A Must-See Video for Every Christian

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Choose Whom You Will Serve

- Joshua told the Israelites to make a decision for themselves whether they would serve the Lord who had been faithful to them or serve false gods which were man-made idols. Regardless of their decision, Joshua made his commitment for his family to serve the one true living God. It's his resolution. By making a bold stand with no compromise, Joshua made an incredible impact on his people (the people said to Joshua, "We too will serve the Lord, because He is our God" in verse 18 and "We will serve the Lord our God and obey Him" in verse 24). Joshua was a great leader!

- As for me and my house (family), we will serve the Lord (as far as I can influence them). We as a family serve the Lord but when the children are grown up and are out of the house, they'll have to make their own choices whether they will continue to serve the Lord. That's why it's so important to model a life of faith, love, & service day in and day out in front of our children and to pray for them without ceasing. Children and others can tell about our commitment, values, and priorities by how we live.

- God gives us the freedom of making choices because He loves us and He wants to have a genuine loving relationship with us. Forced love is no love. God desires our sincere service that comes from our willingly devoted hearts. Even now, people can still choose God or choose idols (such as wealth,
popularity, career, man-made religions,...anything but God). We all have an opportunity to affect the world (for good or for evil) through our decisions. We can live to gratify selves or to glorify God. We can choose to put ourselves first or put others first. Life is filled with choices...from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep...day after day. Choices always have consequences which no one can escape...good or bad. We are accountable for our choices. Some consequences are more serious than others. Choose wisely/rightly! "Choice is a bittersweet gift. Those in Heaven will always be grateful they had it and will have it always, with no fear of sin or condemnation; those in Hell will always regret that they didn't exercise it differently." (Randy Alcorn)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Suitable Helper

- This is the first time in Genesis that God gave a negative remark ("It is not good for the man to be alone"). God saw and knew the man's need. He made Eve to become Adam's suitable companion and helper. Suitable = truly fitting, fully adequate, just right. God gave marriage as a gift to Adam and Eve. They were created perfect for each other. Companionship replaces isolation. However, for companionship to be satisfying and God-glorifying, there must be oneness in the marriage (Genesis 2:24). Self-centeredness destroys oneness and companionship. I believe that self-centeredness is the root cause of most divorces.
- "The word for helper in Hebrew does not mean 'servant' or 'slave.' The word is most commonly used in the Bible in reference to God as our helper, often in a military sense. A helper in this sense would be someone--superior or equal-- who comes alongside to support another in a situation that can't be handled alone. According to this passage, man needed help--a partner every bit his equal whose strengths would compensate for his weaknesses." (commentary from the book, "Building a Marriage That Really Works") Jesus used the same word (the Greek equivalent) in John to describe the Holy Spirit. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (John 14:26) Helper is one who helps and has the ability to help. Do not think lowly of this significant role. It's not a second-class status. In God's eyes, a helper is very important, valuable, and necessary. It doesn't mean superiority or inferiority.
- Prayer: Thank You, Father, for being my constant Help! Please help me to be the best helper for my husband. Please bless our marriage to always be Christ-centered and be pleasing & honoring to You. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
"There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage." (Martin Luther)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Worse Than An Unbeliever

Even most unbelievers take care of their own families/relatives in distress. What kind of testimony would we, Christ's followers, be giving to the world if we don't provide for our own families (who cannot provide for themselves)? It would be denying the Christian faith (bringing disgrace to the name of Christ) and we would be worse off than the unsaved. We must take this responsibility seriously. The command to honor your parents (Exodus 20:12) does not have time limit/age limit. Jesus honored Mary, His mother, by making sure she would be taken care of by John after His death. 
"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." (Galatians 5:6b) Authentic faith will be expressed through genuine love for God and for others (including our own relatives). Love in action is caring, assisting, supporting, giving, providing, meeting their needs. "Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:17)
"Many wait to live a life of self-denial on the mission field instead of living in such a way in their own home." (Greg Gordon)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Loving and Caring for the Unwanted


Tomorrow is World Leprosy Day. Leprosy is not just a disease people had in Bible times; it is still an infectious disease today. "There are tens of thousands of people suffering from leprosy in more than 1,000 leprosy colonies throughout South Asia. Leprosy is a bacterial disease that attacks the nervous system, particularly the nerves of the hands, feet and face. As the body absorbs cartilage into its system, victims of the disease slowly lose their fingers, toes and even limbs. The social stigma is devastating, perhaps even worse than the disease itself." (taken from http://www.gfa.org/pray/leprosy/ ) Often there's no one there for them. They have to deal with not only leprosy but also loneliness. This chronic infectious, disfiguring disease has left them shunned from society and even from their own family and friends. They suffer not only from physical pain but also from emotional pain (of being rejected, abandoned, and unwanted).

In the midst of this gloom, some missionaries from Gospel for Asia have reached out to these afflicted ones with the love and light of Jesus Christ, offering them hope and help desperately needed. They wash the clothes of leprosy patients, cut their hair & nails, dress their wounds, and bathe them. They also share the Gospel with them, counsel, encourage and pray for them. They put Christ's love in action; they serve the Lord by serving these people, the unwanted. This is part of Gospel for Asia’s leprosy ministry called Reaching Friends Ministry. It is because of God’s grace that we have the strength, courage and motivation to work among these people, to share with them, to hug them, to love them and to care for them,” Pastor Jiva says (Quote from Compelled by Love for Those with Leprosy). Gospel for Asia also opened a hospital providing best treatments and friendly staff to care for these patients.

Find out how you can pray for the ministry and the patients here.
Read more about the works of these dedicated, compassionate missionaries here.
Read about the a healing story here.
Find out how you can support this important ministry here.
Gospel for Asia provides their leprosy patients with:
  • Nourishing meal each day
  • Medical treatments so their wounds can heal faster
  • Custom shoes for their disfigured and hurting feet
  • Hygiene supplies
100%
100% of what you give toward the field goes to the field.




Please consider donating to this great cause. You can also be a voice for the hurting by spreading an awareness about this problem.


"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.'" (Matthew 25:40)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Love Your Enemies

- This must be one of the most difficult commands in the Bible. Some might consider it extreme kindness but according to Jesus, that's what sets His followers apart from unsaved sinners (see verses 32-34). We are to love our enemies not just in words but also in action ("do good to them and lend to them without expecting to get anything back"). Only the supernatural love of God can accomplish this. This is agape love (unconditional, selfless, sacrificial kind of love). Love those who hate you. Do good to those who hurt you. Lend (give) to those who take advantage of you. 
  • "We cannot choose whom we will love if we claim to be Christians." (~Anonymous)
- When we do these things, God will bless us and at the same time, we show to the world that we're truly children of the Most High God (El Elyon). When the world looks at us, do they see our resemblance to our Heavenly Father? Our unexpected love for our enemies is a testimony to pure charity and to the power of God Most High.
- Imitate God. He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. He was kind to us when we were His enemies. Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). God wants us to be kind, merciful, compassionate towards our enemies, not just friends or people whom we like. We are to be kind to them without expecting anything in return (including thanks). In fact, this frees us from anxieties of expecting anything back. Many people cannot or will not repay. We must examine our hearts/motives. Do all things in love for the glory of God! Love the ungrateful and the undeserving just as God does. Be kind to mean people. Kindness often draws people to God and to repentance. May our lives reflect our gratitude to God for His unfailing love for us by loving others with His love! May His love in us manifest through us when our human love fails! May we never forget how God first loved us...the unloving!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blessings of Companionship and Fellowship

- Two are better than one. Association is better than isolation. Some benefits of companionship include productivity (good reward from mutual effort), assistance, comfort (verse 11), defense/ protection in danger (verse 12). Two people working together can get more done and can encourage each other along. When two people walk together, one can pick the other up if he/she falls (both literally and figuratively). Jesus sent His disciples out two by two. "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (which is the law of love)." (Galatians 6:2)

- The Body of Christ is God's idea. We're created to be in community...to work together for God's glory and for His kingdom. "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone.'" (Genesis 2:18a) If it was not good in a perfect world (before sin entered), it is much worse in a fallen world. God advocates companionship and fellowship. God is pro-community as clearly demonstrated in the relationship and roles of the Trinity. God wants us to be dependent on Him and interdependent upon one another. There are lots of "one another" commands in the New Testament. We are a family in Christ. We should love and care about one another and pray for one another. Solitariness promotes selfishness. Cooperation helps us become more effective in our lives and ministries. Friendship is valuable. We (even the introverts) need one another. We can help one another in times of need. Absence of companionship and friendship result in loneliness. We become stronger and better when we live in community with others. Let's do life together and be committed team players! And reach out to people in your community with Christ's love and His Gospel of God's grace.

"Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow." (~Swedish Proverb)

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." (~African proverb)
Infographic: all the one another commands in the New Testament

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Accept One Another

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." (Romans 15:7 NIV)
- This is a command to accept/ welcome one another, regardless of whether they are strong believers or weak believers. Paul wanted the Body of Christ to have unity. If Christ accepts all Christians, we must do the same. We must not reject any brother or sister in Christ, who is also God's child/servant. Christ is our Lord and Master; to Him alone all believers are accountable. We are to love, serve, forgive, and accept one another just as Christ has done for us (even though He knows everything about us...the good, the bad, and the ugly). Christ accepts both the Jews and the Gentiles who put their faith in Him. We are called to bear with one another's weaknesses. Treat one another with grace, mercy, respect, humility, patience, gentleness, compassion, and kindness even when we may disagree/have different opinions and/or have different personalities (some of which may seem unpleasant/annoying to you). We are to accept all brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere in the world no matter if they speak different languages and come from different cultures. We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord! Welcome them with open arms.

- The purpose is to bring praise and glory to God! Our Heavenly Father is glorified when we, His children, truly love one another not just in words but also in actions and live in harmony with one another.


"If the Lord Jesus has indeed received us, and bears with our weaknesses and follies, well may we have patience with one another, and show pity to each other's infirmities. Christ did not receive us because we were perfect, because he could see no fault in us, or because he hoped to gain somewhat at our hands. Ah, no! but, in loving condescension covering our faults, and seeking our good, he welcomed us to his heart; so, in the same way, and with the same purpose, let us receive one another." (Charles Spurgeon)

"Some people can be difficult to love

And so we do not even try to care,
But God says, 'Love them just as I've loved you--
You'll bring Me glory as My love you share.'"
(Cetas)
- Prayer: "May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you and me the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you and I may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!(Romans 15:5-6)


Lyrics:
When you are going to judge

You need to take a second look
Not at your brother's speck
But the warning that's in The Book
'Cause who alone can judge
Except the One who knows our mind?
He knows the inner man
And difficulties we may find

So often we condemn (Condemn)
And our minds are never in gear (Minds are never in gear)
Our feelings then are led (Are led)
By suspicious, crippling fear (Suspicious, crippling)
To love our brothers now (Now)
We've got to use our Master's eyes (Eyes)
So we will not condemn
The result will be a surprise when we...

Chorus:
Accept one another without judging your brother
The Lord has been good to you
Accept one another without judging your brother
It's the Godly thing you ought to do
Accept one another without judging your brother
There's no need to cause a fight
Accept one another without judging your brother
It's the Godly way of living right

What do you want yourself (What do you want?)
When it comes right down to a choice?
Is judgement what you want (What you want)
Or a kind and merciful voice (Merciful voice)
To tell you that they care
And are overlooking the bad?
They know your faults so well
But are accepting you instead

And now we leave with your choice
Won't you tell me what'll you do? (What'll you do?)
The measures that you use
Is the measure that's used for you
So when you're prone to judge
Won't you think of this simple song
Before you make mistakes
By judging and treating them wrong, instead...

Repeat Chorus

When you think of what He's done
Givin' up His only son
Livin' in a world of hate
How can you retaliate?
Knowing what he's done for me
Following His legacy
I'm gonna rise above
Accepting those that He has loved

Repeat Chorus

It's the Godly way of living right
It's the Godly way of living right

Monday, January 19, 2015

Christlike Humility

- "Do nothing out of selfish ambition (selfishness/self gain) or vain conceit (empty pride/vain opinion about oneself/desire of praise, attention, or admiration)." "Whereas selfish ambition pursues personal goals, empty conceit seeks personal glory and acclaim. The former pertains to personal accomplishments; the latter to an over inflated self-image. Understandably, a person with such conceit considers himself always to be right and expects others to agree with him. The only unity he seeks or values is centered on himself." (MacArthur) Paul wanted us to realize that in order to have unity (having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind as stated in verse 2), we must get rid of self-centeredness and pride. Preoccupation with self destroys the unity among the Body of Christ. "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." (Galatians 5:25-26)
- "Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."--Humility is the antidote for vain conceit and consideration for others is the antidote for selfish ambition. We should not focus on our needs & significance and be completely absorbed by our own concerns. Instead, we should be thoughtful and considerate of others and seek to meet the needs of others. "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'" (1 Peter 5:5b) "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." (Romans 12:10) In love and humility, we see others as worthy of preferential treatment and we want the best for them. True humility is about self-denial. A truly humble person yields himself/herself to Christ to be a servant, to use what he/she is and has for the glory of God and the good of others. 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) 

Want true joy? "J.O.Y." "J" for Jesus first, "O" for others next, and "Y" for yourselves last. "As we esteem others better, we will naturally have a concern for their needs and concerns; this sort of outward looking mentality naturally leads to a unity among the people of God. If I am considering you above me, and you are considering me above you, a marvelous thing happens: we have a community where everyone is looked up to, and no one is looked down on." (Guzik) Humility brings unity!
- "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus."--We need to imitate Christ and have the same attitude/mindset as He does. Christ is the Ultimate Example of humility, servanthood, and radical obedience. When we have Christlike attitude, we're willing to give up our own rights for the good of others; we discover that it's far better to submit, to serve, and to love than to have our own way. When we have Christlike mindset, we have the selfless, sacrificial, submissive, and serving mind. Christ teaches self-denial not only with His words but also by His actions. Christians are to move from self-seeking/self-promotion to self-denial. "From self denial in the spiritual worship of God flows self surrender to the will of God, and from self surrender flows selfless service in the work of God." (~John MacArthur)


"Oh, to see the needs of others
More important than our own,
Following our Lord's example
When He left His heavenly throne." (Sper)

"Others, Lord, yes, others,
Let this my motto be;
Help me to live for others,
That I might live like Thee."
(Charles D. Meigs)  
- This song is my prayer.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Book Review: hand in Hand by Randy Alcorn


My Review:
God is sovereign. And God gives people the freedom of choices ("purposeful permission"). Some people have trouble reconciling God's sovereignty with human choice. In this book, Randy Alcorn thoroughly explores what the Bible says about this complicated, controversial issue. He also explains in great details about what Calvinists believe and what Arminians believe. His approach is well-balanced and he aims for unity among the Body of Christ. "There are better questions than 'Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?' One of those is 'What does the Bible actually teach?' And 'Do you believe it?' Let's trust all of God's words, not just the ones that fit neatly into a preferred theological system or church tradition. That's my approach in this book." (p. 31)

Each chapter starts with Scriptures and an insightful quote. I really appreciate all the charts and diagrams since I'm a visual learner :). They are very helpful in comparing different views. The book includes small-group discussion questions. I am thankful that Randy Alcorn answers theological questions in a way that is easy to understand. 
I learned some new terms such as Determinism, Compatibilism, Monilism, Libertarianism, and Open Theism. This book will help readers understand God more deeply and appreciate the beautiful, mysterious interweaving of His sovereignty and meaningful human choice more. God's sovereignty does not negate human's responsibility! I'm forever grateful to be walking with God hand in Hand. Charles Spurgeon said, "There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than that of God's sovereignty." I wholeheartedly agree! I enjoyed reading this excellent, thought-provoking book and highly recommend it to anyone!

"Both Arminian and Calvinist pastors continuously call upon their people to make choices to follow Christ, reject false doctrine, and embrace the truth (including the truth about God's sovereignty)...God can and does move the hearts of people to draw them toward himself, but while he empowers them to choose to believe, it's also true that they genuinely choose to believe." (p. 72)

"What seems clear in Scripture is that we choose and are accountable for our choices--yet God reigns over all, over everything he approves and disapproves of, including our choices. His hand is over us, yet our hand is in his." (p. 100)

"In that sense, God changes in his attitudes and actions in response to our repentance, prayers, or sin. But God doesn't change in his essence, character, knowledge, plans, or purposes. In those respects, we change; he doesn't." (p. 110)

"Choice is a bittersweet gift. Those in Heaven will always be grateful they had it and will have it always, with no fear of sin or condemnation; those in Hell will always regret that they didn't exercise it differently." (p. 149)

"In making our real and difficult choices, we depend upon God's empowerment." (p. 160)

"What we should take most seriously in forming our habits of thinking, action, prayer, and evangelism is not our theological systems but Scripture." (p. 212)

~I received a free copy of this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Randy AlcornRandy Alcorn is an author and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. His ministry focus is communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that count for eternity. He accomplishes this by analyzing, teaching, and applying the biblical truth.

Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He has an MA degree in Biblical Studies from Multnomah University and an Honorary Doctorate from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and has taught on the adjunct faculties of both.

A New York Times bestselling author, Randy has written more than forty books, including the bestsellers Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and the Gold Medallion winner Safely Home. His books in print exceed seven million and have been translated into over thirty languages. Randy has written for many magazines including EPM’s quarterly issues-oriented magazine Eternal Perspectives. He is active daily on Facebook and Twitter, has been a guest on more than 700 radio, television and online programs including Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, Revive Our Hearts, The Bible Answer Man, and The Resurgence.

Randy and his wife Nanci have two married daughters and are the proud grandparents of five grandsons. Randy enjoys hanging out with his family, biking, tennis, research, and reading.

Randy Alcorn currently resides in Gresham, in the state of Oregon. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Immeasurable Love of Christ

- Paul prayed that we may be strengthened by God with power through His Spirit (Eph. 3:16). With that power and with Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith and by being rooted & established in love (Eph. 3:17), we may be able to grasp/comprehend/take possession of the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God, and then live in that reality. Paul wanted all saints (in Christ, we believers are saints set apart by God for His glory and purpose) to lay hold of the vastness of Christ's love. Paul tried his best to express it and how much he wished the Ephesians (and we) could fully understand it. However, language is inadequate to capture the immensity of Christ's love.
  • The breadth of His love reaches the whole world. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) God loves everyone; no one is excluded.
  • The length of His love stretches from eternity to eternity. "I have loved you with an everlasting love." (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • The height of His love raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). "For great is Your love, higher than the heavens." (Psalm 108:4a)
  • The depth of His love rescues depraved sinners from sin, death, and Hell. 
Christ's love is immeasurable, inexhaustible, and endless. His love continues to broaden, lengthen, heighten, and deepen.
- Paul wanted us to know/understand (not intellectually but experientially) how wonderful Christ's love is so that we will value and appreciate and be captivated by it. His love surpasses knowledge/is beyond comprehension; it's unfathomable. There is always more to know and experience. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and share Christ's love with others, we will know His love more and more. "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12)
- "That you may be filled with all the fullness of God"--"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness." (Colossians 2:9-10a) The fullness of God is expressed in Christ. We have the fullness of God available to us through Christ/in Christ. We are complete in Christ. He alone can fully satisfy our soul. Paul was praying that all of God would dominate all that we are. "There must be the emptying of self, if there is to be the filling with God. And the emptying of self is realised in that faith which forsakes self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-dependence, self-pleasing, and yields itself wholly to the dear Lord...Then keep near your Master. It all comes to that. Meditate upon Him; do not let days pass, as they do pass, without a thought being turned to Him. Do not go about your daily work without a remembrance of Him. Keep yourselves in Christ. Seek to experience His love, that love which passeth knowledge, and is only known by them who possess it." (MacLaren) What are you filled with? Are you filled with fear and worries or are you filled with the Holy Spirit of God? 
- Prayer: "Higher than the highest Heaven,
                Deeper than the deepest sea,
                Lord, Thy love at last hath conquered.
                Grant me now my supplication,
                None of self and all of Thee." ~Unknown

 I'm basking in the limitless love of Christ. Won't you join me :)? Live loved and live to love well!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Love and Obedience

- What a comforting promise/ assurance this (verse 18) is! God never leaves us nor forsakes us. Christ in us, the Hope of Glory! We are not orphans; we are children of God! Christ was comforting His disciples that they would not be left alone and helpless/comfortless. He would come to them (after His resurrection) and after His ascension, His Holy Spirit would be their Comforter, Advocate, Teacher, and Guide. And some day, Christ will return. "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:3) "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20b) His presence comforts us! Christ gives us Himself! There is no greater gift. His presence makes all the difference in the world! He is absent in body but present in Spirit. "Oh, brethren! if we really believed, not as an article of our creed which has become so familiar to us that it produces little impression upon us, but as a vital and ever-present conviction of our souls, that with us there was ever the real presence of the real Christ, how all burdens and cares would be lightened, how all perplexities would begin to smooth themselves out and be straightened, how all the force would be sucked out of temptations, and how sorrows and joys and all things would be changed in their aspect by that one conviction intensely realised and constantly with us! A present Christ is the Strength, the Righteousness, the Peace, the Joy, and as we shall see, in the most literal sense, the Life of every Christian soul...This present Christ is the only Remedy for the orphanhood of the world... It is true that the strength of the Christian life of Apostles and martyrs was this, the assurance that Christ Himself-no mere rhetorical metaphor for His influence or His example, or His memory lingering in their imaginations, but the veritable Christ Himself-was present with them, to strengthen and to bless." (MacLaren)
- The evidence of our love for Christ is obedience to His commands/teaching. God loves (in the sense of being very pleased with) obedient children and will be with them. We are the temples/dwelling places of the living God (the Father, Son, and Spirit). "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" (1 Corinthians 3:16) "For we are the temple of the living God." (2 Corinthians 6:16) Obedience is not the way to earn God's love or obtain salvation. It's the way we express our love and gratitude to God. If we love and obey the Lord, we will experience and enjoy sweet, intimate fellowship with Him continually forever. This relationship is personal and permanent. He reveals/manifests Himself & His will and pours out abundant measures of grace to those who love and obey Him.
- Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your constant presence! I love You and I want my thoughts, words, and deeds to always please and honor You. Please empower me to faithfully walk in love and obedience. May You be glorified and magnified in my life!

"Those who obey God's Word truly show how completely they love Him." (1 John 2:5) 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Heavenly Status and Heavenly Benefits

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the Heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

- The verbs used here are in past tense because they are already a reality with certainty. "God raised us up with Christ" refers to our spiritual resurrection with Christ (our bodily resurrection is in the future). We (Christ's followers) are eternally in union with Him. "Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized  into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him." (Romans 6:3-8) New life starts here on earth and continues for eternity. We have been identified with Jesus Christ, not only in His death, but also in His resurrection and in His ascension to the right hand of the Father. We've been rescued from spiritual death and given spiritual life. 
- "Seated" refers to the position we have in Christ, as partakers of His accomplished redemption and sharers in His victory. What an honor, privilege, joy, and security it is to be seated with Him! Our citizenship is in Heaven. "How I stand—and walk—depends on where I sit; and I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies! The Queen of England exercises certain powers and privileges because she sits on the throne. The President of the United States has privileges and powers because he sits behind the desk in the oval office of the White House. The believer is seated on the throne with Christ. We must constantly keep our affection and our attention fixed on the things of heaven, through the Word and prayer, as well as through worship and service. We can enjoy “days of heaven upon the earth” (Deut. 11:21) if we will keep our hearts and minds in the heavenlies." (Warren Wiersbe)
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:1-3) Heaven, not the world, should now hold our affections.
- Our intimate union with Christ grants us Heavenly status and Heavenly benefits. Through our spiritual union with the exalted Christ, we have already been given every spiritual blessing that belongs to and comes from the Heavenly realms. The "Heavenly realms" means that these blessings are eternal, not temporal. In Christ, we receive all the benefits of knowing God--salvation, adoption as His children, forgiveness, gifts of the Spirit, power to do God's will, eternal life with Christ, and so much more. "Glorious prospects await those who have trusted Christ for salva­tion. God is not done with us yet. The best is yet to be." (P R Van Gorder) 
- The reason God made us alive with Christ (Eph. 2:5), raised us up with Christ, and seated us with Him in the Heavenly realms is that He loves us (Eph. 2:4) and the purpose is that He might demonstrate the incomparable, immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness in the coming ages. God has made redeemed sinners an eternal object lesson of His grace and kindness. From the moment of salvation throughout the ages to come, God's grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus never end. The Body of Christ, consisting of unworthy sinners, is to be an everlasting demonstration of God's amazing grace, mercy, love, and kindness. "That He could love us when we were dead like Lazarus, in trespasses and sins; that He has linked us in the bonds of indissoluble union with His Son; that He had made it possible for us to share His Resurrection, His Triumph, and His Throne; that we, the poor children of earth and sin, should be admitted into the inner circle of Deity--this will be, to all eternity, the mightiest proof of the exceeding riches of His grace...."The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork"; but the glory of the position and character of the saints, contrasted with the degradation from which they were raised, will be accounted in coming ages a more extraordinary exemplification of the riches of Divine grace than the splendour of the heavens is of the wealth of His skill." (F B Meyer)
- Prayer: Father, I am forever grateful that You rescued me, made me alive with Christ, raised me up with Christ, and seated me with Christ in the Heavenly places! I'm overwhelmed with awe and gratitude for all the marvelous benefits I have in Christ. O how You love me! Your grace and kindness towards me are measureless and endless. Please help me to reflect Your love, grace, mercy, and kindness to the world around me. Please enable me to focus my heart and mind on things above and keep investing in eternity. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

"Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits!" Psalm 103:2

Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: It's a God Thing Volume 2


God is at work all the time! Our God is God of miracles! This book is the second volume/collection of miracles that happen to ordinary people, compiled by Don Jacobson and K-Love Radio. There are 58 remarkable stories from God's healing, rescuing, guiding/warning, answering prayers to His protection, provision, peace, and reassurance. Divine intervention and divine appointment can be seen throughout the book. I'm so glad and thankful that these brothers and sisters in Christ share how their lives have been touched by God's hand in beautifully miraculous ways.

I really enjoyed this book (as well as the first volume). It is refreshing to be reminded of God's goodness, kindness, and faithfulness. These true stories demonstrate that God loves us and cares for us more than we can imagine. We just need to trust Him, rely on Him, and rest in Him. God's presence and power make all the difference in the world! Check this book out and prepare to be inspired and encouraged! I highly recommend it. You will be amazed, your faith will be strengthened, and your heart will be filled with hope. God's fingerprints are evident in His children's lives everywhere. We serve an awesome & mighty God, indeed! I can't wait to read Volume 3 :)!

~I received a free copy of this book via Booklookbloggers.com in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review: Your Legacy by Dr. James Dobson

About the Author:
Dr. James Dobson is the founder and president of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program heard daily on 1,200 stations nationwide. He is the author of more than fifty books dedicated to the preservation of the family. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised three U.S. presidents on family matters. Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

My Review:
Your Legacy is partly Dr. James Dobson's autobiography and partly parenting book. Dr. Dobson shows us readers how leaving a spiritual legacy of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is monumental. It is our greatest gift we can ever give to our children, grandchildren, and generations to come. If we want our loved ones to spend eternity with us in Heaven, this must be our priority. We must take the job of providing our children spiritual training seriously. We have to fight against the ungodly influences of this world that bombard our children day and night. Dr. Dobson encourages parents to not get discouraged but to trust God, rely on Him & His faithfulness (through all the generations), and follow His principles. We must live out our faith and our Gospel-centered lives authentically right before our children's eyes. Keep praying for your children's and future generations' spiritual welfare and equipping your children to be able to stand firm in the faith.

I really enjoyed reading about Dr. Dobson's beautiful family legacy (starting from his great-grandfather, George McCluskey) and how it has already impacted five generations. They all have been faithfully following Jesus and serving Him. Dr. Dobson also offers strategies for the spiritual training of children, helpful information and encouragement for parents of prodigals, ways to reach out to unsaved parents, principles for building a love relationship with your children (including the importance of words and time spent with your children), and testimonies from parents who have been successful in passing their spiritual legacy. In Chapter Twelve, Dr. James Dobson shares his suggestions on the spiritual training of children in a format of questions and answers. The book includes 16 pages of photographs of his family members from five generations. At the end of the book, you will find Strategies to Build Your Legacy and Stories to Build Your Legacy (both written by Robert and Bobbie Wolgemuth). These practical ideas are very useful. I highly recommend this inspiring and encouraging book! 
May all who come behind us find us faithful!

"We can't make their decisions for them, but through prayer and careful guidance, we can influence their choices. The way we handle that responsibility has awesome implications for the future. If our children reach maturity and die without accepting the good news of the gospel, their parents will never see them again in the life to come...Now is the time to introduce your children to Jesus Christ. That training should begin early and continue for as long as you have moral authority over them." (p. 69)
"A close-knit family is what keeps boys and girls grounded when the world is enticing them to break loose. In this day, you dare not to become disconnected during the time when everything is on the line. If you do the job effectively, it will be easier to introduce your children to Jesus Christ. Remember this: If they know you care, you'll be more effective in teaching them what you believe!" (p. 126)
"The last word: Give your children and loved ones a simple but profound message as you prepare to step into the next world, 'Be There!' If you accomplish that purpose, it will be your greatest legacy." (p. 180)

~ I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Inexpressible and Glorious Joy

- Unlike Peter, we have never seen Jesus with our own eyes. And we do not see Him now but someday we will see Him face to face. Though we have not seen Jesus, we love Him and believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. We "see" Him and know Him through the eyes of faith. "For we live by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7) The more I know Him, the more I love Him. We love Him because He first loved us. We love Him with the love that God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
- "Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29) We believe and trust in Him by faith. God's Word and the Holy Spirit reveal to us Who Christ is. Therefore, we have a firm conviction in Him. Faith means surrendering all to Jesus, following Him wholeheartedly and obeying Him in spite of circumstances and consequences.
- Since we know Jesus, we always have reasons to rejoice! Jesus is my constant Joy and Delight. Joy is the deep gladness that is not dependent on circumstances. Joy is found in our gratitude to Jesus for loving and saving us. Joy is found in knowing Jesus. Joy is found in having an intimate relationship with Him. Joy is found in relying on God and obeying Him. Joy is found in living for God and doing His will. Jesus is the Source of joy. Here Peter pointed out that we may rejoice with an inexpressible joy full of glory because we are obtaining/receiving the outcome of our faith which is the salvation of our souls. O the joy of salvation! Joy unspeakable...unexplainable... undisturbable! "We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We are being saved from the power of sin. We shall be saved from the presence of sin." (~Bishop Westcott) Rejoice!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Enlightened

- Paul prayed that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened. In the Bible, the heart is the very core of life, the center of understanding, thought, wisdom, will, and moral judgment. One can have a head knowledge of the Bible yet his/her heart remains dark and dead. There is such thing as empty intellectual knowledge of Scripture. We need the Holy Spirit to shine the light on the truth of Scripture in the eyes of our hearts. Only then we can actually understand what God wants us to understand. It's like a light bulb being turned on inside of us so that we're able to truly see/know the benefits of the Gospel and grasp & appreciate the fullness of our God-given spiritual treasures/blessings. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand the magnitude of the blessings of salvation that exist for God's children ("the saints").
When the eyes of our hearts are enlightened, we know/understand the unshakable blessed hope of eternal glory that Christ will return and that we will spend eternity with Him in Heaven, the riches of His glorious inheritance that is now ours (we're His heirs in Christ and co-heirs with Christ), and the incomparably great power of God (verse 19) which is available to us. Hope in the Bible is the complete certainty/the absolute assurance in what God is going to do according to His promises in His Word. God's inheritance/blessed privileges for us are riches that money cannot buy. Some of these riches are His grace, mercy, goodness, wisdom, forgiveness, etc. "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and goodness." (2 Peter 1:3) The same power that raised Christ from the dead is presently at work in our lives. Are we living like heirs of the Almighty God or like paupers? It's a tragedy when believers fail to live according to the hope, riches, and power they possess in Christ.
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