(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Luke Ch. 17 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv. 1-4) According to Jesus, there are two key areas that we should be mindful about:
- Do not tempt others: To cause someone to stumble generally refers to weakening that person’s faith by distracting him/her from God or causing him/her to sin. There are many temptations in our life that could cause us to sin and Jesus said such things are sure to come. However, we shall not allow temptations to come through us that could make others stumble because the Lord says, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” This means that even if you may be afflicted, it would still be better than you to cause others to sin. So how do we avoid “being tempted by others” and “tempting others“? We will have to hold on to God’s Word, to be reconciled with Jesus, and abide in the Lord. We will let God lead us in our decision-making process in our lives and our actions, discernments, etc. Romans 12:2 states, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The more we know God’s will, the better we can stand firm! Can you think of any other ideas (that would avoid tempting others or being tempted by others)? May God help us.
- Forgive Always: Many of the teachings of Jesus recorded in the Bible place great emphasis on the importance of forgiveness. In this passage, Jesus said: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” If someone offends you or commits a crime, you will need to talk to him and encourage him to repent, and forgive him if he repents. Quite often the reason why we are not able to forgive others is because we are clinging to someone’s faults (sins) and are not willing to let go of them. The opposite of forgiveness is resentment. It is easy to understand that if there is “resentment” in our hearts, we will no longer be happy, which would bring more hurt to ourselves eventually. Sometimes people have no clue about why things went wrong or how they offended us. More importantly, Jesus had said: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
Can you think of anyone that you need to forgive lately? “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13) Let us learn to be more willing to forgive people!
(vv. 5–10) Through reading the apostles‘ request to the Lord “Increase our faith” and Jesus’ response using the parable of “useless (or unworthy) servants”, let us think about the relationship between “faith and service”. Our ministry is a great way to exercise our faith. As we serve by faith, knowing for whom our services are for, we will have the right perspective for our ministry. First, you will not overestimate our ability or the value of your work nor will you underestimate yourself because you know that it’s God who works! Therefore, even if we see ourselves as useless, the Lord sees us as faithful.
Let us fix our eyes on God and get ready to serve Him. God will enable us to see great things through our faith!
(vv. 11-19) Of the ten lepers who had been healed, only one came back to thank Jesus and give glory to God. Amazingly, it’s a Samaritan who returned with gratitude! As he returned with gratitude, he received more blessings from Jesus than the other nine lepers who were healed. Jesus said to this Samaritan, “Your faith has made you well.” This declaration is more precious than the actual healing he had received.
Brothers and sisters, when we are seeking God for something, are we acting just like these ten lepers who shouted “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Have you ever expressed gratitude toward God after having experienced his salvation and help? Or have you disregarded it? May we be like this Samaritan who returned with gratitude and gave glory to God. Likewise, we can experience more blessings from God! Don’t be like those nine people who were healed but ungrateful.
Does this mean God wants us to be grateful? Of course! Note that Jesus asked, “Where are the nine?” The truth is God deserves all our worship, praise, gratitude, reverence, service, and so on. Not only because He saves, helps, and blesses us, but also because He is the True Almighty God! He deserves all the “…power and wealth and wisdom, and might, and honor and glory and blessings1” (Revelation 5:12) because He is Worthy!
(vv. 20-37) This passage contains the following key points about the Kingdom of God and the second coming of the Lord:
- The Kingdom of God is in the heart of man: It is clear that the Kingdom of God is in our midst. Who is on your mind? Who is the one that reigns? Whose Kingdom do you belong to? Let’s abide in the Lord!
- The day of the Lord’s coming will suddenly come: Jesus mentioned in the days of Noah and Lot to explain the days of His coming again. It will be a day that no one can calculate and on a normal day while all is busy, the Lord will suddenly come.
- The judgment will come on the day of the Lord’s coming: After Noah entered the Ark and Lot fled the city of Sodom, all other people were then destroyed. Similar, the return of Jesus will be the day when all mankind will be judged!
Therefore, we should be prepared and be watchful. Do not procrastinate for worldly matters. Let us earnestly look forward to the second coming of the Lord!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)