Believers’ Natural Fruits

Ephesians 5:9   (KJV)   9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 5.9 - Believers' Natural FruitsGod’s precious Holy Spirit living in us produces only good things—praise God for that. He efficiently bears in us what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true.

We willingly and humbly yield ourselves to the gentle leading and inner work of the Holy Spirit. Left to ourselves, we still have a strong tendency to listen to the destructive influence of our old way of living. But our loving God has lavishly given us wisdom; we quickly identify and resist what’s evil, wrong, and false. More so, we understand that ungodliness isn’t something to accommodate and excuse; it’s something to completely reject. Our sincere love for God and our proper understanding of God’s love don’t deny His anger—not only for disobedience but also for the disobedient: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).

We love God; He loves us infinitely more. We please the One we love, and we demonstrably do this by being Christ-like. This isn’t a laborious something we force ourselves to. We honestly enjoy living in unquestionable integrity and all-out faithfulness—in willing obedience to the Lord’s instructions. We’ve heard before: “Our lives are God’s gifts to us; what we do with our lives are our gifts to God.” Reality is: there’s nothing we can give God that He didn’t give us. Still, He kindly gives us the uplifting pleasure of choosing to thank Him by the way we live out this precious gift of life—both the physical and the eternal. It’s a deep joy yielding to the precious Holy Spirit—radiating goodness, righteousness, and truth. What an honor and privilege.

Advertisements

The Blood of the New Covenant

Matthew 26:28   (KJV)   28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26.28 - The Blood of the New CovenantDo we understand this? I pray I would understand the depths of these words. Death—it took the death of our precious Lord and Savior—it took spilling of His blood—for our sins to be forgiven.

It’s very possible to read these words and not even really understand the implications of what our Savior just said. We are enjoying this New Covenant—a covenant much better, more superior, and more glorious than the old. This came free to us; it didn’t come easy for our Savior. Three times, He prayed to the Father if it was possible for Him not to drink the cup of the cross. His sweat was like drops of blood. He was in deep anguish. An angel needed to minister to Him.

There was no other way. Our Lord needed to spill His blood, die on the cross. That was the ransom payment required. There was no easier compromise. He didn’t back down. He laid down His life. A New Covenant was ratified with His blood. We didn’t only find hope; we now live in hope. That’s what our Lord did for us. All honor, glory, and thanksgiving to Him.

 

No Worry; No Fear

Matthew 10:31   (KJV)   31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Fear not! Those are very reassuring and comforting words from our loving and beloved Lord and Savior. He told us that as His followers, we will be treated extremely badly; that’s for sure. For others who don’t have a personal, loving, saving relationship with Matthew 10.31 - Sparrows Don't Fear; More So UsHim, that’s really dreadful. But for us, He also gave the reason not be scared: we are very valuable to Him.

We have a mission to accomplish. Our mission involves people. We are sheep among wolves. And the pack of wolves that devoured our Master will do us no less. We are rejected, accused, and some of us have been arrested, and punished unjustly. We are betrayed, at times, even by those very close to us—hard to believe—but it happens. We are hated by the rich, famous, and the powerful influencers of culture.

We don’t cower to and withdraw to fruitlessness. God turns our worst experiences to great opportunities. God has worked through them for those in high places to see and hear the witness of God-loving and neighbor-loving people. We see how real God is, how present He is, how wise and powerful He is. So we continue to lovingly shine His light. We hear from Him in the silence of our “date;” we boldly shout His words “from the housetops.” Others don’t like what they hear. They try to harm us. But they can only touch our bodies. None can touch our eternal beings. Only God can do that, and we’re happy because the only One Who has the power to decide where we spend our eternal destiny—He Who values the sparrows—values us way much more, loves us, and cares for us. With all that, why fear?

We continue to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons. We freely receive; we freely give. We’re threatened with prison and sword; we respond with the gentle force of God’s love—nothing to fear with that.

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.

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.

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!!!