Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Devotional 060509

Dear brothers and sisters,
Thanks for your prayers for our trip to the Middle East. It was definitely a fruitful and meaningful one. To me, the most touching experiences were to worship with some Chinese believers in the desert of Dubai. Their company will not allow them to conduct any Christian activities at their dormitory (they call it a camp) or even outside of it. Therefore, they need to meet in some hidden area in the desert away from their camp. The other experience was to hear the testimony of Turkish Christians. They paid high price to become a Christian. Family, relatives, friends and community will reject and disown them – they consider them a disgrace to change their Turkish identity from Muslim to Christian (it shows on their ID card). They will loss their job and any future employment or even business relationship. They were the outcast of the country and constantly under death threat. That’s why there are only 3 thousands some Christians in Turkey of more than 67 millions people, even though the country allows religious freedom. I deliberately asked this Turkish pastor, “Is Christ worth their cost?” With a smile on his face he said, “Definitely worth it. Our cost to follow Christ is nothing in comparing with what Christ did for us on the Cross. He suffered even more rejections than ours.” It made me reflect on what the price we pay to become a follower of Christ in America…

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). A spiritually minded man will never come to you with the demand - "Believe this and that;" but with the demand that you square your life with the standards of Jesus. We are not asked to believe the Bible, but to believe the One Whom the Bible reveals. Jesus warned teachers of the Scripture at His time, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39-40). We are called to present liberty of conscience, not liberty of view point. If we are free with the liberty of Christ, others will be brought into that same liberty - the liberty of realizing the dominance or Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Always keep your life measured by the standards of Jesus. Bow your neck to His yoke alone and to no other yoke whatsoever; and be careful to see that you never bind a yoke on others that is not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God's view. There is only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don't get impatient, remember how God dealt with you - with patience and with gentleness; but never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples of all nations," but not "make converts to your opinions or even your theology."

Have mercy on us O Lord! Give us the discernment that we need to share with others about our relationship with You. Calm our passions to convince others about our opinion towards things and the Bible. Instead, help us walk closely with You each day, and put You first in our priorities. As we share our faith with others, help us shar it sincerely and lovingly.

Though Apostle Paul was a powerful missionary and eloquent preacher, he cautioned his spiritual son, Timothy with this final word, “The Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim 2:24-26). It was indeed an important attitude as we share our faith with others. Try not to put other people down as though you know better than they do. We are asked to share our testimony and our relationship with the Lord as sincere as possible. God will do His part in convicting people from within their hearts. That’s how many Muslims came to know the Lord when Christians had shared about their faith with them not in a forceful but gentle way. It may take longer period of time to see the harvest. But it is certainly God’s way and timing but not ours.

May God strengthen your walk with Him today as always!

Love you in Christ,

Ps. I will show you the pictures I took in my blog

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