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.

God is Able

Numbers 11:23   (KJV)   23 And the Lord said unto Moses, Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.

The Lord’s question is rhetorical. There’s not a moment when God’s power has ever drained. There has not failed one word of all His promises. All His promises, in Christ, are numbers-11-23-god-is-able“yes” and “amen.” We have confidence in Him; there’s no reason to murmur, complain, or be disappointed. He still provides a road in the wilderness; He still pours down rain from heaven, and He still makes the sun to shine.

“His eyes are on the sparrow, and I know He watches over me.” He watches over us. His hands still always give us light in the darkness, salvation from our sins, peace in the middle of chaos, protection from all dangers. That’s why we’re fearless—whatever happens to the world, whatever others do to us. His mighty arms are still able to prepare a table before us even in the presence of our enemies. We may be surrounded by those who want to do us harm, but our hearts beat quietly and we sleep peacefully through the night.

God’s Awesomeness

Exodus 19:16   (KJV)   16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

I wonder how we’d feel when we come face to face with the Almighty Creator. The imagery of thunders and lightnings creates some sense of shock and awe. Imagine them concentrated on one specific location. Add to them a thick cloud and a tremendously loud exodus-19-16-gods-awesomenessblast of trumpet. Fear, a deep reverential, awe-filled fear—that’s the only natural reaction we can think about when faced with power—sights and sounds of such incredible magnitude.

It’s understandable that people trembled. However, with all the awesomeness all the combined powers of nature manifest, they’re really nothing compared to the awesome power and greatness of God. It stands to reason why His call for us not to fear any man excludes Him. We fear no man and nothing, but we’re rightly commanded to fear the Lord. Fearing Him isn’t contradictory to loving Him. It’s not a case of either-or; it’s both.

Those who Receive Him

John 1:12   (KJV)   12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Our precious Lord Jesus, the Word Who existed before the beginning, Who was with God, Who was God, through Whom everything was created, willingly came to His own creation, and sadly, was cruelly rejected. Not everyone did; not everyone does; we receive Him for john-1-12-those-who-receive-himWho He really is: the Lord, and the Savior. We are spiritually birthed and have become His children. He lives in us through His Holy Spirit; we blessedly experience Him, His unfailing love, His faithfulness, His glory, His truth.

It’s worth noting—repeatedly, if that’s what it takes, that there are at least two kinds of “childhood” to God. One is by virtue of creation. Through this, all of us, saved and lost are His children. The other is by virtue of spiritual birth. This is the kind of “childhood” that applies to the salvation experience or the saved. Spiritual birth is indispensable and no one ought to leave this life without it.

When we receive our Lord and Savior Jesus, He gives much more to us than we to Him. He gives us life; He give us light. He is far greater than us, but He’s always available to us. He continues to reveal Himself and continues to pour out His love. He invites us to Him; He changes us from within; He calls us to partner with Him in His Kingdom ventures. He raises us to such high worth and value. But despite the status we find ourselves in, He’s so great that we get awed even with the very limited truth we know about Him. Can we really imagine how we will react when we meet our heavenly Dad face to face? How does one react to someone so full of power, and yet so full of love?

He holds nothing back in loving us; we too pour out our affection and ourselves in loving Him. Motivated by His love, we as His privileged children live in such a way that we aren’t doubted as His; we shine His light, we declare His truth, we display His presence; we show His power.