Free Gift, Painful Price

Mark 10:27   (KJV)   And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Mark 10.27 - Free Gift, Painful PriceSalvation is absolutely impossible for humans to achieve. It was impossible for the rich young ruler; it was also impossible for the apostles; it is impossible for any other human being. But we don’t despair; we’re not left without hope; it is possible with God.

We’re humbled by the truth that left to ourselves without any divine aid, we’re hopeless. We’re humbled because He Who can save us saved us. It’s not as if all God had to do was snap His finger or utter a command. No, it took Jesus lovingly and willingly leaving His glorious state of existence, coming to where we are, taking on the form of a servant in our likeness, humbling Himself further and subjecting Himself to heartless mockery, cruel torture, and excruciating death.

Heavenly Father, by Your power, salvation is possible for us to receive and enjoy. We pray that we won’t ever forget the loving yet extremely painful process our Lord Jesus went through, that we may never undermine it nor treat it lightly or contemptuously. We appreciate You Lord, and we thank you greatly for this wonderful, priceless gift of salvation we’ve freely received–in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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When Clueless

Luke 23:35   (KJV)   35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

Both the people and the leaders expected Jesus to save Himself as an unambiguous proof of Him being the Christ. They were amiss. God’s chosen Messiah came not to save Luke 23.35 - When CluelessHimself, but to seek and to save the seemingly helpless and hopeless lost. He did it not by saving Himself from death on the cross, but by the exact opposite—not saving Himself, by giving His life—shedding His most precious blood—as a ransom payment for our sins.

God said, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). He often does things in ways that transcends our expectations and baffles our imaginations. But they always astonishingly yield the best results. It’s because of this that the saying “Let go and let God” isn’t just a good cliché to us; it’s our lifestyle.

Our only wise God and Savior, we humble ourselves before you. Please open our eyes, our hearts, and our understanding to the wonders of Your ways. Help us to never doubt You, but to always trust Who You are and how You do things. We won’t come to a point when we’ll understand all Your purposes in every turn of events, but we can always trust You in all of them. You have repeatedly shown us Your inexhaustible creativity. You have assured us of Your unquestionable and unending love. We depend on You and act on those things You’ve plainly revealed to us; we depend on You as well even in times when we don’t have a clue as to what’s going on.

 

Move On Despite Grief

Mark 14:34   (KJV)   34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

Sadness isn’t sin—even the deepest kind.

As believers, there are times when we get overwhelmed with sorrow, deep distress, and troubles. We’re real people with real emotions. But we don’t allow ourselves to get paralyzed by them.

mark-14-34-moving-on-despite-griefPeople can betray us; we can’t stop them no matter how hard we try if they’re absolutely determined to doing so. We can’t control them, but we control ourselves. We do what we need to do. We move on.

More often than not, it’s a waste of time trying to justify ourselves when we’re not in an official trial. It has been repeatedly said: “In most cases, it’s easier to build than to repair.” So, we keep on with our journey: regardless of people’s take on it, we do what’s good, right, and godly.

There are people we can’t convince no matter how obvious the proofs and how numerous the evidences. Some enjoy being biased; some choose to be blind because doing so caters to what they enjoy believing—no matter how flawed. We let them be; we pray for them, and we keep living in and pursuing the light of truth.

When God asks us to face our own cross, no matter how hard, no matter how sad, we don’t have double thoughts about it. We have a choice, but as believers, we choose only one: obedience.

We do what we need to do when we can do something about a situation. Otherwise, we accept it; we learn from it; we find ways and means to grow and be stronger from/in it.

 

Glorying in the Cross

galatians-6-14-glorying-in-the-cross

Galatians 6:14   (KJV)   14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

We exalt Jesus alone—not another person, not a group, not a denomination, not even ourselves. Whatever accomplishments we have: spiritual, educational, societal, or anything else—we count all of them as trash compared to what our precious Lord Jesus has accomplished. So yes, if there’s someone and something to be proud of, it’s the Lord and His loving sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. He’s the One we adore, praise, and worship.

This doesn’t mean that we got rid of righteous and godly living. I can’t overemphasize this: there’s no conflict and competition between the Gospel—the cross—and holiness. We’re not saved by our own good works, but we’re saved unto good works. They do come together. Our positional righteousness and practical righteousness don’t have a kind of disconnect; one is in a perfect state of Christ-like righteousness; the other is in a progressive state and journey towards it.

Yes, we glory in the cross. With that, we also know that it’s through that cross—that accomplishment of our dear Lord that we’ve been transformed. The world has lost its appeal to us. Our interest in this world is now rendered dead—crucified, and we’re no longer appealing to the world either. We smell like poison to them. Through what Jesus has done, we now have the Holy Spirit leading us so that we no longer plant towards our sinful desires. We don’t engage in immorality, impurity, lusts, pride, and other sins. We’re confident in Him, we live to please His Holy Spirit. We reap eternal life and not death. His Kingdom is our inheritance.

 

Ready Hearts

acts-8-36-ready-heartsActs 8:36   (KJV)   36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

Some people’s hearts are just good grounds for the seed of the Gospel. There are people who sincerely desire and seek God. When they hear the Good News of the Kingdom, the Good News of Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, there’s no hesitation; instead, there is an immediate act of surrender, repentance and obedience. They’re ready to do what God bids them to do. They’re there; they exist; they’re waiting to be told, to hear.

God is looking to and fro; He knows His own. He knows those who will be saved and those who will perish. Not that He wants some to be saved and some to be damned; no; He explicitly laid down the truth about His desire for the salvation of everyone. He desires none to perish; He longs for all to be saved, although He’s fully aware of the stubbornness of people’s hearts. God-haters and God-seekers, He clearly demonstrated His all-inclusive love by willingly dying a painful, sacrificial death—not just for a few, but for all the world. His loving arms of sincere and zealous invitation are extended to all people.

Whoever we are, whatever ethnicity, color, creed, persuasion, or position—God is calling. That’s the wonder of His amazing grace and mercy. People of high degree, people of low status, known or unknown, the least of sinners or the worst of us, God’s forgiveness encompasses all and is enjoyed by those who wise up, humble down, and bow their knees to our Lord and Savior. We do. We may not fully understand everything, but we see the reasonableness and wisdom in the Gospel. In the Gospel, we see the most reasonable proposition for a solution to our problem of sin and death. Here, love and justice conjoin in perfect harmony where no other person or system offers any solution. His love is perfectly demonstrated through His sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins; His justice is satisfied through the same sacrifice payment for our sins. What hinders us from believing and surrendering our lives to Him Who loves us most and leads us best? That’s rhetorical.

The Value of You

Luke 15:4  (KJV)   What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Even though one seems to be insignificant and unnoticeable in the company of a hundred, this isn’t the case when it comes to sheep – at least those referred to in the story. To the shepherd, each sheep is of very high value. That’s the reason why he knows the number of the sheep to the detail. He knows when one is lost – even only one. And one lost sheep is enough reason for the shepherd to do an all-out search – and an unceasing search that will only find satisfaction when the lost sheep is finally found.

Every soul is valuable before God. It’s often been stated that if we we’re the only person on earth, God would have still sent His Son to die on the cross just to save us. There sadly are lost souls. Sadder still: there will be souls lost for eternity. But not because the Great Shepherd lacked to show sufficient care and action;  He has shown us that He was willing to go to great lengths and spare no expense for our salvation. He went all-out, crossing the borders of the eternal and gave us the “Darling of heaven” – the greatest Treasure we can find in heaven and on earth and anywhere else – His Son. Every one of us is that important to Him. Let us see others, and ourselves the same way and do nothing less than our best in going after those who are lost.

Precious Father, thank you for valuing each of us as much as you do. May we see each other the same way. May we also humbly and gratefully value You for Who You are. In Jesus’ Name, amen.