(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. 8 (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. 1-34) In Matthew Chapter 8, Jesus switched his focus from teaching his disciples on the mount, to teaching the common people at the foot of the mountainside. In today’s message, Jesus contacted many people, and had performed many miracles as follow: healing the sick, calming the storm, and casting out evil spirits. All these achievements reflected his authority over the nature and the spiritual world. Let’s us review together by looking at the following verses:
(Mt. 8:2-3) “And behold, a leper1 came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
(Mt. 8:5-7) “When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
(Mt. 8:14-15) And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him.”
(Mt. 8:25-26) “And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”
Jesus followed His own will to heal Peter’s mother-in-law. In fact, most of the time, Jesus listens to people’s pleading for help. When we walk with Jesus, do not forget to ask Him for help. Let Jesus know our needs.
Please pay attention to this type of action. It is not simply let Jesus know what I need, it is to express your feeling to Him.
Please note that such a move is not to let Jesus know what I want, but to say to Him: “I admit that He know all of my needs. He is also the almighty God who will satisfy me and fill me up. He is a God who supplies all my needs in life.”
When we understand this concept, we will not worry or feel anxious if our prayers are not answered by our almighty God right away. We know that we must wait patiently for our God’s timing. This moment of peace will help us control our lust, so we will not be tempted by it. This moment of peace will also help us adjust our unreasonable want, so we will not be overpowered by it.
In today’s passage, from the conversation between Jesus, the Pharisees, and Jesus’ disciples, we can witness our Lord’s definition for “following Him.” We can reflect on evaluating our hearts to truly follow Jesus.
Do I boast,” Oh Jesus, no matter where you go, I will always follow you.” However, the next sentence will be,
” Please wait for me because I have some important matters to attend first.” If these are our common reactions and attitudes toward Jesus, obviously; I am not on the right track to follow my Lord. If I am actually following my own will, it will be self-deceiving. Am I willing to suffer in order to follow Jesus? Am I willing to make sacrifices? Am I willing to leave everything behind to follow our Lord?
Lastly, we witnessed that there was a demon possessed man in the region of the Gadarenes. He finally got freedom because of Jesus, but the others focused only on the loss of pigs. They even asked Jesus to leave their region. In their opinion, they treasure money more than human’s life.
Have my core values changed because of Jesus? Will my next step be adjusting my life to follow Jesus? Following Him step by step? Or will I say to him, “Jesus, please leave me alone for a while?”
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?”)