Delivered from Every Evil Work

2 Timothy 4:18 (KJV)   1And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord always delivers us from every attack of the enemy. We’re very confident about our safe journey to our heavenly home. It’s not because we’re strong, it’s because our God is. That’s why all glory, honor, and praise belong to Him.

2 Timothy 4.18 - Delivered from Every Evil WorkThe apostle Paul had a huge share of attacks, persecutions, troubles, and hardships in his Christian journey. We could have expected him to say “And the Lord shall deliver me through every evil work.” He didn’t. It’s possible that in his perception, even in worst attacks from those who don’t like us as believers, even in most difficult of circumstances, God is delivering us from evil. Meaning to say, the situations God allows us to go through aren’t necessarily evil.

There are many ways to see it. What we may see as God delivering us through is actually God delivering us from. That may be hard to understand. One thing is sure though, through it all—we may not even fully understand the theological and/or practical meaning and implications of Paul’s words—God will get us home. So we bear and persevere through life. Now, we have a little adjustment in our mindset. No matter how trying the situations are, God is delivering us from every evil work.

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Our Body as Force for Good

Romans 6:13    (KJV)   13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We have a choice as to what to do with our “members,” our bodies, whether they’ll be instruments of sin or instruments of God. As believers, the choice is very clear; our natural predisposition now that we’re alive from the dead—we’ve been raised to a new life—is to live out this new life for God’s glory and honor.

Romans 6.13 - Bodies - Force for GoodChoice is a big word today, and our hearts go out to those who misunderstand the meaning. Choice doesn’t equate to doing wrong. Choice speaks of one of God’s most loving and wisest gift to mankind: free will. We keep that honor when we become believers. But instead of being slaves to sin, we now have power over it. The choice is ours, and for believers, our choice equates to what’s good, right, and godly. We can choose otherwise, but the precious Holy Spirit is now powerfully moving in us to will and to do God’s will. We don’t feel violated; at times I pray what I know God won’t answer—that He would just take full control of my will and make me do everything exactly as He wants me to.

With that powerful divine influence, we yield. We submit our bodies to the leading of God’s precious Holy Spirit; we deny sin its say, and we live victoriously and wonderfully. How beautiful are the pilgrimage of those who wisely reject the deceptions of the enemy, those not blinded by the lying attractions of temptations. Our bodies are no longer sin’s helpless tools and victims. Praise God, through our Lord, we’ve found authority and power to see through sin’s devious allurements, to render our bodies dead to it, and to offer our bodies as living sacrifices—Holy and acceptable to our beloved Lord and Savior.

Aside from God’s pleasure, guess how happy my spouse is that I choose to devote my body to her alone instead of enjoying the pleasures of infidelity. Guess how happy my family is that I serve them instead of abandoning them. Guess how happy my neighbors are that I desire them good and not harm. That’s the beauty of a righteous life. It becomes an instrument of blessing and joy to our heavenly Father first and foremost, and to others as well. What a wonderful life.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

1 Corinthians 1:31   (KJV)   31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

It makes sense for us to take pride in our Lord alone. And this is so encouraging because as believers, we want to triumph over the influence or power of pride. Ego has caused so many irreparable devastations—from individual to international level. Simply, pride 1 Cor. 1.31 - Soli Deo Gloriaawfully destroys. Others have fallen prey to its deadly tentacles; believers have been graced with power and wisdom to overcome.

Soli Deo Gloria! He has blessed us abundantly. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him; we own nothing that didn’t come from Him. We’re not perfect—none is—except Him of course, but He still finds it in His heart to call us and move in us so we can understand Him and His ways, so we can respond with faith and experience His free gift of salvation. I’ve sinned against Him multiplied times over. Even as a believer, I still do. This is not undermining the wonderful changes He has made in me. There have been changes by leaps and bounds in my life. We’re not sinless, but we definitely sin much less.

The truth is, even in our imperfections, God still works powerfully in our lives—touching us, and touching others through us. He calls us to join Him in His mission. None of us possess the knowledge of all the mysteries of God; our riches pale pathetically infinitesimal—insignificantly little in comparison to all the riches He possesses; we have very limited strength. With all those, God deems it best to bless us with His presence, understanding, power, and authority that confounds the world’s best. That’s obviously the Lord’s doing. Glory to Him and to Him alone!

Channels of Glory

Galatians 1:24   (KJV)   24 And they glorified God in me.

As His children, we’re given a high honor and privilege of being channels of God’s glory.

Not all we do bring glory to our God. Through us, God can either be praised or cursed.

galatians-1-24-channels-of-gloryWe can have better chances of channeling peoples praise towards God if we’re not involved in works of darkness. It is when we let our light shine before others that they’re able to see God in us—how good and great He is. That’s how those in darkness are drawn to the Light.

God is Holy, loving, mighty. We’re not necessarily the same. It’s when those are seen in us that people see the reality that’s not us—a reality that’s attractive and magnetic, a reality that’s bigger than us, a reality that sincerely-seeking people want to be a part of.

God is essentially glorious. He isn’t always given His du—often because others aren’t just conscientious or aware. We as people in whom He dwells can bring the truth of God’s glory closer and clearer to the people.

Our lives shine; there’s no life more beautiful and radiant than that which glows with God’s beauty.

We know our worth in Him, that’s why we don’t desire glory to ourselves. We’re the pointers not the destination of praise.

The Honor of Suffering

Philippians 1:29   (KJV)   29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake

It is an honor and privilege to believe in our precious Lord and Savior Jesus. Another honor and privilege is one that’s unique; it may take time for some of us to wrap our minds around it, more so, experience it: it’s our inevitable suffering as believers. With all the philippias-1-29-honor-of-sufferingenjoyable blessings we receive is this seemingly odd insertion that many of us may not find too appealing. Pain isn’t always easy to equate to something positive.

But it’s regarding this very issue that I was very recently reminded of my humbling shortfall. Depending on where you’re reading this from, your experience will most probably dictate the weight of your conviction. As for me, it was a rude awakening, yet one I highly receive and value. I almost wish that it’s just my memory that doesn’t serve me well, but, as far as I can remember, the worst suffering I’ve ever experienced in connection with me being a believer has to do with personal insults: mockery, indifference, rejection, loss of friends. They hurt, and although it may be hard to accept, those experiences may have caused me some kind of intimidation that’s why I don’t share the Good News as frequently as needed.

What brought me some kind of godly “shame” are the sufferings of other believers. The Apostle Paul was imprisoned several times, whipped so many times—he lost count, faced death repeatedly, lashed several times, beaten with rods several times, stoned almost to death once, shipwrecked several times, was always in danger of death, and finally—beheaded. Add to this the prophets before him. One was sawed in two; some were struck with the sword; they left their homes and wandered in deserts and mountains and lived in caves and holes in the ground. Add to this the other apostles: thrown down from a high edifice and smashed with a club, struck with a spear, beheaded, crucified upside down… we get the idea. Add to this our brothers and sisters living in other countries who are under a continuous threat of persecution, imprisonment, torture and even death.

Should I add mine on the list, I can’t help but feel that my share of this “honor” looked anything but pathetic. I know that we’re not competing with each other as to who suffers the most, but I humbly admit,  there’s a need for me to step up a notch in the way I live and serve our Lord—and not to be intimidated into silence by these very small share of sufferings I may potentially add to my honors.

Temples of the Holy Spirit

1-corinthians-6-19-temples-of-the-holy-spirit

1 Corinthians 6:19   (KJV)   19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

The more we realize that God cares about us as a whole, the better we appreciate and treat ourselves. It’s true: God cares for the spiritual part of our being more than our bodies, but He does care for our bodies. Many people are not aware of how God has brought a very high honor and value to our bodies. He has, He has made us His possessions; He made our bodies His dwelling place—the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Everything we have is a generous gift from God. We don’t own our bodies; He does. We never owned it to start with; I don’t remember paying heaven a single penny to purchase them. Praise God for His super-gracious gift; we can never afford them in the first place. God’s been very good to us. In the middle of a culture that looks at anything material as evil, He elevated our bodies to that of the holy. We’re fully and gratefully aware of that—humbled because of God’s great love and kindness.

Now, we offer our bodies to Him as living sacrifices—holy and acceptable to Him. We keep away from sacrilegious thoughts, desires, words, and actions. He is holy; His temple is holy. We honor Him with it. There are things necessary for its survival although they may be temporal. We eat, and even that is God-honoring, although food perishes. But we employ great care and wisdom in our choices. Immoral, wrong, ungodly, and evil choices are absolute taboos. There are many other things we engage in, but we utilize our bodies in accordance with the honor God has given them. We engage in what are beneficial, constructive, inspiring, loving, and God-glorifying.

Best is Better than Good

1 Samuel 28:2   (KJV)   And David said to Achish, Surely thou shalt know what thy servant can do. And Achish said to David, Therefore will I make thee keeper of mine head for ever.

Being a keeper of a king’s head isn’t too bad – imagine being a personal bodyguard of a king – that ought to be an honorable position. But, what may be a really good thing may not be the best thing. David has already been chosen by God to be a king; he has already been anointed by the prophet Samuel as God’s personally chosen replacement for King Saul.

A lot of times, we find ourselves in situations when we forget our God-given destiny. The immediate satisfaction becomes a distraction from our great future. We get ourselves in tight predicaments and just not to be in bigger trouble, any good offer becomes a great offer.  We swallow what’s fed us never knowing that it’s poisoning our tomorrow.

Never believe that we will never be afforded with choices without undue pressure. When these opportunities come, let’s choose wisely. Let’s use both our hearts and minds. Never lose sight of what God wants us to become and who God wants us to be. Let’s not our present passions blind us from our future promises. The trend of the culture can pressure us to hurry ourselves. Somehow, we ought to be like everyone else. Let’s not forget: the Lord’s plans for us are almost always different from the ways of the world. They’re always better than the world’s. Good is good, but best is best. Choose well.

Praise You Father; You’re perfect! You’re the best!!! Thank You for always desiring what’s best for us. Please help us to be wise and discerning. Help us that we won’t ever trade our spiritual birthrights to a “bowl of stew.” We may be passionately hungry for something right now, and we may feel it’s very important for us to satisfy our present passion. But may we always remember: Your offers and plans for us are way better than our passions – unless our passion is You, in Jesus’ Name, amen.