Friday, April 17, 2009

Devotional 170409

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. This is my last day in office before I depart for Middle East on Sunday. Therefore, you will not hear from me for at least two weeks if not longer. I will return on May 4th if our flight is on time. Please remember our journey as our itinerary of visiting three countries is fully packed. Pray that our team will be safe and healthy throughout the trip. Our missionary in Turkey warned us that there might be a huge demonstration in the country on May 1st that could turn violent. Therefore, he has to cancel our original plan of filming the ministry and people in the region. Regardless, my heart remains peaceful with this trip, knowing that our Lord Jesus will be with us no matter where we go and what we may encounter. It is because He is the Lord of Harvest and the Commander in Chief of our Missions. Amen?

"Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him . . . and did cast himself into the sea" (John 21:7). Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything? It is a crisis of will. You may come up to it many times externally, but it does not affect you at all. The real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally. The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage from within.

Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ? It is a transaction of will, not of emotion; the emotion is simply the side effect of the transaction. If you allow emotion come first, you will never make the transaction. Do not ask God what the transaction is to be, but make it in regard to the thing you do see, either in the shallow or the profound place.

If you have heard Jesus Christ's voice in the midst of stormy seas in life, don’t be afraid of the winds, but maintain your relationship to Him. Since Jesus is on the boat with us, we don’t need to worry about the turmoil of life. Remember the incidence when the disciples suddenly encountered a forceful storm while they were in the Sea of Galilee. “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don't you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” (Mark 4:38-40)

This story means a lot to us who are suffering in economic tsunami. For those of us who have the Holy Spirit dwelt within us or on the same boat with us, do we react like the disciples? Will we blame God like the disciples did to Jesus for being careless for us, as though He asleep or slumbers? I believe that Jesus knew what was happening on the boat. Could you imagine how it would be like when you were in the midst of stormy sea? I don’t think anyone can sleep no matter how tired they may be. Stormy waves would have tossed you around and seawater w0uld totally wet your whole body…how could you sleep in such condition? It was really amazing that Jesus could lie there motionless according to Scripture. To me the moral of the story is how Jesus wanted to test the faith of His disciples. As a matter of fact, God does use suffering to test our faith like the way He did to Jobs and others. Apostle James said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3). May God drive you closer to Him when storm attacks your boat. Our Lord Jesus did not promise a life without suffering. But He promised that He would not forsake us even when life seems totally hopeless. Eternal hope and Heaven are our ultimate assurance and strength in life; it is how the saints in the past sailed through their stormy seas and made a tremendous difference in human history. Let’s build on their legacy today…

Love you with this Hope in Him,

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