Sunday, 24th April 2022
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
God wants us to be the salt and light of this world, but not by our own strength, because we are not God. The environment and the worldly teaching push us to focus on labouring and neglect out feelings. God also has feelings, we can see God’s feelings in the Bible, He shows His joy and He shows His anger. We are created by the image of God but somehow we have forgotten how to feel. We are like the Israelites in Egypt, living as slaves and labouring on the heavy workload in front of us. Slowly we have forgotten about God and we do not know how to go on.
The things happening around us make us feel that we can no longer keep going, we cannot go on any more. What we hope for did not happen, we feel disappointed and we feel hopeless. We feel that we cannot go on, and the biggest reason is our heart. Whatever is inside our heart can influence how we see our challenges ahead of us.
Hebrew 10:35-38 says, ‘Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’
1. Rid of the Obstacles in Heart
Job 23:10 says, ‘But He knows the way that I take;When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.’ Job knew he was not by himself when he faced all the troubles and hardship. We are disappointed because we are living in a ‘doing’ mode. Our feelings and our hearts are all about ‘doing’, and therefore we will be disappointed when we fail or when we face challenges. The Bible taught us to be like children, children make mistakes all the time, but they still full of joy and hope. Do not let disappointment stop us to keep going, but to live under the fragrance of the Tree of Life. We must continue to humble, to obey, to deny ourselves and to benefit others.
Jesus gave His life to us, He did not ‘do’ the work for us, but offered all of Him to us. We are so easy to look for right and wrong, we are so caught up in ‘doing the right thing’, but somehow we have forgotten to come closer to the heart of the Father. We must always examine our hearts, and do not let our hearts be disappointed.
I Kings 19:4 says, ‘But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, it is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’
Elijah was tired, he thought he had done so much but still did not receive any positive result. He wanted to give up because he was tired and he did too much. I Kings 19:7-8, ‘And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you. So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.’ He cried out to God then God provided for him food and drink that enabled him to walk for 40 days and nights. It’s never about how much we do and it’s never about if we are right or wrong. What God wants to see is if our hearts are for Him! God will provide for us until the end, but He treasures our love for Him. When we really feel the love of God then we will not so easily give up and feel tired.
2. Believe God’s Promises Firmly
God’s promises never fail, we must believe firmly, and don’t easily give up. I Samuel 22:1-2 says, ‘David therefore departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. So when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him. So he became captain over them. And there were about four hundred men with him.’ The great prophet Samuel anointed David to be the king when he was young, but after that he went back to be the shepherd. Furthermore, he was being chased by king Saul.
It seemed that David had no way out, it seemed that he could never be the king of Israel, he was hiding and pretending to be crazy. Everything went against him, even the people following him was not in good states! They were distressed, in debt, and discontented. David’s strength was to fight in the battles, but God let him deal with all the problems of his followers. He did not give up, instead he looked after his followers in the cave of Adullam. At the end, these people became the great warriors of Israel. David did not give up, no matter how much troubles and challenges were ahead of him. Because he firmly believed in God’s promises and His Good Will.
What is inside our hearts? We may be facing difficulties, but if we firmly believe in God’s promises, then we can keep going.
3. Remember God’s Faithfulness
God is faithful, He will protect His people to the end. We have already seen God’s faithfulness in the Bible, how he led Noah’s family to build the ark, how He bless Abraham with numerous children, and how He led the Israelites out of Egypt. But at Noah’s time, when he was building the ark, everyone laughed at him and nobody believed him. We may be facing the same situation right now, we try to help others but they don’t listen. They rejected us and we wanted to give up on them. Noah did not give up and God called him a righteous name. When we believe in the Word of God and do not doubt, then we will be called the righteous.
Matthew 3:18 says, ‘And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”’ When we are born again by faith, God sees us as His own children and He is pleased with us. God keeps His promises, Habakkuk 2:3-4 says, ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.’ When we believe the Word of God by faith, then we can receive life. It’s never about how much we do, but by our faith.
Isaiah 45:15-16 ‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.’ God will never forget about us, no matter where we are from, or how sinful we are. He loves us, when we feel discouraged, tired, fearful, angry… do we see the love of God? God has inscribed us on the palms of His hands.
Do not focus on our fear and disappointment, do not focus on the environment and the surroundings, but focus on the faithfulness and goodness of God. He is pleased with us, He loves us and He wants to help us!