Loving and Giving

Mark 12:33   (NLT)   And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

Love gives. Loving and giving are not mutually exclusive. True, we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. When a choice has to be made between the two, loving is absolutely more important than any giving, offering, or sacrifice we do for God.

Love-God-Love-OthersGod loves us tremendously that He gave us His only Son. A poor widow gave God her two mites— everything she had to live on. God gives us grace, mercy, forgiveness, and many other spiritual and material blessings too numerous to count. He gave us His word; He gives us instructions; He gives us comfort, provision, protection, His promises, His Name. He gives us His companionship—His presence—where we find joy and pleasure. He gives us resurrection; He gives us eternal life; He gives us life itself. He gives us love itself.

Love is never stingy. The person who loves you desires to lavish you with gifts. God has poured out so many blessings that we don’t even have enough room to contain them—not even enough room for memory—to recall all of them. When a person says he loves you but is stingy towards you, that is a cause for caution. A person who says he loves God but wouldn’t give to Him, to His work, and to His cause is questionable. The very reason why we can easily, willingly, lovingly, and cheerfully give to God is because we love Him. And we are called to do nothing less than loving our precious Lord God with everything we have, and everything we are, and express that love we have for Him to other people.



Living in His Promises

Numbers 14:8   (NLT)   And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.

How wonderful it is to know God leads us to a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Our precious Lord Jesus came with a purpose of giving us life and life abundantly—life full of purpose and meaning. Many of us have heard and quoted Jeremiah’s words telling Numbers 14.8 - Living in His Promisesus about the Lord’s plans that are good and not evil, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. I can’t help but sense a soul-refreshing comfort and assurance whenever I remember the Lord making us lie down in lush green meadows.

There are deterrents and oppositions to this. Many times, others have their own version of a land flowing with milk and honey. We’re careful because this can be true even with believers. Not everyone allows God’s Word to take deep and strong roots in their hearts. Simple trials make them look back to the immediate fun and pleasures of their past. Often, blindness kicks in. They lose sight of the obvious and powerful miracles and blessings God has brought them. Their once dreaded but endured past, their land of slavery and bondage, they see now as the land flowing with milk and honey.

But how pleasant it is to us who live for God’s pleasure. Despite all the obstacles, challenges, oppositions and enemies, despite our inabilities and limitations, God isn’t stopped; He brings us safely to His promise. Anything or anyone who gets in the way becomes a helpless prey to the promise. The presence of hurdles before us is trumped by God’s presence in and among us. Why fear? Caveat: I’m not suggesting Christian journey is perfect—that we will always please God. There are moments of slips and failures. But God knows who His sincere followers are. And in His unfailing love, He forgives the contrite and repentant. He restores our souls and leads us back to the paths of righteousness—to the path of promise.

Our minds and hearts are set: the Lord is our God. We live for His pleasure. We’re living in His promise—a land flowing with milk and honey. And we’re journeying to the next. It’s a journey of promise to another promise. There’s no life better than the life of a believer.

Help and be Helped

Numbers 3:9   (NLT)   9 Assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They have been given from among all the people of Israel to serve as their assistants.

The Lord is our Helper, and one of the ways He helps us is through people. We all need help, and we all ought to help others. God moves in and through us so that we can serve and be served. The work God assigns us is bigger than one person can do alone. God Numbers 3.9 - Help and be Helpedproviding us help and instructing us to help shows His concern about us, about others, about His Name, about His Kingdom.

We all have a call; our call is personal, but our call involves God and people. We’re to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, strengths, and we’re to love others as ourselves. We can’t do that without getting involved with God and with people. And because others have the same mandate, we too will be recipients of that love. We can’t escape this. This is how humanity is designed: we’re inter-connected.

Don’t be alarmed. God doesn’t want our boundaries violated. Though the Levites were assigned to assist Aaron and his sons, there were things they couldn’t do, touch, and see that Aaron and his sons could. He has things that are uniquely ours, uniquely others’, and uniquely His. Helping others doesn’t mean having the right to violate those boundaries. There are lines we can’t cross, and there are lines we can. There are works we can share, and there are responsibilities reserved for the individuals alone. To violate these boundaries can be ungodly and can end up not helping at all.

Remember, even helping has protocols. Forgetting this can be devastating. Instead of helping, we cause more work; instead of making things easier, we make them harder; instead of making things faster, we cause the delay; instead of building, we destroy; and the worst: instead of giving life, we bring death.

We need help, others do too. God helps us. We receive help, we help others. All these are done respectfully. Help becomes a real blessing.

The Blessedness of the Obedient

Leviticus 26:5   (NLT)   5 Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.

A promise of blessing, of provision, is a very good thing to have, especially if the promise comes from God.  It’s interesting to note: this promise is preceded by a condition to follow God’s decrees and to carefully obey His commands. Clearly, God has blessings not Leviticus 26.5 - Blessedness of the Obedientavailable to all people at all times. It’s good to point out that everyone enjoys innumerable blessings from Him. Some are aware of the fact and acknowledges Him, some aren’t aware and don’t bother to know.

We all have needs and we all want our needs provided for. We may not fully know what kind of blessings and provisions He gives to all, and what kind He gives just to His obedient children, but obviously, His obedience matters and opens to way more blessings. There’s much peace in being sure our businesses bring good profit. It’s great to have blessings overlap, when we haven’t yet used up the past blessings, and a new batch of blessings come.

More important than the material examples are blessings not seen. God is the source of love, joy, peace, salvation, sustenance, strength, security, significance, protection, purpose, guidance, worth, victory… Obedience isn’t legalism, it isn’t a bad deal. The way I see it is: when God gives commands and instructions, it’s because He knows exactly which direction the best way is to go, and which path the best way is to take. He knows where the “straight and narrow” is. He knows if we walk that way or this way, that path is lined with blessings and favor. And when we choose to leave the path; we may think we’re pursuing a shortcut to more blessedness—faster, but reality is: we’re blinded by the immediate and temporal, which eventually leads to dissatisfaction and destruction.

There’s no question about it; God can orchestrate everything for us to be abundantly blessed. He’s the Source of all good and perfect gifts. He’s the One Who opens the floodgates of heaven and uncovers the springs of the earth. He directs our steps like a watercourse and positions people instrumental for His blessings to come to us surely—unhindered. So, His commands aren’t in any way to constrict us but to direct us so that we don’t miss out on the best He’s got for us.

We’re willing Lord. Thank You for Your love. Praise You Lord from Whom all blessings flow. Let them pour Lord; let them pour—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Living Out Our Holiness

Leviticus 20:26   (NLT)   You must be holy because I, the Lord , am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.

God wants us restored to the highest quality of being and existence. He is a holy God Who wants us to be holy. Holiness is a good thing; it isn’t a cage constricting us from doing things we like doing; it does however restrict us from doing things that enslave us. Leviticus 20.26 - Living Out Our HolinessHe created us in His image; that image was marred by sin. But now as believers, He has again made us holy and he wants us to live in and live out that holiness.

God has called us unto himself—a peculiar people, a holy nation, a people belonging to Him—different and separate from the world. We have very different standards from the world; we have different ways of thinking; different perspective; different worldview, different ways of doing things. It is not our aim to be like the world; our aim is to be increasingly more like our Lord—in perfect holiness and righteousness.

So, we don’t pursue what the world pursues; we don’t desire what the world desires. It isn’t our pursuit to have flashy, luxurious, expensive cars like the world does. We don’t pursue humongous houses like the world does; we don’t pursue fame and fortune, accolades and applause like the world does. I’m not implying that luxury, fame, and fortune are innately evil. But they are not where our hearts are. Our hearts and minds are set on the prize of the high and upward calling of our God in Christ Jesus. We don’t share the world’s ungodly value system; we are unique; we live in God. We don’t make up rules to fit our wishes and whims; if everyone does that, the world will be in total chaos. We have an authoritative moral compass—His Word.

We don’t sacrifice our values at the altar of the majority, peer pressure, or political correctness. For us, murder is wrong, whether they be adults or babies—in the mother’s room or outside of the mother’s womb. For us, having sexual acts with a person not your spouse is immoral. We love it that we, our spouses, and our children don’t go around hopping from bed to bed with just anybody we or they like. We are called to keep our marriage bed undefiled and pure for the person we love—the person we have vowed and dedicated our lives to—for a lifetime. We operate in love, not lust, not greed. For us, giving is more blessed then getting. We love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us. We don’t take revenge, but we trust in our God and His justice.

We are God’s people. We belong to him. There only two choices: Him or anything else—to be holy like Him, and to be unholy like the world. We choose Him.


Heavens Proclaim God’s Glory

Psalms 19:1   (NLT)   The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.

Psalm 19.1 - Heavens Proclaim God's GloryWe are inundated by testimonies of God’s reality, existence, love, power, and wisdom. We look up to the heavens and we see greatness there. We look up to the sky and we see precision, order, beauty, skillful work of art. Not everyone comes to the same conclusion, but I can’t help but see glory and majesty behind them all.

Creation is a silent yet very visible evangelist pointing us to God. We have to just be more observant and more conscientious of the beauty and the marvels surrounding us. If God could create such awesome wonders, and sustain them throughout all ages, how can He not take good care of us? He is more willing and able to care for us than we think.

Dear God and heavenly Father, God of creation, thank You for leaving us more than sufficient proofs and demonstrations of You. I pray that we’ll be more aware of Your constant presence, of Your immense and tremendous power, of your unfailing love, your inscrutable wisdom, and the universe-size billboard flashing those truths continuously—in Jesus’ Name, amen.


Worship from a Servant

Genesis 24:52   (NLT)   52 When Abraham’s servant heard their answer, he bowed down to the ground and worshiped the Lord.

In a brief narrative about Abraham’s servant, we see how worship of the Lord came as a very frequent, very consistent, and very common practice to him. He sees God’s hand working in his life and prayer, and he always remembers to acknowledge God. Others Genesis 24.52 - Worship from a Servantmay see things as coincidence; a worshiper sees God’s hand behind fulfillment of requests and prayers. They don’t have to be big miracles; we see the hand of God even behind smallest of things.

It is a common knowledge that Abraham was a worshiper of God, but we barely hear people speak about Abraham’s servant. One of the things we thank God for is He does not disqualify servants from worshiping him. Worship is not just a privilege given to the rich, influential, powerful few but even those seen by society as the lowliest among us.

Praise God; He doesn’t play favorites. He does not discriminate. We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be a person who would be qualified and allowed to worship God. We don’t have to be “A” students; we don’t have to be a famous person; we don’t have to belong to a certain income bracket; we don’t have to possess certain count of accolades, trophies, medals, and awards.

Everyone is called and invited to worship God. What a privilege. What an honor.