(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. 7 (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.1-6) In order to be fair, a good judge will spend time to listen to both sides’ arguments during a trial in order to understand all the details in the case. Often times the biggest mistake made during judgment is lack of evaluating all aspects of the case, neglecting the cause and effect, and come up with a haze decision without figuring the truth. This person usually blames others and never looks at their own fault.
God’s Word reminds us that we must first get rid of the beam in our own eyes (this beam blocks out majority of our vision). We must not evaluate a situation with a narrow mind and must not be bias. We must figure out the entire situation before we come up with a conclusion. Before we get the speck out of another person’s eye, we must first get rid of the beams in our eyes. May the Lord grant us the wisdom to evaluate right from wrong, and to do things based on the truth.
(vv.7-14) In order to attain the citizenship in Heaven as stated in the Sermon on the Mount, our comfort zone may be challenged. We need to break free from our traditional mentality – such as confronting our flesh before we came to know Christ, etc. These are some of the prices and effort we must pay. Let’s all ask God to guide us, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us. Because He said, “For everyone who asks receives and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Mt. 7:8) May the Lord lead us, and allow us to live a life based on the truth, so we can love God and others in our daily life.
Jesus said: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Mt. 7: 13-14). Metamorphically, the worldly roads are wide and easy to walk on, but Jesus wants us to walk on a narrow road. If you realize that your direction is opposite from the world, congratulations! You are on the right track. Although the gate and the road are narrow, but do not be afraid. Jesus will lead us, and we only have to follow Him. On the contrary, if you have become a Christian, but realized that your life is the same as before – meaning you have no difficulty in life and do not feel a need to pay price, you need to ask the Lord to shine His light upon you, to expose the hidden evil thoughts in you. You should urgently repent!
(vv. 15-29) In this last paragraph, Jesus reminded the disciples about identify the false prophets. Thereafter, from the letters written by the Apostles Paul and John, we can observe the largest challenge since the beginning of this church. At the same time, Jesus clearly pointed out that there is a kind of people who proudly believe that they are right with God, but actually not. Our Lord cannot even recognize him, and call him sinful man. This is actually the worse tragedy!
Jesus teaching is about life – especially the completed one. Those who truly belong to our Master, is willing to be abided by the Lord’s Word. Therefore, this person will yield spiritual fruit. Today, let’s have a reflection in the Lord’s present. Has my life changed after I confessed Jesus as my personal savior? Do I repent when I make a mistake? Do I yearn for God’s Word? Am I bearing good witness to people around me, and lead people to Christ? Do I establish a deeper relationship with 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?”)