Delivered from Every Evil Work

2 Timothy 4:18 (KJV)   1And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord always delivers us from every attack of the enemy. We’re very confident about our safe journey to our heavenly home. It’s not because we’re strong, it’s because our God is. That’s why all glory, honor, and praise belong to Him.

2 Timothy 4.18 - Delivered from Every Evil WorkThe apostle Paul had a huge share of attacks, persecutions, troubles, and hardships in his Christian journey. We could have expected him to say “And the Lord shall deliver me through every evil work.” He didn’t. It’s possible that in his perception, even in worst attacks from those who don’t like us as believers, even in most difficult of circumstances, God is delivering us from evil. Meaning to say, the situations God allows us to go through aren’t necessarily evil.

There are many ways to see it. What we may see as God delivering us through is actually God delivering us from. That may be hard to understand. One thing is sure though, through it all—we may not even fully understand the theological and/or practical meaning and implications of Paul’s words—God will get us home. So we bear and persevere through life. Now, we have a little adjustment in our mindset. No matter how trying the situations are, God is delivering us from every evil work.

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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.

 

More Valuable than All Our Achievements

Philippians 3:8   (KJV)   Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

We are pursuing something more significant than any and all achievements we or anyone else can ever achieve. Knowing Jesus more carries infinitely more value than all our advancements and accomplishments—even the spiritual kind. We don’t mind losing Philippians 3.8 - More Valuable than All Our Achievementseverything no matter how precious they may be in the natural eyes and in society’s estimation. Compared to Jesus, they’re like useless garbage.

When it comes to our salvation, our best efforts amount to nothing. We humbly admit: our best efforts still fail miserably short of God’s glorious standards. It’s foolish to anchor our hope in ourselves. Perfection is far from anyone’s reach. The Lord Jesus alone can claim sinlessness. He’s the One to “run after;” He’s the One we take true pride and joy in.

It isn’t wrong to be proud of each other who sincerely and diligently try to do our best to faithfully live out our faith before the Lord and before the watching world. A good testimony—an exemplary life is admirable. There’s a place for compliments. We’re also called to encourage others, and to tell them “good job” when they really do well. It’s befitting for believers to do our best in all our works. Many times, we excel. Even our unbelieving bosses or peers notice.

We shine the light of Jesus through us—that’s a natural goal we have in everything we do. That’s very biblical. We will get applause, approval, and commendations; we may even receive promotion. We’re also called to grow in the knowledge and likeness of our Lord. All these give us sense of satisfaction, and that’s perfectly appropriate. But when it comes to comparing the value of all those achievements and progress to the value of an intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus, the choice for us is undoubtedly clear: He’s our hands-down preference. Our ultimate pride is not ourselves, it’s Him.

 

“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.

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.

God Delights in Us

Psalm 149:4   (KJV)   4 For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

Two of the most assuring truths we enjoy as believers are that our heavenly Father takes pleasure in us, and that He beautifies us with salvation. Just imagine: the One great in Psalm 149.4 - God Delights in Uspower and glory, the One Who created this universe, the One Who’s in control of everything is happy with you and me. He’s not angry with us; He’s not our enemy; He’s not trying to do us harm; He’s not trying to destroy us or mess us up. In fact, He desires that our lives be beautiful.

We don’t needlessly struggle for people’s approval. It isn’t wrong to please others as well. We love them; we want them to be happy, but there are those who don’t respond positively whatever we do. There’s something they don’t like about us. Often, the very truth that we are believers is enough to disappoint them and make them treat us as enemies. Even those who like us now may not like us later. So we rest not in man’s favor but in God’s.

Dear God, thank You for taking pleasure in us and working out all things for our best. Because of You, life is really beautiful. And this isn’t just a movie title for us; it isn’t fiction; it’s reality. Only You can make that happen. May we never unrealistically expect that everyone will always like us. That would be setting ourselves up for huge disappointment and deep hurt. With people, we can never be sure of their reaction. With You, You never change. You love us—always. Thank You Father—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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.