Friday, May 21, 2010

Devotional 210510

Dear brother and sister,
Good morning. I will be leaving tonight for my preaching trip to Toronto, Canada, and it will embark a preaching marathon that involves 30 sermons and 5 geographical locations until July. You may not hear from me during this period of time. Hope that you will remember me in prayer, and continue to draw close to the Lord each day for your own well being.

All men and women hunger for God. The hunger is masked and misinterpreted in many ways, but it is always there. Everyone is on the verge of crying out “My Lord and my God!” but the cry is drowned out by doubts or defiance, muffled by the dull ache of their routines, masked by their cozy accommodations with mediocrity. Then something happens-a word, an event, a dream---there is a push toward awareness of an incredible Grace, a dazzling Desire, a defiant Hope, a courageous Faithfulness. But awareness, as such, is not enough. Untended, it trickles into religious sentimentalism or romantic blubbering. Or, worse, it hardens into patriotic arrogance or hypocritical pride like Pharisees. The pastor is there to push the awareness past subjectivities and ideologies into the open and say “God.”

You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant (Timothy 4:3-5).

This is how Satan wants to accomplish by pushing people into busy routines in order to distract or detour us from the pursuit of God. Deep down inside, we have this void that is craving for fulfillment. We thought success and materialistic wealth were the answers. But when we acquire them we are still unfulfilled. We thought we would be satisfied when we need a little bit more. But the void remains and the inner craving cries even louder. Then we turn to self-help books or spiritual disciplines like yoga or transcendental meditations to calm our restlessness from within. We choose to believe in our own ability and will power that can accomplish all things. We want to be our own god. Even when we come to a dead-end street, we still choose to look around instead of looking UP to God. Have mercy on us O Lord!

Some one may can say that this kind of stubborn and rebellious spirit distinguish human being from animals. This is the kind of fighting spirit that enables men to conquer nature and subdue the world. But this is also a self-destructive stupidity of mankind that prohibits us from drawing close to God in humility.

Perseverance and fighting spirit are good if they are under the lordship of Christ. In another word, if we persevere out of obedience to Biblical truth, then it is a commendable behavior. The Bible highly encourages people for this holy pursuit, “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8). Fighting or unyielding spirit can be a blessing from above, if we apply it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and for the sake of standing firm for the Truth. Remember His promise for us, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10b).

Your brother in Christ,

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