(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. 11 (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. 1-19) John the Baptist, a messenger being sent ahead of Jesus, came to prepare the way for Him. When John the Baptist was in prison, even he questioned Jesus’s identity. John the Baptist was shaken in confidence. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the one to come. Jesus replied using His deeds as examples: the blind received their sight, the lame walked, lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the dead were raised up, and the poor had good news preached to them. (Mt. 11:5) This clarified John the Baptist’s question on the Messiah. Jesus also affirmed John the Baptist’s ministry.
John the Baptist’s reaction was normal. Imagine if we are in prolonged depression, how many of us will start to complain about our situation. Sometimes we will even doubt Jesus’ plan for us in life. At this moment, please do not forget to reflect and remember how much Jesus has done for you. We must count our blessings and ask God to re-built our faith. Remember what Jesus has said: “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Mt. 11:61)
With a different perspective, we can learn from how John the Baptist sent his disciples to inquire Jesus to get his answers. Likewise, when we are blinded by a difficult circumstance, we can ask our brothers and sisters in Christ for support. They can help us refresh our vision, to help us hear God’s voice, and to help us renew our faith in our trustworthy God. Thinking back in our life, is there any moment that you could be re-established by trusting and leaning on God? Please share this experience with our brothers and sisters in Christ. This experience can be a blessing to others.
(vv. 20-30) Based on all the miracles performed by Jesus and what people had witnessed, shouldn’t that be an eye-opener them? Shouldn’t people be in awe of Jesus? Shouldn’t people have unsuspecting faith in Him? This passage actually shows us that Jesus saw those with hardened hearts. They have all seen Jesus’ miracles, but refused to repent. Jesus severely rebuked them. In fact, Jesus simply announced their tragic ending as a consequence of their doubt and unbelieve!
Have you ever encountered a discouraging situation when you tried to share the gospel? Have you ever been rejected? Do you feel weary? Do you feel heavy hearted, or you are at a point that you cannot tolerate this anymore? Please do not be despaired because of these obstacles. Do not let these feeling affect our mood and our goal. Even when Jesus preached the gospel, he encountered harden of hearts and rejection by people. Let’s us be more like Christ. We should obey our Father’s will and rest in His Word. Listen to Jesus, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:28 – 30)
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?”)