Matthew 2:22 (KJV) 22But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
There are fearful things going on around us—things, events, situations affecting us. It’s natural to feel afraid; emotions are God-given—that’s a part of our make-up—His design. To think evil of our emotions is to fault God for His creation. One of the great things about being His child is receiving His clear guidance—especially in life-threatening situations. Another good thing about being His child is we’re serious about His leading. He leads; we follow; it all works well.
The presence of problems is undeniable. They’re a part of life—even to the saintliest of saints. Some aren’t that bad; some are life-altering; some are life-threatening. Some of them are consequences of our own actions; some of them come from indirect or direct actions of others. Some of us have powerful enemies. We don’t wrong them; they just don’t like who we are and what we stand for.
God in His wisdom knows we can’t survive without Him. And we’re grateful for the non-stop availability of our Great Shepherd, great God, and Heavenly Father. He graciously and longingly invites us into His presence where we find grace, mercy, help in times of our need. He speaks to people, works in and through people to bring us our much needed protection. We have a purpose; we have a destiny; the enemy knows that too. He will use others to destroy us, but our God protects and preserves us. It’s His delight seeing us through all hindrances, trials and challenges. He grows us, deepens us, and strengthens us through them. It’s His delight seeing us live in victory and miracle. We’re blessed.
Luke 8:18 (KJV) 18Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
Our precious Lord wants us to be as productive as we can be. He doesn’t want our time and our lives wasted. He cares even for the way we listen. He wants us to gain more knowledge, more understanding, and more wisdom.
We’re sincere in the way we listen to our Lord. He has graciously given us His Word so we would know our way, so we would know truth, so we can see, so we can really live. We pay sincere and careful attention to His Word. The more we do, the more He gives us wisdom.
It can be tempting to read the Scriptures and pray out of obligation—just to go through the motions. I pray you don’t get me wrong. I believe and understand the need to spend time with the Lord. But we don’t take them lightly and superficially. Not heeding how we hear is to lessen the understanding we already have. We don’t understand the divine mechanics regarding this, but we know what He says happens.
He speaks, we listen. As His sheep, we know His voice. He always guides and leads us to the right path. He wants to commune with us more than we commune with Him. He’s never too busy for us; we don’t have to wait to make an appointment with Him. And He wants to pour out more of His Word and His wisdom to us. So we sincerely seek; we intently listen, and we keep growing.
Luke 4:44 (KJV) 44And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
Jesus preached outside of the walls of the synagogues; He also preached in the synagogues. Implied: there were people in the synagogues who needed to hear the Good News.
Going out to all the world and preaching the Gospel rings very loudly from our pulpits and that’s very good, but it will be a huge negligence on our part if we forget that there are people sitting on the chairs or pews Sunday after Sunday who still need to be preached to.
It’s important for us to declare God’s message of salvation to the lost. Most of them do not come to our places of worship. We go where they are. We also recognize the obvious truth that not everyone who gathers together with us for worship and the preaching of the Word is a believer.
There have been many times when I heard testimonies of our very own church people share how they got saved long after they’ve started attending our church gatherings. Praise God for that. That’s why we preach the Good News and we teach God’s principles; we evangelize and we disciple. We do this when we gather together as a local church in a particular place, and we do this when we part ways and go as individual churches to our personal spheres of influence—our own “worlds,”—our own mission fields.
At times, it’s worthwhile preaching to the “choir;” so let’s continue preaching in our “synagogues.” There’s a big probability that some of those in attendance may be with us bodily—geographically, but not yet a part of us as a church spiritually.
Jeremiah 23:29 (KJV) 29 Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
God’s Word is indestructible. Anyone who fights against it finds themselves in a losing battle. Anyone who tries to destroy it will themselves be destroyed. It is an inextinguishable fire. Try putting it out and you’ll find yourself devoured by it.
It’s utterly useless and absolutely foolish to kick against a consuming fire and a pounding hammer. True believers highly value God’s Word. We understand its power and eternality. The grass withers; the flowers wilt, heavens and earth will pass away, but God’s Word—to the smallest dot—will remain.
Our lives are changed by it. It’s a consuming fire that burns the filth and dirt from our lives. It’s a burning passion that we can’t keep silent about. Through us, the fire spreads, touching and purifying lives and changing situations.
Numerous thoughts and opinions beat on God’s Word. Anti-Scriptural practices are hastily increasing. Godless, lawless, and evil ways are promoted and promulgated. But we’re here. We may be few, but we’re the faithful few. We pray for others; we do our best for them to enjoy wonders of living in the truth instead of against it. The open-minded and honest seekers recognize the fire and its power. Wisely, they choose to enjoy it, its benefits and blessings. Then there are those who stubbornly live in denial of or rebellion to the power of God’s Word; they choose to believe ideas and opinions that tickle their ears and support their chosen ways and lifestyles.
When the sounds of the consuming fire and the pounding hammer has stopped, the chaffs and rocks of the world’s philosophies and wisdom will be found completely burned and shattered, and the hammer of God’s Word will be left complete and whole, unscathed—so are those who live under its power.
Psalm 86:11 (KJV) 11 Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
Having a humble and teachable heart is essential to living in and for God. Having a pure heart is essential to fearing God’s Name.
We desire to follow after our precious LORD. The way we do that is by knowing His Word, His ways, and His will. This comes through spending time with Him and His Word. We can’t honestly say we’re living in obedience to Him if we don’t know what to obey. Else, we’ll be hypocritical, and that’s not the kind of heart we want to have. We want to keep our hearts pure before God; that’s one of the ways we honor God, and honoring Him is what we want to do.
We’re grateful to God because He teaches us and is willing to teach us. He’s always waiting, willing, ready to pour our His wisdom to us. So we come before Him, with sincere hearts, with loving fear of Him, with open hearts and minds, we fill ourselves with His precious truths.
2 Timothy 3:14 (KJV) 14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them
God has gifted us with faithful teachers—knowledgeable, wise, reliable, and trustworthy teachers. They practiced what they preached. Much of the essential knowledge we possess we learned from them.
I’m grateful to the Lord for allowing me to sit under teachers who have guided me into truths that I still live by to this day. The Lord brought them to my life for my salvation and growth, both in knowledge and Christlikeness. When I first learned from them, I believed because I trusted their faithfulness to the Word. Eventually, my beliefs were reinforced because as I personally grew in my relationship with God’s Word, the more I saw how credible my God-given teachers were.
They may not even be aware of it, but I’ve held on. They have become an indelible part of my life and ministry. I’ve imparted much of what I’ve learned from them to others who are also now teaching other teachers. Thank You Lord for providing me with faithful teachers. Thank you pastors and teachers for your faithfulness to your call through which I was blessed much.
1 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV) 10Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
We desire to effectively and efficiently disciple our brothers and sisters in Jesus. We want to do the best we can to help each other grow in our walk. And spending time with each other is essential to this. Discipleship somehow works better when our disciples see us and are able to not only read and hear about what we teach, but see how we exemplify our teachings. They see how our beliefs transform us from glory to glory.
We all still need to grow. Each one still has this “gaps in faith” that are slowly filled through continuous learning of the Word. God has provided us each other. God is an omniscient Father desiring to teach us, instruct us, lead us and guide us. He left us with the written Word and sent us His Holy Spirit as more than sufficient helps in this. He wants us to live the best life we can live—one that’s fruitful, growing, and powerful,
We need divine guidance. Forks in the road are everywhere; convincing voices abound; it’s very easy to stray from the straight and narrow. We humbly admit: as long as we’re on earth, even to the best of our abilities, we’ll continue having blind spots—gaps in faith. It’s just right that we first and foremost humble ourselves and receive faithful instructions from those our loving Father provide as our disciplers. Then freely we give what we freely receive. As we’re helped decrease our faith gaps, we help others to do the same. Altogether we grow in our doctrine and practice. Deceptions come, hardships hit, but we remain straight and strong.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 (KJV) 5For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
Words are innately powerful. Combine that with the Holy Spirit, the power becomes infinitely multiplied (really hard to come up with the appropriate description because each of them is already infinite in their power). Most probably, the context refers to a manifested and/or demonstrated and/or visible power. Imagine the effectiveness and the credibility of a ministry that possesses both.
And even more, we have genuine lives—messengers who are full of integrity. This shows us why a ministry becomes unquestionably effective, efficient, and expansive. These three powerful factors working together as we serve each other and reach out to the needy and “hopeless” is much better than missing even one of them. God loves us greatly as His children that we are lavishly graced with all of them. God loves those who we serve greatly that He wants them to have undeniable proofs of His reality so that they would turn to Him and also live the best life anyone can ever live—the life of a believer.
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.