Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Devotional 093008

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The weather is wonderful but my body is tired. I hope I am not catching a cold or something. Or may be I just need to do exercise to wake up my body. I have made some progress in bringing my exercise outfit to office. It is a good start. Right?
I basically don’t want to confront people. I hate to be the bad guy. I don’t wan to rock the boat or make people mad. I will seek whatever possible way to compromise. I don’t mind to let go of my own interest and comfort to yield. I am sure most people would prefer to do the same. However, there are times we need to make our stand even though people may disagree with us. Especially when it comes to our loved ones, we need to confront with love for the sake of building them up. We need to exercise whatever power or authority we can find to confront an improper behavior or purely sinful lifestyle.
This is exactly what Paul did to the Corinthian Christians. As their spiritual father, Paul urged the church to make a firm stand on moral issue. We are not talking about grey area here. It was clearly some sinful acts that some believers in the Church had committed. They had even defended their sins with some eloquent speech and had challenged the authority of Paul in telling them what to do or what not to do. It gave Paul no other option but to confront the church with his God-given authority as the Apostle.
To Paul, Christians need to re-evaluate our lives from time to time, or else we would allow foothold for Satan to creep into our lives and community to cause significant damage. It is better to prevent sin before it takes root and yield evil fruits. Paul said, “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don't drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it” (13:5 Message). Unfortunately, many Christians nowadays prefer not to think or have no time to quiet down for reflection. We allow the river of busyness to drift us down stream to the ocean of lust and self-centeredness. It is always easier to yield to the force of 'nature' than to go against it. Wild salmon needs to fight against the power of river in swimming up stream with a single purpose or life mission, which is to give birth to a new generations. What is your life purpose or mission that you will do whatever you can to accomplish?
A lot of time, we will focus on our limitation whenever we think of our life mission. “Yes, I understand I have a life mission. BUT I am too weak or have too many obligations in life that I can’t live up to that purpose.” If this excuse sounds familiar to you, I want you to know that it is a lie from the evil one. I like to borrow Paul’s word to encourage you: “We're rooting for the truth to win out in you. We couldn't possibly do otherwise. We don't just put up with our limitations; we celebrate them, and then go on to celebrate every strength, every triumph of the truth in you. We pray hard that it will all come together in your lives” (13:8-9 Message). The truth is that God can empower you to live out your life mission that He has designed for your life. Our Lord Jesus clearly knew what our limitations are because: 1) He went through life on earth just like us, 2) He allowed the bad experience(s) that crippled our lives in the past, 3) He knew us before we were even conceived in our mothers’ womb (Psalm 139:16). The author of Hebrews said, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb 4:15-16). As you root your life in God’s truth, you will not surrender to your limitations or oppositions in life, but to celebrate in God’s power and strengthen in you, because His power can be activated within you, when you are desperate for Him. “That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).
Hope you will stay focus on Him as you go through this difficult time of economic depression. God may use you to be His channel of comfort and encouragement to those around you, when you celebrate your limitations in life with genuine joy that springs from within.
Love you in Christ,

No comments: