A Must-See Video for Every Christian

Friday, May 1, 2015

Word of God

Above all, we must understand this truth that no prophecy contained in Scripture comes about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. All prophecies/All Scriptures are divine words from God, dictated by the Holy Spirit. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:17)

Prophecy never had its origin in the human will but in the will of God. The Holy Spirit gave the prophets knowledge of divine things and moved them to write or say what God wanted them to. Prophets were instruments of the Holy Spirit who used them to speak from God. "The Holy Spirit so supernaturally superintended Scripture writers that without circumventing their intelligence, their personal literary style or personality, He enabled them to record Scripture with perfect accuracy." (Dr. Grant C. Richison)  "prophet of God, therefore, is simply one who speaks forth God’s Word, and prophecy is the proclaiming of that Word. The gift of prophecy is the Spirit–given and Spirit–empowered ability to proclaim the Word effectively." (John MacArthur) 

This shows the authority of the Scriptures since they are the Word of God, and not of men. God, the Author, reveals His attributes, His heart, His thoughts, and His will in His Word. What God wants us to know is in the Bible, the most valuable book in the world. We need to read, study, and memorize it. The Bible is reliable because God is reliable. The Holy Spirit who dictated Scripture is the Best Interpreter to help us understand God's Word. And Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture. The unity of the 66 books in its content, despite the facts that the Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years, by 40 different authors from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, on 3 continents, and in 3 languages, is another amazing proof of the divine inspiration and authority of the entire Bible.

"I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever;
For though all things shall pass away,

His Word shall stand forever!" (Luther)

"When reading God's Word, take special care
To find the rich treasures hidden there;
Give thought to each line, each precept clear,

Then practice it well with godly fear." (Unknown)

"How to increase your faith: Expose your mind to God's Word, more & more, more & more, more & more." (James MacDonald)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2015

This month, I've been participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge (blogging at least once a day everyday), the #fmsphotoaday challenge (I post a photo(s) for each day's meme on my photo blog), and the A to Z April Challenge (26 posts in an alphabetical order). It's challenging but fun :). The letters Q, X, and Z are always difficult for me. I thought it would be neat to look back at all the posts from A to Z so I'm listing them in this post.


Zany Accusation

Peter responded to some zany accusation from false teachers in his time. "False teachers were claiming that Jesus' resurrection and return, as well as the Holy Spirit's indwelling of believers, were all cunningly devised fables. Peter countered their faith claims with an eyewitness account." (from my NKJV Study Bible commentary) Peter was referring to Christ's transfiguration when he, James, and John were present with Christ on the sacred mountain. "In Christ's transfiguration the disciples received a foretaste of what His coming will be like when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom." (from my NIV Study Bible commentary) They heard the voice of God the Father saying, "This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." God the Father gave Jesus honor (the public acknowledgment of His Sonship) and glory (His face and clothes shone with glorious splendor). Peter had seen Christ's majesty and power manifested in His miracles with his own eyes and heard His teachings with his own ears; he knew that what he told about Jesus was true. This is to confirm the authenticity and reliability of Peter's gospel testimony/message. 
This passage made me think of the song, He's Alive by Don Francisco. It's written from Peter's perspective.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You Must Possess These Qualities in Increasing Measure

In 2 Peter 1:3-5, we were told to make every effort to add virtue (goodness), knowledge, self-control, steadfastness (perseverance), Godliness, brotherly affection, and love to our faith. Now Peter is saying that we must possess these qualities in increasing measure because they will keep us from being ineffective (useless) and unproductive (unfruitful). "Increasing measure" indicates growth, abundance, progress. Christians should be growing more and more in Christlikeness. It is possible to know the Bible and know about Christ and yet remain fruitless if it's just head knowledge without an intimate relationship with Christ. To be fruitful, we must abide in Him. "It is possible to have considerable knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and yet to be unfruitful in that knowledge. Failure to practice what we know leads inevitably to barrenness. Inflow without outgo killed the Dead Sea, and it kills productivity in the spiritual realm as well." (MacDonald) Additional benefits for having these Christlike qualities in increasing measure include a blessed assurance, spiritual stability, and a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:10-11). 
Those who do not have these qualities are spiritually nearsighted and blind. They forget that they have been cleansed from their past sins and they still live like the world. They forget that they're sinners saved by God's grace alone through faith in Christ alone. They lose sight of  the significance of being a new creation in Christ and living a holy life that God calls them to. They don't have an eternal perspective. They still look at things from worldly perspective and only focus on temporary, earthly things. They are unable to see beyond the temporal to the eternal in everyday life situations. They are blind to God's truth. If we are truly grateful for our redemption and forgiveness of sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, we would be eager to thank Him, please Him, glorify Him, and obey Him. Obedience is not optional!
Keep growing deeper in your relationship with God and keep growing in Christlikeness. There should be no such thing as complacent Christians.
"More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,

More of His love who died for me." (Eliza Hewitt)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X Is for Xristos

When we trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior and surrender all to follow Him, God begins to move us from point A to point B. This process is called sanctification or spiritual growth. 
Point A (faith)-------------------------->X Point B (Christlikeness) The Greek word for Christ is Χριστóς (Xristos/ Christos). We must make every effort to move towards the end goal of being like Christ. These qualities (virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, Godliness, brotherly affection, and love) are to be added to our faith so that we will become more and more like Christ. God has given us everything we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3); that's God's part. God empowers and enables us but we must cooperate (with the promptings of the Holy Spirit), obey, and work at it. God will not make us Christlike against our will or without our involvement. It requires desire, determination, and discipline on our part. God gives us the gift of choice for a reason. Here we see a beautiful interplay between God's sovereignty and human responsibility. We are called to put our faith into action and with all diligence, to live the way God wants us to. We are called to do good deeds because we have been saved, not in order to be saved. 

Peter tries to tell us that these qualities of Christlikeness are very important for us. Without them, the pressure of persecution and suffering will cause us to give up and give in. Without them, the charm of false teaching will tempt us to opt for an easier life.

Faith

"Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) Our journey towards Christlikeness starts with faith in Christ.

Virtue (Goodness)

Virtue is moral excellence. Is our life reflecting the excellencies of God?

Knowledge

This refers to prudence and wisdom from learning God's truth in the Scriptures and applying it. A knowledge of sound doctrine will strengthen our faith. To know God and His will, we must study His Word diligently.

Self-Control

Control your tongue, emotions, thoughts, and actions/reactions. "No matter how strong we are, or how much we know, if we have not self-control, something is wanting. He that can rule himself is strong, while he that lacks self-mastery, no matter what other gifts he may have, is pitiably weak." (J.R. Miller)

Steadfastness (Perseverance)

This is patience that endures trials, afflictions and adversities.

Godliness

"A genuine reverence toward God that governs one's attitude toward every aspect of life." (from my NIV Bible commentary) Coram Deo = To live one's life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God! 

Brotherly Affection

Mutual affection & kindness among brothers and sisters in Christ

Love (Agape)

Love like Christ by loving unconditionally, sacrificially, and selflessly. It's fitting to end the list with love because if we do not have love, all other qualities we have mean nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

These qualities are the fruit of the Spirit and should be evident in a fruitful, spirit-filled life. Abide in Christ and you'll bear much fruit. 

- Prayer: Dear Jesus, take my heart and hand,
And grant me this, I pray:
That I through Your sweet love may grow
More like You day by day. 
(Garrison)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whatever We Need to Live a Godly Life

God's divine power has given us whatever we need spiritually through our knowledge of Him. "All things" means that we lack nothing. He gives and He gives freely out of His everlasting love and inexhaustible grace. God's power is always available and always adequate for whatever we may face in life (He already knows what we will face). God's omnipotence is at work for us and in us. How wonderful this truth is! What a generous, gracious, mighty God we serve! He empowers us to live an abundant life of Godliness for Him. "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)

In 2 Peter, Peter wants to warn Christians about false doctrine. It is essential that we know the right Jesus. "Now this is eternal life; that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent." (John 17:3) Watch out for all sorts of different gospels and different Jesus! God reveals Himself in His Word. We need to keep studying the Bible in order to know Him more and more. The better we know God, the better we are able to apply His principles for our lives and the more we grow in Godliness. What we know/believe will dictate what we say and what we do. That's why it's so important for us to know/understand God's Word. In addition, when we're so familiar with God's truths, we'll be able to detect any false teaching/false doctrine/Satan's lies immediately. "It is impossible to practice godliness without a constant, consistent and balanced intake of the Word of God in our lives." (Jerry Bridges) "The difference between worldliness and godliness is a renewed mind." (Erwin W. Lutzer)

Christ's own unique glory (excellence of His Being/His attributes) and virtue (excellence of His deeds) draw us to Himself. We "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18) by feeding on God's Word and by imitating Him. Godliness is Christlikeness. "Godliness is devotion to God which results in a life that is pleasing to him." (Jerry Bridges) "It (Godliness in Greek) comes from two words: well and to worship. A godly person worships well. He directs his worship rightly...Godliness is true and real spiritual relation to God. Religion relates more to outward acts of religious observance or ceremony. Godliness, on the other hand, cherishes the will of God." (Dr. Grant C. Richison) Since God has granted us everything we ever need for our Christian life & Godliness, there is no excuse whatsoever for not living vibrant, Godly lives or for not growing in Christlikeness. "We may have as much of God as we will. Christ puts the key of the treasure-chamber into our hand, and bids us take all that we want. If a man is admitted into the bullion vault of a bank and told to help himself, and comes out with one cent, whose fault is it that he is poor?” (Alexander Maclaren) "If the way of godliness is rejected so is the hope of eternal life. So Peter forbids us to turn our faith into a fire insurance policy for escaping hell while our lives remain unchanged. The hope of life and the way of godliness stand or fall together." (John Piper) 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Book Review: 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles by Susie Y. Jennings



Our God is God of miracles! Miracles didn't happen only in the Bible time; they still happen today. I enjoyed reading 31 Days of Mountaintop Miracles. The author, Susie Jennings, shares about miracles after miracles that have taken place in her life as she's resolved to live for God with unconditional obedience. After a tragic death of her husband, Susie found her calling to reach out to the homeless in her own city with blankets and the Gospel message. Along her journey, she has witnessed God's wonders time and time again. God's faithfulness, goodness, and power as well as Susie's passion, faith, and devotion to God shine through this book. 

The book is divided into 5 parts: Miracles of God's Promises and Plans, Miracles of Answered Prayers, Miracles of God's Perfect Timing, Miracles of Obedience, and Miracles of God's Provision. It is written in a devotional style. Each day's devotion starts with Bible verses and ends with Mastering a Miracle Mindset questions which aim to challenge readers to look through their spiritual eyes and see God's miracles in their everyday lives. Susie believes that when God gives the vision, He also gives the provision. God has blessed her steps of faith & obedience from simple blankets and Gospel tracts to Operation Care International, a global outreach ministry dedicated to caring for the homeless in Dallas, Texas and children in need around the world. 

Susie Jennings reminds me of George Müller, a Christian evangelist/a man of great faith and prayer, who cared for over 10,000 orphans in his life. In both of their lives, I see total dependence upon God and a beautiful childlike faith. Susie is a woman of prayer who walks in faith, love, service, and obedience to God. Her radical obedience brings glory and honor to God and makes an eternal impact on so many lives. Never underestimate what God can do and will do when you surrender all to Him and obey Him wholeheartedly/unconditionally. Keep your eyes wide open and you'll see God's fingerprints everywhere. I highly recommend this inspiring read! Prepare to be astonished :)! All proceeds from this book will go directly to Operation Care International.

"We've all had a lifetime of miracle moments--the key is to recognize them and give all honor and praise to God for the glorious ways He provides them." (Susie Jennings)

"After all, when you find yourself in the middle of a God-shaped miracle, is it any wonder that you want to give God the glory for the rest of your life?" (p. 172)


~I received a free copy of this book via The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Victory in Jesus

I just finished studying 1 Peter. If you're interested, you can check out my notes I've posted on this blog :). This hymn/song seems like a perfect conclusion to my study. In 1 Peter, Peter tried to encourage the persecuted Christians to keep having a Christlike attitude, standing firm in the faith, pressing on as servants of God, entrusting themselves to the Just Judge, embracing an eternal perspective, and relying on God since we believers already have victory in Jesus and are guaranteed to receive the eternal glory after our perseverance through pain and sufferings. "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57) This song just makes me want to dance with joy :)! I hope your heart will be encouraged.
 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Understand This

The God of all grace has got our backs. We have been given and blessed with riches of His inexhaustible grace. Fresh supplies of His grace are always available to us. His grace is always sufficient for every need/every situation. Our sufferings are temporary and cannot be compared to the eternal glory awaiting us. "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) 

God who has called us/chosen us to eternal glory in Christ will Himself restore (perfect, complete, repair, make whole), confirm (stabilize, make solid), strengthen (God gives us strength/makes us strong to meet the demands of life), and establish (settle on a firm foundation, ground securely) us. "God is working through the Christian's struggles to produce strength of character...While you are being personally attacked by the enemy, you are being personally perfected by God. It's personal, Himself He's doing it. Marvelous thought. He is intimately involved in the suffering of our lives." (John MacArthur) 

God is in control of everything forever and ever. We are safe and secure in the loving arms of God who is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. Understand that God's purpose realized in the future involves some pain and sufferings in the present. Understand this truth, embrace an eternal perspective, rely on God, and you'll be able to face anything.








Thursday, April 23, 2015

Timely Truth

- Satan, God's enemy and ours, is real and is actively, aggressively, persistently seeking to destroy all that God loves, especially us, His beloved children. Satan is never satisfied with the prey he has already gotten; he always prowls around looking for more. He is ravenously hungry for us. He is roaring insults, accusations, and lies at us to intimidate us, to get us to doubt God and/or stay away from God, to make us feel unloved, unworthy, and unfruitful for the kingdom of God.

- Spiritual warfare is real but we don't have to be afraid of it. Our God is stronger than our adversary. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) He gives us power through Jesus Christ to overcome all attacks from the devil. First, we must stay alert, be watchful/vigilant, and be sober-minded/self-controlled/self-disciplined. Don't let down your guard. Watch out for Satan and his tricks & temptations. His schemes are cleverly hidden and disguised. He loves to make sin look sweet and God's principles burdensome. Satan's desire is to tempt Christians to doubt, deny, disregard, and disobey God. Know your Enemy but more importantly, know God (and His Word) so that we will know how to respond, defend ourselves, and defeat our Enemy. 

- Perhaps Peter remembered his own difficulty in staying alert during our Lord's prayer in Gethsemane. Jesus said to His disciples whom He found sleeping, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41) When we are weak (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually), suffering, feeling lonely, feeling sorry for ourselves, focusing on our troubles/circumstances, isolating ourselves from fellowship with other believers, ignoring spending time with God in prayer & in His Word, we tend to forget to watch for danger and we are more vulnerable to Satan's attacks. Keep your eyes on Christ always. Satan tries to keep us from living freely and fruitfully for Christ. Don't listen to him...don't believe his lies. If you're feeling weary today, run to Jesus and let His love empower you to face every fear, worry, and discouragement that Satan throws at you. Unseen spiritual battles must be fought in Christ's name and by the power of His blood. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) The devil is to be resisted through divine grace and power. Remember that we're more than conquerors through Christ. A surrendered life (to Christ) is a victorious life. As we humble ourselves and rest at Jesus's feet, He promises to give us everything we need to live a victorious, godly life. Pride is an open door inviting Satan to have a field day. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) Before we can stand against Satan, we must bow down (submit) to God.

We're told to resist the devil. Stand firm and strong in the faith, in God's truths, in the Holy Spirit's power and we'll have courage to say no to all ungodliness and be able to withstand and overcome evil. Put on the full armor of God daily (Ephesians 6:10-18). "Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." (1 Thessalonians 5:6) The devil is powerful but not invincible. Our winning defense strategy is to stay steadfast/unmovable/impenetrable in our faith, grounded in God's Word. Be prepared/ready always. Satan wants to destroy our faith and one of his ways is to use our suffering to get us discouraged and disillusioned. That's why it is so important for us to be resolute in our faith. Peter tries to encourage the persecuted Christians by helping them realize that they're not suffering alone. Christians all around the world are enduring the same kind of sufferings (we have obviously seen more and more recently). Knowing this helps us not to be surprised when we suffer for the sake of Christ and His gospel. Moreover, their faith encourages our faith. Their courage strengthens our courage. Their perseverance moves us to persevere. We believers need to be reminded to expect hardship and persecution so that we won't be dismayed and overwhelmed by them. Knowing that God enables them to stand strong through suffering to the end will help us cope in time of duress. We don't need to stand alone against the Enemy. We should stand with other brothers and sisters in Christ around the world in prayer.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Submit to God

- We need to be humble before God, acknowledge Him in all our ways, and submit to His will. God's mighty/omnipotent hand is able to care for us, comfort us, shield us, sustain us, and lift us up. Trust and rest in His loving sovereignty! He exalts the humble in due time. Trust God's answers (God's will and God's ways) and God's timing. Humility is knowing who we really are and Who God really is. Humility leads to honor. "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." (James 4:10) To be raised up/exalted by God is indeed an honor. "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Matthew 23;12)

- Cast all your anxieties/burdens/ struggles/problems on Him because He cares for you! "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens." (Psalm 68:19) The Lord is our daily Burden-Bearer. It takes humility and faith to let go of all our concerns and leave them in God's hand without picking them back up. Remember that self-reliance is a form of pride and arrogance (opposite of humility) and is a snare that entraps and entangles us in a web of worries. "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken." (Psalm 55:22) God sees. God hears. God cares. He is our Help in times of need. Turn your anxiety into prayer. Worry not and fear not because God is always with you and for you. Humbly submit to God and surrender all to Him then rest in His presence, provision, protection, and power. Perfect peace is possible.

"Nothing is hid from His all-seeing eye, 
Never a teardrop nor even a sigh;
Anxious and troubled you never need be--
Trust Him completely and doubtings will flee." (Nienhuis)
"All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat, leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus." (Joy)

"Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rest between His shoulders." (Deuteronomy 33:12)

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Right Attitude: Humility; Right Action: Submission

- Those who are younger must respect, honor, and submit to the elders. Remember that the elders are called to be shepherds of God's flock (assignment by God). How can they effectively lead us if we are not submitting to them? "Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you." (Hebrews 13:17) 

- All of us should not only submit ourselves to our elders but also to one another. "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (Ephesians 5:21) Humility is the key! We are to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another. What we clothe ourselves with distinguishes us from the world. We should be known as servants of Christ, serving one another humbly. Imitate Christ. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset (attitude) as Christ Jesus. " (Philippians 2:3-5)

"Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4)  A humble person realizes that all that he/she has comes from God and gives God all the glory for all he/she does. "Oh, beware do not seek to be something! Let me be nothing, and Christ be all in all." (John Wesley) 

True humility is about self-denial. To put others above ourselves is contrary to our human nature and can only be accomplished by the power of the indwelling Spirit in us. "Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights." (John R. Wooden) "Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all." (William Temple) "It is not a weak man’s surrender, but a strong man’s rejection of selfishness and determination to be actively concerned with the needs and interests of others.(Richards) "It is in seeing others as persons of great worth because they are loved by God and in seeing ourselves as their servants that we find the fulfilling lifestyle of humility." (Larry Richards)

Humility means being willing to selflessly do any task God has given us. Humility means recognizing that we are not infallible. In other words, be teachable no matter how old we are or how many years we have been Christians for.

- Peter was quoting Proverbs 3:34, "He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed." God hates pride and opposes/resists the proud. It is a dreadful thing to be opposed and resisted by God. "The word “resisteth” (or opposes) in the Greek (antitasso) is a military term, used of an army drawn up for battle. Pride calls out God’s armies. God sets Himself in array against the proud person." (Kenneth Wuest) Yikes, this truth alone should be enough to cause us to stay away as far as possible from the sin of pride! But God gives extra grace (favor) to those who are humble in heart & mind and have a contrite spirit. "We are needy, helpless, undeserving, hell-deserving creatures, and if we are not humble we ought to be. Let us humble ourselves because of our sins against humility, and then the LORD will give us to taste of His favor. It is grace which makes us humble, and grace which finds in this humility an opportunity for pouring in more grace." (Charles Spurgeon)

Test of true humility:
"First, the test of precedence:
'Do you feel badly when others are honored, because they outshine you?'
Second, the test of sincerity:
'All too often, people say things about themselves to sound humble, when they really are not.'
Third, the test of criticism:
'Do you react unfavorably when someone points out your shortcomings?'
If you gave yourself a perfect score on this test, you failed the test of humility." (Richard DeHaan)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quite an Assignment and Quite a Promise

Assignment:

"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them (serving as overseers)--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve." (1 Peter 5:2 NIV)

"When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'You know that I love You.' Jesus said, 'Feed My lambs.' Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you love Me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.' Jesus said, 'Take care of My sheep.'"(John 21:15-16)  I'm sure Peter recalled quite vividly this conversation he had with Jesus. He wanted to pass on the same message to the elders. Pastors or elders must feed the sheep under their care out of love for God & others and genuine concern for the souls of people, not for dishonest/dishonorable gain (greed). "To feed the flock purely for the sake of the fleece, and to take a living only to get a living, is an horrid impiety; to be driven into the ministerial office by necessity is bad, but to be drawn by covetousness is much worse." (William Burkitt)
It is indeed an honor to serve God by serving His children. When we serve, God wants us to serve willingly/gladly and eagerly/enthusiastically (with zeal), not grudgingly or selfishly. There is a difference between loving your job and having to do your job. It should be a delight/pleasure, not a burden or drudgery. Assigned shepherds get to feed (teach) God's lambs with sound doctrine and discipline, watch over them with diligence that they don't go astray, gently guide them back when they start to wander out of the way, and keep them away from the danger of wolves (false teachings/heresies). To serve them with passion and humility, not to lord it over them. The flock belongs to God, not to the shepherds. Pastors don't own their church/congregation. They are accountable to God for how they take care of those sheep God has entrusted to them. Christian leaders are called to be Godly examples to the flock...to be servant leaders like Christ.The success of our ministry depends more on our practice than on our preaching. It is wrong if one enters a ministry because of money, position, power, popularity, or personal profit (selfish ambition). Motives matter. Tragically, some even make their ministry an idol (putting it above God). 

"Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood." (Acts 20:28)

We (who are Christian parents) have been given an awesome responsibility to feed/lead our children spiritually...teach them God's Word, help them know God intimately, and exemplify Christlikeness to them. 

Promise:

"When the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." (1 Peter 5:4 NIV)--The Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who laid down His life for the sheep will come for His sheep. And He will give the unfading crown of glory to the faithful shepherds who take care of His flock as He intends. The eternal reward is out of this world!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Review: Against the Flow by John Lennox


I've always loved the book of Daniel in the Bible. Such a remarkable faith was displayed throughout Daniel's life. I have not finished reading Against the Flow yet (it's a thick book with 434 pages) but so far it has been fascinating and insightful. I keep underlining important messages as I read. If you ever want to study the book of Daniel in depth, this is the book for you. There's so much that we, Christ's followers, can learn from Daniel and apply in our lives in this present age of relativism which wages war against God's absolute truth. The "anything goes" philosophy is widespread in our culture today. We must stand up for truth and go against the flow by being light and salt in this world.

This book explores and expounds all 12 chapters of the book of Daniel. It examines the life and faith of Daniel and his three friends who were captured by Nebuchadnezzar (Emperor of Babylon) and taken from their homes and families to live in Babylon. These four teenagers were resolved to faithfully live for God and honor Him, no matter what. Their wholehearted devotion to God, steadfast faith, and uncompromising integrity are exemplary and inspiring. They not only survived but also thrived victoriously in the pagan environment. We, too, are called to make an impact in this world...in the anti-God culture we live in.  Daniel stood firm in his faith while remaining respectful to those who didn't share his faith and as a result, he was highly respected by others. His example offers us many valuable, practical lessons. This book is a combination of history, Bible commentary, theology, and apologetics. It includes eight pages of color photographs (of archaeological evidence) and questions for reflection or discussion. The author encourages readers to be courageous, prayerful, and tactful like Daniel and to be bold witnesses for Christ. Check out this inspirational, thought-provoking read!


"God is in ultimate control of history; but this does not eliminate, bypass, or otherwise invalidate human responsibility to seek and reach out for God." (p. 17)

"Although he (Daniel) lived in the world, he did not live for it. It was in another world that he invested his life, and it is there that he now enjoys his inheritance. It goes without saying that one would be a fool to live for another world if that world did not exist. That really would be seriously delusional. On the other hand, if it does exist, not to invest one's life in it would be equally delusional, would it not? " (p. 24)

"At the heart of postmodernism lies a patent self-contradiction. It expects us to accept, as absolute truth, that there are no absolute truths...The fact is that no one can live without a concept of absolute truth." (p. 39)

"We are capable of making choices. Denying ultimate accountability devalues me as a human being, because if what I do doesn't really matter then I don't matter either." (p. 43)

"In order to combat our anxieties and prepare ourselves to give an answer to those who will ask, we are first and foremost to set Christ apart in our hearts as Lord. Indeed, how can there be conviction and power in our evangelism if it is not so?" (p. 59)

About the author:

John C. Lennox
 is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College. He lectures on Faith and Science for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is author of a number of books on the relations of science, religion and ethics. He and his wife, Sally, live near Oxford.



~I received a free copy of this book via Litfuse Publicity Group in 
exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. You can
read more reviews of this book here.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Perfect Peace

Total trust and complete confidence in God lead to perfect peace!

Peace is looking at problems through God's perspective...eternal perspective.

Peace is a soul at rest in God's loving, capable hand.

Peace is feeling relieved that God is in control and we are not.

Peace is praying about everything and worrying about nothing.

Peace is abiding in Jesus, Who is our Peace (Yahweh Shalom).

Peace is surrendering all to God, obeying His Word, and doing His will. 

When I fix my thoughts on the power of God, the promises of God, & the purposes of God and give thanks continually for His presence, provision, & protection, His peace guards my heart and mind. I pray. I trust. I rest. Perfect peace is possible.
Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday
countingmyblessings
Renewed Daily - Recommendation Saturday
This post is linked up with Fellowship Friday @Christian Mommy Blogger, Faith Filled Friday @Missional Women, Sat. Soiree @Faith Along the Way, Inspire Me Monday, Sincerely, Paula, #Give Me GraceSharing His Beauty @The Beauty in His Grip, #SmallWonder.
Related Posts with Thumbnails