Favor in All

Nehemiah 2:5   (KJV)   5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

For Nehemiah, the king’s pleasure mattered; him being pleasing to the king mattered; and the city of his fathers mattered.

8x10 LandscapeGod is concerned most about our eternal destiny, investments, and existence. And that’s absolutely appropriate because heavenly things are incalculably more valuable than any temporal matter. But the wonderful thing about our Lord is that His love and concern for us covers every area of our lives. He’s concerned about our attitudes not just toward Him but toward other people. He’s concerned about our relationship with others. He’s concerned about our heart of worship, our way of worship, and also our places of worship—including the bricks and concrete parts of it.

Our loving God and Father, you’ve created us; You have given us everything for life and godliness; You’ve given us everything for our enjoyment. We appreciate all of them. Help us Lord not to get our priorities wrongly. We set You far and high apart from everything else as our Lord and King Who sits on the throne of our hearts. We pray that we won’t be lured into having anything else ever coming close to occupying that position.

We also pray that we will appreciate and enjoy all your other blessings although they’re not as important as the Blesser and eternal things. You’ve given us loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, our church family, our church building, our houses, cars, clothes, food and drink. Thank You for all of them. To us, they are expressions of who You are—your generosity, and Your love.

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Good News; Great Joy

Luke 2:10   (KJV)   10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2.10 - Good News - Great JoyJesus’ incarnation is good tidings. It’s good news, not bad; it’s good news of great joy, not of deep sadness; it’s offered to all people, not just a few.

When one realizes it, there really is no gift greater than Jesus; there’s no experience more valuable than being saved; there’s nothing that brings joy to hearts of people greater than having Jesus living in us, being 100% sure of spending eternal existence in the presence of the One Who loves us most and we love most in a perfect place.

Salvation is God’s free gift for all. We have received Him. We now enjoy all the wonderful blessings included in the saved life. No life compares to the life of the saved. No greater love, no greater joy, no greater peace. It’s a life of one blessing upon another. All sufferings, persecutions, and trials associated with godly living are dwarfed by the glorious favors God has for us—here, and even more so, in eternity.

Observing God

Psalm 107:43   (KJV)   43 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

People who are wise intentionally observe God’s nature, character, and works. And we don’t do it just for knowledge. We carve them deep in our hearts and our memory. When we do, the more and the clearer we see.

Psalm 107.43 - Observing GodWe are surrounded by wonders and beauty. Life is beautiful; this, considering even the fact that many suffer much. Others miss out on so many blessings just because either they see only bad things, or they’re just passive about everything. Let’s engage our minds and hearts, our eyes and the rest of our senses. We’ll see that our blessings are way much more than our trials and troubles.

God has given everything for our enjoyment. We have an almighty and ever-loving heavenly Father. Let’s appreciate Him. He fills our lives with good things. He redeems us, sustains us, and preserves us.  Let us as His redeemed tell others about it. He satisfies our hunger and thirst. He frees us from prison bars of misery and delivers us from all other bondage. He heals us and saves us in times of trouble. He gives us strength in times of weariness; He’s our shelter in times of storm; He’s our mighty fortress, our impenetrable shield, the immovable rock. We sleep at night and wake up in the morning because the Lord sustains us, giving us new strength to carry out all our day’s tasks…………………………..

God is good; God is great—and more. This we understand.

New Things Waiting

Isaiah 48:6   (KJV)   Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.

God isn’t finished with us yet. His callings are irrevocable; He doesn’t change His mind about them, but it doesn’t mean God is stuck with them when it comes to His dealings Isaiah 48.6 - New Things Awaitingwith us. He continues to show us new things—things we don’t have clues about.

We have a very creative God; He Is That He Is. He’s an ever present God. He’s not and will never be stuck in the past. He doesn’t disclose or pour out everything He has for us all at once; otherwise, we’ll be overwhelmed; we may break or explode. He reveals them, slowly, in His perfect timing.

King Solomon wrote: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). This may seem like a contradiction but it isn’t. What God slowly unveils to us may not be new “under the sun” but they may be new to us. I love the fact that our Father has got everything already covered. New discoveries and inventions may have people’s names attached to them, but the Lord really is the ultimate Source of everything. People discover what they discover because they are there to discover. People succeed in their inventions because working and consistent laws are already in place; God gives the ideas; God gives the understanding.

So we faithfully live out the truths we already know. We’re fully content. But contentment and stagnation aren’t the same. We keep walking—forward in our journey as His children—in contentment and rest, always expecting new things from the throne room of our God and Father. It doesn’t matter how old we are; we’re still alive. This means our heavenly Father still has new things awaiting us—one layer after the other. We’re excited.

Love and Power

Ephesians 3:19   (KJV)   19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

One of the ways we can be filled with all the fullness of God is by knowing the love of Christ. Although his love is beyond full comprehension, it isn’t beyond partial comprehension. And God has given us the wisdom we need so we can keep growing in Romans 3.19 - Love and Powerour knowledge and understanding of His love: in its width, length, height, and depth. God want us to live out His fullness; we want to live out the fullness of life and power that He gives us. Knowing, experiencing, living out and living in the love of our Lord Jesus has a direct correlation with living out God’s life and power.

Some believers often have “unspoken” preference between power and fruit of the Holy Spirit; they emphasize one over the other. Perish the thought that I’m implying what they’re doing is wrong. Personally, I conscientiously try my best to teach the importance of both. Both have its merits, both are important to God. Both are connected. God strengthens us with His Spirit and invites us to a greater understanding of His love so we can live in His strength and power, and do so with love as our motivation.

People, especially the lost, need to see the reality of God. In our particular generation, there are many who would no longer listen to reason. There are so many who are set in their beliefs—reasonable or unreasonable. Many are no longer open and willing to dialogue. Blindness is so prevalent. Lies are rampant, acceptable, and promoted in order to support and push their beliefs and agenda. It’s in this milieu that manifestations of unconditional love and miraculous power of God through us may have greater impact. Reason, love, power—all these are important; God has given and made them all available to us; we utilize all of them, and we grow in all of them.

 

Spiritually-Minded

Romans 8:6   (KJV)  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

As God’s children, we think godly thoughts. We enjoy life and peace now, and we’re looking forward to life and peace with our Father for eternity. We understand we still have choices. We believers don’t lose our free will even after surrendering the throne of Competitionour lives to our Lord Jesus. We choose the focus of our thoughts. We’re also very much aware of the huge implications and repercussions of our choices. Our heavenly Father doesn’t spoil His children.

I pray that this won’t be an issue of intrigue; my prayer rather is that it will be a thought to at least ponder on. Jesus has already borne the penalty of our sins on the cross. In fact He Who knew no sin was made sin for us. That Jesus has taken the death penalty for us is an absolute truth. What is this death then that results from being carnally minded? It’s easy to choose one and reject the other. In doing so, others explain away whatever they prefer to reject.

Forbid the thought that they would question the efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, so the trend is to deal with the death that results from carnal-mindedness. We’ve heard others interpret and teach that as death of a physical kind. And there’s no doubt, some sinful or even wrong choices can reap physical death as a consequence. But although there’s truth in it, it also misses the fact that physical death also comes even to the spiritually-minded people.

On the other hand, if the consequence of our godly thinking is life of the physical kind, what’s the necessity since we’re already physically alive? Unless it simply means continuation of our physical existence in our present condition, the other and I believe the more logical conclusion is that it also refers to life of spiritual kind. This becomes obvious when looking at the context of the passage. The entire chapter deals very much with our spirits. Without disrespect or preference of any denominational distinctive, we can safely conclude: 1. It’s absolutely and undeniably true that Jesus paid the sin-penalty of death; 2. It is also absolutely true that to be carnally minded—having our sinful nature control our mind—is or leads to death.

Whatever each of us believe; we may not all agree on one line of understanding, but the non-negotiable mandate or exhortation we can all agree and focus on is this: shun sinful nature that produces sinful thoughts, and yield to the precious Holy Spirit Who produces good, spiritual, right, and godly thoughts.

Vengeance isn’t Ours

1 Samuel 24:12   (KJV)   12 The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

We can trust God’s justice; justice will be served, either here or in eternity.  Vengeance on our part is non-negotiable; vengeance belongs to the Lord; it’s never ours to exact.  To not see justice right away doesn’t mean it won’t happen. True, even our very own justice 1 Samuel 24.12 - Vengeance isn't Ourssystem—even those who do their best, even those who really approach it without biases—make mistakes. God’s justice makes sense of His call for us to love our enemies and be good to those who wrong us.

We’ve heard it repeatedly: “Life’s unfair.” There’s truth in that statement, if this is all there is in life, if there’s no existence beyond earth, if there’s no Sovereign Ruler Who will judge everyone someday. Sometimes we see His justice executed right away with our very own eyes; sometimes, He seems so quiet. But we rest assured in the fact that it’s not over until He says it’s over, until He gives His last Word.

We don’t want to personally avenge ourselves and hurt people; that’s not a prerogative left to us, and understandably so. Why? It’s because most often, we don’t really aim for justice, we want to do worst. Besides, we don’t know all the factors at play. We don’t really know the entire motivation, the details of the situation, weight of the temptations and provocations.  God alone can be trusted of perfect justice. For now, we act and react the way He tells us to: with love and mercy. With those, we can never go wrong.