MONDAY, 13 APRIL 2020

Preamble to Proverbs 13
Proverbs 13 is a collection of twenty-five wisdom sayings, most of which contrast two opposites with each other (e.g. the wise and the foolish, in most cases, joined by ‘but’). The difficulty in picking verses from such a chapter is the chapter does not seem to have a single theme. I shall, therefore, concentrate on just one verse.

This is the verse I wish to share a bit on for today.

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

In the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) it reads:

12 Delayed hope makes the heart sick,
but fulfilled desire is a tree of life.

Do we tend to think that when we have to wait for something, God is being unreasonable and testing our patience beyond our ability to handle it? ‘Why can’t things move a bit faster?’, we often ask impatiently.

Will not God strengthen us to wait patiently if we ask Him?

This is what Paul wrote to the saints in Colossae:

Colossians 1:9-11

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,

10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

Modern life with its ‘instant’ quick-fixes and solutions trains us in the art of impatience. Our culture and (social) media cultivate our taste for ease, comfort, and instant gratification. So when God tells us to wait far longer than we expected for that dream job, approval from a bureaucratic authority or some other agency, how do we avoid becoming like Israel’s wilderness wanderers, who “became impatient on the way” and “spoke against God” – Numbers 21: 4-5?

We need God to strengthen us with patience. Patience, as Paul’s prayer for the Colossians shows, is not the weakness of people who have no power to get what they want. Patience is the power to press on through difficulties, discouragements, and detours with a heart full of faith and a mouth full of praise. Are we able to pray ‘Strengthen me to wait patiently?’

And secondly, Have we fallen prey to the temptation to take shortcuts?

Too long waiting merely make taking shortcuts more tempting.
The Bible has instances of characters who decided they had enough of waiting. The Israelites, waiting for Moses to come down from Mount Sinai to deliver God’s word, decided they would build the golden calf themselves (Exodus 32:1). King Saul, waiting for Samuel to come and offer an animal before the battle, decided to be the priest himself (1 Samuel 13: 8-10). The Israelites, waiting for God to deliver them from enemy armies, decided they would buy Egypt’s help instead (Isaiah 30:15-16).

Dear brothers and sisters, are you being tempted by shortcuts today? Or perhaps this pause in the hustle and bustle of your life’s routine is the Lord’s opportunity for you to re-think options and not take that shortcut which looked so appealing to you four weeks ago.

Read Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

Finally, what greater area do we need the patience to wait upon God than in the area of the Future God has in Store for Us?

I am sure many of us compose in our minds of how we would like life story to turn out. But do we really, really invite God to be the Author of that essay with us, or do we prefer to go solo?

We need God to help us want the future He has for us — the future he has written in his unsearchable wisdom. Only seasons of patient waiting will train us to relinquish that role as the author of our own story and take up our role as a character in God’s story for our lives.

As followers of Christ, we know what our role is in God’s story: proclaim his excellencies. For some, God calls us to proclaim his excellencies from positions of plenty. For others, He may call us to do this from places of want and lack, where we live and speak to show that God, no matter what he withholds, is more than enough for us. Are we willing to surrender our wills and wait upon Him to reveal this to us?

We cannot, on this side of eternity, see the meaning of the final act in our own plotlines. But we must play our role as His character knowing that our Author has mastered for our spiritual good, the final twist if there be one.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). The God who saved the world through a cross and an empty tomb know how to take our failed stories and turn them into something beautiful. Our role is to trust him and glorify him, even when we can’t see the ending.

PRAYER

Our Heavenly Father we pray for Adriel Yim’s operation. We trust that the doctors have re-scheduled his operation for Monday so that his medical condition may be attended to promptly. We pray for the team of doctors and support staff in the OT – may they do a complete job and be ready for any eventuality.

We pray for a good and smooth post-op recovery without any side effects. We pray also for Adriel’s parents Jun Yung and Siew Hup, that your peace will be upon them throughout this time.

Father, we also pray for the many voluntary organisations, some headed by Your children, who are delivering food and other essentials during this MCO to families which have totally run out of money. We pray O Lord, you will provide for these organisations financially so that their acts of mercy and compassion may continue. May You bless them and the volunteers assisting them.

Our Heavenly Father, thank you for your Word to us today. We pray You will teach us patient faith in times such as these, that we will wait upon you without doubting and complaint.

Help us always to speak words of life, grace, and encouragement, and to guard our mouths to preserve our lives.

Help us to hate falsehood and all forms of deceitful behaviour and hypocrisy, that our interactions with everyone will be sincere and transparent.

We pray we will not be misled by the love of riches and all that it offers; help us beware the pitfalls of wealth.

Help us choose our companions wisely, that we may draw close to and confide only in the righteous.

Finally, we pray we will not only leave a financial inheritance but a spiritual legacy to our children’s children, one that will keep them in the Lord’s way all their lives.

In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Ps Cheng Cheung

xxx

每日灵粮
13/4/20
作者:张祯祥传道
箴11:24-25

引言

箴言十三章记录了一系列的智慧佳句,其中大部分都是鲜明对比(例如智者和愚蠢的,在大多数情况下加入了「但是」)。 从这章挑选经文有一定的难度,因为整章似乎没有单一的主题。 因此,我只会专注探讨一节。

这是我今天想分享的经文:

箴言13: 12「所盼望的迟延未得,令人心忧;所愿的来到,好比生命树。

我们是否倾向于认为,当我们必须等待某件事时,上帝变得不讲理,在测试我们的耐心,而且这测试已超乎我们所能承受的? 我们经常不耐烦地问,「为什么事情不能快一点?」

如果我们问上帝,那他会不会帮助我们加增忍耐?

保罗这样写给歌罗西的圣徒们:

歌罗西书1:9-11

「因此,我们自从听见的日子,也就为你们不住地祷告祈求,愿你们在一切属灵的智慧悟性上,满心知道神的旨意, 10 好叫你们行事为人对得起主,凡事蒙他喜悦,在一切善事上结果子,渐渐地多知道神; 11 照他荣耀的权能,得以在各样的力上加力,好叫你们凡事欢欢喜喜地忍耐宽容。」

现代生活所提倡的「速效/即时」可以磨练我们忍耐的艺术。现今的文化和社交媒体逐渐培养我们的品位,使我们追求轻松、舒适和即时的满足感。因此,当梦寐以求的工作迟延未得,或在等待官僚机构或其他机构的批准时,我们如何避免成为以色列旷野的流浪者? 他们 「心里烦躁」并 「反抗上帝」(民数记21:4-5)

我们需要上帝加强我们的耐心。就如保罗对歌罗西的祈祷,忍耐不是软弱;不代表一个人没有能力得到想要的。忍耐是以充满信心和赞美的嘴,坚持克服困难、挫折和弯路的力量。我们是否祈求主 「加增耐心?」

其次,我们是否已沦陷捷径的诱惑呢?

等待的时间太长只会使捷径显得更诱人。圣经中也有一些人物觉得自己等得够久了。以色列人等不及摩西从西奈山下来传扬上帝的话,因此决定自己建造金牛犊(出埃及记32:1)。扫罗王在战斗前等不及撒母耳献燔祭和平安祭,所以决定自己献祭(撒母耳记上13:8-10)。以色列人放弃等待上帝将他们从敌军手中解救出来的过程,反而投靠埃及(以赛亚书30:15-16)。

亲爱的弟兄姐妹们,你今天是否被捷径所迷惑?也许暂停喧嚣繁忙的生活是主赐给你的机会来重新思考,不去选择四周前对你来说看似诱人的捷径。

以赛亚书 30:15
「主耶和华以色列的圣者曾如此说:你们得救在乎归回安息,你们得力在乎平静安稳。你们竟自不肯!」

最后,当我们谈论忍耐,有什么比等待上帝为我们预备的将来更重要呢?

我相信,许多人都在想象我们理想中的未来。但是,我们是否真诚地的邀请上帝与我们一同写生命的文章,还是我们宁可独自一人?

我们需要上帝帮助我们渴望他所为我们预备的未来。这未来是上帝以他丰富的智慧所定的。只有耐心等待的季节可以训练我们放弃成为自己生命的作者,并在上帝的故事中扮演我们的角色。

作为基督的跟随者,我们在上帝的故事中所扮演的角色是:宣扬他的美德。对于某些人来说,上帝呼召我们在充裕中宣扬他的美德。对于其他人,上帝可能要我们从匮乏之处,透过言语行为,表明在主里我们是富足的。我们愿意放弃我们的意愿,等待他所给我们启示吗?

在永恒的这一面,我们无法懂得自己生命最后一幕的含义。但是,我们必须扮演主人公的角色,深信我们生命的作者已经得胜了,一切定会逆转胜。

哥林多前书2:9 「只有神借着圣灵向我们显明了。因为圣灵参透万事,就是神深奥的事也参透了。」

以十字架和空坟墓拯救世界的上帝能够把我们失败的故事改为美丽的文章。虽然我们看不到结局,但我们的任务就是相信他并荣耀他。

一同祷告:

我们在天上的父,我们为Adriel Yim的手术代祷。 我们相信医生已将他的手术安排在星期一进行,以便可以及时处理他的医疗状况。 我们为手术室的医生团队和支援人员祷告。愿他们能够完成手术,并为任何可能发生的事情做好准备。

我们祈祷手术后Adriel能早日康复,不会经历任何副作用。 我们也为Adriel的父母Jun Yung 和Siew Hup祷告,愿主你赐他们平安。

父神,我们也为许多志愿人员组织祷告,其中一些是由你的孩子所领导的,他们在这次行动管制令期间为那些完全没有钱的家庭提供食物和其他必需品。 哦主,我们恳求你帮助他们,使他们有经济能力继续他们的工作。 愿你祝福他们和帮助他们的志愿者。

我们的天父,感谢你今天对我们说话。 我们祈求你在这段时间教导我们耐心地信靠主,毫无疑问和毫无抱怨地等候你。

帮助我们总是发出恩典和鼓励的话语,并谨守我们的嘴保守生命。

帮助我们憎恨虚假和所有形式的欺骗行为和虚伪,使我们对每个人真诚相待。

我们祈求不爱慕财富,不被财富所能提供的误导;帮助我们提防财富的陷阱。

帮助我们明智地选择我们的同伴,使我们可以亲近义人,只向他们倾诉。

最后,我们祈祷,我们不仅会留下财务遗产,也会留下属灵遗产给我们孩子的孩子,让他们一生都在主的道路上。

奉耶稣的名祷告,阿门。

巫惠如译

 161 total views,  1 views today