Favor in All

Nehemiah 2:5   (KJV)   5 And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

For Nehemiah, the king’s pleasure mattered; him being pleasing to the king mattered; and the city of his fathers mattered.

8x10 LandscapeGod is concerned most about our eternal destiny, investments, and existence. And that’s absolutely appropriate because heavenly things are incalculably more valuable than any temporal matter. But the wonderful thing about our Lord is that His love and concern for us covers every area of our lives. He’s concerned about our attitudes not just toward Him but toward other people. He’s concerned about our relationship with others. He’s concerned about our heart of worship, our way of worship, and also our places of worship—including the bricks and concrete parts of it.

Our loving God and Father, you’ve created us; You have given us everything for life and godliness; You’ve given us everything for our enjoyment. We appreciate all of them. Help us Lord not to get our priorities wrongly. We set You far and high apart from everything else as our Lord and King Who sits on the throne of our hearts. We pray that we won’t be lured into having anything else ever coming close to occupying that position.

We also pray that we will appreciate and enjoy all your other blessings although they’re not as important as the Blesser and eternal things. You’ve given us loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, our church family, our church building, our houses, cars, clothes, food and drink. Thank You for all of them. To us, they are expressions of who You are—your generosity, and Your love.

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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.

 

Restoring the Soul

James 5:20   (KJV)   20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

To bring back a believer who wanders from the faith is to save a soul from death. There is a possibility for Christians to err in their ways, to wander from the truth, to come to a A Helping Handpoint where their souls are in the state of death.

It’s of paramount importance that we don’t leave them without any help and any hope of restoration. They can be restored; they can be saved; their multitude of sins can again be forgiven.

We don’t give up that easily on those who turn away from God. We run after them with all our love. There are those who are obstinate for just a short time; they repent when they’re confronted about their errors. Some may take more time and effort. But we give it our best. Souls are incalculably precious to God; we won’t allow the devil to have them in his grip just like that. Each one is worth fighting for, and fight for our brothers and sisters, we will.

Spiritually-Minded

Romans 8:6   (KJV)  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

As God’s children, we think godly thoughts. We enjoy life and peace now, and we’re looking forward to life and peace with our Father for eternity. We understand we still have choices. We believers don’t lose our free will even after surrendering the throne of Competitionour lives to our Lord Jesus. We choose the focus of our thoughts. We’re also very much aware of the huge implications and repercussions of our choices. Our heavenly Father doesn’t spoil His children.

I pray that this won’t be an issue of intrigue; my prayer rather is that it will be a thought to at least ponder on. Jesus has already borne the penalty of our sins on the cross. In fact He Who knew no sin was made sin for us. That Jesus has taken the death penalty for us is an absolute truth. What is this death then that results from being carnally minded? It’s easy to choose one and reject the other. In doing so, others explain away whatever they prefer to reject.

Forbid the thought that they would question the efficacy of the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice, so the trend is to deal with the death that results from carnal-mindedness. We’ve heard others interpret and teach that as death of a physical kind. And there’s no doubt, some sinful or even wrong choices can reap physical death as a consequence. But although there’s truth in it, it also misses the fact that physical death also comes even to the spiritually-minded people.

On the other hand, if the consequence of our godly thinking is life of the physical kind, what’s the necessity since we’re already physically alive? Unless it simply means continuation of our physical existence in our present condition, the other and I believe the more logical conclusion is that it also refers to life of spiritual kind. This becomes obvious when looking at the context of the passage. The entire chapter deals very much with our spirits. Without disrespect or preference of any denominational distinctive, we can safely conclude: 1. It’s absolutely and undeniably true that Jesus paid the sin-penalty of death; 2. It is also absolutely true that to be carnally minded—having our sinful nature control our mind—is or leads to death.

Whatever each of us believe; we may not all agree on one line of understanding, but the non-negotiable mandate or exhortation we can all agree and focus on is this: shun sinful nature that produces sinful thoughts, and yield to the precious Holy Spirit Who produces good, spiritual, right, and godly thoughts.

Living in Wisdom

Genesis 41:39   (KJV)   39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:

Pharaoh, someone who neither knew nor worshiped Joseph’s God recognized His reality because of the wisdom he saw in Joseph. In fact, He perceived the presence of God’s Spirit in Joseph. Pharaoh figured, a kind of man like Joseph especially endowed with what’s genesis-41-39-living-in-wisdombeyond the natural, definitely has something especial in Him. Pharaoh clearly saw the value of what Joseph possessed that he gave this person who was fresh from prison the 2nd highest rank in the Egyptian kingdom.

Discreetness, intelligence, and wisdom come from God, and He gives them to us very generously. He doesn’t run out of ways in getting them to us. He can do it naturally, and if needed, He can do it supernaturally. Interpreting dreams; the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discernment of spirits, prophecy, interpretation of unknown tongues—all these are directly dropped down to us from Him, with no contribution from our naturally accumulated information.

It’s not that diligence in studying isn’t important; we also grow in knowledge in wisdom through natural process of studying and learning. God’s hands aren’t tied as to what method He uses. We have considerable responsibility in growing His gifts to us. We do our best to be intelligent and wise. But there are numerous situations when God has to directly and supernaturally intervene, otherwise, we won’t have an iota of clue as to what to do. Praise God, He’s still very much involved in our affairs. And that’s totally great. We need Him completely. Whether the wisdom we employ comes from our natural learning or supernatural outpouring, it’s God’s favor that makes them count and multiplies their results.

It Really is God’s Word

1 Thessalonians 2:13   (KJV)   13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Men preached the words but it is God’s Word they preached. God’s Word really is God’s Word. That’s the reason why it works.

God’s Word will accomplish whatever its purpose every time. Some of us will believe. If we do, God’s Word will change us, cleanse us, strengthen us, encourage us, guide us, teach us, correct us, transform us, etc. We get the point.  Some of us won’t believe. If we don’t, God’s Word will still accomplish its purpose for us. It will be a witness against us; it will serve as our very judge. Instead of blessing, it will be a curse for us. Our belief or unbelief never renders the word of God powerless.

Dear God, thank You for graciously giving us Your Word, Your dependable, inerrant, infallible, irrevocable Word. I pray that we’ll learn to value it as it really is: God’s Word – Your Word. May we clearly see how precious Your gift is to us and how powerful it is. Oh Lord, I pray that You would save us and spare us for the many times when we receive Your clear instruction and guidance and yet we continue to choose the path of sin and disobedience.

Some of us have symptoms of callousness growing. We hear Your Word and we continue to do those things that displease you and we’ve become or are slowly becoming so comfortable about it, that we keep falling to the same sins repeatedly. Some of us have mastered the art of trampling on Your Word – Your exhortations, Your guidance and Your commands as long as we do it within the privacy of our own personal world. We’ve mastered the art of presenting ourselves to others as having a good grip of Your Word, of our spiritual condition. We’ve learned to carry ourselves so well, innocent lambs submitted to the Shepherd’s voice. We look innocent, we act innocent, but deep within us is a rotting spirit of rebellion that’s ready to step out in more serious ungodly acts given the chance.

Please strengthen us against ourselves. Save us from our weak use of Your powerful Word. May we choose to live out its power – out there in the world, and more importantly, in our very own private battefield, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

God-Powered Weapons

2 Corinthians 10:4  (KJV)   (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Believers are engaged in a battle beyond the physical and the material. Spiritual warfare necessitates spiritual weapons. We do possess such weapons. Our weapons are not weak; our weapons are not outdated; our weapons are powerful. They are God-powered.

We have the weapon of the most advanced kind. There is no weapon on earth or in hell that even comes close to its power. It won’t jam; it won’t backfire; it won’t misfire; it won’t malfunction in any way. There is no nuclear weapon invented or any other weapon to be invented by the most brilliant of human scientists that can duplicate its potency. No, the most advanced and most powerful bomb we have won’t even scratch the surface – much less, even touch this special weapon we possess.

We don’t need the help of any human gadgetry to overcome our real enemies. Our true enemies are not physical; we’re fighting against the world system, our own ungodly desires, and the devil. For these, no knives, swords, guns, cannons, or bombs would work. Any attempt to advance Christianity through sword or force isn’t Christianity. It’s detestable and deplorable. We as believers ought to not only stand in disapproval to such evil act; we ought to take strong actions to stop any such wicked outworking of terribly misguided vigilance to faith.

A song we used to sing goes something like: “The church of God is moving… The battle has been won, the foe’s been overcome and we are marching on today. So say goodbye to doubt and give a victory shout. The church of God is moving on.” (Thanks to the composer – didn’t get to find out who). But that’s it. We know how the war ends: the Kingdom of God is victorious. That Kingdom power – the God-powered weapons we have will give us the daily victories over our daily battles. There’s no stronghold too strong, no fortress too fortified, no enemy too powerful to stand effectively against our weapons. Let’s not cower; let’s not retreat; let’s not sit idly, hopelessly – convinced that we’re defeated and that there’s no way we can overcome our sins and struggles. CHARGE!!! THE VICTORY’S OURS!!! TAKE IT!!!

Our victorious God and Savior, thank You for giving us the weapons we need for sure victory. We understand perfectly why You can so confidently assure us that no weapon formed against us will prosper (Isaiah 54:17) and that the gates of hell will not prevail against us (Matthew 16:18), – in Jesus’ Name, amen.