Holy in his Sight  

~~MTS-4491
Holy in his Sight
“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”        Col. 1:22

    The closer I get to light, the clearer I see my blemishes, so from the perspective of my personal experiences, I don’t think I feel any holier than I was before I was converted. Isn’t this rather depressing?
    The issue is: How I feel toward myself really doesn’t have a whole lot to do with who and what I really am. I may feel quite pleased with myself, but that doesn’t mean that the Lord is pleased me. What I perceive about myself is merely an appearance, and what the Lord sees is my inner essence.
    There is not a chance that I will feel entirely holy as long as I remain in the flesh; yet I am completely pure before the Lord. In fact, I have been this way since the day I was saved and will remain so until the end. How comforting and reassuring this particular thought is! “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
    If this is really so, why do I continue to struggle against sin and have yet to experience the joy and peace of being holy before the Lord? I might have been happier and far more at ease with myself before my conversion, for I was able to make justification for all my actions, no matter how morally corrupt they might have been. I could no longer do the same things after I was justified by my faith in the Lord Jesus.
    Perhaps I need to constantly remind myself that I am not how I feel, but I am what I truly am. I am who the Lord considers me to be, and if he deems me holy and without blemish, that’s the real me indeed.
    I have been presented in God’s sight “without blemish and free from accusation,” even though I feel rather lousy about myself a lot of times. In fact, it’s a daily occurrence that I bring accusation against myself for being sinful and unholy, for doing something that I shouldn’t have done or failing to do something that I should have done.
    “Woe is me!” exclaimed the apostle Paul.
    There is indeed turmoil within our hearts if we fail to look up to Jesus and be clothed in his robe of righteousness every day. Yet this should never become a pretext for us to remain who and what we are, without making a great effort to become holier before God and men. I long to become holy, not only in God’s sight, but in my own perception as well.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, May 31, 2018 6:52:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Alienation 

~~MTS-4490
Alienation
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”         Col. 1:21

    “Once you were” is obviously a thing of the past, isn’t it? Can we honestly say that I am no longer that way at the present time?
    How do I relate to God now? I ask. Is the relationship as intimate as it can ever be, or is it still somewhat strained? It could be far better, yet it could also be a lot worse. It’s just maintained at a certain level, which is probably fine with me, but it may not be acceptable to the Lord.
    It took place such a long time ago and, if my memory serves me right, I was totally lost compared to what I am now. Yet I wasn’t as miserable as I could have been then and I am not as joyful as I should ever be now. What I am at the present time is an “in-between” stage, and what I am capable of becoming is certainly infinitely greater than what I have left behind.
    It’s not a wise thing to compare myself with myself. In another words, to compare my present with my past, and be content with who and what I am. I may no longer be alienated from the Lord, but my relationship with him has a lot to be desired. In fact, the room for improvement is enormous.
    A drastic breakthrough is needed, yet I may not have the courage to do so, for there are always growing pains involved, a price I may not be willing to pay. This is my comfort zone, and I am rather reluctant to step outside of it. Launching the ship into the deep to catch more fish may be an appealing idea, yet it causes fear if I am no longer able see the coastline which gives me a sense of security.
    Sufferings of any sort tend to cause us to grow spiritually. This is such a common idea that most people seem to take it as the ironclad truth, but after I have experienced suffering, I have yet to find out the validity of it. Can we, I often wonder, enhance our spiritual growth through some other means?
    One of the things that we can do, however, is to break away from the old ways of doing things and to establish new ways of our daily operations. Old habits die hard and they may have become strangleholds that choke our spiritual advancement.
    How do we go about doing it? By taking a baby step in getting rid of the old and starting something new. For instance, cutting down our daily screen time and increasing our Scripture reading may be a good start. Intimacy in a relationship doesn’t need to start with an earth-shattering event; it can even be kick started with a simple daily face to face conversation.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, May 30, 2018 6:38:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Supremacy 

~~MTS-4489
Supremacy
“…so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”    Col. 1:18

    “Everything” covers a big area, doesn’t it? It includes all things great and small, and nothing is ever excluded.
    “…so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” I am frightened. This standard is just too high for me to reach. The Lord can have his supremacy in part of my life, but not in all of it.
    Are there some areas in our lives that we don’t allow the Lord to visit or to touch, somewhere we deem too private to be plied?
    Whatever we consider “personal” may be too personal for the Lord as well. Matters such as the way we manage our financial or even our age and weight, the things we keep to ourselves, about which others are just too polite to even ask.
    Is the Lord so discourteous to even stick his nose into these private issues?
    I might have sometimes violated my own principle of dealing with my children, but I have tried not to interfere with their private matters out of respect, even though I am dying to know some of their personal affairs. Surely, I have never dreamed to gain any sort of supremacy over their lives. It would have been rather preposterous for me to do so and, of course, they would never allow me to do it.
    Not so with our Heavenly Father, though.
    For certain he has earned the right to do so by virtue of creating us, and he has the best intention when he looks into our personal business, for he knows what the best is for us. When I attempt to find out something about my children, my intention has always been to rejoice with them or, in some rare cases, to mourn with them. What motivates me to find out things about my sons is nothing but love. I don’t intend to rule over them; I only seek solidarity and comradeship with them.
    For us to be ruled by the Lord is to be liberated, and the more he has supremacy over us, the more fulfilled and satisfied we will be, for it’s for such a purpose we have been created.
    We are far too nearsighted to consider long term effects when we do things, and to generate immediate pleasure seems to be our main concern in life. Yet our lives tend to fall apart as we fall farther and farther away from the center. Surely a life without God’s supremacy over us doesn’t pay; and we only pay for the ill-consequences at the end. 

 

Posted by Robert Sea Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:02:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Hold Together 

~~MTS-4488
Hold Together
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”    Col 1:17

    If there is no center that holds all things together, the pieces will surely fall apart and fly every which way. Yet we don’t seem to want to centralize all things and tend to consider them as individuals that may or may not be related to one another.
    Relativism is the thing to go by nowadays. If all ideas are merely human opinions, then all ideas are equal and are free to compete for supremacy in the marketplace of knowledge.
    One of the reasons why the Lord isn’t at all popular among the liberals and the so-called progressives is his unequivocal claim that he is the one and only, and his words are the absolute truth. It’s just ridiculous if a mere man makes such a preposterous claim and we can just laugh it off, since it’s so absurd and irrational. Someone who made such a claim must have been mentally off and should never be taken seriously.
    If one considers having a centralized idea too tyrannical, let him or her try to lead a life without a center at all. What’s the use of looking for an exit in a maze if an exit doesn’t even exist? People cannot get lost if they are not attempting to get to a certain destination. I guess we will be somewhat reluctant to form friendship with someone who claims to be amoral, which is far worse than immoral, for we know where immoral people are generally heading in their actions; but the ones who are amoral can become corrupt beyond our imagination, and their potential for evil is limitless.
    “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
    When I find myself drifting away from the center and am overcome by concerns real or made up, such is the time when I need to make a U-turn by repentance. Turning to the Lord is the thing to do if there is nowhere to turn in life, and he is the anchor that keeps us from being tossed to and fro by the waves of the customs of this world.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Monday, May 28, 2018 6:56:00 AM Categories: Devotional

For Him 

~~MTS-4487
For Him
“…all things have been created through him and for him.”   Col. 1:16

    This is quite a simple logic, isn’t it? If all things have been created through him, then all things have to be created for him as well. By the same token, we are God’s creatures, and it’s for his sake that we live and have our being.
    Are we conscious of this at all as we go about every day and do our things? Has this truth ever entered into our minds that it’s for God’s sake that we do all things, including our study and our work? In fact, not one single thing that we have ever done or will do isn’t for this particular purpose, which is to bring glory and honor to God.
    Since we are God’s creation, does it make any sense to you that we merely live for ourselves, as if God had made us not for his own pleasure, but for our enjoyment.
    Happiness, for this has been proven true through many people’s experience, can only be produced in our lives by fulfilling God’s purposes for us, not to accomplish our own agenda as if we were not being held accountable by anyone at all. Indeed, selfishness is a recipe for misery.
    Making a good living isn’t the primary goal of life; it’s merely a means to achieving an important end. You should know what I am talking about at this point.
    What do I expect from my children? I sometimes ponder whether I consider my children my own, like a lot of Chinese parents do, or am I merely an instrument employed by God to bring them into being and to raise them in such a way that they will be worthy to be called children of God. I may have harbored far too many unreasonable expectations for my children, yet deep inside I know that my sons are the happiest and most fulfilled if they lead their lives entirely for God, for whose sake they have been created.
    Milton was exactly right when he wrote: “God doth not need either man’s works or his own gifts.” Yet it’s for our own sake that we live for God; not for his sake that we live for him. We can only be happy in what we do when the Lord is pleased at what we do; and we will feel fulfilled only when God is satisfied with us.
    I have been keeping in mind what my dad wanted from me my entire life and his idea of success has become my definition of achievement in life as well, even though he’s been gone for ten years. Am I as concerned about my Heavenly Father’s aspiration for me as I have been about my dad’s wishes for his elder son? Am I still doing all things to please men, or to please the One who really counts, both in time and in eternity?

 

Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:20:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Through Him 

~~MTS-4486
Through Him
“…all things have been created through him and for him.”     Col. 1:16

    We are God’s creatures whom the Lord employs to accomplish his eternal purposes and the perfect fulfillment of our lives is to achieve those purposes. Does this make sense to you at all? It does to me.
    Therefore, I am merely an instrument through which the Lord does his work. As a Chinese saying goes, “An instrument must be sharpened for the job to be done well,” so we should keep our “tools” in good shape so that we can be better used by God. The worse thing that can happen to us is for the Lord to find us ill-equipped and not ready to be utilized when we are called upon to do his work.
    It may take our entire lifetime to be prepared and equipped to accomplish a certain task the Lord has in mind for us to do. Most of us are goal-oriented and we seem to be so eager to see great things done through our efforts. “When a pole is erected, we want to see a shadow cast immediately,” another Chinese saying is rendered. Yet this is not always what the Lord intends for us to do, for he is far more process-oriented than we are. “If the process is done correctly, the result will definitely follow,” I remember hearing a Hall of Fame football coach exhorting his players. Who can argue against this man? He has won many championships in his career, including a national championship.
    The specific task the Lord intends for us to do may be placed somewhere yonder, and may even escape our wildest imagination; yet our focus should always be on the things at hand. The Lord’s timing isn’t bound by time in anyway, but our tense should always be present and present progressive. Whether we are being trained for future tasks or not, what really matters is that we are being prepared.
    Or is it possible that we don’t get to perform tasks of great significance simply because we haven’t been prepared sufficiently because of our laziness or unwillingness to be chiseled and sharpened. Indeed, the Lord is always ready to put us to good use, but we are just not ready for it.
    I honestly thought I was being prepared to become a college professor years ago when I was working on my doctoral degree, but it wasn’t really so, for the Lord was actually getting me ready for a writing project some twenty years later. Indeed, I was being trained for an important task unaware. The Lord may be doing the same thing to you, and he expects you to submit to his sovereign will. The best is yet to come, as the saying goes.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:55:00 AM Categories: Devotional

All Things 

~~MTS-4485
All Things
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…”      Col 1:16
This is something I should always keep in mind: God’s creation and all things about me, whether they are visible and invisible, are God’s handiwork, and have been created with a specific purpose.
I haven’t always been that grateful for what I have and have often become dissatisfied about what I don’t have. Have I completely utilized the talent and gifts the Lord has endowed me with? Not even close. I have fallen way short in utilizing what I have.
Instead of grumbling about the thousands of things that we are not capable of doing, can’t we just try to master the one or two things that we are able to do well? We tend to take what we can do for granted and envy the ones who can perform with great ease the tasks we consider rather difficult.
What we can do with relative ease doesn’t mean we do them well. It all depends on by what standard we use to measure our performance. Perfection will never be achieved if that is our goal, and we will continue to strive toward it.
If something is truly from the Lord, it’s definitely worth our efforts to keep on improving it. To cultivate and to improve the gifts and talent God has given to us is a form of investing, and not to do so is to bury it in the ground.
One talent is great enough if we put it to good use; but five talents will become a waste if they are not diligently and wisely invested.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible.” Haven’t we all been created with a particular purpose? Our lives will become a total waste if we fail to fulfill that purpose. All things in the world are interconnected, and if one fails to fulfill his or her function, the earth will be deprived because of it.
I may not possess an abundance of compassion and exhortation, yet whatever little bit I have I still have to put to good use, for unless I do so faithfully, the needs of someone out there will not be met because of my negligence.
The beautiful spring scene on the Texas plains will become less glorious if one single bluebonnet decides not to bloom in season.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Monday, May 21, 2018 7:47:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Image 

~~MTS-4484
Image
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”  Col 1:14

    The Lord Jesus was the first born, yet he wasn’t begotten, entirely different from being born like you and me. He wasn’t created; he was the Creator himself. This is beyond any shadow of doubt.
    The incarnated Son was visible, for he once graced the earth and was visible before people for thirty-three years, and by looking at him people was able to see the face of the invisible God.
    Indeed, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Unless we know the Son, we cannot know the Father, and our knowledge of the Father is acquired through the knowledge of the Son.
    By the same token, we are also image-bearers of Jesus, and since the incarnation was the thing of the past, people can only see the invisible Jesus by looking at us.
    The degree of our spirituality should always be determined by the amount of Christ’s image that we are able to reflect in our daily lives. What is being cultivated every moment of the day is the reality of “Christ in me,” which is a transformation from the abstract to the concrete, from the invisible to the visible, and from the dogmatic to the domestic.
    There is always a kind of withdrawal that we often do when we make a retreat from the forefront of the world to the inner chamber of our heart, and we become more aware of who we truly are. We should not be people of “initial responses;” we ought to discipline ourselves to become more of people of “second reactions.” By this I mean our second reaction toward outer stimulations after inner contemplation will always be more godly and more inner-image-reflective than our natural responses to things, which is almost always impulsive.
    We learn things through imitation, yet before we do that we must be spiritually motivated. It’s quite a natural thing that we imitate someone whom we deem great and admirable. If we have very little desire to imitate Christ in our being and actions, the likelihood is we don’t think much of Him, and to consider otherwise is self-deceptive. Isn’t it far more popular and crowd-pleasing among the young and old to be “more like Mike” than to be “more like Christ?”
    “How much “Christ-likeness” do we actually possess? If we do, can other people see it? If we are truly honest, the answers to these questions should concern us a great deal.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, May 16, 2018 7:38:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Inheritance 

~~MTS-4483
Inheritance
“…who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”                Col 1:12

    Who are the people we enjoy to be with the most? Of course the ones whom we like, the kindred spirits, so to speak. If we look into it, the ones whom we like tend to be people who think about things the same way as we do. In another words, friends often look at things from a similar point of view.
    To be saved is to become qualified “to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.”
    The truth of the matter is church people don’t usually get along with one another. In fact, the main thing in the Lord’s priestly intercession is for God’s people to be unified as one. As we can see, this remains an ideal among church people, which is something yet to be realized.
    We are God’s holy people purchased by the blood of the Lamb, and as a whole we are God’s inheritance. On the other hand, the Lord is also our inheritance and we as a holy people collectively get to enjoy the Lord’s presence and what he has to offer to us.
    Unless something drastic occurs in eternity, I will be rather reluctant to share my inheritance with some of the Christian brothers and sisters I have come to know here on earth and, by the same token, I am sure there are people who are unwilling to share their inheritance with me in “the kingdom of light.”
    Will I be sanctified to the point that I will be able to love the unlovable within the church, the ones who have done damage to me or my loved ones?
    There was a thug in Taiwan who set fire to a house and five lives were lost, yet he was converted while he was sitting on death row, and his conversion appeared to be quite genuine. Were the people whose lives were snatched away prematurely, assuming they were Christians, able to share God’s inheritance in heaven with the murderer?
    Will it even be possible to continue to hold grudges against our enemies when we are in heaven? We know how hard it is to truly forgive here on earth and we tend to avoid seeing the ones who have harmed us in some way. Will we be able to isolate ourselves from our adversaries in heaven, and continue to co-exist in different corner of God’s heavenly kingdom?
    I believe there still will be various degrees of intimacy that we have for all God’s people, and we will continue to have a small circle of family and friends even when we are in the heavenly realm. I suppose there is a difference between not being hostile against someone and being affectionate toward them. To love someone doesn’t necessarily mean that we have a warm and fuzzy feeling for him or her. I am afraid I may continue to avoid seeing the ones whom I dislike here on earth when I get to heaven. 

 

Posted by Robert Sea Friday, May 11, 2018 7:31:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Being Strengthened 

~~MTS-4482
Being Strengthened
“…being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.”                 Col 1:11 
 
    We have no idea what will happen to us until something actually happens, therefore it’s a waste of time to be preparing how to react to it. How does it feel to be in hospice care? I often caught myself thinking about this when I was standing by Kathy’s mother’s hospital bed. How would I have behaved had I been placed in her position?
    Of course, I have no earthly idea.
    I couldn’t have imagined going through a major surgery a few months ago, for it made me cringe at the thought of going to a doctor, let alone going under the knife. Yet that was something I had to do after I ran out of options. Had I been sufficiently strengthened to go through the venture when the time came? I wish that were the case, but that wasn’t how I was feeling consciously. I merely went through the motions and did what I was told to do, for the alternative was just so much worse.
    I guess my strength was just sufficient for that very moment, for I simply had no other place to turn. I suppose that’s a natural reaction for all humans, for we all do what’s necessary to survive. I honestly cannot make the claim that I was empowered by divine strength. I was afraid.
    “Great endurance and patience” was what I desperately needed at the time, and somehow I did survive the whole ordeal. It’s been a mouth and half since the procedure, and I have yet to return to the clinic for the follow-up, so can I honestly say that my inner self has been strengthened after the experience? Probably not. I will feel the same way as before if I have to go through a similar experience.
    Billions of people in human history have lived and died, and their end of life experiences must have been rather similar. How are Christians different from pagans in the way they suffer and die?
    Come to think of it, I probably have failed to claim the power and strength that was available to me at the time when I needed it the most. Perhaps it’s more likely that I was indeed strengthened unaware at the critical juncture. I was merely speaking from the level of my natural experience, and failed to take account of the supernatural, which was also in operation.
    No matter how I feel, the fact remains that I have had great endurance and patience during the time when I needed it the most, and I certainly can’t credit that to my will or strength, for I am by nature frail and weak.
    Indeed, I have been “strengthened with all power according to his glorious might” during the time when I desperately needed it.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, May 10, 2018 7:46:00 AM Categories: Devotional
Page 1 of 2 1 2 > >>
  • RSS

Statistics

  • Entries (1504)
  • Comments (0)

Categories

Archives