Redeemed from Death

Psalm 49:15   (KJV)   15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

Everyone needs redemption—physically and spiritually, except the saints who will be alive when our Lord Jesus returns. There are at least two major pernicious human conditions that Jesus alone can remedy: sin and death; one is a result of the other. God alone can Psalm 49.15 - Redeemed from Deathforgive and erase our sins. He already paid for them through the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. In and through Him, although we die, we will live again,

We’re not the ones without hope and assurance of forgiveness and salvation. Although it’s true that there will still be times when we sin, even as believers, even as saints, we’ve already placed the hope for out eternal salvation in Him. He’s perfect and will forever be perfect. He loves us so much that He gave us His Son Jesus Who willingly let go of His glorious existence to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death—for us. We continue to depend on Him and Him alone.

We have peace because we know our Lord won’t fail. When the time comes, He will call us from the grave, and up from there we will rise to die no more. That’s a reality based on His dependability. Our total and absolute redemption through our bodily resurrection is more valuable than anything this world offers. Others pursue riches, fame, relationships, and even the fountain of youth. They even succeed in some. But everything here is fleeting—like a flower: no matter how pretty, they eventually wilt away.

We don’t envy them; those things may be important from the perspective of a temporal life, but we possess the greatest riches in eternity, or shall we say, the true riches.

Blessed and Wise

1 Corinthians 15:10   (KJV)   10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

We’ve all failed God. We who have turned away from our sins, we who have placed our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation, we who have waived the white flag of surrender to His Lordship are saved and have become new creations—all because of His love, mercy and 1 Corinthians 15.10 - Blessed and Wisegrace. We all need Him if we are to be who we ought to be. We can’t reach our full potential and our beautiful destinies apart from our Maker, Sustainer, and Guide.

The abundance of blessings we receive from our extremely generous Father enables us to be who we need to be and do what we need to do.  We don’t get there passively; faith without works is dead, thus, unfruitful. We can choose to make wise use of all His gifts or we can waste them. God honors our efforts. As I often state, “For every step we take, God takes a million.” That sounds like an exaggeration, yet for all we know, it may actually be very conservative.

We honor our incomparably generous Lord with our faithfulness. How faithfully or unfaithfully we use His gifts to us shows how grateful and appreciative we are to Him—or not. We are grateful—eternally grateful. We understand that His blessings will continue to flow even in paradise. That’s why despite all the seemingly unpleasant treatments we receive for being a believer, we are steadfast in our faith, and we willingly and enthusiastically labour in the Lord as He works faithfully and strongly in and through us.

In God is Our Hope

Psalm 39:7   (KJV)   And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.

We are satisfied about today and we’re excited about our tomorrow. We have great expectations. We’re not as those who live without hope. In Jesus, we not only have hope, Psalm 39.7 - In God is Our Hopewe live in hope. This keeps us going and growing. We all need hope. Those who lose hope lose passion for life, even the very desire to live. Praise God, in Him is our hope.

God has proven Himself and His faithfulness many times over. He has given us great and precious promises and we know He won’t disappoint us. He has never and will never break one word of all His promises. That’s just Him; He’s naturally dependable. He’s truthful; He’s excellent in everything He does; His timing is impeccable. Who needs better anchor than that? Where can we find better reason for hope?

For sure, there are many uncertainties; things change; we don’t know much of the future. There are many threats to our future—especially our future as believers. Even our Lord warned us about growing evil and persecutions. But He also told us that the gates of hell won’t prevail against His church. What do we have to lose? Even the experience most feared—death, is a transition towards our most glorious change and existence.

 

Gifted for Service

1 Corinthians 12:7    (KJV)   But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Every person is a recipient of many gifts from God. No person can live without them. God is the Source of every good and perfect gift. He immensely enjoys blessing us. He’s a very generous God. Believers and unbelievers alike enjoy the graciousness of our God. All of us 1 Corinthians 12.7 - Gifted to Serveenjoy air, sunshine, and rain just the same. Of course, there are special callings, giftings, and endowments that are for believers only. We are definitely and humbly grateful to Him.

God’s spiritual gifts are priceless. They’re gifts; we don’t work for them. He chooses which gifts to give to whom. They are very helpful for our personal growth and ministry. But more than that, we help, encourage, and strengthen each other. Why is it important to be reminded of this? It’s because others easily get carried away and lured by personal interests. This is true even with believers.

We delight in serving the Lord and serving our brothers and sisters. His gifts allow us to go beyond the limitations of the natural. This is so good because there are many problem situations that natural resources can’t solve. We continue to look to our Father; always worshiping Him and giving Him the glory because without Him, we’re nothing. And one expression of our gratefulness is treasuring His gifts and using them, especially in serving His children with all He’s blessed us with.

Trials, Temptations, and Triumphs

1 Corinthians 10:13   (KJV)   13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Although there are many times when we feel like certain trials and temptations we face are very different from everyone else, more difficult compared to everyone else’s, the truth is they’re not. There may be a uniqueness of some sort, but not absolutely. We don’t 1 Corinthians 10.13 - Trials, Temptations, and Triumphsuse this as an excuse to give in to them. Besides, whatever they may be, and however differently they may appear, everytime God allows them to come, they’re opportunities for victory.

Praise God, He always leads us to victory. Part of His strategies is to give us wisdom. It’s that wisdom that causes us to be in step with Him instead of choosing to rebel against Him. He’s a loving God Who fills us with innumerable favor and immeasurable empowerment for us to take the right steps. Not every recipient of God’s blessings live uprightly, but those of us who desire to do so possess what it takes.

We don’t waste God’s precious gifts. Others may experience a tremendous amount of God’s kindness and generosity, but miss out heaven itself in the end. We’re surrounded by a great cloud of examples to follow and to avoid. We want to have faithful walk to the end. There’s an inexplicable joy and satisfaction in staying within the straight and narrow. We navigate through it with humility, always aware that even when we’re strongest, we can fall. We heed the warnings; we seek His instructions; we follow His Spirit’s leading. Trials, tests, and temptations will come; we faithfully fight, and we live as Christians—triumphant.

The Holy Spirit in Us

1 Corinthians 2:12   (KJV)   12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Awesome! God has given us His Holy Spirit; it’s through Him that we get to understand wonderful truths that otherwise would have been impossible for us to comprehend. We’ve received bountiful blessings from God; the best of which is Himself: Father, Son, and the 1 Cor. 2.12 - Holy Spirit in UsHoly Spirit. This is a wonderful mystery we pray the world receives as well. Imagine having in us the fullness of the Godhead.

Is there anything more wonderful than that? It baffles reason and imagination. How can finite contain the infinite? How can the Holy Spirit be in me wholly and be in every other true genuine follower all at the same time? It’s incalculable and impossible in terms of human reasoning, but nothing is impossible with God. He is imminent and transcendent; He is a part of history and beyond history; He is fully in us, but way bigger than us.

We live in Him and persevere in Him—even through the most alluring temptations, hardest trials, and most horrible persecutions; there’s no sense turning back. He’s the highest cause and reason for living. Is there anyone in heaven greater than Him? Is there anyone on earth we can compare with Him? In Him, we have everything we need. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined the beautiful life we enjoy now and the glorious life we will enjoy in eternity—in the presence of Him Who loves us most and the source of all wisdom and knowledge—even the out of this world kind.

Soli Deo Gloria

1 Corinthians 1:31   (KJV)   31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

It makes sense for us to take pride in our Lord alone. And this is so encouraging because as believers, we want to triumph over the influence or power of pride. Ego has caused so many irreparable devastations—from individual to international level. Simply, pride 1 Cor. 1.31 - Soli Deo Gloriaawfully destroys. Others have fallen prey to its deadly tentacles; believers have been graced with power and wisdom to overcome.

Soli Deo Gloria! He has blessed us abundantly. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him; we own nothing that didn’t come from Him. We’re not perfect—none is—except Him of course, but He still finds it in His heart to call us and move in us so we can understand Him and His ways, so we can respond with faith and experience His free gift of salvation. I’ve sinned against Him multiplied times over. Even as a believer, I still do. This is not undermining the wonderful changes He has made in me. There have been changes by leaps and bounds in my life. We’re not sinless, but we definitely sin much less.

The truth is, even in our imperfections, God still works powerfully in our lives—touching us, and touching others through us. He calls us to join Him in His mission. None of us possess the knowledge of all the mysteries of God; our riches pale pathetically infinitesimal—insignificantly little in comparison to all the riches He possesses; we have very limited strength. With all those, God deems it best to bless us with His presence, understanding, power, and authority that confounds the world’s best. That’s obviously the Lord’s doing. Glory to Him and to Him alone!