Me—Example of God’s Patience

1 Timothy 1:16   (KJV)   16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

The patience of our Lord Jesus is unquestionable. I’m a proof of that, and it’s my desire that my life be a demonstration of the love, mercy, grace, and longsuffering of God. I may not claim the same as Paul being the chief of all sinners, but I know more about myself 1 Timothy 1.16 - Me - Example of God's Patiencethan those commonly known and considered as really evil people. We only know so much about them, but I know even the deepest and most secret sins I’ve committed—most of them remain unrevealed.

Praise God, I obtained mercy. I don’t know how my life would be now had I not been saved. Even in my most religious years, I realized I was being a hypocrite—I just didn’t have the conviction then. This is not to glory in my depravity, but to exalt the Lord in His kindness to a sinner. Imagine a child who was a terrible spoiled brat in his childhood. Imagine a child who was full of anger and hatred towards his step-mom and step-brother. Imagine a person who used to curse at the beginning, middle, and end of almost each sentence—without trying, while serving as altar boy almost every day. Imagine a young man whose communication with peers was replete with lustful, immoral, and filthy words—enjoying every moment of it. Imagine a young man who had enough of ungodly pride to expect his peers to bow to his wants at his beck and call. Imagine a person who caused a break-up of a family for pursuing an adulterous relationship. Imagine a man who treated his romantic partner very badly—a woman he promised to make the happiest. Imagine no longer, I was that man—pre-Jesus.

By God’s grace that man exists no more. By God’s grace, a new man was born. God’s love and power were way much greater than all that man was. I was a very principled and dogmatic person—even when I stood for what was wrong (without knowing it). I didn’t just surrender my life to Jesus at the first hearing of His glorious Gospel. It took time—much time. I glory and rejoice in God’s “higher-than-heavens,” “longer-than-my-obstinacy” longsuffering or patience. He didn’t give up on me.

If you’re reading this and haven’t yet experienced the reality of God’s forgiveness, hope, and salvation in Jesus, may my life serve as an example of how an impossibility is possible with God. If I can be saved—gloriously transformed by God into a new man, anyone can experience the same.

 

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“Firsts” to Believe

Romans 16:5   (KJV)   Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

We take our hats off to trailblazers, especially those who took the brunt of cynicism, skepticism, suspicion, criticisms, and persecution for being the first to believe the Gospel in their particular spheres of existence.

Romans 16.5 - Firsts to BelieveI remember how my brother was vehemently scolded by my Dad when he no longer wanted to participate in the repeated recitations of prayers we conducted every night, accusing him of being a traitor—turning his back from our dearly-long-held beliefs and traditions. My Dad forced him to do it—even lead the prayers. I remember seeing him recite those prayers with tears in his eyes, thinking to myself how “touched” he must have been as he led our family and the many visitors in our daily ritual. I wondered though because I’ve never seen anyone that moved before in going through those particular religious acts.

That example is very light compared to the life-threatening experiences others have for being the first believer in their family, tribe, or community. But I’m still grateful to my brother for being the first believer in our family. All of us in the family eventually prayed to receive. Of all the five guys among the siblings, one passed away, and three are now pastors—except him (ironic).

Thank You Lord for raising up people who were humble, bold, and wise enough to be the first to take the plunge of faith into faith—in You.

Angels Watching Over Us

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 was in prison. Herod wanted to use Peter as a form of entertainment. How? He was going to have him killed in front of an anti-Christian crowd. It didn’t look good for Peter. Herod had the power – a corrupted one. He just had John – another arch-apostle killed. That’s what actually led him to pursue the death of Peter; he saw the crowd pleased with it. Peter was securely guarded in prison – chains, gates, guards and all. It was impossible for Peter to escape, but escape he did – with a little help from his unknown and unexpected friend. The Lord’s angel rescued him: chains fell, gates opened, guards didn’t see. Peter was free. The impossible became possible. How? Through God’s supernatural delegates – His angels.

Angels are real. Supernatural world is real. Many of what we consider as impossible are impossible from the natural vantage point. But when the supernatural is involved, nothing really is impossible. I heard a “science” guy asked how any plant buried under water for a year could survive – attempting to refute the validity of Noah’s flood. That’s a good point – from an anti-supernatural perspective. But the answer is simple. He has forgotten that we who believe in the account of the Flood believe in the account of Creation. It’s obviously not a problem for our God Who created everything out of nothing, to revive the plants after the Flood. We are living in a material world, but we as believers aren’t limited to it; we’re living in a supernatural sphere as well. And God’s supernatural delegates are present. They’re powerful, they’re victorious, and they’re ministering to us. Wow. A famous singer sang “Angels watching over me.” That’s more than just a song; that’s truth. By the way, people often think that there’s a war between science and religion. Not so. Science simply means “knowledge.” The contradiction then is between God-denying, God-disbelieving, God-hating Science, and, God-affirming, God-believing, God-loving Science.

Our Creator, supernatural God and Father, nothing is impossible with you. Thank you for allowing us to enjoy the blessings of living also in the supernatural, unlimited realm. Thank you for sending us Your powerful angels to watch over us, and when necessary, to rescue us – even if it takes overpowering the laws of nature and physics – even if it would take a miracle. And when necessary, we may even see them. Hallelujah!!!