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.

Fear the Father?

1 Peter 1:17   (KJV)   17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

We boldly call God our Father. It’s to Him we pray. He’s the One Who answers our prayers and blesses us graciously; He’s also the One who judges and will judge all of us 1 Peter 1.17 - Fear the Fatheraccording to our works. The appropriate response to these as pilgrims on a sacred journey is to live in fear of God.

We often connect fear to the LORD being our God who judges and condemns, and we connect love to Him being our Father who provides, guides, and saves. But this passage doesn’t show that distinction; the Father is the judge we need to fear.

We have a heavenly Father we can always call on and count on–anytime, anywhere. He’s a perfectly fair Dad. And since He will judge or reward us according to our works, it’s only appropriate that we do what’s good, right, and godly. We’ll always be aware of His incomprehensible greatness and awesomeness so there’ll never be a point in time when we’ll act like little spoiled kids treating our Dad with contempt. No; He’s too mighty, majestic, magnificent, and marvelous for that.

He Won’t Forget

Hebrews 6:10   (KJV)   10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Works matter, not as the means of salvation but as its proof and fruit. God sees, values, and remembers our work and love. It would be unrighteous or unjust for Him not to. How can He not be pleased with His children who delights in pleasing Him, whose paths Hebrews 6.10 - He Won't Forgetare straight, whose hearts are upright, whose walks are faithful, and who diligently work—lovingly serving Him and His children for His glory and honor?

Yes, we take pleasure in pleasing Him. We don’t serve Him for rewards, but we don’t disbelieve the truth that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Sowing and reaping was true in the Old Covenant, true in the natural world, true in the New Covenant, true in the spiritual sphere, true regarding our character, and yes, I personally believe is true in financial facet. We sow—we—give because we love, but we don’t deny the truth about the harvest.

We will continue working and loving; we earnestly intend to do so: diligently, “faith-filledly,” patiently—to the end. He will be there all the way, with smile on His face, and what a joy that is for us. “11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:11-12).

Let Us Fear?

Hebrews 4:1   (KJV)   4 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

There are healthy fears, and this is one of them. This is a concluding statement after a warning about hardening of hearts, turning away from God, and failing to enter God’s rest. Praise God; the promise of entering into His rest still stands. However, the Hebrews 4.1 - Let us Fearpossibility of coming short of entering that rest also exists.

God is still so graciously offering His rest to us. How we believers interpret the meaning of coming short of it—failing to enter that rest—may differ, but the seriousness and gravity of the admonition ought to neither be overlooked nor undermined. The blessing offered is very great, it’s just befitting that we take careful and sure steps in our pilgrimage: to have good, right, and godly attitude in all this.

John the Beloved wrote, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18); the writer of Hebrews tells us, “Let us therefore fear…” They may seem contradictory, but they are complementary. My humble take: Perfect love casts out fear, except fear of God. We can elaborate and expand on that proposition ad infinitum, but the Scripture is very clear and explicit. To discard one is to err.

Grace, Works, and Rewards

Ephesians 6:8   (KJV)   8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

Even in and under the age of grace, the Lord still operates in a reward system. Doing good still has its merits and blessings. All of us are still affected by this divinely ordained principle, system, or design.

Ephesians 6.8 - Grace, Works, and RewardsWhoever we are and whatever our status is in society, we live in the assurance that our God Who is gracious is also God who is fair and just. He won’t shortchange us. God compensates our life of loving faithfulness. He doesn’t have favoritism; it’s because (I personally take it as) we’re all His favorites.

We find delight in pleasing our Master, and He returns the favor in an inestimably gracious way. That’s why I understand that there’s no contradiction between grace and rewards. God values our good works, He rewards them, and His rewards are incalculably more gracious than what our works deserve. This is clear in the principle of sowing and reaping; in general, what we reap is always multiplied times more than what we sow.

This is why we so willingly, lovingly, diligently, and enthusiastically serve the Lord and others. Although His rewards aren’t our prime motivation, we believe the truth about it. They’re real; they come; we gratefully receive them, we enjoy them; and we know there’s a lot more of them. Praise God.