No Fear of Enemies

Exodus 11:1   (NLT)   Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave.

Exodus 11.1 - Not Fearing EnemiesGod knows how to deal with his enemies—our enemies. He is a Victorious God. No one in no time can ever defeat him. God was able to turn the pharaoh’s hard and hardened heart completely around; He can do the same even to our most ardent enemy.

Enemies are real, but we don’t have to fear them. We don’t have to be troubled; we don’t have to panic about their existence or presence—no matter how close they may be to us, no matter how powerful they may be. In God’s perfect timing, and in God’s powerful unique ways; He will move our enemies to serve his purposes and act even surprisingly and totally favorably towards us.

Dear God, thank you so much for giving us very encouraging and dependable promises and assurances so that we don’t have to fear anyone or anything. You’re in complete control—nature, people, and everything else. We may not fully understand how you do this without violating man’s free will, but it’s enough for us to know that no one can thwart your purposes; You will accomplish them. It’s enough for us to know you love us, and you will always do the best for us; that includes dealing with those who oppose us.

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Speaking of Repentance

Luke 3:3   (KJV)   3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins

Luke 3.13 - Speaking of RepentanceOne act—repentance—causes such immeasurably great results: forgiveness of our sins, assurance of eternal destiny in the presence of our dear precious Lord. It’s a message everyone needs to hear.

We don’t cower or withdraw from preaching the message of repentance. Although it’s not a popular subject, we don’t turn our backs on it. It is an essential message for an indispensable experience: salvation.

Others don’t like to be told to repent; it suggests sin and sinfulness. Although it’s a common knowledge that all sin, that nobody’s perfect, others would rather not be told about it. But we’re not moved by people’s words or reactions. We’re moved by God’s Word and His Spirit. We do what God says we do.

“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.

Sin and Repentance

Job 42:6   (KJV)   Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

When we realize we made a mistake, we humbly admit it and we correct our mistakes.

It’s our joy to walk after God. Knowing our mistakes is having opportunity for transformation—an opportunity to change towards our predestination—Christlikeness. If our perspective and principles are wrong, we lay them down in surrender at the feet Job 42.6 - Sin and Repentanceof the Omniscient. We pray for those who won’t budge. There are those who won’t seek truth. They have opinions and courses of actions formed from dangerously erroneous sources. They don’t want to engage in peaceful dialogue and unbiased research. They make conclusions without evidences. They just parrot the words they hear as long as it promotes their position.

Being principled isn’t enough; we are principled in what’s good, right, and godly. We seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. We pray for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. When our beliefs and lifestyles are wrong and/or sinful, we waste no time and make a U-turn. We don’t relegate our response to just plain admission of mistake in our thoughts. We take action.

Dear heavenly Father, it’s humbling to admit we’re mistaken, especially if we’ve held on to some specific erroneous positions for so long—positions that have affected our decisions and actions, affected our determination as to who are our friends and who are our foes. Please increasingly reveal to us essential truths, even the errors of our ways. We will gladly recalibrate our steps that we may always be faithful. Above all others, You’re the One we want to follow—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Shaken

Esther 2:8   (KJV)   So it came to pass, when the king’s commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king’s house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women.

Beyond her control, Esther’s life was drastically and dramatically changed. Before this, there was nothing spectacular about her life prior to what we know now. But her life was Esther 2.8 - Shakenchanged suddenly because of a king’s edict—an imperial king who would eventually become her husband.

Our lives get shaken once and a while—like everyone else’s. When that happens, others get extremely troubled. There’s confusion, there’s doubt, there’s denial, and even loss of faith. But contingencies are real. They’re inevitable, no matter how well laid out our plans and preparations are. But when unexpected things happen that shake us, even at times to the very core of our being, as unpleasant as they may seem; as out of control as they may be, we don’t lose our peace; we don’t lose sleep over them. Instead, we flow with what God allows—restfully, knowing that He will work out everything for our best.

Our most trustworthy God, You’re in control of everything; this is very reassuring to us. No matter what happens, we know there’s not a time and there will never be a time when things are not working out for our best. You are able to—in your incomprehensible wisdom—accomplish that. Help us to see how You’re not just allowing and tolerating situations as You carry us and protect us through them, but You utilize those seemingly unpleasant surprises to direct us, and even catapult us to our destiny. Who can equal to such wisdom? Thank You Dad, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

To be Spared from Judgment

Jeremiah 26:13   (KJV)   13 Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.

There is hope even in the middle of an impending judgment from the Lord. Repentance and obedience are the keys. God loves the world so much; He would rather save the rebellious than judge or destroy them. Even if He has already pronounced destruction Jeremiah 26.13 - To be Spared from Judgmentupon the people, He doesn’t have any problem forgiving repentant sinners and withholding judgment from the nations.

Our loving, gracious, and merciful God sends us—many of us—to the lost and dying humanity. Many of them are unbelievably stiff-necked. They would rather ignore or attack God’s faithful messengers than humbly and wisely listening, acknowledging their impudent rebellions, sincerely repenting, and start living obediently before the Lord.

Repentance and obedience are non-negotiable pre-requisites. Praise God! He doesn’t require us to perform amazing feats before He grants us forgiveness and restoration. We don’t have to climb the tallest mountains, sail across the widest oceans, dive the deepest sees and explore the vastness of the universe before He withholds His judgments.

Turn to God—that’s what we did, that’s what we pray and strive for that others would do as well. There’s no human experience as amazing and as important as salvation from sure destruction—especially the eternal kind. The same principle holds true when it comes to judgment of nations. We have hope despite the chaos going on. We’re praying; we’re expectantly waiting. God can deliver us.

There will come a time when it’s too late. But as for us, we didn’t want to wait for that. We’re already living under the shelter of the Most High. We’re already living under His protection, and safe refuge. We do our best calling others to enjoy this peace-filled assurance. Not all, perhaps not many will heed our call. But to everyone who does, safety is sure.

Transformed Hearts

Romans 2:29   (KJV)   29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. That’s a saying we’ve probably heard many times, but its truthfulness can’t be ignored. It’s not that outside appearances aren’t important to God, it’s that He knows that the true nature of a person is found and comes Romans 2.29 - Transformed Heartsfrom the heart. The heart is the wellspring of life. Our words and actions, whether they be good or evil, are just natural external expressions of what’s abundantly stored within us.

Obedience is good, good works are that—good, but it’s obviously possible for people to obey and do good things externally—as great pretenders.  To do good, even when forced, for the purpose of helping others has some merits, but doing good for the purpose of deceiving others is reprehensible. It’s possible to have a heart that really desires to worship, serve, and obey God—a heart that sincerely desires to do good to others. It’s a heart changed by God’s Spirit.

One of the best evidences of a Spirit-transformed heart is that it’s “praise is not of men, but of God.”  For us, living good, upright, and godly lives isn’t to impress people but to bring their attention to the Him Who made us new creations as we shine our lights. He deserves our full surrender and obedience.  The truth is: He deserves everything we are and everything we have.  More so, He deserves infinitely more than everything we all are and everything we all have.  We see perfect sense in giving Him no less than our all and our best.