(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: Luke 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. 1-21) Right from the start, we see that Jesus “went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God”. From Luke’s account, we find that a few uncommon names of women are highlighted; they too have faithfully joined the ranks of serving alongside Jesus.
After a crowd had gathered, Jesus told them the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Lamp Under a Jar; and even when His mother and His brothers came to find Him, Jesus said in response, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” We can observe from this passage that “hearing the word of God” is the main focus here.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (v.8:8) indicates that hearing God’s word requires an earnest listening ear and an earnest receiving of the word; in addition, one must also be obedient doers of the word, or all your prior efforts will be in vain. Those who merely “hear” the word will not gain any insight, nor will their lives undergo any change, much like a lamp that is placed under the bed: it is useless despite having been lit!
Likewise, in the Parable of the Sower, the main point is not whether the seeds are good or bad, nor the type of soil the seeds are sown into, nor even the environment surrounding the seeds, but rather it is about how one hears of the word of God, and, after hearing, how one responds, takes action, and accomplishes His word in one’s life.
As one who both hears and preaches the word, I know with certainty that from the moment the word of God is preached, until the day the word blossoms and bears fruit, there will be countless challenges in between. There really will be fierce attacks from the devil, hearts burning with enthusiasm for Christ yet easily extinguished, not to mention worldly worries and frustrating distractions… Unless we receive the word of God with hearts capable of withstanding the devil, and cultivate our hearts while rooted in faith, patiently watering our hearts with sanctity and devotion, standing firm with purity and kindness, and waiting with all steadfastness, I’m afraid it will be very difficult to bear good fruit.
In verse 18, Jesus says to “take care then how you hear”. Those who hear the word earnestly and heed it are those whom God will enable to understand His will; in contrast, those who are blinded by the pride in their hearts and fail to understand the truth of the kingdom of heaven, even the little bit of the message that they have understood will be taken away from them, and they will become like one who has never heard of the word at all.
(vv. 22-56) This passage records that Jesus calmed the wind and waves on the sea, entered the country of the Gentiles to cast out demons into pigs (and let the pigs fall into a lake to drown), and then returned to Judea —there, He healed a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years, then once again raised someone from the dead; this time, it was the daughter of Jairus who was raised (Jairus being the ruler of the synagogue).
These miracles let us see that Jesus’ footsteps went everywhere, and what’s more, we also see the power of Jesus:
He is victorious over the wind and sea in nature, victorious over the many evil spirits in the spiritual world, victorious over the physical and psychological torment of illness and pain, and even victorious over the threat that death brings to us all!
Dear brothers and sisters, did you know? The Jesus whom we believe in has all authority over heaven and earth. His power is not bound only within scripture, but is also alive in the lives of believers of the present day. Let us therefore ask ourselves:
- After Jesus calmed the storm, when His disciples asked one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” Am I willing to listen to His words? Remember the Parable of the Sower?
- After Jesus drove out the demons out of the man at Gerasene, when He said to him, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Am I willing to spread the gospel of Jesus? Remember the Parable of the Lamp Under a Jar?
- After Jesus displayed His power and healed the woman with the discharge of blood, “when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.” Do you have any reservations in hiding what Jesus has done in your life?
Has Jesus performed His work of salvation on you? Where is the new life that He gave you? Only you yourself know best! What can you do to respond to Jesus?
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?”)