All for God

Deuteronomy 10:12   (KJV)   12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul

deuteronomy-10-12-all-for-godThere’s a difference between fearing people and fearing God. We don’t fear people; we fear God.

It’s not demeaning to fear Him Who created all things, in control of all things, and Who not only can do something with our bodies, but has control over our souls’ destiny.

To fear God, to walk in a way that pleases Him, to love Him and to serve Him with our all—these may sound so hard, but if we really think about it, they’re really very doable. We just have to want to.

Reality: Christian life is not just hard; it’s impossible—if we depend upon our own power. But our precious Lord Who expects us to live for Him also empowers us to do so.

Because we fear Him, we want to live in such a way that will please Him, because we love Him, we serve Him. Not everyone who tries to please God really fears Him. Not everyone who serves Him really loves Him.

Fearing, pleasing, loving, and serving God is a privilege. He doesn’t need them. We do. He existed in perfection without us. They’re ultimately for our best.

All things are from Him, trough Him, and for Him. He also spared no expense for our pardon and salvation. That’s the reason why we do what’s appropriate: serving God with no less than all our heart and our souls, humbly acknowledging that even with that, He deserves infinitely more.

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The Blessed Rejects

Luke 6:22   (KJV)   22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Even with experiences considered as horrible, a believer is still so blessed. To be hated; to be rejected, excluded, or ostracized; to be mocked, slandered, and ridiculed; to be vilified, insulted, and cursed—in the natural, being dealt with in such ways can be very painful. luke-6-22-the-blessed-rejectsBut even in the middle of these seemingly very hurtful treatments, we still have reasons to leap for joy. All the sufferings we undergo because of our relationship with our precious Lord Jesus, taken altogether, are nothing compared to the glorious rewards awaiting us.

What God allows, it’s for our good. We trust Him as the One in complete control of everything. Yes, there are many factors involved; free will plays a big part. But even the most rebellious of men’s choices still play within the masterful orchestration of our Divine Maestro. That’s why we enjoy acting the way He tells us to. What matters most to us is loving, trusting, and obeying Him.

We may not have luxuries in life, but we’re blessed because we have access to the inexhaustible resource of our Dad’s Kingdom. We may not afford the most exotic food in the world, but we’re blessed because He satisfies our mouths with good things so that our vigor is renewed day by day. We may have nights of weeping, but we’re blessed because joy comes in the morning. We may be rejected by people, but we’re accepted by God.

We can love our enemies, love those who hate us, do good to those who do us bad, bless those who curse us. We leave vengeance to God; we don’t have qualms about parting with our material possessions to give to those in need; we know it’s more blessed to give than to receive. We forgive those who wrong us and pray for those who maltreat us. These we do never for a show but out of the goodness of God-changed, God-surrendered, and God-trusting hearts. This is the portrait of a unique breed of people—those blessed by God.

Follow Jesus

Luke 5:11   (KJV)   11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

When these apostles decided to follow Jesus, they forsook everything. Their call occurred just right after they brought their ships to land. What’s interesting is the fact that they just witnessed and experienced an astonishing miracle from the Lord. From not catching a luke-5-11-follow-jesussingle fish the night before, to catching so many that they needed help from another boat. Both boats were so full, they were on the verge of sinking.

It was after this eye-opening miracle that Peter recognized his sinfulness before Jesus. But now, another interesting part follows. Jesus called them and they left everything—that, I would presume, includes all the fish they caught. The miracle wasn’t a miracle of provision after all; it was a miracle of revelation and conviction: it revealed Jesus more; it revealed the true spiritual condition of Peter; and it convinced them that Jesus was worth leaving everything for.

God is a miracle working God, and yes, He’s worth following and forsaking everything for. Leaving everything sounds like a very huge sacrifice but it isn’t necessarily. He supplies all our needs according to His inexhaustible riches in glory. He does miracles so convincing that material provision no longer worries us. Our priorities change; we understand that even miracles, though they may answer our physical or material needs, serve a much deeper spiritual purpose: it leads us to a greater revelation of who our Lord is and a closer relationship with Him.

We joyfully follow Him: no retreat, no surrender, no regret.

Love and Confidence

1 John 4:17   (KJV)   17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Like a lovely plant; love can grow and love can wilt.

Love needs to be cared for and fed. Left to itself, it will die.

1-john-4-17-love-and-confidenceIt’s amazing how in some cases, love just strikes; it appears without notice. It happens without any effort on our part. That’s why we hear of love at first sight.

Puppy love often springs up instantly, so do weeds.

When love makes a commitment, there comes moments when what keeps love going is the commitment.

Our love for others grows when immersed in the love of God. The more we live in God; the more we live in love.

The more we love God, the more we love others. It just makes sense: to love God is to love those who bear His image.

To live in love for God and others is to have confidence in our salvation and boldness in the day of judgment. This means that true believers love, and true love bears fruit of righteousness.

Faith, works, love—all three are present in a real believer. Simply: faith works love, or genuine faith produces acts of love.

To love is to be like God (God-like or godly).

Too Good for the World

Hebrews 11:38   (KJV)   38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

hebrews-11-38-too-good-for-this-world

Believers who are persecuted and whose very lives are threatened that they have to lose their homes, leave their communities, and forced to leave life’s comforts willingly undergo such experiences not because they are not worthy of this world—that they are below the world’s standards. The converse is true; it’s the world that’s not worthy of them. That’s why they would rather suffer than compromise with the world.

There is the world; there is us. Our precious Lord Jesus makes it clear: there is no “unequally-yoked” marriage between the two. The world utterly hates us because we love our Lord. The world hated our Master; much more so will it hate His followers. No sweat. We’re not missing out on anything. We’ve been blessed with everything we need for life and godliness; our super-gracious heavenly Father gives us everything for our enjoyment.

Others can’t comprehend this. We live in ironies—or do we? Whatever we give up for our Lord, He returns to us—thirty, sixty, hundredfold, and with them, suffering. We have nothing, but we have everything. We live by faith in God that can move mountains, shut the mouths of lions, quench the violence of fire, bring people back from the dead; it’s by that same faith in our God that we are tortured, cruelly mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawed, struck with the sword, beheaded, displaced, became fugitives. Ah, these are ironic in the world’s perception, but not with eyes of faith. We count all our earthly experiences for our Lord Jesus as honor and privilege; we see them working altogether for His sovereign purpose and for our best; we also see beyond all this bodily experiences–we see the glory awaiting. That’s why we don’t turn back.

 

“Heart and Soul” Commitment

1 Samuel 14:7   (NIV)   “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

Total commitment is a heart, soul, mind, and body commitment. A reason for such willing abandon is enormous trust and/or a very intimate relationship. There’s full confidence in the person’s actions. There’s full confidence in the person’s wisdom. There’s full confidence in the person’s choices. Or, there’s just much love going on towards another or between each other.

Commitment is a huge step. That’s why we ought to not make them recklessly. We don’t make them thoughtlessly. We ought to make sure that we’re committing to the right person, a right reason, a right cause or a right action. Making commitments to the wrong entity can have disastrous consequences. It can turn out to be a big waste of time and energy. Worst, it can result to a tremendous waste of our own life – even lives.

We ought to make right commitment to the right entity. A true commitment is a total commitment. I’ve heard someone say: “Commitment is a hundred percent. A 99.9% commitment is not a commitment at all.” And there’s a lot of truth in that. I wonder if any lover with a good character would say yes to a marriage proposal that promises a 99.9% commitment. That’s a huge percentage, but – really? Well, nowadays, it’s hard to predict. Less people know what commitment really is; less people value it; less people give it; and less people expect it.

But commitment is a noble virtue. We need more people who will trust each other. We need more people who can be counted on. We need more people who won’t bail out at the first sign of danger or tight situations, hard trials, or strong temptations. We need people who will stick it out with each other through thick and thin, joys and sorrows, richer or poorer, sickness and health. The more we learn true commitment, the more “successes” we’ll have; the more the most important things in our lives last.

Dear God – our immutable Father, thank you for not giving up on us. Despite the thousands of years of humanity’s failures, You were committed to bringing us back to You. Thank You also for giving us the patience, empowerment and everything else necessary to live with right commitments to the right entities. Most of all, may we be true to You. We’re sorry for being so spineless sometimes, many times, or most of the time. We’re sorry for treating our commitment with you so flippantly while You take Yours so seriously. Please awaken those of us who are “playing around.” May we live a truly beautiful life of commitment before You, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.