Friday, April 23, 2010

Devotional 230410

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Can’t believe it is Friday already! When life is so full of excitement and challenge, you don’t have time to count your date. And I am flying to seminary again this Sunday. Please remember me in your prayer that I will be able to focus on my study in the next two weeks. There are two major papers from my previous two classes that are due by the end of May. Pray that God will give me energy and right attitude to enjoy the studying process. Indeed, I learned a lot in the last couple of months. Praise the Lord!

Before Jeremiah knew God, God knew Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” This turns everything we ever thought about God around. We think that God is an object about which we have questions. We are curious about God. , We make inquiries about God. We read books about God. We get into late night bull sessions about God. We drop into church from time to time to see what is going on with God. We indulge in an occasional sunset or symphony to cultivate a feeling of reverence for God. But that is not the reality of our lives with God. Long before we ever got around to asking questions about God, God has been questioning us. Long before we got interested in the subject of God, God subjected us to the most intensive and searching knowledge. Before it ever crossed our minds that God might be important God singled us out as important. Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us. We are known before we know. “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day” (Psalm 139:16).

What is God doing? He is saving; he is rescuing; he is blessing; he is providing; he is judging; he is healing; he is enlightening. There is a spiritual war in progress, an all-out moral battle. There is evil and cruelty, unhappiness and illness. There is superstition and ignorance, brutality and pain. God is in continuous and energetic battle against all of it. God is for life and against death. God is for love and against hate. God is for hope and against despair. God is for heaven and against hell. There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square foot of space is contested.

Jeremiah, before he was born, was enlisted on God’s side in this war. He wasn’t given a few years in which to look around and make up his mind which side he would be on, or even whether he would join a side at all. He was already chosen as a combatant on God’s side. And so are we all. No one enters existence as a spectator. We either take up the life to which we have been consecrated or we traitorously defect from it. We cannot say, “Hold it! I am not quite ready. Wait until I have sorted things out” (E. E Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed). For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:3-5).

When we encounter evil in the world, we do not ask whether God is on our side or not, but rather whether we are on God’s side or not. We Chinese cherish the ‘modesty principle.’ We don’t want to go extreme to one way or the other. We don’t want to eat too much meat or too much vegetable. We want to be right in the middle properly in all things in life. We thought it would be ideal to achieve “modesty or middle ground.” In many ways this principle helps Chinese to achieve compromise in conflict resolution and in building good eating habit. But it does not serve well for taking side between good and evil. If we try to put our foot on two sides, we will be torn into two. God will not pull you to His side but Satan will. God respects the free will that He has given you as His ultimate gift for mankind. He will open His arms to wait for your response. Will you accept His invitation to stand on His side in the spiritual warfare of this world? Or you will allow Satan to pull you into his camp…

Love you by His power,

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