Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Devotional 130710

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I came back yesterday afternoon from Vancouver, Canada. It was a fruitful weekend to rekindle some friendship and explore new network of relationship. I encourage you to visit my blog (if you have not done it yet) to see my ministry album or slide show. The picture will surely give you an idea of the activities we had in Vancouver. I shared at a vision sharing banquet of about 190 people. Praise the Lord for His presence.

Happiness is not a word we can understand by looking it up in the dictionary. In fact, none of the qualities of the Christian life can be learned out of a book. Something more like apprenticeship is required, being around someone who out of years of devoted discipline shows us, by his or her entire behavior, what it is. Moments of verbal instruction will certainly occur, but mostly an apprentice acquires skill by daily and intimate association with a “master,” picking up subtle but absolutely essential things, such as timing, rhythm and “touch.”

When we read what Paul wrote to the Christian believers in the city of Philippi, we find ourselves in the company of just such a master. Paul doesn’t tell us that we can be happy, or how to be happy. He simply and unmistakably is happy. None of his circumstances contribute to his joy: He wrote from a jail cell, his work was under attack by competitors, and after twenty years or so of hard traveling in the service of Jesus, he was tired and would have welcomed some relief. That’s why he wrote, “I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance” (Phil 1:19).

The kind of happiness that Paul described was not the same kind of happiness our world promotes. The world promotes the happiness that requires something happens. It is circumstantial and materialistic. But the kind of happiness that Bible describes is internal and supernatural. It is “irrational” to the world that a Christian could rejoice in a circumstance that is not pleasant and happy. Just as Prophet Habakkuk said, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Hab 3:17-18). To many brothers and sisters who have been going through economic down turn is experiencing this kind of lesson. May God strengthen their joy from within so that they experience a major break through in life!

Thanks to your prayer and support. Loretta got a permanent job in the City of San Francisco. She is going through training this month. During this period of laid off from last May, she really experienced the joy and provision (a temp job) from above. God is faithful and kind. He wants His children to enjoy His abundant life regardless of materialistic abundance. And through this journey of waiting, we drew closer to the Lord for His daily presence and provision. We learnt to ask for His Kingdom before asking for our daily bread. It reminds us of our commitment to “seek Him first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” we know for sure that He will provide all that we need in life. Amen? May God strengthen your walk with Him today!

Love you in Christ,

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