1 Timothy 1:16 (KJV) 16Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
We’ve seen hardened criminals—people society considers as worst of the worst—incredibly changed by the power of the Gospel. Their sins may have been great and many, but God’s grace is greater and more. This is the unique hope found in Jesus alone. This is God’s amazing patience, love, mercy, and grace at work and on display. It’s beautiful; it’s also unbelievably outrageous—so outrageous that others criticize Him for it.
Famous people have expressed their utter contempt and disapproval for God’s generosity of forgiveness. They vehemently disapprove of Hitlers, Stalins, Bin Ladens and such like having any chance of spending eternity with God in glory; they prefer them languishing in toughest punishment commensurate to all their hideous atrocities and evil. Some of them loudly broadcast their position that it’s this very teaching that made them turn their backs from the God of the Bible, that this is what made them into atheists.
Our hearts sincerely and lovingly go out to them. We fervently pray that their hardened hearts be softened and their blinded eyes be enlightened. We don’t want them to miss out on this wonderful truth and experience. It’s hard to accept, but we’re humbly grateful to our Savior. We are recipients of the same immeasurable blessing. True, our sins and the damages our sins cause may not be as grave as those of the infamous villains, but we also desperately need help. Those who oppose God and malign Him appallingly, although they don’t see the wickedness of their actions, also sin against God and are also in real need of forgiveness.
From where and from whom will they get that? Praise God; He’s so willing and so generous to bless us with cleansing and forgiveness. He’s able to pour out His love, and do so with absolute justice, because He personally paid for all of humanity’s sins. This fallen humanity includes all of us: even the Hitlers and the Bin Ladens, God-attackers and God-haters, the worst of all sinners, and yes, the best of all sinners. We find ourselves there somehow. Praise You Lord.
Matthew 14:31 (KJV) 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
It’s our sincere prayer and deep desire for us to be men and women of faith—not just any faith, but a big, strong faith. That’s the kind of faith we as God’s growing children ought to have. A mustard seed-sized kind of faith is enough, just not any smaller. A mustard seed-sized faith in our Lord is enough to move mountains. We live by faith, not by sight, not in doubt. It doesn’t matter how bad situations are, we know that we know: our God handles them with no problem.
That’s it, for God no situation is a problem situation; situations are only problems to us—the limited us. But our trust is in the Lord. He created the entire universe. That’s why it’s easy for us to believe He can part the mighty seas; He can bring the dead back from the grave; He can heal the sick; He can walk on water; He can deliver us from any and every bondage; He can save us from and through any situation.
Doubt is a natural result of no faith or little faith. It indirectly magnifies the problem and assaults God’s ability. It is doubt in God Himself. But why doubt the Almighty, All-wise and All-present? God can make us walk on water; He can make us fly above the most trying and most adverse of situations. He can make us overcome and rise above whatever problem or difficulty we’re facing even now. We don’t doubt Him. There’s no need to look at the bigness of our problems because we’re focused on the bigness of our God. Is there really anything, any situation, any enemy, any hardship, any trouble that God is unable to safely carry us through? We all know the answer. That’s why despite all the scorching heat of trials coming from unbelieving people and fallen world, despite the winds and waves brought by powerful storms of life, we live in untouchable and immovable inner peace.
Luke 24:44 (KJV) 44And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
The omniscience of God is noticeably alluded to. He can predict the end from the beginning. That’s what clearly sets Him apart as God. Yes, there’s a spirit of divination working behind many people making correct predictions, but most of their predictions are no more than just calculated and educated guesses. What makes our God awesomely unique is His 100% accuracy in His predictions and prophecies. No one ever comes close. In His love, He shares to us slices of His knowledge and foreknowledge. He wants our paths lit well; He doesn’t want us groping lost in the dark. He reveals His will and ways to us—not all of them, but all we need to know.
The most perfect revelation of God is our precious Lord Jesus. He’s God’s perfect representation. Whoever sees Him sees the Father; that’s as perfect of a representation as perfect can be. He was God’s mouthpiece in preparing His disciples for what awaited them. He revealed His genuineness and the truths about Him to His followers. He showed them that He was the fulfillment of God’s revelations found in the Scriptures—all over the Scriptures. The affirmations, proofs, and supports aren’t from one witness; it’s from Moses, the prophets, the Psalmists, the apostles, and a lot more—many of them were eyewitnesses, their words accurately backed by a great deal of experiences.
We are extremely blessed and privileged as His people; we are helped tremendously by our infinitely more than able God. We are very limited in our perception; we operate within the limits of temporal time, matter, and space. To navigate through life, we do better when we see things from “bird’s eye view,” and more. Praise God; we have God who sees way well than birds do. Hahaha. We don’t see beyond the natural; He does. We don’t see the future, but He does. We’re limited, but He isn’t. That’s why we trust Him. That’s why we trust His Son. They’re the real deal. Case closed. We believe.
Luke 1:33 (KJV) 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
This is a part of angel Gabriel’s explanation to Mary as to Who the Son is Who will be born through her. It’s speaking of the established earthly eternal kingdom. This is a description Mary never saw happened in her lifetime. We still don’t see it today. But it’s a prophetic description coming from a being who stands in the very presence of God, sent by God Himself as His messenger of Good News of great joy, a message of peace and goodwill. Oh yes, He reigns; He does so in the hearts of man and women who are fully surrendered to Him—citizens of the Kingdom that will soon be manifested in the visible realm. There’s a major kingdom “relocation” we’re still waiting for.
Just because we don’t see God’s prophecies fulfilled with our own eyes doesn’t mean they won’t be fulfilled. Many of the saints in the past—heroes of faith saw God’s promises from afar, but they saw them—by faith. No prophecy, no Word of God will fall to the ground and fail; they will all come to pass; they will fulfill their every purpose. God never lies; He never will. That’s why He is completely trustworthy, infinitely trustworthy. He is totally and absolutely dependable. He sees the end from the beginning. How can He fail? How can He make a mistake? Every prophecy that needs to happen to date has happened. There’s no reason to doubt what He declared are still about to come.
We have incalculably more than sufficient reasons to believe God and to believe His messengers, especially those who spend time in His presence. God is pure; His intentions are pure. There’s nothing we can give Him that He doesn’t have yet. Everything we have comes from Him. He doesn’t have any reason to deceive us; He won’t get anything from that. It’s to our utmost advantage and benefit believing His promises and living out His Word. It’s crazy and foolish not to. We live by faith and not by sight, feelings, senses, or circumstances. Faith is anchored on His Word. A life of faith is life lived under the canopy of His blessings, and favor. There, we find worth greater than anyone can give; we have our God-given purpose and direction; He shows us where to go and leads us to our destiny. The Lord is Truth; we shall not doubt.
Acts 17:32-34 (KJV) 32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
Paul preached. There were three distinct reactions. 1. Some mocked. 2. Others wanted to check it out further. 3. Some believed. Those who believed took the initiative of joining Paul and other believers. These believers included both men and women.
People are different. Their hearts are are different, their mindset are different, their decisions are different. It will be so cool if everyone believes every time we preach – way cool. But In as much as we desire everyone to believe the Gospel and be saved, we can expect that this will not be so. We can categorize people’s reactions the same way Paul’s audiences reacted to him. Some will be hostile; some will be half convinced; some will believe. It’s interesting to note that the results at times surprise us. Those who we thought will be angry, in some “mysterious” ways, very willingly surrender their lives to Christ. Those we thought are perfectly ripe for harvest suddenly display surprising outbursts of extreme disapproval to the Gospel message. What’s beautiful about spreading the Good News though is that we can have the right result every time. I’m not referring to the responses – that will always be the same until preaching is no longer needed; I’m referring to the preaching itself. Whether we preach or not is not dependent upon others. We can preach whether they accept or abhor the Message. Whether we succeed to preach or not is totally dependent upon us. It’s our choice. So, preach away, knowing that there will be believers. By the way, for those of us who’ve been looking for the “magic bullet” of growing a church, this is a very effective start: preach. Again, there will be believers.
Dear Lord of the Harvest, Our Message, thank You that our faithfulness in sharing or preaching the Good News is not determined by other people. We pray for love, truthfulness, wisdom, gentleness, and boldness as we go out and preach Your Gospel. Thank you Lord because we can join you in the joy of the harvest.
Acts 13:41 (KJV) 41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
These were Apostle Paul’s words. He preached the Good News of salvation to his audience. It was a very clear message showing that Jesus was the Messiah who was spoken of in the Scriptures. He would come, He would die, and He would rise again. Paul repeatedly showed them that Jesus was the fulfillment of very specific prophecies about the Messiah and that Jesus’ experiences fit those prophecies perfectly. And then he encouraged and cautioned them to be careful and to avoid missing out on this eternity-changing truth.
There are people in the world who just won’t believe the truth. It’s not that they haven’t heard; it’s not that they don’t know; it’s just that they won’t believe. They have positioned themselves against God. They have sufficient proofs, but no convincing evidence is enough for those who have convinced themselves that no evidence is convincing enough. They are more concerned about how to discredit anything that has to do with God, to arrogantly mock God and those who believe in God, and to rally others to share in their obstinacy. But let’s beware. The greatest shock of their lives will come. By then it will be too late. Their disbelief in the truth doesn’t make truth untrue. Just because they didn’t believe in God here on earth doesn’t mean they won’t believe in God after “earth.” Just because they don’t think God exists doesn’t mean God stops existing. Just because they don’t believe in the final judgment doesn’t mean God stops judging. There are more than sufficient proofs. That’s why there are thoroughly convinced believers. Yes, there are blind followers, and that’s not right either. But there are those who have found that critically important intersection of faith and reason. Instead of being consumed with trying to defend our position and attacking those who believe differently, let’s us openly and humbly believe, live out, teach, and keep pursuing truth.
Dear God, You are Truth. We pray that there’s where our growth will be. Help us to not be arrogantly immovable in our beliefs when there’s a possibility that we may be wrong. Help us to be always willing to surrender our erroneous doctrines. But that will require us to be willing to accept that we may be wrong. Help us to humbly admit the reality of our imperfections – even in interpretations. As we keep desiring, adjusting to, and aligning ourselves to the truth, we’ll find ourselves in the right place and in the right track. Thank You for leaving us Your Word and Your Spirit to guide us into all truth, in Jesus’ Name, amen.