Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Devotional 191010

Dear brothers and sisters,
Thanks for your prayer for my preaching trip to New York. It was a fruitful experience of seeing God’s work in a very mission-minded church. This church is a growing church with clear focus on the Kingdom of God worldwide. All the pastoral staff and key leaders of the church commit to evangelize both locally and globally. I thanked God for giving me the opportunity to learn from this church in how to mobilize a big congregation for world missions. God cares for the well being of all nations. He loves all those whom He created according to His own image.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)

Prayer is an orienting act. We begin to discover who we are when we realize where we are. Disorientation is a terrible experience. If we cannot locate our place, we are in confusion and anxiety. We are also in danger, for we are apt to act inappropriately. If we are among enemies and don’t know it, we may lose our life. If we are among friends and don’t know it, we may miss good relationships. If we are alongside a cliff and don’t know it, we may lose our footing. While praying Psalm 8, we find out where we are and some important aspects of who we are.

We are the children of God who were appointed to manage the planet earth for His glory. God gives us ability to interact with the Creator God and the creativity to manage this beautiful world. But when we lost the orientation of why we are here, we failed to fulfill our calling and miss the blessings that God intended for us to have. We did not use our capability to interact with the Creator God, and we abuse the creativity for our own selfish gain. As a result, we bring curse to the Nature, we abuse the earth and we suffered from it. Have mercy O Lord.

Alongside the basic fact that God made us good (Psalm 8) is the equally basic fact that we have gone wrong. We pray our sins to get to the truth about ourselves and to find out how God treats sinners. Our experience of sin does not consist in doing some bad things but in being bad. It is a fundamental condition of our existence, not a temporary lapse into error. Praying our sin isn’t resolving not to sin anymore; it is discovering what God has resolved to do with us as sinners.

Only when we admit our sinful nature and helplessness, will we seek God’s help to resolve our problem. Self help will not lead us to God but to our self destruction. The more we focus on the greatness of God and our dependence on Him, the more we can put off the “old self” that hold us back to our sinful nature. We are totally helpless but God is totally majestic and powerful. It was the Lord who made His salvation known to us (Psalm 98:2a). In another word, it was Him who invented our salvation but not us.

The world is a fearsome place. If we manage with the help of parents, teachers and friends to survive the dangers of infancy and childhood, we find ourselves launched in an adult world that is ringed with terror—accident, assault, disease, violence, conflicts. Prayer brings fear into focus and faces it. But prayer does more than bravely face fear; it affirms God’s presence in it.

Indeed, we live in a fearful land, a spiritual battle field. Temptation is everywhere. Satan will do whatever to pull us into hell. We are helpless in fighting against the evil force around us. If we continue to rely on our own strength to deal with our enemy, we will fail. Prayer gives us the assurance that God is with us in facing our daily battle. In Him we have hope. Through Him we have strength. With Him we see His victory in our lives.

With love through prayer,

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