Harvest of Blessing

Galatians 6:9   (NLT)   So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

We want to fight the good fight; we want to finish the race; we want to keep the faith. Our call is to persevere until the end. We do what’s good, what’s right, and what’s godly. We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Christian life isn’t Galatians 6.9 - Harvest of Blessingalways easy; there are hard times. But we are expected to never tire doing what is good. No matter how long and hard our struggles are, they’re still very short and worth bearing in the light of the blissful and glorious eternity awaiting us.  For those who persevere, God’s word promises a harvest of blessing—now, and infinitely more so in eternity.

We can’t deny the reality of the principle of sowing and reaping; it is explicitly and clearly taught in God’s Word. The age of grace neither terminates nor prohibits God’s blessings and rewards as fruits of our labor. The principle of sowing and reaping works perfectly with the principle of grace. The harvest is multiplied times more than the amount planted. That is a good picture of God’s grace.

God’s Word encouraging us to continue doing good isn’t to give us a hard time; it is God positioning us under the blessings of an open heaven. Others don’t accept this because they see how it leads dangerously to boasting about our own efforts. We’re emphatically taught in the Scriptures how our salvation is by God’s grace through our response of faith; it’s not a result of works, or else we’ll be boasting about our own righteousness. We love that passage. We also love the fact that we’re created unto good works, and that God rewards us still. We guard our hearts against pride and self-righteousness; our hearts are already set; our boast is in the Lord. We don’t deny that. We also don’t deny the blessedness of planting the seed of good deeds.

We don’t get tired of doing good. And I pray we won’t. It’s wonderful to live under God’s blessings. To be blessed when we rise, blessed when we lie down, blessed in the city, blessed in our homes, blessed in the country, blessed when we drive, blessed when we work, blessed when we rest, blessed with our children, blessed with our spouses, blessed in our ministry, blessed in our businesses, blessed in our works, blessed in our endeavors, blessed in our relationships—we won’t and don’t get tired of those, rather, we enjoy them to the utmost.

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Living in His Promises

Numbers 14:8   (NLT)   And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.

How wonderful it is to know God leads us to a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Our precious Lord Jesus came with a purpose of giving us life and life abundantly—life full of purpose and meaning. Many of us have heard and quoted Jeremiah’s words telling Numbers 14.8 - Living in His Promisesus about the Lord’s plans that are good and not evil, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. I can’t help but sense a soul-refreshing comfort and assurance whenever I remember the Lord making us lie down in lush green meadows.

There are deterrents and oppositions to this. Many times, others have their own version of a land flowing with milk and honey. We’re careful because this can be true even with believers. Not everyone allows God’s Word to take deep and strong roots in their hearts. Simple trials make them look back to the immediate fun and pleasures of their past. Often, blindness kicks in. They lose sight of the obvious and powerful miracles and blessings God has brought them. Their once dreaded but endured past, their land of slavery and bondage, they see now as the land flowing with milk and honey.

But how pleasant it is to us who live for God’s pleasure. Despite all the obstacles, challenges, oppositions and enemies, despite our inabilities and limitations, God isn’t stopped; He brings us safely to His promise. Anything or anyone who gets in the way becomes a helpless prey to the promise. The presence of hurdles before us is trumped by God’s presence in and among us. Why fear? Caveat: I’m not suggesting Christian journey is perfect—that we will always please God. There are moments of slips and failures. But God knows who His sincere followers are. And in His unfailing love, He forgives the contrite and repentant. He restores our souls and leads us back to the paths of righteousness—to the path of promise.

Our minds and hearts are set: the Lord is our God. We live for His pleasure. We’re living in His promise—a land flowing with milk and honey. And we’re journeying to the next. It’s a journey of promise to another promise. There’s no life better than the life of a believer.

More Blessed than Mary?

Luke 11:28   (NLT)   28 Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

Luke 11.28 - More Blessed than Mary.jpgWe cannot overestimate the value of God’s Word—of listening to and obeying it. It brings an exceedingly great blessedness—greater blessedness than being a channel of our precious Lord’s incarnation.

Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus in His humanity without a doubt is extremely blessed. This is a truth recognized the world over. Others emphasize the wonders and value of this experience while at the same time neglecting the glories and importance of God’s word.

A lot of people have a tendency to do this or something similar to this. We have a tendency to elevate things and people above God and His Word. Our affection, our attention, our energy, our time, and our efforts are spent towards them; our focus on God, His Kingdom, our ministry, our callings, things eternal, things spiritual, our mission—all these infinitely more important things are lessened or diminished in our estimation. We get busy doing a lot of things we find very important and big; God’s word becomes a distraction.

So much is written about the wonders and the glories of the Word of God—so many admonitions for us to listen to it, read it, study, meditate on it, commit it to our minds and hearts, and live it out. That’s one of the obvious proofs that God really wants as blessed.

We thank You Lord for Your desire to bless us, and how You have made that possible, not just for a few but for all who would act and respond to Your clear directions appropriately and in humble, grateful, loving obedience. It’s so amazing living blessed. All this is from You, and we’re enjoying it immensely.

On Leaders/Teachers and Words

James 3:1   (KJV)   1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

This sounds like trying to dissuade believers from becoming masters, leaders, or teachers. The obvious reason is given: those who are have greater responsibilities, James 3.1 - On Leaders-Teachers and Wordsgreater accountabilities, greater condemnation or stricter judgment.

The way the chapter progresses is very interesting; it’s followed by quite a strong discourse about how uncontrollable our tongues are. Connecting the introductory passage about being very cautious in aspiring to be leaders/teachers, to the context, we may say that since words of leaders/teachers matter a lot and carry a lot of weight and influence, we ought to really consider and really pray earnestly if it’s something we truly desire for ourselves and it’s a weight we we’re willing to carry on our shoulders.

For us leaders/teachers, we are all the more watchful of our tongues. We can never underestimate the damage it would cause. That’s why we avoid engaging in conversations about disputable matters. Often, those conversations lead us to speaking derogatorily—cursing—our brothers and sisters with the very same lips we praise our Lord and Father with. We are called to be humble even in the use of our words. We are to conduct ourselves with wisdom that flows from above—the kind of wisdom that’s peace-loving and gentle at all times. We ought to be peacemakers.

How sad that leaders/teachers have engendered many of our quarrels and divisions in the body of our precious and loving Lord Jesus because of our very incendiary words against each other. To the leaders, I implore: let’s watch our words. Let them be words of love, truth, unity, humility, and peace. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I would rather not lead and teach.

Blessing for Blessing

2 Corinthians 9:14  (KJV)   14 And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.

Generosity attracts. It attracts good responses; it attracts good things. People are naturally inclined to be deeply grateful to those who invest in them. They feel “indebted.” They desire to return the favor and do good to those who bless them. In  a sense the “giver” becomes a “receiver.”

We don’t lose anything when we give. If we understand this, we will be givers. As sowing and reaping is a natural principle, so it is also a Biblical one. We reap what we sow. In fact, we reap much more than what we sow. Yes, with the same measure we use it’s also measured back to us. Whatever seed we plant, that’s the kind of harvest we have. But the great truth about giving to the Lord and giving to the Kingdom is not only that we reap 30, 60, or a hundredfold of the same kind; we reap above and beyond the same kind. We may be giving our financial resources, but we’re receiving more blessings than finances. One of those awesome blessings: people who experience our generosity get to “long after” or “yearn for’ us. There’s an increased affection and closeness from the recipients of our gifts. And to some, that’s way more than financial harvest.

Our most gracious and generous Father, please give us wisdom that we may approach this truth with godly balance. Please help us that our pursuit will be on lovingly giving to Your Kingdom work and to others. We also believe what Your Words say about the blessings that flow from it. May it never be our ambition to feed any kind of greed by emptying others of their resources, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Hear and Heed

Luke 11:27-28  (KJV)   27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

A woman exclaimed about the blessedness of her who was favored to be the bearer of Jesus when He entered humanness and humanity. Mary was the recipient of this certain high favor of God. She was indeed extremely blessed, so blessed that it has become inextricably joined with her identity: she will be called blessed. But with all the indescribable honor that comes with that special experience and role, Jesus diverted their attention to another area of blessedness – it’s the blessedness of hearing and heeding the Word of God. Instead on focusing on the mother; He wanted them to focus on His Word. There is a noticeable implication of the more advantageous nature of this kind of blessing. For one, the motherhood to the humanity of the Lord Jesus was an experience only enjoyed by one; learning and obeying God’s Word can be enjoyed by everyone. 

There are blessings God allows everyone to enjoy – believers or not. Then there are blessings that are available only to all believers. God’s blessings are inexhaustible. Whereas there were special blessings in the Old Covenant reserved only for the first born, In Christ, His blessings are now made available to the firstborn or the ninth-born – the ones in between and the ones after. But in addition to being a believer, there is clearly a special kind of blessedness enjoyed by an obedient believer. The blessedness brought about by our relationship with Jesus and the blessedness brought about by obedience to Jesus neither contradict nor cancel out each other. It’s just a piling up of one blessing after another. But with the emphasis Jesus placed in the importance of hearing and doing God’s Word; it will be wise for us to hear and obey God’s Word – no matter how much blessings we’ve already enjoyed in having a saving relationship with Him. To believe that there’s blessedness in obedience doesn’t nullify the graciousness of God. Whatever blessedness we receive, it’s always way much greater than what our obedience really deserves. Grace doesn’t undermine obedience; it promotes it; it enables it. Obedience doesn’t undo grace; it honors it; it values it. By the way, as an important note: Jesus places  more value on obedience to His Word rather having the very favored role of being His mother. We will do well in being devoted to the Word rather than being devoted to any other blessed entity we find in the Word.   

Blessed Lord, thank you for being our Savior. Now, we’re enjoying the awesome joy and peace brought about by our experience of Your salvation. Thank You for being our Lord. May we now enjoy the additional awesome blessedness brought about by obedience to Your Word.