Sunday, August 23, 2015


The word “bonus” is from Latin and means “good.” It represents something extra, unexpected, a reward, honorarium or gift. The dictionary defines bonus as something given or paid over and above what is due, more than the agreed arrangement. Generally it's something I don't ask for. Someone in authority decides to give it to me freely. I'm not thinking of money, however. My bonus is time, and the Giver is God.

Whatever my situation or age, whether I have made it through a serious illness, or I am burdened with chronic ill health, or suffer unfixable limitations, or survived some traumatic event that might have taken my life—or am living extra years beyond my hereditary expectation—I've been given a bonus.

Life itself, however long or short, is a bonus. I don't agree with the term “living on borrowed time.” Since I'm alive today, I'm living on God's generous, predetermined time. What am I going to do with my bonus days or years? How shall I spend, redeem, invest, make fruitful for God and others the extended days of my life, if God grants them?

If I have recovered from an illness, God brought me through to recovery for a purpose. Did He heal me only so I could drift along for my own pleasure, “row, row, rowing my boat gently and merrily down the stream” just to hang around a little longer? 

Tim Hansel wrote after finding out that he would have to live the rest of his life after a tragic accident with no relief from pain ever and an uncertain lifespan, “I don't know how much string is left on my ball of twine. There are no guarantees how long any of us will live, but I know full well that I would rather make my days count than merely count my days. I want to live each one of them as close to the core of life as possible, experiencing as much of God and my family and friends as I am capable. Since life is inevitably too short for all of us, I want to enjoy it as much as I can no matter what my circumstances.”

My desire for my bonus days is to say with Saint Paul, “My deep desire and hope is that at all times, and especially just now, I shall be full of courage, so that with my whole being I shall bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more. But if by continuing to live I can do more worthwhile work, then I am not sure which I chould choose. I am pulled in two directions. I want very much to leave this life and be with Christ, which is a far better thing; but for your sake it is much more important that I remain alive. I am sure of this, and so I know that I will stay. I will stay on with you all, to add to your progress and joy in the faith...” (Philippians 1:20-25 GNB.

But Paul, history tells us that you really didn't live very long after you wrote the above—only a few months. Then God called you to your eternal reward. It was not for you to choose after all, Paul. Nevertheless, what you accomplished and wrote for all posterity in those next few months counted for eternity. You invested your brief bonus time well and ran the last mile. None of us know God's timing for our Homeward call. Life on this earth is as a vapor.

Any of us are capable of making a bonus blunder. A quick historical survey and a look at the lives of some people in our generation reveal examples of those who blew it toward the end of their lives. Sometimes they begged God for an extension of time after some crisis. In some cases it might have been better for them not to have survived, but that's not for any of us mortals to judge.

How we live in any season of our lives carries a sober responsibility. We can't afford to drift or spend our bonus time on ourselves. If God gives us bonus days, weeks, months, or years, they should be “handled with care” because they are fragile and precious. We will be accountable to the Lord how we invested our bonus time, whether as wasteful spenders or as careful stewards.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


AUGUST 23, 1947

We were married in Cedar Rapids, Iowa at the Presbyterian church where my parents worshiped. We had just graduated from Wheaton College where we met. Ted had graduated from seminary previously. We looked forward to spending our lives serving the Lord in China.

It was in the days before air conditioning. Perspiring wedding guests who crowded the church watched in amazement as the candelabra candles melted and bent over during the wedding ceremony! And perspiration dripped down my back and under my veil as I sweltered in my Chinese silk wedding gown. 

Three months later we sailed off "on a slow boat to China" and the lifelong ministry in Asia and on North American campuses that God had planned for us began to unfold.

God blessed my late husband Ted and me with 46 years together, four sons, ten grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. Now it is 68 years time flies....! 

 Can I possibly be 90 years old now??!


Friday, August 14, 2015



Memorable words from the WIZARD OF OZ movie. The plot revolved around getting those magic red shoes off of Dorothy. But the Wicked Witch was unable to take her shoes. She got zapped when she tried. The only way they could come off is if Dorothy gave them up herself. And so it went....

We can find many hidden analogies in this story. Let's try a little Scripture spin: Spiritually, the devil is interested in our feet and specifically our shoes. 

God has provided armor and protective equipment for our life battles which we are instructed to put on ourselves. It includes shoes. They aren't red but they still have spiritual powers. "Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15). This verse is an echo from Isaiah 52:7, "How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace, and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation."

Our shoes of peace guard our hearts. Even if we have all the rest of the armor in place but lack peace, fear can overtake us and we are apt to turn around and run in retreat. There isn't any armor for our backs! We are completely vulnerable to the enemy of our souls. Peace is the valuable spiritual commodity that Jesus gave us as His final gift before ascending to the Father. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." Whenever our Lord appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, His first word was "Peace!" 

The only way we can lose our peace is if we allow the enemy to take it from us or if we give it away ourselves. Scripture tells us to "resist the devil and he will flee from you." We are to call upon Jesus to zap the enemy when he approaches to steal our peace. By all means, let's hold on to our powerful shoes of peace!

The devil wants us barefoot without our shoes of peace. He would be happy if we got splinters or stepped on glass. He causes all the turbulence that he can muster. He can whip up sudden storms in our lives, inner upheavals and outside adversities and trials, all in an effort to disturb our peace. But he has limited powers, "Greater is He who is in you, than he that is in the world." God has an ample supply of "peace that passes understanding" to keep our hearts and minds, our thoughts and our emotions, on an even keel. He calms our rough seas with His "Peace! Be Still!" Jesus promised that although in this world we will have tribulation, we are to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world.  Jesus' kind of peace is not the absence of storms in our lives, but peace in the very midst of our turbulence.

Do you remember how Dorothy's story turned out? Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, gave her the magical instructions which would bring her home. "You've always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself. Tap the heels of your red shoes together three times. Close your eyes and say, 'There's no place like home!'"

Our shoes of God's peace firmly on our feet throughout our lives will not magically but powerfully bring us to our Heavenly Home. Day or night we must never take off Jesus' peace-shoes. 

If necessary, let's tie our shoe strings very tightly and make a double knot or our enemy will attempt to snatch and run off with them! It won't be the Wicked Witch of the West but the Deceiver and Peace-snatcher. He is after our souls trying to block our journey to our Heavenly Home.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


The tall plastic cup only cost me 96 cents. But I didn't buy it because I wanted to gulp down 16 ounces of anything.
  It shouted its message at me from the display shelf: HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL. I bought it because I wanted to think about what it really meant.

At first I figured that it should be a question rather than a declaration. It seemed to remind me that in all circumstances of life, and at whatever season of my life, I am the one to control my attitude and my response. It is a matter of my perspective.

In a human sense, how many of us can say that life always gives us a full cup in our expectations or in whatever we consider our necessities or desires? We tend to think about our perceived deficiencies and limitations and conclude that we are only half full at most. We look introspectively at our weaknesses and suspect that we might have been short-changed in our abilities or opportunities. Life has cheated us when luck or blessings were handed out.

It's true that two people can look at their “cup” of life and come to different conclusions. It is not the visual aspect—that is the same in both cases. One may declare in a positive way that his cup is half full, and another may negatively insist that it is half empty. It is a matter of perception and of inner understanding. It is also a matter of willingness to accept our apportioned lot in life.

However, we are more than flesh and mortal life, more than the visible, the temporal. Our Creator God has put within us an invisible spirit, an eternal soul. As I thought more deeply about what my plastic cup was saying, I realized that I wanted to take issue with its messageJesus wasn't sent from the Father to give us “half” of anything and ask us to be happy with insufficiency!

Jesus went over the top to declare that He came not only to give us life but to give it more abundantlynot a half cup, but a full cup. And He promised the fullness of the Holy Spirit!  As David the musician king shouted in joyful elation, “My cup runneth over!” 

In the words of the popular country song, “I'm drinkin' from my saucer 'cause my cup has overflowed!”

Our Heavenly Father, Creator, Provider, Sustainer is so generous in His blessings that we can't say that He is the God of “halfway full” or “nearly enough,” not even the God of “enough.” He is the God of “more than enough!” Our blessings are so many they can't be counted. The Lord provides for us by pouring into our laps “a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” As the last verse of the above song reminds us, we should give the same to others because we are being blessed so abundantly by the Lord. “For by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return." (Luke 6:38)

So of what does my plastic cup really remind me? That it isn't telling me the whole truth—God doesn't promise us “half of anything!”

In the words of the classic hymn, “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul!'” Anything the Lord gives me is good, it is sufficient, it is overflowing with His goodness and mercy all the days of my life.

And the overflow onto my saucer is that I will dwell in His House forever! (Psalm 23)

Friday, August 7, 2015


Don't underestimate “steady.” A TV commercial shows a husky fellow riding a mechanical bull in a shopping mall. 

Apparently the idea is to see how long you can stay on its back without falling off—the mechanical bull is programmed to buck violently! 

However, not in this commercial. The bull is gliding smoothly in a circle with the man safe, relaxed, and smiling on its back. The voice-over says, “Steady is exciting!” The advertisement is for some new medication to control diabetes and keep the blood levels “steady” without the ups and downs so often encountered in that illness. That sparked an analogy for me to our spiritual life.

Steady” is not an active word. It is a quiet, rooted word. It implies being firm, immobile, unshakable, established. The word steadfast in 1 Corinthians 15:58 in the NIV is translated, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you....” Steady is a “rock” word, an “anchor” word, a word with backbone. It is an under control word.

In various passages in the New Testament it is used as “standing firm in suffering, steady in working for the Lord, in self-control, grounded in the faith, firm in our confidence, in our hope, and in our resistance to the wiles of the devil.” We are encouraged to “stand in the evil day, to stand fast in the liberty of Christ.” We are to stand fast by “holding the traditions, to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God, to stand fast in the Lord, in one spirit, with one mind.” No wobbly, unstable stance—Steady does it!

Does God prefer us to stand still more than to actively do battle and engage the enemy? Isn't it more glorious and necessary to fight than to just stand there?

Obviously there is a time to fight and press forward, but also a time to stand firm, to hold the fort, to stand secure in what has been obtained at great cost. Standing steady is not the same as simply passively standing still. Standing usually comes after God-directed activity. We are to actively clothe ourselves with the whole armor of God, every provided piece, most of them intended for defense. Then, fully reinforced and confident with all our equipment in place, “...having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). Steady does it! We are not to budge an inch or give up any ground.

Life storms are sure to come. Waves will inevitably beat upon our life-house. Floods may threaten to engulf us. If we don't stand firmly anchored to The Rock, Christ Jesus, we will be overcome. The enemy is looking for our vulnerable places, where we could be open to compromise, and where we are defenseless. We may be physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted with the length of life's journey, weary from one thing after another coming against us. With the Psalmist we cry, “Oh Lord, is it not enough?” We may be tempted to compromise, to loosen our grip on the Truth once delivered to us. As our years increase and our weakness becomes more apparent, it becomes easier to let down our guard, to let our hands hang down, and our knees to become feeble. We are more inclined to faint than to stand firm.

We may even consider turning back and giving up. It seems just too hard to keep on keeping on. But God hasn't provided any armor for our backs—we are defenseless if we retreat. Steady does it!

In my advancing years I feel myself becoming more physically unsteady. It is easier to lose my balance with rough places underfoot. I look for firm ground and level places to walk or stand. With the Psalmist I plead, “Let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground” (143:10). Lacking balance, it is not shameful to lean on someone to steady oneself. The Lord provides a rod and staff to support me and His own presence to keep me steady. It is not sissy to let Him hold my hand so that I will not stumble and fall. “Thy right hand upholds me.” He brings alongside stronger companions to journey with me, to encourage me, to keep me from being shaken and moved from the paths of righteousness. “The Lord was my stay [support].” Steady does it!

Steady is an abiding word. To abide is to continue, dwell, remain. As the calendar pages turn, sometimes we begin to lack consolations and our emotions are not as moved by the solid truths of God's Word as when they were fresh. We are in danger of letting slip the certainty we once had. Steady does it! All the more should we stand firm and be faithful and persevering in our faith walk on the path God has uniquely set before us.

As our years increase, each of us has his or her particular real or mechanical or virtual bucking bulls [circumstances of life] who try to unseat us spiritually from our confidence in Christ. The enemy is actively vying for our souls to the very end of our mortal lives with his whole bag full of wiles to throw us off balance. “Greater is He who is within us than he that is in the world.” Whatever our lot, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you [keep you steady]. He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22). Steady does it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


"I love those moments when my infant daughter's discontent is so easily soothed in my loving arms. There are times when I need someone or something greater and stronger than me to soothe the discontent of my soul. Whenever I turn to the outstretched arms of my loving Heavenly Father, that peace overwhelms my soul. It never fails."

I "stole" this thought from my grandson, pastor Dr. Ed Choy as he snuggled my great-granddaughter, Karis Leona against his heart. She became quiet and breathed a sigh of happy contentment. Her strong Daddy's arms encircled her. She felt safe.

Who of us doesn't echo that feeling when our own discontent, distress, disappointment, discouragement, despair, or whatever else assaults us in the daily round of life? Whether it's humdrum mediocre routine and plodding along in the deadening "same old" unremarkable ordinary, or on the battlefield of adversities, in the fear of the "terror by night or arrows flying by day.” Real or figurative, we need a refuge. We need to feel safe on “a Rock that is higher than I.” 

It isn't sissy to run to a refuge when danger is near. It isn't lack of courage. It is wisdom to know that there is a safe sanctuary, a shelter in the time of storm, a welcome when things get tough.

The Rock of Ages beckons us. He is our Rock no matter what age we are, what season of life we are in. The apostle John experienced it leaning on Jesus' bosom when there was a sense of trouble on the horizon. “There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God.” We find it “leaning on the Everlasting Arms, safe and secure from all alarms.”

Come back with me, back before the short choruses, the contemporary music, the worship team. Listen to and join in with the simple, solid, classic hymn expression of such an experience as to be embraced in the arms of our Heavenly Father as little Karis nestled against her Daddy's chest. And then go there yourself.... 

Monday, August 3, 2015


To the many friends who are ordering the outstanding new collection of all three of CHRISTIANA TSAI's books under one cover titled, QUEEN OF THE DARK CHAMBER:

As you read, you can use your vivid imagination to visualize Christiana in her growing up years during the last days of the Qing Dynasty in China, her wartime experiences, her travels, and her worldwide ministry in person. And then you can imagine you are one of the flood of visitors from all over the world who were drawn to the Lord through her 50 years of bedridden confinement...



Professionally produced and narrated in the Chinese language, (NOT TO WORRY--THERE ARE ENGLISH SUBTITLES!) you will be able to enter into Christiana's life visually.  You will actually LISTEN to her voice as she invites you into her dark chamber and share her life-motto with you: Despite all of her adversities, limitations, and prolonged illness, she never asked the Lord WHY? did He allow them in her life, but asked, "WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU, LORD?"

Order the DVD along with your order for the BOOK directly through AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, INC. (Inquire whether combo discount is available.)

Continue to order the CD that I have produced, the reading of 8 chapters of this book as an "appetizer" to introduce Christiana's amazing life story. Order the CD directly from me according to the instructions previously given. I'm sending orders out promptly.