Saturday, October 23, 2021
Title: God’s calling
Author: Pastor Andrew Lim
Translation: Margaret Ong

Little children know the feeling when they are called home by their father while having a great time outside: knowing that they are coming home late, still wet and dirty, stepping into the house tremblingly, waiting for their father to loss temper. What is it like! However, for us, the situation is just the opposite. We are not called to come before God the Father to receive the rod of discipline, but to receive His embrace with open arms.

People who are often sent on business trips by the company and those who have never had the chance to, have a very different feeling. When called, people will respond: because they feel that they have a mission on their shoulders, and they feel that it is a great honor. Remember, God’s calling to you is a calling of love.

After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they did not immediately confess their mistakes to God. Instead, because of shame they chose to cover their body with leaves, and also hid. Let us look at the people nowadays who seldom admit when they make mistakes. Most of them are trying to escape and they use methods to cover up their faults, and cover up one by one. It was God who took the initiative. He proactively called Adam and Eve instead of scolding them, but prepared sheepskin to cover them from the cold. Likewise, today when we stumble, He actively calls rather than rebuke us, and has prepared a lamb for salvation to cover our sins.

Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” ( Mark 2:17) This is not to say that the Lord only came to gather a certain group of people. This calling applies to all human beings. All people need to repent and accept the gospel. However, those who can open their hearts to the same calling will be aware of their sins and their own needs, so that they can “hear” the Lord’s calling to them. Others turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the Lord’s invitation.

The human situation is that he cannot use his own ability and good deeds to meet God’s righteous standards and requirements. No one can say with certainty: I have done good for decades, and will definitely go to heaven. Man cannot be justified by himself. Because humans are separated from God in sin, they cannot rely on any of their own merits, but rely on the awakening and assistance of pre-determined grace to be justified: “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”(Eph 2:8-9) The pride of human can be healed and people can be justified based on God’s “Born-again Grace in Christ”

The call of love is a sincere invitation, an invitation to salvation. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matt. 11:28) Modern people often feel that they are carrying heavy burdens, and the pressure and suffering they endure in their hearts are sometimes hardly understood by outsiders. Faced with social transformation, global competition, increase in working hours, tension between people, economic pressure, and the invasion of viruses, etc.

If a person wants to shoulder heavier burdens, he must have a stronger physique and ability, just like a weightlifter, to make himself stronger and stronger. But Jesus’ approach is just the opposite. If we are to bear great responsibility while being light, then we must have His meek and humble heart. Because a gentle heart can accommodate others; a humble heart can hold God’s work. Not only can I entrust Him with the external burden, but also the inner pressure, struggle and suffering. A humble heart always believes that there is a God outside of oneself. He will be our help when we need it, find a way of breaking the deadlock for us, inspire us to think, and deal with problems from a completely different perspective.

We will not be alone and helplessly struggling. Because the Holy Spirit shall assist us at any time. God gives those who are saved the Holy Spirit as a seal to ensure that they are indeed God’s inheritance, and the Holy Spirit proves with our hearts that we are God’s children. In other words, the Holy Spirit acts as our guarantor in salvation, guaranteeing that we live a life of honoring God and benefiting others on the heavenly road. So we can abide by the rules of the new life on the road to heaven, we shall abstain from vice.

Whether we really hear the voice of God, the only way is to answer to God like little Samuel: “Speak, for Your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:10)The understanding of God’s will and the confession of sins are the result of God’s call to restore the image of the destroyed God in man. If people choose God’s calling, they shall “find grace in the eyes of the Lord.” ( Gen 6:8)

The reason why a man sins is not because he does not have the grace of God, but because he does not use the grace that he has. The calling of God is a door that God opens for man, so that everyone can start on the road of salvation by possessing, accepting, and obeying it. The calling of God is given to everyone. If a person rejects this grace, he will continue to live in the “natural” and anxious, fearful situation.

Man cannot rely on his own good deeds to redeem for his sins, and man can never be saved by his own deeds. To be saved, grace must intervene. The purpose of grace is to restore man’s image of the destroyed God, so that man can regain the ability to come to God. Grace restores the slumbering spirit of man, renews the ability to respond to God’s grace, and restores man’s knowledge of God and His laws.

God has given a calling to enable people to respond to the grace given by God. People must choose whether to accept God’s calling or reject this grace. If you reject this grace, people will perish by continuing to live in sin; if you accept this grace, people will be led into the journey of salvation and have eternal life. Those who accept God’s grace will begin to admit their sins, recognize their powerlessness in sin, and begin to hunger for God.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for your grace. Because of your calling, we come to you here not to be struck with a rod, but you are willing to open your arms to embrace me. Your calling and grace of love have made me in Your favor. Thank you for the salvation you prepared for me. Please untie the deadlock of my tangled mind and heart, take on my burden, and let me have complete rest in you. I sincerely pray in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

每日灵粮
星期六, 2021年10月23日
标题:上帝的呼唤   
作者:林金儀傳道
 
小孩子都知道,当他们在外面玩得乐极忘形,被爸爸叫回家时的那种感觉:自知自己晚归了,浑身又湿又脏,战战兢兢地踏入家门,等待父亲发火,那是一种什么滋味!但是,对我们来说,情形恰好相反,被父上帝叫到跟前不是来领受刑杖的,乃是来接受祂张开双手的拥抱。
 
常常被公司派出差和从来不被公司派出差的人,是有很不同的感觉的。被召唤时,人都会回应:因为觉得有使命在肩,觉得是无上荣耀。记得,上帝对您的恩召是爱的呼唤。
 
亚当夏娃在伊甸园犯罪之后,没有立刻向神承认错误,却因为羞耻而选择用树叶遮体,也因为羞耻而躲避起来。看一看现在人一旦犯了错误,是不是也很少会主动承认,大部分都是为了躲避,就用方法遮盖所犯的过错,而且是一个接一个的遮掩。是上帝采取主动,祂主动呼唤亚当夏娃而不是责骂,为他们预备了羊皮遮寒。同样,今天当我们犯错,祂主动呼唤而不是责骂我们,并为我们预备了救恩和遮盖我们罪的羔羊。
 
耶稣说:「我来本不是召义人,乃是召罪人。」这幷不是说主只是来召聚某一部份的人。这召唤对所有人类都适用。所有的人都需要悔改接受福音。但是同一个呼唤,凡能打开心装载的,则会觉悟到自己的罪和自己的需要,才能「听见」主对他们的呼唤。其他人对主的邀请是视而不见、听而不闻的。
 
人的境况是不能藉着自己的能力及善行,来达到上帝公义的标准和要求。没有人有把握说:我行了几十年的善,绝对可以上天堂。人不能靠自己称义。人因在罪中与神隔绝,因此不能靠任何自身的功劳,而是要靠预设恩典的苏醒及协助,才能得以称义:「你们得救是本乎恩,也因着信,这并不是出于自己,乃是神所赐的;也不是出于行为,免得有人自夸」。人的骄傲得以被医治,人得以被称义是基于上帝在「基督里重生的恩典」。
 
爱的呼唤是真诚的邀请,是拯救的邀请。耶稣说,「你们所有劳苦担重担的人哪,到我这里来吧!我必使你们得安息」。现代人常常有担着千斤重担的感觉,内心所承受的重压与煎熬有时候真不足对外人说。面对社会转型、全球竞争、工时增长、人与人的关系紧张、经济的压力、病毒的侵袭等。
 
一个人如果要担更重的担子,就要更强的体魄与能力,就像举重的人一般,使自己越来越强。可是耶稣的办法却刚刚相反,如果我们要负重担而又能轻省,那么就要有祂一样柔和谦卑的心。因为柔和的心,能容纳他人;谦卑的心,能容让神工作。不只是可以将外面的重担交托,也可以将内心的压力、挣扎和煎熬交托给祂。谦卑的心永远相信在自己外还有上帝,祂会在我们有需要的时候成为我们的帮助,替我们解开不能解的死结,启发我们思考,从一个完全不同的角度处理问题。
 
我们不会孤单并无助地在挣扎。因为我们有圣灵作随时的帮助。上帝赐给得救的人圣灵,当作印鉴盖上,以保证他们确实是属上帝的产业,圣灵与我们的心同证我们是神的儿女。换句话说,圣灵在救恩中作我们的担保人,担保我们在天路上过荣神益人的生活。所以我们可以在行天路上遵守新生活的守则,可以不犯罪作恶。
 
我们是否真的听到了上帝的声音?唯一的方法就是像小撒母耳一样,对上帝说:「请说,仆人敬听。」人之所以能了解神的旨意并开始知罪,乃是因为神的恩召恢复了人被毁坏之神的形象的结果。人若选择上帝的恩召便可以蒙神的恩眷。
 
人之所以犯罪,并不是因为他没有上帝的恩典,而是他没有使用他所拥有的恩典。上帝的恩召是神为人开的一扇门,让所有人都可以藉着拥有、接受和顺服它,就可以开始走在救恩的道路上。上帝的恩召是赐给每个人的,人若拒绝了此恩典,就继续活在“属血气”和惶恐不安的境况中。
 
人不能靠自己所做的善事来赎自己的罪愆,人决不能靠自身的行为得救。 人要得救就必须有恩典的介入。恩典的目的乃为了恢复人被毁坏神的形象, 使人可以重新有能力到上帝面前。恩典使人沉睡的灵被复苏,让人重新有回应上帝恩典的能力,人对神及神律法的知识被恢复。
 
上帝给了恩召使人有能力回应神所赐的恩典,人必须选择是否要接受上帝的恩召,或是拒绝此恩典。若拒绝此恩典,人就会因继续活在罪中而引致灭亡;若接纳此恩典,人就会被引领进入救恩的旅程,得着永生。凡接纳神恩典者会开始知罪,认清自己在罪中的无能为力,并会开始渴慕神。
 
祷告:父上帝,感谢祢的恩典,因为祢的呼唤,叫我们到跟前不是来领受刑杖,乃是祢愿意张开双手要拥抱我。祢爱的呼唤和恩召让我倍受宠爱。谢谢祢为我准备的救赎。求祢解开我心灵纠结的死结,担当我的重担,让我从祢哪里得全然的安息。诚心祷告是奉耶稣宝贵的名。阿门。