Listen Intently

Luke 8:18   (KJV)   18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

Our precious Lord wants us to be as productive as we can be. He doesn’t want our time Luke 8.18 - Listen Intentlyand our lives wasted. He cares even for the way we listen. He wants us to gain more knowledge, more understanding, and more wisdom.

We’re sincere in the way we listen to our Lord. He has graciously given us His Word so we would know our way, so we would know truth, so we can see, so we can really live. We pay sincere and careful attention to His Word. The more we do, the more He gives us wisdom.

It can be tempting to read the Scriptures and pray out of obligation—just to go through the motions. I pray you don’t get me wrong. I believe and understand the need to spend time with the Lord. But we don’t take them lightly and superficially. Not heeding how we hear is to lessen the understanding we already have. We don’t understand the divine mechanics regarding this, but we know what He says happens.

He speaks, we listen. As His sheep, we know His voice. He always guides and leads us to the right path. He wants to commune with us more than we commune with Him. He’s never too busy for us; we don’t have to wait to make an appointment with Him. And He wants to pour out more of His Word and His wisdom to us. So we sincerely seek; we intently listen, and we keep growing.

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Giving and Receiving?

Luke 6:38   (KJV)   38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Clearly, giving and receiving, sowing and reaping are Scriptural principles. To remind ourselves again: our giving is motivated by love. We don’t give so we can receive. The Luke 6.38 - Giving and Receivingsowing part though? We don’t want to be hypocritical ever, but the truth though is: when farmers sow, it’s for the purpose of harvesting. I guess it’s not wrong to believe or anticipate harvest as long as love is our underlying motive in all we do.

Although this principle is often associated with material things, it goes way beyond that. This is true with other very important factors in Christian life. Because we believe it, it’s much easier to obey our precious Lord, even in His commands that the world sees as very unfair.

We sow love; we reap love. That’s right. That’s why we can love our enemies; that’s why we can do good even to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who hurt us. As we sow love, and blessing, good deeds, prayer, mercy, etc., we can expect to receive them in “harvest” measures. Remember, what we harvest is multiplied times greater than the seeds we sow.

Through this, our uniqueness shines brighter. We get to show our difference as children of the most High Who loves even the most rebellious among us.

Sinners First

Luke 5:32   (KJV)    32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus didn’t concentrate on convincing those who thought they were righteous of their spiritual bankruptcy; He spent time reaching out to those who society widely and Luke 5.32 - Sinners Firstcommonly considers as scums of the earth.

One of the biggest challenges we face in sharing the Gospel are people who believe they’re doing very well and don’t need God. We often find ourselves convincing them of their real spiritual status—that they need help—that they need the Savior—if we’re even given the time to get there. Many times, we find them respond blindly and proudly. They don’t open up to the truth and to our Savior.

This is a good reminder—to me at least. I need to concentrate more on people who know they’re sinners. Some of them don’t know they are, but they’re also not self-righteous. Some of them are already trying to reach out to God; some of them are convinced God won’t forgive them anymore. They’re the ones we share the Good News to. They’re the ones who really need it. We don’t need to neglect those who seem to “have it altogether,” but we go first to those want hope of salvation, and just need to be lovingly told: they can be forgiven, and they can be sure of their eternal destiny—right here, right now.

What a blessed task: calling “sinners,” such as we were, and telling them: they can come home.

Preach to the “Choir”

Luke 4:44   (KJV)   44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

Luke 4.44 - Preach to the ChoirJesus preached outside of the walls of the synagogues; He also preached in the synagogues. Implied: there were people in the synagogues who needed to hear the Good News.

Going out to all the world and preaching the Gospel rings very loudly from our pulpits and that’s very good, but it will be a huge negligence on our part if we forget that there are people sitting on the chairs or pews Sunday after Sunday who still need to be preached to.

It’s important for us to declare God’s message of salvation to the lost. Most of them do not come to our places of worship. We go where they are. We also recognize the obvious truth that not everyone who gathers together with us for worship and the preaching of the Word is a believer.

There have been many times when I heard testimonies of our very own church people share how they got saved long after they’ve started attending our church gatherings. Praise God for that. That’s why we preach the Good News and we teach God’s principles; we evangelize and we disciple. We do this when we gather together as a local church in a particular place, and we do this when we part ways and go as individual churches to our personal spheres of influence—our own “worlds,”—our own mission fields.

At times, it’s worthwhile preaching to the “choir;” so let’s continue preaching in our “synagogues.” There’s a big probability that some of those in attendance may be with us bodily—geographically, but not yet a part of us as a church spiritually.

Good News; Great Joy

Luke 2:10   (KJV)   10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2.10 - Good News - Great JoyJesus’ incarnation is good tidings. It’s good news, not bad; it’s good news of great joy, not of deep sadness; it’s offered to all people, not just a few.

When one realizes it, there really is no gift greater than Jesus; there’s no experience more valuable than being saved; there’s nothing that brings joy to hearts of people greater than having Jesus living in us, being 100% sure of spending eternal existence in the presence of the One Who loves us most and we love most in a perfect place.

Salvation is God’s free gift for all. We have received Him. We now enjoy all the wonderful blessings included in the saved life. No life compares to the life of the saved. No greater love, no greater joy, no greater peace. It’s a life of one blessing upon another. All sufferings, persecutions, and trials associated with godly living are dwarfed by the glorious favors God has for us—here, and even more so, in eternity.

Believers’ Blessed Future

Revelation 20:6   (KJV)   Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

There’s such blessedness and uniqueness enjoyed by believers that’s beyond explanation and imagination.

Revelation 20.6 - Believers' Blessed FutureBeing blessed, being holy, being a part of a glorious resurrection that leads to rewards instead of the ultimate judgment, condemnation and suffering, becoming priests of our God and our Jesus, reigning with Him for a thousand years—these are more than enough reasons for us to totally appreciate and value our status as believers and followers of our precious Lord.

I’m joyfully overwhelmed by those wonderful gifts from our absolutely gracious heavenly Father. Not everyone shares the excitement. Others treat them with contempt because of over-familiarity. We hear of them often; they’ve become a redundant truth, sad to say, even to some believers. But not to us; all the joys and excitement we sense aren’t nearly enough to equal the great wonders of all those blessings God has in store for us.

When God Finally Comes

Ezekiel 37:28   (KJV)   28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

A day is coming when God’s sanctuary—His temple—will be among us; God Himself will be living here on earth—in Jerusalem. On that day, His people will really be His people, Ezekiel 37.28 - When God Finally Comesand God will really be our God.

We won’t ever lose our free will. But God will have a way of making Israel and all His people holy. He has a way of changing our hearts from that of hard, stony, and stubborn hearts to that of tender, sensitive, and submissive hearts. He has a way of giving us a new spirit through the presence of His Holy Spirit so that we will be obedient and faithful. We will be holy, not just positionally, but practically.

Oh what a day that will be—when God Himself is our ultimate King and Shepherd, and God’s people are really walking in holiness and righteousness; when God’s enemies are humbled, defeated, and silenced; when peace, love, and righteousness rule in the earth. This is not just a dream; it will have its fulfillment. Maranatha—come, oh Lord; the Lord is coming!!!