每日诗歌: 深深愛你 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncdpk7fBwfA)
Psalms 28 [Read]
Psalms 29 [Read]
Psalms 30 [Read]
Acts 21:1-14 [Read]
As prophesized by our Lord before his ascension, God ordained the Holy Spirit to be the driving force behind the continuing expansion of Christ’s church in the 1st century (Acts 1:8). However, the path laid out by the Holy Spirit often was not as smooth as God’s people would have hoped.
After the riot in Ephesus ended, Paul set out for Macedonia to visit and encourage the newly established churches (Acts 20:1-2). Then, he started his journey towards Jerusalem. It was not clear from the Bible why Paul decided to rush back to Jerusalem (20:16), but the implication was that he was “compelled by the Spirit” (20:22). The small characters in the Chinese translation captured the essence of the original Greek language: “his heart was bound” by the Spirit. He did not know what would happen to him there (20:22), but the Spirit did warn him that there would be prison and hardships (plural) facing him (20:23).
Upon reaching Tyre, Paul and his company stayed with the disciples there for seven days. “Through the Holy Spirit, they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem” (21:4). Paul was not swayed by their goodwill and he continued his journey. When they reached Philip’s house, the prophet Agabus revealed the vision he received from the Holy Spirit about the expected afflictions Paul was about to face (21:11). All pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem, but he persisted onto his path (21:12). The episode ended with all saying “the Lord’s will be done” (21:14). Why so much hassle? If it was God’s will, why did the Holy Spirit seemingly keep trying to deter the apostle through others?
We often have the false impression that, as long as we obey the calling of the Spirit, everything will be smooth and God will make a way for us. But the truth is that God never meant to raise a group of weak and whiny people. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Mt 7:14). The warning and presence of hardships are not meant to deter us but to strengthen our faith through such afflictions, so that we may be “mature and complete, not lacking anything” (Js 1:4). Next time when you meet resistances, examine your call and then boldly go forth with all your might. Let the Lord’s will be done!
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