God Delights in Us

Psalm 149:4   (KJV)   4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

Two of the most assuring truths we enjoy as believers are that our heavenly Father takes pleasure in us, and that He beautifies us with salvation. Just imagine: the One great in Psalm 149.4 - God Delights in Uspower and glory, the One Who created this universe, the One Who’s in control of everything is happy with you and me. He’s not angry with us; He’s not our enemy; He’s not trying to do us harm; He’s not trying to destroy us or mess us up. In fact, He desires that our lives be beautiful.

We don’t needlessly struggle for people’s approval. It isn’t wrong to please others as well. We love them; we want them to be happy, but there are those who don’t respond positively whatever we do. There’s something they don’t like about us. Often, the very truth that we are believers is enough to disappoint them and make them treat us as enemies. Even those who like us now may not like us later. So we rest not in man’s favor but in God’s.

Dear God, thank You for taking pleasure in us and working out all things for our best. Because of You, life is really beautiful. And this isn’t just a movie title for us; it isn’t fiction; it’s reality. Only You can make that happen. May we never unrealistically expect that everyone will always like us. That would be setting ourselves up for huge disappointment and deep hurt. With people, we can never be sure of their reaction. With You, You never change. You love us—always. Thank You Father—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Love in Judgment

Ezekiel 11:16   (KJV)   16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.

Even when God finally judges us or disciplines us, even when we’re suffering the unpleasant consequences of our foolish choices, even when we find ourselves in non-ideal situations, God’s love and grace never stops.

Ezekiel 11.16 - Love in JudgmentThe immeasurable abundance of God’s love and grace can’t be denied; they’re very obvious; we’re surrounded by them and our experiences are inundated with them. But there comes a time when He finds it wise to discipline us, or judge us.

He doesn’t delight in resorting to punishment; He’s slow to anger and He doesn’t execute judgment right away the moment we sin. He patiently does so many things in so many ways to get our distracted attention and correct our brazen rebellion. He tries—over and over and over… He’s a God of second chances; that’s so true, and yet in so many cases, that’s a very obvious understatement.

When we sincerely repent, He forgives us; He doesn’t hold grudges. But I admit, despite our most earnest intentions, we still fail Him. From the time we’ve surrendered our lives to Him until now, how many times has He forgiven us? Second chance—it’s more like millions of chances. So His love, mercy, grace, patience—all these can’t be questioned. When He finally judges people or nations, it’s because that’s the only recourse left if there is any possibility of waking up to the reality of their utter ungodliness.

Even in the middle of judgment, and/or punishment, and/or discipline, God is still calling, wooing, drawing, expecting the rebellious to finally come to their senses and turn back to Him. Of course, there are those who persist in their stubbornness, but there are those who wake-up and realize the terrible state they’re in.  But as for God, He longs that His people be restored instead of destroyed. Even in the middle of judgment, there’s mercy, there’s grace, there’s a promise, there’s hope. What a God!!!

Just One Righteous

Jeremiah 5:1   (KJV)   5 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

The presence of God’s people—upright, righteous, just and honest people can stay God’s Jeremiah 5.1 - Just One Righteousjudgment. God values the attitudes and actions of His people. Living for faithfully before God is never in vain.

We know God is just and fair. He sees everything we do. He sees and values the way we fight a good fight, how well we run our race, how we keep the faith. He knows how to bless and reward His faithful children. These blessings and rewards affect us individually, even nationally.

We never lose sight of God’s justice, graciousness, and love. He loves us, He will also judge everyone. He would rather spare us and bless us than judge, condemn, and punish us. So we live in Him, against the ways of the popular culture, against the sinful ways of the world. We strive to be as faithful as we can, reflecting our Father, loving others, treating them fairly, and honestly. Although the world continues to boldly and shamelessly march in unreserved ungodliness and immorality, we keep ourselves pure.

There’s so much at stake. Who knows, through us, though there be just a few, our gracious Judge may find it in His heart to spare our nations. We may be the remnant through whom God will ignite our nation’s spiritual awakening and revival. By then, we can boldly pray: “God bless America,” or “God bless our nation.”

Savior to the Penitent

Luke 13:1-3  (KJV)   There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Certain Galileans suffered murder from the hands of Pilate while they were in the middle of their religious activity. The Galileans suffered; His audience obviously didn’t. Jesus found it imperative that He quickly clarified what may otherwise could have come to an erroneous conclusion, belief and doctrine. The suffering of the Galileans and the “non-suffering in the same way” of the audience was not a divine indicator of who was more sinful. It was not necessarily an insightful commentary of their varying spiritual conditions. But it’s worth noting: Jesus’ reference was not between sinners and a non-sinners; It was between sinners and greater sinners. Implication: the Galileans who suffered and those who didn’t were all sinners who will all perish unless repentance happens. With that He showed an indispensable essential act everyone has to undergo for any possibility of escape from perishing: repentance.

Suffering and tragedy hits everyone. Being accused wrongly, being betrayed, getting into accident, getting sick, losing a parent, losing a child, losing a friend, losing money, losing everything – these are experiences shared in all strata of society. Not everyone experiences every suffering and every tragedy, but anyone can and will experience sufferings and tragedies. Great sinners and not-so-great sinners all share in human experiences – good and bad. Apostle Paul and Fuhrer Hitler both suffered – both died. Both of them sinned. Paul described himself as the chief of all sinners; Hitler is a generally accepted figure of great sinfulness. Both of them could have perished and suffered eternal destruction. We know for sure that the self-confessed chief of all sinners repented, thus was saved and became one of the greatest Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t know of the Fuhrer. Perish or not, it’s not  because he was a sinner above all humans or not, it was dependent totally on whether he repented or not. Let me quickly add: if He believed (fully trusted and depended in) Jesus as his Savior Who was able to forgive him of all his sins if he repented from them. Whoever we are, no matter how highly or how lowly we’re esteemed in our sphere – natural or spiritual, we’ve all sinned. Unless we abnormally want to perish, repentance is a must. Le’t humbly ask for forgiveness – turn away from our sins, and simultaneously turn to God.

Forgiving Father, thank you for the hope you’ve given us despite our sinfulness.  We turn away from our sins. Thank You for being our Savior Who can and will forgive.