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.

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Fear Not! Speak Out!

Acts 18:9   (NLT)   One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!

The Lord wants His people to be fearless; He wants us to be bold. He has commissioned us to proclaim the glorious message of salvation to the entire world. He does not want us to be intimidated into silence. The message is too important not to share. The need is too big not to be answered. God loves us so much and cares for us so much to leave us in the path of destruction and sure damnation.

There are reasons for fear: persecutions are real; threats are real—they can even be life threatening. But none of these have evaded God’s attention. Our loving heavenly Father is fully aware of all the challenges before us. He is fully aware that our journey as believers won’t be a walk in the park. That’s why He has provided everything to effectively accomplish our mission.

First, He changed us from the inside. He has given us the experience of what he wants us to share. He does not want us to preach the Good News of Salvation hypocritically; He wants us to live what we preach.  We are to preach salvation so He saved us first. Then He gave us His Spirit—not spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and sound mind. Those unseen changes radiates to the seen. We shine with the light of God through the fruit of good works, giving credence to the message we share, demonstrating God’s glory to others.

God empowers us to the detail—from the spiritual to the physical, from the invisible to the visible. He gave us his blood and His Spirit. He gave us His light. He has prepared divine connections—people who will be instrumental for us to faithfully, fearlessly and boldly proclaim the Gospel. His provision will come from many different angles, many different faces, many different places, even from very unexpected sources. They will come in different forms, people with different personalities, different status in society, of varying levels of maturity.

If needed, our precious Lord Jesus won’t have any problem appearing personally to strengthen us, to embolden us, to encourage and to comfort us. Now, we go without fear; that’s why we won’t be silenced; that’s why more people are saved.

 

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

John 4:7   (KJV)   7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

John 4.7 - It's Okay to Ask for HelpAs believers, we’re more blessed giving than receiving; we’re more blessed helping than being helped. But clearly, it isn’t sinful to ask for help; it doesn’t necessarily make us less effective in our testimony and in proclaiming the Good News. In fact, the Lord can even use that exactly for the purpose of the Good News.

We can’t be too proud to ask for help. We’re not of this world but we’re still in this world. We need food, clothing, shelter, transportation. We don’t expect all of those to be coming from Christian-owned businesses; we will use items produced by non-Christian-owned businesses.

We’re not here to bless believers alone; we’re here to love our neighbors—which include the lost and unbelieving. We will use their products, and praise God, we help them succeed and prosper. That’s love. Asking for their help may be a way we can build relationship with them—a relationship that will give us opportunities to shine the light of Jesus through us to them. That’s good.

No Worry; No Fear

Matthew 10:31   (KJV)   31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Fear not! Those are very reassuring and comforting words from our loving and beloved Lord and Savior. He told us that as His followers, we will be treated extremely badly; that’s for sure. For others who don’t have a personal, loving, saving relationship with Matthew 10.31 - Sparrows Don't Fear; More So UsHim, that’s really dreadful. But for us, He also gave the reason not be scared: we are very valuable to Him.

We have a mission to accomplish. Our mission involves people. We are sheep among wolves. And the pack of wolves that devoured our Master will do us no less. We are rejected, accused, and some of us have been arrested, and punished unjustly. We are betrayed, at times, even by those very close to us—hard to believe—but it happens. We are hated by the rich, famous, and the powerful influencers of culture.

We don’t cower to and withdraw to fruitlessness. God turns our worst experiences to great opportunities. God has worked through them for those in high places to see and hear the witness of God-loving and neighbor-loving people. We see how real God is, how present He is, how wise and powerful He is. So we continue to lovingly shine His light. We hear from Him in the silence of our “date;” we boldly shout His words “from the housetops.” Others don’t like what they hear. They try to harm us. But they can only touch our bodies. None can touch our eternal beings. Only God can do that, and we’re happy because the only One Who has the power to decide where we spend our eternal destiny—He Who values the sparrows—values us way much more, loves us, and cares for us. With all that, why fear?

We continue to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons. We freely receive; we freely give. We’re threatened with prison and sword; we respond with the gentle force of God’s love—nothing to fear with that.

Live What We Preach

Malachi 2:6   (KJV)   6 The 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 Malachi 2.6 - Live What We Preachpeace, 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.

Sinners First

Luke 5:32   (KJV)    32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus didn’t concentrate on convincing those who thought they were righteous of their spiritual bankruptcy; He spent time reaching out to those who society widely and Luke 5.32 - Sinners Firstcommonly considers as scums of the earth.

One of the biggest challenges we face in sharing the Gospel are people who believe they’re doing very well and don’t need God. We often find ourselves convincing them of their real spiritual status—that they need help—that they need the Savior—if we’re even given the time to get there. Many times, we find them respond blindly and proudly. They don’t open up to the truth and to our Savior.

This is a good reminder—to me at least. I need to concentrate more on people who know they’re sinners. Some of them don’t know they are, but they’re also not self-righteous. Some of them are already trying to reach out to God; some of them are convinced God won’t forgive them anymore. They’re the ones we share the Good News to. They’re the ones who really need it. We don’t need to neglect those who seem to “have it altogether,” but we go first to those want hope of salvation, and just need to be lovingly told: they can be forgiven, and they can be sure of their eternal destiny—right here, right now.

What a blessed task: calling “sinners,” such as we were, and telling them: they can come home.

Preach to the “Choir”

Luke 4:44   (KJV)   44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

Luke 4.44 - Preach to the ChoirJesus 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.