Category Archives: Devotion

From a Skilled Sculptor’s Hands


I have a friend who is a very skilled sculptor. He has mastered the skill by putting a lot of painful hours into work. With all the patience and courage he can muster, he grabs his hammer and chisel in his hands. He takes a painstaking look at the rock he is going to work on. Caressing it gently and carefully as if the rock before him were fragile, he puts his chisel on the spot that he thinks is better to begin with. He raises the hammer just above the level of his eyebrows and strikes it with the right amount of pressure to cut the rock. It is a very measured and well-calculated strike. He knows his hammer and his chisel far better than anyone.

We are not a byproduct of random chance. Nor are we left as a matter in the motion in the vast universe. We are created beings. Even more so, we are made and formed with a purpose in his likeness.

The unrelenting process must continue in order to bring the rock into the intended shape. The work of the skilled sculptor’s hands is coming to shape that doesn’t look anything like it was before. He has transformed it into something that is marvelous and meaningful. That masterpiece is unmatched by anything that we have seen before. A finished work depicts the skill of his creator and reflects the heart of his maker.

spermatozoid

In the same manner, the Creator God made us fearfully and wonderfully in our mother’s womb. The life-forming elements from a man and a woman do not look like anything, least a human being. He oversaw us from the very moment when we were conceived. All the complexities of our human body systems and parts only confirm how he wove us as a skilled workmanship weave elegant jewels. We are the work of his hands. No one could have said any better than King David in his Psalm 139:13-14:

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

We are not a byproduct of random chance. Nor are we left as a matter in the motion in the vast universe. We are created beings. Even more so, we are made and formed with a purpose in his likeness. Prophets from the ancient console that we are called to be his children. We are his masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

Advertisements

Unclothed Christ to Clothe Us!


Ujjwal Rai
Ujjwal Rai

 

“Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Genesis 3:7

In the course of time, I have realized that I never have a straight forward answer to people who inquire about my ethnicity. There is a shame somewhere in my heart of  not being like the ancestors – descending from the same bloodline. There are normally two things that I do in response: either I try to prove I am alike even though my profile is not or I hastily say that there is no such thing in order to deprecate the existence of ethnicity. If you weigh my both responses, you will find how strongly I struggle with the shame and want to cover up by any means. And distressingly, I am not alone! Whether you believer it or not, everyone struggles with a shame and ironically is capable of formulating new ways to cover it up just like me.

God never created us with a shame. But, as soon as Adam and Eve violated God’s command, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” The Bible says, “..they knew they were naked.” It was not merely seeing each other naked and saying, oops! It was greatly intense and devastating, because they fell in the state where they never belonged to due to their rebellious act. (C.S. Lewis’ idea.) As a result, they started hiding from God when He visited them. They were absolutely ashamed of their poignant situation. His creation can live with dignity only with Him but now they were not with Him and so were we once.

Then what happened? They sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Here we can see their strong desire that resulted in active action to live with dignity again, however, sadly not the way God intended.  They acted out to cover their shame as though they can do it on their own, but they never realized the gravity of shame they had brought upon them.

Today, we, in fact, do the same thing what they did to cover our shame.  We sew fig leaves to make coverings for ourselves. We do so either by doing good works inside the church in order to feel good about ourselves and preserve our dignity or totally denouncing the existence of God, so that I may not feel shame of my lifestyle. However, the Bible makes it clear that either way is not going to help us at all! Then, is there any other way around at all?

Our God never wants to see us living with shame forever and knows, at the same time, that we can never restore ourselves to dignity. He, therefore, sent His son to restore us back to Him, so we can live with dignity. Now, we just need to put our faith in Jesus Christ who was stripped of his robe, became nude on the cross and whose shame was exposed to the whole world so that our shame is covered once but forever.

So the real question is: Do we want to believe in Christ and live with dignity or ever find ourselves in the shame treadmill? Choice is yours!

The author is a M.Div student in Calvin Theological Seminary. You may follow him in his Facebook page

Monday Devotion: Excerpt from The Imitation of Christ


Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross, and Offering Ourselves

The Voice of the Beloved

Of my own freewill I offered Myself to God the Father for your sins1 – My arms were outstretched on the Cross and My body naked, so that nothing remained in Me that was not completely turned into a sacrifice to make propitiation for your sins.2

In the same way, you should offer ourself willingly to Me every day in holy communion as a pure and “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service,”3 together with all your strength and affections, and with all the inward devotion that you can.

What more do I require of you than that you abandon yourself entirely to Me?

whatever You would give Me besides yourself is of no value to Me, for I seek you4 and not your gifts.

_____________________

Scripture Reference:

1 Isaiah 53:5, Hebrews 9:28

2 Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2, 4:10

3 Romans 12:1

4 Proverbs 23:26

________________________

Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ (North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge Logos, 1999), 263-264. Print.

Monday Devotion: Vocation in the Kingdom of God


1. Kingdom of God is the entire domain of the whole universe in which his Sovereignty reigns. His Kingdom represents the heavens and the earth.

2. My role as a follower of Christ in the Kingdom is to do good and seek justice – seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness first, preach the gospel, make disciples, serve the church, and build up Christian community. Nevertheless, I am a “Kingdom person” abided by his law of love to serve the Kingdom effectively with proper Christian education.

3. The concept of a prime citizen is a person who has considered the divine calling of God in his life. He is chosen by God for his service in the Sovereign Kingdom. A prime citizen does not only long for joy but also for God. The special emphasis of a prime citizen is to seek the Kingdom of God, bring justice and reject and hate cruelty. Therefore, a prime citizen’s responsibility is to work as “Kingdom person” and fight against ungodly acts.

4. The full value of Christian education is the factor that helps us to know or consider our call from God. Meantime, it prepares the way for our vocation – calling.

Monday Devotion: Habit of Sinning


Alvin Plantinga asserts that our entire “human race has habit” of sinning. We intend to do good what seems like good to us. Yet, we fail to do well, because sin has contaminated us. For this reason, we have turned our back to God. We rebelled against him.

God hates sin, because it violates God’s law as well as trust. Sin competes with the holiness of God. He shuns sin from his people, because it hurts and betrays. It steals our eternal peace and makes our life dysfunctional. Sin creates large rift between God and human. God hates sin, as it segregates us from reconciliation with God. Once we were grave sinners who were enslaved by sin. We dishonored God and  sinned against God. Because of our rebellion, we had fallen short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). But when the Son of God, Jesus Christ shed his blood on the Cross and ransomed us with his blood, our habit of sinning has more than changed; it is transformed. The chains of sin were broken and stains of sin were gone. We have become new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).