Favor in All

Nehemiah 2:5   (KJV)   5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

For Nehemiah, the king’s pleasure mattered; him being pleasing to the king mattered; and the city of his fathers mattered.

8x10 LandscapeGod is concerned most about our eternal destiny, investments, and existence. And that’s absolutely appropriate because heavenly things are incalculably more valuable than any temporal matter. But the wonderful thing about our Lord is that His love and concern for us covers every area of our lives. He’s concerned about our attitudes not just toward Him but toward other people. He’s concerned about our relationship with others. He’s concerned about our heart of worship, our way of worship, and also our places of worship—including the bricks and concrete parts of it.

Our loving God and Father, you’ve created us; You have given us everything for life and godliness; You’ve given us everything for our enjoyment. We appreciate all of them. Help us Lord not to get our priorities wrongly. We set You far and high apart from everything else as our Lord and King Who sits on the throne of our hearts. We pray that we won’t be lured into having anything else ever coming close to occupying that position.

We also pray that we will appreciate and enjoy all your other blessings although they’re not as important as the Blesser and eternal things. You’ve given us loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, our church family, our church building, our houses, cars, clothes, food and drink. Thank You for all of them. To us, they are expressions of who You are—your generosity, and Your love.

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God’s, Good, and Godly

3 John 11   (KJV)   11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

It’s good to have examples we can humbly imitate and instructions we can follow. And praise God, we have a great cloud of good and godly witnesses—faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ who have left us with footprints we can walk on, lives that inspire us to 3 John 1.11 - God's, Godly, Goodshine our lives for God’s glory and honor. We also have the inerrant and eternal Word of God lighting our feet and illuminating our path.

God has lovingly given us eyes to see and ears to hear. He has even given us the inner witness of the Holy Spirit so we can discern those we can’t physically sense. We see very clearly that not everyone who teaches practices what they teach; not all who say they’re Christians are Christians. Good tree bears good fruit; bad tree bears bad fruit; true Christians bear the image—the character of Christ.

We aren’t blinded by hypocrisy, duplicity, lies, and deception. Through God’s Spirit living in us, we can spot the fake. Some of them are extremely easy to identify. There is no disconnect between who people are as God’s children, and what they do. God’s children are good and do good. Those who produce rotten fruits—ungodliness or anti-godliness—be they attitude or actions—prove they’re not Gods.

On God’s Side

Psalm 118:7   (KJV)   7 The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.

No matter how hard our problems, no matter how numerous and how powerful our enemies are, we don’t fear. We believers no longer live for ourselves but for Him Who Psalm 118.7 - On God's Sidegreatly loves us and Who mercifully saved us. We’re for Him; He’s for us. He helps us and will never fail doing so.

We’re sincerely committed to living uprightly; we strive to walk faithfully before our Lord. We don’t selfishly pick and choose which part of His Word we would believe and obey. Loving our enemies is not an easy task, but we do. Given a choice, we would rather not have enemies in the first place. But we can’t deny the obvious reality and increasing presence of evil. No matter how much we treat everyone lovingly, there are those who see us and treat us as their enemies.

Because we choose God; because we abide by His ways; because we refuse to be a part of lawless and godless systems, we experience indifference, disapproval, hatred, and even violent attacks from lawless and godless people. That’s natural—not pleasant—but that’s the truth. What’s interesting though is how we see our loving desires and prayers come to fruition. They get saved; we see them undergo even drastic and unbelievable but genuine changes.

Praise God, He can make friends an families out of our enemies. The moment they turn away from their godless ways, place their full dependence on our precious Lord Jesus for their salvation, and bow their hearts in surrender to Him, they become children of God—our spiritual brothers and sisters. But you may ask, “What about those who decide to continue in their crooked ways: what about those who continue to attack you?” We’re neither worried not afraid. Our victorious Lord has made us overcomers—more than conquerors.

 

God’s Word: Fire and Hammer

Jeremiah 23:29   (KJV)   29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

God’s Word is indestructible. Anyone who fights against it finds themselves in a losing battle. Anyone who tries to destroy it will themselves be destroyed. It is an inextinguishable fire. Try putting it out and you’ll find yourself devoured by it.

Jeremiah 23.29 - God's Word - Fire and HammerIt’s utterly useless and absolutely foolish to kick against a consuming fire and a pounding hammer. True believers highly value God’s Word. We understand its power and eternality. The grass withers; the flowers wilt, heavens and earth will pass away, but God’s Word—to the smallest dot—will remain.

Our lives are changed by it. It’s a consuming fire that burns the filth and dirt from our lives. It’s a burning passion that we can’t keep silent about. Through us, the fire spreads, touching and purifying lives and changing situations.

Numerous thoughts and opinions beat on God’s Word. Anti-Scriptural practices are hastily increasing. Godless, lawless, and evil ways are promoted and promulgated. But we’re here. We may be few, but we’re the faithful few. We pray for others; we do our best for them to enjoy wonders of living in the truth instead of against it. The open-minded and honest seekers recognize the fire and its power. Wisely, they choose to enjoy it, its benefits and blessings. Then there are those who stubbornly live in denial of or rebellion to the power of God’s Word; they choose to believe ideas and opinions that tickle their ears and support their chosen ways and lifestyles.

When the sounds of the consuming fire and the pounding hammer has stopped, the chaffs and rocks of the world’s philosophies and wisdom will be found completely burned and shattered, and the hammer of God’s Word will be left complete and whole, unscathed—so are those who live under its power.

Just One Righteous

Jeremiah 5:1   (KJV)   5 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.

The presence of God’s people—upright, righteous, just and honest people can stay God’s Jeremiah 5.1 - Just One Righteousjudgment. God values the attitudes and actions of His people. Living for faithfully before God is never in vain.

We know God is just and fair. He sees everything we do. He sees and values the way we fight a good fight, how well we run our race, how we keep the faith. He knows how to bless and reward His faithful children. These blessings and rewards affect us individually, even nationally.

We never lose sight of God’s justice, graciousness, and love. He loves us, He will also judge everyone. He would rather spare us and bless us than judge, condemn, and punish us. So we live in Him, against the ways of the popular culture, against the sinful ways of the world. We strive to be as faithful as we can, reflecting our Father, loving others, treating them fairly, and honestly. Although the world continues to boldly and shamelessly march in unreserved ungodliness and immorality, we keep ourselves pure.

There’s so much at stake. Who knows, through us, though there be just a few, our gracious Judge may find it in His heart to spare our nations. We may be the remnant through whom God will ignite our nation’s spiritual awakening and revival. By then, we can boldly pray: “God bless America,” or “God bless our nation.”

“Kings” and “Kingdoms”

2 Chronicles 34:33   (KJV)   33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.

King Josiah opted to live in obedience to the Lord. He did away with all the abominable ways his predecessors established. The people of his kingdom were also living according King Josiah Hears the Law II Chronicles 34:14-19to the sinful ways of their previous kings. He also influenced the people of his kingdom to follow God.

Most of the nations in the world are not in a kingdom system. Most nations are comprised of different people who have different spiritual persuasions and who subscribe to different sources as their authority. Leaders in these kinds of societies can’t dictate their constituents who to worship. But the truth remains: leaders have certain degrees of influence that others don’t. And leaders choose who they personally worship. Leaders can choose the path of righteousness.

We all are leaders one way or another. As for us believers, we opt to live our lives in complete surrender to the one true living God. We willingly submit to His Kingship. Although we’re citizens of our country, we’re first and foremost citizens of His Kingdom. We live in obedience to His will and His Words. We implore others to be a part. And we lead those who become a part to fully live the Kingdom life—with all its challenges, uniqueness, and joy. There’s no life better.

Set in Stone

2 Timothy 2:19   (KJV)   19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

There are argumentable teachings in the Bible—teachings that aren’t so clear; Christians interpret them differently and take positions that are often diametrically in contradiction to each other. Don’t be alarmed; none of these teachings have to do with 2 Timothy 2.19 - Set in Stonesalvation or God in His nature or being. But there are teachings set in stone. Here are two of them: God knows those who belong to Him; those who belong to Him must depart from iniquity.

We believe in the omniscience of God; He doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to who are His and who aren’t, who are saved and who are lost. His part is covered perfectly well. He’s not negligent; He’s not forgetful; He won’t have any “oops” moment. Our part is our part. Although we’ve heard it often stated: “Christianity is not about rules; it’s not about dos and don’ts; we’re not under the Law,” this doesn’t mean we’re unruly and lawless.

We have a loving relationship with our Father; we also have a very respectful relationship with our God. Our Father is our God; our God is our Father; we love Him; we fear Him. We want to do the things He wants us to do because we love Him. But I’ll be honest. In our imperfection; we don’t always do things He wants us to do; that’s when we ought to do them even when we don’t feel like doing them. It’s settled; one of the things we want to do, we ought to do, and we must do, is to depart from—turn away from iniquity, unholiness, unrighteousness, evil, or ungodliness. Yes, whether we want to or not, we must.