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   My Faith - District, Group, Cell Leaders'' Devotional Service    
   Rev. Jaerock Lee
   Hebrew 11:1- 3


Hebrew 11:1- 3
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."


Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has blessed us to have this 2011 devotional service for district, sub-district, and cell leaders. I also give thanks to all the devotees who have prepared for this service with all your hearts, minds, and souls.
Dear devotees, when economy is unstable, the price of gold usually goes up.
It's because even if the value of money goes down due to inflation, gold still is valuable.
But the purity of the gold varies. Some are 99.9% pure, while others are less pure.
Sometimes, they put the gold plating on a piece of metal, but this is not considered gold.
Do you realize why I am suddenly talking about gold?
The Bible often likens our faith with pure gold.
The points in common with gold and faith are their unchanging characters.
Today's reading passage Hebrews 11:1-3 says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible."
Only with faith can we believe in an invisible Heaven and Hell as though we'd actually seen them and lead our Christian lives accordingly.
Also, only with faith can we manifest the spiritual things in this physical world to give glory to God.
Furthermore, you who are offering this devotional service are care-takers who care for the souls and lead them to the heavenly kingdom.
You can lead the souls entrusted to you in the way of true faith only when you first have true faith.
Now, what kind of faith do you really have?
Do you have faith like pure gold that pleases God?
Or, do you have faith that outwardly seems genuine, but is like a piece of metal with gold plating?
Through this devotional service, I urge you to check as to whether your faith is true faith.
I pray in the name of the Lord that in doing so you will have true faith with which you can go into New Jerusalem along with the numerous souls in each of the cells, sub-districts, and the districts.

[Main Message]

Dear devotees, in order to check your faith once again, let me talk about three things.
First, it is about keeping a guard on your lips.
For this, let us think about David and Shimei.
David was greatly loved by God and he became the king of Israel.
But to cover his faults, he committed the sin of causing the death of a man who was faithful to him. For this he had to receive the punishment of God.
One of the punishments was that his son Absalom rebelled against him.
When David was on the run from his son who was trying to kill him, a Benjamite called Shimei spoke words of curses and contempt towards David.
He said, "Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! [8] "The LORD has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!"
But this is not true at all.
King Saul died because of his own sin, and it had nothing to do with David.
Also, David was not suffering because he was forsaken and cursed by God.
He had already repented and been forgiven, but David's trials were allowed in God's justice.
Moreover, when Shimei cursed the king who was anointed by God, it was a sin that was subject to death.
Also, there were many people and warriors around David, and Shimei could have been punished any time.
But David did not respond to the curses of Shimei at all. He also stopped the warriors who wanted to kill Shimei.
He said that it was allowed by God and just let him curse.
David realized that all his sufferings were given as a trial by God.
So, he accepted the trial and humbled himself completely before God in such a situation.
2 Samuel 16:12 "Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day."
In addition, when the priest wanted to bring the ark of covenant and follow David who was on the run, David told him to put the ark back.
2 Samuel 15:25-26 says, "The king said to Zadok, "Return the ark of God to the city. If I find favor in the sight of the LORD, then He will bring me back again and show me both it and His habitation. But if He should say thus, 'I have no delight in you,' behold, here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him."
If David had taken the ark of God with him, the people would have thought that God was still with David.
It would also have raised the spirit of the soldiers.
But David just left everything to God. He did not try to use the ark of God for his own benefit.
He was humble enough to entrust everything, even whether he should live or die, into God's hands.
By the way, Shimei who cursed David was a Benjamite, the family of Saul.
And after Saul died, he thought it was David's fault and had begrudged David for it.
When David was in such a difficult situation, Shimei began to speak out his complaints.
He even called the name of God in vain pouring out his anger on David with so many words that came to his mind.
Rather than having mercy on David for his sufferings, he spoke out various evil things with his lips.
Dear devotees, what kinds of lips do you have?
Do you always make confessions of faith and goodness in any kind of hardship?
Do you speak out words of complaint or resentment just because you are suffering?
Those who seem to have faith might also pour out words of complaints and grumble in difficulties that are hard to handle.
They may say things like, "I repented of all my past sins, and why does God let me go through such a shameful and difficult situation?"
Do you complain and have feelings of resentment thinking, "Was I forsaken because of my sins? Do I have a helpless heart and is all my toil in vain? I tried hard and does God have to make me suffer this much? I am ashamed to see the church members, and it's burdensome and New Jerusalem seems too far away for me. I'd rather just abandon my duty."
And what if somebody groundlessly criticizes you just like Shimei did to David?
Then, some people would give out their evil to others rather than humbling themselves and storing up goodness in their trials.
They show their frustration saying, "I am already suffering from many things, and why would this person torture me, too?" and they might speak piercing words to others.
This proves that though they might have said they'd been trying to become sanctified with faith in God, the fact is that they have very little faith.
Moreover, like Shimei, if you yourself pass judgment and condemnation on others and curse them with evil lips and in your self-righteousness, it is difficult to say that you have any faith.
Proverbs 24:10 says, "If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited."
Those who are really strong, namely those who have faith will prove their faith in hardships.
Not just when they are full of the Spirit but in any kind of hardship, I hope you will only make confessions of faith and goodness.
Dear devotees, in order to check your faith, secondly, you should check your love for the souls.
For this, let us talk about the apostle Paul and Elisha.
Most of you know about the power with the apostle Paul, but we can see that the power of Elisha was very great, too.
He healed the leprosy of Naaman, and he revived the dead son of the prominent woman.
The wars and future of each individual were fulfilled as he prophesied.
Additionally, he detoxified food tainted with poison and caused the axe in the water to float. He did many amazing things.
But this great power was not given to Elisha by his own strength, but it was given through his teacher, Elijah.
As a result of following Elijah, the great teacher, to the end, he received a double portion of his inspiration.
So he did perform with power, but Elisha's heart was quite different from the heart of Paul.
One day, so many children were following Elisha on his way, mocking him and calling him names.
When Elisha could not bear with them any more and cursed them, two female bears came out from the woods and killed 42 of the children among them.
Elisha knew the authority of his lips was great, so he must have tried to ignore them and avoid them.
But when some scores of children kept on following him, taunting and harassing him, he finally spoke out words that brought a curse.
But what would the apostle Paul have done?
The sufferings in the case of Elisha cannot even begin to compare with what Paul went through while he was preaching the gospel.
There were Jews who vowed to kill Paul and who followed him and hindered him wherever he went.
Paul was once nearly stoned to death but revived and he was beaten many times.
Even in such hardships, Paul never spoke out any words that cursed.
But rather, he said in Romans 9:3, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,"
No matter how much the Jews persecuted him, he was willing to fall into Hell on their behalf, only if they could be saved.
Now, how is your love for the souls?
When you preach the gospel and counsel the souls, you might experience persecution or difficulties.
But if your love for the souls is passionate, you will not feel any obstacle to be hard.
You wouldn't feel hurt thinking, "Why would I have to lower myself before others and hear words that taunt, belittle and ridicule me?"
Even though the souls entrusted to you disobey and complain, you shouldn't get disappointed or disheartened.
You cannot easily say things about the souls, such as, "She has this shortcoming, and she lacks in this matter, and that is why they cannot receive blessings but only trials."
You would only make positive confessions of faith for them, and desire to give them only good things with mercy towards them.
You should want only for their souls to prosper and receive salvation.
Some people have passionate natures, and they might do many works for God just as Elisha did many things.
But, this does not mean that they have true faith.
You can be recognized as a worker who has true faith only when you become faithful with your true love for the souls.
I urge you to check the kind of heart you have had towards the souls and what kind of love you had in fulfilling your duty.
Dear devotees, in order to check your faith, thirdly, you should think about your obedience.
If you really trust God, you will obey whatever God commands you to do.
Even though the result of that obedience does not benefit you, you must have no regret or changing of mind. This kind of faith is true faith.
Regarding obedience, let me talk about Joseph and King Saul.
As you know very well, Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt and suffered various things for 13 years.
The reason why God allowed for him such sufferings was for his own blessings, but Joseph did not know the specific plan of God.
God did not foretell him of His plan.
God did not tell him anything like, "After 13 years, I will make you the Prime Minister of Egypt. But first, I will let you be sold as a slave. Then, you will be wrongfully accused and go to a prison. But do not be surprised or get discouraged. Just believe Me. Overcome with faithfulness."
But Joseph still had the faith that God was with him.
That is why he was always honest and faithful. With unchanging faith, he obeyed God's will and providence.
When he became a slave, he did his best as a slave, and even when he was imprisoned, he did his best leaving everything unto God.
As the time passed, there was no hope and it seemed that things were just getting worse, but Joseph never doubted the providence of God, nor did he change his mind.
He didn't get disheartened thinking, "I thought God would help me, but I am just dying in this prison! I've obeyed with prayers for such a long time, so isn't it about time for God to do something for me? I see no future, and what am I supposed to do? What is the meaning of my endurance until now? I can't take it any more. I will just give up and seek my benefit."
Furthermore, when he met with his brothers who once wanted to kill him, he just treated them with goodness following the will of God.
It's not that he wanted to take revenge but unwillingly forgave them just because he knew it was the will of God.
He obeyed with true obedience coming from his heart, and he forgave with God's love.
Do you also trust in God and obey according to the will of God?
For example, when there is an event in the parish, you are in a situation where one district or one cell has to yield to others.
So, the district leader served others not seeking personal benefit because she knows the truth.
But then, when a similar situation arises in the future, it would be good if other district leaders made the sacrifice, but it seems unlikely that it will be done.
They rather think it is natural for the first district to make the sacrifice like they did last time.
So, this district leader has some discomfort because she feels it is only her and her district alone that is expected to suffer loss.
She tried to serve others and humble herself, but when she doesn't get any reward for that, she begins to complain.
If you really obey the will of God, you will not just serve and concede to others once. You have to cultivate the heart of God that can please God through your obedience.
And if your willingness to obey changes midway because the situation is hard for you, it means that you have not cultivated the heart of God and that you did not fully trust in God.
God is looking for workers who can obey with all their heart in any kind of situation, even if it does not agree with their ideas.
Saul, the first king of Israel was at first used as God's instrument, but he was destroyed as he kept on disobeying.
For example, God told him to destroy Amalek, even all their animals, but Saul spared the good livestock and brought them back with him.
Then, he boldly said he did what the LORD had commanded him to do.
He meant he attacked and won the victory as God had told him.
God told him to kill even the animals, but he brought some of the animals back. When this fact was pointed out, he boldly explained about it.
Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed."
It means, "Can this not be an exception since I am going to give them to God?"
Especially, he put the responsibility on the people by not mentioning anything about himself.
Some workers do the same thing as Saul.
They justify themselves saying, "I have done these things that please God with faithfulness, and it is OK to go outside one day to eat something or enjoy ourselves taking a rest. It is to do the work of God better, so it's going to be OK if we take just a little bit of worldly things or if we do not keep the church regulations this time. God will also say this much is OK."
But what God wants is complete obedience.
He doesn't want you to change His commands according to your own thoughts and for your personal benefit. He wants you to keep the commands as they are given.
I want you to check whether or not you are obeying the word of God with all your heart like Joseph, or you want to change God's word little by little like Saul.
I urge you to become workers of true faith who can even go the way of martyrdom if it is the command of God.


Dear devotees and church members,
In order for you to be able to check your faith, I talked about the aspects of words of the lips, love for the souls, and obedience.
Those who have cultivated true faith will be able to pass all these three aspects.
But if you have realized something and think like, "I've been saying I love the Father and I have faith, but I still have to accomplish much more," then I urge you to firm your faith up quickly.
When we go into the Canaan Sanctuary, you should become district, sub-district, and cell leaders who can take care of countless souls who will rush towards us.
In this year 2011, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will reach the true faith that God expects you to have and give glory to God greatly.