From: Su Min
Subject: Strangely Warmed
Tuesday 5th November 1996
One dear friend (let's call him Max) recently had a heart warming experience: I share bits of our communication, for your edification and prayer support. (names and places changed)
Our friend Max writes...
>went to next town over the weekend to stay with Joe a childhood friend.
>He managed to persuade me to wake at some obscenely early time to go
>to church on Sunday morning.
>the message was the prodigal son. but perhaps it should be called the
Max, this parable speaks volumes to me, because it echoes the story of my life. God showered good gifts upon me plus plus plus:
gifts I was prepared to accept, but not the lordship of my life I pursued the bright lights and other earthly pleasures
the intellectual academic archnia in medicine became my target, my goal, my god.
but God did not abandon me. he continued to shower his love upon me: aged 24-40 or so were the wilderness years of my spiritual life: I felt I did not need God... then there were dry spells when I felt.. dry
the long and the short of it is God gradually drew me back into His arms. Slaughtered the fatted calf for me when I came to my senses and returned home. Reinstated me as son, member of the family. Praise the Lord. Amazing Father indeed.
>something tugged at me. but i don't know what.
>faith is not feeling is it ?
Faith per se, is not a feeling, Max.
but spiritual feelings can be part of the experience of the faithful.
>because all the time that i faithfully attended church, i felt
>nothing, yet that Sunday, i just felt odd. could be the weather ???
but could be something, and probably me thinks was the touch of the Holy Spirit on your soul, brother Max.. think about it...
Charles Wesley went to church on Aldersgate day, and heard a sermon preached, quoting a preface to Romans written by Luther: His heart was strangely warmed. Something tugged at him. The sower sowed the seeds that fell onto rich soil and the seed sprouted and grew and yielded harvest 30 fold, 60 fold, 100 fold. Charles Wesley went on to found the Methodist Church.
>i wanted what brother lawrence(i read his book--he was a jesuit
>priest) called the knowledge of the presence of god.
>yet all that time, i could not feel him. and the standard argument
>used was that faith was not feeling.
>only after i had become truly cynical, then i happen to be in a
>church one day, and i FEEL something.
>but now that i'm back in school, aching from the 0600hrs monday
>morning swim, i wonder if i had imagined everything.
>what do you think ?
Praise God that you went to church and felt an inner tug, brother Max. The sower has sown His seed, and it has taken root! Hallelujah, PTL.
Emotions and feelings are important components of our experience and yet cannot be the be-all and end- all of our spiritual life.
Emotions and feelings are important:
like they draw us to the throne of mercy in penitence.
They raise us up to the vault of heaven in ecstasy.
Yet spiritual highs cannot be a replacement for true faith.
A spiritual high is followed by a down. We cannot realistically expect to have a mountain top experience all the time: it is like going up the mountain to witness the transfiguration and wanting to make a tent up there to live there instead of coming back down to earth to minister to the needy.
A spiritual high is like a roller coaster ride: up must be followed by down. The dream of seven fat cows followed by seven thin cows promises us the same: times of spiritual plenty followed by times of spiritual famine: and our response should be: store up in the spiritually rich times for the spiritually lean times..
True faith is not about a constant spiritual high.
True faith is about commitment. You decide. I WILL surrender the Lordship of my life to Jesus. You say the sinner's prayer, brother Max:
CONFESS and be FORGIVENJesus I confess my sins. I am imperfect. I cannot get to heaven on my own strength. I am too self centred.
SURRENDERJesus I surrender my life to you. You be Lord of my life. Jesus be my King of Kings.
BEGIN AFRESHConfession, surrender, followed by walking the new way.
Accepting Jesus as Lord is the first step.
Do it and you are saved. Angels rejoice (I rejoice) over one sinner who repents (Luke_15:10).
You may feel a spiritual buzz. More likely you go "Duh?, That's it?"
Because, dear brother, faith and salvation is not about feelings and emotions. Faith and salvation is knowing you are saved because you accept Jesus as Lord. You know it because that is what the bible says.
Upon salvation you are born.
Being born again means you are a spiritual baby
You need gentle spiritual nourishment: spiritual milk.
then as you grow, you wean yourself off milk and get onto baby food, then adult food. Read your bible: use daily devotional helps. Join a bible study group.
As a Christian, we find that we have to die daily to self, to daily take up the cross: for the way to heaven is straight and narrow: if we take our eyes off Jesus it is easy to slip into the waters, to slip down the slippery slope. Corporate worship and fellowship helps accountability, helps growth.
Backsliding, we are all guilty of that! But praise God, the Amazing Father, He welcomes us back with open arms each time we decide to return to Him.
What a mighty God we serve.
hope this answer makes sense Max.
Love grace and peace
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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