When practicing spiritual devotion after getting up this morning, I saw these words in the Bible, “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed there. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, From where has this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? From where then has this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house” (Matthew 13:53-57). Then I turned to the Book of Luke, chapter 4, which also records the matter that the Lord Jesus was rejected by people when preaching in the synagogue of His hometown: “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill where on their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong” (Luke 4:28-29).
These passages of the scriptures allowed me to see a fact: The people in the Lord Jesus’ hometown all thought the Lord Jesus standing before them was an ordinary person and was the son of the carpenter Joseph; they didn’t believe the Lord Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but fall thinking: If we had been born in the Age of Grace, when we saw the Lord Jesus standing before us, who was an ordinary and normal person on the outside and also lived and ate with people, would we have also denied and rejected Him as these people had done? It’s really hard to say!
January 12, 2018 Friday Cloudy
After getting home from work this evening, I opened the Bible and wanted to see who in the Bible recognized the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah and how they made it. When turning to the Book of John, I saw the conversations between the Lord Jesus and the Samaritan woman: “Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again: But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman said to him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come here to draw. Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband: For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly” (John 4:13-18). “The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:28-29). When seeing the Lord Jesus for the first moment, the Samaritan woman also thought He was a common Jew. But when the Lord Jesus said she had five husbands, as she felt the secret hidden within her heart was something that nobody could know and that only God inspects people’s hearts and knows people’s secrets, she recognized from the words of the Lord Jesus that He was the Christ, the coming Messiah.
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Then I turned to the Book of John, chapter 1, and read verses 45-49, “Philip finds Nathanael, and said to him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said to him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael said to him, From where know you me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before that Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. Nathanael answered and said to him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” These scriptures again put me in a thoughtful mood: When hearing of the Lord Jesus, Nathanael was of the view that Nazareth was a small town, so there might never have been a famous people. As a result, he didn’t believe a word of what Philip said. However, after the Lord Jesus talked with him, to his surprise, the Lord Jesus could actually see through his thoughts and speak out his true identity. Because of this, he firmly believed that the Lord Jesus was just the coming Messiah, and then he followed the Lord.
Pondering these scriptures, I suddenly saw the light: Both the Samaritan woman and Nathanael heard and knew the voice of God from the words of the Lord Jesus, thus recognizing the Lord Jesus was the Christ. It seems that in our belief in God the most important thing is to pay attention to Christ’s words and work. If we only look at Christ’s appearance, it will be quite easy for us to deny and oppose Him. Thank the Lord! I’ve gained a lot through reading the Bible today, which allowed me to have some practical paths of how to welcome the coming of the Lord.
February 8, 2018 Thursday Sunny
Today, on my way back home after work, I met my old school friend—Lin Tao unexpectedly. He is also a Christian. We chatted for a while. When we talked about our own spiritual condition, he gave me a book. I asked him in great surprise, “What book is this?” He replied with a smile, “The words in this book can resolve problems that we have when it comes to our faith in God. After getting back home, you can have a look, and then you will know it.” I happily took the book and then went home.
After getting home, I began to read it eagerly. Then I saw the following passage, “If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man. External appearance does not determine substance; what’s more, the work of God has never conformed with the conceptions of man. Did not the outward appearance of Jesus conflict with the conceptions of man? Were not His appearance and dress unable to provide any clues as to His true identity? Was not the reason why the earliest Pharisees opposed Jesus because they merely looked at His external appearance, and did not take to heart the words that He spoke?” (Preface). After reading these words, I was extremely astonished, for they have spoken of the underlying reason why the people of that time resisted the Lord Jesus. At that time, the Lord Jesus came to work as an ordinary and normal image of the Son of man. Just looking at the surface, He was an ordinary normal person. Besides, what the people then saw was that He had not only parents but also brothers and sisters, etc. It was because they only focused on His outward appearance that they began to wantonly convict, reject and blaspheme Him, and in the end, they nailed Him to the cross, committing a heinous crime. Nevertheless, the Samaritan woman and Nathanael heard the Lord Jesus’ words were extraordinary—being able to expose things hidden in people’s hearts, and as a result, they recognized that He had come from God. In addition, other disciples who followed the Lord Jesus also saw that His words and work had authority and power and came from God; thus they recognized that He was the Christ, the coming Messiah, thereby following the footsteps of the Lamb.
Thinking of this, I suddenly recalled what the Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:12-13). These scriptures showed: At that point, the Lord Jesus still had something else to say, but the people couldn’t receive or bear them, due to their small spiritual stature, so He didn’t speak out; when the Lord comes in the last days, He will expose every truth and mystery, letting people know and understand them. Now the prophecies regarding the return of the Lord have basically all been fulfilled. In the matter of welcoming the coming of the Lord, I remembered the Lord said, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). So, in the last days, when people testify that the Lord has returned, I need to be the wise virgin to focus on listening to the voice of “Bridegroom” and to actively investigate and differentiate God’s voice; otherwise, I’ll be liable to miss the opportunity to be lifted up upon the Lord’s return, becoming the foolish virgin who is abandoned and eliminated by the Lord. At that time, it will be too late to regret.
Then I read the following passage, “Since we are searching for the footprints of God, we must search for God’s will, for the words of God, for the utterances of God—for where there are the new words of God, there is the voice of God, and where there are the footsteps of God, there are the deeds of God. Where there is the expression of God, there is the appearance of God, and where there is the appearance of God, there exists the truth, the way, and the life. While seeking the footprints of God, you ignored the words that ‘God is the truth, the way, and the life.’ So when many people receive the truth, they do not believe that they have found the footprints of God and much less acknowledge the appearance of God. What a serious error that is! The appearance of God cannot be reconciled with the conceptions of man, much less can God appear at the behest of man. God makes His own choices and has His own plans when He does His work; moreover, He has His own objectives, and His own methods. It is not necessary for Him to discuss the work He does with man or to seek the advice of man, much less notify each and every person of His work. This is the disposition of God and, moreover, should be recognized by everyone” (“The Appearance of God Has Brought a New Age”).
Contemplating these words, I felt them so deep and meaningful. Right! God is almighty and God’s wisdom is above the heavens. He will have His own plan and choice when He does His work. He doesn’t need to ask us men for advice and He doesn’t even need to explain to us in advance. Moreover, the appearance of God will certainly not fall in line with our thinking. Take, for example, the work of the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace. The prophecy said very clearly, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel” (Matthew 1:23). But when the Lord came, He was called Jesus; furthermore, He put on an ordinary mortal flesh to do His work. If man didn’t seek the truth in his heart, it would be really hard for him to accept. The words in that book clearly tell us that to seek the footprints of God and to welcome the Lord’s return, we must pay attention to seeking the new words of God and hearing God’s voice. No matter what God says or in what ways He works, we ought to maintain an attitude of seeking and obedience and can’t analyze and research them based on our notions. This is the only attitude that every person who truly believes in the Lord ought to possess. Just as the Bible says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). It is thus clear that if we wish to welcome the Lord’s return, we have to seek the truth humbly; only in this way can we obtain God’s enlightenment and illumination and see the appearance and work of God.
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Devotional Diary: How to Know God? There’s a Key Question was last modified: June 28th, 2019 by Find the Shepherd
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