Friday, November 6, 2009

Devotional 061109

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The weather makes me sleepy. Physically, I am very tired trying to meet the demands of both work and study. But I am excited to be fully engaged in learning. Pray that God will give me new strength each day in serving Him and grow in Him.

"Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:26) Martha believed in the power at the disposal of Jesus Christ, she believed that if He had been present He could have healed her brother; she also believed that Jesus had a peculiar intimacy with God and that whatever He asked of God, God would do; but she needed a closer personal intimacy with Jesus. Martha's program of belief had its fulfillment in the future; Jesus led her on until her belief became a personal possession, and then slowly emerged into a particular inheritance - "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ. . . "

Is there something like that in the Lord's dealings with you? Is Jesus educating you into a personal intimacy with Himself? Let Him press home His question to you - "Do you believe this?" What is your ordeal of doubt? Have you come, like Martha, to some overwhelming passage in your circumstances where your program of belief is about to emerge into a personal belief? This can never be until a personal need arises out of a personal problem.

To believe is to commit. In the program of mental belief I commit myself, and abandon all that is not related to that commitment. In personal belief I commit myself morally to this way of confidence and refuse to compromise with any other; and in particular belief I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ, and determine in that thing to be dominated by the Lord alone.

When I stand face to face with Jesus Christ and He says to me - "Do you believe this?" I find that faith is as natural as breathing, and I am staggered that I was so stupid as not to trust Him before.

Indeed, our faith in Christ usually remains on a cognitive level. Until one day when our faith is put on testing by some circumstances, we will not commit ourselves totally to His hands. When everything is so smooth and complacent, our faith in God is just to believe in His presence. We believe He exists. We believe Jesus is God. We believe God will help those who help themselves. We believe that following Christ will earn blessings from above. It is good to believe in Christ because He was a good man. If our faith is like what I have just described, we are at a primitive stage of faith. This faith has not be shaken or tested by real life challenges. We need to draw closer to God in order to withstand different challenges or temptations in life. Your intimacy with God is the only way to shelter you from all kinds of hidden attacks from Satan. That’s why Paul said, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand….take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:13, 16). The way to put on a full armor of God is to equip yourself with the Word of God on a daily basis. Satan will not wait until you are fully equipped before he attacks. Satan will not notify you ahead of time when he will launch his attack. It will be totally unexpected just like the gun man who suddenly stood up in a crowded medical facility at Fort Hood, Texas, and opened fire toward the unarmed soldiers. Walk intimately with Christ because you never know when your life will come to an end, or when Satan will launch his attack against you.

Please pray for my weekend ministry at a Yao Meinh’s Couple retreat. Yao Mienh is a people group from Southeast Asia. Many of them came to America as refugees after the Vietnam War. Some of them came to know Christ and had planted a church at East Bay. Pray that they will understand my message and workshop, which will all be conducted in English (I wished I could speak Mienh). Thanks. Will send you my devotional on Tuesday if not sooner. Do check out my block for latest pictures that I will take from the retreat. Wish you have a blessed weekend too!

Love you in Christ,

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