Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Devotional 080909

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is good to be back again. The preaching trip was very fruitful. God gave me opportunity to serve as His channel of words to His own church at El Paso. I was asked to preach in Mandarin and translate myself to English at the same time. Both languages are not my mother tongues, and it was challenging to switching back and forth in language, but stay focus on the message. By God’s grace, the 7 messages were well received (at least people understood the messages). My prayer was that my delivery would not interrupt God’s words for His church. And God answered this prayer. Pray that this church in the desert continue to become the oasis for people who thirst for God.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Deliverance from sin is not deliverance from human nature. There are things in human nature, such as prejudices, which the saint has to destroy by neglect; and other things which have to be destroyed by violence, that is by the Divine strength imparted by God's Spirit. There are some things over which we are not to fight, but to stand still in and see the salvation of God; but every theory or conception which erects itself as a wall against the knowledge of God is to be determinedly demolished by drawing on God's power, not by fleshly endeavor or compromise, just as Paul said, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (v. 4).

It is only when God has altered our character and we have entered into the experience of sanctification that the fight begins. The warfare is not against sin; we can never fight against sin: Jesus Christ deals with sin in Redemption. The conflict is along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life, and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily. It is done only by a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence, and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices. These choices are continually in opposition to the habits of our natural life, the things which erect themselves as walls against the knowledge of God. We can either surrender to our nature to make ourselves of no account in the Kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things and let Jesus bring another person to glory.

Spirituality is a battle of choices. It was the free will of man that had caused him to sin in the first place; to eat the forbidden fruit. So the spiritual battle field is always in the area of our free will – choices to follow His will or our own flesh, choices to love or hate; choices to trust or afraid, choices to rejoice or worry…the list just goes on and on. There are so many things in life that challenge our faith and attitudes. We don’t know whether we should listen to our natural instincts or to our new nature in Christ. Sometimes we want to choose Christ but our nature protests. We are in this constant battle each day; and that’s how we stumble and fall. We lean to take one day or one battle at a time. We learn to yield to God at each battle. We need to re-educate our mind each day like the psalmist did, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11). We need to engage in this kind of “soul teaching” session whenever temptation knocks on our door. Call upon the name of the Lord and declare His lordship over us, Satan will go away temporarily but wait for another opportunity to resume his attack. So take caution. Stay close to fellowship with the saints. Hold each other accountable, and you will experience spiritual growth more than you can ever imagine.

Love you in Christ,

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