Who’s Really Affected?

Job 35:6   (KJV)   If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?

Job 35.6 - Who Really BenefitsNo amount of sin and rebellion can topple God from His throne. God is God; He rules; He will reign forever and forever.

Nothing we do can alter God for Who He is. He’s God, and He will always be God—omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, eternal, sovereign, holy, righteous, just, merciful, gracious, loving, and so much more. He is all those, and more—now, and forever more.

Yes, because of His love for us, He’s grieved when we sin. He’s jealous for us because of His love. He always wants the best for us, and He doesn’t like the idea of us allowing the enemy to rob us of our best. We don’t increase God or diminish His Being when we sin or do good. We obey Him because we as true believers understand: that’s the proper response to Who He is. We honor Him because He is honorable, we worship Him because He’s the greatest Being there is. We know that His commands aren’t burdensome—He’s not giving us a hard time; they’re for our best. Let me quote the context of the passage above: “If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man” (Job 35:6-8 KJV).

So yes, doing bad and doing good, ultimately, is doing ourselves bad or good. We choose good.

Second-Mile Obedience

Matthew 1:24   (KJV)   24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife

Joseph obeyed the angel’s command although it wasn’t a simple one.  He had to be very sensitive to spiritual matters; he had to be discerning enough to recognize that his dream was something beyond the ordinary. His decision wasn’t something small; it was life Matthew 1.24 - Second-Mile Obediencealtering, in fact, it was big-time history changing. He may not have known the importance or the extents of the consequences of His obedience, but that’s a nature of obedience: we can’t predict it’s real value.

God values our obedience more than we know it. He values it more than sacrifice. By the way, grace doesn’t discard, undermine, diminish, dismiss, or nullify the need for obedience. They’re not opposed to each other. In fact, one of grace’s most important function is empowering us to obey God in saying “no” to undgodliness. Obedience demonstrates who we are as believers; obedience is living wisely as His child.

Obedience still brings rewards and disobedience brings discipline or punishment. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to argue against those who teach that God no longer punishes us when we disobey; I’m just sharing what I believe. Every blessing we have is grace from God, but God’s Word teaches that not everyone receives God’s grace.  Only those who appropriate grace by faith benefit from it. Faith isn’t just mental; living faith is belief-obedience. Remember, during the “awarding ceremony” of believers, there will be gradations of rewards.

My encouragement is not only to obey, but to go a second mile. Joseph did. He wasn’t commanded to have sexual relations with Mary, but He didn’t until after Jesus was born. He decided on that and did that on his own.

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.

One True God

Deuteronomy 13:4  (KJV)   Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

God – the One true God – He alone is God. He is to be followed, revered, honored, obeyed, and served.

I write this very humbly and in no way do I desire to hurt anyone. I’m taking the liberty to write the truth that may hurt, but my prayer is that it will liberate instead. There is only One true God, and we ought to have no other gods but Him. We ought to never be led by anyone or anything into worshiping anyone or anything else as God. We ought to be very careful and very discerning. A person may seem to be very godly;  he or she may be very successful, powerful and influential; he or she may be someone we’ve learned so much from, owe so much from, love so much and respect so much, but if they lead us away from God, we ought to quickly turn away from their influence. Sometimes, it may call for us to separate from them. At times it may take the greater sacrifice of severing our relationships with them. But we’d rather pull away from them than pull away from God.

Our One and only true God, may we not fall into the deadly error of worshiping another god. – in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Heart Issue

Mark 7:21-23  (KJV)   21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

I don’t know who originally said it, but it hits the bulls eye: “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.” If ungodliness characterizes the speech and actions of people, they’re just expressions of ungodly hearts. There are things that affect men physically, but there are things that reach way more deeply.

We’re often concerned about the physical, the superficial. Yes, our bodies are important; material things are important as well. But we often judge someone’s beauty based on the external. We often judge someone’s relationship with God based on the food they eat, the clothes they wear, what they drink, the make-up they wear, etc. We ought to not undermine the fact that our visible and physical conducts and demeanor can be telltale signs of what’s inside; but we ought to make sure that we don’t appear clean only on the outside yet filthy on the inside. The condition of our hearts matter most.

Our dear Holy God, please check, cleanse, change our hearts – whatever is necessary. May we be true to You inside and out, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Death of the Innocent

Luke 23:41  (KJV)   41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Unlike the traditional religious beliefs, there was really no bad thief and good thief; both of them were thieves and they both started off insulting Jesus. Unlike many who are caught in a crime, they didn’t claim innocence. One of the two thieves crucified with Jesus eventually humbly admitted that they were guilty and thus justly deserving of the crucifixion they were suffering. He also pointed out that unlike them, Jesus was completely innocent. Jesus died for no crime He personally committed. But die for crime, He did. His condemnation, suffering, and death were substitutionary. He died for the sins of the world. 

Thief or not, we’re all guilty of sin. And if we will be humble enough, we ought to admit our guilt and how deserving we are of our sins’ consequences or punishment. Obviously, there is a natural desire to get away with our wrongdoings. There are many of us who would desire to, plan to, and commit sin and not think about the consequences. Worse still, when dealt with the natural result of our foolishness, we ask, “Why me?” But there are those of us who awake to this humbling reality. Thank God because we’re not left without an answer to the dilemma. There is Jesus. He didn’t deserve to die but He willingly did for the very help we need. We need forgiveness from sin. We need salvation. That’s why He came; that’s why He died. He is the Savior.

Dear God our Savior, thank You for Your loving Provision and sacrifice. May we all be honest about our true condition and need. May we all find the wisdom of fully depending on the only One Who gave His perfect life for our salvation. In Jesus’ Name, amen.