Be Teachable

Acts 8:31   (NLT)   The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

“Teachability” is a very valuable virtue. It requires humility but it’s also a path to greatness. It takes humility to admit lack of understanding, to admit need of help, to admit someone knows more than you do. Learning requires sincerity and resolve. It Acts 8.31 - Be Teachablenecessitates effort. The person in this story had a hard time understanding what he was reading, but he was reading nonetheless.

Having a know-it-all attitude is disadvantageous. Wise people understand: wisdom is a life-long pursuit; the truth is: it is an eternity-long pursuit. Our learning doesn’t stop when we meet the Lord face to face.

There is no greater source of wisdom than God’s Word. True: there are some parts hard to understand; it will take a sincere desire to learn for us to grasp truths God intends for us. We find it a big help listening to others who have also spent time and effort in studying His Word. We don’t deny personal responsibility; we have to read the word by ourselves; we have to study it; meditate on it; memorize it; live it out; share it. But we can certainly also learn from others. It doesn’t diminish our self-esteem when we do. We expand our horizon much greater by mining the gold from other people’s perspective. We recognize that we miss some important insights other people catch. We even learn from people of the world; they too have wisdom to share; they too are created in God’s image; they have undeniably good contributions. In some cases, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit to know whether what they teach is godly or worldly. It’s no problem because God is more generous with His Spirit guiding us, helping us, warning us, and leading us to the truth.

Dear heavenly Father—all loving and all wise, thank You for giving us understanding and insight—especially when it comes to vital spiritual truths. Thank You for giving us your Holy Spirit without Whom we would be spiritually blind. Thank You for making us a part of people who have the same access to Your Spirit—the Spirit of wisdom. Thank You for giving us opportunities to learn, to know more about You, Your Word, Your love, and a lot more wonderful truths we absolutely treasure. And thank You for the privilege and honor of bearing and sharing this treasure.

 

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Yield

Acts 11:17   (KJV)   17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

God in one of His unpredictable ways did something Peter and the Jewish believers did not expect, i.e., He also graciously poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Gentile Acts 11.17 - Yieldbelievers. When that happened, Peter did the right thing: He got out of the way and yielded Himself to the Sovereign move of God.

Life of a believer is full of adventure. We live with humble confidence because the God we worship, trust, and serve is absolutely dependable. He does exactly as He promises. At the same token, He does new creative “out-of-the-box” things. This is true even in spiritual matters. We don’t self-righteously and thoughtlessly condemn some things just because they’re new or we’re not used to them. We understand that God can do anything as long as they’re not contrary to His nature or His revealed Word—they’re not anti-God and anti-Scripture.

Dear God, thank you for new and beautiful blessings You bestow on us. Thank You for adding new experiences in our journey. Thank You for revealing new facets of Your being and Your ways–expanding our knowledge of You. We praise You for Your inexhaustible and amazing creativity.

When Clueless

Luke 23:35   (KJV)   35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

Both the people and the leaders expected Jesus to save Himself as an unambiguous proof of Him being the Christ. They were amiss. God’s chosen Messiah came not to save Luke 23.35 - When CluelessHimself, but to seek and to save the seemingly helpless and hopeless lost. He did it not by saving Himself from death on the cross, but by the exact opposite—not saving Himself, by giving His life—shedding His most precious blood—as a ransom payment for our sins.

God said, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). He often does things in ways that transcends our expectations and baffles our imaginations. But they always astonishingly yield the best results. It’s because of this that the saying “Let go and let God” isn’t just a good cliché to us; it’s our lifestyle.

Our only wise God and Savior, we humble ourselves before you. Please open our eyes, our hearts, and our understanding to the wonders of Your ways. Help us to never doubt You, but to always trust Who You are and how You do things. We won’t come to a point when we’ll understand all Your purposes in every turn of events, but we can always trust You in all of them. You have repeatedly shown us Your inexhaustible creativity. You have assured us of Your unquestionable and unending love. We depend on You and act on those things You’ve plainly revealed to us; we depend on You as well even in times when we don’t have a clue as to what’s going on.

 

When God is Revealed

Revelation 15:4   (KJV)   4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Revelation 15.4 - When God is RevealedWhen everything is revealed, everyone will clearly see how just and perfect God’s ways are. We don’t question God. We have the ability to but not the position to. He is so much bigger than us; His thoughts and ways are way much higher—infinitely—much higher than our ways and thoughts.

Others have a tendency to question Him especially when bad things happen to them. Many times, people can become so arrogant in the way they treat a very loving and powerful Creator. I’m happy the Lord doesn’t always put us in our place quickly. He gives us more than enough time to snap out of our rebellious ignorance and to come to our senses. Some persist in their defiance.

But in God’s perfect timing, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him as Lord. He will be revealed for Who He truly is—in His greatness, in His glory, in His splendor, in His majesty, in His holiness.  What a scene that will be. Believers and unbelievers alike will “stand” in awe—one in perfect joy, one in utter regret. All accusations hurled against God will vanish at the sight of eternal reality.

Living Faith

James 2:18   (KJV)   18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

I opted to blog a little differently today.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth James 2.18 - Living Faithwhat manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:22-25).

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” (James 2:14).

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:17-20).

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:22,24,26).

I rest my case.

Strongly Deluded

2 Thessalonians 2:11   (KJV)   11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

For God to send strong delusion for people to believe lies sounds very “unGodlike.” But the statement isn’t a point blank no-context declaration.  The people God causes to be greatly deceived are those who refuse to love the truth.  They refuse the truth that saves.  2 Thessalonians 2.11 - Strongly DeludedWe may ask, why doesn’t God send them stronger convincing proofs and truths?  He already has, and He knows no greater revelation will convince them otherwise.

As sad as it may be, there are people we lovingly and sincerely pray for, but they’re just implacably set in their ways.  No amount of dialogue, conversations, love, reason, or evidence will make them change their minds.  They pursue their godless ways, influence others to doing the same, and even invent new ways to do evil.  In God’s patience, wisdom, justice, and gentleness, He lets them be, and turns them over to reprobate minds.

We won’t give up praying for everyone, no matter how hopeless, hardheaded, and hardhearted they may seem.  We don’t know if they’re unyielding; only God does.  We’ve often been surprised by God’s Spirit.  We’ve witnessed the most hardened criminals and even the most “hell-bent” terrorists come to their senses, humble themselves before God, and bow their knees to Him in full trust and surrender.  Most of us probably didn’t believe the first time we heard the Gospel.  We can’t really count the number of times Jesus through His Spirit knocked on the doors of our hearts before we finally opened up and invited Him to reside in us.

Praise God, He didn’t give up on us. Praise God, people didn’t stop praying for us.  We may have been considered cold, hardheaded, hardhearted, and inconvincible as well, but the “Hound of Heaven,” with His stubborn love, didn’t let go of us.  But here we are now—fruits of God’s love, patience, grace, and mercy, enjoying the blessings of those who met Him heart to heart, Spirit to spirit,” and soon, face to face.

Those who Receive Him

John 1:12   (KJV)   12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Our precious Lord Jesus, the Word Who existed before the beginning, Who was with God, Who was God, through Whom everything was created, willingly came to His own creation, and sadly, was cruelly rejected. Not everyone did; not everyone does; we receive Him for john-1-12-those-who-receive-himWho He really is: the Lord, and the Savior. We are spiritually birthed and have become His children. He lives in us through His Holy Spirit; we blessedly experience Him, His unfailing love, His faithfulness, His glory, His truth.

It’s worth noting—repeatedly, if that’s what it takes, that there are at least two kinds of “childhood” to God. One is by virtue of creation. Through this, all of us, saved and lost are His children. The other is by virtue of spiritual birth. This is the kind of “childhood” that applies to the salvation experience or the saved. Spiritual birth is indispensable and no one ought to leave this life without it.

When we receive our Lord and Savior Jesus, He gives much more to us than we to Him. He gives us life; He give us light. He is far greater than us, but He’s always available to us. He continues to reveal Himself and continues to pour out His love. He invites us to Him; He changes us from within; He calls us to partner with Him in His Kingdom ventures. He raises us to such high worth and value. But despite the status we find ourselves in, He’s so great that we get awed even with the very limited truth we know about Him. Can we really imagine how we will react when we meet our heavenly Dad face to face? How does one react to someone so full of power, and yet so full of love?

He holds nothing back in loving us; we too pour out our affection and ourselves in loving Him. Motivated by His love, we as His privileged children live in such a way that we aren’t doubted as His; we shine His light, we declare His truth, we display His presence; we show His power.