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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Living in His Promises

Numbers 14:8   (NLT)   And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.

How wonderful it is to know God leads us to a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Our precious Lord Jesus came with a purpose of giving us life and life abundantly—life full of purpose and meaning. Many of us have heard and quoted Jeremiah’s words telling Numbers 14.8 - Living in His Promisesus about the Lord’s plans that are good and not evil, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. I can’t help but sense a soul-refreshing comfort and assurance whenever I remember the Lord making us lie down in lush green meadows.

There are deterrents and oppositions to this. Many times, others have their own version of a land flowing with milk and honey. We’re careful because this can be true even with believers. Not everyone allows God’s Word to take deep and strong roots in their hearts. Simple trials make them look back to the immediate fun and pleasures of their past. Often, blindness kicks in. They lose sight of the obvious and powerful miracles and blessings God has brought them. Their once dreaded but endured past, their land of slavery and bondage, they see now as the land flowing with milk and honey.

But how pleasant it is to us who live for God’s pleasure. Despite all the obstacles, challenges, oppositions and enemies, despite our inabilities and limitations, God isn’t stopped; He brings us safely to His promise. Anything or anyone who gets in the way becomes a helpless prey to the promise. The presence of hurdles before us is trumped by God’s presence in and among us. Why fear? Caveat: I’m not suggesting Christian journey is perfect—that we will always please God. There are moments of slips and failures. But God knows who His sincere followers are. And in His unfailing love, He forgives the contrite and repentant. He restores our souls and leads us back to the paths of righteousness—to the path of promise.

Our minds and hearts are set: the Lord is our God. We live for His pleasure. We’re living in His promise—a land flowing with milk and honey. And we’re journeying to the next. It’s a journey of promise to another promise. There’s no life better than the life of a believer.

Be Teachable

Acts 8:31   (NLT)   The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

“Teachability” is a very valuable virtue. It requires humility but it’s also a path to greatness. It takes humility to admit lack of understanding, to admit need of help, to admit someone knows more than you do. Learning requires sincerity and resolve. It Acts 8.31 - Be Teachablenecessitates effort. The person in this story had a hard time understanding what he was reading, but he was reading nonetheless.

Having a know-it-all attitude is disadvantageous. Wise people understand: wisdom is a life-long pursuit; the truth is: it is an eternity-long pursuit. Our learning doesn’t stop when we meet the Lord face to face.

There is no greater source of wisdom than God’s Word. True: there are some parts hard to understand; it will take a sincere desire to learn for us to grasp truths God intends for us. We find it a big help listening to others who have also spent time and effort in studying His Word. We don’t deny personal responsibility; we have to read the word by ourselves; we have to study it; meditate on it; memorize it; live it out; share it. But we can certainly also learn from others. It doesn’t diminish our self-esteem when we do. We expand our horizon much greater by mining the gold from other people’s perspective. We recognize that we miss some important insights other people catch. We even learn from people of the world; they too have wisdom to share; they too are created in God’s image; they have undeniably good contributions. In some cases, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit to know whether what they teach is godly or worldly. It’s no problem because God is more generous with His Spirit guiding us, helping us, warning us, and leading us to the truth.

Dear heavenly Father—all loving and all wise, thank You for giving us understanding and insight—especially when it comes to vital spiritual truths. Thank You for giving us your Holy Spirit without Whom we would be spiritually blind. Thank You for making us a part of people who have the same access to Your Spirit—the Spirit of wisdom. Thank You for giving us opportunities to learn, to know more about You, Your Word, Your love, and a lot more wonderful truths we absolutely treasure. And thank You for the privilege and honor of bearing and sharing this treasure.

 

More Blessed than Mary?

Luke 11:28   (NLT)   28 Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

Luke 11.28 - More Blessed than Mary.jpgWe cannot overestimate the value of God’s Word—of listening to and obeying it. It brings an exceedingly great blessedness—greater blessedness than being a channel of our precious Lord’s incarnation.

Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus in His humanity without a doubt is extremely blessed. This is a truth recognized the world over. Others emphasize the wonders and value of this experience while at the same time neglecting the glories and importance of God’s word.

A lot of people have a tendency to do this or something similar to this. We have a tendency to elevate things and people above God and His Word. Our affection, our attention, our energy, our time, and our efforts are spent towards them; our focus on God, His Kingdom, our ministry, our callings, things eternal, things spiritual, our mission—all these infinitely more important things are lessened or diminished in our estimation. We get busy doing a lot of things we find very important and big; God’s word becomes a distraction.

So much is written about the wonders and the glories of the Word of God—so many admonitions for us to listen to it, read it, study, meditate on it, commit it to our minds and hearts, and live it out. That’s one of the obvious proofs that God really wants as blessed.

We thank You Lord for Your desire to bless us, and how You have made that possible, not just for a few but for all who would act and respond to Your clear directions appropriately and in humble, grateful, loving obedience. It’s so amazing living blessed. All this is from You, and we’re enjoying it immensely.

Joyful Despite Tribulations

John 16:33   (KJV)   33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16.33 - Joyful Despite TribulationsJesus’ Words are to give us peace, no matter how scary the truth may sound. In Jesus can we find very interesting and comforting paradoxes. We have tribulations, but we have joy. This is not a self-assuring yet dangerous denial of trials and persecutions; they’re based on our Lord’s promises and accomplishments.

Praise God for revealing important truths to us. He doesn’t always divulge everything, but He doesn’t deprive us of truths we need. He’s a loving God Who wants us to have everything necessary for a full and meaningful life.

We’ve had experiences when others have pointed out how little we have and yet we’re filled with joy. We don’t take that as an insult. What can compare to such a life? Others try to accumulate as much wealth and resources as they can. But it’s not really the gold, fame, and number of people around us that matter the most; it’s what they’re supposed to bring to us: security, worth, significance, value, love, joy, peace, and so much more.

We have them—without the tiring pursuit for more stuff.

Great life.

Thank You Lord.

Today, We Prepare

Hebrews 3:13   (KJV)   13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

One glorious day, we will be meeting our long-awaited beloved Lord, beholding Him with our very eyes, to spend time with Him and with our God for eternity. That will be one day, and we pray, one day soon. Today, we prepare.

exhortPart of our proper preparation is urgently exhorting and warning each other daily to be passionate about our God and His Word; to be watchful and vigilant against the insidious tactics and hideous attacks of our enemy.

God has powerfully set us free; we live in freedom. We don’t unwisely subject ourselves again to the cruel sin overlord. In freedom; we’re repeatedly commanded to be careful, to guard our hearts, to make sure our hearts don’t get hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, and cause us to turn away from God.

We aim to be faithful to our Lord, to fight the good fight, to finish the race, to keep the faith, to trust Him as firmly as when we did at first—even more. We don’t make light of the admonition for us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to strive with the power of God’s Spirit that’s continually working in us to will and do what pleases Him. These we restfully do—in freedom, in His grace.

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.