Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. It is such a beautiful cold day – it is fun in wearing heavy jacket on a sunny day. I am excited to celebrate Christmas with the senior citizens fellowship at Chinatown today. O how I missed worship at my home church with these brothers and sisters – they are truly my good OLD friends in ChristJ. Praise the Lord for their faithfulness and support for my ministry. They are more than my friends; they are my parents and grand parents in the Lord. Amen.
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44). When God draws me, the issue of my will comes in at once - will I react on the revelation which God gives - will I come to Him? Discussion on spiritual matters is impolite. Never discuss with anyone when God speaks. Belief is not an intellectual act; belief is a moral act whereby I deliberately commit myself. Will I dump myself down absolutely on God and transact on what He says? If I will, I shall find I am based on Reality that is as sure as God's throne.
In preaching the gospel, always push an issue of will. Belief must be the will to believe. There must be a surrender of the will, not surrender to persuasive power, a deliberate launching forth on God and on what He says until I am no longer confident in what I have done, I am confident only in God. The hindrance is that I will not trust God, but only my mental understanding. As far as feelings go, I must stake all blindly. I must will to believe, and this can never be done without a violent effort on my part to disassociate myself from my old ways of looking at things, and by putting myself right over on to Him.
Every man is made to reach out beyond his grasp. It is God who draws me, and my relationship to Him in the first place is a personal one, not an intellectual one. I am introduced into the relationship by the miracle of God and my own will to believe, then I begin to get an intelligent appreciation and understanding of the wonder of the transaction.
It is the leap of faith that we always have problem with. We can’t understand how intellectual people will give up the comfort of their own home and profession but go to far away places to suffer for the gospel? Not only that, they even prefer to die in a foreign soil. What make intelligent people take such a leap of faith? None can give better answer than the person himself. Paul is a good example. None could understand why he would give up his prestigious status to become an evangelist for a religious sect. After hearing the story of Paul, King Agrippa cried out, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Your great learning is driving you insane” (Acts 26:24). For those who had never touched by God in the same way would never understand why Paul did what he did. But this special encounter of Paul completely changed his life. Good thing Paul was not married. Otherwise he had hard time to explain to his wife when he returned from Damascus as a changed person. And his livelihood completely turned upside down for Christ.
Majority of Christians will not share dramatic conversion like Paul. But God will visit us in an unexpected manner. We may not be able to explain to others what had happened, but deep down inside, you know this is the work of God. The more you tried to explain the more it sounds too mythical and irrational to your hearers. At the end, you prefer like Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, who became a dumb person after he had encountered God in the Temple (read Luke 1:22). Ask the Lord to send you someone like Ananias for Paul, who could affirm his experience was something from the Lord, “Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17). May God bless you with His presence as you seek to walk with Him each day!
Love you in Christ,