Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Devotional 020909

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I hope you had a good start today. Life is so abundant in Christ each day. There are so much we can utilize our potentials for His Kingdom and for the well beings of others. Our primary calling is not to meet the needs of the world. Honestly we can never fulfill the needs of people in this world. We are called to glorify God in whatever we do in our lives. And the way to glorify God is by submitting to His agenda – His salvation plan for mankind. As Paul said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18), our needs don’t matter much when we are anticipating or participating in the glory of God. That’s why we should change our focus from ‘inward looking – to our own needs and satisfaction’ to ‘outward looking – to God’s glory and His salvation plan for all.’

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:38). Jesus did not say - "Whoever believes in me shall realize the blessing of the fullness of God," but - "Whoever believes in me out of him shall escape everything he receives." Our Lord's teaching is always anti-self-realization. His purpose is not the development of a man; His purpose is to make a man exactly like Himself, and the characteristic of the Son of God is self-denial. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that really counts. It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.

When Mary of Bethany broke the jar of precious ointment and poured it on Jesus' head, it was an act for which no one else saw any occasion; the disciples said it was a waste. But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion, and said that wherever His gospel was preached "this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Our Lord is carried beyond Himself with joy when He sees any of us doing what Mary did, not being set on this or that economy, but being abandoned to Him. God spilt the life of His Son that the world might be saved; are we prepared to spill out our lives for Him?

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” - hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. It is time now to break the life, to cease craving for satisfaction, and to spill the thing out. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him?

Instead of seeing ourselves as the receiving end of God’s blessings, seek to be the channel of God’s blessings to others. This is what Christian life is all about. But in a “me” generation that we are in today, we always uphold our personal rights and satisfaction more than others’ rights and satisfactions. We prefer someone sacrifice for us, than we sacrifice for others. We expect to get more than to give more. That’s why marriage breaks up and family dissolves in this post-modern society; in a narcissistic society that we are in, people will only become more egocentric or self-centered. If they were to look for a religion or church, they would “shop” for one that gives them the most of what they want and less demands in return. If Jesus were to live and preach in America today, I guess many would properly ignore Him as religious idiot. Will you? But this kind of “self giving and self-denial” life is the kind of abundant life that Christ came to offer us. That’s why Paul reminded the elders of Ephesus, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts 20:35). Indeed, the word picture I like the most about our calling is a public fountain – people will come to look for us when they are thirst. The fountain itself cannot offer anything that quench the thirst of people; it is only a vessel that connect to the source of living water, which can really quench the thirst of sojourners. We may be easily ignored or regarded as just another piece of ‘thing’ on the sidewalk. But when people are thirst they will come to you for living water. So, don’t underestimate your calling as just a public fountain, and stay connected to the source of Living Water – our Lord Jesus Christ each day. You never know when God will bless others through you some day.

Love you by His calling,

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