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Have All of My Heart

So blind and adulterous is my heart! Lord, have mercy on me!” I want to love Jesus fully, but feel like I can never make it.

Jesus gives me hope. The Gospel according to Mark has become ever more a deeply cherished sacred biography that speaks into the brokenness of my life. I am half-blind and half-faithful in my relationship with the Loving, Sovereign, Mighty God who gave Himself for me.

I am half-blind in my view of God’s world. I can only lean on Jesus’ mercy and grace, revealed through His healing of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26). The blind man said upon Jesus’ first touch, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking”. How I need Jesus’ continuing touch upon my spiritual eyes, opening them and restoring them, so that I can see this world more clearly as God sees it!

So often, I am inclined to see people in their roles and stereotypes, rather than their beloved personhood, as humans marvelously made in the glorious image of God. Worse still, my deceitful heart persuades me to define myself in terms of my roles too. The roles then lead to temptations to keep up with the image of those roles—what to say, how to say it, what to wear, what fits the expectations of the world. I am not proud of this. The apostle Peter was not proud of his follies too. But Peter in his authenticity would confess his follies and learn to boast of the living hope in Jesus Christ, through whom God’s people received God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, I must pray: “Lord God, please remove the scales from my eyes so that I see people as God’s beloved, not as walking trees!!”

I am half-faithful in my relationship with God. I have high aspirations to live a holy life, but I fail badly. This is clearly so when I try to live my Christ-redeemed life partly by relying on my own securities, titles, education, competencies and strengths. This is a huge danger for everyone who has anything to boast about. Our wealth (what we have) and our competencies (what we can do) can so easily minimise our being—our trust and dependence on the Lord God. We have been enamoured by God’s gracious gifts, but have forgotten God the Giver and our identity in Him. There is nothing wrong with having much and doing much, as long as our confidence is built on the foundation of our life being hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3-4), and we faithfully steward our time, talents and treasures for His glory alone.

Yet this continues to be daily challenge, like what we see in Mark 9:30-37. Soon after Jesus’ second foretelling of the way of the cross for Himself (and likewise for His disciples, cf. Mk 8:34), they argued with one another about who was the greatest! They missed Jesus’ teaching—and so often I missed it too.

Jesus did not give up on His disciples. He knew what they were made of. Yet, He forgave them and entrusted to them the mission to proclaim the good news in His name. Today, I bow once again at the feet of our Lord Jesus:

Merciful God, please forgive me. Change and cleanse me for I am a part of this “adulterous and sinful generation” (Mark 8:38). In my unbelief, Lord, help me to believe. In my partial-faithfulness, Lord, grow my faithfulness to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow You (Mark 8:34). Thank You that the blessed assurance I have is that You, Lord, are wholly faithful to keep me for life eternal as You keep me abiding in You. Amen.

Written by Pastor Adrian Chan

 

For further exploration to know the God who calls us to the fullness of life in Him, please check out the following recommended resources.

SCRIPTURE

Mark 8:22-26  (Jesus heals a blind man in Bethsaida)

Mark 8:34-9:1  (Jesus’ call to the crowd and His disciples alike)

Mark 9:30-37  (Jesus’ disciples missing the point about the way of the cross)

Psalm 49  (Wealth cannot never save our souls)

Isaiah 57:3-13  (Israel’s adultery and idolatry lead to futility and God’s judgment)

Jeremiah 3:1-14  (Adulterous, unfaithful Israel called to repent of sins and return to God)

 

SERMONS

Don’t Hold Back”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1562

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1264

What Does It Profit If You Gain the World But Lose Your Soul”, by Ps Valerie Chan: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/940

Delusional Discipleship”, by Rev Barney Lau: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/781

 

SONGS

Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me”, by CityAlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zundjUFazfg

Just As I am (I Come Broken)”, by Travis Cottrell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEUsOXdTLlM

Follow Me”, by Kelly Willard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdesAwnlqWw

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
Daniel 7:19-27
Wed, 1 February 2023

Covert Sovereign Presence of God

Observation:

What significant observations can you make about the people of God and what happened to them?

Deeper Reflection
In Daniel, the people of God are “to live out their faith in an increasingly hostile Gentile world under circumstances that would make it more and more difficult to do so” and count on “the sovereignty of God to sustain them generation after generation, crisis after crisis”1.There are significant theological contrasts in God’s people suffering for their faithfulness to God in Daniel 1-6 and 7-12. The sovereign presence of God is overt in Daniel 1-6, but covert in Daniel 7-12. The 24 occurrences of divine titles that underscore the supremacy and sovereignty of God are found 18 times in Daniel 1-6, but only six times in Daniel 7-12.2 God is highly visible in Daniel 1-6, in both text and narrative, but very less so in Daniel 7-12.God’s faithful people experienced God’s miraculous deliverance in Daniel 1-6 (3:24-28; 6:19-23). But there is no divine deliverance for them in Daniel 7-12. Instead, “they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder” (Dan 11:33). The confession of faith in God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the face of death points to these two pictures of God and deliverance. God is the God who is “able to…and will deliver” in Daniel 1-6, and He is the God who “does not” in Daniel 7-12 (Dan 3:17-18).When we go through difficult times, we prefer the God of Daniel 1-6 rather than the God of Daniel 7-12. But Daniel calls us to be “the people who know their God”, especially so in suffering tribulations (Dan 11:32). And such people know the God of both Daniel 1-6 and 7-12
1 Andrew E. Hill & John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament (Zondervan, 1991), 352 2 See 31 January entry of Devotional Journal 2023
Application:

What do I expect as a part of the people of God?

Prayer:
Write a prayer to God as your response from your meditation on and application of the Scriptures.
Prayer Pointers:
  • Give thanks and praise
  • Pray for leaders
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for Singapore: That God will visit Singapore with His redemptive presence
  • Pray for self
 

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