Unshaken

Psalm 16:8   (KJV)   8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

The Lord is in control of all things; that’s absolutely true; He isn’t at our beck and call. We don’t dictate to Him how to conduct Himself. We don’t tell Him where He should position Himself. To set the Lord always before us isn’t to give Him a mandate; it’s to psalm-16-8-unshakenconscientiously think about the continuing abiding presence of the Lord. He’s always before us—guiding: He’s always beside us—protecting; He’s with us; He’s in us.

In God, we’re always protected. It’s not a question of whether or not He can; it’s a given—He’s able. It’s Him we go to. He powerfully protects; He sufficiently provides. I admire godly people; I follow their examples as they follow Jesus; they know what they’re doing; they’re wise; I love watching them as they go about their Christian journey—often quietly—in fear of the Lord, without fear or men, as the Lord prospers the works of their hands and blesses their every step. They walk without paralyzing trepidation.

We’re not moved; we’re steadfast. Life-threatening dangers obviously abound; persecutions against believers are real—they’re increasing. The voices of those who dislike us are bold and loud. They call us intolerant and hateful as they cowardly attack us from behind—no longer just with words but physically—openly. But with all these, we rest in the fact that God allows only what we can bear. Death itself isn’t defeat for us. How can those who hate us truly hurt us? Often, God surprises us by raising people of influence, authority, and power who fights for us.

We won’t be coaxed into violence; we won’t give in to their call to unrighteousness—we won’t be intimidated into it. God alone is our choice. He is the right choice. I pray for people to realize this so they too can enjoy His precious presence—a presence that brings protection, provision, and peace.

Knowledgeable Zeal

Acts 14:19  (KJV)   19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

They were stoned!!! This is crazy. Just prior to the arrival of the antagonists, the people were worshiping Paul and Barnabas as “gods.” Totally wrong. The apostles tried really hard to stop them, and explained to them Who the True God is; they were trying to educate them to truth, but they were persistent. They were full of zeal, but without knowledge. As quickly as them concluding that the apostles were divine, they also quickly changed their minds; persuasive words from the enemies caused them to join in and stone the apostle Paul. Forget about the amazing visible miracles, compelling words turned them away – just like that.

Zeal without knowledge is dangerous; it could lead to a lot of errors. It could harm us and hurt a lot of people. Zeal is good, but not without knowledge. Knowledge is good, but not without zeal. Both have to be present. We have to know the truth. And we have to have absolute truths as our non-negotiable foundation for our convictions. Without it, we will just be like directionless waves, tossed every which way by every wind of human opinion. And as we can easily notice, there’s a lot of opposing opinions. This is why we get a barrage of attacks. So many people today are very zealous – so passionate about their beliefs. They’re full convinced that they’re helping others – even saving them from dangerous people by presenting us as uneducated simpletons who are out to stall and hurt humanity’s progress. Why believe a three thousand year old archaic writings? For them it doesn’t make sense. They conclude that what we believe are irrelevant to our generation. They can’t explain why of course except for the fact that it contradicts their own beliefs, opinions and lifestyles. They’re passionate, but without any knowledge. Or, if they have knowledge, it’s not based on an authoritative source or foundation. We can expect continuing attacks. But let’s hold on. As the old saying goes “Truth will always prevail,” and may I add: In His time.

Dear God and Father, our one true God, the Truth, our Protector, may we live with zeal and knowledge. Please give us the wisdom to march forward unflinchingly with the Truth. Please give us the wisdom to be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks us why we believe what we believe. Please give us the courage to stand our unshakable foundation in the presence of a very antagonistic world. Please lead our steps to those whose hearts are ready to listen, understand, believe, persevere and grow with us.

Jesus – Son of God

Luke 22:70  (KJV)   70 Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.

The ruling council interrogating Jesus had already made up their minds. It didn’t matter what Jesus could have said and done; they were determined to put Him down – to kill Him. They were just waiting for a viable excuse to justify their intentions and actions. Of all their efforts, nothing has worked so far – until this question. Should Jesus stay silent knowing that the truth will lead to unimaginable pain?Jesus didn’t cower; He gave His unwavering answer: He is the Son of God.

To proclaim the truth that Jesus is the Son of God is to mean hatred and rejection from the world. The world doesn’t like Him; it doesn’t like His teachings; His teachings show so much of righteousness, sin, and judgment. No, the world wants to do whatever it wants to do – good or evil without being seen as bad and without regard for possible consequences. It wants to dictate and define what’s good and what’s bad – in ways that will cater to its wild and wicked lifestyle. The world is a majority. To stand for Jesus is sure rejection, shame, embarrassment, and even pain. But this is a  no-brainer; it isn’t a matter of struggle or negotiation for true followers. Our Master declared the truth, He suffered much; we as followers ought to declare Him as He is, and suffer much if need be. Just remember: His interrogation, suffering and death wasn’t the end of His story; He rose again and now reigns. After our steadfast stand for the truth that He is the Son of God, after all the sufferings we will experience, we too will reign with Him.

Dear God, thank You for this glorious experience of knowing You – the only true God, and Jesus – the only begotten Son of God. Please give us the boldness and the courage to proclaim Him without compromise or fear of the possible painful consequences. After all, what awaits us is in exchange is worth gloriously and immeasurably more.

Lame Laughter

Luke 8:53-54  (KJV)   53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.

Jesus was about to perform a spectacular miracle: raise a child back from the dead. People who didn’t have an intimate understanding of His being, His words and His works scornfully laughed at Him. What could have been a painfully disturbing gesture to many people didn’t stop Him from doing what He intended to do. Despite the mockery of their laughter, Jesus faithfully answered a father’s desire. The Scripture was not concerned about recording the interesting reaction of the insulting taunters after the jaw-dropping miracle; what’s important is that their disdainful expressions didn’t deny our Lord from bringing into the family a faith-building experience.

Laughter – something so good can become so bad. We can use it harmfully; it can hurt us terribly. Not everyone will understand who we are and what we do. This becomes even more true in the sphere of our eternal Kingdom living. The natural mind can’t fathom the supernatural realities. Many of what they see as okay, we see as unacceptable; what they may deem impossible, we see as possible; what they see as the end, we see as transition or opportunity for a miracle. We will be laughed at; that’s out of the question. The issue is how much their ridicule will affect us. Will their laughter successfully stop us from believing the truth? Will it stop us from steadfastly living for the Lord? Will we allow it to change our course of actions and derail us from our God-given destiny? God forbid. They will laugh at us scornfully; they will do what they want to do; we can’t stop them. Let’s laugh joyfully; let’s do what we ought to do; they can’t stop us.

Dear God, our God of joy, may we find our greatest joy in You and You alone. May no unbelieving insults – may they be jeers or cheers – deter us from continually performing our tasks and yielding Your intended results.