We caught up with Han Shen this week, and in this interview, he shares more about his personal life and his devotional life. This is the second post in our series on the devotional life of our Pastors.
1. Tell us something about your life that you think BASICers don’t know!
- I like all things by J.R.R Tolkien. LOTR, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, etc.
- Most people know that I like animals. What they don’t know is that I like stories about nature restoration – especially stories on animal reintroductions to places where they have been extinct for many years, or put simply the concept of rewilding. E.g. grey wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park from 1995-1996.
2. Do you have a favorite Bible Verse, and why?
- Psalm 36:5-7
5Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
- – Reason God’s unfailing steadfast love is incomparable. The Psalmist, David knows that God is loving, faithful, righteous & a just God that traverses both insurmountable heights and great depths. He also likens this love to great soaring wings of an eagle, just like how an eagle would shelter its young with its wings, so God’s people can find refuge in the Lord.
3. Do you have a favorite song, and why?
- You Are My All in All. Why do I like it? Because it speaks of God’s unfailing love, compassion, strength, comfort & treasure in our lives through His son, Jesus. He is our strength when we are weak. He is the treasure that we seek. It’s a song that covers all aspects of life and assures me that I can always turn to the name & the loving person of Jesus in my life.
4. Tell us more about your devotional life! How do you do your devotions?
- We follow McCheyne Bible Devotional Plan. Robert M.McCheyne created a very systematic approach to reading the bible, covering both Old & New Testaments. It has family and private readings. We like it because it helps us to see how God worked through the various figures in the Bible and teaches us that all these lessons still apply to us whether as a family or individually. We try to do it daily, but we will cover it at least twice – three times in a week if we can’t fulfil the daily quota.
5. What do you find to be the biggest obstacles to your devotional life, and how do you overcome it?
- Tiredness & sometimes getting tempted finding bible reading a chore.
- What helps us overcome this? Not to think of bible reading as something that we have/must do. Rather to think & have the attitude of wanting & desiring to read God’s word. We realise that after a few days of not reading God’s word that we feel distant or not spiritually fed. Once we return to God’s word we are fed, spiritually recharged & equipped to face the day, challenges & to help us in guarding ourselves against the Devil’s schemes.
6. Is there a recent ‘lesson’ that has been on your mind?
From this year, one lesson that struck me came from Numbers 11. Numbers 11 chronicles the Israelites’ rebellion against God from the time of the Exodus from Egypt to their near reaching of the Promised Land. They forgot God’s goodness & His mercy, faithfulness in their lives. They had Spiritual Amnesia & Spiritual Ungratefulness. They were ungrateful for God’s provision of manna in the desert. They craved to have meat. They thought badly of God, that He was going to kill them and wanted to return to Egypt – where they were slaves. God was merciful in sparing the nation from destruction because of Moses’ intervention. Yet at the same time He dealt righteously against those who craved meat & longed to go back to Egypt by causing a plague to kill those who forsook Him.
It is a huge warning about the twin dangers of spiritual amnesia & spiritual ungratefulness. If we are not careful, spiritual amnesia & spiritual ungratefulness towards God causes us to forsake Him & that comes with devastating consequences. Even though they were His chosen people, God still had to punish them because He is righteous and He needs to deal with our sin accordingly. How can we counter the temptations to slide into spiritual amnesia & ungratefulness? We can counter this spiritual amnesia and ungratefulness by giving thanks each day by remembering His goodness, faithfulness & unfailing love towards us. Also reading passages that speak of His goodness, faithfulness & how we can give thanks to Him – e.g. Psalm 48.
7. How has your devotional life affected other parts of your life?
- My devotional life through this year has definitely helped in keeping our marriage strong. It has also helped in counselling with others and in how I conduct ministry. More importantly as I share with others the lessons that I learnt from reading His word, has helped me to see that it can help to encourage others to persevere in their walk with God & to take this Christian life seriously.
8. Anything else you wanna share with BASICers?
- Thought of sharing some takeaway lessons from Psalm 48 to spur us on in placing God first in our lives:
- In God we find our refuge.
- Our rightful response as His people is to worship Him.
- Now His grace & covenant love has gone beyond Jerusalem through Jesus Christ & the Holy Spirit, we are called to worship Him.
- To give thanks for all the good that He has done in our life.
- Increasingly we are called to be spiritually thankful & gracious people not to be spiritually amnesiac & ungrateful.