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.

Strongly Deluded

2 Thessalonians 2:11   (KJV)   11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

For God to send strong delusion for people to believe lies sounds very “unGodlike.” But the statement isn’t a point blank no-context declaration.  The people God causes to be greatly deceived are those who refuse to love the truth.  They refuse the truth that saves.  2 Thessalonians 2.11 - Strongly DeludedWe may ask, why doesn’t God send them stronger convincing proofs and truths?  He already has, and He knows no greater revelation will convince them otherwise.

As sad as it may be, there are people we lovingly and sincerely pray for, but they’re just implacably set in their ways.  No amount of dialogue, conversations, love, reason, or evidence will make them change their minds.  They pursue their godless ways, influence others to doing the same, and even invent new ways to do evil.  In God’s patience, wisdom, justice, and gentleness, He lets them be, and turns them over to reprobate minds.

We won’t give up praying for everyone, no matter how hopeless, hardheaded, and hardhearted they may seem.  We don’t know if they’re unyielding; only God does.  We’ve often been surprised by God’s Spirit.  We’ve witnessed the most hardened criminals and even the most “hell-bent” terrorists come to their senses, humble themselves before God, and bow their knees to Him in full trust and surrender.  Most of us probably didn’t believe the first time we heard the Gospel.  We can’t really count the number of times Jesus through His Spirit knocked on the doors of our hearts before we finally opened up and invited Him to reside in us.

Praise God, He didn’t give up on us. Praise God, people didn’t stop praying for us.  We may have been considered cold, hardheaded, hardhearted, and inconvincible as well, but the “Hound of Heaven,” with His stubborn love, didn’t let go of us.  But here we are now—fruits of God’s love, patience, grace, and mercy, enjoying the blessings of those who met Him heart to heart, Spirit to spirit,” and soon, face to face.

Protection from Lies

Psalm 12:6   (KJV)   The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

God’s Words—His promises are true; they’re absolutely dependable. And that’s very comforting knowing He promised protection for His oppressed people. We desperately psalm-12-6-protection-from-liesneed the protection of the Almighty. We’re definitely the underdogs, sheep among wolves, the few who walk the straight and narrow. We’re the minority, and though we may be growing, we’re still way much smaller in proportion to those walking the broad way and entering the wide gate.

People living with no regard to His Words are increasing very quickly. To them, lying is a trend, a weapon they use to attack the righteous. There are those on the side of evil—knowingly or unknowingly—who are furiously against the godly. But God sees everything; He hears both their lies and our cries. And our powerful loving God promised to rescue us. I believe Him. We are and will be protected; we are and will be preserved.

Essential Truths

Matthew 13:55-57  (KJV)   55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

The known truth may not be the whole truth. People were offended with Jesus because of their insufficient knowledge about Him. Everything they knew about Him was true but they didn’t know everything true about Him. They missed out on what was very important; they had a wrong conclusion; they had a wrong reaction. What a huge miss.

Never make important decisions and conclusions unless we know we have the essential truths. I’m not suggesting that we can know the whole truth about anything, but we at least need to know what’s necessary to make an informed, wise, and appropriate decision. Let’s not take this lightly; some decisions in are life altering; some decisions are eternal life altering. They’re totally worth our time investment for further investigations.

Just imagine missing out on the very solution to our biggest crisis just because we dismiss it as something useless a little bit too early. That’s really sad. Also, let’s not be so quick to conclude something as “either – or” when the answer could be “both.” How many errors have been formulated and how many cults have been birthed; how many important matters have been wasted just because we quickly chose one or the other when we could have chosen both?

Many failed to see Jesus as God’s Messiah. They waited for the conquering king but turned a blind eye to the suffering servant. How many resigned to choosing between the humanity and the divinity of Jesus? The Bible somehow presents Him as both man and God. Why choose between faith and grace? Why choose between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will? Why choose between God of love and God of judgment? Why choose between fearing God and loving Him. Is He our Master or our Father? Point made; point taken – I hope.

Jesus is a lot more than whatever knowledge we possess about Him. Let’s keep on learning. We may need to love and appreciate and trust Him more. We need to know people better – even those who consider us their enemies. We may end up on the same camp when we’ve stepped into their world. We may see the deep and painful struggles they’re under. We may understand why they’ve been pushed into becoming this seemingly repulsive person they themselves couldn’t accept. Love truth. Many have won and many have lost in life’s cases just because some have made it their practice to have their bases covered. Truth – essential truths – sufficient truths – they’re our friends.

Our dear God, we praise You for being the Truth. Please remind as always not to jump into conclusions so quickly. Let us shed enough light into enough truth for us to make wise decisions all the time. And this, most especially when the truth we’re dealing with is about You and Your Words, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Firsthand Info

Acts 25:22  (KJV)   22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.

The visiting King Agrippa was informed by the then Governor Festus about the Apostle Paul and the situation at hand. The king didn’t carelessly jump into conclusion; he didn’t rashly give any opinion; he didn’t impulsively give Festus any advice; he wisely requested to hear Paul firsthand. Festus granted his request but not until the next day. There was no argument on the king’s part. He didn’t push for an immediate audience. He agreed to wait.

Much of the hurtful misunderstandings, destructive fights, wrong decisions and unfair judgments that have created so much chaos and havoc in relationships, both in familial and international scale, has been caused by unwillingness to check out things firsthand.  We  don’t process info properly. We hear something and we get affected. Now, that’s natural; what we hear will usually affect us. But it doesn’t mean we need to believe it and act on it immediately. Especially in dealing with really important or critical matters, we ought to make sure that we have all the info we can get to make a wise and fair judgment before jumping into any conclusion. Of course there are times when we don’t have the luxury of time to patiently gather all pertinent data. In most emergency scenarios, we need to make wise use of whatever facts readily available and act on them quickly. But if we have time, by all means: ask, listen, do research; we need to employ the valuable virtue of patience. It will lead us to right beliefs, right decisions, and right actions. And, it will spare us from many heartaches and headaches.

Dear God of truth and justice, please give us a heart that really pursues truth. Often, our judgments our clouded by our preferences. When a situation or an information favors our preference, we get overjoyed and under-informed. And with our unformed and incomplete basis, we march confidently forward only to find ourselves in very embarrassing position. Please remind us always that truth is our friend. Truth only threatens errors and lies. The more we find genuine materials that lead to further discoveries – the better. They may bring us closer to affirming truth we already believe in or to finding the truth that will save us from errors we may have held on to. Help us to have an attitude that is welcoming and approving of them. There are those who are in stark contrast with what we believe in. Help us to really love them and be friends to them. Many of them are on the same quest as we are. Although coming from different directions, we share the passion for the real deal: truth. – in Jesus’ Name, amen.