Monday, September 13, 2010

Devotional 130910

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank you so much for some of your prayer support, I have finished all my course work from Western Seminary last week. At this point, I have to finish my three writing assignments, prepare for my final comprehensive examination, and begin to conduct my dissertation research in the month to come. I still covet your prayer for this journey of learning.

Even though the weather is foggy and gloomy in San Francisco, this new day is beautifully filled with the wonderful grace from the Lord. He is our Creator and Lover. He faithfully provides and protects us on earth until we see Him face to face. Life was constantly greeted by all kinds of ups and downs. On Saturday, we said farewell to our beloved sister, Joyce Lau, at her memorial service and received good news from Dorothy and Wilson about the arrival of a new life in the same day. Life comes and goes each day. And it is all in the sovereign hands of God. Thus, while we are enjoying the earthly provisions from God, we want to maximize the resources and opportunities He gives us for His glory. I like the motto of William Carey, “Expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God.” By conducting our lives with this kind of commitment, our lives will count each day in making greater impact as light and salt of the world.

Eugene Peterson has five items of counsel in matters of spirituality for all who hunger and thirst after intimacy and transcendence. Each item provides evangelical focus, precision, and rootage to spirituality. As we get it straight ourselves, we will be equipped to provide leadership to others, an evangelical leadership that is so conspicuously lacking at present.

1. Discover what Scripture says about spirituality and immerse yourself in it.
2. Avoid spirituality that does not require commitment.
3. Embrace friends in the faith wherever you find them.
4. But then return home and explore your own tradition.
5. Look for mature guides; honor wise leaders.

Spirituality is not the latest trend but the oldest truth. Spirituality, the alert attention we give to a living God and the faithful response we make to him in community, is at the heart of our Scriptures and is on display throughout the centuries of Israel and the church. We have been at this a long time. We have nearly four millennia of experience to draw upon. When someone hands you a new book, reach for an old one. Isaiah has far more to teach us about spirituality than Carl Jung (famous psychologist). Just as James said, “Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything. Went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course (James 5:10-11a)!

We lost our freedom in talking about God with our friends and family members. Many people feel uneasy to even talk about their relationship with God to their spouse. They can talk about house chores or about their children. But it is hard for many couples to engage in some kind of “spiritual conversation” that is edifying to each other. We need to break this kind of bondage among us. Otherwise, we will become isolated from the community of faith, and compartmentalized as a person – we can’t see that spirituality is the base of our whole being. We are supposed to live, eat, sleep, walk and talk in Christ. If we only count God’s blessing in church but not in the office or at home, we are dividing ourselves into the secular and divine. This kind of attitude toward life will eventually hurt our growth as a godly person. Give us the freedom, O Lord, to live freely in the light of your presence each day.

Love you in His joy,

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