If there’s a Will…

Luke 19:4   (KJV)   And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

Zacchaeus’ smallness didn’t deter him from seeing Jesus. He found a way. He used his Luke 19.4 - If there's a Will...mind; He used his legs; he used his strength; he used time; he used the tree; he used knowledge available.

There’s no greater desire and sight than Jesus—wanting Him, “seeing” Him, “finding” Him, knowing Him. And I love the fact that there’s nothing that can stop us from having a personal, loving, saving experience and relationship with Him. There are challenges; there are hurdles; there are deterrents, but God has given us everything we need for life and godliness—especially everything needed for our salvation.

Dear God, thank You for doing everything You can do to save us—even “passing” this earth-way through the person of Your precious Son—our Lord Jesus Who so lovingly and willingly gave His life for us to redeem us from our old, past, lost lives. Help us not to find excuses but to find ways so we will continue drawing nearer to You and experiencing all the glorious changes and blessings of being more intimate with You and being more like You.

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Works Matter

Revelation 14:13   (KJV)   13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Revelation 14.13 - Works MatterSalvation, death, resurrection, rest, works—these are indispensable truths and experiences in the lives of believers.

Being “in the Lord” is the most important experience anyone can ever have here on earth. It’s the only experience that changes and secures our eternal destiny—from an eternal destiny apart from Christ to an eternal destiny in His presence. All of us, except those alive when our precious Lord returns, will experience death. For us believers, it is a most welcome transition to the most glorious state we’ll ever enjoy in our entire existence—a life of rest, love, joy, peace multiplied a gazillion times greater.

In as much as often undermined in teaching the wonders of grace, works matter. They matter now, they will matter in eternity. It’s worth repeating: we’re not saved by works, but we’re saved unto good works.  For believers, it’s not “either-or” between grace and works; it’s both. Grace is God’s part and He does wonders with it; works is our part and we strive to do well in it.

Fall Not

2 Peter 1:10   (KJV)   10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

2 Peter 1.10 - Fall NotWe are humbly grateful to the LORD our God and heavenly Father for giving us assurance of our salvation. We don’t have to guess; we don’t have to doubt; we rest in it. We don’t take this lightly; instead, we “give diligence to make our calling and election sure.”

How do we do that? Praise God, he makes it very clear: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

Diligence as a believer is of tremendous importance. Resting in Jesus isn’t the same as being lazy and passive. We bear the Spirit’s fruit by diligently working out what He’s working in. We’re told repeatedly by people not to doubt our salvation; we’re also admonished by the Scriptures to test whether or not we’re in the faith, and to confirm our calling and election. By doing so, through His empowerment, we stand strongly and walk faithfully.

He Won’t Forget

Hebrews 6:10   (KJV)   10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Works matter, not as the means of salvation but as its proof and fruit. God sees, values, and remembers our work and love. It would be unrighteous or unjust for Him not to. How can He not be pleased with His children who delights in pleasing Him, whose paths Hebrews 6.10 - He Won't Forgetare straight, whose hearts are upright, whose walks are faithful, and who diligently work—lovingly serving Him and His children for His glory and honor?

Yes, we take pleasure in pleasing Him. We don’t serve Him for rewards, but we don’t disbelieve the truth that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Sowing and reaping was true in the Old Covenant, true in the natural world, true in the New Covenant, true in the spiritual sphere, true regarding our character, and yes, I personally believe is true in financial facet. We sow—we—give because we love, but we don’t deny the truth about the harvest.

We will continue working and loving; we earnestly intend to do so: diligently, “faith-filledly,” patiently—to the end. He will be there all the way, with smile on His face, and what a joy that is for us. “11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:11-12).

Doing our Part

Ephesians 4:16   (KJV)   16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

There are no misfits in the body of Christ. God put us all together “perfectly.” We all have a part to play. We affect each other. How faithfully or unfaithfully we do our part Ephesians 4.16 - Doing Our Partdetermines whether or not we help each other grow in His love and likeness.

We serve others well; we serve others the best way we can. We don’t serve just for the sake of serving. This isn’t something we do just for the sake of fulfilling our obligation. If that’s the case, we would settle for the easiest ministry in the church. No; we pursue what we believe God has called us to. We seek out the best and greatest way we can serve the church—not for our own personal aggrandizement, enrichment, or popularity, but for the benefit of His children, His kingdom, His Name.

 

Blessed and Wise

1 Corinthians 15:10   (KJV)   10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

We’ve all failed God. We who have turned away from our sins, we who have placed our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation, we who have waived the white flag of surrender to His Lordship are saved and have become new creations—all because of His love, mercy and 1 Corinthians 15.10 - Blessed and Wisegrace. We all need Him if we are to be who we ought to be. We can’t reach our full potential and our beautiful destinies apart from our Maker, Sustainer, and Guide.

The abundance of blessings we receive from our extremely generous Father enables us to be who we need to be and do what we need to do.  We don’t get there passively; faith without works is dead, thus, unfruitful. We can choose to make wise use of all His gifts or we can waste them. God honors our efforts. As I often state, “For every step we take, God takes a million.” That sounds like an exaggeration, yet for all we know, it may actually be very conservative.

We honor our incomparably generous Lord with our faithfulness. How faithfully or unfaithfully we use His gifts to us shows how grateful and appreciative we are to Him—or not. We are grateful—eternally grateful. We understand that His blessings will continue to flow even in paradise. That’s why despite all the seemingly unpleasant treatments we receive for being a believer, we are steadfast in our faith, and we willingly and enthusiastically labour in the Lord as He works faithfully and strongly in and through us.

Spheres of Christian Existence

Luke 2:39   (KJV)   39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

We as believers live in variety of spheres: there’s the personal, the familial, the ecclesiastical, and the vocational, professional, or social. The most important is our personal relationship with God. This is our utmost priority. Next responsibility we have is luke-2-39-spheres-of-christian-existenceour family. This doesn’t take precedence over our relationship with God, but we don’t neglect this. The next is our ministry. This doesn’t take priority over our relationship with God and our family, but we serve our spiritual family and serve in the church. Next is the world around us. This doesn’t take priority over our relationship with God, etc., but we reach out to them and serve them.

There have been quite a few times when I met different people who were very vocal about their spirituality and their knowledge about the Bible. But when I asked them about their spiritual families (their local churches in particular), they told me that they don’t attend church. I’ve also met people who told me that their family is their church. I remember reaching out to a pastor friend of mine because not only has he stopped living out his calling, he and his entire family even stopped attending church. When I encouraged him to keep “pursuing” his call, he told me that he is pastoring—he’s pastoring his family. I explained to him that yes, we do “pastor” our families—they’re our responsibilities—the familial sphere, but he still had to serve in the context of being a part of the body of Christ. Sad to say, he didn’t change. By the time of this writing, it breaks my heart that his children are still lost.

Different spheres, different responsibilities, proper priorities. God gives us time for all of them. We’re not accountable for what we don’t have. We have twenty four hours a day, seven days a week; we juggle through all our complex schedules and indispensable responsibilities. We don’t neglect any of them. With the right priorities, proper balance, and good time management, we enjoy life to the fullest, yet relaxed and rested. We’re not stressed; we love life; people enjoy our presence; God’s pleased. Thank You Lord for a wonderful life.