Forgive

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Mark 11:25   (KJV)   25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Prayer is one of the most powerful spiritual weapon believers possess. Many of us have heard it said before—perhaps many times: “A ‘prayerless’ Christian is a powerless Christian; a prayerful Christian is a powerful Christian.” There is power in prayer because it accesses the most powerful Being in existence—the great God Almighty—our heavenly Father.  Prayer is an integral part of our lives. It is one of the most direct expressions of our faith. We pray because we believe. We pray believing that we’ve received whatever we’ve asked. This is absolutely encouraging. But all of our prayers’ significance and power has a requisite: forgiveness.

If prayer is extremely powerful, forgiveness then is. If prayer is indispensably important, forgiveness then is. Before we pray, or as we pray, we forgive; we also ask for forgiveness. We may not fully understand the full outworking and relationship of grace and works, but for us to be forgiven, there’s a need of forgiving others. Others may dismiss this simply as an Old Covenant law or principle, and there’s truth in that. But Jesus also told us to go into all the world, preach the Good News, and make disciples by teaching them everything He has commanded. This is clearly one of His commands.

Yes, with doubtless faith, we speak to mountains; we pray, and we forgive. God, our Father has graciously forgiven us of innumerably more sins and offenses compared to however much offenses we need to forgive. God is so gracious; He forgives the worst of sinners when they contritely come before Him in repentance. He never ever rejects them. His heart is so big; His arms extended so widely—always inviting, always willing. We forgive because God forgives. It’s one of the most God-like acts we do. As hurt as we may be, we forgive. It does us so much good. We don’t allow anything to strangle the empowerment God has graciously blessed us with.

Rest

Luke 23:56   (KJV)   56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Rest is needed; it’s not negotiable; it’s a must. Even if our work has to do with the Kingdom of God, there comes a time when we need to pack-up, drop what we do and wait. luke-23-56-resRest is obedience to God. Some of us feel guilty when we’re not doing anything, but giving our bodies and mind a break is godly. God want us to work; He also wants us to rest. He sees wisdom in ceasing from our daily routine and having some kind of recharging. His invitation still stands: “Come to Me, those of you who are tired and weary and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” He commands us to rest; His arms are extended; it’s there we go and let go.

There are people who take extended rest periods; this is not right either; laziness is never condoned by God. But there are people who are just overworked; some of them are workaholics—they seem to really love and enjoy working; they seem to get energized when they work; some of them just work out of “necessity.” Truth be told, many work more hours than needed to provide for excesses and live up to the standard of success defined by society.

Yes, there are hardships in life, but many of them may be self-inflicted. There are those who work so hard to enjoy life, but they don’t really get to enjoy it as much because they spend so much time working. They’re missing out on way more important things in life. There is a time to stop, to unwind, to re-energize. There is a time to be repeatedly and regularly reminded of the pre-eminence of God and His faithfulness to us. He provides all our needs according to His riches in glory. He doesn’t need us to over-extend ourselves for Him to fulfill His promise. Yes, we have projects to finish, but there’s always another day; we don’t push it when we don’t need to. Yes, we have deadlines, but instead of violating our much needed “rest-recovery-recoup-refocus-dedicated to honoring God” day, we kick back, relax, and enjoy our day with the Lord.

Go in Peace

John 20:21   (KJV)   21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

One of man’s greatest pursuits is peace, and peace is one of the greatest gifts from our precious Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Sadly, it’s something the world does not have. It’s available, bJohn 20.21 - Go in Peaceut many haven’t yet availed of it. It’s so close, and yet so far. Wherever we look, we see hostilities, arguments, fights, and wars. Wherever we go, there are huge potentials for trouble, even harm. We no longer feel safe even just strolling down our neighborhood streets. But we don’t live in a bubble; we don’t have to; our peace comes from our Savior’s decree. His Words matter; He spoke all of creation into existence.

Our peace is untouchable, but we aren’t hid away from the world. We are sent out to a very troubled world. God’s people are targets of spite, persecution, and even death. We are agents of peace. People can experience and enjoy peace with God and the peace of God—the inner peace that God alone gives. It’s what keeps us calm and unafraid in the midst of most horrifying storms. It’s paramount that everyone hears and learns about this. Not everyone will welcome us and our message, but there are hearts that sincerely search and cry out for this; each one who shares in this experience is a sufficient reason for us to face all necessary risks and dangers.

Even the most troubling experience for our Lord’s disciples turned into one that’s gloriously life-changing. Jesus Who was horribly tortured, crucified, murdered, and buried, rose on the third day and showed Himself alive to His followers. It was a fast-paced transition from sadness, to fear, to peace; it was a sudden change from unbelief, to doubt, to faith. But it was a phenomenon that made our Lord’s declaration of peace more easily received. It had more than sufficient evidences to be found real. With a worldwide mission, and personal struggles, peace is a real help. We’ll have occasions of sadness; we’ll have surprises; we’ll have powerful forces attacking us, but in and through all this, we continue our journey with peace, joy, and love.

A Proof of Love

John 14:31   (KJV)   31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

There is no greater motivation than love. And one of the greatest proofs of our love is our sincere obedience. Our precious Lord Jesus, God’s Son loved His Father and proved that by doing exactly what His Father commanded. We love God, and He loves us immeasurably and incomJohn 14.31 - A Proof of Loveparably more. Because He loves us, He guides us, instructs us, and commands us. Because we love Him, we willingly do what He says.

One of our greatest joys is being identified with Him. One of our greatest frustrations is when we misrepresent Him. He’s the most wonderful Being there is. He’s indescribably awesome. Others see Him through us. As we lovingly obey our heavenly Dad, His light shines brightly through; others see His wonders—at least a snippet of it, but enough to create wholesome curiosity that draws them to Him. And nothing compares to living in the very Essence of love Himself.

We possess incomparable and untouchable quietness in our spirits. We know that everything He does is best for us. His instructions and leading demonstrates His unending loving involvement in our affairs here on earth as we wait for His return. Right now, our glorious dwelling in heaven is being prepared, or already prepared, waiting. As we live—loved by Him and loving Him, more people know Him. So we go, and through our joyful, grateful, and faithful walk, people see God’s invitation to a life of love and freedom. And from North, South, West, and East, they come.

Fulfillment of the Law

Romans 13:10   (KJV)   10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

If the commandments having to do with human relationship is summed up to loving our neighbor as ourselves, loving them has largely to do with not harming them.

Not doing ill or harm to others is great; doing good to them is as great or even greater. We’ve heard the saying “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you;” the Lord Jesus told us to “Do unto others what we want others to do to us.”

Loving others is a debt we have to pay; it’s a debt we’re actually encouraged to have.

Path to Promotion

Deuteronomy 28:13  (KJV)   13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

Promotion and demotion comes from the Lord. He can lift one up to the highest and He can put one down to the basest. Who the Lord promotes or demotes is neither based on favoritism nor thoughtlessness. Who gets promoted? Not everyone. But the key is out in the open. Promotion or demotion is based upon a condition. Those who hear and follow Him will be lifted high; those who do not will be brought low.

How many of us struggle so hard to get ahead or to get on top? Honestly, after spending much of our lives trying, many of us still find ourselves still so far from our goal. We can’t even see a glimpse of the top from where we are standing. Ouch. Yes, that can really be disappointing.  But the Lord doesn’t want us living in disappointment. That’s the reason why He never gave us the burden and responsibility of making it to the top.

Let me be very clear on this. He doesn’t want us to be irresponsible. And yes, He does want us to be the head and not the tail. But He wants us to know that He’s the One Who has the power to get us there. And the path to the top He’s given us is the best: to simply follow His loving and wise commands. There definitely is a conscientious and serious effort involved in that as well, but it’s way easier and lighter than striving with our own strength and doing it our own way. Let our goal be on following Him faithfully instead of slugging it out with the rest for the prize of reaching our utmost potential.

We ought to not be a part of the “dog-eat-dog” world; the very tiring “survival of the fittest.” There are people a lot stronger, a lot better looking, a lot faster, a lot more talented than us. Let’s be happy the road to the top is not by competing with them and beating them. Or else, many of us won’t stand a chance. But we can definitely succeed in walking according to the ways of our LORD. We just don’t have a “fighting” chance; we don’t even have to fight against others, and instead of chance, being on top is a reality.

Our Most High God and Father, please guide our steps that they may go to the direction You’re leading us to. We understand: promotion doesn’t come from our bosses, although You may work through them; it doesn’t come from our connections, although You may work through them as well, our promotion comes from You. Thank You for revealing to us how much easier and rewarding it is to get there, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Power and Miracles – by Faith

Galatians 3:5   (KJV)   He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Believers experience the power of the Holy Spirit because of faith. The miraculous works that God does among them and through them happen because of the same – faith. It is not dependent upon their obedience to the Old Testament Jewish laws.

If we will base our effectiveness in the ministry on how well we score in our obedience to God’s commands, we will always find ourselves ineffective. Sadly, we will most probably find ourselves blaming ourselves a lot. There will be a lot of times when we may not see or sense the Holy Spirit working powerfully in our ministries. There will be a lot of times when we won’t see fireworks of God’s miraculous works filling the darkness of our seemingly futile attempts to make a difference. There will be a lot of times when our endeavors would yield very little “success” or even none. We may have a lot of prayers that won’t be granted. Please understand this well. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s because we’re disobedient or less faithful than those with “bigger” and “richer” lives and ministries. Let’s listen to what the Word says. Let’s look at Who God is and base our reasons, trust, and expectations on them.

Our dear holy, faithful, powerful, immutable, and miracle-working God, may we lock in on You as the focus of our dependence. We are unworthy; we will always be unworthy, but You will always be worthy. We know that You won’t ever change. Whether we fail or not, Your Spirit will always be powerful, You will always be involved in our lives, and if needed, You will always be willing to perform miracles. Thank You, in Jesus’ Name, amen.