Favor in All

Nehemiah 2:5   (KJV)   5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

For Nehemiah, the king’s pleasure mattered; him being pleasing to the king mattered; and the city of his fathers mattered.

8x10 LandscapeGod is concerned most about our eternal destiny, investments, and existence. And that’s absolutely appropriate because heavenly things are incalculably more valuable than any temporal matter. But the wonderful thing about our Lord is that His love and concern for us covers every area of our lives. He’s concerned about our attitudes not just toward Him but toward other people. He’s concerned about our relationship with others. He’s concerned about our heart of worship, our way of worship, and also our places of worship—including the bricks and concrete parts of it.

Our loving God and Father, you’ve created us; You have given us everything for life and godliness; You’ve given us everything for our enjoyment. We appreciate all of them. Help us Lord not to get our priorities wrongly. We set You far and high apart from everything else as our Lord and King Who sits on the throne of our hearts. We pray that we won’t be lured into having anything else ever coming close to occupying that position.

We also pray that we will appreciate and enjoy all your other blessings although they’re not as important as the Blesser and eternal things. You’ve given us loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, our church family, our church building, our houses, cars, clothes, food and drink. Thank You for all of them. To us, they are expressions of who You are—your generosity, and Your love.

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Blessedness of the Watchful

Luke 12:38   (KJV)   38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Luke 12.38 - Blessedness of the WatchfulServants who will be found expectantly and readily waiting for the Lord’s return will be blessed.

The Lord will and can return any moment. Although others believe differently regarding the notion of imminence—that no one knows the day or the hour except the Father—we all believe that He’s coming again. As surely as His return is, He also wants us to be prepared.

The Kingdom of God is our preoccupation. We lay up eternal treasures. We’re free from greed, from love of money, from materialism. We understand the value of life is more than the entire world itself. And God is infinitely greater than anything and anyone. We seek Him first—His Kingdom and righteousness. We may not have thousands in our bank deposit, but we have a rich relationship with our Father.

We serve Him gladly—our lamps continually burning, with extra flask of “oil.” We see the ever-increasing appearances of the signs of His return; we don’t neglect them; we pay serious and careful attention. When He comes like a thief, we won’t be caught in surprise.

 

Believers’ Blessed Future

Revelation 20:6   (KJV)   Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

There’s such blessedness and uniqueness enjoyed by believers that’s beyond explanation and imagination.

Revelation 20.6 - Believers' Blessed FutureBeing blessed, being holy, being a part of a glorious resurrection that leads to rewards instead of the ultimate judgment, condemnation and suffering, becoming priests of our God and our Jesus, reigning with Him for a thousand years—these are more than enough reasons for us to totally appreciate and value our status as believers and followers of our precious Lord.

I’m joyfully overwhelmed by those wonderful gifts from our absolutely gracious heavenly Father. Not everyone shares the excitement. Others treat them with contempt because of over-familiarity. We hear of them often; they’ve become a redundant truth, sad to say, even to some believers. But not to us; all the joys and excitement we sense aren’t nearly enough to equal the great wonders of all those blessings God has in store for us.

Works Matter

Revelation 14:13   (KJV)   13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Revelation 14.13 - Works MatterSalvation, death, resurrection, rest, works—these are indispensable truths and experiences in the lives of believers.

Being “in the Lord” is the most important experience anyone can ever have here on earth. It’s the only experience that changes and secures our eternal destiny—from an eternal destiny apart from Christ to an eternal destiny in His presence. All of us, except those alive when our precious Lord returns, will experience death. For us believers, it is a most welcome transition to the most glorious state we’ll ever enjoy in our entire existence—a life of rest, love, joy, peace multiplied a gazillion times greater.

In as much as often undermined in teaching the wonders of grace, works matter. They matter now, they will matter in eternity. It’s worth repeating: we’re not saved by works, but we’re saved unto good works.  For believers, it’s not “either-or” between grace and works; it’s both. Grace is God’s part and He does wonders with it; works is our part and we strive to do well in it.

Mercy, Blessings, Pleasure

Psalm 67:1   (KJV)   67 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

Psalm 67.1 - Mercy, Blessing, PleasurePraise God, He’s willing to grant us mercy, to bless us, to delight in us. We come to Him humbly and boldly and pray for those things knowing that our loving God and Father desires to give them to us.

To live in His mercy, blessings, and pleasure is to live an incomparably and indescribably wonderful life. We don’t live under God’s judgment, lack, and rejection. He ably spares us from continuous pain-filled tears and utter restlessness. We don’t fear destruction, displacement, and disaster.

Those of us who fully trust in God fully rest in Him, surrounded with comforting and encouraging songs of deliverance, we bravely face every situation in life; we don’t cower from our enemies; in fact, we love them. The threat of terror may abound, but because God is within us, those who insidiously plan evil against us are the ones caught in their own snares.

Because of God’s mercy, we don’t have to fear a nation’s or even this world’s impending doom. The slowest among us run swiftly, the weakest among us are infused with divine strength. Because of God’s blessings, we are not in want. We don’t fear famine or plague. We may be laid-off from our jobs, our businesses may not pick-up, our friends may turn their backs from us, but our God provides us all our needs. Because of His pleasure, we live above pressure. We don’t live for the pleasure of people. We can’t please everybody all the time anyway. We don’t need to please everyone, we just please One, and that One is more and greater than everyone.

Through us, others see the beauty and wonders of God, His handiwork, His ways, His salvation.

Just One Righteous

Jeremiah 5:1   (KJV)   5 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

The presence of God’s people—upright, righteous, just and honest people can stay God’s Jeremiah 5.1 - Just One Righteousjudgment. God values the attitudes and actions of His people. Living for faithfully before God is never in vain.

We know God is just and fair. He sees everything we do. He sees and values the way we fight a good fight, how well we run our race, how we keep the faith. He knows how to bless and reward His faithful children. These blessings and rewards affect us individually, even nationally.

We never lose sight of God’s justice, graciousness, and love. He loves us, He will also judge everyone. He would rather spare us and bless us than judge, condemn, and punish us. So we live in Him, against the ways of the popular culture, against the sinful ways of the world. We strive to be as faithful as we can, reflecting our Father, loving others, treating them fairly, and honestly. Although the world continues to boldly and shamelessly march in unreserved ungodliness and immorality, we keep ourselves pure.

There’s so much at stake. Who knows, through us, though there be just a few, our gracious Judge may find it in His heart to spare our nations. We may be the remnant through whom God will ignite our nation’s spiritual awakening and revival. By then, we can boldly pray: “God bless America,” or “God bless our nation.”

Increasing Understanding

Matthew 13:12   (KJV)   12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Those of us who willingly and eagerly listen to the Lord’s teachings or His Word are given understanding, insights, and wisdom, and we keep on growing in them because the Lord continuously and generously pours them out to us.  Those who don’t want to listen Matthew 13.12 - Increasing Understandingto the Lord, more so, obey Him, whatever little understanding they have left of true spiritual matters will be taken away.

The generosity of God can’t be questioned.  His desire to bring us to the knowledge of the truth is immensely great.  That’s why He sent us His Holy Spirit to teach us all the truths we need to know.  But despite the perfection of God’s will and ways to draw us to clear comprehension of the Truth, there is sadly a significant number of people who just don’t want to do whatever needs to be done.

We don’t fully know all the reasons or motivations behind people’s refusal of Truth.  Perhaps, they can’t handle it; perhaps it’s very difficult to admit the errors of their beliefs—that they’ve been either taught erroneously, or they’ve been deceived; perhaps it’s because they want to continue in their ways that are contrary to the teachings or our Lord.  They don’t know what they’re missing.  But we know how important God’s Word is.  It’s of tremendous importance that we perceive it clearly.  And praise God, He Himself makes sure that it happens to those who truly pursue His Word.