Harvest of Blessing

Galatians 6:9   (NLT)   So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

We want to fight the good fight; we want to finish the race; we want to keep the faith. Our call is to persevere until the end. We do what’s good, what’s right, and what’s godly. We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Christian life isn’t Galatians 6.9 - Harvest of Blessingalways easy; there are hard times. But we are expected to never tire doing what is good. No matter how long and hard our struggles are, they’re still very short and worth bearing in the light of the blissful and glorious eternity awaiting us.  For those who persevere, God’s word promises a harvest of blessing—now, and infinitely more so in eternity.

We can’t deny the reality of the principle of sowing and reaping; it is explicitly and clearly taught in God’s Word. The age of grace neither terminates nor prohibits God’s blessings and rewards as fruits of our labor. The principle of sowing and reaping works perfectly with the principle of grace. The harvest is multiplied times more than the amount planted. That is a good picture of God’s grace.

God’s Word encouraging us to continue doing good isn’t to give us a hard time; it is God positioning us under the blessings of an open heaven. Others don’t accept this because they see how it leads dangerously to boasting about our own efforts. We’re emphatically taught in the Scriptures how our salvation is by God’s grace through our response of faith; it’s not a result of works, or else we’ll be boasting about our own righteousness. We love that passage. We also love the fact that we’re created unto good works, and that God rewards us still. We guard our hearts against pride and self-righteousness; our hearts are already set; our boast is in the Lord. We don’t deny that. We also don’t deny the blessedness of planting the seed of good deeds.

We don’t get tired of doing good. And I pray we won’t. It’s wonderful to live under God’s blessings. To be blessed when we rise, blessed when we lie down, blessed in the city, blessed in our homes, blessed in the country, blessed when we drive, blessed when we work, blessed when we rest, blessed with our children, blessed with our spouses, blessed in our ministry, blessed in our businesses, blessed in our works, blessed in our endeavors, blessed in our relationships—we won’t and don’t get tired of those, rather, we enjoy them to the utmost.

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.

Righteousness—the Person, the Action

1 John 3:7 (KJV) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

It is to be deceived to believe that those who commit unrighteousness are righteous.

I was almost avoiding this passage. Somehow, I’m affected by books and messages discouraging a call to holiness and righteousness. Those who do are seen as legalistic, or 1 John 3.17 - Righteousness - The Person, the Actionpeople who don’t understand God’s love and grace. They are seen as judgmental, condemnatory, and they preach salvation by works.

I know those labels aren’t true with me. I understand that we’re saved by grace through faithliving faith that is. I understand God’s unconditional love and abundant grace. I caught myself doing something I ought not to: avoiding certain passages. That was wrong.

So, I settled. How can I escape this divine billboard projected so emphatically right before me—repeatedly, in different ways, just from one book alone? Here’s a sampling of what I mean:

1 John 2:1,5-6,29 (KJV) 1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

1 John 3:3,10,24 (KJV) 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

1 John 5:3 (KJV) 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

There’s a lot more where they came from.

If God’s Word doesn’t withdraw from urging us to life of love, obedience, holiness, purity, righteousness; it’s only right we also don’t.

‘nough said.

 

 

 

Believers’ Natural Fruits

Ephesians 5:9   (KJV)   9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 5.9 - Believers' Natural FruitsGod’s precious Holy Spirit living in us produces only good things—praise God for that. He efficiently bears in us what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true.

We willingly and humbly yield ourselves to the gentle leading and inner work of the Holy Spirit. Left to ourselves, we still have a strong tendency to listen to the destructive influence of our old way of living. But our loving God has lavishly given us wisdom; we quickly identify and resist what’s evil, wrong, and false. More so, we understand that ungodliness isn’t something to accommodate and excuse; it’s something to completely reject. Our sincere love for God and our proper understanding of God’s love don’t deny His anger—not only for disobedience but also for the disobedient: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).

We love God; He loves us infinitely more. We please the One we love, and we demonstrably do this by being Christ-like. This isn’t a laborious something we force ourselves to. We honestly enjoy living in unquestionable integrity and all-out faithfulness—in willing obedience to the Lord’s instructions. We’ve heard before: “Our lives are God’s gifts to us; what we do with our lives are our gifts to God.” Reality is: there’s nothing we can give God that He didn’t give us. Still, He kindly gives us the uplifting pleasure of choosing to thank Him by the way we live out this precious gift of life—both the physical and the eternal. It’s a deep joy yielding to the precious Holy Spirit—radiating goodness, righteousness, and truth. What an honor and privilege.

New Clothes for New Life

Ephesians 4:24   (KJV)   24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

We are world-changers; that’s a great honor. We influence and change our society because we’ve been changed—from the inside out; we’re a new creation, new man, new nature, new heart. All glory to God; that inner change is all Him. That’s the light we Ephesians 4.24 - New Clothes for New Lifeshine, this new nature created to be like God, particularly His righteousness, holiness, purity. It may be hard for some to believe, but this is us: living godly and pure lives is our nature.

Everyone is invited to share this awesome newness; most don’t respond.  As believers, we enjoy it tremendously. It’s no longer a joy for this new nature to engage in dishonesty, immorality, and corruption. There are not a lot of honors as great as representing and displaying our Father’s nature. Misrepresenting Him hurts us. Temptations abound; they possess powerful attractions, but this new man has different tastes and appetites.

Not all unbelievers are utterly hostile to believers. Some of them recognize the beauty of Christian values. They know the importance of truthfulness, faithfulness, and loyalty in relationships. They know the value of teachability and submission among their children and employees. They know the value of conscientiousness, initiative, and diligence. It’s not unusual to see parents who don’t set foot in a church but send their children to Christian schools and gatherings because they know how beautiful our lives are.

We sail on, bearing a different aura—that of humility, joy, love, peace. Our neighbors trust us; we bring peace to tense situations; we don’t harbor grudge. We don’t operate by the common m.o. of avenging ourselves against those who wrong us. We forgive. We work hard for those who trust us with their company; we’re not takers; we’re giver. Our speeches aren’t foul; they’re pleasant; they’re kind. I can go on and on, but we’re obviously different—wonderfully different. We love it. We’re deeply humbled.

Our Body as Force for Good

Romans 6:13    (KJV)   13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

We have a choice as to what to do with our “members,” our bodies, whether they’ll be instruments of sin or instruments of God. As believers, the choice is very clear; our natural predisposition now that we’re alive from the dead—we’ve been raised to a new life—is to live out this new life for God’s glory and honor.

Romans 6.13 - Bodies - Force for GoodChoice is a big word today, and our hearts go out to those who misunderstand the meaning. Choice doesn’t equate to doing wrong. Choice speaks of one of God’s most loving and wisest gift to mankind: free will. We keep that honor when we become believers. But instead of being slaves to sin, we now have power over it. The choice is ours, and for believers, our choice equates to what’s good, right, and godly. We can choose otherwise, but the precious Holy Spirit is now powerfully moving in us to will and to do God’s will. We don’t feel violated; at times I pray what I know God won’t answer—that He would just take full control of my will and make me do everything exactly as He wants me to.

With that powerful divine influence, we yield. We submit our bodies to the leading of God’s precious Holy Spirit; we deny sin its say, and we live victoriously and wonderfully. How beautiful are the pilgrimage of those who wisely reject the deceptions of the enemy, those not blinded by the lying attractions of temptations. Our bodies are no longer sin’s helpless tools and victims. Praise God, through our Lord, we’ve found authority and power to see through sin’s devious allurements, to render our bodies dead to it, and to offer our bodies as living sacrifices—Holy and acceptable to our beloved Lord and Savior.

Aside from God’s pleasure, guess how happy my spouse is that I choose to devote my body to her alone instead of enjoying the pleasures of infidelity. Guess how happy my family is that I serve them instead of abandoning them. Guess how happy my neighbors are that I desire them good and not harm. That’s the beauty of a righteous life. It becomes an instrument of blessing and joy to our heavenly Father first and foremost, and to others as well. What a wonderful life.

 

Who’s Really Affected?

Job 35:6   (KJV)   If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?

Job 35.6 - Who Really BenefitsNo amount of sin and rebellion can topple God from His throne. God is God; He rules; He will reign forever and forever.

Nothing we do can alter God for Who He is. He’s God, and He will always be God—omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, eternal, sovereign, holy, righteous, just, merciful, gracious, loving, and so much more. He is all those, and more—now, and forever more.

Yes, because of His love for us, He’s grieved when we sin. He’s jealous for us because of His love. He always wants the best for us, and He doesn’t like the idea of us allowing the enemy to rob us of our best. We don’t increase God or diminish His Being when we sin or do good. We obey Him because we as true believers understand: that’s the proper response to Who He is. We honor Him because He is honorable, we worship Him because He’s the greatest Being there is. We know that His commands aren’t burdensome—He’s not giving us a hard time; they’re for our best. Let me quote the context of the passage above: “If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man” (Job 35:6-8 KJV).

So yes, doing bad and doing good, ultimately, is doing ourselves bad or good. We choose good.

Tremendous Blessedness in Jesus

1 Corinthians 1:30   (KJV)   30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

1 Corinthians 1.30 - Tremendous Blessedness in JesusThe greatest blessing we’ve received when we placed our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation and surrendered our lives to Him is Jesus Himself. With Him and in Him is attached so many other blessings that are also of immeasurably great value—definitely not as great as Jesus, but tremendously great nonetheless.

When we hear believers say “I’m eternally grateful to God,” it isn’t a simple, thoughtless, and trivial parroting of a Christian cliché; there’s enormous weight and truth in that short statement that genuine believers understand. To have the very wisdom of God living in us—having the mind of Christ—how can anyone grasp the magnitude of its worth? To be made the righteousness of God—that’s a lot to process for those of us who know and humbly admit how spiritually bankrupt we are when left to ourselves. To be sanctified—to know that we’ve been set apart for God’s special purpose, washed, cleaned up, continually being cleaned up, and will be sufficiently cleaned up—prepared for the meeting with our Lord. To be redeemed—purchased back from and for God, restored in freedom, spiritual authority and dominion. Who can equal to such experience?

Dear Lord, to You, we really are eternally grateful. There surely is no life better than the life of a believer.

Boundaries and Nations

Acts 17:26   (KJV)   26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation

Acts 17.26 - Boundaries and NationsOne blood, all nations all over the earth, appointed times, boundaries—God designed it to be so.

We only have “one blood”—one race—the human race.  Christianity and racism are a contradiction. As true as it is that we have one race; equally true is that we have many nations. He determines its boundaries. Understandable; nations have different preferences in the way each country is ran. Each has varying degrees of success and failures. God has the power to build a nation and the power to destroy it. He Who promotes can also easily demote. According to Him, Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 KJV). His creation, His rules; His rules are true, and His rules work.

There are many prosperous countries; there are also many poor nations, but I have yet to know about a country whose values are predominantly based on Biblical Christianity that’s not prosperous. Here, I’d like to make a distinction. There are many “religious-Christian” countries, meaning, they identify with Christianity but the people are more religious than Christian—in beliefs, and in practices.  There are many of them that are steeped in poverty and bursting with corruption. This is in no way to judge or undermine them; I love them; God loves them; I was such a person.

Inasmuch as it’s not really reported in our very secularized, anti-Christian media, it’s obviously true that there are countries and people who want to destroy any people group or country who won’t abide by their dogma. Common sense shows the wisdom of national boundaries. The Ancient of Days knows it all; He certainly has reasons for this divine arrangement. We trust Him. We pray for peace; we promote peace and unity; we sincerely and diligently work towards that when it’s at all possible, but, we also know that we can really only trust one World Leader to unify the world in genuine love, peace, and righteousness—a World Leader untouched by corruption, malice, and any form of evil. That’s our Lord Jesus. That’s when He establishes His pure and righteous world order here on earth.

There will be those other than our Lord Jesus who will try to rule the world. We’ve seen the likes of Hitler. There will be one who will have a significant worldwide success in this regard. He will deceive the many. But this leader will lead the world against God, against God’s people and what God and His people stand for. He will bring and usher utter judgment and unimaginable destruction upon himself and this world.

So, other than our Lord Jesus, we say, “No, thank you.

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.