Husbands 

~~MTS-4541
Husbands
“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”    Col. 3:19
 
    To love is a lifelong lesson and no one can master the art of love in this life or the life to come. If God is love, and he is infinite, therefore, the essence of love is also infinite. How can we, being finite, possibly love others to the full extent as the Lord loves us?
    To be married to someone is to learn what love is. Getting married is merely the beginning of learning how to love, not the end of it. A marriage certificate is just a piece of paper, granting us the privilege to enter into the school of love, and we will never graduate from the institution as long as we live. In fact, to love is an eternal enterprise that we will be engaged in eternally.
    What we have learned about love is minuscule compared to what we need to know about the all-important subject. No sooner do we consider that we have acquired the knowledge of love than new information pops up and we have to learn all over again. Love does not end, either here on earth or beyond.
    Love abides forever, so the lessons of love last forever also. What makes this life so thrilling is we have ample opportunities to acquire the knowledge of love through daily exercise; and what gives us such excitement when anticipating what is going to happen beyond the Jordan is that we get to continue what we have left behind, which is learning how to love.
    “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
    This is indeed rather challenging, for there is no end to this and, starting from the day we tie the knot to the day we die, difficult situations will continue to surface demanding our full attention, and a mere slip may do great damage to the relationship. One cannot be too cautious in guarding the marriage relationship from getting injured by our carelessness.
    Of course, to love isn’t merely theoretic, and the essence of it lies in the practice. “Love your wives” is an ironclad principle that we must abide by, and the expression and exercise of this love is “do not be harsh with them.” The main difficulty of the love lesson, according to Confucius, is to always have a “good facial expression,” no matter how challenging the situation is or how unreasonable one is being treated.
    I can always tell instantly what the relationship of a couple is like by the way they look at each other. Our facial expression is the first encounter we make with others, and it becomes irredeemable when a harsh image is created. Being loving to the beloved is to present one’s best expression to her at all times; and being harsh involves one’s expression and speech, which is something we must avoid at all cost.
    This lesson appears to be so rudimentary and fundamental, yet very few of us can claim that we have mastered it, let alone other more important issues.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, October 31, 2018 8:05:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Wives 

~~MTS-4540
Wives
“Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”    Col. 3:18
     Submission isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s rather an expression of strength. Only the strong have the inner fortitude to submit to whomever they need to surrender.
    What brought the evil one down from the highest to the lowest was his unwillingness and inability to submit to the Most High, and the difference it made was heaven and hell.
    The easiest way to achieve peace and harmony between a wife and a husband when conflicts occur is a mere word of apology. To submit is to place yourself in a lowly position and consider others better than yourself. It matters not whether it’s the reality or not, humility should always prevail. Being humble is far better than being superior.
    “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”
    This is indeed a more practical thing to do than anything else, for between the two, men do have a stronger tendency to assume a superior position within the family and their desire to lead is in general stronger than that of women. As a matter of fact, the ones who lead are not necessarily superior to the one being led; it’s merely an arrangement of necessity and convenience. This may be subject to debate and feminists certainly will protest, yet men and women are created differently, both physically and emotionally.
    This iron-clad truth, however, can also be utilized differently in different families according to the chemistry between couples. Men and women may have been created differently, yet people’s temperament varies greatly and some men may prefer not to lead within a family and are more than willing to share the responsibility with their spouse. Some may disagree with this notion, but I don’t have any issue with this. I am by no means questioning the validity of this command, I am merely looking at the pragmatic aspect of this teaching and we should always take the spirit of any given command of the Lord into consideration, lest we misapprehend what the Lord intends for us to learn.
    Of course, ideally there shouldn’t even be any occasion when a wife’s submission to the husband is coerced or demanded. The presence of intimacy and communication between couples surely will render submission from either party entirely unnecessary.
    If the Lord Jesus, being the incarnate son of God, still found it essential to submit to the heavenly Father, surely there will come a time when it becomes necessary for wives to submit to their husbands.  

 

Posted by Robert Sea Friday, October 26, 2018 7:28:00 AM Categories: Devotional

In His Name 

~~MTS-4539
In His Name
“Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”            Col. 3:17
     It has been twenty years since I started composing there mediations, and I have rarely failed to say a short prayer before I begin writing each piece, asking the Lord for provision of spiritual insights. It’s my greatest desire in composing that every word I ever utter comes directly from the Lord, and it’s unto his glory that I take down every thought.
    “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” This is what I am trying to do even at this very moment, and my act of writing will cease immediately if I cease to abide by this rule. I simply don’t consider my personal thoughts concerning anything are worth sharing, if they are not informed by the Holy Scriptures.
    It’s in the name of the Lord that I am speaking to you through my meditations, and it’s also the Lord who determines whether this will have any sort of impact on you or not. In truth, just the mere fact that you bother to read is by divine influence.
    Perhaps these words are written on water and most of them will sink to the bottom and, perhaps, a few of them will be carried to a specific location and find a plot of dirt to die and to be buried.
    I am a mere speck of dirt, lighter than air, and my voice is the sound of the wind that dares not demand hearing from any soul on earth. Or I am just a lowly servant who heeds the bidding of the Master and does what I have been told to do. My words are not riding on eagle’s wings; they are “merely vans” to beat the dry autumn air.
    What’s there to grumble or to complain about, anyway? Why shouldn’t I have been born to be ignored and neglected, as if I were someone deserving attention? If I am a prophet, I am only prophesying to the wind and a shrinking windpipe and an empty echo is what it produces.
    There is nothing worth doing or speaking on earth if it is not done in the name of the Lord and the act of doing is the process of giving thanks to him. No matter how magnificent our deeds are in human eyes and how universally praised, they are merely accumulations of our sins if they are wrought unto men’s glory. Lest we forget, the mother of all sins is the sin of self-glorification. 
    Once again, let’s be reminded: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” May the name of the Lord be magnified through our actions of praise.
  

 

Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, October 25, 2018 7:48:00 AM Categories: Devotional

God's Message 

~~MTS-4538
God’s Message
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another…”             Col. 3:16

   The key to our spiritual growth is reading the Scriptures and applying them in our daily lives. This is such a cliché that we hardly pay any attention to it when we hear it. In fact, most of the sermons we have ever heard seem to have touched on this idea one way or another and the admonition tends to vanish instantly, like water off a duck’s back. Of course, this analogy is another cliché that is overly redundant. It’s “deja vu all over again,” isn’t it?
    Common sense knowledge consists of things that have been proven true yet are often neglected by people. The call to read the Scriptures is so common that we cease to take it seriously. In fact, it seems to have turned into nagging when I urge my children to read the Bible.
    Yet again, Paul was telling us to read God’s words: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another…” Rather insufferable, isn’t it?
    Let me just mention one thing to illustrate my point: no matter how speedy we travel, we will never get to our destination if we are heading in the wrong direction. In fact, the faster we travel, the farther we will be at the end of our journey. The Bible, essentially, is the GPS of our life’s journey, directing us to travel in the right direction.
    Isn’t this another cliché, common sense that is all too common? “Don’t you have any novel idea to share?” you may ask.
    So-called original ideas that creative people have conjured up in their basement are most likely wrong ideas, which is exactly the reason why quite a few fortune-tellers on the island of Taiwan are blind and poor, for they seem to be able to lie to others, but are incapable of doing so to themselves. Had they truly known which lottery ticket to buy to hit the jackpot, they would have bought it themselves. Indeed, human minds are easily beguiled.
    Don’t just dream about becoming mature spiritually or turning into a saint: there is a simple and common sense route to achieving that end, which is to read the Scriptures and to apply what we have learned in our daily lives accordingly. There is really no shortcut at all.
    “Gentlemen don’t take shortcuts when they walk,” said Confucius. You may not be familiar with this saying, which has long turned into a cliché, yet it still rings true three thousand years after it was uttered.
    Yes, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.” Even my two-year-old grandson knows this song by heart. Do you?

 

Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, October 24, 2018 7:35:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Peace 

~~MTS-4537
Peace
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”               Col. 3:15

     There is no peace in our hearts when, by nature, we tend to consider ourselves above all others and we become annoyed if our voices are not heard. All of us must be humble in order to achieve unity and peace within the church.
    Our church seemed to be rather peaceful and harmonious until this particular person appeared at the church door a few years ago. Evidently he had specific ideas on how a local church should operate and nothing we were doing was right in his eyes. He immediately wanted to implement changes in the way we did things, and he became agitated if there was any kind of resistance to his ideas. Well, things didn’t go too well in the end and it became a lose/lose situation. The dissension it created in the process ultimately became irreparable.
    Both parties were at fault, for if things had been handled in a more biblical fashion they would have turned out differently. What was lacking, actually, is that we were not governed by a spirit of humility. We were just set on doing things our own way.
    Submission to one another is entirely necessary within the church and submission becomes impossible if a humble spirit is lacking. To submit is to willingly put ourselves under other people’s leadership and to be obedient to their authority. This isn’t an easy task to achieve, because obedience to someone always involves self-denial, considering others better than ourselves. We must die to the self to submit to others.
    Of course, mere humans don’t always deserve our submission and to surrender to unworthy or unrighteous authority is particularly difficult. Obedience to people should always be generated by our submission to Christ, for we are called to love, not to hate, to peace, not to war,
    Come to think of it, as the pastor of the church, I could have done something different to prevent the conflict from taking place before it got out of hand, yet because of the lack of true humility of both parties, things quickly deteriorated.
    “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
    The peace of Christ is the spirit of humility and is the way we are called to behave. If our hearts are governed by such a noble spirit, we will be able to submit to one another within God’s church and consequently, there will be peace and harmony in our midst.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Tuesday, October 23, 2018 8:49:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Love 

~~
MTS-4536

Love

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”         Col. 3:14

    All virtues are not really virtuous unless they are grounded in charity. Love is what “binds them all together in perfect unity.”

    Some people may actually appear rather virtuous, yet are very proud of their virtue, not realizing pride and virtue don’t go together very well. One simply cannot have both pride and virtue. These two qualities are mutually exclusive. They cancel each other out.

    We can exhibit virtuous qualities, yet if our being virtuous ever becomes our self-perception and all consummate pre-occupation, it will be all for naught. We are still firmly controlled and manipulated by the evil one. 

    Above all else, the essence of all virtues is self-forgetfulness. One can be virtuous unaware.

    The key to achieving this is to “put on” love. By nature, human love is self-centered, centering on the needs of the love, not the beloved. This is the kind of thought we are very afraid to entertain. The more we look into the meaning of love, the more we are exposed, for we all fall very short as far as true love is concerned.

    To put on love is to put on Christ.

    We all are very familiar with the difference between being something and doing something, aren’t we? Doing something does not cause us to become something and being loving is generated from the inside, not from without. We can become virtuous for a while through sheer effort, but we will be exposed when things get tough and our patience is challenged.

    Putting on Christ is a daily practice, and it’s a moment by moment kind of thing. Our love for Christ and for our neighbors must constantly be updated and renewed, lest it become stale and decayed. To be transformed and renewed is so much akin to death and resurrection, for to truly love is to experience death because to love is to deny oneself. Unless we are dead to ourselves, our love expressed in any form will be full of self.

    Instead of spending our entire lifetime cultivating all sorts of virtues, we must learn to put first things first, otherwise all we will be achieving will be only bits and pieces, scattered everywhere, and eventually “things will fall apart and the center cannot hold.”

    All human virtues must be centered on the love of Christ, which is the unifying force of all human goodness. 

 

Posted by Robert Sea Monday, October 22, 2018 8:02:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Forgiveness 

~~MTS-4535
Forgiveness
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.”          Col. 3:13

    As far as self-forgiveness is concerned, there is really no other option available to us. We have no choice but to forgive ourselves.
    Have we ever done anything so offensive to ourselves that we often find it rather difficult to forgive and to forget? There are simply too many occasions to count, for we all have set lofty expectations for ourselves, and we can hardly measure up to our own standard of perfection.
    Yet we continue to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and keep on forgiving ourselves for all the offenses we have inflicted. We may have lost patience with ourselves and with our lack of making improvement in all our pursuits, both physically and spiritually.
    What else can we do?
    The essence of my repentance is actually a deep sense of remorse and sadness that I have failed in certain aspects, yet it rarely means a strong determination to act to correct the mistake or misstep I have made. Therefore, the act of repentance does nothing but produce in my heart a feeling of self-loathing and damage my self-image and self-respect.
    By continuing to do this it may get to the point where we quit fighting against our weaknesses and consider we are what we are, giving up all hope that a meaningful change can ever be made.
    Can we forgive others the same way we forgive ourselves? This is good question to ask, isn’t it? It appears to me that self-forgiveness is unconditional because of our self-love, and forgiveness of others is always conditional, based on the good performance of the forgiven.
    We are doomed if God’s forgiveness of all our sins is merit or performance based, for no matter how monumental our effort is, we can never meet what God requires of us. What we need from the Lord isn’t justice at all; our only hope of being forgiven is grounded on God’s mercy.
    Our self-forgiveness has no end, for our self-love doesn’t cease until it ends at our passing, yet God’s love for his children is endless and so is his forgiveness. God’s love and forgiveness for us last eternally.
    Our forgiveness of others must be based on love, for apart from love true forgiveness will not take place. We are fully aware that unless we are united with Christ and draw strength from him daily, to truly love for our neighbors is extremely difficult. Therefore, what makes forgiveness possible is our union with Christ, which does take daily practice and seasoning on our part.    

 

Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, October 18, 2018 7:48:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Gentleness and Patience 

~~
MTS-4534

Gentleness and Patience

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”         Col. 3:12

    In order to become gentle, one must try to be patient, for gentleness demands patience and thoughtfulness.

    We lose patience rather easily dealing with disagreeable people, don’t we? When we become restless and annoyed, it’s difficult to maintain our composure and remain gentle. We turn cold and lower our voice, our expressions change ever so slightly, while we try to figure out a way out of whatever predicament we happen to encounter.

    We should be gentle and patient as Christ was gentle. Indeed, Christ seemed to remain calm and collected in whatever situation and adversity in which he found himself. He was never surprised or overwhelmed by horrific circumstances.

    Obviously, he knew what Judas was going to do in the end, yet he continued to treat him with patience and gentleness. There didn’t seem to be any bitterness, harshness, or impatience that surfaced in his dealings with the ultimate betrayer.

    The first thing to lose is our tongue when we are short of patience, and we tend to utter something we may regret later. Gentleness is a rare commodity when things get tough and adverse situations only get worse if we follow our instincts and do whatever comes natural.

    “You don’t seem to have a lot of patience with your grandchildren,” my son said to me. It’s quite noticeable that I often walk outside and stay out for a while when the boys get a little out of control. When patience is gone, so goes the gentle attitude.

    Walking away from a difficult situation isn’t always a good solution, for problems may still remain. We tend to become more gentle and sympathetic toward the unlikeable if we don’t give up on them by merely walking away. Perhaps I need to spend time cultivating more understanding and patience toward all my grandchildren so that I may become gentler to them. They are mere children and I should not expect them to behave like adults.

    Being grandparents who are almost foreign to all our grandchildren, I suppose affection and respect from them doesn’t happen all that naturally; it must be earned through love and patience and most importantly, gentleness. This is the vital lesson I have yet to learn in dealing with my children’s children.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, October 17, 2018 7:58:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Humility 

~~MTS-4533
Humility
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”         Col. 3:12
    We are not humble by nature, for humility is to not be so concerned about one’s self and to pay more attention to others. Most of us are rather self-occupied and self-absorbed. At least I am. I may claim to be humble, but I am really not.
    I desire to be the center of attention and prefer to do the talking than the listening. I tend to become restless when I listen to others and often try to take over whenever possible.
    Humble people are good listeners, and people who listen well are often the most welcomed and beloved by their friends.
    It was the first time that I had to sit in a pew and listen to a sermon delivered by a guest speaker. I was putting great effort into listening and paying attention, yet I found more than once that my mind wandered and I gradually became impatient as time went on, yet the speaker didn’t seem to intend to quit any time soon.
    This is a clear indication that I am not a good learner, for I wasn’t listening to the speaker to learn, but I was listening to find fault, and often felt ill at ease when the preacher was doing a good job. I was entirely self-centered, even during a time when I should have been the humblest. Worshipping the Lord is the ultimate act of humility, yet I often find myself self-absorbed on such occasions.
    This is not my usual self-analysis or self-degradation in my composing process, by the way; I am merely exploring what true humility is by taking a hard look at myself. Humility is the ultimate godly characteristic; I need to be aware of it if I am deficient in that aspect.  
    Why do we consider ourselves with such grave seriousness, as if we are the most precious thing in the entire universe? I suppose our self-perception determines whether we are humble or proud, and the way we perceive the Lord decides how we see ourselves. If we deem the Lord over all, we have no choice but to humble ourselves before him. People who express true lowliness before God will also show genuine humility before men. This fact is hard to refute, I believe.
    The sermon was fine and what the speaker uttered didn’t stray away from the Scriptures, and there wasn’t any reason for me to not listen to him except my lack of humility. It simply doesn’t make any sense if I claim to be humble before God yet do the opposite before men. Christians who do not possess Christ-like humility are hypocrites.  

 

Posted by Robert Sea Monday, October 15, 2018 7:47:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Kindness 

~~MTS-4532
Kindness
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”       Col. 3:12

    The apostle pointed out the all-important truth that we are “God’s chosen people,” which is our identity as Christians. Furthermore, he described who we are and how we are defined. We are “holy and dearly loved.” Consequently, Paul tells us that we should act in such a way as to be entirely consistent with who we are. As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, we must clothe ourselves with the following virtues: “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
    Compassion and kindness are closely related, for to be kind to people is to be compassionate toward them, yet apart from compassion there is no kindness. Children and infants by nature demand our compassion, for they are utterly helpless and they will not survive long unless adults are kind to them.
    We may not be kind by nature; therefore it becomes necessary to think twice before we act. I became annoyed when one of my grandchildren yelled at me “Stop!” when I touched him just slightly. I intended to show affection, yet my motive was entirely misconstrued. I had to think twice before I did anything on impulse to show my displeasure, for to be compassionate is to realize that he is merely a child, and he needs to be treated with kindness.
    The kindness we show toward others who need our help may be tainted with a condescending attitude and an air of superiority if there is no true compassion present in the interaction. Therefore, the ones whom we assist may detect our true colors and become bitter toward us.
    How did the Lord Jesus treat the woman at the well or the one who was caught in the act of committing adultery? He related to them with genuine kindness because he had such profound compassion for them.
    The way I dealt with the homeless people who used to frequent our house might reflect more on who I am than who they are. Indeed, they often tried to evoke my compassion toward them by lying, yet they were in fact transparent, for their purpose was rather straightforward. I might have been the one who was put on the spot to be judged, for I was acting like a hypocrite, pretending to be someone that I wasn’t, and my compassion and kindness were mostly make-believe.
    To be compassionate toward the poor and the needy is to essentially consider them equal, realizing that apart from the grace God has lavished on you, the roles between the two could easily be reversed.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Friday, October 12, 2018 7:47:00 AM Categories: Devotional
Page 1 of 2 1 2 > >>
  • RSS

Statistics

  • Entries (1528)
  • Comments (0)

Categories

Archives