#carmelprays – Acts 22:22-23:11
Opening Song: Here We Are
Read Scripture: Acts 22:22-23:11
The Christian church in Singapore needs to reclaim our sense of being willing to suffer for Christ as a part of our journey. It is important to note the cause of our suffering has to be Christ and the message that we bear. In Singapore, we are very willing to suffer for things of questionable value such as sending our kids to classes to develop talents that they do not have but we convince ourselves that they do. God largely exists in our psyche for our benefit. The description here is radically different. Once we accept that suffering for the Gospel is a part of our journey, we remove the angst of wasting time over suffering for more trivial things.
Secondly, Paul was not a doormat. Where appropriate, he used his rights as a Roman citizen to request for protection. He also brought up a theological point by referring to the Resurrection of the Dead. This is foundational to the Christian message and also served to disrupt the unity among his detractors. This led some of the Pharisees to defend him. It was a powerful mix of faithfulness to his calling and wisdom in a time of difficulty.
The journey didn’t end there. God continued to command Paul to finish his life’s calling and testify in Rome. Courage is a result of God coming near us and choosing to accept the courage that God gives. Courage involves choice. Lukewarm Christianity prefers God to stand somewhat afar and wave his wand with sporadic appearances when things get tough as we seek our fleshly goals. We rarely take courage for His work. When we leave this world, will our children remember us for the courage that we took in Christ?
Will we allow God to:
- Draw near to us?
- Draw near to us with a Commission?
- Draw near to us to give us courage for His Work?
Pray in Response
Lord I know that I am blessed to be living in a land where there is racial and religious harmony for the most part. I easily take for granted the freedom to be able to gather with my Christian brothers and sisters in Church. I am also blessed to live where pain, suffering, and persecution of my faith is next to minimal. God I confess I don’t know how I will truly be when times of testing comes. I certainly do not want to be mute about my convictions and I most certainly need to be gentle and respectful in sharing my faith. Guide me O thou great Jehovah to see clearly that this world is not my home and I must not be complacent or content with a cushy life but rather to travel lightly with the things of this world. Gracious Heavenly Father, as I stand before You, I ask You to search my heart, mind, and soul in my pilgrimage towards You. Grant me boldness of heart to share my faith, undaunted as I press on towards the high calling of following Jesus Christ my Saviour and Lord in His mighty name I pray. Amen!
Response Song: What Faith Can Do
By Ps Ng Liang Wei