Xiao Min is the composer of a body of traditional Chinese worship music called the Canaan Hymns. This article from the Christian Times reports on a talk that she recently gave in Anhui Province on the topic of the Second Coming.
The Lord is coming back soon. How can Christians today welcome His return? "We should pray in the early morning, learn how to wait on God, love one another, be as one, live in the presence of God, and continually consecrate ourselves " On [September] 11th, in Yingshang County, Anhui Province, Xiao Min, writer of the Canaan Hymns, shared the message "Preparing for the Lord's Return" with nearly a thousand people.
Using the example of Joshua's preparations to cross the Jordan River and enter Canaan as recorded in Joshua 3:1-11, Xiao Min told us how Christians ought to prepare for the Lord's return. She used Bible passages, testimonies, songs, and sermons to tell about Gods message. In her testimony, she told of the guidance she received in God's presence. In her songs, she showed conviction from the Holy Spirit. Xiao Min used all these methods to lead brothers and sisters into the grace of God.
1. Pray in the early morning
"Joshua got up early in the morning. What time do we sleep until? Before Jesus comes, we should also get up early in the morning. To do what? To pray."
Xiao Min shared an anecdote from after she wrote the song, "5:00 AM in China." Her son asked her, "Mama, you get up every morning at 5:00 to pray. Is it because you wrote the song "5:00 AM in China?" She good-naturedly replied, "Ha ha, yes it is. Because I wrote that song, I'll use it to discipline myself for the rest of my life. I ask the Lord to help me."
Jesus also showed us how to pray by the way he lived. As Mark 1:35 tells us, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."
In the Old Testament, God showed us some principles of spiritual formation through the experiences He guided the Israelites through in the wilderness. Before it got light in the morning, the Israelites were to go out and gather manna, because it would disappear when the sun came out. As God's people, there are some areas that we need to have molded through spiritual formation. While we are crossing the river, we need to get up early to pray.
Psalm 5:3 says, "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." David's prayer inspires us. "Getting up early every morning, sometimes we have many heavy burdens. We have daily pressures and challenges. But as long as we come before God and show our hearts to Him, no matter what difficulties we face, God will definitely hear our prayers."
Xiao Min has personally experienced the power of prayer. "Before I wrote '5:00 AM in China,' I already had the habit of getting up early to pray. At that time, I would lift my hands in prayer for the people of my village. After six months, the majority of the people in our village turned to God. In prayer, we can meet God, and we can become a link between earth and Heaven. No one can help you except Jesus."
Furthermore, Jesus said, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else you need will be given to you." Xiao Min encouraged everyone to bring to the Lord, in prayer, the burden for the location where they are, because [God says] "Ask of me and I will give the nations as an inheritance to you." In the Old Testament, when someone died, they had to measure which town the dead man was closest to, and people from that city had to collect his body. This was a burden the city had to carry. In the same way, Christians should also pray for the country and city where they are.
2. Wait on God
Second, we must wait. Psalm 130:6 says, My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. Waiting on God is a lesson God wants us to learn. But in this fast food generation, everybody is busy. They hope everything will get faster and faster, so its hard for them to wait before the Lord.
In the lesson of waiting on God, the Bible recorded the examples of Ruth's success and Abraham's failure. Ruth was a Moabite woman, unable to join the family of Jehovah. But she realized that her mother-in-law's God was different from other gods, and she wanted to follow her mother-in-law's God. She said, "Your people will be my people and your God my God." It is the same when we follow Jesus; we must follow Him closely and wait for Him to work. Abraham failed to wait for God, even though God had already promised him a son. He had a son with the servant woman Hagar before it was God's time.
Sister Xiao Min testified how, after she had prayed for 13 years, God finally completed His promise. She had been praying that her husband would give his life to serving God. After 13 years, God answered this request. She told everyone how God accomplished what man cannot accomplish, and for this she wrote the song, "I spent 13 springs and autumns learning how to wait. The Lord was with me as I shed tears. Finally, the one who persecuted me has become an intimate friend of the Lord. Finally, the one who had laughed at me has joined me on the road of service "
Joshua 3:2-3 says, After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. In the last days, Gods church will also receive a message Brothers should love one another, rising up together to share the Gospel and complete the Great Commission."
As a senior officer walks throughout an army camp, church servants must also walk throughout the church, telling everyone the Lord is coming soon. The Church in the end times must receive the message – they must share the Gospel, love one another, and be as one."
Xiao Min, after sharing, used the moving song, We are True Brothers, to express Gods expectation of a unified church. Gods unified Spirit also used this song to link the hearts of all the Brothers and Sisters listening. The love for one another was instantly kindled.
The lyrics of We are True Brothers are: We are true brothers, never to be parted / One Lord, one faith, one baptism, sealed by the Holy Spirit / We are true brothers, we have the same blood / We are all redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord / True brothers love each other more in the midst of trials / True brothers share trials together / True brothers think about each other in the midst of trials, true brothers dont think of themselves / True brothers we are true brothers, our hearts are united to the ends of the earth / As if our roots all thrive in the same fertile soil, we are true brothers for eternity.
3. In the presence of God
Joshua 3:4 says, Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards (2,000 cubits) between you and the ark; do not go near it.
A cubit is about 44cm. The distance from the Ark of the Covenant was 2,000 cubits, which is more than 800 meters. This was to ensure that both adults and children could see the ark in front of them. The ark represented the presence of God. This gives us a spiritual revelation, that every Brother and Sister should be able to see the presence of God. We should bring the presence of God to those around us, to children, and to our friends.
4. Consecrate ourselves
Joshua told the people, Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you. Joshua 3:5
Before he crossed the Jordan River and entered Canaan, Joshua commanded the Israelites to consecrate themselves. As Christians, when welcoming the Lords return, we should also continually consecrate ourselves; our hearts, eyes, mouths, and hands need to be consecrated. This is just like cleaning our homes and inviting Jesus to live in our hearts.
"We're not only to talk about the Great Commission, but also the Greatest Commandment, which is to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Sometimes we come before God and pray really well: Lord, forgive our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors. But in our hearts we still haven't let go of other people's wrongs." Xiao Min used these words to impel Christians to live out God's word, consecrating ourselves from our bad habits. She also shared about how she had personally experienced God's discipline and the testimony of the trials Li Yapeng experienced after he became a Christian.
"One time during our early morning praise meeting, a foam mat was spread out on the floor, and everybody took off their shoes before entering the room. In the front was the woman who was leading worship. I noticed immediately that three toes were sticking out of her sock. I thought to myself, 'How could you be so careless and not decent?' And I judged her in my heart. To my great surprise, the next day, when I was leading worship, I bowed my head and saw that my toes were also sticking out of my sock."
She said, God is very accurate. People who judge others also condemn themselves. A correct attitude would be "Pray for others when you notice their errors, don't judge them, making yourself the judge."
Another is the experience of Li Yapeng after he became a Christian. Because his daughter became a Christian while in America, he established the Smile Foundation, providing free corrective surgery to some infants who needed it. One day, while on an airplane, he passed out his foundation's donation leaflets. When he gave it to someone near him, that person immediately threw it on the ground. Yet on the leaflet, it was written, "If you don't want this, please return it to me."
When he bent over to pick it up, he prayed, "Lord, I have never been so annoyed." Afterwards, he wasn't in the mood to hand out any more leaflets. He went back to his seat and prayed, over and over, "Lord, please help me. I truly hate that person." While he was praying, God continually comforted him.
Half year later, he received a check, with a note that read, "Li Yapeng, I'm the person who threw the leaflet on the floor that day. Somebody had told me that you're a Christian. I did that to see if you're a real Christian or a fake one."
Sister Xiao Min urges Christians to be willing to be tested by God, continually consecrating ourselves, becoming salt and light in this world. "Our Lord said, you are the salt and light of this world. Salt is a preservative; light illuminates darkness. If where we live is very corrupt, very dark, we Christians must closely examine ourselves."
Original article: 小敏安徽颍上聚会分享：主再来前的预备
Image credit: by haohaolun, via Flickr
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