As I write, I am getting ready to leave for a personal retreat. The retreat site I usually went to is not available this week, but I was so desperate that I scrambled to find another place. Thanks God that the place is available to me!
The past couple of weeks have not been easy for me as I pondered about God’s call for us to know Him. As I surveyed the spiritual conditions individually and collectively of New City, I cannot help but lament at the tremendous gap between God’s most gracious invitation and our weak and feeble appetite. It is with such burden that I will enter into my retreat, praying both for myself and New City that we may all breathe and live to know God.
There is only one way to know God, and it is through the Word of God. The people of God have always been a people of God’s Word. It is our love and devotion to the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that truly distinguish us from the world. That is why we set aside time to read God’s Word. That is why we meet in groups to study God’s Word. And that is why we gather on the Lord’s Days to hear God’s Word. We are a people of God’s Word. And God forbid that we should take His precious Word for granted. We must listen up and keep listening attentively to God’s very own Word.
Therefore, I urge you to pray for everyone in New City. Pray especially for those who for one reason or another have not been at church regularly on Sundays. Some cannot make it because of work / other circumstances, others because of personal weaknesses / spiritual complacency. But no matter how you look at it, these brothers and sisters are living under particularly unhealthy / dangerous circumstances. They need our prayers. Indeed they need our earnest prayers, and God’s extraordinary grace to keep them afloat. I am also particularly weary of the children who have not been coming to New City. How can they know God without coming to His church? Pray that the Lord will have mercy on us all. Pray that we may all feel the urgency and the severity of our particular situation.
And remember what J. I. Packer writes about “People Who Know Their God” in his book, Knowing God?
1. Those who know God have great energy for God.
2. Those who know God have great thoughts of God.
3. Those who know God show great boldness for God.
4. Those who know God have great contentment in God.
This month, as our children celebrated their birthdays, I could not think of a better, a more fitting and a more needful birthday prayer for them than praying to know God. In fact, that should be the birthday prayer for every Christian, as well as that of our anniversary prayer, our Thanksgiving prayer, our Christmas prayer, our Easter prayer, our everyday prayer.
Some may say, “What you said is all true, but I am too weak to pray, too weak to read, and too weak to listen attentively to God’s Word.” Ironically, the opposite is true. Our problem is not so much that we are too weak, but that we are too strong! It is the patients of common cold who would skip their medicine and their medical appointments. The dying cancer patients seldom, if ever, skip their scheduled treatments and visits to the oncologists! Those who are seriously ill are always desperate for treatments. And this is who we all are, desperately ill (with sins), and desperately in need of the Gospel — the only relief and antidote!
If and only if we would know the severity of our sickness and the urgency and necessity for cure. Therefore, would you pray for me and pray with me for New City? That we may all know our conditions and run to Jesus? That we may all set our hearts and minds to know Him, cherish Him and live everyday for Him?
Dear children of God, come to Jesus and stay close to Him!