Devotionals & Articles
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18
Ubud, natural paradise that is high up in the mountains of Bali. Tourists throng to this place every year for serenity, beauty, peace, and a little spirituality. Some come to her rivers for wild waters experience. Others just sit quietly as they meditate in her terraces of green paddy fields. Some others soak in her soft cultural music, dances, and activities that surround them. Others are busy buying beautifully crafted handiworks and delicate paintings.
I too went to Ubud with my family this December holiday. On our way up there, we were caught in a traffic jam in the town area of Ubud. For a short 1 to 2 km, we took more than an hour to travel through the one lane traffic. The roads were congested with motorbikes, cars, bicycles, and people – all wanting to experience Ubud. In the jam, I was feeling frustrated, stressed, and a little impatient. I could not believe the amount of people and vehicles on this tiny road. Yet, in the midst of my frustration, I still pushed on cheerfully because I wanted to see Ubud. I was eager to experience all the culture and nature that she could offer.
This reminded me of our own journey to heaven. It is not always smooth. In fact, it is not smooth at all. It is completely filled with traffic jams of troubles, distractions, temptations, worries, and challenges. But the scripture in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 gives us encouragement on how to push on our arduous journey. Paul says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I wanted to see Ubud. Though I was uncomfortable, I cheerfully endured the momentary troubles of the heavy traffic I was in.
Heaven is more beautiful than Ubud. One hundred times more glorious than Ubud. A thousand times more cultural than Ubud. A million times more natural than Ubud. I want to be in that heaven. On our way up there, to this wonderful place, there will be momentary troubles and traffic jams that we will have to face while on this earth. Just as I fixed my eyes on the unseen – the beauty of Ubud, I too need to fix my eyes on the unseen eternal glory that is waiting for me. My momentary troubles will come and go, but that destination, my final destination, heaven, will always be there waiting for me.
As I was in Bangkok, last weekend, I was amazed by the sight of hundreds of electrical wires looping around poles, hanging in plain sight, and chaotically supplying power to the city.
Bangkok is a city that never sleeps. Millions of homes, televisions, computers, traffic lights, street lamps, shopping centers, giant malls, office towers, government buildings, and retail shops are powered by tons of heavy electrical wires hanging on sturdy concrete poles. Without this myriad of wires, the city would be in total darkness. Chaos would run wild. People are so dependent on electrical power.
These electrical wires reminded me of Jesus, the vine, the eternal source that supplies life, energy, strength, and convictions to us. Our lives are so dependent on Him. Through His Spirit, invisible to our human eyes just as electricity is, He supplies the needed life resources to us. These life essential resources zap back and forth through the Spirit’s wire to us. Without Him, the vine, the power running through these wires into our lives, we too will be in total darkness. Chaos would run through our lives.
“And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”” Romans 10:15
I was saved because somebody took the courage to invite me, a foreign student at the University, to church some thirty years ago.
At that time, I was such a people pleaser. I would commonly say, “Yes, I will come,” but never show up. I was just what you call a Nice Guy, who seldom said “No.” I didn’t mean what I said. I just said it because I liked to make others happy. It was, after all, impolite to say “No,” at least that was what I thought. I am sure you have met people like me.
It must have been so frustrating for my friend who kept inviting me, waited for me, and found no one at the meeting point. Worst of all, I wouldn’t even inform him that I would not be going. Each time I met him on the next day, I would ignorantly smile and happily chat away with him without even being aware of how I made him feel by constantly promising, never showing up, or informing him.
Truly, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. He kept persevering with me and never gave up. After a long year of invitations, I finally came. I still remember that day and how pleasantly surprised he was to see me, all dressed up, waiting quietly for him at the empty front entrance of the dormitory.
After that, it was history. God worked in my heart and I was baptized within one to two months of studying the bible thoroughly.
Romans 8:31-32 “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Have you ever thought about God’s love? It is like a continuous rainstorm, never ending and ever showering. Every drop is filled with the sweetness of His love. It drenches us and freshens us in the heat of all our struggles. Oh, how I love to run and dance in that rain.
God’s love is like the ocean’s wave, crashing over the sea again and again; never ending until we feel all of His love. It thunders over our heads. It swamps us and engulfs us. It makes us sail across its powerful surfs and thrills us with joy and laughter.
You Made Me Brave – song by Amanda Cook & Bethel Music
When I saw this video poem “If tomorrow starts without me” and heard it read, it deeply moved my heart. “I have to post it,” I said. “And yes, immediately.
“It reminded me of how precious life is and how precious the people in our lives are, especially our love ones. Our lives are short and we need to live it well. We need to love and love much. We need to make our family time full, full of joy and full of laughter. Conflicts there will be, but let us resolve them all and most importantly forgive them all. Nothing fulfils us more than family, not even the riches and power of this world.
It also reminded me of how grateful we should be to our God who is willing to take us in – to His home, His eternal dwelling place, His grand palace where He lives and where there is no tomorrow. Every day will last forever. Every day will be a day of good memories. Every day we will live… and live forever… with our God and with our loved ones.[vimeo 105113459 w=601&h=338]
The poem is sad. It is a reminder of what is important to our lives. But it is also a victory poem. A poem for a life well lived because we will be welcomed to our home in heaven.
My admonishment to the marrieds – husbands “each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband (Eph 5:33).” Learn to forgive and cherish the days you have with each other. For the days are fleeting and will be gone before you know it.
And my encouragement all the saints – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (Eph 5:8)” because there will be “a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev 21:1-5).
To read the poem, click this link “If tomorrow starts without me…”
Video created by Camille Marotte
Psalm 34:4…7 I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,and he delivers them.
“A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story:’Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well- nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God.”– A. C. DIXON.
Troubles, we have many. They will come and go. However, when the problems are in our midst, we usually can’t see through the mountain. There is no hope, our hearts will cry. It is too difficult. I can’t deal with it. Helen Steiner Rice wrote a beautiful poem that can perhaps help us across the mountain.
This Too Shall Pass (written by Helen Steiner Rice)
If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-
If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-
If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-
Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains
That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.