(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: Matthew Ch. 10 (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. 1-15) Can you recall and list all the names of Jesus’ disciples?
After Jesus had said, “… pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Mt. 9:38), Jesus called the twelve apostles, gave them the authority to heal every disease and sickness and drive out impure spirits and then sent them to proclaim the gospel everywhere. To these apostles, it was not others, but themselves, who were sent out by the master of the harvest. They asked the Lord first and then they were sent off. That is a good reminder to us. It is not ideal if a person just asks the Lord without any plan to be sent off or if a person is being sent off without seeking the Lord in advance.
Initially, the apostles just watched and followed Jesus, the master of all authority, to proclaim the gospel. They watched Jesus heal every disease and sickness and drive out demons. Finally, it was their turn to be sent off to the field. The way Jesus prepared his disciples was by no means empty talks. But in real practices, his disciples were prepared and ready to serve in the time when Jesus was not with them.
Are you ready go into the harvest fields? Still a little bit worried or not knowing what to do? The later scriptures continue to tell us about Jesus’ instructions to his disciples!
(vv. 16–42) Before Jesus sent off his disciples, he provided them with detailed instructions. Primarily, Jesus said to them that they were to look like sheep in the midst of wolves and they were to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Similar to the world we are facing today, often times, we encounter people with many different values that are distorted, conflicting with the truth we believe in. As we face the environment, we need to learn how to be as wise as serpents while being innocent as doves while serving the Lord faithfully and patiently. Although we may feel like sheep among wolves, we know Jesus, our Great Shepherd, is able to protect his flocks through the presence of the Holy Spirit and God’s mighty power. Yet, if we turn to follow the distorted worldly values, being unfaithful and deceitful to the Lord, we will lose the protection of the great shepherd.
Which verse do you think best address the challenges you’ve been faced recently? Jesus asked us not to be afraid of the world. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt. 10:28)
We are in God’s hands. We are much more valuable than sparrows, even our hairs have been counted!
While asking us not to be afraid in this world, Jesus also reminded us that we should honor God in our hearts! We shall do our best to testify to Jesus faithfully, preach what we have heard (the gospel) to the world, and to live out what we believe in! What is it to be faithful? What is doing our best? Jesus mentioned keeping a deep personal relationship with a loved one would be an example. We shall seriously think how to prioritize our relationship with Jesus and be obedient to Him as our first priority, carrying our own cross and follow him.
Have you ever heard someone using this passage (vv. 34-39) as an excuse to abandon his/her family and leave his/her family? (Please pay attention to the occasion how Jesus used his words). Nevertheless, I have heard of many testimonials from people who said their families are actually more blessed when they themselves love God and follow Jesus whole-heartedly.
May God bless those who honor him, those who are willing to obey his commands, and those who are sent in his name!
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?”)