Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Devotional 070709

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The news is dominated by the funeral of Michael Jackson this morning. Many were so happy to win a lottery ticket to mourn the loss of their idol. This is another strange phenomenon of the American culture. People throughout the world will temporarily put away their concern for bad economy or international terrorism, and focus on the loss of a popular singer. The city is bankrupt but have to pay millions of taxpayer’s money for the sake of one person’s funeral. Imagine how big an impact one life could make to the lives of millions. So, don’t underestimate what your life can do to the people around you. Michael Jackson’s success did not come without a price tag. He sacrificed a lot (his own well being and his family) to build his fame and career. At the end, did he really enjoy the fruits of his labor? Is it worthy of the cost eternally? We may not have answer for these questions, but somthing for us to think about!

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult. The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?

God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus; He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it. If we fail, it is because we have not practiced. The crisis will reveal whether we have been practicing or not. If we obey the Spirit of God and practice in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.

Thank God He does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it is also a heroic, holy thing. It tests us for all we are worth. Jesus is bringing many "sons" unto glory, and God will not shield us from the requirements of a son. God's grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not cowards. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to live the noble life of a disciple of Jesus in actual things. It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble.

As one politician lately said, “only dead fish follows the flow.” Salmons particularly are famous for their strength to swim against the flow of strong currents toward upstream. Their goal is to reach the place where they came from or the destiny of their life journey. To them, it is the call of nature to perform such impossible task. I don’t know why God choose to design Salmon with such a unique nature or characteristic. But the life of this little creature does challenge us to think about our own life in Christ. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” God has given the followers of Christ a new nature; this new nature is to become the ambassador of Christ. Our new destiny is to become like Christ – to fulfill the salvation plan of God. We no longer exist for our own comfort or our own ambition; we exist for the noble call of this new nature in Christ. Just like the Salmons endure suffering and brave all risk, not for the sake of their own interest, but for the purpose of fulfilling their life mission of giving birth to a new generation at the place where they came from. What is your life mission or divine calling of your new nature in Christ? God may not call you to be full time missionary or minister. But He definitely has a plan for you as He bestows this new nature of Christ into yours. Don’t be afraid of difficulties or dangers ahead of you as you contemplate on your life mission. It will turn out to be a roller-coaster ride that is full of fun and excitement by His grace.

Have a very blessed day in pursuit of His higher call for your life….

Love you as His new creation,

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