Thursday, April 1, 2010

Devotional 010410

Dear brothers and sisters
Good morning. He is risen! Indeed our Lord is alive today!!! May Easter once again remind you of the foundation of your faith in Him! If our Lord was not raised from the dead, your faith is futile and you are to be pitied more than all men (1 Cor 15:19b). Loretta and I will visit our daughter and son-in-law in Southern California tomorrow. We look forward to spending the Easter weekend with them. If you don’t hear from me again, I wish you and your family to have a meaningful and blessed Easter celebration.

Jesus said, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?” (Mark 8:35-37 Message) America is in conspicuous need of unselfing. Concerned observers using the diagnostic disciplines of psychology, sociology, economics and theology lay the blame for the deterioration of our public life and the disintegration of our personal lives at the door of the self; we have a self problem and that problem is responsible for everything else that is going wrong…

In Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s extensively reported and now famous sermon to America, delivered in 1978 at Harvard University, he said, “We have placed too much hope in politics and social reforms. Only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life. It is trampled by the party mob in the East, by the commercial one in the West.” What the journalists did not report – not a single expert has mentioned it – is that a significant number of people are actually doing something about Solzhenitsyn’s concern… The work is prayer.

Remember. Prayer is the action that gets us in touch with and develops the most comprehensive relationships – self, God, community, creation, government, culture. We are born into a web of relationships and continue in it throughout our lifetimes. But we often don’t feel like it. We feel isolated, cut off, fragmented, out of touch. We do not tolerate such isolation very well and move out to overcome it: we call up a neighbor, join a club, write a letter, and get married. The disparate attempts accumulate. The self is less isolated. Society is less fragmented. The facts add up. But if we do not pray, they do not add up to enough: in prayer and only in prayer are we able to enter the complexity and depth of the dynamic and interrelated whole. A failure to pray is not a harmless omission; it is a positive violation of both self and the society. “Pray for us. We have no doubts about what we're doing or why, but it's hard going and we need your prayers. All we care about is living well before God. Pray that we may be together soon” (Hebrews 13:18-19 Message).

We may feel like it is a spiritual overtone to change the world through prayer. We underestimate the power of prayer. To most Christians, prayer is nothing but a religious practice of good faith or good wishes for others. We don’t necessary believe prayer can really change things. Prayer may give us positive energy and will power to deal with the unknown future. Prayer does not replace our effort or hard work to make things happen. But this is not the way people prayed in the Bible and in church history. They sincerely believe that prayer can change history and the world. Do you? As we are entering into the holy week of Easter, let’s re-affirm our faith in the ONE who can raise death to life. And He is the ONE who does not only call us to pray but to pray for us in the heavenly realm each day (Rom 8:26). He prays. He saves. He leads. He changes the world…

Love you through prayer,

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