Rebuking the Devil

Luke 4:36   (NLT)   Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!”

There were people who noticed Jesus and had the observation, assessment, and statement about Him. Jesus’ Words possessed very noticeable authority that evil spirits obeyed the commands. Although evil spirits are against Jesus, they’re still under His absolute control.

People notice; not everybody does, but others do. They are open enough to see the reality of our precious Lord, His work, and yes, us, His people. Our relationship with Jesus is obvious. It translates to our lifestyles—the purity of our actions, and the authority of our words. We’re not intimidated; we don’t fear—not even them. We submit ourselves to God, we resist the devil, and the devil flees.

Our uniqueness as believers is beautiful. People who awaken to this reality can’t help but see the many blessings we have. Yes, we are humble: we’re meek, but this doesn’t mean we’re weak and powerless. The Holy Spirit resides in us. That’s the power able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all anyone is able to ask, think, or imagine. We don’t retaliate when insulted, but the words we speak—the oracles of God flowing from our mouths have authority to command a mountain to be uprooted and cast into the sea, to order the devil to get out and go, and they don’t have any recourse but to do what we say.


“Firsts” to Believe

Romans 16:5   (KJV)   Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

We take our hats off to trailblazers, especially those who took the brunt of cynicism, skepticism, suspicion, criticisms, and persecution for being the first to believe the Gospel in their particular spheres of existence.

Romans 16.5 - Firsts to BelieveI remember how my brother was vehemently scolded by my Dad when he no longer wanted to participate in the repeated recitations of prayers we conducted every night, accusing him of being a traitor—turning his back from our dearly-long-held beliefs and traditions. My Dad forced him to do it—even lead the prayers. I remember seeing him recite those prayers with tears in his eyes, thinking to myself how “touched” he must have been as he led our family and the many visitors in our daily ritual. I wondered though because I’ve never seen anyone that moved before in going through those particular religious acts.

That example is very light compared to the life-threatening experiences others have for being the first believer in their family, tribe, or community. But I’m still grateful to my brother for being the first believer in our family. All of us in the family eventually prayed to receive. Of all the five guys among the siblings, one passed away, and three are now pastors—except him (ironic).

Thank You Lord for raising up people who were humble, bold, and wise enough to be the first to take the plunge of faith into faith—in You.

Died and Rose—for Us

Romans 4:25   (KJV)   25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Praise God; our precious Savior sacrificially died on the cross for our sins. Praise God; He didn’t stay dead and buried; He defeated grave, death, and hell; He rose from the dead so Romans 4.25 - Died and Rose--for Uswe may be reckoned as justified—just as if we haven’t sinned at all—made completely right before God.

I don’t even want to imagine what could have happened had He not incarnated, had He not lived a perfect life, had He not been willing to give His life for us, had He been unable to resurrect. We’re grateful He was a worthy, willing, and perfect sacrifice.

Our holy God lovingly provided a merciful yet just way out for us; our offences were placed upon our Lord; we need no longer be penalized and punished for them. Every need, every requirement for this hope and reality of eternal life has been met; we’re over-blessed; we’re overjoyed.

One True Living God

Jeremiah 10:10   (KJV)   10 But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

There’s only One true living God; a god among millions of gods isn’t God, a dead god isn’t God.  He’s the King of all Kings, Lord of all Lords. He is eternal, awesome, all-powerful. Jeremiah 10.10 - One True Living GodNo one and nothing can fight against Him and survive, much less, prevail.

We stand, walk, and live in awe of the LORD our God. There’s no one else like Him. No one else is all-powerful, all-present, and all wise. There’s no other Name greater. He rules over all people of all nations. Others fight against Him; but everyone will eventually bow before Him and acknowledge Him for who He is. He existed before time; He will exist after time.

We praise God that He gave us wisdom to understand. We don’t have to find ourselves fighting a sure losing battle. God is the very source of life; He’s the very force or being that created the entire universe, and is the One sustaining or preserving it. We’re on His side; we live for Him. We’re not of those who incur His wrath; we’re of those who receive His pleasure. We don’t look forward in fear to destruction; we longingly and joyfully anticipate His return and our ultimate salvation and glorification, abiding forever in His presence, power, peace, wisdom and love.

Nothing to Fear

Luke 12:32   (KJV)   32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Our precious Lord Jesus commands His flock—His children, not to fear anyone but God. One of the most important assurances He gives us is our heavenly Dad’s desire to give us His kingdom—whatever that may exactly mean. But that says a lot. Simply though, He’s luke-12-32-nothing-to-fearsaying we don’t have to fear anything because there’s no reason to. The cause may be material; it may be ideological; it may be social; His assurance is, He’s got us completely and safely covered.

Sure, there are things we don’t know about. We’re not sure how all details of our lives are going to play out, but God definitely guides us in areas where the choice is non-negotiable. There are expert schemers, and deceivers; some people in power may take advantage of us, but God is our vindicator; He’s in control of everything. Some people may succeed in hiding their insidious intents, but God has a way of eventually having their pernicious secrets whispered only behind the closed doors of their hearts to be shouted from the mountaintops for all to hear.

Some of us are threatened with death, but even the worst murderer can only touch our bodies; our God can do worse, and even throw the wicked to hell. Some of us may be threatened with lack, but we’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging for bread. He loves us so much that He makes the resources—even the power and authority of His Kingdom, available to us. We will be persecuted; we suffer the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms, but through it all, we worry not; we fear not; we live in the eternal, inexhaustible sphere. That’s where we wisely invest our treasures in; there’s where our hearts truly are. Our Dad is pleased for now to give us a foretaste of its reality; and even just this glimpse, its power and riches already blow our minds. We can only wonder about its wonders when it comes in the fullness of its power and glory.

Lambs Among Wolves

 Luke 10:3   (KJV)   3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

We are to go share and spread the Good News of salvation to the lost, and to make disciples of all those who believe. Each has a calling; each has a race to run; each has responsibility. But we all are sent to the same hostile world. We are sent out as lambs luke-10-3-lambs-among-wolvesamong wolves. There’s no mandate to change our nature; we’re not called to be like wolves. Our difference will be obvious; it’s natural for wolves to try to hunt, attack, and devour us, but we are to stay our course.

Hostility is real; persecution is real, but God’s presence is more real. He promises to deliver us all the time. He may deliver us from them; He may deliver us through them, but He will deliver us. Others may question this. Martyrs abound. Where is God’s deliverance in this? These are legitimate questions, especially when asked from a perspective void of the eternal. Praise God for His light that shines in our understanding. We see better; we see clearer; we see more.

We’re aware of the supernatural and the eternal. This helps navigate through the world of the wolves better. We reach out to them without becoming like them. Many times they mistreat us. I remember a Middle Eastern sister in the Lord who was asked by some fanatical religious zealots to vacate their house at 12 midnight that same day, or they will be killed. They left everything they worked so hard for. That in itself was difficult, but even their journey of leaving their home became a dangerous escape attempt. They had to take unfamiliar paths because death also waited along the main thoroughfares. She shook as she shared the experience.

Some of us aren’t spared. That doesn’t spell failure on the part of God. He never fails. Death for us in the grand scheme of things isn’t tragic; it isn’t the end; it’s a passageway ushering us into an indescribable, incomparable, most blissful experience ever—right in the presence of our Father—He Who loves us most, He who we love most. That’s why although we fully appreciate God’s earthly blessings; we’re not attached to them; we understand that our real citizenship is dual: temporal and eternal, and our eternal home far outweighs what we now have.

So we go—lambs among wolves, lovingly, carefully, fearlessly, faithfully, empowered by God, changing this world, while longingly waiting for the next.


Fight of Faith

1 Timothy 6:12   (KJV)   12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

A believer’s life is full of excitement and adventure. The life of a soldier in a thick of battle is never boring. We as followers of the Lord Jesus are in the middle of a fight—the fight of faith. We know where we are; we know where we’re going, and we know how to get to our 1-timothy-6-12-fight-of-faithdestination. We’re children of the day—children of light, alive, alert, awake, enthused, watchful, vigilant; we know that our enemy, like a roaring lion, is constantly attacking, bent on devouring us—to kill, to destroy. Eternal life is too precious to neglect. We have a tight grip on this indispensable and incomparable upward heavenly calling of God.

We’re not bored; we don’t fear. Some may see inconsistency in our actions and reactions regarding the battle we’re in. Yes, in a battle, there’s some kind of energy and alertness boost, but naturally, it’s scary. Fear is real and true if the soldiers don’t know the outcome. We do. We know that we belong to the victorious army of the unbeatable General. The outcome has been determined. That’s why we lovingly, strategically, boldly invite others to join the ranks.

This isn’t an invitation for mediocrity; the opposite is true: our call is to wage war against the world, the flesh, the devil and his minions. We bow and kneel in total surrender, commitment, submission, and loyalty to our Supreme Commander; we’re fully aware that our battles are won because of Him; we’re strong because of Him and the power of His might. Our armors are in place. We march against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. We charge the gates of hell. Life by life, we prevail. There really is no life better and more exciting than that of a believer.