Friday, February 19, 2010

Devotional 190210

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. There is so much to catch up and deal with after the merging of two organizations. Numerous emails, phone calls and meetings have been dedicated to iron out our differences. It is like martial adjustment between two persons, who are so different in background and personality, trying to become one in marriage. There are many questions and suspicions on why other party or team does not do according to the way we do? It indeed requires divine intervention for two teams to truly become one. Please pray for our unity in Christ.

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:44-47). John Calvin, preaching to his congregation in Geneva, Switzerland, pointed out to his parishioners that we must develop better and deeper concepts of happiness from those held by the world which makes a happy life to consist in “ease, honors, and great wealth.”

Psalm 128 helps us do that. Too much of the world’s happiness depends on taking from one to satisfy another. To increase my standard of living, someone in another part of the world must lower his. The worldwide crisis of hunger that we face today is a result of that method of pursuing happiness. Industrialized nations acquire appetites for more and more luxuries and higher and higher standards of living, and increasing numbers of people are made poor and hungry. It doesn’t have to be that way. The experts on the world hunger problem say that there is enough to go around right now. We don’t have a production problem. We have the agricultural capability to produce enough food. We have the transportation technology to distribute the food. But we have a greed problem: if I don’t grab mine while I can, I might not be happy. The hunger problem is not going to be solved by government or by industry, but in church, among Christians who learn a different way to pursue happiness.

I agree that our happiness is defined by the world. One of the main things that we should not conform to the world is the standard of happiness. Without we know it we have picked up what the world tells us about the secret of happiness: to possess more wealth and more fame. Mass media bombards us with the glamorous and happy pictures of movie star and celebrities, as though they held the secret of happiness. Our children want to become rich and famous because the Media tells them that this is the goal of life. Is it really the case? Most parents do not have any complain on this kind of influence. They use this standard as motivation for education, “if you have better education, you will become rich and famous like those celebrities on TV. Therefore study harder.”

Christians are not immune from this kind of worldly temptation. Many will avoid any Biblical teaching on simple lifestyle or self-denial as extreme or unrealistic ideal. They attend church but not necessarily endorse wholeheartedly to the Word of God. Giving one self and money for example, are direct opposite to the goal of worldly happiness: rich and famous. But at the end of the day, their lives are not happy nor fulfilled even though they try. Moreover, they cease to become light and salt of the world. The world cannot be a better place when even the church conforms to the endless pursuit of materialistic wealth and economic manipulation of the poor. Before we condemn the world for their sins, we Christians need to confess our sins and repent from our worldly lifestyle and greed problem. Have mercy on us O Lord!

Love you with the passion of Christ,

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