treasured blended family loved ones. I've never made any distinction. They are not lesser silver or bronze in my love but GOLD as well. So are ex-in laws who remain dear to my heart. I simply open my arms wider to embrace them all because they enrich my life and I hope that I enrich theirs.

The GOLD I count daily and that makes me rich includes my relatives, past and present, with whom I share a roots heritage. I carry their DNA and they have, under God, of course, partially determined who I am, and I pass it on through my progeny to generations to come.

I am counting my GOLD daily in friends around the world and in my own neighborhood, in my church, in my community—all in my heart. They have also helped to make me who I am through their friendship, prayers, and love, and I have piled up my GOLD higher.

But think of my responsibility for all of these relational blessings! 

Since I am the matriarch of my immediate family, God commits to me the joyful spiritual obligation to pray for each one regularly as He brings them one by one to my mind and heart. Each is “a special needs” loved one.

Often I really don't know what those special needs are or what to pray as I ought, but the Holy Spirit can pray through me right on target to their need. (Romans 8:26-28) I don't have to know what their need might be—He knows the will of God for their lives and edits my weak prayers before they get to Jesus. Then Jesus does the answering. It is up to me to be faithful to bring each of my loved ones to Jesus, just as the mothers brought their children to Him so He would bless them, as the Scripture records.

What better date than today, August 23rd to devote to that sacred task?

Sunday, August 21, 2016


"Dear Friends,
May no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, His name will continue to resound throughout the world."

Wow! That's a loaded blessing that I need and eagerly want to embrace for myself, don't you? I found it on Facebook quoted from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Adversities can paralyze and immobilize me. Sudden storms can strike fear into my heart. Whether they are present storms of various things of this world—relational, physical, financial, mental anguish, or clusters of calamities all at once, they can destroy my peace. My weakness and lack of control pin me to the mat. If the catastrophe might be undeserved, (1 Peter 2:20) my equilibrium is shattered. I'm off balance and can't think straight. But I must think clearly and Scripturally and act obediently.

I can have no other spiritual response than to trust God and not demand to understand the whys of the situation. I someone else might be involved, I must not blame or take revenge—rendering justice in His time is God's business, not mine. I must remain faithful, steadfast, unmovable and continue living for the Lord and serving Him without complaint or whining. I must keep pressing on and giving thanks to God not for this adversity but while I am still in it. I must resist bitterness, resentment, and anger or it will devour me.

Is my faith real or am I a fair weather Christian at this advanced calendar season of my life? I must be aware of the “cloud of witnesses” in the Heavenlies, those who have already won the race, received the Gold Medal, and who are praying for me and cheering me on. And I must always be conscious of my responsibility to respond as God's obedient child before other “clouds of witnesses” who watch me here on earth at this moment in history that God has allowed me to live.

I shall then rest humbly in the providence of God. I won't push Him to see me through this present storm in some way I can devise. I'm in a tunnel and there is a way out. There is a Light at the end of this tunnel. I will wait on God's timing. He has a “due time” and is working on me and “working all things together for good.” (Romans 8:28)

As the renowned “Protestant saint” Dr. Andrew Murray counseled someone a century ago who was going through a storm, “In time of trouble say: I am here—By God's appointment, In His keeping, Under His training, For His time.” God has never failed me yet. Has He ever failed you?

Without a doubt, God's purpose for whatever you or I are going through when we are in stormy weather, is “that by your faith His name will continue to resound throughout the world.”

  Thank you for the reminder, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI!

Friday, August 19, 2016


Why have I slowed down a bit in regular posting on my blog? Below you will find an update which will give you some insight in what has consumed my time recently. 
I will soon resume my usual pace in blogging. Keep coming to my blog and bring others along!

Fulfilling Psalm 91:3


My name is LEONA CHOY. I am a 91.3 year old widow. (Is the number 91.3 "by coincidence"? Read to the end of this story to find out! I believe that number is a God-incidence!)

My late husband Ted and I were Christian missionaries in China and on university campuses in North America for our career ministry. In 1984 in our retirement we moved to Winchester, Virginia to assist our son Rick Choy, a broadcast engineer, in his vision to establish a Christian radio station to reach the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and beyond with the gospel.

TIMBER RIDGE MINISTRIES, INC.  was incorporated a
s a non-profit, non-commercial, tax exempt 501 (c) 3 corporation, which no one “owned.”   It was a framework through which we could serve God and reach people with the gospel over the airwaves. According to our Bylaws, no one profits personally from its operation. Salaries are received only as compensation for services rendered. The work of the corporation was under the oversight of a volunteer Board of Directors who also did not “own” the station or profit from their service.

As charter members of the Board for more than 30 years, I served as the president of the Board and our son Rick, the engineer, builder, and general manager of the station, served as Vice President and Treasurer. We certainly did not "own" the station either. Staff was employed to carry out the logistics of production, broadcasting, and management without direct involvement from the Board. The ministry was not under the control of or financially subsidized by any outside entity, church, organization, foundation, or business.

Throughout more than three decades we were on the air 24/7 and met our budget and expenses through listener support contributions only. The ministry always paid its creditors and the taxes for which we were liable.  At its peak of operations the station employed 10 staff personnel. Our format was gospel music, nationally-known Christian programming, live broadcasts, and service to our community. Our strong signal reached beyond Winchester and the Shenandoah Valley to parts of the neighboring four states. It was relayed by translators as far as New York, and through a satellite uplink for live streaming over the Internet wherever in the world the Internet could be accessed.  God prospered the ministry of WTRM for His glory alone by introducing people to Jesus and encouraging their growth in faith and their involvement in local churches.

In recent years, however, with the downturn of the economy and changing demographics, evolving Christian music preferences, and other factors, our listener support gradually decreased. The Board decided it was wise to drastically downsize all operations in an attempt to stay solvent, which we did. In April 2014 Rick even left his position on staff and went off payroll to help alleviate the station's expenses. Eventually, however, our Board determined that we had fulfilled God's call and it was timely to dissolve the corporation so as not to incur debt.  According to our Bylaws, we would donate the assets of the ministry to another non-profit ministry.

In the process of dissolution, the Board discovered that our reserve funding had been depleted, some creditors had not been paid, and our bookkeeper had taken it upon herself to use listener support to meet the payroll of our downsized staff but she did not pay the IRS and State taxes for a considerable period of time. This was done without the knowledge of or authorization from the Board, which would never have allowed such an action.  We would have ceased operations much earlier with all obligations taken care of.

As a consequence, our ministry found itself in huge indebtedness for taxes to the IRS and to Virginia State with interest and penalties alarmingly mounting. The corporation could not officially dissolve until all taxes were paid. Because broadcasting operations had ceased, staff were no longer working, and our signal was no longer on the air, listener support also stopped coming in. There were no funds to cover the debt.

We obtained legal counsel immediately and have followed their advice to sell off all of the station's assets to try to meet the station's tax obligations.

It seems unbelievable to us, but Rick and I, as the only Board members still available to contact, are informed that we are personally liable for the indebtedness incurred by the unauthorized action of one our staff employees!

Neither the no longer operating corporation nor Rick and I have funds to satisfy this debt which is really not
our debt. We do not deny that it exists and must be paid. I own no property, am a dependent elderly widow, and I receive only my Social Security check. Rick has retired without a pension and is currently without employment because he has spent his entire time the past 22 months trying to sell the station's assets and wind up all station matters in order to make some dent in the immense indebtedness of the ministry which no longer exists.

We are establishing this fund to legitimately try to fulfill our obligations in an honest, Christian way. We do not believe that we should be held personally responsible for this indebtedness. We have put ourselves wholly in the hands of God and call upon the prayers of our friends and contributions of others who could help in the matter of this debt. We are in need of these funds immediately since penalties are still accruing and expenses are mounting.

We have depleted our personal financial reserves in the process. We will be extremely grateful to donors and thankful to God if the debts of the ministry can be met honorably and we could personally be out from under the tremendous financial pressure and stress of this situation.
May God bless everyone who can help financially in our great time of need!

God has never failed us. We cast our cares on Him and are walking in His peace and joy even in the midst of the greatest pressure we have experienced in all the 30 years of this Christian broadcasting ministry. We stand on 1 Peter 5:7 and Philippians 4:6.

Our verse of promise when we incorporated our ministry was Psalm 91:3 in its context, which is also the same number as the FM frequency 91.3 on which we initially sent out the signal to preach the gospel as widely as possible through radio! We hope and pray that this will prove prophetic so that we can “finish the ministry well,” please God, and move on to other ministry for Him.
Thank you for helping spread the word to other people and encouraging them to respond to

Leona Choy

 Within only a few hours of activating our project on GOFUNDME, the first $100 leaped in from a Chinese brother in Christ who himself is under extreme financial pressure in his Christian ministry. He thanked me for "the opportunity to give" and declared that he was praying for a great "FUNDER STORM!"of response!

If/when we experience that kind of financial weather and we are able to meet our stated goal, it will be our JOY to use God's surplus to help out other Christians or ministries in their time of need!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Remember to Ignite Your Gift from GodI admit that as a young Christian in my teen years I was envious at what I presumed were the "gifts" God gave to my other Christian teen friends

I wished I could play the piano. (I lacked the talent and the discipline it required to make it happen.) I wished I could socialize easily and be popular. (I was a shy introvert a.k.a. "wallflower".) I wished I could speak in public. (I was embarrassed and went blank for words in front of a group.) I thought God overlooked me when He generously gifted others. Nevertheless I surrendered my life wholly to Jesus Christ, just as I was, thinking I was bereft of gifts.

Fast forward through high school and college years into active Christian mission work overseas and on university campuses in America among international students and administration in para-church organizations and writing and publishing and public speaking. I acquired a more mature perspective to understand that the giftings of God for ministry are not the shallow wishes of immaturity. Since God called me, the Holy Spirit generously equipped me with His unique gifts and has enabled me to carry out His will for His glory, not for my own aggrandizement.

Fast forward still further into the final season of life. Does God take away His giftings when we become weak with limitations and weary with the length of the journey and we view our opportunities as truncated? When our road narrows and we are obliged to pass the torch to others to carry on the work of God's Kingdom with their new gifts to suit the changing times?

The calling of God is without repentance, the Scripture says. He does not withdraw His call or gifts in our late calendar years but transforms them in the light of ones current circumstances. My surrender to God's will must continue to be total. I must fan into flame the gifts that He provides for my present state in life. It is only for those that I am accountable now as I live in the present moment. I no longer need some of the gifts I needed when on the front lines in my prime. He gives me support gifts of intercessory prayer and encouragement, new gifts for behind the scenes, mellowed and ripened for my "new normal."

I was encouraged by words from the Wisdom Hunters Devotional,  below. When I find spiritual nourishment from the words of others, I like to share it. I am reminded that if God's gifts within me are burning to low embers, I should take the stick of faith and stir them up into flame for my present season of life.
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7
"Sometimes at the inception of salvation the fire of God’s Spirit burns the brightest, but then life happens—faith loses its fuel—smothered, lacking hope’s oxygen. Bustling activities tend to push Christ to an “as needed role”—as a spiritual EMT. “Jesus, I’ll involve you in my life when I can’t control it.” Instead of enjoying a blazing bonfire of belief, a distracted Christian falls into a routine that doesn’t rock the boat of status quo, and forgets to stoke the fire of God’s gift, as it turns cool and stale within their soul. Lukewarm is not an acceptable option to our Lord!
"With his authority from God, and his affection for Timothy, Paul reminded his mentee to fan into flame God’s gift of evangelism—which laid dormant in his heart. Like a campfire’s smoldering embers, Timothy needed to take a stick of faith and stir Christ’s simmering coals in his being, so the gospel flame would erupt in a life engulfed for the Lord. Every Christian has received the Spirit of God, who bestows on every believer unique gifts from God. The warm gray ashes of an ignored gift—must be replaced by the orange-hot flame of an unleashed gift.
“Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:14-15).
"Rest in your unique gifting from God and resist wishing you had another’s giftedness. Ask the Holy Spirit’s fire to ignite your gifts for God’s glory and to strengthen the church. An under utilized gift fades away, but an enflamed gift delights heaven and disgusts hell."
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the discipline and faithfulness to welcome your changing giftings according to my state in life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


“Way back” in 1997 a little book hit the popular reading market titled, “DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.” Another way of saying it might be, "DON'T MAKE MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLEHILLS."

I bought and read the book when it was first published, and it has kept nudging me from my bookshelf every time I glanced in that direction. I have been reminded just by reading the title on its spine since the subject is one of my problems. Recently I relented and took it off the shelf to thumb through it again. 

Time has moved on and each of us is changed over time. Whenever we pick up a book we have read before, its message applies to us in a new way because we now have different issues.

However, I had to disagree with part of its title “...and it's all small stuff.” No, it's not ALL small stuff. There's BIG stuff out there in all of our lives, in mine, in my family's relationships, in the issues my circle of friends are going through, and certainly out there in the crises our nation and the world are grappling with. Those I should be serious about.

The point is, we should be perceptive and discerning and not make mountains out of mole hills, as they say. Not ALL things are mole hills for us to brush aside. Things or events or words of great importance, or national and international disasters or tragedies or catastrophes require serious thought, and fervent prayer and trust in the Lord—yes, and maybe “sweat” too. But not the passing trivia of daily life and happenings that seem to morph before our eyes into something monstrous and menacing.

I shouldn't waste time and energy and anxiety and worry about things which are temporal, of this earth, of this flesh, of the strictly now kind of situations. I shouldn't argue about the inconsequential or insist I am right about unimportant matters. Truly, “What difference does it make who wins a debate over lilliputian issues?” By next week or next month or next year, will I care about the worries about which I lost sleep last night? So other people are imperfect—so am I. If we don't agree on some matter—so what? Life isn't fair—who said it is? Not every urgency is an emergency—I should get a perspective. So what if there is a glitch in my well-laid plans. Is it worth losing my peace over? Couldn't I give everyone the benefit of the doubt rather than fret uselessly about something that isn't the way I like it?

We are told to choose our battles wisely. That's only half true. Perhaps I shouldn't battle at all if I've concluded that something is really small stuff. There will be times when I'll want or need to argue, confront, or even fight for something I believe in. So many things in life are really not a big deal. Why should I be frustrated and unhappy by fussing with the inconsequential?

A part of not sweating the small stuff, is my tendency to be melodramatic. I blow things out of proportion. I can get too worked up about something that should be minor and petty. I know I should lighten up. Moreover, why do I too often feel compelled to deal with other people's issues? I need to butt out of things that are not my business. I trespass into places where I have no control and in which I can't be of any help. My efforts prove fruitless and almost always unappreciated or resented.

So it boils down to discernment as to what is really important not only in my limited finite sight but from God's eternal perspective. Where is my focus? I must know what are genuine priorities. My earth-time is not endless. I have a choice to make that affects eternity. I know I shouldn't invest/waste my efforts in the niggling quibble about the small stuff. 

Scripture lays out plainly what are the important things I should seek for—the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. And also what things I should lay aside or avoid. The “small stuff” is in the latter category. If it's my words I should be careful about, I will pray, “Set a watch, O Lord, o'er my lips.” If my thoughts or actions draw me to sweat the small stuff, I should pray for perceptiveness to understand what is really important and then be about my Father's business.