(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. 19 (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) According to the Book of Matthew, from this chapter on, Jesus preached primarily in Judea and then in Jerusalem, and all the time, he continued to be challenged by many opponents. When Pharisees had tested Jesus by asking: “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” and “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” Jesus mentioned God’s intention to establish marriage at the time of creation, and also took the opportunity to re-establish society’s perception of a marriage between husband and wife. His teaching for marriage is a lesson that still works today. Jesus wants us to understand that a marriage of one man and one woman is blessed by God because a marriage is “joined together by God”. However, due to the influence of sin, many people nowadays disregard God’s purpose for marriage, turning away from God in their marriage. As such, they would be like the Pharisees who tested Jesus and they would ignore God’s will and make up their reasons for divorce. Now what kind of concern or question do you have for a marriage? Let us come before God and mediate silently on the words of Jesus: “…that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.” “God has joined together”, let not man separate.” Then now ask God on how you can change yourself so that you may honor God in a marriage.
After talking about marriage, Jesus immediately showed his compassion for children. At that time, people generally looked down on and ignored children. Yet, Jesus said this: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them, praying for them. If you were to see Jesus give others this remark: “Those in heaven are people just like you, like children” but not give you the same remark, how do you feel? I hope we can all humble ourselves to be like children.
(vv.16-30) For this famous young rich man, perhaps many people have given him a thumbs up when they met him! Can you point out the good qualities this young man possessed? The popular saying might be to say this young man belongs to the elite group of people who are excellent, young, rich, and he has obeyed all the laws. Apparently, this young man still thought something was missing in him and he wasn’t perfect, and so he approached Jesus. Jesus answered: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Jesus told this young man to follow the Lord’s commands and then pointed out the reason that prevented this man from obeying the Lord. Regretfully, this young man went away with sorrow. Jesus once gave a good reminder of money and possession: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money).” (Mt. 6:24) We can become rich, but let us not forget that everything comes from God and it is God’s blessing that he gives us power to get wealth. (Deut. 8:18)
Whether a person has money or not has nothing to do with the outcome of that person’s salvation because Jesus said: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Jesus also reminded us: “only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven” and “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Because Jesus knew that it was easy for man to become a slave of “money” and become the kind of rich man who “follow the money as their master”!
Now think about this: will money stop you from following Jesus? Is there any one thing or thought that would prevent you from following Jesus faithfully? During this week, please share with your fellowships or prayer partners the reasons that have bothered you or have made it difficult for you to abide in the Lord. Ask them to pray for you to remove these barriers, allowing you to focus on following Jesus in your daily life.
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?”)