Dependable Promises

Joshua 21:45   (NLT)   Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true. 

There comes a time when being reminded of God’s faithfulness is very comforting and very much needed. There has not failed one word of all His promises. All He has spoken He has done just as He said.

Joshua 21.45 - Dependable PromisesWe face very challenging times. There are times when there is nothing we can do to change our predicaments, when even specialists can bring us no cure or solution; they can just state painful facts. It can be very daunting, very unnerving, especially in life-and-death situations. It’s a fact of life. There is limit to what even the most intelligent and most skilled of us can do.

These are situations and moments when God matters most to many people, when our faith in Him finds its real value, when there is nothing more we can do, when we have come to our human limitations. But we’re comforted knowing there’s reality beyond our own abilities, beyond the temporal, beyond the natural. In God is our hope; in Him we trust. We find courage and peace because we know He never ever turns back on His word. He is our savior; He is our provider; He is our deliver; He is our healer. He has never failed us, and He will never ever do.

In my most gut-wrenching and faith-challenging moments, this is where I find my assurance, courage, and comfort. Praise and glory be unto our ever-truthful, ever-trustworthy, and ever-dependable God.

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On Being a Blessing to Believers

Psalms 69:6   (NLT)   Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.

The way we live as believers affects our spiritual family. We cause others to esteem them highly or to look down on them.  Our attitudes, conduct, character, words, principles, and actions go farther and wider, and affect more people than we realize. The last thing we want to do is to give our Lord’s name and our fellow believers a bad rap.

Psalm 69.6 - Be a Blessing to BelieversWhen God calls us to be holy, it is not a figure of speech; He is serious about it; He means business. It is not a suggestion; it is not a joke. Him being holy and perfect is literally true. That’s His basis in calling us to be holy as well. “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NLT); “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16)—that’s what God’s Word says. I would say His call for us to be holy is literally true as well. “…work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). That’s a huge implication on us personally, but we realize: it far transcends us.

God doesn’t want us to have even a tinge of wickedness in our hearts. He knows it spreads and it spreads rapidly. It gets bigger; it becomes deadlier; and it destroys more people. We must seriously consider this. We don’t take this lightly. We love God so much; we don’t want to cause others to dishonor Him. We love each other so much; we don’t want to cause others to slander them. We don’t want to cause them any humiliation or harm. We bring light, not darkness; we shine brightly so that God will be glorified. We don’t want to pull our brothers and sisters down to embarrassment; we want to help them soar higher.

We don’t deny our imperfection; we still sin—that’s an obvious fact. But we also don’t tweak God’s Word to accommodate that. This is not a case of either-or; it’s both. Let’s settle that. Now, let’s live in a way that’s a blessing to the Lord and His family.

Don’t Be Mad

Psalms 37:8   (NLT)   Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.

Not all anger is sinful, but as much as possible we should avoid being angry. When we get angry, it is very easy to lose control. Our anger could quickly, easily, and dangerously escalate to hatred and rage. That is not good for us. We can do things that are very Psalm 37.8 - Don't be Madharmful—not only to us, but more so to others. When we act from deep anger we often don’t think rationally. We act out of extreme emotions. Most of the time, we end up doing things we later regret, but often, it is too late; the damage is done.

There are gazillions of reasons for getting mad. Many times also, we seem to think anger is more effective in getting people’s attention. We feel they take us more seriously when we’re angry, but experience tells us otherwise. Someone very close to me have often stated that she does not respond positively to angry corrections or instructions, in fact, she freezes, and her mind shuts down. Of course, it is difficult for me to understand this, probably because there are times I react positively to anger. There have been many occasions when I did the right thing because I did not want people I love to get disappointed and angry with me. I understand: not everyone is the same. I can only theorize, but it seems like there are people who have a hard time understanding and reacting favorably when being scolded out of anger. We just end up feeling extremely bad; anger does that. Venting out our anger may not necessarily be always a good thing to do; it can be counter-productive.

Praise God; He is not the same as us; He is very patient with us. Just imagine if He gets angry with us as quickly as we do with others. If God finds patience and peace beneficial, it does us well to imitate Him; there is wisdom in it. There will be very disappointing people; there will be very irritating actions; there will be many situations when anger is justified. But as much as it all depends on us, it’s best not to get angry. This does not mean lack of correction, or instruction, or discipline. We still correct, but we do so in a calm, controlled, peaceful, and loving manner. It’s much better that way. We save ourselves from headache, heartache, and high blood pressure, and from big potential of sinning against our immensely patient God and Father—that’s a big difference.

Foolishness and Weakness of God?

1 Corinthians 1:25   (NLT)   This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Our loving Almighty Father and God is indescribably, and inscrutably much bigger, more powerful, and more glorious than we imagine Him to be. His wisdom is way much higher than our wisdom—it transcends the highest heavens; His plans are way much 1 Corinthians 1.25 - Foolishness and Weakness of Godbetter than our plans—they’re the best. The strongest of us or all our strengths put together is weaker than God’s weakness. Truth is: God does not have any weakness.

Praise God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, He has given us access to both His wisdom and power. Our Lord Jesus is the wisdom and the power of God. He lives in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. He Who can do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ever think, imagine, or ask lives in us. In the world’s eyes, we may be nobodies. We are not of noble birth; we are not rich; we are not powerful; we are not great; we are not wise; in fact, they think we are foolish; they think we are weak. To them, we are nothing. There are truths to that, but no more. By ourselves, left to ourselves, we are weak. But the power of God lives in us. By ourselves, left to ourselves, we may be foolish. But the wisdom of God is now in us.

That’s why our trust is in God; our boast is in Him. We seek His face, His heart, His will, and we live accordingly. We live in His light.

The world may never see us in a good light. They may never accept us. They may never see is for who God made us to be. We’re not moved; we are not scared; were not intimidated; we are not shackled. We continue to live out God’s purposes and calling; we live under His instructions, fighting under His banner, marching to the beat of His commands, proclaiming the Good News of salvation, freedom, power and wisdom…

Harvest of Blessing

Galatians 6:9   (NLT)   So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

We want to fight the good fight; we want to finish the race; we want to keep the faith. Our call is to persevere until the end. We do what’s good, what’s right, and what’s godly. We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Christian life isn’t Galatians 6.9 - Harvest of Blessingalways easy; there are hard times. But we are expected to never tire doing what is good. No matter how long and hard our struggles are, they’re still very short and worth bearing in the light of the blissful and glorious eternity awaiting us.  For those who persevere, God’s word promises a harvest of blessing—now, and infinitely more so in eternity.

We can’t deny the reality of the principle of sowing and reaping; it is explicitly and clearly taught in God’s Word. The age of grace neither terminates nor prohibits God’s blessings and rewards as fruits of our labor. The principle of sowing and reaping works perfectly with the principle of grace. The harvest is multiplied times more than the amount planted. That is a good picture of God’s grace.

God’s Word encouraging us to continue doing good isn’t to give us a hard time; it is God positioning us under the blessings of an open heaven. Others don’t accept this because they see how it leads dangerously to boasting about our own efforts. We’re emphatically taught in the Scriptures how our salvation is by God’s grace through our response of faith; it’s not a result of works, or else we’ll be boasting about our own righteousness. We love that passage. We also love the fact that we’re created unto good works, and that God rewards us still. We guard our hearts against pride and self-righteousness; our hearts are already set; our boast is in the Lord. We don’t deny that. We also don’t deny the blessedness of planting the seed of good deeds.

We don’t get tired of doing good. And I pray we won’t. It’s wonderful to live under God’s blessings. To be blessed when we rise, blessed when we lie down, blessed in the city, blessed in our homes, blessed in the country, blessed when we drive, blessed when we work, blessed when we rest, blessed with our children, blessed with our spouses, blessed in our ministry, blessed in our businesses, blessed in our works, blessed in our endeavors, blessed in our relationships—we won’t and don’t get tired of those, rather, we enjoy them to the utmost.

From Slavery to Royalty

Galatians 4:7   (NLT)   Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Praise God, we are now His children; we’re no longer slaves. He made a way. Transformation from slavery to royalty would have been way more than enough blessings to last for eternity, but there’s more; He also made us His heirs. That’s a proof Galatians 4.7 - From Slavery to Royaltythat us being His children isn’t just a joke; He isn’t kidding around; it’s as true as true can be.

God—the Father of creation is now the Father of our spirits. He is our loving and powerful emancipator. Our sovereign God—He Who lives completely free bought and brought us our freedom. In the fullness of time, in His perfect, surprising, and yet painful way, He gave us His only and beloved Son. Our precious Lord Jesus lovingly and willingly left His throne of glory, became like one of us, and offered His very own life as a sacrificial payment for our sins.

We are free spirits. We are free from the power of sin, from the penalty of sin, and will eventually be free from the presence sin. We are free from the Law—no longer bound and subjected to it. We are delivered from its curse.  We are not children under Law, we’re children of promise. We’re not children of Hagar; we are children of Sarah. We are not from Mount Sinai we are from heavenly Jerusalem.

We’ve been powerfully and mercifully liberated by our Almighty loving God and Father. We don’t use our freedom to indulge our sinful desires; we don’t allow ourselves to be entangled again to the yoke of slavery. It’s for freedom our precious Lord Jesus set us free. We’ve been freed; we are free; we stay free. We’re enjoying our prized liberty as God’s children, enjoying our inheritance, blessing and serving others with them, and looking forward to infinitely more.

Godly Silence

Mark 15:5 (NLT)  But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.

There is wisdom in silence. Our Lord Jesus, in the middle of unjust arrest and very phony trial, in the middle of much insults, false accusations, and horrible persecutions, spoke very little. He didn’t find it a need to justify Himself in front of an already prejudiced Mark 15.5 - Godly Silencecrowd. He knew truth didn’t matter to them; truth wouldn’t have changed their minds. Besides, He knew His mission; He knew He had to die. Extreme persecutions and excruciating torture may not have been necessary, but He welcomed them anyway.

Even while on the cross, people turned on Him, tempting Him, even challenging Him to perform a miracle to save Himself. Our Lord Jesus could have just easily spoken a word and immediately escaped death. But that could have caused the hostile crowd to have a sudden change of conviction and forcibly crowned Him as Messiah and king. That would have derailed the very mission He came to accomplish. He came to serve. He came to give His life as a ransom payment for our sins.

We don’t always have to speak up. It is not always necessary to defend ourselves. It is wise to speak up only when it matters, only when it makes a difference. It isn’t necessary for us to convince everyone. The pleasure of all is never our aim; we are not called to be liked by everyone. We have a mission to fulfill, a destiny to pursue, and there are those who disagree with us. They stand on our way; they try to oppose us, stop us, silence us, and even destroy us. It doesn’t matter; as long as we are on God’s side, we are on the right track. When our dear God is pleased, we’re pleased.

We are not advocating complete silence, passivity, and inaction. There is a time to speak, but there is also time to keep quiet. Our very task of declaring the Gospel requires speech. We need to lovingly and passionately persuade people with the Good News, but we also recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice when He impresses in our hearts enough is enough–when the time has come for silence to be the best option.

We speak with wisdom. When it’s beneficial, we speak. When it edifies others, we speak. When it gives God glory, we speak; otherwise, we say nothing. And silence can be the godliest thing we do.