Monday, December 7, 2009

Devotional 071209

Dear brothers and sisters,
It feels like I have been away for a long time though it was only two weeks. Thanks very much for your prayer. I had a fruitful journey in visiting Hong Kong, Macau, China and ministry in New York and Pennsylvania. Even though it covered a lot of places, the journey was not too exhausting. I just had to make myself fall asleep every night. Praise God for allowing me to participate in the expansion ceremony of my brother’s factory in China, witnessing God’s provision of a new facility for our church in Macau, speaking at a Mission conference for all North American Chinese churches and preaching in a Chinese Church in New Jersey for the first time. Thank God for using me as a channel of His blessing to different people at different times. After all, this is what God intended for our role to be on earth since the day of Abraham: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen 12:3b).

"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret" (2 Corinthians 7:10). Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses a man's conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God - "against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight." The marvels of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven man who is the holy man, he proves he is forgiven by being the opposite to what he was, by God's grace. Repentance always brings a man to this point: I have sinned. The surest sign that God is at work is when a man says that and means it. Anything less than this is remorse for having made mistake, the reflex action of disgust at himself.

The entrance into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance crashing into a man's respectable goodness; then the Holy Spirit, Who produces these agonies, begins the formation of the Son of God in the life. The new life will manifest itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness, never the other way about. The bedrock of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a man cannot repent when he chooses; repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for "the gift of tears." If ever you cease to know the virtue of repentance, you are in darkness. Examine yourself and see if you have forgotten how to be sorry.

We never seek for gift of repentance. We are afraid or sorry to be caught in sins but not necessary for the sin itself. We seek for gifts of joy and affluence but not gifts of tears and sorrow. When our whole orientation is about earthly comfort and enjoyment, we will not concern so much about the Kingdom of God or holy living; both require self denial and conscious desire of the goodness of God. Our human nature will not desire for the nature of God because it is contradictory to our natural and sinful inclination. It is indeed the gift of God for us to desire His nature in us and His cleansing of our sinful self. If it is not the intervention of God, we will not naturally ask for His cleansing work within our souls. Have mercy on us O Lord. Give us the spirit of repentance as you reveal to us your holiness and love.

Love you in His Holiness,

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