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.
Acts 8:31 (NLT) The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
“Teachability” is a very valuable virtue. It requires humility but it’s also a path to greatness. It takes humility to admit lack of understanding, to admit need of help, to admit someone knows more than you do. Learning requires sincerity and resolve. It necessitates effort. The person in this story had a hard time understanding what he was reading, but he was reading nonetheless.
Having a know-it-all attitude is disadvantageous. Wise people understand: wisdom is a life-long pursuit; the truth is: it is an eternity-long pursuit. Our learning doesn’t stop when we meet the Lord face to face.
There is no greater source of wisdom than God’s Word. True: there are some parts hard to understand; it will take a sincere desire to learn for us to grasp truths God intends for us. We find it a big help listening to others who have also spent time and effort in studying His Word. We don’t deny personal responsibility; we have to read the word by ourselves; we have to study it; meditate on it; memorize it; live it out; share it. But we can certainly also learn from others. It doesn’t diminish our self-esteem when we do. We expand our horizon much greater by mining the gold from other people’s perspective. We recognize that we miss some important insights other people catch. We even learn from people of the world; they too have wisdom to share; they too are created in God’s image; they have undeniably good contributions. In some cases, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit to know whether what they teach is godly or worldly. It’s no problem because God is more generous with His Spirit guiding us, helping us, warning us, and leading us to the truth.
Dear heavenly Father—all loving and all wise, thank You for giving us understanding and insight—especially when it comes to vital spiritual truths. Thank You for giving us your Holy Spirit without Whom we would be spiritually blind. Thank You for making us a part of people who have the same access to Your Spirit—the Spirit of wisdom. Thank You for giving us opportunities to learn, to know more about You, Your Word, Your love, and a lot more wonderful truths we absolutely treasure. And thank You for the privilege and honor of bearing and sharing this treasure.
John 16:33 (KJV) 33These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus’ Words are to give us peace, no matter how scary the truth may sound. In Jesus can we find very interesting and comforting paradoxes. We have tribulations, but we have joy. This is not a self-assuring yet dangerous denial of trials and persecutions; they’re based on our Lord’s promises and accomplishments.
Praise God for revealing important truths to us. He doesn’t always divulge everything, but He doesn’t deprive us of truths we need. He’s a loving God Who wants us to have everything necessary for a full and meaningful life.
We’ve had experiences when others have pointed out how little we have and yet we’re filled with joy. We don’t take that as an insult. What can compare to such a life? Others try to accumulate as much wealth and resources as they can. But it’s not really the gold, fame, and number of people around us that matter the most; it’s what they’re supposed to bring to us: security, worth, significance, value, love, joy, peace, and so much more.
We have them—without the tiring pursuit for more stuff.
1 Timothy 6:3 (KJV) 3If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness
We’re enjoying our lives as believers. That’s natural for people who’ve been richly given all things we need for our enjoyment. But we’re not without struggles. We have a very undesirable division going on in the beautiful body of Christ. The Lord Jesus prayed that we as the church be one as He and the Father are one. We’re still far from that reality. The issues and teachings dividing the church are disputable—non-essentials—as often referred to.
There are dangerous teachings though creeping in the church. I’m a personal witness to this. It’s rampant and it’s ongoing. The Scriptures teach us that the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus are in accordance with godliness—our Lord’s doctrine upholds godly living. But I’ve heard messages talking down on preaching about morality and good deeds. In trying to affirm the doctrine of grace—grace which we love and appreciate tremendously—they have condemned the wholesome doctrine of our Lord Jesus—godly living.
We teach godliness; other teachers consent not. Sadly, a lot of opposition comes from fellow Christian teachers. Truth is: it’s possible for believers to stray and follow Satan (1 Timothy 5:15). That’s why we’re encouraged to fight the good fight for the true faith, to hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called us… (see 1 Timothy 6:12). We don’t downplay God’s warnings: “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16).
God’s Word is replete with such examples of our Lord’s wholesome doctrine of godliness. Here’s just another example—just a short segment: “12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:12-14). This is our doctrine as people under grace. We don’t regret it; we don’t abhor it; we love it.
Acts 11:17 (KJV) 17Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
God in one of His unpredictable ways did something Peter and the Jewish believers did not expect, i.e., He also graciously poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Gentile believers. When that happened, Peter did the right thing: He got out of the way and yielded Himself to the Sovereign move of God.
Life of a believer is full of adventure. We live with humble confidence because the God we worship, trust, and serve is absolutely dependable. He does exactly as He promises. At the same token, He does new creative “out-of-the-box” things. This is true even in spiritual matters. We don’t self-righteously and thoughtlessly condemn some things just because they’re new or we’re not used to them. We understand that God can do anything as long as they’re not contrary to His nature or His revealed Word—they’re not anti-God and anti-Scripture.
Dear God, thank you for new and beautiful blessings You bestow on us. Thank You for adding new experiences in our journey. Thank You for revealing new facets of Your being and Your ways–expanding our knowledge of You. We praise You for Your inexhaustible and amazing creativity.
Psalm 119:11 King James Version (KJV) 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
I was introduced to this verse when I was a new believer. It played a big role in my journey and growth. It’s still very precious to me. The more I grow, the more I see its immeasurable value. There are so many loud, influential, and powerful albeit very ungodly voices surrounding us that seem to control the direction of people’s beliefs and walk. They’re unashamed; they’re bold; they’re brash; and they’re bent to leading the populace to their march of godlessness.
As believers, we’re called to walk in humility and gentleness. We’re open; we listen; we value people. Many times, they don’t hold the same convictions as we do. There are shocking moments of revelations and realizations. It’s absolutely crazy when people who are so sure and so confident about their Christianity voice out opinions and convictions that are obviously contradictory to Scriptural precepts.
Our natural inclination is to voice out our opposing view. It works to some people. There are opinionated and vocal people who are sincere seekers of the truth; when they meet the truth, they don’t have a problem bowing before it. But there are people who have rock-hard hearts, and sky-high pride; they’re not after truth; they’re there to convince others to fall in line behind them. In the thick of battle of ideas and opinions, God’s Word is our immovable anchor. It keeps us from error and sin. Kings and queens may give their anti-Scriptural decrees, but our allegiance is to His Word. We chose to walk faithful before Him. Without shame, we live out His Words; our feet are established; our steps are steady.
John 6:45 (KJV) 45It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
God clearly speaks to us through nature, His prophets, His Word, and His Spirit. He is the Source of all truths; He is the ultimate Teacher. We listen; we learn; we get a glimpse of Who He is, a very small glimpse into His immeasurable love, His incomparable beauty, His inscrutable wisdom, his unlimited power, and His mighty works, but more than enough for us to be passionately attracted to Him.
A hidden and detached God would have not benefited us; but we’re greatly blessed because our God and heavenly Father, though bigger than the entire vast universe, greater than all principalities and powers, exalted—high and lifted up, takes it upon Himself to reveal Himself to us. He evidently shows His amazing handiwork all around us so those of us who earnestly seek, find. He masterfully arranged and designed everything so that He can teach His children well.
We seek Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. To those of us who faithfully do, He shows Himself “fully.” One of the gentle ways He draws us to Him is by divine revelation. Wise people aptly choose to draw towards the beautiful and good. What hungry soul won’t run to the Bread of Life? What dying soul won’t run to Life Eternal? What troubled soul won’t run to the Prince of Peace, and what battered soul won’t come to the One who walks on water and stills the waves? We who see, we who hear, we who learn come.