Category Archives: Devotionals

Devotionals

Devotional – The message of Christ’s peace – Titus 3:3-8

This is our time: after a few decades of relatively peaceful living, now the whole world is filled with violence and hatred.  Someone may account it to economic injustice and social issue. But I believe this is human nature – this is sin! We pretend it does not exist during the good days, but no, it is always here.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another” Titus 3:3

“4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” Titus 3:4-5

Christ is our only hope.  He gives us a message of peace. He sows the seed of peace because of has already died on the cross. He carried all hatred, anger and pain away.

The Bible teaches us “15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”  1 Thessalonians 5:15. It is very difficult not to dwell in the emotion of anger, hatred and thinking about how take revenge. But we know those feelings are not from God. It is either from the Enemy or from our flesh. Those feelings trigger the sin inside of people and then spread along.

Let us first pray for ourselves not to be infected by these feelings. Our justice is limited and cannot be justified in front of Christ.  Help us fill with the Spirit, immerse in the Word of God instead.

Pray for those who are still hurting. Pray that the love Christ will give them comfort and healing. Pray for those who did evil. Pray that God will capture their hearts and open their eyes to see all the wrong behind what they have done to the others and they will repent.

This is the press release from John Stumbo, our president of C&MA to urge the church to stand firm in hope and peace.

August 18, 2017

 

Devotional – God’s justice and extreme violence 2 Kings 9-10, Hosea 1:4

These two chapters of 2 Kings are filled with blood.  Jehu who was a commander of Israel, was anointed as king. He then killed the king of Israel Joram, king of Judah Ahaziah, Jezebel, the Queen mother and the priests of Baal. Even more, in Chapter 10, Jehu threatened the officials of Jezreel and eventually made them kill all Ahab’s children (70). Moreover anyone related to Ahab, the chief men, his friends, his priests or those just came to visit the king, none could escape (2 Kings 10:13).  Perhaps, someone might say: this kind of killing seems common in history when there is change in dynasty.  Also, it seems to be the fulfillment of word of the LORD spoken to Elijah (2 Kings 10:17).  Even so, we still  have to ask these questions: Does God really approve this kind of extreme violence? Were all killed deserved death?

According to 2 Kings 10:30, seems like we get an answer.  Yet we found another one in Hosea 1:4.

We hear the voice from God: “And the Lord said to him (prophet Hosea), Call his (son) name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.”

God’s nature is love, justice and righteous.  He is the ultimate standard of justice. He cares for the poor and the innocent. He would not be pleased if innocent one dies, even the one who kills is the anointed one! He holds him accountable.

History gives us lesson, but are we learning from it?  We are in the blink of war again. When war breaks out, with the mass destruction weapon, many innocent people would die. In a globalized word today, we all will be affected.  As the follower of Christ, I believe there is something we can do: let us pray for peace and pray for the leaders of the world, that they will exercise patience and give more consideration of the people instead of their own interest.

August 10,  2017

 

Devotionals – We need the LORD – 2 Kings 4:8-37, 8:1-6

2 Kings has two passages mentioned about a woman from Shunem. We do not know her name, Elisa referred her as Shunammite. Accordingly to 2 Kings 4:13, she was quite well off. She enjoyed a good life, did not seem to need anything (while many were struggling at that time in Israel). She was generously and served the LORD with what she had.

But she had no son and her husband is old. This is the same old story we see in the Bible: godly people with no son to inherit what they had.  Because of her faithfulness to the LORD and generosity, the LORD granted her a son through the word of prophet Elisa.

Everything went well, but one day, the boy probably got a heat stroke and he died (4:20).  The woman filled with faith and went to see Elisa, held on to him until Elisa agreed to try everything he could to ask the LORD to save the boy. The LORD sometimes allows bad thing happens to us so that we can sharpen our faith, learning how to hold on to God and Him alone.  All the material possession could not raise her beloved back to life. She needed the LORD.

Another incident is recorded in chapter 8, when the famine came, the family moved to Philistines. When the famine was over, she moved back and hope to claim back the land. You know it is easy, even today, when someone took your property and lived for seven years, it would be very difficult to get back what belong to you.  However, because of the event that her son was restored to life, it became a testimony and the king granted the request.

Initially, she thought she had everything.  She never thought she would need anything from the LORD.  But eventually, she needed the LORD to take back her son and her belongings.

There are a few things we learn from this:

First, we need the LORD.  Perhaps you feel like you have everything, a good family, a good job and a good saving. But the world we created is fragile; it is not dependable, only the LORD is our portion.

Second, hold on to the LORD when bad thing happens. He is all powerful and we need to trust in him and not to give up.

Third, submit ourselves to the LORD, obey Him and His word.  He keeps what He grants to us.

August 3, 2017

Devotionals – You were called to peace Colossians 3:15

ESV gives chapter 3 a title:  Live as those who are alive in Christ

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above (where Christ is)” (3:1) That gives us reason of doing all the good deeds described in chapter 3.  It also tell us that we will be taken accountable to the One who sits on the throne above.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (3:15)

I found that peace is what the world longing.  Sadly many do not know that true peace can only be received through Christ.  We are called to peace. We acts as a demonstration to the world on this peace.  Peace is in us and among us.  Here, Apostle Paul tells us to put into effort to maintain it in our family, workplace and of course in Church too.

We are at the time of crisis. War (in a large scale) could start any time.  I pray that we will maintain peace; especially I pray for the leaders of the world, I pray that they will be humble and put into effort to maintain peace. Let the LORD be the judge, so they do not to seek personal gain and do not stir up people against people for their selfish ambition (Unfortunately, this is what I see around the world today). Those who are in the world seek power and control, but we followers of Christ preach peace and humility.  May the LORD have mercy on this generation!

 

July 28, 2017

 

 

 

Devotional – But by my Spirit (Zechariah 4:6)

church

It was a great time attending General Council 2017 in Columbus Ohio.  Here is the link of the video of different sessions I recommend you to watch : http://www.cmalliance.org/video/series/alliance-council/2017/

The theme of this Council is “Forward”.  As a mission organization of more than 100 years, how can we still move forward in advancing God’s kingdom and completing His Great Commission?

The answer is: It all depends on the His Spirit!

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.  Zechariah 4:6

This passage gave Zerubbabel’s courage to rebuild the Temple.

“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’”  Zechariah 4:7

May the LORD bless our church! Bless our building project! May the LORD bless our evangelism and mission effort!

When we face difficult, we need to humble and come to God, surrender ourselves to Him.  Trust in Him.  Drink from the source of power!  The Holy Spirit will work! Indeed it is not by our ability, it is Him! We wait patiently and pray earnestly.  We will see the glory of God.

Prayer

Dear LORD Jesus, let your Spirit fill us fully.  With your power, we can witness you and give glory to the Father.

June 9, 2017

Devotional – Love one another – 1 John 4:11

council-events

Greetings from Columbus, Ohio!  It is really a pleasure to attend the General Council.  It is a refreshing event listening to encouraging testimonies and powerful messages.  Also it is a great time in fellowship with other pastors and missionaries.

Check out the highlights and livestream from C&MA website: http://www.cmalliance.org/events/2017/council/

On the first day of the Council, I attended a workshop conducted by Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales. I love VeggieTales because they are serious about the teaching of the Bible yet they make it so clear that even children can understand.   I found out many years ago, Phil is part of the Alliance family.  He was invited to the Council to give a workshop.  During the workshop, he told us about how he developed VeggieTales and his spiritual journey. One of the most important spiritual truths he put at the closing line of most of episodes:

Bob the Tomato: God made you special, and He loves you very much.

Yes, like what I preached last Sunday: God is love. And the Bible does not stop there.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” 1 John 4:11

Five times in this letter of John mentions “love one another”.  So you know it is important.  This verse tells us our reason to love one another is because God first loves us. Church is a family of love.  It is a place for people to come to experience “true” love from God.   If we cannot do that, we cannot tell the world we are Christ’s disciple. We would lose our voice. What we do will have no meaning.

How do we let people know God’s love?  First we need to fill with God’s love fully.  Love is not something totally rational, it is something engaging our feeling. Use our spiritual sense to receive God’s love.  The more we feel God’s love, the less we are self-centered and the more we can love one another.

Prayer

Dear LORD Jesus, help us to feel the deep love from the Father.  Take away our self-centeredness so that we can respond by loving the others.

June 1, 2017

Devotional – “Deny yourselves” Leviticus 16:29

Five times in Leviticus talks about “deny yourself”.  All of the context of these scriptures is related to worship.  So we know it is the proper attitude of coming close to the LORD. to serve Him and worship Him.  Now what does it mean by “deny yourself”:

  • To be humble
  • Not to focus on yourselves
  • Also not to think of your own problem, shortcomings or burdens

That is not to be self-centered but to move to God-centered.  It is an everyday attitude and especially when we come to worship God.   In the New Testament, Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24.  Not to think about ourselves, our plan, our interest and our desires but God’s plan, His interest and His desires.

What a difficult (if not impossible) thing to do? Who would be able to do that? Yet Jesus demands all of us to do that, to deny ourselves and take up the cross.  To follow Jesus is to follow Him with the cross.

Prayer

Dear LORD Jesus, we are not able to do what you require of us.  Have mercy on us and help us with your Spirit that we can follow you with the cross.

May 25, 2017