Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Devotional 151209

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I came across a verse in the Book of Philemon that really stood out to me during our study at prayer meeting. Paul was sending Onesimus back to his master, from whom he ran away as a slave. In the old days, a Master could severely punish or even kill an escaped slave. I am sure it was a very scary experience for Onesimus to return to his master or owner without knowing what might happen. Paul used a very wise expression to describe this dilemma to Philemon, "Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good – no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother” (v 15-16). Philemon lost a slave but gain a brother in Christ. Onesimus no longer belong to Philemon as a slave but a brother. In another word, Philemon possessed Onesimus as a brother in Christ. In the Body of Christ, we belong to each other as member of the Body. This is indeed a profound mystery as Paul described in Ephesians 5:32a. But we are called to live out this kind of relationship on earth for the whole world to see.

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily - "I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say," the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone. Try to state to yourself what you feel implicitly to be God's truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.

Always make a practice of provoking your own mind to think out what it accepts easily. Our position is not ours until we make it ours by suffering. The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that you have difficulty to utter in life.

It is true that we always have difficulty to utter the experience that we have in Christ. We know the experience is true. But how can we put it into words that others can identify? The more you encounter God the more you find yourself inadequate in vocabularies to describe yourself. It takes time to sort it out or agonize it like delivering a baby; it is painful and time consuming. But at the end it is a tremendous joy to be able to describe your experience in Christ.

Writing this journal is my spiritual exercise. I did not write it for people to read. I am glad if this is helpful to you and others. But I write to interact with the words of God or the impression that God put in me through the journal of Brother Chambers. In another word, I wrote it for and to myself, even though it may sound like I am writing it to others. If you share the some agony to find words to express your experience in Christ, you are not alone. All of us share the same pain. You just need to take time to wait upon the Lord, and seek Him to grant you the words to put down on writing. Our brain waves goes too fast, and we will easily forget the impression or message that has come from above. Putting it down on writing helps me capture what God has spoken and impressed upon me. The more I calm down myself in silence and focus on God’s words, the more insight or words that I discover in expressing the truth. Have mercy on us O Lord. Give us the words to tell ourselves about your truth. We need your help to focus in silence. Amen.

Love you because you belong to me in Christ,

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