Yieldedness-Servanthood

Luke 1:38   (KJV)   38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1.38 - Yieldedness-ServanthoodServanthood to God involves not just doing something or laborious activities, it could be as simple as yielding oneself to God for whatever God’s purpose is.

At times, some of us think God’s not pleased with us until we serve Him close to exhaustion. I agree there are times when serving God becomes very hard, but hardship isn’t the measurement or determining factor whether we’re really serving God or not. More than anything, He just wants to move in and through us. The Holy Spirit is still working. We just have to allow ourselves: mind, soul, spirit, bodies as His channels.

Dear God, thank You for considering us to take part in Your Divine move. It’s an honor to be considered and invited as Your vassals and vessels. You can do everything without our help, but You allow us to enjoy the fruits of Your labor. Help us Lord to enjoy the productive rest of just offering our bodies to You—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

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Believers’ Natural Fruits

Ephesians 5:9   (KJV)   9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 5.9 - Believers' Natural FruitsGod’s precious Holy Spirit living in us produces only good things—praise God for that. He efficiently bears in us what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true.

We willingly and humbly yield ourselves to the gentle leading and inner work of the Holy Spirit. Left to ourselves, we still have a strong tendency to listen to the destructive influence of our old way of living. But our loving God has lavishly given us wisdom; we quickly identify and resist what’s evil, wrong, and false. More so, we understand that ungodliness isn’t something to accommodate and excuse; it’s something to completely reject. Our sincere love for God and our proper understanding of God’s love don’t deny His anger—not only for disobedience but also for the disobedient: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).

We love God; He loves us infinitely more. We please the One we love, and we demonstrably do this by being Christ-like. This isn’t a laborious something we force ourselves to. We honestly enjoy living in unquestionable integrity and all-out faithfulness—in willing obedience to the Lord’s instructions. We’ve heard before: “Our lives are God’s gifts to us; what we do with our lives are our gifts to God.” Reality is: there’s nothing we can give God that He didn’t give us. Still, He kindly gives us the uplifting pleasure of choosing to thank Him by the way we live out this precious gift of life—both the physical and the eternal. It’s a deep joy yielding to the precious Holy Spirit—radiating goodness, righteousness, and truth. What an honor and privilege.

Yield

Acts 11:17   (KJV)   17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

God in one of His unpredictable ways did something Peter and the Jewish believers did not expect, i.e., He also graciously poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Gentile Acts 11.17 - Yieldbelievers. When that happened, Peter did the right thing: He got out of the way and yielded Himself to the Sovereign move of God.

Life of a believer is full of adventure. We live with humble confidence because the God we worship, trust, and serve is absolutely dependable. He does exactly as He promises. At the same token, He does new creative “out-of-the-box” things. This is true even in spiritual matters. We don’t self-righteously and thoughtlessly condemn some things just because they’re new or we’re not used to them. We understand that God can do anything as long as they’re not contrary to His nature or His revealed Word—they’re not anti-God and anti-Scripture.

Dear God, thank you for new and beautiful blessings You bestow on us. Thank You for adding new experiences in our journey. Thank You for revealing new facets of Your being and Your ways–expanding our knowledge of You. We praise You for Your inexhaustible and amazing creativity.

Indispensable Faith

Romans 4:20   (KJV)   20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God

We “give” glory to God when we’re strong in faith. Yes, faith matters. It’s worth is certainly upheld and emphasized when it comes to salvation.  My proposition is to keep on maintaining its value and worth in our lives as believers.  I’ve heard that there have Romans 4.20-21 - Indispensable Faithbeen extreme teachings about it from a certain group bearing something as important as faith in their name.  I’ll be quick to point out: I’m not a part of their group, nor do I identify with them.

This is also not in any way a rejection or denunciation of the group or any individuals from their group often presented as heretics and false teachers.  Personally speaking, the worst, most extreme, and most heretical teachings I’m aware of that they purportedly teach are those I’ve heard and read quoted by their “attackers.”  Truth be told, even those with audio and video clips, it’s possible to understand the logic in what they teach when taken in proper context.

Pardon me for always trying to make sense of the teachings of our brothers and sisters in Christ in areas where we may differ.  In the non-cardinal, negotiable doctrines, I firmly believe what I believe is true, but then again, they may be right, and I may be wrong. Why fight?

Going back to faith: it’s indispensably essential in our lives.  With it, we appropriate God’s grace for our salvation; we live by it instead of sight and feeling; without it, there’s no way we can please God, and as we just read from the above passage, with it, we give glory to God.  Many of our desires and prayers are answered by God according to our faith.  A quick clarification: we ought to not presume our prayers are not answered because of lack of faith.  I won’t cower from saying this though:  it’s possible that it’s also because we do lack faith.  That statement is in no way for the purpose of condemnation; it’s to encourage us, just in case we really need to step out and step up in faith and we just haven’t done so.  If we know we already have, that’s great; that part is at least already taken care of.

The Lord encourages us: “Have faith in God.”  It’s direct: it’s something we have to do; it is also suggestive: we may not have the faith we ought to have, but none of us dare call out our Lord as being condemnatory.  We understand what He’s saying; let’s extend the same gracious attitude to our brothers and sisters who encourage others to walk in faith. With love as the greatest motivation, our walk as believers is by faith—from start to finish.

 

Free and Obedient Hearts

1 Chronicles 29:18   (KJV)   18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:

Can our sovereign and loving God work in our hearts—people’s hearts—without violating our free will?  I guess He can.  We may not fully understand how He does it, but He can.  Otherwise, there’s no point praying for Him to make His people want to obey 1 Chronicles 29.18 - Free and Obedient HeartsHim.  We’ve seen clear examples and explicit passages in the Scriptures showing this.  God changed the heart of Saul (1 Sam. 10:9); He prophesied about giving His people a new heart (Jer. 24:7); He directs the king’s heart like rivers of water (Prov. 21:1); David prayed for God to give him a clean heart (Ps. 51:10).

Yes He can, and Yes He does work in people’s hearts.  This is not however a removal of free will, or cancelling of our responsibility.  In fact, we see clearly in the Scriptures how Saul turned away from God, how Solomon turned his heart towards the gods of his wives, how one king after another chose to rebel against God, and how His Old Covenant people repeatedly disobeyed God.  We as His people weren’t made robots when we placed our full dependence on Him to save us and surrendered our lives to Him.

We were made new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), but we still obviously have a choice whether we obey or disobey Him, whether we abide in Him or not, whether we live faithfully or not, whether we deny Him or not.  God won’t fail; if He says He’ll give us new hearts, He will. In fact, for believers, He already has.  What we do with our God-given new hearts is up to us.  As for me, and I pray my entire household, we will worship and serve Him faithfully—wholeheartedly.

Hindsight

Genesis 45:5   (KJV)   Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

In the common scheme of things, there were reasons to grieve and to be angry with themselves; they sold their very own young half-brother Joseph just because of their envy, jealousy, and hatred. They caused much deep and prolonged heartache to their father. genesis-45-5-hindsightNow, that brother is in a position of power to exact vengeance. Joseph literally could have ordered to have all their heads separated from their bodies. Praise God, Joseph, saw from the perspective of the supernatural.

There are many questions in life we won’t know the answers for until many years after, when events have flowed and ran its course—hindsight, that is. We may not know why some people are extra-especially drawn to us, and why to some, we’re their bête noire—people they dislike. We may not know why those who are supposed to love us hurt us, betray us, sell us out. We may not know why people are banished from our presence, why we get into accidents no matter how careful we are, why tragedy happens even to the best of us, and why seemingly good things happen to the worst of us.

But we do appreciate divine surprises; they always outdo our expectations. We see how God turns the worst of situations into the most wonderful of experiences. We’ve heard it repeatedly: God turns our tests into testimonies, our trials into triumphs, and the victim into victors. His divine maneuverings are definitely what makes for adventurous existence. His wisdom is indeed much greater than our wisdom, His thoughts much higher than our thoughts, His ways much better than our ways. We don’t always figure out the reasons for the inexplicable twists and turns that are very challenging to face, accept, and navigate. But we trust Him. He Who has given us life—both temporal and eternal loves us; He preserves us, directs us, and leads us to life’s greatest adventures. We’re not sad; we’re overjoyed; we’re not angry; we’re ecstatic.

Christmas’ Greatest Gift

John 3:16   (KJV)   16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus—Christmas, is an extremely clear statement and demonstration of love and salvation. God loves us. He desires all of us to be saved. That’s the reason why He generously gave us the best and most valuable Christmas gift john-3-16-17-christmas-greatest-giftever: God’s Son wrapped in humanity cloak. The little Baby laid in a manger is God’s gentle yet profoudly emphatic declaration that imperfect and fallen humanity has hope.

One of the worst feelings is that of being unloved. So many people all around the world suffer this tragedy. It’s not that they don’t love; it’s that their deep and true love isn’t reciprocated. True love is willing to give without anything in return, but it does really feel wonderfully great when it’s returned, or when you receive it even from another source/s. I’ve learned it from somewhere before: love is man’s greatest need. In the context that God is love, I agree.

Love came—in the person of God’s Son. The majestically and perfectly pure Darling of Heaven willingly came in complete submission to the Father. Here on earth, He lived to die; He left the heights of heaven to descend to the depths of hell. The beautifully wrapped Perfection was to be horribly and cruelly desecrated and destroyed. It didn’t deter Him; He willingly offered His body as a living sacrifice: truly holy and acceptable to His Father and totally beneficial to us.

In humble and truthful admission of our desperate need of Him, we bow and walk in complete yieldedness to His Lordship and total dependence in Him as our Savior. Gratefully, we offer ourselves in love and obedience—in peaceful and joyful awareness of the truth that all He wants for us is the best, comforted in knowing that He’s absolutely able to take us there.