Giving and Receiving?

Luke 6:38   (KJV)   38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Clearly, giving and receiving, sowing and reaping are Scriptural principles. To remind ourselves again: our giving is motivated by love. We don’t give so we can receive. The Luke 6.38 - Giving and Receivingsowing part though? We don’t want to be hypocritical ever, but the truth though is: when farmers sow, it’s for the purpose of harvesting. I guess it’s not wrong to believe or anticipate harvest as long as love is our underlying motive in all we do.

Although this principle is often associated with material things, it goes way beyond that. This is true with other very important factors in Christian life. Because we believe it, it’s much easier to obey our precious Lord, even in His commands that the world sees as very unfair.

We sow love; we reap love. That’s right. That’s why we can love our enemies; that’s why we can do good even to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who hurt us. As we sow love, and blessing, good deeds, prayer, mercy, etc., we can expect to receive them in “harvest” measures. Remember, what we harvest is multiplied times greater than the seeds we sow.

Through this, our uniqueness shines brighter. We get to show our difference as children of the most High Who loves even the most rebellious among us.

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Our Shepherd and God

Ezekiel 34:31   (KJV)   31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.

Ezekiel 34.31 - Our Shepherd and GodBecause the Lord is our shepherd, we’re one blessed flock.

The most caring, most loving, most powerful being is watching over us. We’ll find no greater assurance and comfort than that.

Either as sheep or as human beings, we’re wonderfully blessed to have the LORD as our Shepherd and our God.  We are not always as wise; we’re very dependent; we have lots of limitations; we get lost very easily; we need lots of help. Praise God, our Shepherd is the best Shepherd there is. He’s a good Shepherd. Where He leads us, we follow. Why not? He feeds us, guides us, leads us, protects us, loves us…

Love in Judgment

Ezekiel 11:16   (KJV)   16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.

Even when God finally judges us or disciplines us, even when we’re suffering the unpleasant consequences of our foolish choices, even when we find ourselves in non-ideal situations, God’s love and grace never stops.

Ezekiel 11.16 - Love in JudgmentThe immeasurable abundance of God’s love and grace can’t be denied; they’re very obvious; we’re surrounded by them and our experiences are inundated with them. But there comes a time when He finds it wise to discipline us, or judge us.

He doesn’t delight in resorting to punishment; He’s slow to anger and He doesn’t execute judgment right away the moment we sin. He patiently does so many things in so many ways to get our distracted attention and correct our brazen rebellion. He tries—over and over and over… He’s a God of second chances; that’s so true, and yet in so many cases, that’s a very obvious understatement.

When we sincerely repent, He forgives us; He doesn’t hold grudges. But I admit, despite our most earnest intentions, we still fail Him. From the time we’ve surrendered our lives to Him until now, how many times has He forgiven us? Second chance—it’s more like millions of chances. So His love, mercy, grace, patience—all these can’t be questioned. When He finally judges people or nations, it’s because that’s the only recourse left if there is any possibility of waking up to the reality of their utter ungodliness.

Even in the middle of judgment, and/or punishment, and/or discipline, God is still calling, wooing, drawing, expecting the rebellious to finally come to their senses and turn back to Him. Of course, there are those who persist in their stubbornness, but there are those who wake-up and realize the terrible state they’re in.  But as for God, He longs that His people be restored instead of destroyed. Even in the middle of judgment, there’s mercy, there’s grace, there’s a promise, there’s hope. What a God!!!

Love, Rebuke, Chastening

Revelation 3:19   (KJV)   19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

God’s love neither contradicts nor eliminates rebuke and chastening; in fact, it’s His love that necessitates them. We don’t hate or reject those loving actions of our Father, as unpleasant as they may be while we’re in them. Instead, we welcome them with open Revelation 3.19 - Love, Rebuke, Chasteninghands, heart, and mind. And we take the necessary actions to correct whatever needs correction.

We’re not only accepting of God’s rebuke and discipline; we’re humbly grateful and appreciative of them. We don’t just tolerate them; we celebrate them. And we don’t drag our feet forcing ourselves to respond and to change; we’re zealous of growing in the likeness of our precious Lord Jesus. We willingly and quickly turn away from thoughts, actions, and choices He forbids. We understand: lack of desire and passion to leave ways that break our Fathers’ heart needs dumping in itself.

Hmmm; let’s see; we repent from Lukewarnness; we want to be hot—on fire for God—passionately loving and serving Him. No, it’s not cool to be “spat out” by Dad; that’s horrible. We repent from materialism, from close-mindedness, from spiritual ineptitude; we pursue Him, eternal and imperishable treasures, wisdom, and spiritual maturity. We repent from evil, unrighteousness, and ungodliness. We choose the good, right, and godly.

Mercy, Blessings, Pleasure

Psalm 67:1   (KJV)   67 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

Psalm 67.1 - Mercy, Blessing, PleasurePraise God, He’s willing to grant us mercy, to bless us, to delight in us. We come to Him humbly and boldly and pray for those things knowing that our loving God and Father desires to give them to us.

To live in His mercy, blessings, and pleasure is to live an incomparably and indescribably wonderful life. We don’t live under God’s judgment, lack, and rejection. He ably spares us from continuous pain-filled tears and utter restlessness. We don’t fear destruction, displacement, and disaster.

Those of us who fully trust in God fully rest in Him, surrounded with comforting and encouraging songs of deliverance, we bravely face every situation in life; we don’t cower from our enemies; in fact, we love them. The threat of terror may abound, but because God is within us, those who insidiously plan evil against us are the ones caught in their own snares.

Because of God’s mercy, we don’t have to fear a nation’s or even this world’s impending doom. The slowest among us run swiftly, the weakest among us are infused with divine strength. Because of God’s blessings, we are not in want. We don’t fear famine or plague. We may be laid-off from our jobs, our businesses may not pick-up, our friends may turn their backs from us, but our God provides us all our needs. Because of His pleasure, we live above pressure. We don’t live for the pleasure of people. We can’t please everybody all the time anyway. We don’t need to please everyone, we just please One, and that One is more and greater than everyone.

Through us, others see the beauty and wonders of God, His handiwork, His ways, His salvation.

Of Tolerance and Love

John 4:9   (KJV)   9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

We have our own uniqueness as believers. There are things we do very differently: unexpected actions; uncommon ways. We love everyone, care for everyone, and desire John 4.9 - Of Tolerance and Loveeveryone to be saved. We’re not called to just tolerate; we’re called to love everyone.

A discriminating Christian is a contradiction. Looking down on others for so many reasons is the way of the world—even of the most ardent activists against discrimination. It seems like the prevalent attitude is: “Don’t discriminate against us, but we’ll discriminate against anyone who disagrees with us.” Not so with believers.

We love everyone: men, women, young, old, brown, yellow, black, white, rich, poor, theists, atheists, Republicans, Democrats, believers, unbelievers, and the differences go on—ad infinitum. Not everyone shares the same conviction. There are those who overtly and proudly wear their badge of discrimination. Then there are those who zealously march for tolerance while having no problem zealously silencing and violently attacking those who share a different view.

As God’s very own unique people, we are hated, but even then, our call doesn’t change: we love everyone—even those who hate us, even our enemies. We are surprising to many people. It doesn’t matter how much others try to paint a very dark picture of us, we just keep on shining. And the darker things get, our lights just shine more brightly.

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.