Friday, December 19, 2008

Devotional 191208

It is good to be back home again. Thank you for your prayers and support. I was amazed how well my body had adjusted to jetlag and weather changes. It was totally God’s mercy. I really had a wonderful trip that covers hot and cold weather. If you have followed my journey through my blog closely, you know the kind of experiences I had in the past few weeks. I witnessed God’s work throughout the globe: His work among the young adults in the conference in Malaysia, Christians and pre-Christian friends in Shanghai, Christian workers in Sichuan, young adults in Hong Kong and so forth. God is doing His work and His Kingdom is expanding throughout the world. He is calling His church to join Him in spreading the Good News of Christmas to all nations and tribes. I saw people celebrate Christmas in Muslim and Communist countries. But they did not really understand what Christmas is truly about. People welcome Christmas as a season of gifts and love. They did not realize Christmas also involves repentance and confession.

Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34). Never be sympathetic with the soul whose case makes you come to the conclusion that God is hard. God is more tender than we can conceive, and every now and again He gives us the chance of being the rugged one that He may be the tender One. If a man cannot get through to God it is because there is a secret thing (or sin) he does not intend to give up – “I will admit I have done wrong, but I do not intend to give up that thing or sinful habit.” It is impossible to deal sympathetically with a case like that: we have to get right deep down to the root problem until there is antagonism and resentment against the message because it hits the secret hid out of sins. People want the blessing of God, but they will not stand the thing that goes straight to their cover up problem or sin.

If God has had His way with you, your message as His servant is merciless insistence on the one line: cut down to the very root problem, otherwise there will be no healing at all. Drive home the message until there is no possible refuge from its application. Begin to get at people where they are until you get them to realize what they lack, and then erect the standard of Jesus Christ for their lives – they may say, "We never can reach that standard." Then you should drive it home, "Jesus Christ says you must." "But how can we be?" they may reply. "You cannot, unless you have a new Spirit in Christ."

There must be a sense of need before your message is of any use. Thousands of people are happy without God in this world. If I was happy and moral till Jesus came, why did He come? It was because that kind of happiness and peace is on a wrong level; Jesus Christ came to send a sword through every peace that is not based on a personal relationship to God Himself – eternal peace that builds upon the Truth of God.

We don’t want to irritate others by telling the truth that people don’t like to hear. We prefer to please than to heal. However, a patient prefers his doctor to tell the truth than to make him happy if he does not feel right. A student prefers his teacher to tell the truth if he makes a mistake, otherwise he will never improve. A sincere person also prefers his genuine friend to tell the truth about his blind spot even though it hurts. A responsible surgeon will cut open the flesh in order to heal a cancer, or cut out a limb in order to save a body from devastation. Jesus said, “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matt 18:8-9)

As we celebrate the birth of Christ – the Prince of Peace, let us be reminded the fact that Jesus did not come to bring a temporary peace but an eternal peace on earth. This eternal peace does involves a surgical knife or sword that cut through all lies or hidden sins. Without genuine repentance from sins there will be no genuine happiness and peace on earth or in our lives. I sincerely wish you a merry Christmas that comes with forgiveness of sins, which is a gift that only Christ can offer to mankind.

Love you in Christ,

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