Friday, April 24, 2009

Neither Hot or Cold

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16 NAS)

Neither Hot or Cold All of us can be hot or cold, but never hot and cold, unless we are talking about our attitudes toward different people or toward someone at a different time. As beings made a little lower than angels (Hebrews 2:6-7), we can sometimes like a person for a moment and dislike the same person at other times. We can hate someone, but like everyone else. Our feelings and attitudes toward different people can be dangerously unhealthy, and this is not the way we should be. It is important for us to know how to relate to people no matter how bad or unlovable they may be, because Jesus taught us in His word to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). We are all God's creation and we ought to love one another just as God loves each of us.

In the Book of Revelation, the author in his letter to the church at Laodicea wrote about the dangers of being lukewarm, neither hot nor cold (Revelation 3:15-16). Although the church of Laodicea was not entirely cold to the point of having no spiritual life, it was alive, yet not lively or wholly dedicated to the Lord with unreserved affection and love. No doubt, there must have been some who loved the Lord, but there were, as a whole, much lack in fervency. The church of Laodicea was therefore reprimanded for not being hot in their love for God because they were not ardent, fervent or flaming; neither were they entirely cold because there were still some efforts, though half hearted, and lacking zeal for the truths of the Gospel and of its ordinances.

Being neither hot nor cold is a dangerous attitude because in knowing God and yet not giving our all to Him, God can choose to spit us out of His mouth! We must all therefore regularly check our attitudes toward God and our fellow men, to ensure we are not presumptuous or possessing preconceived prejudices when relating with people. We must be imitators of God as His beloved children, love each and everyone without reserve, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us all (Ephesians 5:1-2).

Help us O Lord to become more and more like You each day. Mold us dear Lord to bear the fruit of Your Holy Spirit, to be more sensitive in our dealings with people who may not be as likeable as we hope them to be. Take us as we are Lord, and change our attitudes toward those whom we may find difficult to love or deal with. Cause us Lord to remember to check our attitudes from time to time to ensure we are not lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. Keep us fervent in spirit, Lord, to love You with all our hearts, strength, mind and soul.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Past and Future

Martha then said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died ... Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha said to Him, "I know that he [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." (John 11:21-24 NAS)

Past, Present and Future The 'if only' of the past dwells on regrets and the 'what if' of the future dwells on apprehension of the unknown, but between these two is the present. The past and the future are not as important as what needs to be done for the present, for Who is present with us is all that really matters. God is present to help and if we bring God's presence into every situation we face each day, we need not fear because if God is with us, for us, and in us, who or what can prevail against us (Romans 8:31-35)?

When faced with the death of her brother Lazarus, Martha in her grief blamed Jesus for not being there when she said, "if [only] You had been here." When Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again," Martha responded by thinking of the future, of the day her brother Lazarus will rise again, failing to see Who is present, the Giver of life, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus is present to help whenever we need help, and we can claim upon this promise so long as we continue to walk in Him. The past are just lessons in our lives we have to learn from and to go through. The future is just what lies ahead, unknown, yet not fearful because the Lord dwells in us, He will never forsake us. Let us all therefore cultivate in our daily lives the presence of God in every situation we face and in whatever we do. Let us not walk the present alone while on earth, for the Lord our God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1-4).

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help [us] in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NAS)

Dear Lord, help us live our lives each day, conscious of Your presence with us in whatever we do, and in every situation we face. Help us not dwell too much on our past regrets but to claim Your forgiveness and the precious lessons learnt. Teach us Lord to live confidently in You without worrying too much about the future, knowing our future is in Your hands. Cause us to remember and never to forget You Lord in times of trouble and in times of peace. Keep us dear Lord in Your grace and lead us in Your ways to live our lives worthy of Your calling.

NOTE: Devotional idea adapted from sermon by Pastor Joseph Prince on "Your Every Blessing Is Found In The Person Of Jesus".

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ascend and Descend

They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11 NAS)

Jesus Ascension"What goes up must come down," so the saying goes, but this does not apply to all things, and certainly not our age. Our age always goes up and never comes down, and unless we start counting our age all over again when we receive the Lord as Savior, being born again, our age will continue to go up, never to come down. This, however, is not the reason or the lesson for this story.

This story is about going up and coming down, or in the case of our Lord, it is about Jesus first coming down to save us all by His death on the Cross and about His going up to be at the right hand of God the Father to prepare a place for us. It is also about our going up to Him or He coming back for us, when our Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, and the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NAS).

As Christians, we know and have experienced the truth about the story. This is the story about God's love for us even while we were yet sinners and devoid of any worth. Despite our unworthiness, God chose to come down to earth to be born a Child, to live a lowly and humbling life, and to suffer for us all, even death on the Cross, so that we may be saved and be set free from the clutches of the devil.

As we remember our Lord's death on the Cross for us, His resurrection, and His ascension, let us all therefore feel as the psalmist feels when he said:

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there ... If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Psalm 139:7-10 NAS)

Knowing therefore that if we go up to heaven or even if we make our beds in Sheol that He is there, we can take comfort to know that our Lord is never too far away to lead us and hold us. Just as our Lord was taken up from the disciples into heaven, our Lord will certainly come again (Acts 1:11), and we shall always be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Teach us therefore, dear Lord, to be forever grateful to You for Your love and Your death on the cross for us. Without You O Lord, we would have been lost without salvation, never to be free from the clutches of the devil. It is You Lord Who deserves all the glory and praise! Thank You, Lord, for loving us so much. We love you Lord and we want to give You our all because You are worthy and deserving of all our heart, soul, strength and mind.