Thursday, February 18, 2010

Devotional 180210

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The tree in my backyard is totally covered with bright red flowers in announcing the coming of spring. Trees outside of my office window are also budding with little green leaves even though they still look kind of barren. Little birds are feeding on those fresh green leaves for breakfast. They are so noisy in singing praises to God for His wonderful provision of daily fresh meal. It reminds me to do the same when I am enjoying a fresh new day with all the provisions that my Creator God has graciously given to me.

If the LORD had not been on our side-- let Israel say--if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us, when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.… (Psalm 124:1-5). The proper work for the Christian is witness, not apology, and Psalm 124 is an excellent model. It does not argue God’s help; it does not explain God’s help; it is a testimony of God’s help in the Form of a song. The song is so vigorous, so confident, so bursting with what can only be called reality, that it fundamentally changes our approach and our questions. No longer does it seem of the highest priority to ask, “Why did this happen to me. Why do I feel left alone?” Instead we ask, “How does it happen that there are people who sing with such confidence, ‘God is our help’?” The psalm is data that must be accounted for and the data are so solid, so vital, have so much more substance and are so much more interesting than the other things we hear through the day that it must be dealt with before we can go back to the whimpering complaints.

If it had not been the LORD who was on our side, let Israel now say—if it had not be the LORD who was on our side, when men rose Lip against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then over us would have gone the aging waters.” The witness is vivid and contagious. One person announces the theme, and everyone joins in. God’s help is not a private experience; it is a corporate reality—not an exception that occurs among isolated strangers, but the norm among the people of God.

Christians saw God at work from time to time while pre-Christian friends did not see it at all. It wasn’t God not doing anything for pre-Christian friends. It was the problem with the focus. When we focus on our relationship with God from time to time, we saw how He at work around us and among His children. It is a reality that God is actively working among His people; He either uses the environment to save us or shape us. Pre-Christian friends may describe God’s miraculous intervention as ‘coincidence.’ But when ‘coincidence’ happens on a daily basis, it cannot be coincidence any more. It is a ‘pattern’ or ‘norm’ of how God at work among His people. When one Christian shares his or her testimony of how God at work, all other Christians echo and affirm such experience to be true, because it also happened to them before. Therefore, don’t stop sharing your testimony. It helps to bring out more echoes of praises and thanksgiving from among the hearers.

Love you as fellow witnesses of Christ,

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