A Time to Flee

Matthew 10:23   (NLT)   When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.

There’s a time to stay, and there’s a time to flee. Protecting our lives, ensuring our safety isn’t wrong. It can be more fruitful, not just in self-protection or family-preservation, but even in fulfilling our mission.

Matthew 10.23 - A Time to FleeWe don’t need unnecessary or avoidable martyrdom—that’s a waste of life. Life is precious—even the physical and temporal. Although it’s far less valuable compared to our eternal spiritual existence, it is important nonetheless. That’s probably one of the reasons why self-preservation and survival is innate in each of us. That doesn’t change for us who have been born again—who have received and are assured of eternal life; we just have a much better and proper perspective of them.

Dear God and heavenly Father, Giver and Sustainer of life, we thank You so much for Your gift of life—both the temporal and the extremely more important eternal life. Please give us wisdom and discernment when a time comes for us to flee. But help us do so not in cowardice, but in obedience to your leading. Lead us to a mission-minded escape when it becomes necessary, and only when it’s necessary and more beneficial to our calling and mission. It’s not always easy to explain such action; there will always be those not open to reason. But we pray that if ever we flee, it’s because the persecution is real—not imagined. And as we go, lead us to better grounds where we can sow the seed of the Gospel, where it will have a greater yield and harvest—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Godly Silence

Mark 15:5 (NLT)  But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.

There is wisdom in silence. Our Lord Jesus, in the middle of unjust arrest and very phony trial, in the middle of much insults, false accusations, and horrible persecutions, spoke very little. He didn’t find it a need to justify Himself in front of an already prejudiced Mark 15.5 - Godly Silencecrowd. He knew truth didn’t matter to them; truth wouldn’t have changed their minds. Besides, He knew His mission; He knew He had to die. Extreme persecutions and excruciating torture may not have been necessary, but He welcomed them anyway.

Even while on the cross, people turned on Him, tempting Him, even challenging Him to perform a miracle to save Himself. Our Lord Jesus could have just easily spoken a word and immediately escaped death. But that could have caused the hostile crowd to have a sudden change of conviction and forcibly crowned Him as Messiah and king. That would have derailed the very mission He came to accomplish. He came to serve. He came to give His life as a ransom payment for our sins.

We don’t always have to speak up. It is not always necessary to defend ourselves. It is wise to speak up only when it matters, only when it makes a difference. It isn’t necessary for us to convince everyone. The pleasure of all is never our aim; we are not called to be liked by everyone. We have a mission to fulfill, a destiny to pursue, and there are those who disagree with us. They stand on our way; they try to oppose us, stop us, silence us, and even destroy us. It doesn’t matter; as long as we are on God’s side, we are on the right track. When our dear God is pleased, we’re pleased.

We are not advocating complete silence, passivity, and inaction. There is a time to speak, but there is also time to keep quiet. Our very task of declaring the Gospel requires speech. We need to lovingly and passionately persuade people with the Good News, but we also recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice when He impresses in our hearts enough is enough–when the time has come for silence to be the best option.

We speak with wisdom. When it’s beneficial, we speak. When it edifies others, we speak. When it gives God glory, we speak; otherwise, we say nothing. And silence can be the godliest thing we do.

Joyful Despite Tribulations

John 16:33   (KJV)   33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16.33 - Joyful Despite TribulationsJesus’ Words are to give us peace, no matter how scary the truth may sound. In Jesus can we find very interesting and comforting paradoxes. We have tribulations, but we have joy. This is not a self-assuring yet dangerous denial of trials and persecutions; they’re based on our Lord’s promises and accomplishments.

Praise God for revealing important truths to us. He doesn’t always divulge everything, but He doesn’t deprive us of truths we need. He’s a loving God Who wants us to have everything necessary for a full and meaningful life.

We’ve had experiences when others have pointed out how little we have and yet we’re filled with joy. We don’t take that as an insult. What can compare to such a life? Others try to accumulate as much wealth and resources as they can. But it’s not really the gold, fame, and number of people around us that matter the most; it’s what they’re supposed to bring to us: security, worth, significance, value, love, joy, peace, and so much more.

We have them—without the tiring pursuit for more stuff.

Great life.

Thank You Lord.

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.

Unequalled Life

Matthew 10:8   (KJV)   Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Miracles are real.  Believers are in agreement with this.  Does God still move in His people to be conduits of healing, cleansing, raising the dead, deliverance?  Before I Matthew 10.8 - Unequalled Lifeproceed with the answer, here’s a quick, loving, simple clarification:  my answer isn’t intended to negate or criticize our family in the Lord who believe differently;  I want to be a contributor to unity, not further division of the precious body of our one Lord.

I believe that the gifts of God go beyond the natural; they include supernatural works.  What an incomparably adventurous life we live as believers!  Who can equal to such tasks?  Our experiences are combinations of wonders and dangers; all of them orchestrated by the masterful hand of our Almighty Father, working everything for the good of those who love Him, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

We are channels of miracles and the supernatural; we are also objects of scorn, hatred, threats, persecution, and even death.  We are loved by some, but we’re also rejected by others.  Our provision is guaranteed—through usual means, or unusual means.  We’re sheep among wolves;  we conduct ourselves with caution, wisdom, and gentleness.  When “dragged” to court, we end up in the presence of rulers and kings.  We may not have the knowledge of lawyers, but the Holy Spirit Himself gives us the very words to say.  The eyes of those who consider us as their enemies are constantly on us, waiting for opportunities to do us harm, but we don’t fear; we know that our Father, Whose eyes are on the sparrows, is constantly, lovingly, and protectively watching over us—His children.

Miracles Happen

Acts 12:7   (KJV)   And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

Peter, a believer, an apostle of Jesus Christ was imprisoned. Unlike his co-apostle James who just got murdered, he was supernaturally and miraculously delivered through the agency of an angel. The foreboding atmosphere was suddenly saturated with light. The acts-12-7-miracles-happenchains that limited his movements fell off his hands without keys, without the use of force.

Persecution is real; enemies of the faith are real. There are people who desire to do us harm and there are times when they get to inch their way in and accomplish some of their injurious intentions. Deadly threats are real, but so is God, so are angels, so are miracles. It doesn’t matter how hopeless our situations may seem; we may feel like we’re stuck and we’re done; it may seem like those who treat us as their enemies may be winning, but our God sees every detail of our lives—more detailed than our perception and understanding of things.

While God exists, while He’s alive, we always have hope. Good News: God is real; God exists; God is alive, and He’s alive forevermore. This means we have undying hope. He can get us out of our hardest predicament. Just because it’s beyond our power and control doesn’t mean it’s beyond any power and control. God isn’t absent from the scene of our lives. One word from God and our situations turn around. One command and He can have an angel intercept any work of any enemy. Nothing scares us.

Unshaken

Psalm 16:8   (KJV)   8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

The Lord is in control of all things; that’s absolutely true; He isn’t at our beck and call. We don’t dictate to Him how to conduct Himself. We don’t tell Him where He should position Himself. To set the Lord always before us isn’t to give Him a mandate; it’s to psalm-16-8-unshakenconscientiously think about the continuing abiding presence of the Lord. He’s always before us—guiding: He’s always beside us—protecting; He’s with us; He’s in us.

In God, we’re always protected. It’s not a question of whether or not He can; it’s a given—He’s able. It’s Him we go to. He powerfully protects; He sufficiently provides. I admire godly people; I follow their examples as they follow Jesus; they know what they’re doing; they’re wise; I love watching them as they go about their Christian journey—often quietly—in fear of the Lord, without fear or men, as the Lord prospers the works of their hands and blesses their every step. They walk without paralyzing trepidation.

We’re not moved; we’re steadfast. Life-threatening dangers obviously abound; persecutions against believers are real—they’re increasing. The voices of those who dislike us are bold and loud. They call us intolerant and hateful as they cowardly attack us from behind—no longer just with words but physically—openly. But with all these, we rest in the fact that God allows only what we can bear. Death itself isn’t defeat for us. How can those who hate us truly hurt us? Often, God surprises us by raising people of influence, authority, and power who fights for us.

We won’t be coaxed into violence; we won’t give in to their call to unrighteousness—we won’t be intimidated into it. God alone is our choice. He is the right choice. I pray for people to realize this so they too can enjoy His precious presence—a presence that brings protection, provision, and peace.