A Time to Flee

Matthew 10:23   (NLT)   When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.

There’s a time to stay, and there’s a time to flee. Protecting our lives, ensuring our safety isn’t wrong. It can be more fruitful, not just in self-protection or family-preservation, but even in fulfilling our mission.

Matthew 10.23 - A Time to FleeWe don’t need unnecessary or avoidable martyrdom—that’s a waste of life. Life is precious—even the physical and temporal. Although it’s far less valuable compared to our eternal spiritual existence, it is important nonetheless. That’s probably one of the reasons why self-preservation and survival is innate in each of us. That doesn’t change for us who have been born again—who have received and are assured of eternal life; we just have a much better and proper perspective of them.

Dear God and heavenly Father, Giver and Sustainer of life, we thank You so much for Your gift of life—both the temporal and the extremely more important eternal life. Please give us wisdom and discernment when a time comes for us to flee. But help us do so not in cowardice, but in obedience to your leading. Lead us to a mission-minded escape when it becomes necessary, and only when it’s necessary and more beneficial to our calling and mission. It’s not always easy to explain such action; there will always be those not open to reason. But we pray that if ever we flee, it’s because the persecution is real—not imagined. And as we go, lead us to better grounds where we can sow the seed of the Gospel, where it will have a greater yield and harvest—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Appreciating God’s Workers

1 Corinthians 16:18   (NLT)   They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.

God’s workers ought to be some of the most appreciated people in the world. They strengthen, encourage, comfort, build up, and so much more. The most is: they’re affecting eternal realities in people. That’s of incomparable value. There are many of 1 Corinthians 16.18 - Appreciating God's Workersthem out there, serving God faithfully, through thick and thin, trials and temptations, through comfort and discomfort. They don’t serve for adulations, gifts, and appreciations, but it’s something they ought to receive from their fellow believers—especially those benefiting much from their services.

God knows how to take care of His children. Wherever He leads and assigns, He provides. He’s a good Father and a good employer. He’s the best in fact. He has raised us up as His spiritual family. We are honored for being the people through whom He moves, especially in caring for each other.

We all need help. We who worship and serve the one true living God, though individuals with different gifts, callings, and ministries, belong with each other. As sheep among wolves, we need much help and encouragement. We are under constant attack; attack—that’s something the ungodly world system does. Discouragements and attacks ought to not come from fellow believers and co-workers in the Lord’s vineyard. We may not always cover all needs, but we can always help. Willingness and availability to help is a very good starting point. Because we appreciate and support each other, more lives are touched; more souls are saved; more believers grow; the church expands; the world gets better.

Dependable Promises

Joshua 21:45   (NLT)   Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true. 

There comes a time when being reminded of God’s faithfulness is very comforting and very much needed. There has not failed one word of all His promises. All He has spoken He has done just as He said.

Joshua 21.45 - Dependable PromisesWe face very challenging times. There are times when there is nothing we can do to change our predicaments, when even specialists can bring us no cure or solution; they can just state painful facts. It can be very daunting, very unnerving, especially in life-and-death situations. It’s a fact of life. There is limit to what even the most intelligent and most skilled of us can do.

These are situations and moments when God matters most to many people, when our faith in Him finds its real value, when there is nothing more we can do, when we have come to our human limitations. But we’re comforted knowing there’s reality beyond our own abilities, beyond the temporal, beyond the natural. In God is our hope; in Him we trust. We find courage and peace because we know He never ever turns back on His word. He is our savior; He is our provider; He is our deliver; He is our healer. He has never failed us, and He will never ever do.

In my most gut-wrenching and faith-challenging moments, this is where I find my assurance, courage, and comfort. Praise and glory be unto our ever-truthful, ever-trustworthy, and ever-dependable God.

Resolving Conflicts

1 Corinthians 6:3   (NLT)   Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life.

As much as possible, I try to avoid conflict. God’s Word tells us to keep the peace if it’s at all possible and as much as it depends on us. There’s not a lot there that can threaten 1 Corinthians 6.3 - Resolving Conflictspeace more quickly than trying to correct a person. But God’s Word also tells us to correct and rebuke.

At least in my own personal experience, it’s harder to correct people who are influential, strongly opinionated, successful, achievers, those who are considered high status in society. The task of speaking with them to discuss a possible wrong they do can be very challenging and highly threatening to the peace we work so hard for and work so hard to keep. It can be daunting. And there may be times when we let things just slide; we just brush things off when the best action is to call wrongdoers on their offenses.

Often, we are accused of judging. And I agree; we ought to not be judgmental people. But the wisest king who’s ever lived taught that open rebuke is better than secret love. There is a place for open, loving rebuke.

No one should intimidate us to inaction. It doesn’t matter how famous, rich, powerful, influential the person is. If they need to be told of their wrongs, they need to be told. We will be judging angels, we’re certainly and sufficiently equipped by our loving God to effectively handle disputes and conflicts between others, even if we’re the ones directly involved.

On Being a Blessing to Believers

Psalms 69:6   (NLT)   Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.

The way we live as believers affects our spiritual family. We cause others to esteem them highly or to look down on them.  Our attitudes, conduct, character, words, principles, and actions go farther and wider, and affect more people than we realize. The last thing we want to do is to give our Lord’s name and our fellow believers a bad rap.

Psalm 69.6 - Be a Blessing to BelieversWhen God calls us to be holy, it is not a figure of speech; He is serious about it; He means business. It is not a suggestion; it is not a joke. Him being holy and perfect is literally true. That’s His basis in calling us to be holy as well. “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NLT); “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16)—that’s what God’s Word says. I would say His call for us to be holy is literally true as well. “…work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). That’s a huge implication on us personally, but we realize: it far transcends us.

God doesn’t want us to have even a tinge of wickedness in our hearts. He knows it spreads and it spreads rapidly. It gets bigger; it becomes deadlier; and it destroys more people. We must seriously consider this. We don’t take this lightly. We love God so much; we don’t want to cause others to dishonor Him. We love each other so much; we don’t want to cause others to slander them. We don’t want to cause them any humiliation or harm. We bring light, not darkness; we shine brightly so that God will be glorified. We don’t want to pull our brothers and sisters down to embarrassment; we want to help them soar higher.

We don’t deny our imperfection; we still sin—that’s an obvious fact. But we also don’t tweak God’s Word to accommodate that. This is not a case of either-or; it’s both. Let’s settle that. Now, let’s live in a way that’s a blessing to the Lord and His family.

Don’t Be Mad

Psalms 37:8   (NLT)   Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.

Not all anger is sinful, but as much as possible we should avoid being angry. When we get angry, it is very easy to lose control. Our anger could quickly, easily, and dangerously escalate to hatred and rage. That is not good for us. We can do things that are very Psalm 37.8 - Don't be Madharmful—not only to us, but more so to others. When we act from deep anger we often don’t think rationally. We act out of extreme emotions. Most of the time, we end up doing things we later regret, but often, it is too late; the damage is done.

There are gazillions of reasons for getting mad. Many times also, we seem to think anger is more effective in getting people’s attention. We feel they take us more seriously when we’re angry, but experience tells us otherwise. Someone very close to me have often stated that she does not respond positively to angry corrections or instructions, in fact, she freezes, and her mind shuts down. Of course, it is difficult for me to understand this, probably because there are times I react positively to anger. There have been many occasions when I did the right thing because I did not want people I love to get disappointed and angry with me. I understand: not everyone is the same. I can only theorize, but it seems like there are people who have a hard time understanding and reacting favorably when being scolded out of anger. We just end up feeling extremely bad; anger does that. Venting out our anger may not necessarily be always a good thing to do; it can be counter-productive.

Praise God; He is not the same as us; He is very patient with us. Just imagine if He gets angry with us as quickly as we do with others. If God finds patience and peace beneficial, it does us well to imitate Him; there is wisdom in it. There will be very disappointing people; there will be very irritating actions; there will be many situations when anger is justified. But as much as it all depends on us, it’s best not to get angry. This does not mean lack of correction, or instruction, or discipline. We still correct, but we do so in a calm, controlled, peaceful, and loving manner. It’s much better that way. We save ourselves from headache, heartache, and high blood pressure, and from big potential of sinning against our immensely patient God and Father—that’s a big difference.

Foolishness and Weakness of God?

1 Corinthians 1:25   (NLT)   This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Our loving Almighty Father and God is indescribably, and inscrutably much bigger, more powerful, and more glorious than we imagine Him to be. His wisdom is way much higher than our wisdom—it transcends the highest heavens; His plans are way much 1 Corinthians 1.25 - Foolishness and Weakness of Godbetter than our plans—they’re the best. The strongest of us or all our strengths put together is weaker than God’s weakness. Truth is: God does not have any weakness.

Praise God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, He has given us access to both His wisdom and power. Our Lord Jesus is the wisdom and the power of God. He lives in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He Who can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ever think, imagine, or ask lives in us. In the world’s eyes, we may be nobodies. We are not of noble birth; we are not rich; we are not powerful; we are not great; we are not wise; in fact, they think we are foolish; they think we are weak. To them, we are nothing. There are truths to that, but no more. By ourselves, left to ourselves, we are weak. But the power of God lives in us. By ourselves, left to ourselves, we may be foolish. But the wisdom of God is now in us.

That’s why our trust is in God; our boast is in Him. We seek His face, His heart, His will, and we live accordingly. We live in His light.

The world may never see us in a good light. They may never accept us. They may never see is for who God made us to be. We’re not moved; we are not scared; were not intimidated; we are not shackled. We continue to live out God’s purposes and calling; we live under His instructions, fighting under His banner, marching to the beat of His commands, proclaiming the Good News of salvation, freedom, power and wisdom…