Numbers 14:8 (NLT) 8 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 us 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.
Luke 3:3 (KJV) 3And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins
One act—repentance—causes such immeasurably great results: forgiveness of our sins, assurance of eternal destiny in the presence of our dear precious Lord. It’s a message everyone needs to hear.
We don’t cower or withdraw from preaching the message of repentance. Although it’s not a popular subject, we don’t turn our backs on it. It is an essential message for an indispensable experience: salvation.
Others don’t like to be told to repent; it suggests sin and sinfulness. Although it’s a common knowledge that all sin, that nobody’s perfect, others would rather not be told about it. But we’re not moved by people’s words or reactions. We’re moved by God’s Word and His Spirit. We do what God says we do.
Romans 16:5 (KJV) 5 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.
I 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.
Job 42:6 (KJV) 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
When we realize we made a mistake, we humbly admit it and we correct our mistakes.
It’s our joy to walk after God. Knowing our mistakes is having opportunity for transformation—an opportunity to change towards our predestination—Christlikeness. If our perspective and principles are wrong, we lay them down in surrender at the feet of the Omniscient. We pray for those who won’t budge. There are those who won’t seek truth. They have opinions and courses of actions formed from dangerously erroneous sources. They don’t want to engage in peaceful dialogue and unbiased research. They make conclusions without evidences. They just parrot the words they hear as long as it promotes their position.
Being principled isn’t enough; we are principled in what’s good, right, and godly. We seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. We pray for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done here on earth as it is in heaven. When our beliefs and lifestyles are wrong and/or sinful, we waste no time and make a U-turn. We don’t relegate our response to just plain admission of mistake in our thoughts. We take action.
Dear heavenly Father, it’s humbling to admit we’re mistaken, especially if we’ve held on to some specific erroneous positions for so long—positions that have affected our decisions and actions, affected our determination as to who are our friends and who are our foes. Please increasingly reveal to us essential truths, even the errors of our ways. We will gladly recalibrate our steps that we may always be faithful. Above all others, You’re the One we want to follow—in Jesus’ Name, amen.
Malachi 2:6 (KJV) 6The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
This is one of the times when the Lord commended the priests in the Old Testament. They taught and preached the Word. They were truthful. They lived before the Lord in peace, meaning: they had integrity. They effectively turned many people away from their lives of sin.
We’ve received the wonderful privilege of bearing the torch of truth to everyone. We possess within us this great treasure of God’s Word, the honor of preaching the Good News of salvation to the lost, and this unequalled task of making disciples of all nations. With this is the necessity of living faithfully before God. We steadfastly stand on God’s pure truth; no lies or deceit are found in our lips or in our lives. We maximize our effectiveness that way.
Our hearts sincerely cry out for salvation of God-loved sinners. And it’s just appropriate that we remove any and every blinding obstacle that would shun them from being attracted to the light of God. One of those obstacles is hypocrisy—living differently from what we preach. We don’t want that for ourselves; we don’t want that for Christianity; we don’t want that as a picture others will have to erroneously represent Jesus and us to them.
Luke 19:4 (KJV) 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
Zacchaeus’ smallness didn’t deter him from seeing Jesus. He found a way. He used his mind; He used his legs; he used his strength; he used time; he used the tree; he used knowledge available.
There’s no greater desire and sight than Jesus—wanting Him, “seeing” Him, “finding” Him, knowing Him. And I love the fact that there’s nothing that can stop us from having a personal, loving, saving experience and relationship with Him. There are challenges; there are hurdles; there are deterrents, but God has given us everything we need for life and godliness—especially everything needed for our salvation.
Dear God, thank You for doing everything You can do to save us—even “passing” this earth-way through the person of Your precious Son—our Lord Jesus Who so lovingly and willingly gave His life for us to redeem us from our old, past, lost lives. Help us not to find excuses but to find ways so we will continue drawing nearer to You and experiencing all the glorious changes and blessings of being more intimate with You and being more like You.
Luke 5:32 (KJV) 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Jesus didn’t concentrate on convincing those who thought they were righteous of their spiritual bankruptcy; He spent time reaching out to those who society widely and commonly considers as scums of the earth.
One of the biggest challenges we face in sharing the Gospel are people who believe they’re doing very well and don’t need God. We often find ourselves convincing them of their real spiritual status—that they need help—that they need the Savior—if we’re even given the time to get there. Many times, we find them respond blindly and proudly. They don’t open up to the truth and to our Savior.
This is a good reminder—to me at least. I need to concentrate more on people who know they’re sinners. Some of them don’t know they are, but they’re also not self-righteous. Some of them are already trying to reach out to God; some of them are convinced God won’t forgive them anymore. They’re the ones we share the Good News to. They’re the ones who really need it. We don’t need to neglect those who seem to “have it altogether,” but we go first to those want hope of salvation, and just need to be lovingly told: they can be forgiven, and they can be sure of their eternal destiny—right here, right now.
What a blessed task: calling “sinners,” such as we were, and telling them: they can come home.