Heart Issue

Mark 7:21-23  (KJV)   21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

I don’t know who originally said it, but it hits the bulls eye: “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” If ungodliness characterizes the speech and actions of people, they’re just expressions of ungodly hearts. There are things that affect men physically, but there are things that reach way more deeply.

We’re often concerned about the physical, the superficial. Yes, our bodies are important; material things are important as well. But we often judge someone’s beauty based on the external. We often judge someone’s relationship with God based on the food they eat, the clothes they wear, what they drink, the make-up they wear, etc. We ought to not undermine the fact that our visible and physical conducts and demeanor can be telltale signs of what’s inside; but we ought to make sure that we don’t appear clean only on the outside yet filthy on the inside. The condition of our hearts matter most.

Our dear Holy God, please check, cleanse, change our hearts – whatever is necessary. May we be true to You inside and out, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Faith is Good

Mark 5:34  (KJV)    34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

There is power in faith in God. Jesus pointed out to the healed woman that her faith was the cause of her healing. After suffering from bleeding for twelve years, after going from one doctor to another, after having no success from any kind of treatment, she had faith that if she could only touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. She did, and she got healed.

Faith matters. It is through faith that we are saved. It is through faith that we are healed. It is by faith that the saved ought to live. It’s interesting how some believers who passionately preach about faith as an essential part of salvation become very cautious and even against the notion of faith in healing and God’s other provisions. It’s the same faith. No, I don’t want to belong to any anti-faith movement. We ought to continually live in faith in the God Who saves and heals, answers prayers, helps, guides, provides, and will return. Faith and God aren’t contradictory notions; they fit perfectly well together. God’s Word didn’t teach us about God without faith; it also didn’t teach us faith without God. Let’s continue to walk by faith in the One true God.

Our Sovereign God, thank You for giving us the gift of faith through which we can appropriate all your graces. We love you.

Giving and Receiving

Mark 4:24  (KJV)   24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

There is a direct relation between how one gives and how one receives.

The Bible teaches us that we will sow what we reap. What we’ll reap is naturally more than what we sow. There’s really nothing ungodly about believing that God returns to us more than what we invest in His Kingdom. The greatest motivation for anything we do is love for God. This applies to giving. We sow, we give because we love God. With that, we also believe that we will receive more. Many of us have treated this as another “either-or” teaching of the Word of God. This ought to not be so. Yes, we ought to give because of love and not because we will receive more, but we ought to not undermine the Lord’s explicit teaching on giving and receiving. We believe both and apply them appropriately. It’s good to know that we have a small part to play in determining how much we’ll receive.

Our God of love and increase, please help us to enjoy the fullness of Your Word. Please give us wisdom to be careful not to downplay any of Your teachings in trying to affirm one, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

Immovable Oppositions

Numbers 16:41  (KJV)   41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.

There are those who are determined to oppose their leaders. It didn’t matter if the Lord Himself took the lives of the people who were rebelling against God’s appointed authorities; it didn’t matter if the rebels suffered a terrible end, these oppositions failed to see God’s hand and the fate of the other oppositions. They ludicrously proceeded to accusing and blaming God’s servant.

God’s servants ought to expect overly closed-minded oppositions. God can show them the most convincing proofs there are and not even move them to have a slight change in their mindset. Let’s not waste our precious time, energy and effort chasing what may be a lost cause. We can get so tired trying to gain a more favorable opinion and treatment from others. When others have made up their minds and have determined not to change their thoughts about us, we can exhaust all the different ways we can try; and the end will just be that: us – exhausted.

Our God, You know everyone’s heart. Please give us a heart of discernment that we may know who our true friends and real enemies are.  Lead us to the paths of wisdom that we may use time beneficially with those whose hearts and minds are tender, willing to still be changed by the power of your Presence and Word. – In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Unforgotten Servant

Acts 28:21-22  (KJV)   21 And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.

God’s workers can find  themselves in a position where they’re seemingly alone, taken for granted, and forgotten. The silence of others in a middle of hardship doesn’t necessarily mean rejection, but silence itself may not really be the treatment either when encouragement and support is much needed.

Through reasons unknown, we may find ourselves seemingly lacking support from our co-workers. Yes, it would be great if we can receive communication from them that boosts our morale. It would be great if they would drop a good word about us here and there, but if they don’t, we ought to not be quick to conclude that they are not supportive of us. There are a million possibilities why. For all we know, they may be undergoing worse persecution or circumstance than we are. So, let’s keep serving the Lord – alone, or when submerged in overwhelming show of comforting presence or communications. And when we have opportunities, let’s make sure we become instruments of encouragement to each other.

Dear God Who never leaves us or forsakes us, with You, we’re really never alone. – In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

LORD Our Shepherd

Psalm 23:1  (KJV)   23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Lord God is the Great Shepherd. With Him as the Shepherd, there is sufficiency. As a Shepherd, He cares for His flock – sufficiently; He feeds His flock – sufficiently; He provides for His flock – sufficiently; He watches over His flock – sufficiently; He guides His flock – sufficiently; He protects His flock – sufficiently. That explains why His flock can find themselves contently not wanting. 

God cares; He cares both for the righteous and the unrighteous. But there is a special, and I would say, awesome relationship believers enjoy with Him. They have the Shepherd – flock relationship, and oh boy, that carries a lot of great benefits. Just imagine having the most loving, most powerful, unchanging Entity as our Shepherd. He’s a Shepherd Who will never leave us and will never do us wrong. That’s totally reassuring. That’s the reason our Lord Jesus can exhort us to not worry and mean it literally – not just as a figure of speech. With a Shepherd Who can supply all our needs – in all areas of our lives – at all times – in all places, we definitely have more than enough reasons to enjoy our days and sleep well at nights. We don’t have to worry about dangers, about troubles, about trials, about toils, about snares, about attacks, about our enemies, about our direction in life, about our provision, about our relationships, about our future, etc., etc.. We are really in a position of not wanting. We have more than enough of what we need.

Our God, our Great Shepherd. Thank You. Knowing we are well cared for. Many advertise their companies as giving the best care, but in You and in You alone do we really find it. In You we can rest in peace, and we can enjoy that wonderful restful existence here – now – in the land of the living. In You we can find refreshing for our tired, weary, and even faulty souls. In You we don’t have to wander aimlessly lost. In You we find calm courage to face even the most life-threatening challenges. In you we can celebrate life even when our enemies wish us death. In You we can rest assured that we will live out Your plans: good, not evil; prosperity, not harm; hope, not hopelessness; future and not rot. Praise You, our YHWH-Rohi. – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Lord of All Generations

Psalm 22:30-31  (KJV)   30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

God is God of all generations. He is not a temporary fad. From generation to generation, He will have those who will be serving Him, worshiping Him and declaring Him. He won’t fade away with time; He won’t fade away with culture; He won’t fade away with trends. He won’t run out of people who will recognize Him for Who He is.

People and magazines have declared that God is dead. Most of those who did are dead; God is still alive. I don’t write that heartlessly. People have confessed and campaigned that they will eradicate Christianity from the face of the earth; most of those who did are gone; Christians are still everywhere. Culture tries to take out every vestige of Christianity from everywhere; we still see crosses and Bibles everywhere. We see old people and young people, in the different fields of sports, in the different fields of the arts, in different government positions, in the military, in different fields of Science, in all strata of society, – we somehow sprout up – everywhere. It doesn’t matter how much society tries to step on us, squish us or destroy us, we keep on going. God rules and will continue to do so. Let’s take heart. Every weapon formed against God and His people will eventually perish. The enemies of God will arise from generation to generation and will invent new ways to attack Him, but followers of God won’t be stopped; they will continue to rise up as an unstoppable force, declaring their God to their generation and to the next.

Our eternal God Who rules and will rule forever, thank you for the joy and peace brought by the assurance that we belong to the victorious army of the King of Kings.