Spiritually-Minded

Romans 8:6   (KJV)  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

As God’s children, we think godly thoughts. We enjoy life and peace now, and we’re looking forward to life and peace with our Father for eternity. We understand we still have choices. We believers don’t lose our free will even after surrendering the throne of Competitionour lives to our Lord Jesus. We choose the focus of our thoughts. We’re also very much aware of the huge implications and repercussions of our choices. Our heavenly Father doesn’t spoil His children.

I pray that this won’t be an issue of intrigue; my prayer rather is that it will be a thought to at least ponder on. Jesus has already borne the penalty of our sins on the cross. In fact He Who knew no sin was made sin for us. That Jesus has taken the death penalty for us is an absolute truth. What is this death then that results from being carnally minded? It’s easy to choose one and reject the other. In doing so, others explain away whatever they prefer to reject.

Forbid the thought that they would question the efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, so the trend is to deal with the death that results from carnal-mindedness. We’ve heard others interpret and teach that as death of a physical kind. And there’s no doubt, some sinful or even wrong choices can reap physical death as a consequence. But although there’s truth in it, it also misses the fact that physical death also comes even to the spiritually-minded people.

On the other hand, if the consequence of our godly thinking is life of the physical kind, what’s the necessity since we’re already physically alive? Unless it simply means continuation of our physical existence in our present condition, the other and I believe the more logical conclusion is that it also refers to life of spiritual kind. This becomes obvious when looking at the context of the passage. The entire chapter deals very much with our spirits. Without disrespect or preference of any denominational distinctive, we can safely conclude: 1. It’s absolutely and undeniably true that Jesus paid the sin-penalty of death; 2. It is also absolutely true that to be carnally minded—having our sinful nature control our mind—is or leads to death.

Whatever each of us believe; we may not all agree on one line of understanding, but the non-negotiable mandate or exhortation we can all agree and focus on is this: shun sinful nature that produces sinful thoughts, and yield to the precious Holy Spirit Who produces good, spiritual, right, and godly thoughts.

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One Thing

Luke 10:42   (KJV)   42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

In the final analysis, there’s only One that really matters: Jesus. Although there are those who get bogged down with a lot of small details, what’s important is our Lord: things in and about Him. It’s a joy to know that we make the right choice, and the Lord values our luke-10-42-one-thingchoice of Him; He protects that; He vindicates us as we stand for Him: for what is good, right, and godly; when we choose Him over anything and anyone; when we choose the eternal over the temporal.

We believe in the existence and reality of God; we believe in the reality of the invisible spiritual dimension. Others only believe what connects with their senses: what they can see, hear, smell, touch and taste. Our prayer is that they’ll have a saving belief of and experience with the Lord so that they could share in the wonders of life eternal and the unlimited realm. The supernatural exists; our Lord Jesus: His coming, His teaching, His resurrection, His ascension proves that.

We make the main thing the main thing. We know who we are; we know our purpose; we know our destiny. We are God’s children; we keep pursuing a growing and more intimate relationship with the Father. There’s a great harvest; we are lambs sent among wolves, but we go loving on the wolves nonetheless. We don’t fear because God has given us power, love and wisdom; we know how to navigate through the rough “seas” of this earth. We press on towards the mark of the high “heavenward” calling of God in Christ Jesus. It’s really that simple. So we seek Him and His righteousness, and all the small details of life that often distract others from what really matters in this life and eternity are taken care of personally by our precious Lord Jesus.

Our Heavenly Father’s Promise

Luke 11:9   (KJV)   9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

God delightfully desires to give us good gifts. That’s natural for earthly fathers; much more so with our most loving heavenly Dad. Some may ask: “He’s God; we’re not. Can we really be His children?” Yes, we can be and yes we are. Either we’re His children through luke-11-9-our-heavenly-fathers-promisecreation, or we’re His children both through creation and spiritual birth; the former covers our temporal life; the latter covers both that and our eternal life as well. Any which way, we’re all God’s children, although I highly prefer the latter—where our “childrenhood” secures our eternal togetherness with our Father.

My heart goes out to those who don’t relate to the wonder of God’s “Fatherhood” because of their painful experiences with their earthly Dads. I pray for your total healing, comfort, restoration and deliverance. I pray that the reality and presence of the perfect and Holy Dad brings you joy in your hearts and smiles on your lips. He cares for you; He loves all of us. He never uses, misuses, or abuses His children. He very much wants to give us everything we need. The power and authority of His Kingdom backs us up. He’s our perfect, inerrant “GPS” or map continually giving us direction so we’re not lost.

He makes sure we have steak or fish, potato or rice, water or soda, etc.—everyday of our existence. He gives charge to His invisible heavenly armies—His angels—to keep us safe. We have the Holy Spirit empowering us against the lures of the “mighty” dollars, sexual stimulants—whether from the computer screen or phones, printed materials, or real people; keeping our egos in check so that we don’t find ourselves falling so fast so low flat on our faces. He cleans and/or changes our hearts so we can live free from any ungodly desire—even those of getting even or revenge. Whatever we’re facing, our Dad’s making Himself available to us. He never gets tired of us coming to Him, in fact, the opposite is true: it’s a joy for Him. So we keep asking, seeking, knocking. We’re sure of this: our Dad’s always readily and longingly waiting.

Fight of Faith

1 Timothy 6:12   (KJV)   12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

A believer’s life is full of excitement and adventure. The life of a soldier in a thick of battle is never boring. We as followers of the Lord Jesus are in the middle of a fight—the fight of faith. We know where we are; we know where we’re going, and we know how to get to our 1-timothy-6-12-fight-of-faithdestination. We’re children of the day—children of light, alive, alert, awake, enthused, watchful, vigilant; we know that our enemy, like a roaring lion, is constantly attacking, bent on devouring us—to kill, to destroy. Eternal life is too precious to neglect. We have a tight grip on this indispensable and incomparable upward heavenly calling of God.

We’re not bored; we don’t fear. Some may see inconsistency in our actions and reactions regarding the battle we’re in. Yes, in a battle, there’s some kind of energy and alertness boost, but naturally, it’s scary. Fear is real and true if the soldiers don’t know the outcome. We do. We know that we belong to the victorious army of the unbeatable General. The outcome has been determined. That’s why we lovingly, strategically, boldly invite others to join the ranks.

This isn’t an invitation for mediocrity; the opposite is true: our call is to wage war against the world, the flesh, the devil and his minions. We bow and kneel in total surrender, commitment, submission, and loyalty to our Supreme Commander; we’re fully aware that our battles are won because of Him; we’re strong because of Him and the power of His might. Our armors are in place. We march against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. We charge the gates of hell. Life by life, we prevail. There really is no life better and more exciting than that of a believer.

The Light of the World

John 8:12   (KJV)   12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

God wants us to see clearly, knowing where we are, with a clear sight of our destiny—the wonderful future He has prepared for us. He doesn’t want us lost, groping in darkness. He john-8-12-the-light-of-the-worldmakes sure our paths are lit well; He Himself is the light that illuminates our world and brightens our lives. (Thank You Lord). He leads the way where we should go. We—His followers are sure of our steps; we avoid stumbling and falling.

It’s difficult to move in darkness, much more to walk in it or live in it. But darkness is real; darkness abounds, and there are many of us who are still there. There is darkness in the mind: people are plagued with debilitating worries, erroneous beliefs, and destructive opinions. We have darkness in our hearts: many are sad, angry, and ashamed. There is darkness in our world: we see chaos, pride, hatred, and unbridled lust.

Praise God, we’re free from darkness. The Light of the World shines so brightly, showing us the way to go, and we walk forward with confidence. That’s the reason why we found our way to eternal life in the first place. He fills us, surrounds us, and leads us. He’s so much a part of our lives, so close to us that we as His followers share in His “light” nature. We are also lights of the world. He’s the great big universal infinite Light and Light Source; we’re the localized light—much smaller, but lights nonetheless—lights shining brightly as well.

Because we as believers live in His light, we see Him. Because of His light, we see ourselves clearly: we see if we’re clean, or if we have smudges, spots and stains. We’re honest about our real condition, and we address the problems. Because of His light, we’re living out our purposes well, and we’re journeying forward towards our destiny—joyfully.

 

Unbelievable Forgiveness

1 Timothy 1:16   (KJV)   16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

We’ve seen hardened criminals—people society considers as worst of the worst—incredibly changed by the power of the Gospel. Their sins may have been great and many, but God’s grace is greater and more. This is the unique hope found in Jesus alone. This is 1-timothy-1-16-unbelievable-forgivenessGod’s amazing patience, love, mercy, and grace at work and on display. It’s beautiful; it’s also unbelievably outrageous—so outrageous that others criticize Him for it.

Famous people have expressed their utter contempt and disapproval for God’s generosity of forgiveness. They vehemently disapprove of Hitlers, Stalins, Bin Ladens and such like having any chance of spending eternity with God in glory; they prefer them languishing in toughest punishment commensurate to all their hideous atrocities and evil. Some of them loudly broadcast their position that it’s this very teaching that made them turn their backs from the God of the Bible, that this is what made them into atheists.

Our hearts sincerely and lovingly go out to them. We fervently pray that their hardened hearts be softened and their blinded eyes be enlightened. We don’t want them to miss out on this wonderful truth and experience. It’s hard to accept, but we’re humbly grateful to our Savior. We are recipients of the same immeasurable blessing. True, our sins and the damages our sins cause may not be as grave as those of the infamous villains, but we also desperately need help. Those who oppose God and malign Him appallingly, although they don’t see the wickedness of their actions, also sin against God and are also in real need of forgiveness.

From where and from whom will they get that? Praise God; He’s so willing and so generous to bless us with cleansing and forgiveness. He’s able to pour out His love, and do so with absolute justice, because He personally paid for all of humanity’s sins. This fallen humanity includes all of us: even the Hitlers and the Bin Ladens, God-attackers and God-haters, the worst of all sinners, and yes, the best of all sinners. We find ourselves there somehow. Praise You Lord.

Glorying in the Cross

galatians-6-14-glorying-in-the-cross

Galatians 6:14   (KJV)   14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

We exalt Jesus alone—not another person, not a group, not a denomination, not even ourselves. Whatever accomplishments we have: spiritual, educational, societal, or anything else—we count all of them as trash compared to what our precious Lord Jesus has accomplished. So yes, if there’s someone and something to be proud of, it’s the Lord and His loving sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. He’s the One we adore, praise, and worship.

This doesn’t mean that we got rid of righteous and godly living. I can’t overemphasize this: there’s no conflict and competition between the Gospel—the cross—and holiness. We’re not saved by our own good works, but we’re saved unto good works. They do come together. Our positional righteousness and practical righteousness don’t have a kind of disconnect; one is in a perfect state of Christ-like righteousness; the other is in a progressive state and journey towards it.

Yes, we glory in the cross. With that, we also know that it’s through that cross—that accomplishment of our dear Lord that we’ve been transformed. The world has lost its appeal to us. Our interest in this world is now rendered dead—crucified, and we’re no longer appealing to the world either. We smell like poison to them. Through what Jesus has done, we now have the Holy Spirit leading us so that we no longer plant towards our sinful desires. We don’t engage in immorality, impurity, lusts, pride, and other sins. We’re confident in Him, we live to please His Holy Spirit. We reap eternal life and not death. His Kingdom is our inheritance.