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二○一八十年十二月八日/十二月九日                                                                                     Click here for English version

以「感恩」作「年結」

孔桂芳牧師

病得醫治、破碎關係得重建、祈禱等候多年的家人終於信主……有時我們或會覺得自己沒有戲劇化的經歷可以感恩,但每當在見證會寫下自己的經歷、或是和旁邊的肢體分享時,就發覺原來自己有許多恩典可數算,甚至多得欲罷不能。其實只要我們靜心留意,就一定會發現上帝在我們生活點滴中的恩典,只可惜我們鮮有給自己空間停下來安靜省察,徒然讓忙碌充塞著我們的生活,令時間一天天地溜走。

有一位姊妹說,以前雖會禱告感謝天父賜生命氣息,但也只是頭腦上的認知,自從大病以後,她才真正從心底裏為此感謝神,因她深切體會到能呼吸起床,其實並非必然。另有一位弟兄因治療鼻咽癌而灼傷了喉嚨,以致喝水的時候會像啃玻璃那般難受,後來他康復了,仍水杯不離手,能舒暢地喝一口水對他來說都是恩典。

我們往往視主的恩典是理所當然,甚至覺得彷彿上帝欠了我們,稍有不順心,就埋怨懷疑,或像小孩子般向上帝發脾氣,一下子就否定祂的愛。我們沒帶過甚麼來這個世界,所擁有的全都是白白領受得來的恩典,上帝為了愛我們,連祂的獨生子也毫不吝嗇的捨棄,難道祂會保留任何的好處不給我們?難道祂是虐待狂,喜歡看到我們在困苦中傷心失望?困苦患難除了是先祖犯罪墮落的後果,也可以是上帝用來塑造我們品格、操練我們信心的渠道。只要我們回望過去的經歷,必不難發現主的恩手一直在拖帶保守,儘管我們感受不到祂的同在,以為祂已撇棄了我們。其實在最艱難的時刻,上帝真的會像「足印」的故事般,抱起我們,與我們一同度過艱困的日子。

詩人說:「我的心哪,你要稱頌耶和華!不可忘記他的一切恩惠!」(詩一○三 2)保羅也鼓勵信徒要「凡事謝恩」(帖前五 18)。生活中實在有太多或大或小的恩典可以數算,只怪我們善忘,又沒有刻意記錄下來,因而忽略了神在平凡日子中的同在和參與。

2018 年還有不到一個月就結束,在踏入新年度之前,我們實在值得花些時間,找個空間去回望這一年上帝在我們生命中的足跡。讓我們好好的結算一下,然後帶著感恩及信心迎接新一年的挑戰及上帝要賜下的更豐盛恩典。

「你們要以感謝為祭獻與神,又要向至高者還你的願。」(詩五十 14)






Pastor's Sharing
Wrap up the Year with Thanksgiving
Rev Hung Kwai Fong

Every year at the New Year's Eve thanksgiving and testimonies prayer meeting, we hear many encouraging accounts of God's work: sicknesses healed, broken relationships mended, family members converted to Christ after years of prayer…. Some brothers and sisters might think they do not have any dramatic experiences to relate or to give thanks for. But at the testimony sharing meeting when they have the opportunity to jot down and share with believers sitting next to them blessings from God, they find plenty of blessings to count, even to the point that they could not finish. If we are prepared to be attentive, we will invariably find the grace of God in different aspects of our lives. It is unfortunate that we often fail to give ourselves a break from our busyness to quietly reflect, and let time go by.

A sister said that in the past, she spoke from head knowledge when she thanked God for the gift of life. But ever since she had a serious sickness, she had really been able to give thanks from the bottom of her heart – she spoke from experience. She really understood that being able to breathe and get out of bed was not a matter that could be taken for granted. A brother had his throat scorched as he underwent treatment for his nasopharyngeal cancer. For some time, he felt as though he was swallowing broken glass when he drank water. He had to keep a cup of water handy even after recovery. To him, it was grace to be able to take a gulp of water smoothly. We often take grace for granted, or think that it is what God owes us. At the slightest frustration, we complain and doubt, grumbling like kids, or even deny God's love altogether. But we have not brought anything to this world. Whatever we have is grace, given to us at no cost. God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son. Will He withhold any good things from us? Or is God a torture maniac who enjoys seeing us saddened in hardship and despair? While hardships and adversities are a result of sin and the fall of man, they can also be used by God to mold our character and train our faith. If only we will willingly look back at our past, it will not be difficult to trace the graceful hand of God guiding and keeping us all along. Although we may not feel God’s presence and may think that we have been abandoned, we will find in the end that during the toughest times, God has been carrying us through just like He does in the story "Two sets of footprints."

The psalmist says, "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:2). So does Paul exhort believers to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). There are indeed many blessings in life, big and small, that we can count. We are forgetful, and we do not make the effort to write them down. That is why we fail to recognize God's presence and work in our daily life.

The year 2018 will finish in less than a month. Before we step into the new year, it is worth spending time and finding room to look back at the past year for the footprints of God in our lives. Let us properly wind up the year's account, and with thanksgiving and faith, move towards the challenges and more abundant grace of God in the new year.

"Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High" (Psalm 50:14).