Thursday, December 14, 2017

Know Who Made You and Whose You Are

Psalm 100 is a psalm of giving thanks and grateful praise to the Lord. He creates us, He loves us, and He saves/redeems us. We are His beloved sheep/children/people. It's truly mind-boggling that the Creator of the universe desires to have an intimate personal relationship with us. We belong to and depend on Yahweh Rohi ("The Lord Is My Shepherd"); He always takes care of us His sheep. He knows us best and He knows what's best for us because He made us. Trust Him! Remember this: in every moment of our life, God is by our side! We are never alone in life's struggles. "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care." (Psalm 95:6-7) To show our gratitude to God, we submit to Him, serve Him, honor Him, praise & worship Him with gladness. "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (1 Corinthians 6:19b-20)

Knowing Who God is gives us plenty of reasons to praise and thank Him unceasingly. The more I know God, the more I love & esteem Him and the more I am grateful for Him! He alone is worthy to be praised, honored, and adored! From Psalm 100,
1. Know that the Lord is God--He is the only true living God. Praise Yahweh (The Lord, I Am)!
2. Know that He is our Creator--He made us. Praise Elohim (Creator God)!
3. Know that we are not our own, but His. We belong to God. Praise Adonai (Lord and Master)!
4. Know that we are His people--He is our King/Ruler. Praise Jesus, our King of kings and Lord of lords!
5. Know that we are the sheep of His pasture--He takes care of us. The Lord is our Shepherd; we lack nothing. Praise Yahweh Rohi (The Lord My Shepherd)!
6. Know that the Lord is eternally good/benevolent all the time and He always loves us without end. Praise El Olam (The Everlasting God)!
7. Know that He is faithful through all generations. God always keeps His promises. Praise El Hanne'eman (The Faithful God)!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your unfailing love, mercy, goodness, and faithfulness! My life is Yours, please have Your way in me. May my life be a testimony of devotion, gratitude, surrender, and obedience to You!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Psalm 23, one of the most beloved Psalms, is a psalm of trust. David had no fear or concern and lacked nothing because he knew Yahweh Rohi ("The LORD Is My Shepherd"). Jesus is our Shepherd Whom we can always trust and depend on; therefore, we need not be afraid about anything.

The shepherd knows what his sheep need and provides for them. He watches them while they sleep. He protects them and guides them. Sheep rely on their shepherd for their survival. 
Sheep are not smart; they tend to follow the crowd and wander off the path & get lost. They really need their shepherd's constant watch and care. Sheep are defenseless; they need their shepherd's protection. They need their shepherd to be there for them to feel secure and be able to lie down. "When sheep finish grazing, they lie down to chew their cud so the food will digest. Unless they feel safe, they can't relax and lie down in the pasture. Nothing makes them feel safer or quiets them more than the presence of their shepherd." (Helen Haidle) Sheep are timid and easily scared. Rushing, noisy streams even frighten them so the shepherd patiently leads them to quiet, still water where they can drink in peace and be refreshed. When we get wearied or go through the difficult experiences of life, we need Jesus to lead us to a quiet time with Him where our soul can be refreshed with the Living Water and be strengthened to persevere. Sheep can be stubborn and want to go on an easy way without being aware of danger ahead. The shepherd knows which way is best for them and guides them along the right paths. Jesus guides us and keeps us on the paths of righteousness but we must choose to follow Him, instead of ourselves, the world, or other "sheep". He does what He does because of His nature and for His glory. When we follow our Shepherd obediently and rest in His loving care, we find peace, contentment, comfort, and strength. I am very thankful for His presence, provision, guidance, and protection all throughout my life. Plus blessings upon cup truly overflows!

"The certainty that we are loved fosters peace and eliminates stress. Sheep don't come across as stressed-out creatures. In fact, they seem almost oblivious to danger. Sheep don't worry about where their next meal is coming from, if they will have a place to sleep each night, when the next enemy or thief will attack, or even what the next day holds. When sheep are sick or in need, they simply turn to their shepherd, instinctively knowing he or she will take care of and comfort them." (Mary Southerland) Trust Yahweh Rohi's unfailing love, faithful presence, perfect leadership, and infinite power & wisdom and follow/obey Him confidently & faithfully each and every day! No reason to be stressed out! Since we have Jesus, we have everything we need. "The Lord is the Strength of His people, a Fortress of salvation for His anointed one. Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; be their Shepherd and carry them forever." (Psalm 28:8-9)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I'm so glad that You are my Good Shepherd! Thank You for always watching over and taking care of my family and me! Thank You for the countless times and ways You've saved us from danger and trouble (often we didn't even know it)! Please help us always stay close to You and follow You faithfully, never wandering away off the narrow path of righteousness. Please protect us from people and circumstances that are harmful and/or that will lead us astray.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Shepherd and Overseer of Our Souls

We (in our unsaved state) were like sheep wandering aimlessly and helplessly. We were lost, needy, exposed to danger & destruction, and heading to Hell. "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)

BUT now we have returned to Jesus, the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing  may come from the Lord." (Acts 3:19) "They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from Heaven, Whom He raised from the dead--Jesus, Who rescues us from the coming wrath." (1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10) The word "shepherd" portrays the endless vigilance and the self-sacrificing love of Christ for us who are His flock. Jesus feeds, refreshes, watches over, guides, and guards our souls. Jesus is the Overseer/Guardian of our souls. He looks out for the welfare of His flock and warns us of spiritual dangers such as sin, false teaching, false teachers, worldliness, worries of this world, and Satan's schemes against the saints.

Prayer: "May the God of peace, Who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Lord Jesus, please open the eyes of the lost and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You. (Acts 26:18)

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Good Shepherd

"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep...I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. (John 10:11, 14)

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for us His sheep in order to give us eternal life and abundant life. Our Shepherd is good all the time and is watching over us all the time. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He unceasingly shows His loyal love, genuine concern, and devoted care for His sheep. The sheep's responsibility is to listen to the Shepherd and follow Him. We must recognize His voice. To do so, we must remain close to Him at all times. "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (Isaiah 30:21)  

Jesus knows us and we know Him. This is not a general knowledge but rather a deep, intimate relationship...the kind that is shared between God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus knows every detail (the good, the bad, and the ugly) about us yet He still loves us perfectly! "...'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine!'" (Isaiah 43:1b) "We are not lost in the crowd. Each one of God's children, is the special object of His love and thought and care! ...Every redeemed one has his own special place in the heart of Christ!" (J.R. Miller) I am treasured by Him and so are you. Yahweh Rohi 
("The LORD Is My Shepherd") is not only our tender Provider, but also our strong Defender! He is protective of His sheep and He rescues His sheep when they fall or get lost.We can rest in Him knowing that we're loved, taken care of, safe and secure forever. In saying "safe and secure", I'm referring to John 10:28, "I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand."

"Jesus loves His sheep.
Jesus laid down His life for His sheep. 
Jesus lives to take care of His sheep.
Jesus will never, on any account, part with His sheep. 
He can guard them, and He will surely keep them. 
Whoever may perish--they never shall. 
His Father will not permit it. 
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit will prevent it. 
The love, power, and honor of Jesus combine to render it impossible!" (James Smith) 

PrayerLord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross to pay for my sin so that I may live eternally with You! Thank You for loving me, protecting me, guiding me, and taking care of all my needs! In You, I lack nothing. Please help me to know You more and to live for You always. Please direct my every step and help me to hear Your voice clearly. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

No More

"'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'
He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then He said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'
He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.'" (Revelations 21:4-8)
One of the things that helps make unbearable suffering bearable is the knowledge that there's an end to it, whether on earth or in Heaven. God will remove every cause of tears. There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain in Heaven. Free of suffering. Free of sickness. Free of sadness. Free of sin. Free of evil. This truth is guaranteed by our faithful and trustworthy God. This is a reversal of the curse (in Genesis 3). Christ makes all things new. We Christ's followers will get to enjoy all Heaven's benefits. We will have a blessed, glorious, incorruptible eternal life with Christ and a reunion & forever communion with our loved ones who are also Christ's followers and all other Christians from the beginning of time. We will be in a state of personal perfection and blissful joy. 

"It is done."--The reward of the righteous is accomplished. "The whole election of grace is completed; every individual vessel of mercy is called by grace; all the saints are brought with Christ, and their bodies raised, and living saints changed, and all together are as a bride prepared for her husband; and the nuptials are now solemnized; all the promises and prophecies relating to the glorious state of the church are now fulfilled; the mystery of God, spoken by his servants, is finished; the kingdom of Christ is complete, and all other kingdoms are destroyed; the day of redemption is come; the salvation of the saints is perfect; what was finished on the cross, by way of impetration, is now done as to application; all are saved with an everlasting salvation." (John Gill)

Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Jesus was present at the world's beginning (first creation); Jesus will also be present at its end (at the creation of a new heaven and a new earth). He will freely give water from the spring of the water of life to those who have thirsted after His righteousness and salvation.

Those in Christ who fight the good fight and persevere to the end will inherit the kingdom of Heaven and all things in it and will enjoy God Himself for eternity. But the cowardly (those who refuse to trust Jesus as their Lord & Savior out of fear), the unbelieving (those who refuse to believe in Jesus), the vile (abominable), the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts/witchcraft, the idolaters and all liars...all the unrepentant will face their second death (spiritual death) in Hell.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for these wonderful promises that give me hope, comfort, and joy! Please help me to be so rooted and grounded in You that I never lose heart. Please help me to set my heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things. Please guide me and empower me to reach out to the unsaved and tell them about the gospel of Your grace. Please open their eyes to see their sin, their need for You to save them, and their need to repent and surrender their lives to You before it's too late.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Only True God

Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Lord (Jehovah) reigns over all. "No one is like You, Lord; You are great, and Your Name is mighty in power. Who should not fear You, King of the nations? This is Your due. Among all the wise leaders of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like You." (Jeremiah 10:6-7) He is our Redeemer. Through His atoning sacrifice, Christ redeemed us (freeing us from the bondage of sin & its punishment and forgiving all our sins). Through the shedding of His blood, He paid the debt we could never pay. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine." (Isaiah 43:1b) He is the Lord Almighty/the Lord of Hosts"Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You...the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of Hosts. You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for Your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jeremiah 32:17, 18b, 19) He is the First and the Last (Alpha and Omega). He is the Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of all things.

This verse
 beautifully expresses the incomparability of God. He is the one and only true God. There is no other. Idolatry is foolishness yet sadly, people are prone to idolatry (worshiping/adoring/ revering anything above God or in place of God). Idols are worthless; they cannot save us. We don't have to fear Satan as the equivalent opposing force of God, either. God has no equals. God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Satan is not. He is merely a fallen angel (created being), already defeated at the cross. Our Lord is almighty! There is no other God. Jehovah alone is to be worshiped and revered. There's none like Him. We can have absolute confidence in the Lord. "How great You are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like You, and there is no God but You, as we have heard with our own ears." (2 Samuel 7:22)

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for being my Redeemer, my King and Lord of my life!  Thank You for rescuing me from sin and death! Please help me to always put You first in my life and to serve You faithfully. Please help me to live in such a way that expresses Your redeeming love and the joy of having been redeemed so that others may come to know You as their Redeemer.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Everlasting God

"Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God." (Psalm 90:2) 

Psalm 90 was a prayer of Moses. Moses contrasted the eternal existence of God with the brevity of human life. God is eternal; He has no beginning and no ending. He is God from an indefinite past to an indefinite future. God existed before time and creation began. He is outside of time. "A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:4) Jesus is called "Everlasting Father" in Isaiah 9:6 because He is God, Father of Eternity. We serve a mighty God Who is unchangeable and Who keeps His promises. How comforting it is to know that Jesus is our everlasting Provider and Protector! His Holy Spirit is present with us always, empowering us to live godly lives and leading us into all truth all the way to life eternal.

"Such a God (he says) have we
, such a God do we worship, to such a God do we pray, at whose command all created things sprang into being. Why then should we fear if this God favors us? Why should we tremble at the anger of the whole world? If He is our dwelling place, shall we not be safe though the heavens should go to wrack? For we have a Lord greater than all the world. We have a Lord so mighty that at His Word all things sprang into being. And yet we are so fainthearted that if the anger of a single prince or king, nay, even of a single neighbor, is to be borne, we tremble and droop in spirit. Yet in comparison with this King, all things beside in the whole world are but as the lightest dust which a slight breath moves from its place, and suffers not to be still. In this way this description of God is consolatory, and trembling spirits ought to look to this consolation in their temptations and dangers." (Martin Luther)

Prayer (adapted from Psalm 90): Lord Jesus, please teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom. Help me to live each day in light of eternity. Please satisfy me with Your unfailing love that I may sing for joy and be glad all my days. May Your deeds be shown to me Your servant, and Your splendor to my children. May Your favor rest upon my family; establish the work of our hands for Your glory!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ

Paul describes the deity, supremacy, and sufficiency of Christ. Christ is the complete, exact, and perfect visible manifestation of God Who is invisible. The very nature and character of God have been perfectly revealed in Christ Jesus. Jesus is God who has come to be God with us (Immanuel). Jesus is God's eternal Son, the firstborn (referring to His sovereignty) over all creation. All creation is under His power and authority. "All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me." (Matthew 28:18) The entire universe was created by Him, through Him, and for Him. "Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:3) He is the Architect, Builder, Goal, and Sustainer of the universe. He is before all things. This indicates Christ's existence as the eternal "I AM" (before anything was created) and Christ's preeminence over all things. In Him all things hold together. This indicates Christ's infinite wisdom and power to uphold and govern the universe.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your all sufficiency! I'm forever grateful that You as the God-man Savior and our sinless substitute, died for me so that I can live with You in Heaven for eternity. Please empty me of myself and fill me with You. Help me to show and tell the world how great and awesome You are!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Alpha and Omega

The Alpha and the Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They are used figuratively to mean the whole/entirety. Here Jesus says of Himself that He is the Alpha and the Omega Who is, Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty. It indicates His infinite, eternal, divine nature, His sovereignty, immutability, and omnipotence. He identifies Himself as God Who has no beginning and no ending. "Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD--with the first of them and with the last--I am He." (Isaiah 41:4) Christ is before all things (Colossians 1:17a). Preexistence before time. He has always existed from eternity past to eternity beyond. Christ is the beginning as He is the Author and Creator of all things. He is also the end as He brings all things to a glorious conclusion. Nothing began before Him and nothing can outlast Him. "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." (Isaiah 46:9-10)

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) Christ is the ever-existing One. He has been in control over all world history. He is outside of time and He is unchangeable. He was born to die as the ultimate sacrifice to save us from our sin. He is God with us (Immanuel), He is the Head of His Church, and He is preparing a place for us. He is to come suddenly and unexpectedly, with power and glory for the final consummation of all things. 

Christ is Yahweh Sabaoth (the Lord of Hosts, the Almighty). "He Who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, He Who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth--the LORD God Almighty is His Name." (Amos 4:13) Christ is our all-powerful, all-sufficient Lord.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone are worthy of all our praise and worship! It is such a comfort to know that no matter what happens, You remain the same, You are in control, and You are able to carry me through it all. Thank You for Your unending love, grace, mercy, and faithfulness! May You always be first and preeminent in my life! You are all I ever need!

Friday, December 1, 2017

His Star

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.'.....When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the Child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." (Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11)

Jesus's birth in Bethlehem, was a prophecy fulfilled. But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me One who will be Ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2) God's Greatest Gift to us came to a small, humble town, Bethlehem. Bethlehem means "house of bread." The Bread of Life (John 6:35) came into this world in the "house of bread"! The magi (who were Gentiles) from the east (probably from Persia or Babylon) acknowledged Jesus as King of the Jews and traveled a long distance in search of Him so that they could worship Him. The Bible does not indicate how many wise men came to Jerusalem to look for Jesus. God guided and directed these wise men (astrologers) by a special star. It went before them and stopped over the place where Jesus was. I love the fact that they called the star, "His star". When they finally found this special Child, they were overjoyed, bowed down, worshiped Him, and gave Him gifts. They found Jesus and Mary in the house (not the stable). The visit of the Magi (wise men) must have taken place when Jesus was between 1 to 2 years old. By this time, Mary and Joseph were married and lived in a house. The three gifts symbolized Christ's identity. Gold was a gift for a King. Frankincense (costly incense) was a gift for deity (the Son of God). Myrrh (prized perfume) was a spice for a person who was going to die. Jesus was born to die for us so that we can be born again and never die (John 11:25-26).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I'm so grateful for Your birth, death, and resurrection. What amazing love You have for us that made You leave Your throne in Heaven to come to earth and humbly take on human flesh in order to become the satisfactory sacrifice for our sins! Though You knew You would die a painful, humiliated death, You came to save the world anyway. Thank You for the light of Your presence that faithfully guides me and comforts me! I want to worship You with my life. I offer all that I am and all that I have as a gift to You. May I boldly share the joy of Your birth and the good news with others so that they may come to experience the joy of Your redemption and wonders of Your love.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Pay Attention

Peter wanted us to pay attention to the Scriptures which are true and trustworthy. Since over 300 Old Testament prophecies have all been fulfilled by Christ, we can have complete confidence in the reliability of the Bible and trust what the Bible says about the future. "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105) God's Word shines as light in a dark place (this corrupt world system filled with the darkness of sin, ignorance, despair, and death). "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Paul affirms what Peter says about the writing of Scripture being moved/directed by God the Holy Spirit. Old Testament prophecies look ahead to the coming of Christ, the bright Morning Star, Who shines His light into our hearts. Jesus has given us newness of life; He has infused our lives with His light, His presence, and His purpose. The perfect, though limited, revelation of the Scriptures will be replaced with the perfect revelation of Jesus Christ at His second coming. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

"The truth that Christ is coming again must first arise in their hearts, like the morning star, giving assurance of coming day. Assured of His anticipated return, they will be alert to detect the gleams of dawn breaking through the darkness. Those who disregard the light of prophecy will not understand the significance of these harbingers of coming day. Such a living hope must have a transforming impact upon daily life." (Hiebert)

"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!"

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word that gives me light, hope, joy, peace, strength, comfort, and encouragement! Thank You for shining Your light into my heart, enabling me to know You and Your Word. Please help me live ready always for Your return. Use me, Lord, for Your glory and Your kingdom.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Light of the World

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, 'I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" John 8:12  

Have you ever tried walking in darkness? You may stumble, bump into things, and/or (more often than not) head in the wrong direction; your life could very well be in danger. In Thailand when I was little, my aunts took me to see a movie on an outdoor screen which was set up on a public lawn. It was a dark night and while we walked, we relied only on the moon's light to guide us. My aunts were busy chatting and for a moment, they forgot to watch me. I fell into a manhole (obviously without a cover). I don't remember all the details. Thank God, somehow...someone...pulled me out. It is a scary thing to walk in darkness. I am so thankful that I follow Jesus, the Light of the World. I now have the light of life; I no longer walk in darkness. I once was blind but now I see. Jesus illuminates/communicates the knowledge of God to us. He is the True Light that enlightens us to see clearly our sin and our need for a Savior. The Light of the World vanquishes the spiritual darkness brought on by sin and helps us see the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Christ exposes sin for what it is and shines the light of His forgiveness upon us. We who believe in Him have moved from darkness to light, from death to life. When we follow Jesus, the Light of the world, we can avoid stumbling blindly in darkness and falling into sin and destruction. He lights the path ahead of us so that we can see how to live. He leads/guides/directs us. 

In the Bible, light represents truth, holiness, purity, love, and life. Darkness represents evil, sin, ignorance, wickedness, and the lost world. We've been rescued to reflect our Redeemer, the Light of the World! Since we, Christ's followers, have the light of life, we also are light to the world. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) "Jesus gives the Christian both a great compliment and a great responsibility when He says that we are the light of the world, because He claimed that title for Himself as He walked this earth." (Guzik) We, Christ's followers, are to reflect the light of Jesus and the Gospel in this world of darkness (sin and spiritual blindness) for God's glory. We are mere reflectors of Christ's light, pointing others to Him, the True LightReflect the love and character of Christ in attitude, words, and deeds. Live out the Christ life which is in us. Light is what enables us to see and makes vision possible. May we help others see the dangers of sin, understand the truth of the Gospel, and realize the need for a Savior! Light reveals things that are hidden and light gives warmth. When we live our lives according to God's Word and God's will, we become a beacon of light to this weary, wicked, & lost world, giving people hope and help. We are to influence the world, not to be influenced by the world.

To ponder: How can we shine and reflect Christ's light so that others may see Him this season?

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being my Light, my Salvation, and the Stronghold of my life! Help me, Lord, to always walk in the obedience to You. Please enable me to reflect Your light and shine brightly so that others may see their need for a Savior and be drawn to You, the Light of the World. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Star and Scepter

This is a prophecy regarding the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who is a Star (symbolizing light, glory, splendor, regal power) and Scepter (symbolizing royal power or authority, sovereignty). He is the Ruler over all and Victor over His enemies. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus is our Guiding Light and victorious Deliverer.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for loving me and leading me, for saving me and sustaining me. Please direct my every step...every decision to be according to Your will. Please have Your way in me, ruling every aspect of my life. I surrender all to You and I desire to live for You and serve You, my King. Help me, Lord, to spread the good news of the kingdom everywhere I go.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Bright Morning Star

Jesus is the Root and the Offspring of David. As God and Creator, He is the Root/the Source. "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him and His place of rest will be glorious." (Isaiah 11:10) As man, He is the Offspring of David. Jesus calls Himself the "Bright Morning Star". As the morning star ushers in the new day, Jesus brings forth the dawn of grace, hope, and joy, the everlasting kingdom, light, and life. He introduces the day of salvation into the soul. Our Savior, the Bright Morning Star, stands in contrast to this dark world. In Him there's no darkness at all. He dispels the darkness of sin, sorrow, and death. He is the radiance of God's glory (Hebrews 1:3).

Prayer: "Lord, You are the brightest of all stars. With Your Light, chase away the world's darkness and the shadows that linger in my life. Help me to await Your coming with hope and confidence and to long eagerly for the new day that will never end, the day in which Your kingdom will be finally and fully established." (Ann Spangler)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Philippians 4 in Poem

Rejoice in the Lord always
Find joy in Christ, come what may
Delight in Who God is and what He has done
Choose to be joyful in any situation

Let your gentleness be evident to all
To be considerate and kind we are called
Let your conduct honor God and reflect Christ
The world is watching; may we be salt and light

Do not be anxious about anything
But humbly pray to God with thanksgiving
God's peace which surpasses all understanding
Will guard your hearts and minds, His Word believing

Our thoughts influence our words, actions, character
Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely,
Admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy
Think on these things; watch what into your mind enters

Let's be content in any situation we face
We are complete in Christ, full of blessings
We can do all things through Christ Who gives us strength and grace
Fullness of life, light, and love He does bring

Our Father and Provider faithfully meets all our needs
According to the riches of His glory in Jesus
We're blessed to be a blessing; may we be generous
Guide us, Lord, to be Your loving, serving hands and feet

~ Copyright 2017 Urailak Liljequist 

Note: You can read my Philippians 1 in Poem herePhilippians 2 in Poem here, and Philippians 3 in Poem here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

God Meets All Our Needs

After Paul thanked the Philippian Christians for their gifts and generosity, he assured them that God will take care of all their needs (not wants, desires, or luxuries). This is a promise to those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to God and His kingdom. "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done." (Proverbs 19:17) Often God meets His children's needs by using us to meet one another's needs. We are to be cheerful, generous givers and not worry about our own needs because God's got our back. God is omnipotent. He has unlimited power and resources. Our needs can never exhaust His supply. "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20) God is omniscient. He knows His children perfectly. He knows all our thoughts, needs, fears, troubles, and sufferings. Jehovah Jireh ("The Lord Will Provide") is faithful and pleased to provide for His children who honor Him and depend on Him. When children of God walk in the will of God, serving for the glory of God, they will have their needs met. God delights to bless us. He blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others. "God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8). God is omnipresent. He gives us the gift of His presence. The Great I Am is with us every moment. Whatever we need, He is! "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present Help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) 

Paul was not preaching the prosperity gospel here. Paul was saying, in essence, that he could not repay the Philippians but God could and would meet their needs. We don't have to fear or worry. We can be content. Why? Because our God will supply all our needs according to His glorious riches (infinite) in Christ Jesus (through our spiritual union with Christ)! This truth should bring us confidence, comfort, and joy. In Christ Jesus, God gives us sufficient grace to meet whatever we face. By the way, He already provided for our greatest need, the need for a substitute to pay the penalty for our sin and die in our place. He provided His one and only Son, Jesus Christ! "If we can trust God for our eternal salvation, how can we not trust Him to provide for the "little" things of life?" (M.E. Howard) God loves us and He will provide for what we need when we need it.

"God's riches fill up our supply,
Whatever we may need,
So we can then be generous
And not controlled by greed
." (Sper)

Prayer: Father, thank You for always meeting my needs! Thank You for Your abundant blessings in my life! Please help me be a blessing to others, a cheerful, generous giver, and a humble, faithful servant. Please show me the needs of those around me and the needs around the world and direct me how to meet those needs. Please help me use resources You've given me wisely according to Your will for Your glory and Your kingdom. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Content in Christ

Our spiritual union with Christ is the source of our strength and the secret of being content. Paul was content in all circumstances because he was content (satisfied) in the sufficiency of Christ. Christ alone was enough for him. Paul was content through all his afflictions for professing Christ, for preaching His Gospel, for praising His Name, and for His glory. Christ is the key/the reason. It is in Christ alone where we find grace, mercy, peace, joy, hope, comfort, wisdom, strength, redemption, forgiveness, righteousness, sanctification, and all that satisfy our soul needs. We can truly be content when we realize that we are complete in Christ. No one else and nothing else will ever make us complete. When all we have is Christ, we have all we need. Rest in Him and be content. Discontent (opposite of contentment) is dangerous. A discontented heart/mind is susceptible to envy, greed, worry, temptations, etc. It's our human tendency to be discontent, to get bored easily, to desire more (of the things of this world), to have self-pity, to compare with others, to complain, to covet, and to be ungrateful. With Christ's strength, we can overcome the human tendency (aka our sinful nature). "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, Who is the Head over every power and authority." (Colossians 2:9-10)

All experiences and situations that come our way are opportunities for Christ's love, grace, power, and strength to be made more evident in our lives. They are lessons that help us learn and grow in faith, Christlikeness, and contentment in Christ. Contentment did not come naturally to Paul or was given as a gift at his conversion (he had to learn to be content). It had taken him years to learn this (he was an old man when he wrote the book of Philippians). Paul finally learned to draw all he needed, in whatever situation, from Jesus who dwelled within him. As a result, he experienced contentment, peace, and joy, no matter what the world or the enemy threw at him. When we combine our gratitude for who God is and what He has done for us with an acceptance of His will for our lives, we will find contentment. Let us count our blessings and remember how He has been faithful to supply all our needs. We may lack certain things (ease, outward comforts, and worldly conveniences) that others have, but if we have a contented heart, we definitely have more than most people have. 

"To live on Christ, 
to draw all from Christ, 
to do all in the strength of Christ, 
to be ever looking to Christ--
this is the true secret of spiritual prosperity!" (J.C. Ryle)

"It is from the state of our minds that contentment arises--and not from the amount of our possessions." (John MacDuff)  Contentment is a matter of mental and spiritual attitude. We learned from Philippians 4:8 that we must choose wisely what we fill our mind with because our thoughts affect who we are. Our thoughts affect whether we will be content or not. Take time to answer the following questions. In your mind, do you believe God is in control? Are you convinced that Christ alone is enough, not Christ with family, not Christ with good health, not Christ with comfortable home, not even Christ with fruitful ministry, but Christ alone? Do you believe God is too wise to err and too good to be unkind? Are you pleased with what God does? Would you be content if God's only gift to you were His grace to save you, forgive you, and give you eternal life? Would you be content with just that and nothing else? Remember God owes you and me nothing; we deserve nothing but His wrath and eternal condemnation. It's God's grace and mercy that we're out of Hell!

Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” (Jeremiah Burroughs) 

P.S. Do not confuse contentment with complacency! Contentment is rooted in Christ, faith, humility, and gratitude. Complacency is rooted in self, pride, arrogance, and laziness. For example, we must never be complacent with our spiritual growth.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for saving me, sanctifying me, sustaining me, guiding me, giving me grace, and providing everything I need! You are all I ever need. Because of You in me, my soul is fully satisfied, full of life, light, love, peace, and joy. Thank You for giving me eternal life and abundant life! Please empower me to always be thankful, joyful, and content, regardless of my circumstances. Please grant me grace to live above the perishable things of this fleeting world. Please help me to walk in godliness and rely on You in every situation, knowing that Your grace is always sufficient for me. May I glorify You in all I think, say, and do!

"But Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) 

"Happy is the person who has learned the secret of being content with whatever life brings him, and has learned to rejoice in the simple and beautiful things around him." (Billy Graham)

"Contentment is the crown-jewel of a happy life!" (Charles Spurgeon) 

"Contentment with your lot, and confidence in God--will make life peaceful and happy!...It is not what a man has, but what a man is--which will decide his bliss or woe in both this life and the next." (Charles Spurgeon) 

"Be thou content to leave thy prayer in His hands, Who knows when to give, and how to give, and what to give, and what to withhold." (Charles Spurgeon)

"Good when He gives, supremely good, 

Nor less when He denies! 
Even crosses from His sovereign hand 
Are blessings in disguise!" (Unknown)  

"Nothing is lovelier in life, than the spirit of contentment. Fretting mars the beauty of many a face. Discontent spoils all one's world. Out of whatever window he looks--the discontented person sees something that is not pleasing. But a contented person sees only good everywhere. The happiest homes in the world are not those in which are the finest carpets, the costliest pictures, the most luxurious furniture--but those in which contented, joyful hearts dwell. A mind at peace, beautifies the plainest surroundings and even the hardest conditions." (J.R. Miller)

"Contentment sweetens every condition.
Contentment teaches a man how to abound--in the midst of poverty!
Have I but little? Yet it is more than I deserve.
Do I meet with some crosses? My comfort is, if they are heavy--I have not far to go!
My cross is light--in comparison with the weight of glory.
Has God taken away my comforts from me? It is well--the Comforter still abides with me.
Thus contentment, as a honeycomb, drops sweetness into every condition.
Discontent is a leaven which sours every comfort; it puts vinegar into ever mercy; it doubles every cross.
" (Thomas Watson) 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Think on These Things

Our thoughts influence our words, our actions, our character...our life. Paul told us how to have the right kind of thought. Paul offered us a tip for overcoming anxiety/worry. We must choose wisely what we fill our mind with. With the Holy Spirit living inside us, guiding us, helping us, empowering us, we are able to take our thought captive & make it obedient to Christ, and choose to dwell on things which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Think God's thoughts. We need to saturate our mind with God's Word. God's Word gives us comfort, wisdom, understanding, guidance, encouragement, hope, peace, and joy. "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes." (Psalm 19:7-8) Fill your mind with God's truths (memorize Bible verses). 

What we choose to dwell on will affect who we are. "A man is what he thinks about all day long." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) Jesus is the embodiment of all the virtues listed in this verse. Therefore, it makes sense for us to meditate on Him, His attributes, and His Word. We are to have the mind of Christ. A Christian thought life is essential to a life of unity (Philippians 4:2-3), joy (Philippians 4:4), peace (Philippians 4:6-7), obedience (Philippians 4:9), and contentment (Philippians 4:11-13).

Be aware that there is a battle going on in our mind. By choosing to occupy our mind with godly thoughts, we can prevent Satan from attacking our mind with lies, deception, anxious thoughts, destructive thoughts, sinful thoughts. Sin begins in the mind and so does godliness. 

"The spiritual battle, the loss or the victory, is always in the thought-world." (Francis Schaeffer) 
"If the heart be full of sinful thoughts, there is no room for holy and heavenly thoughts. If the heart be full of holy and heavenly thoughts by meditation, there is no room for evil and sinful thoughts." (William Bridge)
Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit--and man is his own gardener." (James Allen)

"One who accustoms himself to think of pure and holy things, who sets his affections on things above, and strives to reach for things which are true, things which are honorable, things which are lovely--will grow heavenward toward the things which he loves and thinks upon. 
But one who lets his mind turn habitually . . .
  to debasing things,
  to unholy things,
  to impure things, 
  to earthly things--
will find his whole soul bending downward, and growing sinful, corrupt, and evil." (J.R. Miller) 

Philippians 4:8 is a great guideline to help us decide what to read, what to watch, and what to listen to. We must be vigilant about what we allow to enter our mind and our children's mind. The saying "garbage in, garbage out" is true. So many things can tempt us and pollute our mind. 

"To think is an effort; to think rightly is a great effort; and to think as a Christian ought to think is the greatest effort of a human soul." (Oswald Chambers)

"We grow like the things we think about." (Daniel L. Marsh)
"At every point right living begins with right thinking." (Bruce J. Milne)
"God will not live in the parlour of our hearts if we entertain the devil in the cellar of our thoughts." (Charles Spurgeon)
"It is a law of life--that our thoughts build our characterIf we meditate on the purity, the holiness, the goodness, the love, the righteousness, of Christ--these qualities will print themselves upon our own hearts." (J.R. Miller)
"Beautiful thoughts make a beautiful soul, And a beautiful soul makes a beautiful face." (Unknown)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that renews my mind, encourages my heart, revives my soul, and transforms my life! Please help me meditate on Who You are and on Your truths each and every day. Please purify my heart and mind to be like Christ's and help my mind to focus on what is pleasing and honoring to You. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

"Lord, help us to think of the right and the true,
The pure and the noble—it all points to You;
For if we consider what's worthy of praise,
We'll then want to live for You all of our days."

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