Monday, July 27, 2009

Devotional 270709

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is good to take a break after a busy weekend though it was fruitful and enjoyable. It is always a joy to rekindle relationship with some brothers and sisters in Christ whom I have not met for awhile. Some were former members of CPCC and had transferred membership to Sunset Chinese Baptist Church for a long time. Some had stop attending church and now returned. The love of God is so faithful to all His children. He watches over us and relentlessly seeks out for us; He constantly urges us to return to His circle of love. How blessed we are to have a Heavenly Father who lives within and among us. Praise the Lord!

"If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own" (John 7:17). The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience. If things are dark to me, then I may be sure there is something I will not do. Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something I do not intend to obey.

No man ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test over it. We disobey and then wonder why we don't go on spiritually. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift'” (Matt 5:23-24). The teaching of Jesus hits us where we live. We cannot stand as liar or hypocrite before Him for one second. He educates us down to the point of clearing our doubt or pretention. The Spirit of God uncovers the spirit of self-justification within us; He makes us sensitive to things we never thought of before.

When Jesus brings a thing home by His word, don't avoid it. If you do, you will become a religious hypocrite. Watch the things you try to avoid, and you will know why you do not go on spiritually. First go - at the risk of being thought fanatical you must obey what God tells you.

At the retreat I was given the topic of “Unity In The Gospel.” Gospel stands for reconciliation; it is reconciliation between men and God, and of course, men with men. Paul said, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility… His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility” (Eph 2:14-16). God wants us to experience this new life in Christ, which is a life of reconciliation. And He also expects us to live out this gospel in among our world. Reconciliation is my life message and so as yours. It is easy to preach the gospel or to do a gospel presentation in words, in comparing to live out the gospel within our network of relationship. I am sure we all understand the difficulty involved. Sometimes, we may want to reconcile with others but they may not be willing or ready to forgive. Sometimes our pride may get in the way to initiate reconciliation, “I will forgive only if he initiates to say sorry.” Sometimes our initiation to reconcile may generate suspicion or unnecessary fantasy to others like an “ex-lover.”

There are many scenario of reconciliation that requires different methodology to approach it. The bottom line is: “take action immediately or do not procrastinate.” Seek God for wisdom in terms of how to reconcile with someone who has something against you. Basically, what our Lord wants us to know is that “ministry or work can wait, but reconciliation cannot wait.” Do not use work or ministry to cover up or bury our interpersonal problem. Face it squarely and deal with it immediately, no matter how difficult it may be. Do not give Satan a foothold by harboring bitterness within you. Our Lord Jesus had destroyed the barrier by the power of the cross. All we need to do is to obey His word, and seek His guidance to make peace. “Live in harmony with one another…Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom 12:16-18). This is the kind of Body life that will please God and attract people to Christ too. Amen?

Love you for His pleasure,

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