Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reading for Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In the air all the long day (Korea to Bangkok, Bangkok to Delhi, Delhi to Dehradun (YAY!! SpiceJet, you rock) and a surprisingly smooth ride up to Mussoorie.  Bruce, Mr. Singh has new 5-speed Toyota 6-passenger van that practically floated up the mountain.  Fred even fell asleep riding shotgun!

Ezekiel 1-3; Revelation 2
“But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you... So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. --Ezekiel 2:8; 3:2

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” --Revelation 2:4

No one can experience someone else's encounter with God. The God of the Bible is a personal God, almost all of the time He gives individual subjective experience to his chosen servants. People use their imaginations in all sorts of way, but as children of God we need to make sure this faculty glorifies God. In our devotion today, we read from the books of Ezekiel and Revelation. Honestly, so many things in these books my human mind cannot fathom. Their verbal records of their visions are unique to themselves. But there are universal elements in Ezekiel's and John’s experiences that can strengthen our own faith, and enable us to be ministers of God, if we allow our imaginations to become a vehicle for faith- response to God's glory through these inspired word pictures.

Like Ezekiel, who wrote and ministered in exile in faraway Babylon after 597 B.C., you are coming from a country which is in bondage in many ways, and you are going to minister to a remnant who are surrounded by the ungodly people, who worship 3300 millions gods and goddesses, which is the birthplace of so many religions like Buddhism, Jainism and where the largest numbers of Muslims live. It’s a religious country but far from God.

As the Israelites who were surrounded by the seductions of a sophisticated but pagan foreign culture, (and Ezekiel was sent to them not with mere words about God but an empowering vision that would boost their imagination and evoke their faith), so are you going to India to minister to a group of people who have come out from the bondage and curses of not knowing God.

When God calls, He also empowers. You are not going alone to India to minister, but with the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit who pioneered this journey in 2007 and is still with you today. As God’s spokesperson in a time such as this, you need to soak yourself with the word of God, like Ezekiel (2:8, 3:2). The word of God is the sword, the only weapon that is given to us to attack the enemy. God’s design is that when we do His work, our minds should be filled with God’s word. We can’t do God’s work without Him speaking to us continually through His word. This is God’s work, and what an encouragement for us, to know that we are a part of it.

Yet we can fall into another big pit in doing God’s work without loving God. Even as I close today’s journal, let’s be reminded that we can work for Him without loving Him. The church of Ephesus had fallen in this trap. They were a very hardworking church, but they had forsaken their first love to Jesus (Rev. 2:4). The greatest commandment of the Bible is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22: 38). It declares that every aspect of our lives should be motivated by the love that we have for God. The reason you have made this sacrifice to take this trip is because you love God and want to see His Kingdom come.

Dear Lord, thank You for this amazing privilege that You have given me to be your co-worker. I am here; fill me with Your presence throughout this day. I am in a nation where the needs are overwhelming, and when I see the challenges, my heart sinks deep within me. You know how feeble I am and all the other concerns that grip my heart. Oh God! Open my eyes so that I can see You as You are! Help me to shift my focus from the enormous needs that are around me, to You who created everything by the power of Your word, for You, O God, never change. This morning, as I prepare myself for this country of India, I turn my eyes unto You, O God, to look full into Your wonderful face. Fill me with Your light and glory so that the darkness would flee from each place that I step in. Let Your peace cover me like a blanket every minute of this day. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
Pastor Ashish

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