Living in His Promises

Numbers 14:8   (NLT)   And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.

How wonderful it is to know God leads us to a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Our precious Lord Jesus came with a purpose of giving us life and life abundantly—life full of purpose and meaning. Many of us have heard and quoted Jeremiah’s words telling Numbers 14.8 - Living in His Promisesus about the Lord’s plans that are good and not evil, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. I can’t help but sense a soul-refreshing comfort and assurance whenever I remember the Lord making us lie down in lush green meadows.

There are deterrents and oppositions to this. Many times, others have their own version of a land flowing with milk and honey. We’re careful because this can be true even with believers. Not everyone allows God’s Word to take deep and strong roots in their hearts. Simple trials make them look back to the immediate fun and pleasures of their past. Often, blindness kicks in. They lose sight of the obvious and powerful miracles and blessings God has brought them. Their once dreaded but endured past, their land of slavery and bondage, they see now as the land flowing with milk and honey.

But how pleasant it is to us who live for God’s pleasure. Despite all the obstacles, challenges, oppositions and enemies, despite our inabilities and limitations, God isn’t stopped; He brings us safely to His promise. Anything or anyone who gets in the way becomes a helpless prey to the promise. The presence of hurdles before us is trumped by God’s presence in and among us. Why fear? Caveat: I’m not suggesting Christian journey is perfect—that we will always please God. There are moments of slips and failures. But God knows who His sincere followers are. And in His unfailing love, He forgives the contrite and repentant. He restores our souls and leads us back to the paths of righteousness—to the path of promise.

Our minds and hearts are set: the Lord is our God. We live for His pleasure. We’re living in His promise—a land flowing with milk and honey. And we’re journeying to the next. It’s a journey of promise to another promise. There’s no life better than the life of a believer.

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No Fear of Enemies

Exodus 11:1   (NLT)   Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will strike Pharaoh and the land of Egypt with one more blow. After that, Pharaoh will let you leave this country. In fact, he will be so eager to get rid of you that he will force you all to leave.

Exodus 11.1 - Not Fearing EnemiesGod knows how to deal with his enemies—our enemies. He is a Victorious God. No one in no time can ever defeat him. God was able to turn the pharaoh’s hard and hardened heart completely around; He can do the same even to our most ardent enemy.

Enemies are real, but we don’t have to fear them. We don’t have to be troubled; we don’t have to panic about their existence or presence—no matter how close they may be to us, no matter how powerful they may be. In God’s perfect timing, and in God’s powerful unique ways; He will move our enemies to serve his purposes and act even surprisingly and totally favorably towards us.

Dear God, thank you so much for giving us very encouraging and dependable promises and assurances so that we don’t have to fear anyone or anything. You’re in complete control—nature, people, and everything else. We may not fully understand how you do this without violating man’s free will, but it’s enough for us to know that no one can thwart your purposes; You will accomplish them. It’s enough for us to know you love us, and you will always do the best for us; that includes dealing with those who oppose us.

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.

Prison/Freedom House

Acts 28:30   (KJV)   And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him.

Acts 28.30 - Prison-Freedom HousePaul was on house arrest—it was a house he rented himself. That “prison house” also became a “teaching house.” The house had the apostle kept in it, but the apostle had the Lord and the Lord’s Word in him. The place that represented bondage also became a house where many found freedom.

No one can fully imprison those born of God’s Spirit. Our freedom isn’t rescinded by geography. We’re free wherever we are. Our ultimate mission is to tell others about the Good News of Salvation found in our Lord Jesus, and to teach His commands to everyone. No person, no place, no time, nothing can stop us from accomplishing our mission. We of course use wisdom in all these. The highest purpose and greatest profitability of our resources–love, knowledge and wisdom, strength, finances are served in living out our ultimate mission. That explains our zealous willingness to be totally “poured out” for God.

Our dear heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom you’ve given us—freedom that no one and nothing can take away. May we as Your people always be excited for the privilege, opportunity, and honor of using our resources for their highest purpose—freedom/salvation of the lost, and growth of Your people.

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.

Intentional “Defeat”

Luke 13:33   (KJV)   33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem

Our Lord Jesus is intentional and purposeful in everything He does. He knew why He came. He came to seek and to save the lost, to give His life as a ransom for us. He kept going from place to place, preaching the Good News, healing the sick, delivering the oppressed. His luke-13-33-intentional-defeatplans are perfect. Even His death came at a perfect time, at a perfect place—Jerusalem. He’s never out of control. What was seemingly a very pitiful experience turned out to be surprisingly powerful.

God knows us; He knows our frame: our strength, our weaknesses; He knows our needs. He adjusts according to what’s necessary. In His plans, in God’s Kingdom, we never underestimate what may appear very small, and weak. Our patriarch Jacob, in wrestling with an interestingly “random” being who appeared out of nowhere got the blessing he demanded: “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).

Many believe the Jacob encounter to be one of our Lord Jesus’ theophanies. God had a purpose; He made the necessary “accommodations” so as to allow Jacob to win. There, the “deceiver, heel-grabber, or supplanter” was turned to one “who prevails with God,” or “God fights,” or “God prevails.” There was something way much bigger than the “small” man Jacob. And the man Jacob wrestled with and beat; don’t be deceived, a simple touch on Jacob’s hips wrenched it out of its socket. Jacob knew this: “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Genesis 32:30).

That’s how it is in the Kingdom, it’s not always as it appears. Jesus likened it to a mustard seed that becomes a huge tree; a yeast that permeates every part of the dough; a seed that continues to grow even while the farmer sleeps. Jesus resolutely faithfully ministered, and resolutely walked towards His destiny, a seeming defeat that we now know was a public display of His triumph over His enemies.