Tuesday, 14 September 2021
Title: Be RENEWed!
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳
2 Corinthians 4:16
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”
Apostle Paul’s life was marked by unrelenting and soul-sapping suffering. He was mercilessly persecuted, whipped, beaten, stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, imprisoned, often hungry and thirsty, and faced all kinds of perils on land and sea as he travelled extensively through the Mediterranean, bringing the Gospel message to the Gentiles. Needless to say, he suffered in a way that is hard for us to imagine.
Yet in Romans 5:3, Paul declared that he could “rejoice” in his suffering! What was his secret? In 2 Corinthians 4:7 Paul revealed that it is the “all-surpassing power” of God that sustained him in the face of overwhelming odds and unceasing opposition to his ministry. This power, activated by God Himself through the working of His Holy Spirit, enabled Paul’s inner self to be renewed day by day.
How then can we be similarly renewed? By applying the key concepts embedded in the acronym “RENEW”:
“R” is for “Restore”
Psalm 23:3 “He restores my soul.” In the past 18 months, it is not only our respiratory tracts that have been attacked by the covid-19 virus. Our souls have been assaulted like never before! We have been sucked into the pits of fear, anxiety, loneliness, hopelessness, helplessness, depression and grief. Many are mourning lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost savings, lost security and lost relationships. Suddenly our lives have been thrown into alarming disarray. We are like sheep being evicted from the sheepfold where we are safe and protected.
But there is hope! Our Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ is right here with us, fighting whatever we fear with His rod, and nudging us closer to Him with His staff. He beckons us to draw near to Him. He wants to restore us. To bring us back to a state of new strength and vigour. To rebuild, to repair, to recharge our worn-out batteries. And so we will be restored if we will only follow Him closely, and allow Him to strengthen us through prayer, through His Word, through others or through changing circumstances.
“E” is for “Endure”
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” We can endure suffering only because God gives us His strength to endure. He is merciful and will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength. He knows if we abide in Him, trials will never topple us but will top up our faith!
“N” is for “New”
Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Just as God rescued King David out of many desperate life-threatening situations and put a new song in his mouth, we can depend on our faithful God to deliver us when we face insurmountable challenges. May we focus on cultivating a spirit of praise and thanksgiving and look daily for something new to praise God for! In doing so, we proclaim our faith in His goodness, faithfulness and power. Thus God is exalted and our faith is strengthened and revitalized.
“E” is for “Entrust”
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burdens on the Lord and He will sustain you.” All of us have burdens to carry. Truly, only those in the cemetery have no burdens! Trials and troubles can cripple our faith. Hence King David exhorts us to cast our burdens on the Lord and leave them with Him, the great burden-bearer! Let Him assume full responsibility for those burdens even as He sustains and upholds us.
“W” is for “Wait”
Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” To wait on the Lord means to trust Him when a situation looks hopeless. Trust in His goodness and perfect timing. Trust involves confidence in God’s power to deliver and faith that He will keep His promises. We are to never fear, only trust and obey.
No matter how big the storms or how rough the waves during this pandemic, our Almighty God is with us. With our hand in His, we will surely soar to the heights like the eagle! For He Who is the ALPHA and the OMEGA has got the Beta, Delta and all other variants surrounded and defeated!
Our Heavenly Father, even the strongest humans get tired and weary at times but Your infinite power and strength never diminish. You are never too tired or too busy to help us in our hour of need. Your divine power is the source of our strength. When we feel all of life crushing us and cannot go another step forward, help us to turn our eyes on Your Son, our Lord Jesus in order that we will BE RENEWED by the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
然而，在罗马书5:3，保罗宣称他可以在受苦中 “喜乐”！他的秘诀是什么？在哥林多后书4:7 保罗透露，在他的事工面对压倒性的困难和不断的反对时，是上帝那 “莫大的能力” 支撑着他。这能力是上帝亲自藉着圣灵的工作而激发的，使保罗的内心一天新似一天。
我们要怎样才能得着同样的更新呢？通过应用这首字母缩略词 “RENEW” 里的关键概念：
“R” 代表 “恢复”
诗篇23:3 “他使我的灵魂苏醒。” 在过去的18个月中，不单是我们的呼吸道受到新冠病毒的攻击，我们的灵命也受到前所未有的突击！我们被捲入恐惧、焦虑、孤独、绝望，无助、沮丧和悲伤的深渊。许多人在哀悼失去的亲人，为失去的工作、失去的积蓄、失去的安全感和失去的关系感到哀伤。突然间，我们的生活陷入了令人震惊的混乱之中。我们就像被赶出羊圈的羊，在羊圈里我们是安全和受到保护的。
“E” 代表 “忍受”
哥林多前书10:13 “你们所遇见的试探，无非是人所能受的。神是信实的，必不叫你们受试探过于所能受的；在受试探的时候，总要给你们开一条出路，叫你们能忍受得住。” 我们可以忍受苦难，只因为上帝给我们祂的力量去忍受。祂是仁慈的，并不会让我们受到超出我们力量的考验。祂知道如果我们常在祂里面，试炼永不会倾覆我们，但会提升我们的信心！
“N” 代表 “新”
诗篇40:3 “祂使我口唱新歌，就是赞美我们神的话。” 正如上帝将大卫王从许多危及生命的绝境中拯救出来，使他口唱新歌一样，当我们面临无法克服的挑战时，我们可以倚靠信实的上帝来拯救我们。愿我们专注于培养赞美和感恩的心，并且每天留意着新的事物来赞美上帝！这样做的时候，我们在宣告我们对祂的良善、信实和能力的信心。因此，上帝被尊崇，我们的信心得着坚固和振兴。
“E” 代表 “交托”
诗篇55:22 “你要把你的重担卸给耶和华，他必抚养你。” 我们每个人都有负担。真的，只有在墓地里的才没有负担！试炼和困难会削弱我们的信心。因此，大卫王劝勉我们要把我们的重担卸给主，把它们交给伟大的担负重担的主！让祂承担重担的全部责任，恰如祂也正扶持着我们一样。
“W” 代表 “等候”
以赛亚书40:31 “但那等候耶和华的必从新得力。” 等候上帝的意思是，当情况看起来毫无希望时，信靠祂；相信祂的良善和完美的时机。信靠包括相信上帝拯救的能力，并相信祂会遵守祂的承诺。我们永远不要害怕，只要信靠和顺服。
在这场大流行疫情中，无论风暴有多猛烈，海浪有多汹涌，我们的全能上帝与我们同在。有祂握着我们的手，我们一定会像鹰一样翱翔于高处！因为祂是阿拉法，是俄梅戛，已经将“贝塔”（Beta）, “德尔塔”（Delta） 和所有其他的变种病毒包围击败了！