Sharing – A Spiritual Feast
(Published in the RCCC Harvest Journal, Summer 2006)
On a cloudy Friday afternoon of March 24th,
I picked up brother Kuo after work and drove to the CLRC
A certain preacher once emphasized that we need to live in a loving environment in order to grow spiritually. We can receive nutrition supplement and satisfy our needs in various aspects through regular Sunday worship, Sunday schools, small group fellowships, prayer meetings, and various meetings. In spite of all these, our personal devotion is the necessary link to build up our personal intimate fellowship with God and the crucial element of our spiritual growth. Maybe we all know the importance of personal devotion. But, how do we start? What should we do? How do we keep persistent? We are all struggling because of a lack of discipline.
Unstable in this area myself, I haven’t established a good habit. I have tried to arrive early at the office after I dropped off my daughter at the bus stop. However, when I opened my Bible and started to read a passage, I was often tempted to check either my e-mail or the world news because my computer on my desk is always on. In the meantime, one by one my colleagues arrived with morning greetings. I tried to read my Bible yet failed. I had this kind of guilty conscience which lasted for a period of time, then my wife found out about it. She asked me why I didn’t do my devotion in the car prior to work. When reading Bible passages, I had no specific plans, for instance, to finish reading the whole Bible in a year, or to read a chapter of Proverbs daily, or to read the New Testament in the morning and the Old Testament at night. I used to follow my instinct and glance through the Bible randomly or follow the curriculum with the attitude of meeting the homework requirements. How could I cultivate the joy of devotion? How could I taste the sweet fellowship with the Lord? I arrived at the retreat with a great anticipation.
In the first message, Pastor Bucknell used Ex. 33:7-11 to explain how to spend time alone with God. Moses periodically went outside the camp to meet the Lord and to have personal conversations with Him. Moses’ experiences enabled us to sense the excitement of personal devotion. God is willing to have an intimate fellowship with us, and He is also pleased to reveal Himself to us. When we do our devotion, we should obtain an eager heart – with the desire that we need God to speak to us personally and with the belief that He will do so. Regardless of outward activities, devotion focuses on cultivating desire to know God personally and willingness to obey His will. Brother Zhu talked about principles of devotion, its benefits, its content, its key points, and its five stages of discipline. He also thoroughly explained the seven steps of devotion with the purpose of establishing sound and intimate fellowship with God. These seven steps: 1. Ask: Ask God to open our spiritual eyes and allow Him to be in control of our lives this day. 2. Worship – We sing praise songs to seek God, to sense His greatness, and to praise Him. 3. Pray – through prayers we sense His presence and experience Him. 4. Read the Bible – We receive mana the living Word and we know the truth. 5. Meditate – Obey God’s Word, understand His heart, and know His will. 6. Examine – In the light of God, we examine ourselves and see our lowliness, we repent and allow Him to sanctify us, and we return to Him. 7. Respond – Through prayers, we respond to God’s calling with certainty. Throughout this retreat, our speakers not only taught us but they also gave us opportunities to discuss and time to practice. In early mornings, we came close together to our Lord We shared our insights that deepened our understanding of God’s Words. God’s Words enrich and nourish our hearts.
I enjoyed the evening fellowships very much. Whether you are speakers, pastors, elders, or others, we are all Jesus’ disciples and seekers of the truth. We opened our hearts to share our thoughts about the messages, the difficulties we encountered on our spiritual journeys and our plans for the future. When we stood by the big lake and watched the beautiful sunrise and the colorful clouds, we couldn’t help ourselves from praising our awesome Creator. We thank God for the beautiful scenery. We also thank Him for the abundant spiritual feast and delicious food.
After the retreat, I thought about which book in the
Bible I should use for my personal devotion. I finally decided to start with
the book of Luke. I felt like I was transported and traveled with the
incarnated Jesus. Once again, I heard Him preaching the
I hope what I learned from this retreat will continue to renew my life. May we encourage each other and grow healthy in our spiritual lives.