Numbers 14:8 (NLT) 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.
How wonderful it is to know God leads us to a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Our precious Lord Jesus came with a purpose of giving us life and life abundantly—life full of purpose and meaning. Many of us have heard and quoted Jeremiah’s words telling us about the Lord’s plans that are good and not evil, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. I can’t help but sense a soul-refreshing comfort and assurance whenever I remember the Lord making us lie down in lush green meadows.
There are deterrents and oppositions to this. Many times, others have their own version of a land flowing with milk and honey. We’re careful because this can be true even with believers. Not everyone allows God’s Word to take deep and strong roots in their hearts. Simple trials make them look back to the immediate fun and pleasures of their past. Often, blindness kicks in. They lose sight of the obvious and powerful miracles and blessings God has brought them. Their once dreaded but endured past, their land of slavery and bondage, they see now as the land flowing with milk and honey.
But how pleasant it is to us who live for God’s pleasure. Despite all the obstacles, challenges, oppositions and enemies, despite our inabilities and limitations, God isn’t stopped; He brings us safely to His promise. Anything or anyone who gets in the way becomes a helpless prey to the promise. The presence of hurdles before us is trumped by God’s presence in and among us. Why fear? Caveat: I’m not suggesting Christian journey is perfect—that we will always please God. There are moments of slips and failures. But God knows who His sincere followers are. And in His unfailing love, He forgives the contrite and repentant. He restores our souls and leads us back to the paths of righteousness—to the path of promise.
Our minds and hearts are set: the Lord is our God. We live for His pleasure. We’re living in His promise—a land flowing with milk and honey. And we’re journeying to the next. It’s a journey of promise to another promise. There’s no life better than the life of a believer.
Malachi 2:6 (KJV) 6The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
This is one of the times when the Lord commended the priests in the Old Testament. They taught and preached the Word. They were truthful. They lived before the Lord in peace, meaning: they had integrity. They effectively turned many people away from their lives of sin.
We’ve received the wonderful privilege of bearing the torch of truth to everyone. We possess within us this great treasure of God’s Word, the honor of preaching the Good News of salvation to the lost, and this unequalled task of making disciples of all nations. With this is the necessity of living faithfully before God. We steadfastly stand on God’s pure truth; no lies or deceit are found in our lips or in our lives. We maximize our effectiveness that way.
Our hearts sincerely cry out for salvation of God-loved sinners. And it’s just appropriate that we remove any and every blinding obstacle that would shun them from being attracted to the light of God. One of those obstacles is hypocrisy—living differently from what we preach. We don’t want that for ourselves; we don’t want that for Christianity; we don’t want that as a picture others will have to erroneously represent Jesus and us to them.
Luke 4:44 (KJV) 44And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
Jesus preached outside of the walls of the synagogues; He also preached in the synagogues. Implied: there were people in the synagogues who needed to hear the Good News.
Going out to all the world and preaching the Gospel rings very loudly from our pulpits and that’s very good, but it will be a huge negligence on our part if we forget that there are people sitting on the chairs or pews Sunday after Sunday who still need to be preached to.
It’s important for us to declare God’s message of salvation to the lost. Most of them do not come to our places of worship. We go where they are. We also recognize the obvious truth that not everyone who gathers together with us for worship and the preaching of the Word is a believer.
There have been many times when I heard testimonies of our very own church people share how they got saved long after they’ve started attending our church gatherings. Praise God for that. That’s why we preach the Good News and we teach God’s principles; we evangelize and we disciple. We do this when we gather together as a local church in a particular place, and we do this when we part ways and go as individual churches to our personal spheres of influence—our own “worlds,”—our own mission fields.
At times, it’s worthwhile preaching to the “choir;” so let’s continue preaching in our “synagogues.” There’s a big probability that some of those in attendance may be with us bodily—geographically, but not yet a part of us as a church spiritually.
1 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV) 10Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
We desire to effectively and efficiently disciple our brothers and sisters in Jesus. We want to do the best we can to help each other grow in our walk. And spending time with each other is essential to this. Discipleship somehow works better when our disciples see us and are able to not only read and hear about what we teach, but see how we exemplify our teachings. They see how our beliefs transform us from glory to glory.
We all still need to grow. Each one still has this “gaps in faith” that are slowly filled through continuous learning of the Word. God has provided us each other. God is an omniscient Father desiring to teach us, instruct us, lead us and guide us. He left us with the written Word and sent us His Holy Spirit as more than sufficient helps in this. He wants us to live the best life we can live—one that’s fruitful, growing, and powerful,
We need divine guidance. Forks in the road are everywhere; convincing voices abound; it’s very easy to stray from the straight and narrow. We humbly admit: as long as we’re on earth, even to the best of our abilities, we’ll continue having blind spots—gaps in faith. It’s just right that we first and foremost humble ourselves and receive faithful instructions from those our loving Father provide as our disciplers. Then freely we give what we freely receive. As we’re helped decrease our faith gaps, we help others to do the same. Altogether we grow in our doctrine and practice. Deceptions come, hardships hit, but we remain straight and strong.
Luke 5:11 (KJV) 11And 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 single 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.
2 Timothy 4:8 (KJV) 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
There is seemingly an interestingly direct correlation between righteousness and our attitude regarding the return of our precious Savior. Why of all the different rewards and crown to be given, the crown of righteousness is given to those who love His appearing? My humble theory is this: We who are excited about His return—we who are deeply longing for our blessed hope and that blessed moment when we’ll meet our dear Lord in the air—live righteously.
To the best of our knowledge, the Lord’s return is imminent; He can come literally any moment of the day. That’s why we’re constantly waiting; with this, we’re constantly prepared; we don’t want to be like the foolish unprepared virgins in the Lord’s parable. We fight a good fight; we run a good race; we keep the faith. We try—as best as we know how—to live as good reflections of our righteous Father. There’s still a long road before us on the way to our predestination: our conformity to the image, or likeness, or character of our Lord Jesus, but we’re destiny-bound.
We prepare ourselves, we also help others prepare. As we do, the Lord’s also preparing to step back visibly into human affairs. There’s a famous cliché: there’s a payday someday. For us, there’s an awarding ceremony someday—very soon. He’s also preparing our eternal homes. Right now, we carefully guard ourselves against the ever-increasing evil surrounding us. The closer the curtain of this “age” comes to a close, the more ungodliness increases. With that, hostility and persecution against us increase; our suffering increases all the more. But we’re undaunted; the Lord has so sufficiently readied us for whatever lot we get; He also more than adequately empowers us.
Acts 14:23 (KJV) 23And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
The Lord’s yoke is wonderfully easy and His burden is delightfully light. He always provides ways, means, and people to come alongside us and alleviate our heavy loads. We don’t have to unnecessarily stress though life; God would rather have us enjoy it, that’s why He has given us everything for life, godliness, and enjoyment. He’s such a good Father. One of the ways He lightens our overwhelming tasks is by raising other able leaders to take on responsibilities which otherwise would be ours.
At times it’s very difficult to let go of some work; we’d rather do them ourselves, especially those of us who have some kind of perfectionist slant. We want to do them as perfectly as possible. When we delegate projects, there is always the possibility of them falling short of our “high” standards. We’ve experienced this many times over. There’s always the possibility of them seeing and valuing the work differently. The details we see as very important may be seen by others in totally devalued level. It’s often hard to trust others and to entrust valuable tasks to them. But we still delegate. Why? It’s because our trust is in the Lord; we trust the Lord for them.
If the work they do is below par, well then, perhaps it may not be necessary for their work to be “perfect” as we expect. This doesn’t mean entrusting something to someone who doesn’t know anything. No; we entrust them to others who we know do the job well. Often, these are people we’ve mentored. This takes on an infinitely much greater importance when the task has to do with the eternal, heavenly, and spiritual. We don’t compromise this; souls are too much to risk. We disciple people; we guard them “like a hawk,” and watch them “like an eagle.” I’m not too sure about those expressions, but you understand what I mean. We faithfully mentor believers to healthy growth. One day, they’ll receive the baton from us, and when that day comes, they’re ready. We entrust very crucial roles to them; we trust God for them; our load lightens, and we’re released to venture farther.