Today, We Prepare

Hebrews 3:13   (KJV)   13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

One glorious day, we will be meeting our long-awaited beloved Lord, beholding Him with our very eyes, to spend time with Him and with our God for eternity. That will be one day, and we pray, one day soon. Today, we prepare.

exhortPart of our proper preparation is urgently exhorting and warning each other daily to be passionate about our God and His Word; to be watchful and vigilant against the insidious tactics and hideous attacks of our enemy.

God has powerfully set us free; we live in freedom. We don’t unwisely subject ourselves again to the cruel sin overlord. In freedom; we’re repeatedly commanded to be careful, to guard our hearts, to make sure our hearts don’t get hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, and cause us to turn away from God.

We aim to be faithful to our Lord, to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith, to trust Him as firmly as when we did at first—even more. We don’t make light of the admonition for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to strive with the power of God’s Spirit that’s continually working in us to will and do what pleases Him. These we restfully do—in freedom, in His grace.

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Delivered from Every Evil Work

2 Timothy 4:18 (KJV)   1And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord always delivers us from every attack of the enemy. We’re very confident about our safe journey to our heavenly home. It’s not because we’re strong, it’s because our God is. That’s why all glory, honor, and praise belong to Him.

2 Timothy 4.18 - Delivered from Every Evil WorkThe apostle Paul had a huge share of attacks, persecutions, troubles, and hardships in his Christian journey. We could have expected him to say “And the Lord shall deliver me through every evil work.” He didn’t. It’s possible that in his perception, even in worst attacks from those who don’t like us as believers, even in most difficult of circumstances, God is delivering us from evil. Meaning to say, the situations God allows us to go through aren’t necessarily evil.

There are many ways to see it. What we may see as God delivering us through is actually God delivering us from. That may be hard to understand. One thing is sure though, through it all—we may not even fully understand the theological and/or practical meaning and implications of Paul’s words—God will get us home. So we bear and persevere through life. Now, we have a little adjustment in our mindset. No matter how trying the situations are, God is delivering us from every evil work.

More Valuable than All Our Achievements

Philippians 3:8   (KJV)   Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

We are pursuing something more significant than any and all achievements we or anyone else can ever achieve. Knowing Jesus more carries infinitely more value than all our advancements and accomplishments—even the spiritual kind. We don’t mind losing Philippians 3.8 - More Valuable than All Our Achievementseverything no matter how precious they may be in the natural eyes and in society’s estimation. Compared to Jesus, they’re like useless garbage.

When it comes to our salvation, our best efforts amount to nothing. We humbly admit: our best efforts still fail miserably short of God’s glorious standards. It’s foolish to anchor our hope in ourselves. Perfection is far from anyone’s reach. The Lord Jesus alone can claim sinlessness. He’s the One to “run after;” He’s the One we take true pride and joy in.

It isn’t wrong to be proud of each other who sincerely and diligently try to do our best to faithfully live out our faith before the Lord and before the watching world. A good testimony—an exemplary life is admirable. There’s a place for compliments. We’re also called to encourage others, and to tell them “good job” when they really do well. It’s befitting for believers to do our best in all our works. Many times, we excel. Even our unbelieving bosses or peers notice.

We shine the light of Jesus through us—that’s a natural goal we have in everything we do. That’s very biblical. We will get applause, approval, and commendations; we may even receive promotion. We’re also called to grow in the knowledge and likeness of our Lord. All these give us sense of satisfaction, and that’s perfectly appropriate. But when it comes to comparing the value of all those achievements and progress to the value of an intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus, the choice for us is undoubtedly clear: He’s our hands-down preference. Our ultimate pride is not ourselves, it’s Him.

 

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.

Tremendous Blessedness in Jesus

1 Corinthians 1:30   (KJV)   30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

1 Corinthians 1.30 - Tremendous Blessedness in JesusThe greatest blessing we’ve received when we placed our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation and surrendered our lives to Him is Jesus Himself. With Him and in Him is attached so many other blessings that are also of immeasurably great value—definitely not as great as Jesus, but tremendously great nonetheless.

When we hear believers say “I’m eternally grateful to God,” it isn’t a simple, thoughtless, and trivial parroting of a Christian cliché; there’s enormous weight and truth in that short statement that genuine believers understand. To have the very wisdom of God living in us—having the mind of Christ—how can anyone grasp the magnitude of its worth? To be made the righteousness of God—that’s a lot to process for those of us who know and humbly admit how spiritually bankrupt we are when left to ourselves. To be sanctified—to know that we’ve been set apart for God’s special purpose, washed, cleaned up, continually being cleaned up, and will be sufficiently cleaned up—prepared for the meeting with our Lord. To be redeemed—purchased back from and for God, restored in freedom, spiritual authority and dominion. Who can equal to such experience?

Dear Lord, to You, we really are eternally grateful. There surely is no life better than the life of a believer.

On God’s Side

Acts 5:39   (KJV)   39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

Acts 5.39 - On God's SideIt’s an empty and terrible predicament finding ourselves going against God and His move.

We don’t take our walk with God lightly. It’s indescribably valuable. We understand why we’re told to work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:13). We treat Truth with utmost reverence; we don’t want to approach them casually and end up in error. We conscientiously and continuously rid ourselves of blinders of any shape, form, and kind. Biases and prejudices may lead us straight to the enemy’s camp—not to fight it, but to fight with it—against the very God we claim to worship and serve.

Our dear heavenly Father, please keep us from blind devotion. We want to worship You, serve You, fight for You, live for You, and if needed, die for You. Please keep our paths straight; keep our hearts pure; keep our eyes open that we may know which ones are Yours and which ones are not. May we never condemn anything or anyone just because they’re new or different. May we never forget: You’re a very creative God, and You have many surprisingly pleasant ways of doing things—In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Live What We Preach

Malachi 2:6   (KJV)   6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.

This is one of the times when the Lord commended the priests in the Old Testament. They taught and preached the Word. They were truthful. They lived before the Lord in Malachi 2.6 - Live What We Preachpeace, meaning: they had integrity. They effectively turned many people away from their lives of sin.

We’ve received the wonderful privilege of bearing the torch of truth to everyone. We possess within us this great treasure of God’s Word, the honor of preaching the Good News of salvation to the lost, and this unequalled task of making disciples of all nations. With this is the necessity of living faithfully before God. We steadfastly stand on God’s pure truth; no lies or deceit are found in our lips or in our lives. We maximize our effectiveness that way.

Our hearts sincerely cry out for salvation of God-loved sinners. And it’s just appropriate that we  remove any and every blinding obstacle that would shun them from being attracted to the light of God. One of those obstacles is hypocrisy—living differently from what we preach. We don’t want that for ourselves; we don’t want that for Christianity; we don’t want that as a picture others will have to erroneously represent Jesus and us to them.