Friday, February 26, 2010

Aging

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 NAS)

AgingGrowth and maturity is part and parcel of life, and it is not unusual for some of us who are nearing our sunset years to deal with a variety of changes. Changes, whether physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual, however, can sometimes be difficult and at certain times may even be miserable. Unless we see maturity in the right perspective, therefore, it may lead us to despair.

Some changes that come with age include reduced agility, slowing down of reflexes and deterioration of health. All these are issues that require major adjustments in our lifestyles. Ailments and the ‘decaying of the outer man’ are seldom avoidable, and many of us as we aged will realize before long that it is ultimately time or the lack thereof that is the foe we cannot defeat. How we choose to live our remaining days therefore will determine whether we live out our lives meaningfully to the end, or fail half way before the end.

As we grow of age, we often share a similar sentiment popularized by the movie 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.’ In the movie, one of the actors said concerning old age that “we seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.” This statement made by the actor suggests that with age, we are losing more than we receive in many aspects of our lives. While this statement may be true in some sense, there are certain things in our lives which can never be taken away from us. Our experiences, especially those that are spent fruitfully with God, will never be taken away from us, for it is these experiences that we can help others to go through theirs, and touch the world and others for Christ.

All the things that happened in our lives, our pain and our joy, our experiences, are for our sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:15). For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

We can all therefore not be ashamed as we mature as we look forward to things which are eternal while awaiting the glorious days ahead, for though our outer man may be decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). Even to our graying years, we can be the same, because our God will bear us, and He has done so; He will carry us and deliver us (Isaiah 46:4).

Dear Lord, thank You for caring for us in our old age and for not giving up on us even in our sunset years. Even when our strength begins to fail, You O Lord will never forsake us or leave us in despair, but You renew us day by day. Though the years to come may be few, we know we need not fear, because what we can see is temporal, and what we cannot see that awaits us is eternal.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Revelation

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 NAS)

Production Cycle Many of us working in large corporations or production houses do not get to see the full process of what’s being done before a product or solution is delivered to the market. Although we know from the organization's mission statement the corporate vision and direction, we seldom understand the whole picture in full. Frequently, it is only when the final produce comes into fruition and is revealed to the world that it dawn on us the ingenuity of the plan in its entirety, where within the revelation is our humbled acknowledgement, "Ohhh ... now I see it!"

As believers in the Lord, we are in a sense like staff working in an organization tasked to do an area of job without knowing the full process. We have been entrusted by God to do our part in bringing the unsaved to Christ, but not all of us will get to see the ones we witnessed to receive Him (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).

Like the mission statement of an organization, we know from the Word of God our mission on earth is to bring the lost to the Lord. We seldom, however, get to see or comprehend God's plan in full. A day will come when we shall know the ingenuity and wisdom of God's plan in its totality. In that day, we will no longer see things dimly as if in a mirror, but we shall see God face to face. What we know in part, we will know fully, just as we have been fully known by God (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will then, in the light of the revelation, come before God in humility and awe to worship and acknowledge Him as Lord of lords and King of kings.

Thank You dear Lord for taking care of us and for looking after us in whatever we do. Help us Lord not to question Your wisdom in the things that happen in our lives, but in humility obey and go through them in Your strength. Remind us Lord that though we may dimly see as in a mirror for now, we will receive full knowledge when we see You face to face. We praise and worship You Lord, because You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Disruptions

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NAS)

DisruptionsAs an employee of a corporation, I work over 40 hours a week and travel about 15 hours to and from work, assuming smooth traffic. Weekends are therefore precious to me as they are the only days I can spend meaningful time with my family, and do what I love best—writing devotionals. Frequently, however, my weekends are interrupted by other necessary things to do, such as running errands, getting a faulty house appliance fixed, attending to a friend or relative in need or facing bereavement, among many other ad hoc tasks. These interruptions often disrupt my schedules and my planned activities, and I would sometimes feel disgruntled. Inside my heart, I would grumble, “Grrr! Why must such things always happen when I’m ready to carry out what I’ve planned to do?”

None of us like disruptions, especially when we have everything already planned out to start right away. We growl in unhappiness and dissatisfaction because we are unable to fulfill our planned activities, and we regard disruptions as intrusions hindering our private lives that take away our precious time. We feel disgruntle and grumble, and may even question God why He must let such disruptions take place in our lives.

As believers in the Lord, we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28). Disruptions can therefore be something God allows to happen in our lives to lead us to fulfill His purpose. Disruptions of course can also be used by the devil to keep us busy so that we have lesser or no time for God or for fulfilling what God wants us to do. When we face disruptions, therefore, we must always maintain in prayerful spirit to discern whether it is from God or from the devil. If it is from God, the disruption may lead to an opportunity to witness for Christ (Acts 8:25-39), to minister and meet the needs of someone (Acts 9:10-19), or to direct our focus from or to something (Acts 16:6-7). It may also simply be something we should do or a lesson to learn, such as to understand the impermanence of things on earth (Matthew 6:19-20). If it is from the devil, then it is quite clear the purpose is to redirect and draw us away from God.

So what shall we do? Are we to stop making plans, so that God can call us any time to fulfill His purpose? Of course not! "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'" (Luke 14:28-30 NAS).

Making plans for what we need or desire to do is perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong with that. However, when we make plans, we should not be too rigid to the point of getting upset when the plan is not entirely fulfilled. We should not feel disgruntle over lost time when a need demands our attention, or regard disruptions as hindrances preventing us from fulfilling our dreams or planned activities. Rather, we should treat disruptions as interruption or intermission for us to regain our focus on God in seeking His purpose for our lives. Instead of grumbling or growling, therefore, let us do our part to address the immediate needs first, putting aside our preferred planned activities and our own interest till later.

Dear Lord, forgive us for sometimes feeling disgruntled over the lost time caused by disruptions in our lives. Help us understand Lord that such disruptions can be a way to keep us focus on You to direct us to fulfill Your purpose. Dispel our dissatisfaction Lord that we may not grumble, and grant us the ability to discern disruptions for what they are that we may not be misled, but be led by Your Holy Spirit to do Your will.

Friday, February 5, 2010

No Better Time

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14 NAS)

No Better TimeMany of us have probably encountered times when our loved ones, our close friends or people we care about, have fallen ill but we were not informed about it. Perhaps this is because they don't feel a need to trouble us or want us to be upset over their circumstances. By the time we discover the truth, it is usually too late for us to do anything to help them, other than being present to watch them die or crumble under the weight of overwhelming problems that cannot be resolved. Such situations often hurt badly with us as much as with them. Our first thoughts upon realizing the truth would often be, "Huh? Why wasn't I informed about it until now? Don't they know I care for them to want to help them at the time of their need?" Sadly though, such situations do happen, and we seldom can do anything about it to improve the situations.

Uninformed surprises and shocks are not always welcomed. We do not like to be unaware of things happening, only to discover it at the last moment when it is too late to rectify, especially when it comes to circumstances like terminal conditions or problems that have been accumulated to the point of no return. As much as we dislike such situations, however, many of us are doing the exact same thing when it comes to reaching the world for Christ. We know the world needs Jesus, yet we fail to tell them about their condition of sin, and we often wait till the last moment to inform them, by which time it may be too late for them to make an intelligent or informed decision. No doubt, salvation is a matter of the heart, but unless pre-believers are informed beforehand about their need and condition, it may sometimes be too late for a dying person to make a correct decision at the last moment.

As believers, we owe it to the Lord and to the world to tell the unsaved of their condition and their need for salvation. How then will they call on the Lord in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14)? How can they know we care for them and are willing to help them at the time of their need unless we share with them the joy of our salvation? Let us therefore not be late in preaching the Word of God to our loved ones, to those whom we care, and to those who are lost. Let us not give them any shock or surprise at the last moment, for then they may wonder in their hearts why they have not been informed till now to share in this happiness we have in Jesus, and that can hurt badly with them as much as with us. Sadly, such situations do happen, and many of us as disciples of Christ have yet to realize and learn that the fields are already white for harvest, and the time of salvation is now, not later (John 4:35-36; 2 Corinthians 6:2).

Forgive us dear Lord for failing to seize the moments and times when we ought to be sharing Your Word and Your salvation to the people who are yet unsaved. Move our hearts Lord to know the urgency for us to bring them to receive You as Lord and Savior, sooner rather than later, that they may be able to enjoy a relationship with You while they are still in the condition to do so. Help us Lord to be sensitive to the needs of those around us that we may know how to reach them for You.

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