(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. 6 (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. 1-18) Jesus said three time in this passage, “so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Mt. 6:4, 6, 18)
When we try to learn from Christ, follow Him as our example, naturally we will yield many good fruits. Good deeds happen in our life. However, at this time, Jesus reminds us while we try to do good, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
How is this possible? How do we accomplish that? When we drive somewhere, how many times do we use our signal lights? How many times do we shift gear? Do you remember? These are all necessary steps while we drive, but this has become our second nature. We do not need to calculate each step. We are operated in an auto-pilot mode, and our brain naturally performs these steps while we are driving.
Likewise, we should be aware of religious practice such as praying and fasting … do not let these practices be pretentious, or be a performance to others. Is there anything we would only do at church? Or only in front of Christians? Are there certain things we will say only during fellowships? Otherwise, we will never do or say these things? In such case, there will be no difference between us and the hypocrites. During today’s Bible reading time, may we understand what Jesus wants to tell us in His words! Keep falsehood and lies far from me (Proverbs 30:8). I shall not ask for human’s glory, may my heart genuinely follow and love my Lord, and bring out my best behavior; and not let it be superficial. Let us remember what Jesus says, “so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you!”
(vv.19-34) Often times, during worship, we remind ourselves that we should focus on the Lamb of God who is sitting on His almighty throne. It is a good exercise to focus on our God. When we focus on our God, His glory shines upon us and make us glow. But if we only focus on the earthly treasures, and we only think about this materialist world, then we are trapped in darkness!
In today’s message, Jesus gives us the wisdom to decide what is important to us:
- Things that belong to Heaven will last forever. It will never decay; it will not wither due to the passing of time. It is a blessing from God. Once you have attained it, you will have a peace of mind.
- Things that belong to the earth is ephemeral. It will decay. It weakens as time passes. It is a popular worldly matter, and it will add burden to mankind.
What is your choice?
Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and mammon (money).” Jesus says that is nonsense to try to serve them simultaneously – You must only choose one! The Holy Bible tells us that God loves us. He knows exactly what we need – First seek His Kingdom and His Righteousness, then He will provide above and beyond what we need. You must set your priority right. Let’s pursue the most important thing in our 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?”)