Friday, June 5, 2009

Devotional 050609

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. There is no hope greater than the one Christ offered through His empty tomb. The power of His resurrection shined on the face of martyrs throughout centuries. These Christians braved the persecutions by trusting in the promise of their resurrected Lord, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…” (John 11:25). Today in America, we don’t need to exercise such faith to face deadly persecution. We need to exercise faith to face our personal issues such as work, marriage, parenting and financial difficulties etc. At times they may be as challenging or hopeless as facing life and death decision. We need to exercise our faith to trust in the promise of the One who had went through hell, but won the victory of life on our behalf.

"…God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"" (Hebrews 13:5-6) My say-so is to be built on God's say-so. God says - "I will never leave you," then I can say with good courage - "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid" - I will not be haunted by hesitation. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God's say-so. I will be full of courage, like a child "bucking himself up" to reach the standard his father wants. Faith in many a one falters when the apprehensions come, they forget the meaning of God's say-so, forget to take a deep breath spiritually. The only way to get the anxiety taken out of us is to listen to God's say-so.

What are your anxieties? You are not a coward about it, you are going to face it, but there is a feeling of fear. When there is nothing and no one to help you, say - "But the Lord is my Helper, this second, in my present outlook." Are you learning to say things after listening to God, or are you saying things and trying to make God's word fit in? Get hold of the Father's say-so, and then say with good courage - "I will not be afraid." It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in the way, He has said - "Never will I leave you."

Frailty is another thing that gets in between God's say-so and ours. When we realize how weak we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God becomes an insignificant person. Remember God's say-so - "I will never forsake you." Have we learned to sing after hearing God's melody? Are we always possessed with the courage to say - "The Lord is my helper," or are we surrendering to our fear whenever difficulty comes our way?

The whole world is facing the threat of economic tsunami. You may be one of the victims in this global problem. No matter how deep you may feel like under water as if you would never be able to bounce back again, remember what your parent or coach had said to you before at your first swimming lesson, “Don’t be afraid. Relax and your body will float on water. My hands are always ready to hold you when you are drowned. You don’t need to be afraid.” Yes, the Lord has promised to be our helper at all times. But can we really trust His Word? Or do we choose to imprison ourselves in our own fear or anxiety instead? Paul and Silas chose to pray and praised God in their prison, with absolutely no certainty of what their future might hold. Then a miracle happened, “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose” (Acts 16:26).

I like the way the Bible described this incidence in Acts. It gives me insight on two things: 1) the foundation of their prison were shaken – when God delivers us from our prison or problem, He will deal with the ‘root or foundation’ of our problem as well. 2) Everybody’s chains came loose – when God comes to our rescue, He does not deliver us alone; even our neighbors (no matter whether they deserve to be in prison or not) will get the blessings as well. We don’t know how long our crisis or problem may last. Let’s look up to God in prayer and praises. He may cause ‘an earthquake’ to uproot our problem and deliver our whole community from this helpless situation.

Have a blessed weekend to rest and serve the Lord!

Love you in His presence,

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