Growing Up

1 Corinthians 13:11   (NLT)   When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Praise God; He wants us to expand, grow, mature, explore new horizons, have more significant and meaningful experiences. Childhood has fun experiences or perks on its own. But we can’t remain as children forever. God gives us the environment and all 1 Corinthians 13.11 - Grow Upessential elements to mature. Yes, it’s good to be on the receiving end of things, where we don’t have to worry about making a living, where we are not given a lot of responsibilities, where we have a lot of time to play, where we’re favored with more understanding and leniency when we sin, make mistakes, or fail.

But there is a time to leave childhood and the childishness that comes with it. There is a time for leading than being led. There is a time for being responsible in feeding others, and caring for others instead of being led, cared for, and fed. There is a time when we are called to greater work and sacrifice rather than greater pleasure and leisure. The world needs men and women who are not afraid to take on responsibility, to take the blame if it needs be instead of passing them on to others. We need man and woman to lead others in doing what is right, what is godly, and what is good. Instead of blind leading the blind, we need people who will lead others to the light. People who see clearly, people with vision.

As we grow and mature, we find greater sense of purpose. We’re no longer tossed to-and-fro buy by every wind of fad, fashion, or trend. We utilize time more wisely, more productively. We do not allow the mundane to occupy our precious time, energy, and other resources. We become more careful and responsible with the choices we make, the words we speak, the actions we take, the doctrines we believe, the opinions we express. We are fully aware there are consequences to our actions.

There are greater expectations in adulthood, in growth and maturity, and we welcome them joyfully. It is then when we can live more productively and more helpfully in God’s Kingdom, in the lives of other people, even in the world itself.

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The Fire that Always Burns

Leviticus 6:13   (NLT)   Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.

Our God is always inviting, waiting, ready and willing for us to come into his presence. His fire—the fire of His mercy and grace, the fire of His cleansing blood, the fire of His Holy Spirit—is always ready, always lit to burn away all our sins, any hour, any minute of the day.

Leviticus 6.13 - The Fire that Always BurnsThrough our Lord Jesus, God’s throne is open and accessible 24/7. What a wondrous truth. We desperately need that. We have sinned at various times of our day. Temptations come at us every opportunity it gets. Praise God for many times of victory. But we have times of failure. Praise God that when we fail—when we sin—we don’t have to wait for a year, for a month, a week, a day, not even for an hour for us to ask for forgiveness—for us to be cleansed. We don’t have to bear the load of guilt sin and shame—not for a single moment. At the instance we fall, we can immediately and sincerely confess our sins to him; and as he promised, He is just and faithful enough to forgive us of all our sins and to cleanse us of all our unrighteousness.

Thank You Lord that you have already provided us the ways and means—all that are necessary for us to come to You any time of any day. Through the death of our precious Lord Jesus, through His sacrifice—His shed blood on the cross—we no longer have to wait to be forgiven. We no longer have to come up with our own animal sacrifices; we don’t have to delay until we could find the proper time; we no longer have to suffer—weighed down—for a prolonged period of time, as we struggle to complete the grueling task of gathering all the necessary requirements and performing necessary sacrifices—to the strictest detail. Our cleansing, restoration, and refreshing are available to us any moment of our day. Because of you, we get to always live light and free. Thank You Lord—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Step Forward; Speak Up

Genesis 44:18   (NLT)   Then Judah stepped forward and said, “Please, my Lord, let your servant say just one word to you. Please, do not be angry with me, even though you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.

At times the difference between good or bad, success and failure, life and death depends on whether we step forward or not, whether we speak up or not. Judah was about to lose another brother; as a result, he may have also lost his father. He wasn’t going to let that Genesis 44.18 - Step Forward, Speak Uphappen without trying to do something. He risked incurring the anger of the 2nd most powerful man on earth that time; he did it anyway. He stepped forward; he spoke up; he explained; he pleaded, and it dramatically changed what could have been a devastating continuation or conclusion of their story. His effort benefited him, and a lot more people—perhaps, an entire race of people.

There are so many great opportunities people allow to slip right through their fingers just because of not taking the step of faith, not opening their mouths. There’s a lot of wisdom in constraint; there’s wisdom in silence; it’s not necessary to always step forward and talk. There are dead heroes who could have been living heroes had they taken more precaution. But there is time and place for doing something.

There are worthy causes and reasons risking our lives for. It will take people of courage and conviction—people who recognize the value of what they are fighting for. It will take people of discernment, wisdom, and humility; they know who to approach; they know the people to talk to; they know the people who can help, and they know the people who can make a difference in their situation. These are people who act in faith—they believe that they need to do something, that they can do something, and that something can happen.

God knows how to bestow favor upon them. His Word clearly declares: He is pleased with faith and those who act on their faith.

Died and Rose—for Us

Romans 4:25   (KJV)   25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Praise God; our precious Savior sacrificially died on the cross for our sins. Praise God; He didn’t stay dead and buried; He defeated grave, death, and hell; He rose from the dead so Romans 4.25 - Died and Rose--for Uswe may be reckoned as justified—just as if we haven’t sinned at all—made completely right before God.

I don’t even want to imagine what could have happened had He not incarnated, had He not lived a perfect life, had He not been willing to give His life for us, had He been unable to resurrect. We’re grateful He was a worthy, willing, and perfect sacrifice.

Our holy God lovingly provided a merciful yet just way out for us; our offences were placed upon our Lord; we need no longer be penalized and punished for them. Every need, every requirement for this hope and reality of eternal life has been met; we’re over-blessed; we’re overjoyed.

The Blood of the New Covenant

Matthew 26:28   (KJV)   28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Matthew 26.28 - The Blood of the New CovenantDo we understand this? I pray I would understand the depths of these words. Death—it took the death of our precious Lord and Savior—it took spilling of His blood—for our sins to be forgiven.

It’s very possible to read these words and not even really understand the implications of what our Savior just said. We are enjoying this New Covenant—a covenant much better, more superior, and more glorious than the old. This came free to us; it didn’t come easy for our Savior. Three times, He prayed to the Father if it was possible for Him not to drink the cup of the cross. His sweat was like drops of blood. He was in deep anguish. An angel needed to minister to Him.

There was no other way. Our Lord needed to spill His blood, die on the cross. That was the ransom payment required. There was no easier compromise. He didn’t back down. He laid down His life. A New Covenant was ratified with His blood. We didn’t only find hope; we now live in hope. That’s what our Lord did for us. All honor, glory, and thanksgiving to Him.

 

Free Gift, Painful Price

Mark 10:27   (KJV)   And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

Mark 10.27 - Free Gift, Painful PriceSalvation is absolutely impossible for humans to achieve. It was impossible for the rich young ruler; it was also impossible for the apostles; it is impossible for any other human being. But we don’t despair; we’re not left without hope; it is possible with God.

We’re humbled by the truth that left to ourselves without any divine aid, we’re hopeless. We’re humbled because He Who can save us saved us. It’s not as if all God had to do was snap His finger or utter a command. No, it took Jesus lovingly and willingly leaving His glorious state of existence, coming to where we are, taking on the form of a servant in our likeness, humbling Himself further and subjecting Himself to heartless mockery, cruel torture, and excruciating death.

Heavenly Father, by Your power, salvation is possible for us to receive and enjoy. We pray that we won’t ever forget the loving yet extremely painful process our Lord Jesus went through, that we may never undermine it nor treat it lightly or contemptuously. We appreciate You Lord, and we thank you greatly for this wonderful, priceless gift of salvation we’ve freely received–in Jesus’ Name, amen.

When Clueless

Luke 23:35   (KJV)   35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

Both the people and the leaders expected Jesus to save Himself as an unambiguous proof of Him being the Christ. They were amiss. God’s chosen Messiah came not to save Luke 23.35 - When CluelessHimself, but to seek and to save the seemingly helpless and hopeless lost. He did it not by saving Himself from death on the cross, but by the exact opposite—not saving Himself, by giving His life—shedding His most precious blood—as a ransom payment for our sins.

God said, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). He often does things in ways that transcends our expectations and baffles our imaginations. But they always astonishingly yield the best results. It’s because of this that the saying “Let go and let God” isn’t just a good cliché to us; it’s our lifestyle.

Our only wise God and Savior, we humble ourselves before you. Please open our eyes, our hearts, and our understanding to the wonders of Your ways. Help us to never doubt You, but to always trust Who You are and how You do things. We won’t come to a point when we’ll understand all Your purposes in every turn of events, but we can always trust You in all of them. You have repeatedly shown us Your inexhaustible creativity. You have assured us of Your unquestionable and unending love. We depend on You and act on those things You’ve plainly revealed to us; we depend on You as well even in times when we don’t have a clue as to what’s going on.