On God’s Side

Acts 5:39   (KJV)   39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

Acts 5.39 - On God's SideIt’s an empty and terrible predicament finding ourselves going against God and His move.

We don’t take our walk with God lightly. It’s indescribably valuable. We understand why we’re told to work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:13). We treat Truth with utmost reverence; we don’t want to approach them casually and end up in error. We conscientiously and continuously rid ourselves of blinders of any shape, form, and kind. Biases and prejudices may lead us straight to the enemy’s camp—not to fight it, but to fight with it—against the very God we claim to worship and serve.

Our dear heavenly Father, please keep us from blind devotion. We want to worship You, serve You, fight for You, live for You, and if needed, die for You. Please keep our paths straight; keep our hearts pure; keep our eyes open that we may know which ones are Yours and which ones are not. May we never condemn anything or anyone just because they’re new or different. May we never forget: You’re a very creative God, and You have many surprisingly pleasant ways of doing things—In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Discernment

2 Samuel 14:17   (KJV)   17 Then thine handmaid said, The word of my lord the king shall now be comfortable: for as an angel of God, so is my lord the king to discern good and bad: therefore the Lord thy God will be with thee.

Discernment is angelic.  It’s God bestowing us knowledge and wisdom so we can determine what’s good and what’s evil, when they’re not as clear as black and white.  We don’t have to make mistakes in making decisions especially the critical ones.  Often, 2 Samuel 14.17 - Discernmentwhen it comes to major decisions in life, we don’t always have clear-cut instructions from the Word.  Even then, we end up with the right choices.

How do we believers seem to know things—truths that aren’t plainly laid out before our eyes to see?  For one, we sheep know our Shepherd’s voice.  The more intimate we are with our Shepherd, the more sensitive we are to hearing and recognizing His voice.  He gave us a very good foundation: His Word.  There, we get to know Him, His acts, His ways.  The more we know Him in the obvious, it becomes easier to sense Him in the ambiguous.

We love His Word.  We’re passionate about learning it.  It’s never a waste of our time doing so.  One Word from God in a critical juncture of our existence can radically change the course of our future.  Not one Word of His will fall to the ground without accomplishing purposes.  We draw near to Him; He draws near to us.  The nearer we are to Him, the louder we hear His heartbeat, the clearer we see His leading.  We understand He wants us to make the right decisions more than we do.  And He makes His presence closer to us than He can ever do:  He is with us—always; He’s in us—always.

Increasing Understanding

Matthew 13:12   (KJV)   12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Those of us who willingly and eagerly listen to the Lord’s teachings or His Word are given understanding, insights, and wisdom, and we keep on growing in them because the Lord continuously and generously pours them out to us.  Those who don’t want to listen Matthew 13.12 - Increasing Understandingto the Lord, more so, obey Him, whatever little understanding they have left of true spiritual matters will be taken away.

The generosity of God can’t be questioned.  His desire to bring us to the knowledge of the truth is immensely great.  That’s why He sent us His Holy Spirit to teach us all the truths we need to know.  But despite the perfection of God’s will and ways to draw us to clear comprehension of the Truth, there is sadly a significant number of people who just don’t want to do whatever needs to be done.

We don’t fully know all the reasons or motivations behind people’s refusal of Truth.  Perhaps, they can’t handle it; perhaps it’s very difficult to admit the errors of their beliefs—that they’ve been either taught erroneously, or they’ve been deceived; perhaps it’s because they want to continue in their ways that are contrary to the teachings or our Lord.  They don’t know what they’re missing.  But we know how important God’s Word is.  It’s of tremendous importance that we perceive it clearly.  And praise God, He Himself makes sure that it happens to those who truly pursue His Word.

God’s Plans, Our Plans

Matthew 1:20   (KJV)   20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

We have plans. The more important our decisions are, the more we think of them. We spend more time trying to see if our decisions are the right ones. And that’s good. God has wisely given us brains for us to use. But in our planning, we also have God’s plans to matthew-1-20-gods-plans-our-plansconsider—first and foremost. We know it’s true; we’re convinced it’s true: God’s plans are much better than our plans. But isn’t it interesting how there are times when people get a little shaken when He does things differently?

The thing here is, we have our comfort zones, and we don’t want our quiet, safe spaces to be shaken. People get rattled when this happens. And we’re just referring to situations when something else happens instead of what we expect. What if we add cases wherein what happens is beyond our control? Oh boy, the more people tend to get frantically alarmed. Do we ever consider the possibility that when impossible situations come, God may be setting us up for a blessing so especial, so life-changing, even earth-shaking, that when we finally find out about it, our mouths drop in awe? I do.

That’s how God often operates. He’s predictable in many ways, that’s why we can depend on Him. He has clearly revealed so many things in His Word, that’s why we believe what we believe and we behave the way we do. He does what He says He would do, that’s why we depend on Him. But then there are those “secret things” that belong to Him alone, and then there are those things that He reveals to us progressively. Joseph knew that a Messiah would be born, but He didn’t know that was it. Things went fast for Joseph, but the seeming drawback became perhaps the greatest miracle He’s ever experienced in His life.

We plan to the best of our knowledge and ability so that our plans are aligned to God’s plans. If God’s plans are different, we gladly surrender our plans to His. If necessary, God reveals His plans to us—even if they require miracles to do it. When He does, we see how life’s seeming “disturbances” are actually life-changing miracles and blessings. That’s how Christmas started; that’s what Christmas is: a series of wonderful miracles.

Judge Justly

John 7.24 - Judge JustlyJohn 7:24   (KJV)   24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

This may come as a challenging surprise to many: judging isn’t evil; God doesn’t prohibit it. But there is a proper way and an improper way. One of the right ways of judging is to make sure it’s just. And we have greater “chances” of having a correct and fair judgment if we intentionally look deeper than the thin, shallow surface. Not everything is as plain as it appears. There is always something more than meets the eyes.

We have obvious inclinations. Both nature and nurture factor in. We understand why two people who are in the same place, with the same group of people react differently after hearing the exact same message from the same speaker. The reality is that there is something deeper in both of them–years deep. The particular place and time they were in at the moment isn’t the only deciding factor; they run back through all the experiences they’ve had throughout their lives.

It isn’t easy to see reality; people have secrets; many don’t feel comfortable being transparent. This doesn’t mean they’re hypocritical; there’s not always a need for all issues to be exposed. And even when there’s a need for truth to surface, not all are willing to get it out there, especially if truth doesn’t seem favorable for them at the moment. Praise God, the Holy Spirit reveals needed truths to His children. That’s why we earnestly pray for discernment; that’s why we’re thorough; that’s why we look deeper. That’s why we’re just, right, and fair. All glory to our ever just and all-knowing God.

Adviser to the Wise

1 Kings 4:5  (KJV)   And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king’s friend:

1 Kings 4:5  (NIV)   Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the district governors; Zabud son of Nathan—a priest and adviser to the king;

Ironically, Solomon, considered the wisest king who ever lived had an adviser. The adviser may very well have been a true friend to him, someone who cared for him, who would have been honest with him, who would have been concerned about his welfare. This was not someone who would be there to flatter him so that he could be closer to the king; they were already friends.

We can all learn from others. A king or a leader who learns from others shows a lot of security, maturity, humility, and real wisdom. The person of highest position or greatest knowledge or wisdom still doesn’t know it all. Even the label “know-it-all” can work both as a compliment or an insult.  Either way, it’s not literal. No one really knows it all (unless we’re God – and we’re not). Let’s glean wisdom from others. Let us be open to greater avenues of learning.

We ought to ask God for wisdom and discernment that we may recognize who the people are who really means the best for us – not for themselves. There are people who are obviously anti-us. There are people who are obvious enemies despite our goodness to them. But there are also people who know how to flow with the wind. This can be good. They can ride the tide for their own benefit. That can be good too. But there are those who will be there, going along, just for their own satisfaction, and won’t hesitate hurting others to get what they want. Let’s be careful.

Dear God, we praise You for Your Omniscience. If there’s anyone Who really knows it all, it’s You. We however, are not. Please remind us to be teachable always. Please lead us to the right people to listen to – divine connections – those who You have designed to pour into us important substances that will help us effectively navigate through our journey, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

False Christs

Luke 21:8  (KJV)   And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

One of the undesirable signs of the end of the age that Jesus pointed out is the rise of false Christs. It’s something that needs to be vigilantly watched because of its awful potential results – the deception of many. This will not be an isolated sign from a single impostor; many will try. The implication is that there will be credibility factor, perhaps presenting itself in many different angles. That’s why there will be a significant pull to follow them. But Jesus’ command is forthcoming: don’t follow them.

False Christs are already here. As the end of the age approaches, we can expect many more. It’s appalling to see how alarming numbers of people are blindly following. The present day false Christs don’t have marvelous miracles to show; they just have few remarkable achievements. Some don’t even have any achievements to show; all they have are their claims. As the end draws near, the enemy will empower his tools. They will be believable. They may even perform astounding feats – perhaps even miraculous. Sadly, if thousands are deceived now, we can only expect the numbers of the deceived to grow exponentially. Here’s where we have to be steadfast. Our Lord Jesus showed us how He will come back: we will see Him descend from heaven. It doesn’t matter how charismatic the personalities are and how wondrous and even seemingly helpful the works are, if they claim to be the Christ, that’s a non-negotiable indicator and a huge banner waved in front of our faces: “false.”

Our one true God, please grow our wisdom and discernment, and strengthen our resolve that we won’t ever be swayed by things we hear and see. May we be  guided by Your Word that we may know which ones are genuine and which ones are false, And may we be your voices to guide others as well.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.