God’s Surprising Ways

Habakkuk 1:5   (KJV)   5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

Our God is a sovereign God. He is a creative God. He’s not bound to anything or anyone, not even to the ways He’s done things in the past. In fact, the Lord will do something new Habakkuk 1.5 - God's Surprising Waysin our nations, something wonderful and marvelous. It will be so amazing that it will be so hard to believe if we are told about it now.

Godlessness pervades our nations. We find it in every corner and facet of society. Lies, deception, and fake news are everywhere. But our just and loving God don’t just sit idly by. He won’t allow the righteous to be caught in insidious plots and deadly traps of the enemy.

The wicked trusts in their own devices; they glory in their ability to deceive; they don’t realize that God watches over His people. They march boldy brandishing their banner of evil while gleefully setting up the righteous for a fall, not realizing that they’ll be caught in their own snares. The harm they plan for God’s people will boomerang to them.

God, our heavenly Father Who created this big, vast, inscrutable universe surprises His enemies. They can’t predict how He does things. We as His people, though surrounded by evil, live in peace. Our confidence is in the LORD. We’ve tasted and seen that the LORD is good. He never leaves us defenseless. We may not be sure as to the ways He delivers us, but we’re sure He always delivers us.

Even though lawlessness may exponentially increase, even though our economy may suddenly collapse, even though our freedom may be greatly threatened, even though God’s people are constantly harassed, we will neither fear nor be dismayed. We will find our joy and our peace in the God of our provision and protection. He is our strength; He establishes our steps. After all is said and done, everyone will recognize: God is God. He continually governs in the affairs of man. He rules over all nations. The lives of kings and queens, presidents and rulers are in His hands. Every knee will bow, and every eye will see: He is Lord. So yes; we’re at peace—always ready to be amazed by our Father’s new yet always astonishing interventions.

“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.

On Leaders/Teachers and Words

James 3:1   (KJV)   1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

This sounds like trying to dissuade believers from becoming masters, leaders, or teachers. The obvious reason is given: those who are have greater responsibilities, James 3.1 - On Leaders-Teachers and Wordsgreater accountabilities, greater condemnation or stricter judgment.

The way the chapter progresses is very interesting; it’s followed by quite a strong discourse about how uncontrollable our tongues are. Connecting the introductory passage about being very cautious in aspiring to be leaders/teachers, to the context, we may say that since words of leaders/teachers matter a lot and carry a lot of weight and influence, we ought to really consider and really pray earnestly if it’s something we truly desire for ourselves and it’s a weight we we’re willing to carry on our shoulders.

For us leaders/teachers, we are all the more watchful of our tongues. We can never underestimate the damage it would cause. That’s why we avoid engaging in conversations about disputable matters. Often, those conversations lead us to speaking derogatorily—cursing—our brothers and sisters with the very same lips we praise our Lord and Father with. We are called to be humble even in the use of our words. We are to conduct ourselves with wisdom that flows from above—the kind of wisdom that’s peace-loving and gentle at all times. We ought to be peacemakers.

How sad that leaders/teachers have engendered many of our quarrels and divisions in the body of our precious and loving Lord Jesus because of our very incendiary words against each other. To the leaders, I implore: let’s watch our words. Let them be words of love, truth, unity, humility, and peace. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I would rather not lead and teach.

God’s Love and God’s Leaders

2 Chronicles 2:11   (KJV)   11 Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.

God raising a good leader demonstrates His love for His people.  The question arises: “If God ordains who rules, why then aren’t all leaders godly?  In fact, it seems like God’s own Old Covenant people had more evil rulers than godly ones.”  That’s absolutely true.  Dream SpeechThere is no question about God’s love for everyone—good and bad alike.  In fact, that’s how He so beautifully demonstrated His love for us: when we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.

God loves everyone; sad to say, not everyone loves God.  God desires that all men be saved; not all will be saved.  His grace is available to all; not everyone avails of His grace.  Those truths don’t mean His character changes; He never does; His love is constant.  He always desires the best for His people.  That’s why through His Holy Spirit, He continues to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  He wants everyone to turn to Him and experience life that’s full and super abundant.

Through history, we’ve seen how God raised up good leaders among rebellious people.  Those leaders become God’s catalysts for revival.  God can do that. Why, it’s because He’s ultimately in control. He loves even the worst of us and wants us to repent and return to Him.  If He chooses a leader as the influence to turn the tide towards godliness, so be it.  We rejoice when the righteous leads, or at least, the more righteous of the choices.  Our perception about our leaders are governed by our precious Lord and His values.  Our devotion is to Him.  We choose what’s good, what’s right, and what’s godly, and we don’t have to guess as to our basis for them; we have God’s Word.  Praise God for His direction, for His truth, and for allowing us to see clearly.

The Nation’s Hope

Psalm 125:3   (KJV)   3 For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity.

God’s supreme governance over the affairs of humanity or the entire creation is a source of the many encouragements and comforts we as believers have. We do have differences of choices when it comes to who shall lead a nation. The choice becomes hard when you have psalm-125-3-the-nations-hopeto choose between two godly candidates. But it becomes an easy decision when choosing between one that stands for more evil and one that stands for more good.

There comes a seeming threat when the majority favors the ungodly choice. That’s why we rejoice in God’s sovereignty. He makes the determination as to who to set up as the head of a nation. Another very reassuring reason to rejoice is the basis—at least one of them—as to who God chooses. He bases it on the people, more specifically, His people. When the land is identified more as of the righteous, God makes sure the wicked’s rod won’t hold sway.

He cares for the righteous—His people. He leads us not into temptation. He knows our frame; He remember that we are dust with much frailties. He’d rather not get us close to the mouths of roaring lions looking to devour us. That’s why we pray that we get our acts together. We as His people humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways—sincerely, truly. As He promises, He hears, forgives us, and heals our land.

Delegate

acts-14-23-delegateActs 14:23   (KJV)   23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

The Lord’s yoke is wonderfully easy and His burden is delightfully light. He always provides ways, means, and people to come alongside us and alleviate our heavy loads. We don’t have to unnecessarily stress though life; God would rather have us enjoy it, that’s why He has given us everything for life, godliness, and enjoyment. He’s such a good Father. One of the ways He lightens our overwhelming tasks is by raising other able leaders to take on responsibilities which otherwise would be ours.

At times it’s very difficult to let go of some work; we’d rather do them ourselves, especially those of us who have some kind of perfectionist slant. We want to do them as perfectly as possible. When we delegate projects, there is always the possibility of them falling short of our “high” standards. We’ve experienced this many times over. There’s always the possibility of them seeing and valuing the work differently. The details we see as very important may be seen by others in totally devalued level. It’s often hard to trust others and to entrust valuable tasks to them. But we still delegate. Why? It’s because our trust is in the Lord; we trust the Lord for them.

If the work they do is below par, well then, perhaps it may not be necessary for their work to be “perfect” as we expect. This doesn’t mean entrusting something to someone who doesn’t know anything. No; we entrust them to others who we know do the job well. Often, these are people we’ve mentored. This takes on an infinitely much greater importance when the task has to do with the eternal, heavenly, and spiritual. We don’t compromise this; souls are too much to risk. We disciple people; we guard them “like a hawk,” and watch them “like an eagle.” I’m not too sure about those expressions, but you understand what I mean. We faithfully mentor believers to healthy growth.  One day, they’ll receive the baton from us, and when that day comes, they’re ready. We entrust very crucial roles to them; we trust God for them; our load lightens, and we’re released to venture farther.

In Control

Daniel 2:21   (KJV)   21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

As His children, we’re not afraid of what’s happening in the world. In God’s inscrutable wisdom, He’s in control of the course of human history without controlling it. The end will be as He planned it, yet people are free to make their own choices. We may not fully understand why He chooses and/or allows certain individuals to rule; if the choice is ours, we’ll do everythidaniel-2-21-in-total-controlng to stop some of them from ever getting into position of power and influence. But God’s wisdom transcends ours. The good thing is, He’s given us far more than sufficient assurances to know that He’s always right and always good. He knows what He’s doing perfectly well; He’s perfect, and His ways are perfect.

Wisdom and power belongs to God. Praise God for allowing us to share a slice of that. That’s why we enjoy knowledge, reason, strength, mobility, health, and wholeness. And unlike a lot of people who question Him, we know our place.  A fly will never understand the extent of the universe. Honestly, will all our intellectual abilities, advancements, explorations, and discoveries, it’s a scientific admission: we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the universe. That’s why we know the fallacy of arrogance against God, and the wisdom of acknowledging His greatness. It will be ludicrous for a fly to question the existence of God. In the context of the vastness and grandeur of creation, we’re really not that different from a fly.

In His perfect timing, everyone will see His sovereignty and rule. There’s never a time when He ever felt threatened, never a time when He ever lost control. All His opponents are so small to pose any kind of threat. There lies our encouragement, peace, and hope. Despite the twists and turns in history: wars and peace, victories and defeats, conquering and being conquered, freedom and captivity, riches and poverty, order and chaos, proponents and opponents, progressions and regressions, construction and destruction, life and death, etc., they all lead to one direction—one absolute culmination, that of God’s, that of our Father’s: the end He planned from the very beginning. In that fact, we live worry-free; we’re calm; we’re cool, and collected; we’re relaxed; we’re rested.

Messenger to the Nations

Jeremiah 1.10 - Messenger to NationsJeremiah 1:10   (KJV)   10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

As God’s appointed messengers, we are part of God’s supreme authority and work. He has the power to establish or destroy any nation, kingdom, or entity. As His representatives or spokespeople, we partake of that divine authority and power to do the same. Let’s be clear about it; by ourselves, there’s nothing we can do. It’s God Who works in and through us to do great exploits.

God in His foreknowledge initiated everything for us to be found in this honored position of authority—reigning with our precious Lord Jesus Christ in heavenly places. Young and old, rich and poor, men and women, boys and girls, people of all races, tribes, and nations—we all lovingly and boldly go out without trepidation, we face whoever the person, whatever the nation, whatever the situation. Again, it’s because we know that God watches over us, is in us, and is always with us.

There comes a time when a nation continuously rebels and fights against God—the very Power Who birthed them. There comes a time when our voice seems suppressed and we are the enemy. This doesn’t change our reality: God is our strength. He is our fortress. He’s our impenetrable Shield; we’re always protected. So we speak against the evils of a nation—before the rulers, before the “influencers.” They don’t like us; they attack us, but we remain—strong, fearless, steadfast, unmoved. Why? It’s because God never fails; He takes care of us, and will never stop doing so.

Immovable Oppositions

Numbers 16:41  (KJV)   41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.

There are those who are determined to oppose their leaders. It didn’t matter if the Lord Himself took the lives of the people who were rebelling against God’s appointed authorities; it didn’t matter if the rebels suffered a terrible end, these oppositions failed to see God’s hand and the fate of the other oppositions. They ludicrously proceeded to accusing and blaming God’s servant.

God’s servants ought to expect overly closed-minded oppositions. God can show them the most convincing proofs there are and not even move them to have a slight change in their mindset. Let’s not waste our precious time, energy and effort chasing what may be a lost cause. We can get so tired trying to gain a more favorable opinion and treatment from others. When others have made up their minds and have determined not to change their thoughts about us, we can exhaust all the different ways we can try; and the end will just be that: us – exhausted.

Our God, You know everyone’s heart. Please give us a heart of discernment that we may know who our true friends and real enemies are.  Lead us to the paths of wisdom that we may use time beneficially with those whose hearts and minds are tender, willing to still be changed by the power of your Presence and Word. – In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Surviving Leadership Threats

Exodus 17:4  (KJV)    And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

Moses was a clear-cut God-picked leader. God backed him up with super-sized miracles – a lot of them. He received a divine leadership validation extraordinaire. Despite all that, because of a new problem, the Israelites wanted to kill Him. I mean, forget all the nation-liberating, empire-humbling miracles; forget about the Nile turning to blood, hails, death of the firstborn of the “enemies,” parting of the Sea of Reeds and the complete annihilation of the charging Egyptian armies – all through the power of God. They didn’t have water to drink. Understandable. Without it, they’ll all eventually die. It was a real problem. But the greater real problem was that they forgot that God had been solving their way bigger than “we don’t have water to drink” problems. But that comes within the territory of God-called leaders or ministers. Moses had forgetful, ungrateful, hateful EGR (extra-grace required) few or many in the flock. The God-called, God-backed, God-empowered, God-validated leader had many of them – approximately 2 million men, plus women and children.

We need to accept it; we have to expect it; we will have people the Lord has placed under our care who will be pains in the neck, and head, and stomach – thorns in our flesh – if you may. The presence of complains, and criticisms, and even death-threats neither nullifies nor disproves God’s call in our lives as His laborers or leaders. We ought to be prepared for them. If there’s none like them, praise God; if there are, praise God. Instead of acting like them – forgetting God and all His wonderful works in and through our journey with Him, instead of retaliating to them – criticizing them and threatening to kill them as well, we ought to keep our eyes on God. He has always came through for us before; He will always come through for us.

Our Miracle-Working, Problem-Solving God, may we always find it a joy to serve you, never wavering that no matter what challenges we face – from situations and from people, You will enable us; You will equip us, because You have called us, in Jesus’ Name, amen.