Submitted by: Judy Chen (San Gabriel, California)
In October, I made the decision to go to Russia with the encouragement of the saints. At that time, a sister mentioned in passing that she hoped I would consider documenting my time and experiences. Initially, I was not too keen on the idea, but upon returning the Lord touched me concerning a couple of things: vision, experience, endurance, and the working saints. While these items have been a recurring theme in my Christian life with the Lord, Russia placed them under a unique perspective: the Lord’s current move on the earth.
Concerning the Lord’s move, I have to confess that I’m not always up-to-date. While I read – the Word, the ministry, the news, historical commentary – and exercise to remain in the up-to-date speaking through the seven feasts; I find that I often don’t see the Lord’s move in my daily living unless I am 1) reflecting on memories of the past or 2) I am outside of the United States, so not very often. There is something about the comfort of my home, the consuming nature of my career, and closeness of the church life than dampens or occasionally trumps the daily experiences of Christ’s present day move on the earth. Thus, this is my plug for taking time to travel outside of the United States. Yes it is difficult to find the time and the money to go and visit, but there is also a certain blessing that comes only to those who go (even for only a short time).
On the one hand in my travels I have continually been enlightened by the one speaking, the one Spirit, and the one practice all over the earth. On the other, there is still the contrast of individual human history, culture, and traditions. In my return this time, the Lord touched me in the Life Study of Ephesians concerning 2:14-15, “For He Himself is our peace, He who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition, the enmity, abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace.” There, Brother Lee writes, that we should exercise to not insist on our own practices and opinions, so that nothing of our human culture and traditions would rebuild the wall, the enmity, broken down by the Lord. The times I have realized, most acutely, that I have an American and Chinese culture has been when I have been outside of the United States. This time in Russia I had a r ealization that even my church life has an American and occasionally Chinese cultural flavor to it. Have you ever considered that each church life slightly reflects a national culture? Have you ever considered: ”the way I enjoy the Lord has a ’cultural’ flavor?” While on a short trip to another country our cultural influence upon the church life we are visiting has minimal impact, but before the Lord do we limit His leading and speaking because of our inherent cultural expectation for a certain type of church life?
In my time in Russia, I began to contemplate the role of Gog and Magog in the fulfillment of God’s eternal economy. In re-reading Ezekiel and Revelation, I had the realization that culture is the ultimate manifestation of man’s complete rebellion. Even in the end times, Satan uses cultural enmity to move man to rebel again. So is there a solution? A way out of our culture? The spiritual answer is yes! Christ! But the practical answer, I believe, still remains to be worked out. Does our traveling/churching outside of the US help to breakdown our culture? Does our exercise to meet people not according to our culture/habit/educational background help to breakdown our culture enmity? Does “amen”-ing the Lord’s speaking to migrate out of our comfort zone or live in a situation outside of our cultural preference cause enmity to be broken down? Only the Lord knows how He will manifest Himself in our experiences.
I really appreciated the Lord giving me one verse and one word during this trip. The verse is Ephesians 1:18 – “the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know … the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” The word is endurance.
I have to confess that I do not know the riches of the glory of the Lord’s inheritance in the saints, but I am beginning to be enlightened. I also have to confess that endurance is not one of my human virtues, but now I am encouraged to pursue. As a single sister, as a working adult, as a saint marked as a part of the Lord’s full inheritance, I am encouraged to pursue knowing Christ more – not just as the Christ in the gospels, but more so as the Christ in Acts and the Epistles. The riches of the glory of the Lord are in the saints and His four fold power is, primarily, to the church. I’m no longer satisfied with just knowing the hope of His calling in the initial stage. Lord, thank you my limitations, the enmity that blinds me from the riches of Your glory in the saints, have been dealt on the cross.
Lord, take Your recovery on! That we would know the riches of Your glory in Your saints, and the power which is to the church; thus ushering in Your return!