Thursday, May 20, 2010

Devotional 200510

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it. Every day is a great day because it is a gift from above. I thank God for giving me another new day to experience His wonderful grace and mercy. If we focus on the faithfulness of God and learn to count His blessings each day, nothing can detour us into finding satisfactions by worldly means. The core of spiritual discipline is learning to choose godliness in our encountering with all things and all people in life.

There are a thousand ways of being religious without submitting to Christ’s lordship, and people are practiced in most of them. We live in golden calf country. Religious feeling runs high but in ways far removed from what was said on Sinai and done on Calvary. While everyone has a hunger for God, deep and insatiable, none of us has any great desire for Him. What we really want is to be our own gods and to have whatever other gods that are around to help us in this work. We are trained from an early age to be discriminating consumers on our way to higher standards of living. It should be no great surprise to pastors when congregations expect us to collaborate in this enterprise. But it is serious apostasy when we go along. “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought a great sin upon them?’” (Exodus 32:21). Aaron’s excuse is embarrassingly lame but more than matched by the justifications pastors make for abandoning worship in our enthusiasm to make the congregation flourishingly successful.

Our Lord Jesus predicted what would be coming,"Brother will betray brother to death and a father to his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:21-22).

It is not easy to stand counter-currently against consumerism that is taking place around us. It is almost like a choice between being faithful to Biblical mandate and being rejected by religious consumers. It is hard to grow a church without compromising to the needs and expectations of your consumers in the congregation. Even though the word of the Lord is not taking place in the church of America yet, the trend is leaning toward this direction: majority of people in this nation will hate you because of your steadfastness in Biblical principles. But the promise of God also affirms those submitting to Christ’s lordship: those who remain faithful till the end will be saved.

Can we slow down the growth of church if it means compromising to consumerism? Can we give up a building project for new sanctuary if it has to please the religious consumers who donate to the project, by building a golden calf? I still remember the gentle word of this little nun from Calcutta, Mother Teresa: “we are not called to be successful but to be faithful.” In this world preoccupied by desire for success, let’s be reminded that we are called to be faithful – faithful to God’s words, faithful to His priority or value system, and faithful to Christ who is the author of our faith and salvation. A great awakening is on the way, I pray that a great revival will come upon the Body of Christ in North America. The Church in America is not dead yet. She is very much alive and strong but among the ethnic community in America. Praise God that there are still faithful remnants who stand firm in their faith today. Just as God affirmed Prophet Elijah in his hopeless uncertainty, “I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal (materialism, consumerism and individualism etc.) and all whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 King 19:18). God has preserved and will continue to raise up His prayer warriors to turn the spiritual tide. Remember. The victory was secured on the cross two thousands years ago. We just need to be courageously watchful and don’t let the dying evil force to lure us into its scheme of destruction.

Stand with you in Christ,

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