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Sunday, April 15, 2012

This Is the Day

"Same old; same old," is reply sometimes. At other times it's, "Not much." Of course, the question is either, "What's happening?" or, "What's going on?" Each day passes without ceremony; without noteriety if we don't pay attention.

The psalmist said:

Psalm 118:24 (NIV) 24 This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Does it seem strange to you that "this" is the day? Didn't the Lord make all the days? What makes this one special?

Every day we live is special. Every day is a day of rejoicing.

Yesterday, my wife's last living uncle died. He knows the Lord. It was an exceptionally good day for him. I know he is still rejoicing to be in the Lord's presence. His family knows this but it is easy to forget rejoicing in times like this.

Sometimes I look out at the congregation and see people who look like they have been "sucking oatmean out of a gas pipe." I think of what my mother used to say to me when I was a little boy and made sad faces. "Do you want your face to freeze like that?" I wonder, "Do you think their faces just froze in those frowns? Maybe they were happy people but hit their thumbs with hammers, made an awful frown and they it just stuck.

I don't think so. This is the day God has given to us as an act of grace. This is the day that we must decide to rejoice in. It does not matter our circumstances. Our faith remembers an Almighty God who can change cirucmstances. He can rescue us from the most dire scenes. He can reveal Himself when there is no other hope.

Bad circumstances make us forget these things. We forget that it is the day that the Lord has made We forget His grace in this day. We forget that we must rejoice in Him rather than focusing on bad circumstances.

I don't think of myself as a Pollyanna. (I wonder, though, if any Pollyanna thinks of himself as a Pollyanna.) God does not take away the bad circumstance because of my own perceived pain. He acts much later than I would like. But James told us to rejoice in these times:

James 1:2-4 (NIV) 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Even these bad times are a time of rejoicing.

So, (I laugh out loud right now) this is the day that the Lord has made. I have determined to rejoice and be glad in it. I hope you will, too.

5 comments:

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high-expressions said...

Pollyanna? I do NOT know much about English Literature; "Even when someone said, “It is like in the "Animal Farm"”, I do NOT know what they were referring to. You see, I studied Malay Literature, instead of the English Lit. Well, I was told there was such a thing as "Inner Circle people having greater privileges" in the "Animal Farm" classic. Now, I have to check up what Pollyanna is!

I know I commented on this blog before, that, as a believer, we are NOT a self-deluded lot! I believe I am NOT self-deluded; am I a Pollyanna? Self-delusion carries with it a bad connotation, and so I am quick to say, I am NOT self-deluded (ha, ha!); but am I a Pollyanna? I have NOT read the classic, I only done an internet search on the meaning of Pollyanna, and it reads, “being unreasonably or illogically optimistic”.

Am I unreasonably or illogically optimistic all the time? Nope. How about a lot of the time? Maybe often enough, but NOT a lot of the time; I am still basically a "left brain" fellow; a logical thinking man. However, I have allowed my faith to "unleft my brain". But I do recall that, for the several occasions when I was in "deep shit", even as a teenager, I exhibited, illogical optimism, in most of those situations.

Maybe, for me, when things get difficult, a certain optimism arises in me. And for this, I believe it is NOT something to be troubled about; in fact, there is such a thing in the walk of a believer. In the 9 spiritual gifts talked about, in Book of Corinthians, by the Apostle Paul, there is a gift of faith, more correctly called, a gift of supernatural faith. Although optimism and faith is NOT exactly the same; but is NOT wrong to say that when you have the faith, you display optimism.

When talking about gift of faith, I want to be particularly careful, so as to say the right thing, so as NOT to stumble fellow brethrens. The gift is a supernatural gift; and the faith is a supernatural faith. In other words, there is such thing as a normal faith or faith ordinarily can be expected of a believer, and there is such a thing as an extraordinary or supernatural faith which is a gift from God.

Scripture said that God is faithful to us that He will NOT allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (common to men). What it means, is that, there is a limit; and when there is a limit, God expects us to be of faith within that limit, too. Which means that we are responsible to be, possessing certain degree of faith; it is our responsibility to grow our faith. In other words, God does NOT give you and I, the normal faith, ordinarily. So, please DON’T lament that you have NOT the faith, because God Himself did NOT give it to you. Just think about it; it would be oxymoron to have this saying in Scripture, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God", if that, at the same time, the expectation is that God is to give the faith (without you meriting it)!

The "faith" in the "Without faith, it is impossible ...." is normal faith which is our responsibility. The spiritual gift of faith, is a supernatural faith, which is given a person without him meriting it. God might give it through a person, in a "deep shit" situation where the morale, optimism and faith have been deeply eroded. In that sense, perhaps, I do operate at times, a little in this; meaning in those situations, I became a Pollyanna. The Pollyanna in such a scenario is "God-sent" or “God-given”, meaning, it is meant to bless.

COnt. on next page...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from preceding page

What about in the ordinary day to day life; what is my level of optimism; what is my ordinary faith level which inevitably shows up as optimism or lack there-of, in day to day living? This got be, according to my understanding outlined above, the normal faith, which I am responsible for. I am just wondering if it is "slightly below par", for if I also associate other like tell-tale signs, such as peace, joyfulness, cheerfulness, in addition to optimism, to the array of manifestations, I do wish that my "readings" for joy and cheerfulness, be higher.

What do I do? Ps Prentis' remembrance of Scriptures such the Ps 118:24 is one way. I am pleased that my church often have the congregation sing the song, "This is the day; this is the day that Lord has made". Every time I sing it, I speak to my soul. I always sing it with jubilation, and with hands raised, as a manner of speaking to my soul.

Also, every Sunday, before I end my 1/2 hour to 1 hour intercession before the Lord, I ask the Lord to bless my time in the morning church services, and to bless the rest of my day. When I do that, I always remind myself, that I ask that, I ought to let it show; in other words, I am to "inform my face"; “Smile, be cheerful”.

I say it again, as a believer, we are NOT to be self-deluding, but we are to be consciously, until it becomes subconscious, to remind ourselves of who we are in Christ Jesus, as an identity, AND TO LIVE OUT that identity; and in living out that identity, we are also to reflect the glory and the majesty of our Master, and so, we don't go round, giving impression to people that our Master is a nobody, incapable of providing for us, incapable of protecting us, incapable of leading us and guiding us, (when we are doing our best to walk in His ways), walking like a “lower cast” people in front of others (we are a people with high calling, amen!). Though we claim no superiority of our own, we must believe the superiority of the one, we belong to.

No, I am NOT advocating hypocrisy. I am conscious that I should NOT be a hypocrite, and so, I often humble before God that I do NOT operate beyond the measure of my faith. It is NOT hypocrisy to know what the goal is, and believe that the goal is to be targeted, even though we may struggle to get there; in other words, there is no hypocrisy in trying to live up to the truths of God. Hypocrisy is a matter of the heart; it is NOT a matter of how far off we are from the standard of truth. In other words, that I am NOT able to go on mission trips, for example, but I still speak to encourage people to go on mission trip(s), it is NOT hypocrisy. Or, to be clearer, that I sinned sometimes, but I still tell people NOT to sin, is NOT hypocrisy. We are trying, and there is nothing wrong with “trying”, it is hypocrisy only when, and of the heart condition, you tell people NOT to sin, but you just go ahead to sin, with trying NOT to.

If it is only when I am perfect, know all, and able to do all, before I can say of the truths or the ways of God, then, it is NOT only, you will NOT have me, you will have no one qualified to speak. Our heart condition should be that we are attempting to walk our talk, and that we are NOT to be bad example to others. When we have assumed that position, we are NOT hypocrites. Of course, if we are unable to exercise self-control, we ought to recognize we need help, and be humble to go for help.

Cont. on next page...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from prededing page

One class of people can be considered as hypocrites, and they are those who know that we, believers, are NOT perfect, but yet tell believers that they are perfect. In other words, deep inside their heart, they know they are NOT perfect, and secretly (in their hearts) they try to improve, but they still tell others, there is nothing to effort about, since they have told them that believers are fully righteous, and with the full mind of Christ. They try NOT to sin themselves, but they tell others, all their sins, whatever they will commit, they (the sins to be committed) had been forgiven them, at the time of the believers’ entry into salvation, which could be “donkey years” ago. Now, that is hypocrisy. That I am NOT healed of a sickness, but I still conduct divine healing sessions, with an “air of confidence” or optimism, of itself, there is no hypocrisy. There is hypocrisy only when I refused to be prayed for, for my sickness, but at the same time, I do all these “healing stuff” on people. There is no hypocrisy when I have been open to divine healing and have prayed and allowed others to pray for me, but without success, and I continue to pray for the sick.

Lastly one more thing I want to say, concerning what can be of help to you, in increasing your faith, and optimism there-of. Go serve the Lord in some way. Sure, you can experience God in your routine day-to-day busyness of your own, but often, your eyes are NOT fixed on God, you don’t even realize that God was there with you, and has rendered his assistance or grace to you! Sometimes, the people around, realised it but NOT you; that is how transparent we have made God to be – He is waving at you, and you don’t even see Him! But when we serve Him, personally involved, with every other motive aside, more easily can we see Him in action. God is experiential, meaning He can be experienced, and when you are with positive experiences with God, your faith will grow, and the optimism there-of, will also increase.

There is a song, that goes, “Life is worth living just because He lives”. When it is head knowledge only that He lives, it does NOT bring you very far, in optimism, but when you experience Him working, in and through you, it is no longer a head knowledge that He lives, but an experiential one.

For those who say that we should cut experience to a minimum (and often, they don’t want anything extraordinary in their services), just because of the words said to “doubting Thomas”, my answer is, “Did or did NOT, Jesus let the other 11 disciples experience Him? Did or did NOT the 11 disciples see Jesus? Did Jesus reject Thomas because he wanted to experience Him? Did or did NOT that experience settle Thomas’ heart as to who Jesus was? Did I say to abandon the Word, just rely on experience? The answer to the last question first, I am NOT suggesting that people abandon the Word; I am merely exhorting experiencing the Lord, in addition to receiving the Word in. The Word is still what we go back to, for we can experience only some things with Jesus or God, but the rest of the “stuff” in the Bible we will NOT experience, but some experience helps.

Cont. on next page...

high-expressions said...

Cont. from preceding page

If you read the account, Jesus appeared to the disciples of His own accord, meaning He opted to let them experience Him. The 11 disciple did see Jesus, the first time round, and they actually told Thomas, who was NOT present the 1st time, that they saw Jesus (John 20:25); they saw Jesus, in other words, they experienced Jesus. Jesus did NOT reject Thomas who had wanted to experience Him or see Him, for himself. When Jesus came, Jesus already noted Thomas’ desire, and He told Thomas, “You come, and touch the places (hands and side).” Yes, after that Jesus did say, blessed are those who have NOT seen and yet have believed. But remember now, these words were NOT said to Thomas visa-vis the other 11 disciples, for all the other disciples saw and believed (experienced) just as Thomas did. If there was “blessing” that Thomas did NOT receive, the other 11 disciples did NOT, too; other people who did NOT see the resurrected Jesus AND believed they were blessed. So, do you want to continue to NOT believe and still miss the blessing or do you want to believe, for seeing or experiencing can indeed help you in your overcoming of your unbelief; it settled it for Thomas, he said, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). No point act tough-lah; experience God, and be transformed into one with faith and optimism; go serve Him in some way.

This is the day, everyday is the day, the day to redeem time (Eph 5:16). From Ps Prentis’ entries and writings in this season, he is a strong believer in this, he practices it, and he preaches it, and he exhorts it, and he is right. I won’t explain this verse (Eph 5:16), here; you can go to any standard commentary; they are quite consistent in explaining this. I only want to say, when we read it with Ps 118:24, it should cause us to define, or redefine, what is it that we are to rejoice about, and what is it that we are to be glad in. Often, people argue that the Word is full of contradictions; one of the reasons is that they are viewing the views of God, NOT from His definitions, but from their own definitions formed from the world. What is rejoicing and gladness to you about? The way the world looks at it or the way God would like you to look at it? Maybe, just maybe, my joy and cheerfulness readings are NOT below par, it is that I need to sharpen my definitions of joy and cheerfulness.

Lord, much of the thoughts is from you and of you; bless the reading of this comment. Amen.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions