God Delights in Us

Psalm 149:4   (KJV)   4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

Two of the most assuring truths we enjoy as believers are that our heavenly Father takes pleasure in us, and that He beautifies us with salvation. Just imagine: the One great in Psalm 149.4 - God Delights in Uspower and glory, the One Who created this universe, the One Who’s in control of everything is happy with you and me. He’s not angry with us; He’s not our enemy; He’s not trying to do us harm; He’s not trying to destroy us or mess us up. In fact, He desires that our lives be beautiful.

We don’t needlessly struggle for people’s approval. It isn’t wrong to please others as well. We love them; we want them to be happy, but there are those who don’t respond positively whatever we do. There’s something they don’t like about us. Often, the very truth that we are believers is enough to disappoint them and make them treat us as enemies. Even those who like us now may not like us later. So we rest not in man’s favor but in God’s.

Dear God, thank You for taking pleasure in us and working out all things for our best. Because of You, life is really beautiful. And this isn’t just a movie title for us; it isn’t fiction; it’s reality. Only You can make that happen. May we never unrealistically expect that everyone will always like us. That would be setting ourselves up for huge disappointment and deep hurt. With people, we can never be sure of their reaction. With You, You never change. You love us—always. Thank You Father—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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No Fear of Bad News

Psalm 112:7   (KJV)   7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Bad news doesn’t scare believers. Our hearts and sights are set not on all the evil things going on around us; they’re steadily fixed on the Lord. Situations may be scary in the Psalm 112.7 - No Fear of Bad Newsnatural, but we always trust in our absolutely trustworthy God and Father. He’s always much bigger than our biggest problems and worst situations.

We don’t deny the existence of evil tidings. Bad things abound. They surround us. We live in an ever-darkening world that can’t stand what we stand for. There are enemies who don’t take it sitting down. They want to continue doing evil, and they won’t rest until they utterly get rid of the godly.

We live in peace. Goliaths of life are big, but God is bigger. We don’t deny evil, we face them head-on. We don’t take them lightly; evil and sin are serious matters. We don’t play around with them; to do so is to court disaster. No. We deal with them decisively and uncompromisingly. We don’t give in to them; we don’t surrender to them. We may be in the minority, but fewer doesn’t always mean weaker. We’re for God, thus, He’s for us; and “…If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Self Realization

Isaiah 6:5   (KJV)   5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

The prophet Isaiah realized the sobering truth of His wretchedness and gave at least two reasons for His clear realization and humble admission. The first reason he gave was the uncleanness of his lips. The interpretations of which vary, but we can generalize it as Isaiah 6.5 - Realization of Real Selfuncleanness. This uncleanness wasn’t only in his personal sphere but even communal—the people around him were also unclean. The second reason he gave was him seeing the Lord. Seeing the Lord in His majesty and utter holiness has that kind of effect.

The holiest of us, left to ourselves, are unclean. The unholy in the presence of the Most Holy isn’t a good scenario unless it’s a process of cleansing and forgiveness. No matter how highly people esteem themselves to be, no matter how self-righteous, how much better they see themselves to be in comparison to others, their exaggerated view of themselves will embarrassingly shrink when presented with the picture of their true state and presented before the presence of the one and only true holy God.

It’s a good first step though to humbly admit our spiritual bankruptcy. It’s those who realize the poverty in their spirit who receive the kingdom of heaven. It’s good to see Who the answer to our need is. He Who is Holy lovingly, willingly, graciously, and abundantly imparts His holiness to those who reach out to Him in full dependence and surrender. We’re hopeful even when we see what’s devastatingly wrong with us, knowing that Someone can make it wonderfully right.

Indestructible Stone

Matthew 21:44   (KJV)   44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Never fight against the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s a “no-win” position to take.  After all, He’s not a weakling that many people think He is.  True, people can speak very insulting and really bad words against Him, and they don’t get struck with a divinely-originated death Matthew 21.44 - Indestructible Stoneblow.  There are those who challenge Him without a seeming answer from heaven.  They conclude that either He’s not real, or He’s just not as powerful as people make Him out to be, or He’s a coward.  Some see Him as the helpless sheep brought to the slaughter.

The truth though:  yes, He came as God’s spotless Lamb, but there’s another side of him people don’t see, understand, or accept.  He is the Lamb of God;  He is also the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  Everything was created through Him.  And creation is way much bigger, greater, and mightier than us.  Whatever plan of attack, whatever strategy, whatever approach, whatever weapon, the end will be the same:  Jesus will always be standing—on top.

He is the Lord of hosts.  He is the victorious warrior.  It’s best that we be on His side—the winning side.  Understanding the end of everyone who dares challenge Him into a fight, we prefer what we have now: a love-relationship with our Lord, Savior, Father, and Friend.

 

The Real Champion

1 Samuel 17:45   (KJV)   45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

This is one of the best declarations and statement of faith we can find in the Word. While all the other professional armies cowered in the presence of a 9’ 6” giant enemy who was mocking them terribly, the young good-looking shepherd bravely answered the 1 Samuel 17.45 - The Real Championchallenge. He was obviously much less experienced in actual battles; he was definitely much smaller; he was unquestionably the underdog—in the natural. I love that qualifier: “in the natural.”

David wasn’t blind; he heard what the enemy said; he felt insulted by it, and he couldn’t believe why his fellow soldiers were just swallowing all the insults—not because they “loved” their enemies, but because they were scared. David saw beyond what everyone else did. He saw the giant, but he knew Someone bigger. He was aware that he was facing the Philistine champion, but He knew the LORD of heaven’s armies.

He knew his much greater advantage.  His enemy’s power was all limited to the natural: sword, spear, javelin; his dependence stretched higher than the heavens and greater than the universe.  He faced Goliath bearing the Name that is above every name. Goliath represented the Philistines, David represented his God. Oooh, there alone, we see who the clear winner is.  And that’s how we too are or can become winners.

The odds may be undeniably against us; the situation may look really bad; it may seem like there is no other end but our defeat or surrender; there may be a strong pull to raise our hands up or the white flag and say “I give up.”  But there is a realm we know is real; it’s a real part of our existence; there, our hope is endless. Our LORD God, the Jehovah-Nissi—the LORD our Banner—is our sure victory.

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!

True Messiah Has Been Born

Luke 2:11   (KJV)   11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The Savior has been born. We don’t have to wait anymore; the long awaited promise has already come. The Messiah—Christ—Anointed One has come. He’s the One Who brings Good News; in fact, He is the Good News. His given Name is Jesus, which means “The Lord luke-2-11-true-messiah-has-been-bornsaves.” He proclaims liberty to the captives; He brings sight to the blind; He sets the captives free, and He proclaims the arrival of God’s favor.

Sadly, there are so many people still longing and looking for the Messiah to come. Sadder still, there are also so many who are now following self-proclaimed messiahs. The true Messiah’s birth was heavenly initiated and orchestrated. Angel Gabriel brought the news to Mary; an angel spoke to Joseph in a dream; the Holy Spirit supernaturally overshadowed Mary and she had a supernatural conception—a virgin with child.

The Name alone is very telling: Jesus. The purpose of the Name says more: For He will save His people from their sins. What about the prophecy: “…They will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’?” So many things about Him are unexpectedly unique. His advent was surprisingly humble; His birth was surprisingly miraculous; the promises were surprisingly grand. The fulfillment was surprisingly precise. He is the one true Messiah.

The true Savior has been born. The Messiah, the Savior born is also the Lord. The angel told Mary something interesting when he told her about the Son to be born through her: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:31-33).” Yes, Jesus has come, but there’s a lot more to come.