A Time to Flee

Matthew 10:23   (NLT)   When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.

There’s a time to stay, and there’s a time to flee. Protecting our lives, ensuring our safety isn’t wrong. It can be more fruitful, not just in self-protection or family-preservation, but even in fulfilling our mission.

Matthew 10.23 - A Time to FleeWe don’t need unnecessary or avoidable martyrdom—that’s a waste of life. Life is precious—even the physical and temporal. Although it’s far less valuable compared to our eternal spiritual existence, it is important nonetheless. That’s probably one of the reasons why self-preservation and survival is innate in each of us. That doesn’t change for us who have been born again—who have received and are assured of eternal life; we just have a much better and proper perspective of them.

Dear God and heavenly Father, Giver and Sustainer of life, we thank You so much for Your gift of life—both the temporal and the extremely more important eternal life. Please give us wisdom and discernment when a time comes for us to flee. But help us do so not in cowardice, but in obedience to your leading. Lead us to a mission-minded escape when it becomes necessary, and only when it’s necessary and more beneficial to our calling and mission. It’s not always easy to explain such action; there will always be those not open to reason. But we pray that if ever we flee, it’s because the persecution is real—not imagined. And as we go, lead us to better grounds where we can sow the seed of the Gospel, where it will have a greater yield and harvest—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Advertisements

Worship the Creator

Acts 7:50   (NLT)   Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’

The fact that the one true living God was the One Who created both the heavens and the earth is enough reason for us to not worship any other god or being but Him.

Acts 7.50 - Worship the CreatorOf course, others question the validity of this truth. They don’t believe God created creation. They somehow have a hard time accepting this. But there shouldn’t be any problem believing God can create. The fact that the universe is so big is not a proof that no person or being could be responsible for its beginning; it is proof that God who created this magnificent, immeasurable universe is way more powerful and bigger than we imagine.

There is no reason for us to worship anything or anyone else other than the One really worthy of worship. That’s no other than the one true living God. Any other entities pulling us to give them a greater place or a higher priority in our hearts and lives than God himself ought to be resisted with all wisdom and might. They’re trying to deceive us and cause us to place our attention on something so little—to settle with something infinitely smaller. God longingly wants us to set our minds and hearts on Him, to have our lives dedicated to the best of the best: the best cause, the best reason for existence, the best Being Who exists. He wants us to live the best way we can: from the best source, through the best means/sustainer, for the best purpose. Oh, that gives us so much worth and significance.

We thank you Father for being real. We thank you for leaving us with more than sufficient convincing proofs of your existence and greatness. You’re an indescribably powerful and wise God. And you choose to care for us so much, to love us with a consistent, continuous, persevering, and endless love that we won’t find from anyone else. We thank you for giving us a very gracious invitation and welcome to You and into your very presence—the presence of our great and Almighty, All-wise Creator.

Be Happy for Them

Mark 14:6   (KJV)   6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

Mark 14.6 - Be Happy for ThemJesus corrected the people who were trying to trouble or criticize the woman who broke the alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it on His head. For others, there could have been a much better use for that perfume; for Jesus, what she did was commendable.

Our sincere expressions of devotion to our precious Lord will not be understood by others. That’s very much expected from the world; majority of them won’t understand our willingness to be totally broken and fully spilled out for God. The surprise comes when the misunderstanding comes from fellow believers. Worst is when they don’t only comprehend our actions, but they criticize us—especially when they do so in public, where the lost are watching.

It’s a joy for us learning from others. We welcome suggestions and differing opinions. It’s wisdom to have multitude of counselors. We can learn even from criticisms—if we can call it as such—especially the constructive, corrective, non-judgmental, and non-condemnatory kind—gentle words birthed out of love. We understand and humbly admit we’re far from perfection. We will make mistakes; we will miss blind spots. We’re grateful when others see what we fail to see.

On the other hand, sad to point out, there are self-righteous/know-it-all people—at least that’s how they esteem themselves. Instead of being irritated, annoyed, and angry with them, we pray for them. We pray for us as well. As people of grace, we pray that we will be gracious towards everyone—especially our families—in this context, our spiritual families. Obviously, we have different expressions of devotion. We may feel like there are better ways, but they may have reasons we’re not privy to. What they do may be better than our preference. And that’s our position regarding our differences: they may know something we don’t. With that, we can just be happy for their love of our Savior.

Listen Intently

Luke 8:18   (KJV)   18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

Our precious Lord wants us to be as productive as we can be. He doesn’t want our time Luke 8.18 - Listen Intentlyand our lives wasted. He cares even for the way we listen. He wants us to gain more knowledge, more understanding, and more wisdom.

We’re sincere in the way we listen to our Lord. He has graciously given us His Word so we would know our way, so we would know truth, so we can see, so we can really live. We pay sincere and careful attention to His Word. The more we do, the more He gives us wisdom.

It can be tempting to read the Scriptures and pray out of obligation—just to go through the motions. I pray you don’t get me wrong. I believe and understand the need to spend time with the Lord. But we don’t take them lightly and superficially. Not heeding how we hear is to lessen the understanding we already have. We don’t understand the divine mechanics regarding this, but we know what He says happens.

He speaks, we listen. As His sheep, we know His voice. He always guides and leads us to the right path. He wants to commune with us more than we commune with Him. He’s never too busy for us; we don’t have to wait to make an appointment with Him. And He wants to pour out more of His Word and His wisdom to us. So we sincerely seek; we intently listen, and we keep growing.

Blessed Forever

are1 Chronicles 17:27   (KJV)   7 Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may be before thee for ever: for thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever.

1 Chronicles 17.27 - Blessed ForeverIt’s the pleasure of our heavenly Father, the One Who loves us most, the One Who’s merciful, gracious, and generous to us, to bless us and our families or households.  Our natural and most fitting response to that is to reciprocate His goodness by abiding in Him—persevering in our commitment and devotion—to the end.  Why not?  His blessings and commitment to us are eternal.  We’re blessed, and we will continue to live under an open heaven because of His open heart.

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.