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.

Living Out Our Holiness

Leviticus 20:26   (NLT)   You must be holy because I, the Lord , am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.

God wants us restored to the highest quality of being and existence. He is a holy God Who wants us to be holy. Holiness is a good thing; it isn’t a cage constricting us from doing things we like doing; it does however restrict us from doing things that enslave us. Leviticus 20.26 - Living Out Our HolinessHe created us in His image; that image was marred by sin. But now as believers, He has again made us holy and he wants us to live in and live out that holiness.

God has called us unto himself—a peculiar people, a holy nation, a people belonging to Him—different and separate from the world. We have very different standards from the world; we have different ways of thinking; different perspective; different worldview, different ways of doing things. It is not our aim to be like the world; our aim is to be increasingly more like our Lord—in perfect holiness and righteousness.

So, we don’t pursue what the world pursues; we don’t desire what the world desires. It isn’t our pursuit to have flashy, luxurious, expensive cars like the world does. We don’t pursue humongous houses like the world does; we don’t pursue fame and fortune, accolades and applause like the world does. I’m not implying that luxury, fame, and fortune are innately evil. But they are not where our hearts are. Our hearts and minds are set on the prize of the high and upward calling of our God in Christ Jesus. We don’t share the world’s ungodly value system; we are unique; we live in God. We don’t make up rules to fit our wishes and whims; if everyone does that, the world will be in total chaos. We have an authoritative moral compass—His Word.

We don’t sacrifice our values at the altar of the majority, peer pressure, or political correctness. For us, murder is wrong, whether they be adults or babies—in the mother’s room or outside of the mother’s womb. For us, having sexual acts with a person not your spouse is immoral. We love it that we, our spouses, and our children don’t go around hopping from bed to bed with just anybody we or they like. We are called to keep our marriage bed undefiled and pure for the person we love—the person we have vowed and dedicated our lives to—for a lifetime. We operate in love, not lust, not greed. For us, giving is more blessed then getting. We love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us. We don’t take revenge, but we trust in our God and His justice.

We are God’s people. We belong to him. There only two choices: Him or anything else—to be holy like Him, and to be unholy like the world. We choose Him.

 

Faith—All the Way

Hebrews 10:38   (KJV)   38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10.38 - Faith - All the WayOur greatest pleasure is pleasing God. Praise God for faith with which we please Him. As people who are forgiven, our lives are characterized by faith; that’s our lifestyle. We understand that drawing back from the faith—falling from grace displeases Him. That’s the last thing we want to find ourselves in.

There are reasons others draw back. There’s the allure of sexual pleasures; there’s the pull of power; there’s the enticements of material accumulations. Some pursue riches and are shipwrecked. Some can’t stand the scorches of hardships unique to believers.

We persevere. Nothing compares to the glorious life of faith. It brings inexplicable miraculous exploits only God-empowered people experience; it also causes a lot of sufferings. Through all, we’ve learned to be content and to rejoice. Who can equal to such a life?

 

Blessedness of the Watchful

Luke 12:38   (KJV)   38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Luke 12.38 - Blessedness of the WatchfulServants who will be found expectantly and readily waiting for the Lord’s return will be blessed.

The Lord will and can return any moment. Although others believe differently regarding the notion of imminence—that no one knows the day or the hour except the Father—we all believe that He’s coming again. As surely as His return is, He also wants us to be prepared.

The Kingdom of God is our preoccupation. We lay up eternal treasures. We’re free from greed, from love of money, from materialism. We understand the value of life is more than the entire world itself. And God is infinitely greater than anything and anyone. We seek Him first—His Kingdom and righteousness. We may not have thousands in our bank deposit, but we have a rich relationship with our Father.

We serve Him gladly—our lamps continually burning, with extra flask of “oil.” We see the ever-increasing appearances of the signs of His return; we don’t neglect them; we pay serious and careful attention. When He comes like a thief, we won’t be caught in surprise.

 

Boasting in Knowing Him

Jeremiah 9:24   (KJV)   24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Glorying or boasting is good if glorying is in the right thing. Having a true saving knowledge of, experience with, and understanding of God are right reasons to glory—Jeremiah 9.24 - Boasting in Knowing Himknowing His nature, His power, His ways, His will.

The more we know Him, the more we see how wonderful He really is. For Him to lovingly and graciously invite us to drink of the free Living Water, He knows that when we do, we get to taste and see how good He really is, that He really is the One we need and we’ve been looking for. He’s the only one Who really satisfies our deepest hunger and thirst. He really is the answer to the greatest longing of our souls.

Others run after this world and its seemingly grand offers. They pursue more and more money. They strive hard to share in the 15 minutes of fame—of increased power and influence. They continually look for new things that will satisfy the cravings of their tongues and stomachs, or other people and things that will satisfy their flesh. But those are not things we glory in—not temporal things that will eventually just get burned up.

What we have extends beyond the reaches of matter, time, and space. Who we have and what we have are infinitely worth more than anything and anyone. He’s incomparable, immeasurable, incalculable, and incomprehensible. That’s why we worship Him alone. No volumes of books are enough to accommodate everything that can be written about Him. No amount of words can be used to fully describe the joys and blessings of having a saving knowledge, personal relationship, and very close intimacy with such a magnificent Being.

 

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.

Pilgrim’s Home

Hebrews 11:13   (KJV)   13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

We don’t forget: we are strangers and pilgrims here on the earth. We’ve received innumerable, unique, and wonderful blessings from our heavenly Father for being Hebrews 11.13 - Pilgrims' Homebelievers. But there are still unimaginably more and greater blessings awaiting us.

So if we’re not a part of the 1% of the richest and most famous? So what if we don’t live in mansions and palaces? There are those of us, like me, who don’t even own our homes; we’re “just” renters. These things don’t sadden us.

We’re just pilgrims passing through the here and now. Our eyes are set on the glorious place we can truly and gratefully (thanks to our Dad) call our own. We don’t get carried away trying to invest so much on earthly temporal treasures and possessions. We have absolutely glorious and blissful heavenly rooms or mansions and existence prepared personally by our precious Lord and Savior waiting for us. So we pass on, with no thought or desire of getting stuck to these earthly allurements. We “…press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14).

My Treasure

Matthew 6:21   (KJV)   21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Our minds and hearts are invested in God and heavenly thoughts. The more we do, the more we’re drawn to them.  There really is no being, system or cause greater than God. He has no equal, no qualified rival. Strength, glory, honor, and supreme rulership Matthew 6.21 - My Treasurebelongs to Him.  In His presence is fullness of love, joy, peace, and freedom.  He frees us from all earthly worries and encourages us to focus on things that are eternal and heavenly.

Oh, to taste and see that the Lord is good; to know Him increasingly more; to know His face, His Word, His will, His ways, His works; to know the power of His resurrection, His Kingdom now, and His Kingdom to come—nothing beats or surpasses any of these in value.  No, we’re not of those who are too heavenly minded and no earthly good. In fact, it is our being increasingly more God-minded and heavenly-minded that we become truly earthly good.

We’re not affected by people’s perception of us; we’re not affected by their lack of interest, their low estimation of us.  We’re beyond that; we’re free from people’s opinions and influence.  We serve God; we shine His light—not to elevate ourselves or to boast of how good we are, but to point them to God.  We forgive those who wrong us; we love our enemies; we walk the extra mile, we bless those who curse us.  Those we do because we’re not a part of the dog-eat-dog, “survival of the fittest” competition that the world has cruelly imprisoned and controlled people with.  What matters is the infinitely more precious existence with our wonderful God now and in eternity.

Redeemed from Death

Psalm 49:15   (KJV)   15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

Everyone needs redemption—physically and spiritually, except the saints who will be alive when our Lord Jesus returns. There are at least two major pernicious human conditions that Jesus alone can remedy: sin and death; one is a result of the other. God alone can Psalm 49.15 - Redeemed from Deathforgive and erase our sins. He already paid for them through the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. In and through Him, although we die, we will live again,

We’re not the ones without hope and assurance of forgiveness and salvation. Although it’s true that there will still be times when we sin, even as believers, even as saints, we’ve already placed the hope for out eternal salvation in Him. He’s perfect and will forever be perfect. He loves us so much that He gave us His Son Jesus Who willingly let go of His glorious existence to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death—for us. We continue to depend on Him and Him alone.

We have peace because we know our Lord won’t fail. When the time comes, He will call us from the grave, and up from there we will rise to die no more. That’s a reality based on His dependability. Our total and absolute redemption through our bodily resurrection is more valuable than anything this world offers. Others pursue riches, fame, relationships, and even the fountain of youth. They even succeed in some. But everything here is fleeting—like a flower: no matter how pretty, they eventually wilt away.

We don’t envy them; those things may be important from the perspective of a temporal life, but we possess the greatest riches in eternity, or shall we say, the true riches.

Fire for the Lukewarm

Revelation 3:20   (KJV)   20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

It’s always gratifyingly comforting to know that our precious Lord Jesus wants to be constantly with us. He gave us His word: He will never leave or forsake us: He will be with us to the end of the age. People don’t always have the same level of appreciation for this. revelation-3-20-fire-for-the-lukewarmThere are those who don’t believe His existence; there are those who prefer Him not to exist; there are those who pursue morality, but they reject Christ.

Then there’s the church. In the church, we find those who still make wrong decisions and who pursue wrong priorities. Our best will still fall short. God will always be true and faithful; the church wants to be but isn’t always. There are those who lose their steam, their fire, their passion. Somehow, they get taken over by different interests, like material possessions, or even immoral desires.

Ungodliness belongs to the world, not the church. We fall; God knows and understands we will; He knows our frame; He knows our weaknesses. But He’s not pleased when we sit (stay) in the seat of the scornful. He’s particularly clear about this: He spews out the lukewarm. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in this dangerous state; we don’t want to face the Lord and realize that we’re wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Our eyes our set on true riches: the Pearl of Great Price. And our feet are set on the straight and narrow.

For those who humbly find themselves in this fearfully risky stage of lingering in wrong priority and desire, linger no more; there’s hope. Jesus, in His amazingly enduring patience and love, is knocking. It’s best to open the door, let Him come in, and let Him take His rightful place seated on your life’s throne. He will kindle the fire of your godly passion once again.