Bountifully Blessed

Acts 26:18   (NLT)   18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

A lot of great things happens to us when we place our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation and surrender our lives to Him. For one, our blind eyes are opened. God’s love, our need, our spiritual poverty, God’s answer to our spiritual need, our appropriate Acts 26.18 - Bountifully Blessedresponse—all these are elucidated in our minds and hearts by God’s precious Holy Spirit. That’s why we humbly, gratefully, and readily call on Him and receive Him into our lives.

There’s so much more: we no longer live in darkness, we now live in the light—we are children of light, lights of the world. Whew—awesome descriptions of our identity. Satan, as powerful as he may be, no longer has a hold on us because we’re now under God’s Almighty protection. Satan has got nothing on God. Oh, what joy to know He who gives us life, and life way more abundantly, is infinitely more powerful than the one who tries to steal, kill, and destroy.

We’re also forgiven of all our sins. That’s big. Our sins separated us from God—spiritually dead, that is. That’s serious. Without His forgiveness, it leads to eternal death. That doesn’t sound good; that’s horrible. To spend eternity apart from God, void of love, joy, peace, freedom, and bliss is more than horrible; it’s indescribably agonizing. But we’re forgiven. We’re now, in a saving sense, God’s children—a part of His spiritual family—His people. We’re different; we’re separated from the rest; we’re unique—wonderfully unique.

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 the Creator

Acts 7:50   (NLT)   Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’

The fact that the one true living God was the One Who created both the heavens and the earth is enough reason for us to not worship any other god or being but Him.

Acts 7.50 - Worship the CreatorOf course, others question the validity of this truth. They don’t believe God created creation. They somehow have a hard time accepting this. But there shouldn’t be any problem believing God can create. The fact that the universe is so big is not a proof that no person or being could be responsible for its beginning; it is proof that God who created this magnificent, immeasurable universe is way more powerful and bigger than we imagine.

There is no reason for us to worship anything or anyone else other than the One really worthy of worship. That’s no other than the one true living God. Any other entities pulling us to give them a greater place or a higher priority in our hearts and lives than God himself ought to be resisted with all wisdom and might. They’re trying to deceive us and cause us to place our attention on something so little—to settle with something infinitely smaller. God longingly wants us to set our minds and hearts on Him, to have our lives dedicated to the best of the best: the best cause, the best reason for existence, the best Being Who exists. He wants us to live the best way we can: from the best source, through the best means/sustainer, for the best purpose. Oh, that gives us so much worth and significance.

We thank you Father for being real. We thank you for leaving us with more than sufficient convincing proofs of your existence and greatness. You’re an indescribably powerful and wise God. And you choose to care for us so much, to love us with a consistent, continuous, persevering, and endless love that we won’t find from anyone else. We thank you for giving us a very gracious invitation and welcome to You and into your very presence—the presence of our great and Almighty, All-wise Creator.

Rebuking the Devil

Luke 4:36   (NLT)   Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!”

There were people who noticed Jesus and had the observation, assessment, and statement about Him. Jesus’ Words possessed very noticeable authority that evil spirits obeyed the commands. Although evil spirits are against Jesus, they’re still under His absolute control.

People notice; not everybody does, but others do. They are open enough to see the reality of our precious Lord, His work, and yes, us, His people. Our relationship with Jesus is obvious. It translates to our lifestyles—the purity of our actions, and the authority of our words. We’re not intimidated; we don’t fear—not even them. We submit ourselves to God, we resist the devil, and the devil flees.

Our uniqueness as believers is beautiful. People who awaken to this reality can’t help but see the many blessings we have. Yes, we are humble: we’re meek, but this doesn’t mean we’re weak and powerless. The Holy Spirit resides in us. That’s the power able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all anyone is able to ask, think, or imagine. We don’t retaliate when insulted, but the words we speak—the oracles of God flowing from our mouths have authority to command a mountain to be uprooted and cast into the sea, to order the devil to get out and go, and they don’t have any recourse but to do what we say.

Free Gift, Painful Price

Mark 10:27   (KJV)   And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Mark 10.27 - Free Gift, Painful PriceSalvation is absolutely impossible for humans to achieve. It was impossible for the rich young ruler; it was also impossible for the apostles; it is impossible for any other human being. But we don’t despair; we’re not left without hope; it is possible with God.

We’re humbled by the truth that left to ourselves without any divine aid, we’re hopeless. We’re humbled because He Who can save us saved us. It’s not as if all God had to do was snap His finger or utter a command. No, it took Jesus lovingly and willingly leaving His glorious state of existence, coming to where we are, taking on the form of a servant in our likeness, humbling Himself further and subjecting Himself to heartless mockery, cruel torture, and excruciating death.

Heavenly Father, by Your power, salvation is possible for us to receive and enjoy. We pray that we won’t ever forget the loving yet extremely painful process our Lord Jesus went through, that we may never undermine it nor treat it lightly or contemptuously. We appreciate You Lord, and we thank you greatly for this wonderful, priceless gift of salvation we’ve freely received–in Jesus’ Name, amen.

God’s Reach; God’s Touch

Zechariah 12:1   (KJV)   12 The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

Our Lord’s reach touches the farthest and the closest of His creation.

Zechariah 12.1 - God's Reach, God's TouchWhen He tells us not to worry, it’s because there’s really no reason to. God is the Sovereign ruler of everything and everyone. Even when things and people are spinning out of control, He’s still in total control.

We have free will. We may not completely understand His ways. We may not comprehend how He works all things for the good of those who love Him and those who are the called according to His purpose—both our good times and bad times. We may not understand how the devil is allowed to roam around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, how the devil seems to be influencing the vast majority of people, and yet at all times, God is victoriously utilizing all of the devil’s schemes and works to end up serving His purposes. When people saw defeat on the cross, He was triumphantly parading His vanquished enemies in the open.

We still don’t know the ultimate limits of our universe. We still don’t fully know the most detailed outworking of our body parts. We still don’t accurately and consistently predict weather and earthquakes, but we know our God—little but enough knowledge to be sure that in all of them, we can rest confidently in Him—His awesome power, and His unending love. The universe is incalculably huge. It takes a lot of work to keep them in order and working well. But it’s nothing that He can’t handle. Amidst all of that macrocosmic management, we’re still in the very center of His heart and sight.

God-Glorifying Gifts

1 Peter 4:11   (KJV)   11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

We’re all gifted. Our extra-ordinarily gracious Father and God lavishes us with awesome gifts. He also enables us to use our gifts faithfully. This interplay of God’s amazing 1 Peter 4.11 - God-Glorifying Giftsgraciousness and our humble stewardship of His gifts result in the glorification of our Benefactor.

God knows, desires, and does what’s best for us. He chooses the kind of gifts we need. We gladly aceept the lot we’re given. No complains. The clay never questions the Potter. He Who knows everything, can do anything, and loves us most can be trusted with all we are.

We appreciate Him for being such a good and loving Father. We appreciate every gift He’s given us. And we show the sincerity of our delight and gratefulness through the way we care for and use His gifts. We don’t neglect them, misuse them, and abuse them. We give our best.

Although the influence of or pressure from the world is strong, our eyes are set: soli Deo gloria; we live for the glory of God alone. Sure, being rich and famous has a ring to it—a loud ring to many. Others go all out in using God’s gifts for their own aggrandizement. Not us; we understand that living for self-glorification is nothing compared to living for the honor or Him from Whom all our blessings flow—the greatest Being there is in existence.

Love and Power

Ephesians 3:19   (KJV)   19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

One of the ways we can be filled with all the fullness of God is by knowing the love of Christ. Although his love is beyond full comprehension, it isn’t beyond partial comprehension. And God has given us the wisdom we need so we can keep growing in Romans 3.19 - Love and Powerour knowledge and understanding of His love: in its width, length, height, and depth. God want us to live out His fullness; we want to live out the fullness of life and power that He gives us. Knowing, experiencing, living out and living in the love of our Lord Jesus has a direct correlation with living out God’s life and power.

Some believers often have “unspoken” preference between power and fruit of the Holy Spirit; they emphasize one over the other. Perish the thought that I’m implying what they’re doing is wrong. Personally, I conscientiously try my best to teach the importance of both. Both have its merits, both are important to God. Both are connected. God strengthens us with His Spirit and invites us to a greater understanding of His love so we can live in His strength and power, and do so with love as our motivation.

People, especially the lost, need to see the reality of God. In our particular generation, there are many who would no longer listen to reason. There are so many who are set in their beliefs—reasonable or unreasonable. Many are no longer open and willing to dialogue. Blindness is so prevalent. Lies are rampant, acceptable, and promoted in order to support and push their beliefs and agenda. It’s in this milieu that manifestations of unconditional love and miraculous power of God through us may have greater impact. Reason, love, power—all these are important; God has given and made them all available to us; we utilize all of them, and we grow in all of them.

 

Word, Power, and Character

1 Thessalonians 1:5   (KJV)   5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

Words are innately powerful.  Combine that with the Holy Spirit, the power becomes infinitely multiplied (really hard to come up with the appropriate description because each of them is already infinite in their power).  Most probably, the context refers to a 1 Thessalonians 1.5 - Word, Power, and Charactermanifested and/or demonstrated and/or visible power.  Imagine the effectiveness and the credibility of a ministry that possesses both.

And even more, we have genuine lives—messengers who are full of integrity.  This shows us why a ministry becomes unquestionably effective, efficient, and expansive. These three powerful factors working together as we serve each other and reach out to the needy and “hopeless” is much better than missing even one of them.  God loves us greatly as His children that we are lavishly graced with all of them.  God loves those who we serve greatly that He wants them to have undeniable proofs of His reality so that they would turn to Him and also live the best life anyone can ever live—the life of a believer.

 

Spoiling the Enemies’ Counsel

2 Samuel 17:14   (KJV)   14 And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the Lord had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring evil upon Absalom.

The Lord can easily and literally spoil the wisdom and the plans of the enemy.  If He has to do that in protecting us, He will.  If only our enemies realize how powerful our God is and how much our heavenly Father loves us and cares for us, they will not dare 2 Samuel 17.14 - Spoiling the Enemy's Counselattacking us at all.  It’s their disbelief and/or misunderstanding of our God and us—His people—that makes them continue in a futile exercise of going against us.

We pray for them; we don’t wish them harm.  But they end up hurting themselves when they try to harm us.  They fall on their own trap.  Our God is our strong tower, our mighty fortress; no one and nothing can penetrate His defenses; no weapon formed against Him and against us will prosper. We stand secure under His protective arms.  I humbly admit, I don’t understand how God does everything.  But He can orchestrate everything to His expected end without violating anyone’s free will.  That’s why we fear God (yes, it’s not wrong to fear God; it’s in fact, very biblical.  And yes, we don’t need to always qualify it every time we state that truth), and we don’t fear people.

Simply, we rest in Him and the truth that through the complexities of all situations, all people, all opinions, all His Words, all His ways—we may not understand everything, but through it all, we are well taken care of.  And that’s enough for us.