Thursday, June 4, 2009

Devotional 040609

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It was good to be able to sleep in a little bit longer. Enough sleep is important for meditation and ministry. We thank God for giving us the opportunity to draw close to Him each day. But we want to make sure the spiritual receptivity of our brain is in good condition to interact with Him. Therefore, a balanced life is the prerequisite of effective Christian living and ministry.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’" (Hebrews 13:5). What line does my thought take? Does it turn to what God says or to what I fear? Am I learning to say not what God says, but to say something after I have heard what He says? He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

"I will in no way forsake you." – He will not forsake me for all my sin and selfishness, stubbornness and disobedience. Have I really let God say to me that He will never fail me? If I have listened to this proclamation of God, then let me listen again.

"Never will I forsake you." Sometimes it is not difficulty that makes me think whether God will forsake me or not, but hard work. There is no difficult hill to climb, no vision given, nothing wonderful or beautiful, just the commonplace day in and day out - can I hear God's say-so in these things?

We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and bye, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God's say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways.

The author of Hebrews was urging believers of the early church to stand firm in their faith and Christ-centered lifestyle. He urged them to “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers… Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:1-3). Moreover, he also admonished them to remain faithful to their marriage, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (v. 4), before he came to the passage we study today. It is definitely not easy to resist temptations in the first century as it is today. We are all human being and imperfect. We have no strength in our nature to resist temptation that is so appealing to our flesh. It is so common to hear stories of how sincere Christians failed in their marriage and moral conducts nowadays. As the judgment day of this world is quickly approaching, many will loss heart and give up their Christ-centered lifestyle as well as their compassion for needy people among them. They will say, “Forget it. I will never be perfect anyway. Why should I make myself conform to Christ-likeness? Why can’t I conform to the trend of this world and enjoy my ‘freedom’ to entertain my flesh instead?” You will fear the little voice of God saying to you, “I love you and I will not forsake you,” when you struggle with your flesh today. You are not alone. Talk to a trusted friend in Christ, and let us pray for one another in dealing with our temptation in this world.

Love you with the mind of Christ,

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