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.

 

Transformed Hearts

Romans 2:29   (KJV)   29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. That’s a saying we’ve probably heard many times, but its truthfulness can’t be ignored. It’s not that outside appearances aren’t important to God, it’s that He knows that the true nature of a person is found and comes Romans 2.29 - Transformed Heartsfrom the heart. The heart is the wellspring of life. Our words and actions, whether they be good or evil, are just natural external expressions of what’s abundantly stored within us.

Obedience is good, good works are that—good, but it’s obviously possible for people to obey and do good things externally—as great pretenders.  To do good, even when forced, for the purpose of helping others has some merits, but doing good for the purpose of deceiving others is reprehensible. It’s possible to have a heart that really desires to worship, serve, and obey God—a heart that sincerely desires to do good to others. It’s a heart changed by God’s Spirit.

One of the best evidences of a Spirit-transformed heart is that it’s “praise is not of men, but of God.”  For us, living good, upright, and godly lives isn’t to impress people but to bring their attention to the Him Who made us new creations as we shine our lights. He deserves our full surrender and obedience.  The truth is: He deserves everything we are and everything we have.  More so, He deserves infinitely more than everything we all are and everything we all have.  We see perfect sense in giving Him no less than our all and our best.

No Offense

Matthew 17:27   (KJV)   27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Even our Lord Jesus wanted not to offend anyone. Even when He had to sacrifice His right, even when they had to exert extra effort, even when they had to spend what they did not have to,  Jesus willingly subjected Himself to all those just so that they don’t Matthew 17.27 - No Offenseoffend the authorities.  He lived a perfect life; He cared for His Name, He needed to conduct Himself perfectly well, but He didn’t do what He did just for all those; He truthfully cared for others.

We as His people do the same.  We exist for the pleasure of our God.  He deserves more than all we are, all we have, and all we can give Him.  The obvious truth is: we really can’t give Him anything.  But He gives us that wonderful privilege of still “giving” and “offering” to Him.  We want to follow His steps.  This is one of those.  Yes, we have rights and privileges.  We can impose on them, but there’s a better way.

It’s best to live in such a way that we don’t become a stumblingblock to others.  But there’s more.  We live in such a way that we don’t offend others.  This isn’t easy, but it’s in itself a privilege.  And it isn’t really hard for God’s children who lives empowered by the Creator Himself to do all we ought to do.  It takes much from us, but we’re willing.  It’s a pleasure to work more, spend more, and sacrifice more.  Why, because it’s our greatest pleasure to live for the pleasure of our Beloved.

Second-Mile Obedience

Matthew 1:24   (KJV)   24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife

Joseph obeyed the angel’s command although it wasn’t a simple one.  He had to be very sensitive to spiritual matters; he had to be discerning enough to recognize that his dream was something beyond the ordinary. His decision wasn’t something small; it was life Matthew 1.24 - Second-Mile Obediencealtering, in fact, it was big-time history changing. He may not have known the importance or the extents of the consequences of His obedience, but that’s a nature of obedience: we can’t predict it’s real value.

God values our obedience more than we know it. He values it more than sacrifice. By the way, grace doesn’t discard, undermine, diminish, dismiss, or nullify the need for obedience. They’re not opposed to each other. In fact, one of grace’s most important function is empowering us to obey God in saying “no” to undgodliness. Obedience demonstrates who we are as believers; obedience is living wisely as His child.

Obedience still brings rewards and disobedience brings discipline or punishment. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to argue against those who teach that God no longer punishes us when we disobey; I’m just sharing what I believe. Every blessing we have is grace from God, but God’s Word teaches that not everyone receives God’s grace.  Only those who appropriate grace by faith benefit from it. Faith isn’t just mental; living faith is belief-obedience. Remember, during the “awarding ceremony” of believers, there will be gradations of rewards.

My encouragement is not only to obey, but to go a second mile. Joseph did. He wasn’t commanded to have sexual relations with Mary, but He didn’t until after Jesus was born. He decided on that and did that on his own.