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.

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Strongly Deluded

2 Thessalonians 2:11   (KJV)   11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

For God to send strong delusion for people to believe lies sounds very “unGodlike.” But the statement isn’t a point blank no-context declaration.  The people God causes to be greatly deceived are those who refuse to love the truth.  They refuse the truth that saves.  2 Thessalonians 2.11 - Strongly DeludedWe may ask, why doesn’t God send them stronger convincing proofs and truths?  He already has, and He knows no greater revelation will convince them otherwise.

As sad as it may be, there are people we lovingly and sincerely pray for, but they’re just implacably set in their ways.  No amount of dialogue, conversations, love, reason, or evidence will make them change their minds.  They pursue their godless ways, influence others to doing the same, and even invent new ways to do evil.  In God’s patience, wisdom, justice, and gentleness, He lets them be, and turns them over to reprobate minds.

We won’t give up praying for everyone, no matter how hopeless, hardheaded, and hardhearted they may seem.  We don’t know if they’re unyielding; only God does.  We’ve often been surprised by God’s Spirit.  We’ve witnessed the most hardened criminals and even the most “hell-bent” terrorists come to their senses, humble themselves before God, and bow their knees to Him in full trust and surrender.  Most of us probably didn’t believe the first time we heard the Gospel.  We can’t really count the number of times Jesus through His Spirit knocked on the doors of our hearts before we finally opened up and invited Him to reside in us.

Praise God, He didn’t give up on us. Praise God, people didn’t stop praying for us.  We may have been considered cold, hardheaded, hardhearted, and inconvincible as well, but the “Hound of Heaven,” with His stubborn love, didn’t let go of us.  But here we are now—fruits of God’s love, patience, grace, and mercy, enjoying the blessings of those who met Him heart to heart, Spirit to spirit,” and soon, face to face.

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.

Knowledgeable Zeal

Acts 14:19  (KJV)   19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

They were stoned!!! This is crazy. Just prior to the arrival of the antagonists, the people were worshiping Paul and Barnabas as “gods.” Totally wrong. The apostles tried really hard to stop them, and explained to them Who the True God is; they were trying to educate them to truth, but they were persistent. They were full of zeal, but without knowledge. As quickly as them concluding that the apostles were divine, they also quickly changed their minds; persuasive words from the enemies caused them to join in and stone the apostle Paul. Forget about the amazing visible miracles, compelling words turned them away – just like that.

Zeal without knowledge is dangerous; it could lead to a lot of errors. It could harm us and hurt a lot of people. Zeal is good, but not without knowledge. Knowledge is good, but not without zeal. Both have to be present. We have to know the truth. And we have to have absolute truths as our non-negotiable foundation for our convictions. Without it, we will just be like directionless waves, tossed every which way by every wind of human opinion. And as we can easily notice, there’s a lot of opposing opinions. This is why we get a barrage of attacks. So many people today are very zealous – so passionate about their beliefs. They’re full convinced that they’re helping others – even saving them from dangerous people by presenting us as uneducated simpletons who are out to stall and hurt humanity’s progress. Why believe a three thousand year old archaic writings? For them it doesn’t make sense. They conclude that what we believe are irrelevant to our generation. They can’t explain why of course except for the fact that it contradicts their own beliefs, opinions and lifestyles. They’re passionate, but without any knowledge. Or, if they have knowledge, it’s not based on an authoritative source or foundation. We can expect continuing attacks. But let’s hold on. As the old saying goes “Truth will always prevail,” and may I add: In His time.

Dear God and Father, our one true God, the Truth, our Protector, may we live with zeal and knowledge. Please give us the wisdom to march forward unflinchingly with the Truth. Please give us the wisdom to be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks us why we believe what we believe. Please give us the courage to stand our unshakable foundation in the presence of a very antagonistic world. Please lead our steps to those whose hearts are ready to listen, understand, believe, persevere and grow with us.

Dangerous Disbelief

Acts 13:41  (KJV)   41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

These were Apostle Paul’s words. He preached the Good News of salvation to his audience. It was a very clear message showing that Jesus was the Messiah who was spoken of in the Scriptures. He would come, He would die, and He would rise again. Paul repeatedly showed them that Jesus was the fulfillment of very specific prophecies about the Messiah and that Jesus’ experiences fit those prophecies perfectly. And then he encouraged and cautioned them to be careful and to avoid missing out on this eternity-changing truth.

There are people in the world who just won’t believe the truth. It’s not that they haven’t heard; it’s not that they don’t know; it’s just that they won’t believe. They have positioned themselves against God. They have sufficient proofs, but no convincing evidence is enough for those who have convinced themselves that no evidence is convincing enough. They are more concerned about how to discredit anything that has to do with God, to arrogantly mock God and those who believe in God, and to rally others to share in their obstinacy. But let’s beware. The greatest shock of their lives will come. By then it will be too late. Their disbelief in the truth doesn’t make truth untrue. Just because they didn’t believe in God here on earth doesn’t mean they won’t believe in God after “earth.” Just because they don’t think God exists doesn’t mean God stops existing. Just because they don’t believe in the final judgment doesn’t mean God stops judging. There are more than sufficient proofs. That’s why there are thoroughly convinced believers. Yes, there are blind followers, and that’s not right either. But there are those who have found that critically important intersection of faith and reason. Instead of being consumed with trying to defend our position and attacking those who believe differently, let’s us openly and humbly believe, live out, teach, and keep pursuing truth.

Dear God, You are Truth. We pray that there’s where our growth will be. Help us to not be arrogantly immovable in our beliefs when there’s a possibility that we may be wrong. Help us to be always willing to surrender our erroneous doctrines. But that will require us to be willing to accept that we may be wrong. Help us to humbly admit the reality of our imperfections – even in interpretations. As we keep desiring, adjusting to, and aligning ourselves to the truth, we’ll find ourselves in the right place and in the right track. Thank You for leaving us Your Word and Your Spirit to guide us into all truth, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Saving Conviction

Luke 9:20 (KJV)   20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

After Jesus pointedly asked His disciples who the crowds generally perceive Him as, He quickly directed that very same question towards them. It wasn’t enough that others had a favorable impression of Who He was; It wasn’t enough that the disciples correctly knew what others believed; what’s important was their own conviction. And not just any conviction, it needed to be the right conviction. Praise God, they got it correctly. That was predictable. They’ve walked with Him; They’ve seen His unquestionable integrity. They’ve listened to Him; they’ve heard the purity and authority in His teachings. They’ve seen His miracles; they knew the beyond-humanly uniqueness of His works.

There are many people in the world who see Jesus as a good person Who has done a lot of good for mankind. He has left us great teachings; He has shown us great examples; He has become a great Inspiration that led to myriads of humanitarian efforts and beautiful expressions in the arts. Those are all wonderful. But He challenges us to adjust our focus – from the crowd to our own personal conviction. Is He to us Who He is? From being a Person we know about, has He become a Person we know. Do we really share in the conviction that He is the Son of God Who came to save us? Have we gone from understanding Him as the Lord and the Savior to being our personal Lord and our personal Savior? This indispensable relationship with Him is forged in an individual level. Aside from our Lord’s finished substitutionary work on the cross, there’s no such thing as sponsored salvation – before and after death. Let’s make sure that we have gotten a sure grip of that which He has gotten hold of us for.

Dear God our Savior, may our eyes be opened to see You and Your Son for Who You really are. Help us not to be satisfied with just knowing how others are doing in their perception of, connection with, and walk with you. Help us to orderly put first things first. May we perceive, believe, and receive You in our very own lives as Who You really are – Lord and Savior. Upon doing so, may we be faithful instruments of bringing this same saving knowledge and experience to the crowd. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.