Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Devotional 300609

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I am back to office today even though my stubborn cough still follows me.
My few days of Sabbath were very helpful and fruitful. I managed to read some book and do some study for a course I took at Western Seminary. It is a very interesting course called Communicating Christ in Culture. It talks about how different cultural factors may affect the way we communicate Christ to different people in the world. The materials are very inspiring, but the course involves a lot of homework. I need to put on my student cap again.

"Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison" (Matthew 5:25). Jesus Christ is laying down this principle - Do what you know you must do, now, and do it quickly; if you do not, the inevitable process will begin to work and you will have to pay for the consequence in pain and agony and distress. God's laws are unalterable; there is no escape from them. The teaching of Jesus goes straight to the way we are made up.

To see that my adversary gives me my rights is natural; but Jesus says that it is a matter of eternal and imperative importance to me that I pay my adversary what I owe him. From our Lord's standpoint it does not matter whether I am deceived or not; what does matter is that I do not deceive. Am I insisting on my rights, or am I paying what I owe from Jesus Christ's standpoint?

Do the thing quickly, and bring yourself to judgment now. In moral and spiritual matters, you must do it at once; if you do not, the inevitable process will begin to work. God is determined to have His child as pure and clean and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will prevent none of the working of His spirit. Our insistence in proving that we are right is nearly always an indication that there has been some point of disobedience. No wonder the Spirit so strongly urges us to walk steadfastly in the light!

"Settle matters quickly with your adversary." Have you suddenly turned a corner in any relationship and found that you had anger in your heart? Confess it quickly, quickly put it right before God, be reconciled to that one - do it now.

Nothing is more damaging than unforgiving spirit or bitterness. It does not only condemn oneself to the hell of burning anger and corrupting health, it also hurts one’s family members and drives people away. That’s why Paul urged us, “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph 4:26-27). In most inter-personal relationship, anger was stirred by unfair incidence in life; you are absolutely innocent but people did evil to you or speak evil of you for no reason. But is it really true? Are we truly blameless and innocent? Have you ever pause and meditate on Paul’s words in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”? Does the word “all” include you or not? Before you consume all your energy to prove how other wrong you, confess your wrong before the Lord and let Him enable you to see your own disobedience on His Words.

The key strategy to deal with negative emotion is “don’t let it procrastinate or take root.” We tend to harbor it or subdue it. We thought negative emotion would not bother us if we busy ourselves we something else. But it will come back to haunt on you again from time to time, especially at your most unexpected moment of life. So deal with it quick. Settle the grief in the grace of our Lord Jesus. Jesus has paid your adversary the high price for you on the cross, you just need to confess your sins and claim His promise of forgiveness by faith. Moreover, you also exercise forgiveness as a response to His grace.

Love you because of this Grace,

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