Bountifully Blessed

Acts 26:18   (NLT)   18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

A lot of great things happens to us when we place our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation and surrender our lives to Him. For one, our blind eyes are opened. God’s love, our need, our spiritual poverty, God’s answer to our spiritual need, our appropriate Acts 26.18 - Bountifully Blessedresponse—all these are elucidated in our minds and hearts by God’s precious Holy Spirit. That’s why we humbly, gratefully, and readily call on Him and receive Him into our lives.

There’s so much more: we no longer live in darkness, we now live in the light—we are children of light, lights of the world. Whew—awesome descriptions of our identity. Satan, as powerful as he may be, no longer has a hold on us because we’re now under God’s Almighty protection. Satan has got nothing on God. Oh, what joy to know He who gives us life, and life way more abundantly, is infinitely more powerful than the one who tries to steal, kill, and destroy.

We’re also forgiven of all our sins. That’s big. Our sins separated us from God—spiritually dead, that is. That’s serious. Without His forgiveness, it leads to eternal death. That doesn’t sound good; that’s horrible. To spend eternity apart from God, void of love, joy, peace, freedom, and bliss is more than horrible; it’s indescribably agonizing. But we’re forgiven. We’re now, in a saving sense, God’s children—a part of His spiritual family—His people. We’re different; we’re separated from the rest; we’re unique—wonderfully unique.

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Salvation of Our Families

Acts 16:31   (NLT)   They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”

One of the greatest joys we have as believers is the salvation of our entire family or everyone in our household. Although the statement was spoken directly to a specific individual—the Philippian jailer, this is something many of us believers claim for Acts 16.31 - Salvation for Our Familiesourselves. If the Lord did it for him, the Lord can—and we believe will—do it for us and own families as well.

But, is this is a sweeping promise of salvation to all family members of all believers? Experience shows us it doesn’t seem so. Many of us know fellow believers who have family members who passed away as unbelievers. Although, a faithful and direct interpretation of Scriptures, or at least that specific passage would show us that it was a statement made only to one person, it wouldn’t be wrong to believe that for ourselves and our families.

We absolutely desire that everyone in our household be saved. The Scripture’s also explicit about God’s desire for no one to perish but for everyone to come to repentance. To believe this for ourselves is to agree with the will of God. We can let this be our faith statement and stand. To clarify: this does not mean that when one person in the family is saved, everybody in that household is saved automatically based on the merit of one person’s salvation. No; that is not the case; salvation is clearly personal. But it’s an encouragement for our faith to work in agreement with God’s will and our will. Faith matters. We may not fully understand the implications of the Lord’s words, but He told his disciples many times how things will be done according to their faith.

We don’t have control over how our family members respond. But we certainly have control over what we can do. As for us, our faith is: our household will be saved. Praise God!

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.

Go Forward!

Exodus 14:15   (NLT)   Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!

The sea before them; Pharaoh and his mighty Egyptian army was behind them; the Israelites, in fear, were complaining to and blaming Moses for their seemingly fatal predicament. God tells Moses to tell the Israelites to get moving. That’s a statement of Exodus 14.15 - Go Forwardfaith. God told them to do what they needed to do despite the seemingly impossible scenario. God gave His command as if there was no sea in front of them.

If something has to be done, it does not matter how impossible the situation is—how wide the ocean, how insurmountable the mountain, how challenging the challenge, how impenetrable the obstacle, how problematic the problem, how serious the sickness, how expensive the cost—we have to act in faith, get up, and get moving. And we will see how God will split the sea for us; move the mountains out of the way; solve our problems; remove the obstacles; or just simply carry us in His mighty arms through all of them.

Dear God, it’s You Who gives us the confidence that nothing we face in life can ever stop us from reaching our destiny, from doing what needs done, from accomplishing our missions. Because you’re present, we don’t have to be stopped; we have a God who’s infinitely much bigger and greater than any hurdle, and more powerful than any enemy. As we’ve probably heard before: we look not at the bigness of our problems; we look at the bigness of our God. With that, nothing—no one scares us; we keep moving, pressing on towards the mark—our temporary destinies here on earth and our eternal, high, heavenly calling in our precious Lord Jesus.

Step Forward; Speak Up

Genesis 44:18   (NLT)   Then Judah stepped forward and said, “Please, my Lord, let your servant say just one word to you. Please, do not be angry with me, even though you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.

At times the difference between good or bad, success and failure, life and death depends on whether we step forward or not, whether we speak up or not. Judah was about to lose another brother; as a result, he may have also lost his father. He wasn’t going to let that Genesis 44.18 - Step Forward, Speak Uphappen without trying to do something. He risked incurring the anger of the 2nd most powerful man on earth that time; he did it anyway. He stepped forward; he spoke up; he explained; he pleaded, and it dramatically changed what could have been a devastating continuation or conclusion of their story. His effort benefited him, and a lot more people—perhaps, an entire race of people.

There are so many great opportunities people allow to slip right through their fingers just because of not taking the step of faith, not opening their mouths. There’s a lot of wisdom in constraint; there’s wisdom in silence; it’s not necessary to always step forward and talk. There are dead heroes who could have been living heroes had they taken more precaution. But there is time and place for doing something.

There are worthy causes and reasons risking our lives for. It will take people of courage and conviction—people who recognize the value of what they are fighting for. It will take people of discernment, wisdom, and humility; they know who to approach; they know the people to talk to; they know the people who can help, and they know the people who can make a difference in their situation. These are people who act in faith—they believe that they need to do something, that they can do something, and that something can happen.

God knows how to bestow favor upon them. His Word clearly declares: He is pleased with faith and those who act on their faith.

Faith—All the Way

Hebrews 10:38   (KJV)   38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10.38 - Faith - All the WayOur greatest pleasure is pleasing God. Praise God for faith with which we please Him. As people who are forgiven, our lives are characterized by faith; that’s our lifestyle. We understand that drawing back from the faith—falling from grace displeases Him. That’s the last thing we want to find ourselves in.

There are reasons others draw back. There’s the allure of sexual pleasures; there’s the pull of power; there’s the enticements of material accumulations. Some pursue riches and are shipwrecked. Some can’t stand the scorches of hardships unique to believers.

We persevere. Nothing compares to the glorious life of faith. It brings inexplicable miraculous exploits only God-empowered people experience; it also causes a lot of sufferings. Through all, we’ve learned to be content and to rejoice. Who can equal to such a life?

 

Wholesome Doctrine of Jesus

1 Timothy 6:3   (KJV)   3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness

We’re enjoying our lives as believers. That’s natural for people who’ve been richly given all things we need for our enjoyment. But we’re not without struggles. We have a very undesirable division going on in the beautiful body of Christ. The Lord Jesus prayed that 1 Timothy 6.3 - Wholesome Teaching of Jesuswe as the church be one as He and the Father are one. We’re still far from that reality. The issues and teachings dividing the church are disputable—non-essentials—as often referred to.

There are dangerous teachings though creeping in the church. I’m a personal witness to this. It’s rampant and it’s ongoing. The Scriptures teach us that the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus are in accordance with godliness—our Lord’s doctrine upholds godly living. But I’ve heard messages talking down on preaching about morality and good deeds. In trying to affirm the doctrine of grace—grace which we love and appreciate tremendously—they have condemned the wholesome doctrine of our Lord Jesus—godly living.

We teach godliness; other teachers consent not. Sadly, a lot of opposition comes from fellow Christian teachers. Truth is: it’s possible for believers to stray and follow Satan (1 Timothy 5:15). That’s why we’re encouraged to fight the good fight for the true faith, to hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called us… (see 1 Timothy 6:12). We don’t downplay God’s warnings: “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16).

God’s Word is replete with such examples of our Lord’s wholesome doctrine of godliness. Here’s just another example—just a short segment: “12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:12-14). This is our doctrine as people under grace. We don’t regret it; we don’t abhor it; we love it.