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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:
Jonah 1:4-16; Psalm 86:11
Tue, 25 January 2022

The Fearful Men

Observation:

How did the sailors’ fear change from verse 5 to verse 16?

Deeper Reflection
THE NARRATIVE OF THE STORM AND SAILORS IS FULL OF irony and comedy. Picture the drama. The seasoned mariners were scared out of their wits (v.5). In an utter frenzy, they dumped cargo, desperately trying to save themselves. In contrast, Jonah the rebellious prophet was oblivious to the danger, sleeping in the bowels of the ship. The mariners were frantically calling out to their gods. But the prophet of the LORD was asleep. And so the flabbergasted captain came to Jonah and commanded him, “Arise, call out to your god!” (v.6). This is a parody of the divine command that Jonah rejected: arise,…and call out against Nineveh (Jon 1:2).65 After an exercise of lot-casting to determine who is responsible for the disaster, the sailors discovered that it is Jonah, who then disclosed, “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (v.9). Jonah’s talk about “fear” must have sounded incredibly hollow to the sailors who knew about his wilful rebellion!66 It was them, and not the LORD’s prophet, who understood the gravity of what Jonah had done (v.10). Another irony of the story is that because of Jonah’s irreverence, the sailors came to genuinely revere his God (v.16). How about us? Are we like Jonah, professing to fear God but treating God flippantly? Pastor Timothy Keller defines the fear of the Lord as being “overwhelmed with wonder before the greatness of God and His love”67. Let us ask the LORD for an undivided heart that truly fears His name (Psa 86:11).
65 D. J. Wiseman, T. D. Alexander, and B. K. Waltke, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah, Tyndale Old Testament commentaries v. 26 66 Ibid., 116. 67 Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage (New York: Dutton, 2011), 68.
Application:

What does the fear of the Lord mean to me and how does it impact the way I live?

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 pastors and staff: That they will have an undivided heart that fears the name of the LORD (Psa 86:11)
  • Pray for significant people
  • Pray for those in need
  • Pray for self

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