Friday, July 6, 2018

Trust in the Name of the Lord our God

Some trust in chariots and horses (things and creatures of this world), but we, Christ's followers trust in the Name of the Lord our God because only Jesus Christ, the Name above all names, can save us and give us victory. In life's battles, where do you place your trust? Do you rely on yourselves, government, friends, finance, or do you rely on God? "The Name of the Lord our God" encompasses God's character and attributes such as power, strength, wisdom, goodness, and faithfulness. Trust in the Lord; accept no substitutes! "On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand." (Edward Mote) He is always trustworthy, faithful, loving, and unchangeable. His Word is forever true. His love is perfect. He is good all the time. Trust is a choice, not a feeling. "Trust" encompasses allegiance & submission, confidence & conviction, expectation & hope, faith & reliance. 

"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8) No fire/heat or drought in life can destroy those who are rooted in Christ! Let your faith repel fear and worries. Trust God in the storm; trust God despite silence. He is always there and He does always care! Do you trust God to meet all of your needs? Do you trust God when you're afraid, afflicted, confused, or overwhelmed? Do you trust God when your health is failing, your heart is hurting, or your loved ones are dying? Trust God at all good times and in bad times. Trust His will, wisdom, and timing. Even when you can't trace God's hand, trust His heart.  

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal." (Isaiah 26:3-4)

"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)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for saving me and for answering me when I call! Please help me trust in You at all times with all my heart and not lean on my own strength and understanding.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My Rock

"The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer; my God is my Rock, in Whom I take refuge, my Shield and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold." (Psalm 18:2 NIV)

Psalm 18 is David's hymn of thanksgiving for God's deliverance. David gives God all the credit. God is his (and our) Strength, Rock, Fortress, Deliverer, Refuge, Shield, Horn of Salvation, and Stronghold. He has proven Himself to be sufficient. Whatever we need, He is!

"For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God Who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure." (Psalm 18:31-32) One of my favorite Names of God is Yahweh Tsuri, The Lord My Rock. He is the Rock of my soul! "He is the Rock; His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He." (Deuteronomy 32:4) The word Rock symbolizes strength, power, shelter, protection, defense, faithfulness, uprightness, stability, dependability, security, safety, justice, and firm foundation. We can always count on God and rely on Him. God is our mighty Rock and Fortress even when the world is falling apart. He is unchanging and unfailing. He is our Rescuer, Defender, and Protector. He is our Shelter and Refuge from the storms of life. Find rest in Him; our hope is in Him. Trust in Him at all times; He is in control even when all around you seem to be out of control. Pour out your hearts to Him in earnest prayer; He listens and He cares. Hold on to the Rock Eternal and you won't be shaken. "Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Fortress, I will never be shaken." (Psalm 62:1-2) Are you feeling like you have no strength left in you? Are you worn out physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually? Cry out to Jesus, our Rock and cling to Him. He will give you strength and rest that you need. "They (the Israelites) all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual Rock that accompanied them, and that Rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:3-4) May we build our lives on "the Solid Rock" (Jesus Christ) and rest on His unchanging grace! "The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!" (Psalm 18:46)

Prayer: O Lord, thank You for being my mighty Rock and Fortress Whom I can always rely upon and trust in! Thank You for being my Shelter and Refuge from the storms of life! My hope is in You alone. Please help me to find rest in You and hold on to You no matter what. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Waiting with Unwavering Faith

Like most (if not all) of us, David found waiting difficult. "How long, Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?" (Psalm 13:1-2) David longed for God's deliverance and sounded dejected. Yet, he chose to trust in God's unfailing love and continued to sing praise to God. He remained confident in God's love, mercy, goodness, and faithfulness. His heart rejoiced because God had rescued/saved him. Changing our mindset/ perspective can change despair, sorrow, and discouragement to peace, joy, and hope. When we're tempted to complain, worry, and become despondent, we need to recollect God's faithfulness, pray to God, and praise God, instead. Let us follow David's example to wait upon the Lord with unwavering faith and be resolved to rejoice in the Lord always.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for loving me and saving me! You have been so good to me. Thank You for abundantly blessing my family and me! Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. May my life be one continuous praise song to You! Please strengthen my faith and help me be patient and at peace when I have to wait.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


God's Word is pure and flawless. It's like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. In the Bible, the number 7 signifies completeness and perfection. God's Word is perfect and true, powerful and trustworthy. "Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar." (Proverbs 30:5-6) We cannot always rely on people's words, not even those of Christians as mentioned in Psalm 12:1-2, "Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak." However, we can confidently rely on God's Word. What God's words are, His children's words should also be. We must speak the truth. Let our conversation be without falsehood, deceit, or insincerity. Speak the truth in love with gentleness and respect.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your Word that transforms, teaches, guides, encourages, and comforts me! Oh how precious Your Words are to me!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Righteous Lord

The Lord is a righteous and just Judge. He loves justice/righteousness but hates wickedness. The upright will see His face = He looks upon the upright with delight, favor, and affection. The wicked have everything to fear while the righteous (those who are clothed with Christ's righteousness) have nothing to fear. God is our Defender; He is our Source of light, joy, salvation, hope, peace, comfort, confidence, and security. Those who do right are loved by God and blessed with His presence.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for Your unending love and presence! I'm so grateful that no matter what happens in my life, You are my stability and strength.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Because of God's Unfailing Love and Mercy

"Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer." (Psalm 6:8-9)

Psalm 6 is a prayer of faith and repentance in time of distress. David pleads for God to help, heal, deliver, and save him, not on the basis of what he has done, but on the basis of God's unfailing love and mercy. David humbly acknowledges his own weakness, weariness, sorrow, and anguish while confidently reminding himself that God does hear his prayer. When our words fail and only our hearts cry out in tears, God still hears and understands us. "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle! You have recorded each one in Your book!" (Psalm 56:8) God cares! "Our tears are precious to God...because in our sorrow He brings to us blessings which we never could receive but for our sorrow. One of our Lord's Beatitudes is for the sorrowing: 'Blessed are those who mourn.' It seems strange to us that mourning ones should be put among the blessed or happy ones. The reason is, because only those who suffer can get God's comfort, and this is such a blessing that it is worth while to have sorrow just to receive it. God holds the tears of penitence as most sacred. Those who weep over their sins, cause joy in Heaven." (J.R. Miller)

God knows our every thought, word, action, trial, grief, foe, and trouble. God is with us and for us. "So be strong and courageous! For the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you!" (Deuteronomy 31:6) I find comfort, courage, and confidence in God's presence. 

"He is with His people . . .

  as a Father--loving and holding communion with them; 
  as the Lord Almighty--having all power to help them; 
  as a Guide--to wisely lead them; 
  as an Advocate--to plead their cause; 
  as a Friend--to supply and comfort them; 
  as a Savior--to deliver and protect them; 
  as a holy, sin-hating God
--to purify them!" (James Smith)

"Christ has completely and perfectly delivered all His people from the condemnation of sin, as He suffered the wrath of God for us on the cross, having our sins charged to His account. But His deliverance of us does not end there. He is still delivering us and keeping us from all that would harm or destroy us. He continually delivers us... 
from the power of sin which still plagues, corrupts, and contaminates us;
from the influence of the world; 
from the force of temptation;
from the deceitfulness of our own hearts;
and from the designs of all our foes
!" (Unknown) 

Prayer: Thank You, Abba Father, for Your steadfast love, grace, and mercy for me! Thank You for faithfully helping & guiding me in times of need, delivering & protecting me in times of danger, comforting & strengthening me in times of sorrow! Please enable me to trust You completely in any circumstances and to rest in You, Your perfect wisdom and timing. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Blessed Life Lives in God's Word

This blessed (happy) life flows from a series of choices:-
1. Avoid having destructive relationships with the wicked, sinners, and mockers. Do not follow their ways.
2. Delight continually in God's Word.

Watch where you walk, stand, and sit. Whom do you spend most time with? "Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm." (Proverbs 13:20) Has God's Word captured your hearts? Do you, as a habit and a delight, meditate upon the Scriptures day and night? When we are rooted in Christ and are nourished spiritually by His Word, we achieve vitality, stability, and productivity. We'll be able to flourish from within, regardless of external conditions (neither drought nor storm can make us wither). Our time spent meditating on God's Word and praying will nourish our faith, refresh our soul, and help our roots grow deep and strong. In other words, we will be spiritually mature, healthy, fruitful and able to stand strong/firm even in difficult seasons of life. God's nurturing truth gives us the wisdom, guidance, hope, encouragement, peace, comfort, and courage for whatever we are facing. Nothing is more helpful and practical in Christian living than reading, studying, meditating on, memorizing, and applying God's Word. "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word! Please guide me through this life to know and to do Your will always. I delight to live by Your principles and I love to meditate on Your Word. May I be rooted and grounded in Christ and bear much fruit for Your glory and Your kingdom! In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

"He who walks by Scripture rule, walks most safely.
He who walks by Scripture rule, walks most honorably.

He who walks by Scripture rule, walks most sweetly."
(Thomas Brooks)

"The Bible contains . . .
  the mind of God,
  the state of man,
  the way of salvation,
  the doom of sinners, and 
  the happiness of believers. 

Its doctrines are holy, 
its precepts are binding, 
its histories are true, and 
its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise, 
believe it to be safe, 
and practice it to be holy. 

The Bible contains . . .
  light to direct you,
  food to support you,
  and comfort to cheer you.

It is . . .
  the traveler's map,
  the pilgrim's staff,
  the pilot's compass,
  the soldier's sword and
  the Christian's charter. 

Here too, Heaven is opened--and the gates of Hell are disclosed.

Christ is its grand subject, 
our good is its design, and 
the glory of God is its end. 

The Bible should . . .
  fill the memory,
  rule the heart
  and guide the feet. 

Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.  

The Scripture is . . .
  a mine of wealth,
  a paradise of glory,
  and a river of pleasure!

It . . .
  is given to you in life,
  will be opened at the judgment,
  and be remembered forever. 

The Bible . . .
  involves the highest responsibility,
  rewards the greatest labor, and

  will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mutual Encouragement and Edification

God desired, intended, and deliberately planned for us to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ and not to suffer wrath (God's righteous indignation and just condemnation for our sin and rebellion)How merciful and gracious our God is! Jesus, the Lamb of God, bore the wrath and punishment we deserve. We, Christ's followers, have been delivered/rescued from God's wrath. On the other hand, the unsaved are under God's wrath. "Wrath is the destiny of Christ-rejecting souls." (Hiebert) God is just and at the same time, His love, grace, mercy, compassion, and patience are measureless! "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) God cannot be good if He does not hate evil. God cannot be just if He does not punish sin. Through our Lord Jesus Christ (Who satisfied God's wrath and paid for our punishment when He died on the cross), we have been saved from the penalty of sin (justification), we are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification), and we shall be saved from the presence of sin (glorification). He died for us so that we may live with Him for eternity. Paul points out that both the (saved) living and the (saved) dead will be forever living together (intimately united) with Christ. This clearly implies that Jesus did not stay dead but He is alive (He's resurrected). "If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." (Romans 14:8-9)

Therefore because of the marvelous truth regarding our blessed hope of Christ's return, Paul exhorts us to encourage (comfort) and edify (build up) one another. Paul acknowledges that the believers in Thessalonica were already doing this and spurs them to excel even more. Knowing great truths about Christ's return should strengthen our hearts and minds and influence how we live our lives. May we come alongside one another and help one another face trials and difficulties with courage and confidence. Let's keep reminding one another that because Christ died for us and now lives in us, we would not have to experience the wrath of God in the day of the Lord. Let's build one another up in faith, love, and hope! Mutual encouragement and edification are needed in the Body of Christ for we live in a world of increasing spiritual darkness. When one encourages and edifies another person, both will benefit and be blessed.

"Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." (Hebrews 3:13)
"Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)

Prayer: Thank You, Abba Father, for Your unending love, grace, and mercy! I am forever grateful for Christ's substitutionary sacrifice for me. Through Jesus, I received salvation, instead of Your wrath. Please help me faithfully share the gospel with those who need to hear. Please show me how I can best daily encourage and edify my brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Arm Yourselves with Faith, Love, and Hope

"But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

Paul likes to use a contrast between light (day) and darkness (night) to represent God/His truth and evil/wickedness, respectively. We, Christ's followers, are children of Light and are to walk in the light of Christ, not in darkness ruled by Satan. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8-10) We belong to the day; therefore, we are to live accordingly by being sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 

Be sober 
(spiritually stable, self-controlled, clear-headed, prudent). Be sober so that you can stay alert, watchful, and not be enticed by the deeds of darkness/evil passion. Live calmly and obediently. Our character and conduct must be consistent with our confession.

While we wait for Christ's return, we continue to live in a world of spiritual darkness that is hostile to God's truth. There is a spiritual battle, a battle for people's hearts and minds. Christ's followers are called to be soldiers in that battle. Dress properly. Arm yourselves against spiritual warfare by putting on faith and love as a breastplate (to protect our heart, the very center of our life) and the hope of salvation as a helmet (to protect our head/mind). Both breastplate and helmet are defensive weapons used to protect us from the Enemy's assault. 

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see...And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:1, 6) Faith (trust, belief, conviction) in God as Creator and Ruler of all things, Provider and Giver of eternal life through Christ Jesus. Faith in Jesus Christ as Messiah, the only Way through Whom we can be saved. Faith in God's promises. Faith protects our hearts from doubting, fearing, worrying, and wandering. Faith also keeps us sober (spiritually stable in spiritual warfare).

Love (agape) is unconditional, selfless, and sacrificial. It's treating people the way Jesus would treat them. Love God. Love people. Love like Jesus. Do everything in love. Love protects our hearts from hatred, fear, self-centeredness, greed, covetousness, jealousy, temptations, idleness, all sorts of evildoing. If we love God, we will obey His commands (which includes loving everyone). If we love people like Jesus, we will put the needs and well-being of others above ours. If we love people, we will share the gospel with them because we do not want to see anyone perish.

Put on the hope of Salvation as a helmet to protect our mind/thoughts. This "helmet" protects us from the Enemy's lies, doubts, despair, and discouragement. Biblical hope is absolute certainty (blessed assurance) based on God's Word. This living, confident hope helps us endure and persevere even amidst trials and suffering. Our eternal security in Christ gives us boldness to stand firm and steadfast, to resist Satan and worldly influences, and to encourage and comfort one another. In Christ/because of Christ, we have been saved from the penalty of sin (justification); we are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification); we shall be saved from the presence of sin (glorification). In this verse, Paul directs our attention to the hope of complete salvation in the future (forever saved from the penalty, power, and presence of sin). This blessed hope assures us that no matter how difficult the battle may be, there will definitely be ultimate victory and inspires us to live a holy life for God. "All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure." (1 John 3:3)
If we keep our faith in Jesus Christ, if we love one another like Jesus, if we have the confident hope of salvation, the Enemy cannot do anything to us!

"You need to get your heart right; that's the breastplate of faith and love that covers your heart. You need to love Jesus; you need to love one another. You need to put your faith where God put your sins: on the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the breastplate; you need to wear that. If you don't wear that, you're not ready to live in these dark days. And then, not only keep your heart right, but you keep your head right. Put on the helmet of salvation, the helmet of the hope of salvation." (Adrian Rogers)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for my salvation and for Your Word which gives me assurance! As I await Your return, please bless me with a childlike faith, Christlike love, and unshakable hope. Please empower me to effectively do Your kingdom work and draw people to You.

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Day of The Lord

Christians (including the believers in Thessalonica) are fully aware that Christ will return and that His return will be sudden (nobody knows when). Therefore, we must be ready at all times. Be on the alert. The day of the Lord is certain to come at a time when people are not expecting. "The Day of the Lord refers to God's special interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate who He is--the sovereign God of the universe." (Reginald E. Showers)

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives." (2 Peter 3:10)

"Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed." (Revelation 16:15)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as each day is one day closer to Your return, please help me be alert, self-controlled, faithful, and mindful of how I live. Please empower me to do Your will and to show and tell the world what a wonderful Savior You are. Use me, Lord, for Your glory and Your kingdom. Maranatha!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Because of Christ, We Can Grieve With Hope

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

It's natural for people to grieve when their loved ones die; however, there's a difference between how Christians grieve (with hope) and how non-Christians grieve (without hope). Paul wanted the believers in Thessalonica to know and understand what would happen to Christ's followers who already died (and who will die in the future before Christ's return) so that the believers could grieve with hope of resurrection. These believers were excitedly looking forward to Christ's return (expecting it to happen in their lifetime) and were concerned that their fellow believers who died would miss the Rapture. Paul assured them that those who knew Christ (as their Lord and Savior) and died would be brought back to life when Jesus returns.

The Greek word for "Sleep"/"Asleep" is koimao which is the root word for koimeterion (cemetery in English). The koimeterion (cemetery) literally means "a sleeping place, a place to lie down to sleep". Death for Christ's followers is merely being asleep. The sleep applies only to the body; the soul and spirit are with the Lord immediately after death. "After death the redeemed go consciously into the presence of the Lord, while the unsaved go into conscious punishment." (John MacArthur)

The hope we have in Christ is a blessed assurance/the absolute certainty of future good. Biblical hope 
is not an abstract concept but is embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ our Hope. Our confident, living hope of eternal life with God in Heaven is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

We, Christ's followers, have this anchoring hope because we believe (trust, accept as true) that Jesus Christ died to make atonement for our sin, that He rose again (demonstrating His victory over sin and death and guaranteeing our bodily resurrection), and that He will bring with Him the believers who have died. Christ's death was the death of death and changed death to sleep (temporarily while awaiting the Rapture and bodily resurrection). Die we must but rise we shall (to everlasting life)!

"He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (2 Timothy 1:9-10)
No longer must the mourners weep
And call departed Christians dead;
For death is hallowed into sleep,
And every grave becomes a bed.
Now once more, Eden's door
Open stands to mortal eyes!
Now at last, old things past,
Christ is risen! We too shall rise.

(J. Sidlow Baxter)

Prayer: Thank You, Abba Father, for the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus! May You grant strength, comfort, and healing to my brothers and sisters in Christ who are grieving and help them to grieve with hope! You know I don't do well with grieving. Please keep reminding me that death is but a temporary separation for those in Christ and that someday all who trust in Christ will be reunited and part no more. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

No Drama, No Meddling, No Idleness

This is Paul's exhortation for Christ's followers: make it your ambition to lead a quiet life (no drama), mind your own business (no meddling), and work with your hands (no idleness). Seek earnestly to live a quiet, calm, restful, peaceable life, attend to your own affairs, and work hard.
  • Don't be frantic or restless. Don't cause trouble or stir up conflict. Don't feel like you have to get involved in every argument/every debate. We must learn to speak less and listen more. We must tame our tongue and have self-control. Avoid drama. Being quiet is a lost art nowadays. "He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'" (Psalm 46:10) "This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.'" (Isaiah 30:15) When we live a quiet life (including attaining quietness of heart and mind), we can be still and focus on God, listen to Him and get to know Him better.
  • Don't interfere with other people's affairs. Don't become busybodies. Don't gossip or spread rumor. 
  • Don't be idle/lazy. Don't take advantage of other people. "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: 'The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.'" (2 Thessalonians 3:10) "Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work,doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need." (Ephesians 4:28) Paul was not just instructing the believers in Thessalonica to work hard; he also taught them by example. "Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you." (1 Thessalonians 2:9)

If we follow Paul's instructions, we will have an exemplary testimony to unbelievers. When we live this way with integrity without being a burden to anyone, non-Christians will notice and respect us.

"When believers display diligent work attitudes and habits and live in a loving and tranquil manner that respects others’ privacy and does not intrude or gossip, it constitutes a powerful testimony to unbelievers and makes the gospel credible… Believers who sacrificially love other people, exhibit tranquil lives, conscientiously focus on keeping their own lives in order, and faithfully carry out their daily responsibilities in the workplace (thus avoiding any welfare dependence)—all the while proclaiming the gospel in light of the return of Christ—are the most effective witnesses to their unsaved neighbors and loved ones." (John MacArthur)

Prayer: Father, please enable me to live a quiet life of trusting and resting in You, to take care of my family, and to diligently do the tasks You call me to do. Please have Your way in me and make me a fragrant aroma of Christ to the lost world. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sanctification in Area of Sexual Purity

Sanctification is God's will for His children. To be sanctified (to be holy) is to be set apart (from the world, sin, and flesh) for God's use, service, and purpose. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 explicitly states it's the will of God (His heart's desire) that we are to abstain (deliberately refrain) from sexual immorality (which includes premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual sex, pornography, sodomy, rape, molestation, incest, sexual perversion, prostitution, etc.), control our own body in a way that is holy and honorable (worthy of respect), not in passionate lust like the pagans who do not know God. "For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life." (1 Thessalonians 4:7) Don't be like the pagans/unbelievers who view sex as means of gratifying their passionate lust and view sexual purity/chastity as weakness. They do what they do because they do not know God personally even though they may know about Him. We, His children, on the other hand, know God personally and thus have no excuse whatsoever to engage in sexual immorality. We no longer have to live like the unbelievers who are driven by their passionate lust for sexual gratification. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (lust)." (Galatians 5:24) John Piper defines lust as "a sexual desire that dishonors its object and disregards God... If your sexual desire is not guided by respect for the honor of others and regard for the holiness of God, it is lust." 

We must be vigilant about avoiding/keeping ourselves away from those situations in which we might be tempted to commit sexual sin. We must not be foolish or arrogant in thinking that we can handle it or that we won't fall into temptation. So many people including pastors and Christian leaders have committed sexual sin. They lose their credibility and often their ministry. It is truly tragic when God's children commit sexual sin and live to please flesh like those who do not know God. "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

To please, honor, and glorify God is to do His will. Each day we have a choice whether to yield ourselves to His will or to do our own self-centered follow Christ's teachings or to follow the world's ways. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:1-2) Sadly, some people constantly wonder what God's will is for their lives while ignoring to obey the will of God which was already written in His Word. Submit/surrender all to God and He will lead you.

Sanctification is the lifetime process of being made holy, of growing more and more mature spiritually, and of becoming more and more like Christ. The Holy Spirit works in our lives using God's Word to sanctify us as we walk in the Spirit, obey God's Word, and imitate Christ. If we want to do God's will and grow in holiness, we must spend time in God's Word and be doers of the Word. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. The process of sanctification is a beautiful interplay of the Holy Spirit's empowerment and the believer's responsibility. "It is time for us Christians, to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are 'defeated' by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient." (Jerry Bridges) 

"A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine." (Dwight L. Moody)

"The best way to overcome the world (worldliness), is not with morality or self-discipline. Christians overcome the world by seeing the beauty and excellence of Christ. They overcome the world by seeing something more attractive than the world--the Lord Jesus Christ!" (Thomas Chalmers)

Prayer: "
More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,

More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home;
More fit for the kingdom, more used would I be,

More blessed and holy--more, Savior, like Thee." (Bliss)

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