On Being a Blessing to Believers

Psalms 69:6   (NLT)   Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.

The way we live as believers affects our spiritual family. We cause others to esteem them highly or to look down on them.  Our attitudes, conduct, character, words, principles, and actions go farther and wider, and affect more people than we realize. The last thing we want to do is to give our Lord’s name and our fellow believers a bad rap.

Psalm 69.6 - Be a Blessing to BelieversWhen God calls us to be holy, it is not a figure of speech; He is serious about it; He means business. It is not a suggestion; it is not a joke. Him being holy and perfect is literally true. That’s His basis in calling us to be holy as well. “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NLT); “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16)—that’s what God’s Word says. I would say His call for us to be holy is literally true as well. “…work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). That’s a huge implication on us personally, but we realize: it far transcends us.

God doesn’t want us to have even a tinge of wickedness in our hearts. He knows it spreads and it spreads rapidly. It gets bigger; it becomes deadlier; and it destroys more people. We must seriously consider this. We don’t take this lightly. We love God so much; we don’t want to cause others to dishonor Him. We love each other so much; we don’t want to cause others to slander them. We don’t want to cause them any humiliation or harm. We bring light, not darkness; we shine brightly so that God will be glorified. We don’t want to pull our brothers and sisters down to embarrassment; we want to help them soar higher.

We don’t deny our imperfection; we still sin—that’s an obvious fact. But we also don’t tweak God’s Word to accommodate that. This is not a case of either-or; it’s both. Let’s settle that. Now, let’s live in a way that’s a blessing to the Lord and His family.

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From Slavery to Royalty

Galatians 4:7   (NLT)   Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Praise God, we are now His children; we’re no longer slaves. He made a way. Transformation from slavery to royalty would have been way more than enough blessings to last for eternity, but there’s more; He also made us His heirs. That’s a proof Galatians 4.7 - From Slavery to Royaltythat us being His children isn’t just a joke; He isn’t kidding around; it’s as true as true can be.

God—the Father of creation is now the Father of our spirits. He is our loving and powerful emancipator. Our sovereign God—He Who lives completely free bought and brought us our freedom. In the fullness of time, in His perfect, surprising, and yet painful way, He gave us His only and beloved Son. Our precious Lord Jesus lovingly and willingly left His throne of glory, became like one of us, and offered His very own life as a sacrificial payment for our sins.

We are free spirits. We are free from the power of sin, from the penalty of sin, and will eventually be free from the presence sin. We are free from the Law—no longer bound and subjected to it. We are delivered from its curse.  We are not children under Law, we’re children of promise. We’re not children of Hagar; we are children of Sarah. We are not from Mount Sinai we are from heavenly Jerusalem.

We’ve been powerfully and mercifully liberated by our Almighty loving God and Father. We don’t use our freedom to indulge our sinful desires; we don’t allow ourselves to be entangled again to the yoke of slavery. It’s for freedom our precious Lord Jesus set us free. We’ve been freed; we are free; we stay free. We’re enjoying our prized liberty as God’s children, enjoying our inheritance, blessing and serving others with them, and looking forward to infinitely more.

New Hearts

Matthew 15:18   (KJV)   18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matters of the heart matters more than the physical. They affect us in more significant and more crucial ways.

The words we honestly speak spring from deep within us. Depending on the condition of our hearts, the kinds of words coming out reflect them. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Matthew 15.18 - New HeartsThat’s why although we hear it often, it’s not always wise to say “Just listen to your heart,” or “Just follow your heart.” Unregenerate hearts from unsaved world often come up with very wrong advice.

We praise God for changing our hearts. Instead of hearts of stone—hard hearts unwilling to listen to God’s Word and God’s Spirit, He gave us hearts of flesh—soft hearts—longingly, lovingly hungering, expectant of, and pursuing Him, His Kingdom, His Word, and His will. We’re more concerned about these hearts of ours and the issues flowing from them compared to the physical stuff we stuff our physical bodies with.

Don’t get me wrong; we don’t deny the importance of our physical bodies and the honor our Lord Jesus has bestowed on them. We are the temples of the precious Holy Spirit. We recognize and realize the importance of good diet and exercise. Over-eating is still something to avoid, although I admit, I need more discipline in that. Gluttony may be a more convicting term than over-eating.

We can desecrate this temple. But what defiles this temple are not the kinds of food we eat but the kinds of words coming out of our lips; the kinds of thoughts we think with our brains, and the kinds of actions we engage in with our bodies. Immorality—these kinds of acts of our bodies defile us. But all these ultimately spring from deep within us. We take care of  our hearts; everything else flows from there. Our hearts belong to Him; that’s the big difference.

On Leaders/Teachers and Words

James 3:1   (KJV)   1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

This sounds like trying to dissuade believers from becoming masters, leaders, or teachers. The obvious reason is given: those who are have greater responsibilities, James 3.1 - On Leaders-Teachers and Wordsgreater accountabilities, greater condemnation or stricter judgment.

The way the chapter progresses is very interesting; it’s followed by quite a strong discourse about how uncontrollable our tongues are. Connecting the introductory passage about being very cautious in aspiring to be leaders/teachers, to the context, we may say that since words of leaders/teachers matter a lot and carry a lot of weight and influence, we ought to really consider and really pray earnestly if it’s something we truly desire for ourselves and it’s a weight we we’re willing to carry on our shoulders.

For us leaders/teachers, we are all the more watchful of our tongues. We can never underestimate the damage it would cause. That’s why we avoid engaging in conversations about disputable matters. Often, those conversations lead us to speaking derogatorily—cursing—our brothers and sisters with the very same lips we praise our Lord and Father with. We are called to be humble even in the use of our words. We are to conduct ourselves with wisdom that flows from above—the kind of wisdom that’s peace-loving and gentle at all times. We ought to be peacemakers.

How sad that leaders/teachers have engendered many of our quarrels and divisions in the body of our precious and loving Lord Jesus because of our very incendiary words against each other. To the leaders, I implore: let’s watch our words. Let them be words of love, truth, unity, humility, and peace. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I would rather not lead and teach.

Love and Marriage: Order

Genesis 34:2-4  (KJV)   And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.

Shechem was strongly attracted to Dinah. That attraction turned fatal – not because attraction was wrong; the order, the process was. He first got intensely attracted, then he raped her, then He started dealing nicely with her, then he pursued marriage. His position as a ruler’s son may have made him feel comfortable and entitled to get what he wanted without much thought of order and consequence. His impulsive reaction didn’t help either. He decided with his emotion without due regard to wisdom. It could be legitimately argued that he may not have known that what he did was wrong since he wasn’t an Israelite who had the convicting guidance of God. I may be wrong, but I believe that in reference to objective moral law, rape is a universally recognized taboo. The horrible consequence: death of all the male in his town – including his fathers’ and his – from the vengeful and bloody hands of the girl’s two brothers.

To be in love is wonderful; to be intensely attracted to someone gives us an inexplicable walking in the cloud feeling – especially if the attraction is mutual. But to act according to feelings and our desires mindlessly outside proper boundaries can and will have consequences. And the consequences can be extremely dreadful. We can’t undermine proper order and proper process or procedure. Be in love – great. Instead of passionately jumping straight to bed, it will be very helpfully appropriate to know each other first. When we’ve sufficiently and “safely” known each other and given all the essential aspects considered, pursue marriage. After marriage, consummate that marriage with the most intimate physical expression/s of love. Instead of a curse; it will be a be a blessed attraction and relationship.

Loving Father, may our love and all its expressions be pure. May we show that our love really is love and our actions are not just a shallow expressions of lust presenting itself as a deep and passionate love. You are love. There is nothing improper, disorderly and impure about You. May those we love be assured of love that is true from us, not just through our spoken words, but by the godliness of our actions as well.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.