Beyond the pages

Read Hebrews 4:12-13

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We must realise that the Word of God is more than printed pages in a book. The Word of God is the person of Jesus Christ.

John‬ ‭1:1-3, 14 say:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Word of God is living and active. The Word of God is Jesus Christ speaking to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us and transforms us to become more like Jesus.

We read the Word to know and understand Jesus, to seek His face and His truth by the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, so we can have a relationship with the Lord, be renewed, and carry His divine truth and love in our world.

Reading the Bible is beyond a religious activity or routine, but it is a life-changing, heart-transforming journey of getting to know the person of our Saviour and King.

We must seek Jesus, and ask the Holy Spirit to make the living and active Word of God to be made flesh, to be alive in our own lives.

#JesusTheLivingWord
#dirtybibles

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Special thanks to Pastor Ken Brown of Spirit & Life International Ministries.

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fear (verb)

fear (verb)
Meaning: to regard (God) with reverence and awe.
Synonyms: stand in awe of, regard with awe, revere, reverence, venerate, respect

Used in a Biblical sentence:

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From Proverbs 14:26-27

God blesses those who revere Him, those who acknowledge His power, greatness and authority.

Psalm 115:13 says that Yahweh will bless those who fear Him, both the great and the lowly.

Fear of the Lord brings:

  • abundance/ prosperity – “How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table.” (Psalm 128:1-4)
  • protection – “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.” (Psalm 34:7)
  • longevity – “The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.” (Proverbs 10:27)
  • deliverance – “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:18-19)
  • riches and honour and life – “The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches, honour and life.” (Proverbs 22:4)

#feartheLord
#dirtybibles

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Jesus can

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This one’s from a little story in Mark 9 where a dad approached Jesus and asked Him to free his son from a demonic spirit. Read Mark 9:14-29.

Let this be your prayer for today.

Jesus simply can. Jesus can turn any situation around. He can heal your sickness. He can take away the pain. He can bring you peace. He can bring breakthroughs. He can perform astounding miracles. You just got to believe and not doubt His matchless power. Pray even that you learn to not doubt the Lord’s power and authority, just like what the dad did in this passage. Believe and give your battles to God, from the smallest ones to what seem to be insurmountable. He got you covered! You just have to place your faith in Him and not doubt His sovereignty!

#DoubtNot
#Heispowerful
#NothingisimpossiblewithGod
#dirtybibles

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Do it unto the Lord

(From Colossians 4:23)

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Serve others like you’re serving God. Work hard for others like you’re working hard for God. Let everything you do be done unto God. Let everything you do be done in His strength. Let everything you do be done for His glory. He promised us a reward for sincerely and tirelessly serving Him, and all His promises are Yes and Amen!

#doituntotheLord
#dirtybibles

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Got wisdom?

God is the only source of true wisdom. God’s wisdom, according to James 3:17, is “pure, peace-loving, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

As followers of Christ, we must endeavour to gain wisdom in our everyday walk with the Lord. We need wisdom to make moral decisions, to discern correctly, to live uprightly, to know God and discern His voice, to build our faith, and to do pretty much everything!

(Passage from James 1:5-6)

James in his letter encourages us to ask the Lord for wisdom if we think we need it or lack it. And he said that we ought to anticipate the Lord’s response, and not doubt that He will give it to us. And in this scenario, what Jesus said in Matthew 21:22 applies so well, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

In connection with this, Proverbs 9:10 says that the “fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Psalm 111:10 states the same, and adds that “all who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.”

In order to find or receive wisdom, it is our part to learn to develop the fear of God i.e., our reverence and respect to God.

When we revere God, we become in awe of His power, greatness and authority (Jeremiah 10:12; Job 9:4). We realise He is all-knowing, always present and constantly aware of everything, that He sees us and knows our every move (Proverbs 15:3; Psalm 139:2). And importantly we revere God when we sincerely commit to walk in obedience to Him. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15)

We must desire God’s wisdom to live a life that brings Him glory. Remember He is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. His thoughts are nothing like our thoughts, and His ways are far beyond what we can understand and imagine (Isaiah 55:8; Isaiah 40:28). Let’s seek His wisdom and direction. Let’s ask that our plans and desires be aligned with His divine plans and desires for us.

#truewisdom
#dirtybibles

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Where He favours (Pt. 3)

(Part 3 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:8-12

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The Lord shows favour to those who seek Him, honour Him, and trust Him.

1)  In verses 8 and 9, the Psalmist pleads to God for favour. Believe it or not, God invites us to seek His favour. Psalm 119: 58 says, “I seek Your favour with all my heart. Have mercy on me as You promised!” Yahweh wants us to seek Him in humility, and go after His righteousness so we may have His divine protection (Zephaniah 2:3). Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” We must humble our hearts before Him, and actually verbalise our need of Him like the psalmist in verses 8 and 9, “Hear our prayer”, “Look (on us) with favour”.

2)  The Lord favours those who gives honour to Him. The Psalmist says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (verse 10). I believe He’s talking about spending time with God in a place of worship in His presence (this may be referring to heaven, or simply a worship house or the temple). We honour God when we treat Him with high regard, and value Him by giving Him our time and availability. We honour God when we value the time we spend with Him in prayer (See Matthew 6:6; 1 Chronicles 16:11); and when we get to know Him in His Word (Psalm 1:2). The psalmist loves His presence so much that he has disregarded all his other fun and valuable memories, and counted them as nothing compared to the joy of being in Yahweh’s incomparable presence. He says he’d rather assume the lowest position in the Lord’s tabernacles as a doorkeeper, than be comfortable in the wicked’s hub. And by principle, the Scriptures is telling us that when we delight in Him, He delights in us (Psalm 37:4).

3)  God favours those who trust in Him. As reflected in verse 11, in our personal journey, He becomes the “sun” that gives us light and warmth in the darkness, the “shield” that protects us in danger. Psalm 5:12 supports this by saying that Yahweh “blesses the righteous” and “surround them with His favour as with a shield.” We can also be confident in His promise that “no good thing does He withhold” from those who strive to live with integrity (verse 11b), all who trust in Him are blessed (verse 12). When we live right, we can trust God to give us every thing that is good for us. Psalm 37:3 says, “Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.”

There is no absolute formula or ritual for God to bestow His favour and grace on us. He is not a machine that reads codes and responds to calculations.

God is not some genie that gets moved by spoken or choreographed rituals. He is the Lord that sees the heart and knows its secrets (Psalm 44:21). He searches our hearts, and tests our minds (Jeremiah 17:10). And only He can weigh our motives (Proverbs 16:2).

The bottomline is that He will favour those He knows who seek Him in humility, live in obedience and integrity, honour Him and trust Him with their lives.

#Hefavours
#dirtybibles

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See Part 1 here: Where He dwells
See Part 2 here: Where He strengthens

 

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Where He strengthens (Pt. 2)

(Part 2 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:5-7

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God is our strength. He is the source of real and true strength. He is our mighty and all-powerful Creator who gives us the strength to live, to have faith and believe, and to endure difficulties along our journey. And He blesses those whole rely on Him for strength.

I believe this pilgrimage to Jerusalem is symbolic of our own walk with God. And in this personal pilgrimage, the psalm says that we will pass through valleys of “weeping” (Baka); perhaps, referring to valleys of struggles, doubts, confusions, serious troubles and even more.

But because we placed faith in God and set our hearts on Him, we can walk through these life areas in His strength and grace. It is His presence amidst this long, eventful walk that gives us strength, and actually turn these dark, complicated places into places of refreshing springs, where His love and blessings will rain down and flood upon us.

Because He is present with us, we will go from strength to strength until we see Him face to face at the time and place He’s set for us.

Make Him your strength today. Obtain true strength by:

  • Accepting our weakness and relying on Him – “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)
  • Trusting Him – “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬)
  • Hoping in Him – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2)
  • Seeking Him always – “LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” (Isaiah 12:2)
  • Believing Him – “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 3:14)

In what areas of your life do you need His strength today? God is still sovereign and faithful. Pray that He strengthens your faith, and enables His strength to dwell upon you daily.

#Strengthlikenoother
#dirtybibles

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Where He dwells (Pt. 1)

(Part 1 of 3)

Read: Psalm 84:1-4Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

For a true believer, God’s presence is everything. Spending time alone with the Lord enables us to feel His peace, joy, comfort and pure love. You feel complete in His presence; you feel security, satisfaction, and calmness you can’t get anywhere else. You don’t feel the passage of time when you’re with Him. His presence is like no other.

The Psalmist praises the goodness of where the Lord resides. This may refer to heaven, of course; but wherever the presence of God dwells, becomes like heaven. His manifested presence in our lives becomes our heaven on earth, and it’s only a tiny glimpse of the real thing!

The Psalmist hungers to enter His presence–he yearns for a communion with Him (v2), to stay in a place blanketed by His security and protection (v3).

And anyone who dwells in His presence worships Him and gives Him joyful praises inexorably because of His uncontainable beauty and grace (v4). It’s kinda like a sneak peek of our lifestyle in heaven, where we’d just speak and breathe worship all day long!

Have you ever been in His presence? Have you experienced the love and comfort God’s manifested presence brings?

Find some time alone with God daily. Just sit down and call upon His name, Jesus. Come before His presence with praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 95:2). You can even play some worship music, and sing praises to Him. Read the Word, and His in-dwelling Spirit will reveal His truth and glory to you. He promised that if we seek Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

His presence makes us whole and vivifies our spirits. In His presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Welcome Him in your room, in your household, in your workplaces, wherever you are. Believe that His presence goes with you everywhere you go.

#Hispresenceiseverything
#dirtybibles

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Why Trust God?

Let this be an encouragement for you today. I believe that the Bible has already stressed this enough, and the message is really simple: TRUST IN THE LORD.

Why? Because:

  • He is able (Ephesians 3:20)
  • He is sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11-12)
  • He is wise (Job 9:4)
  • He is loving (Ephesians 2:4-5)
  • He is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9)
  • He knows you better (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • He always has, always does and always will provide (Philippians 4:19)
  • He is consistent (2 Timothy 2:13)
  • He makes it possible (Matthew 19:26)
  • He is true to His promise (Psalm 18:30)

If God has already taken care of you all this time, what makes you think that He won’t and can’t for tomorrow and the coming days?

It may look complicated and confusing, but that’s exactly the reason why we must trust a God that’s sovereign and loving. I’d rather cling to that Someone who I know cares for me and knows me, than rely on my own strength where I am sure to fail. And what’s the promise? A straight and sure path.

Pray that you learn how trust God in the middle of difficulties and trials, and of good and hopeful times.

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When Jesus Called Matthew

First, let’s read this passage from Matthew 9:9-13:

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me and be My disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ (From Hosea 6:6) For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Jesus met Matthew, a known tax collector of the time. And I mean, we know the track record of these tax collectors, right? But Jesus, surprisingly wanted to involve this man of questionable reputation in His ministry anyway.

On that same night, Matthew organised a dinner for Jesus and His mates, along with his own friends who were also tax collectors; and guess what, a bunch of other notorious folks! Like, what kind of party would you imagine this to be?

And so the “holy and clean” Pharisees, upon seeing this horrendous view were like, “What the heck is this Jesus, the self-proclaimed Jesus, the “son of God Jesus”, the radical nomad Jesus, doing with this bunch of societal riff-raffs? Is it not enough that He’s been blaspheming in the streets, now He just had to party with this pack of criminals?”

And Jesus had one thing to say to them: “The sick people need a physician. They need Me.”

This story reveals what Christ came to this earth for: to show mercy to sinners; to show mercy to people who know their lives are a mess and are in need of fixing. He came to show mercy to the ones who can actually be brave enough to admit they are a wretch, they’re miserable, and they’re lost.

Interestingly, Matthew had the desire for his friends, the people he belonged to, to meet this new friend, who, regardless of His political/societal status, chose him and trusted him enough to make him a disciple of His. 

You could not meet Jesus and not be moved and compelled to get others to Him, especially the ones that matter to you, and the ones you know need His help. Matthew wanted to share the hope that he received firsthand from Jesus, and tell his friends about it.

You can’t receive mercy if you think you’re good enough. You can’t receive Christ if you’re too full of yourself, and think you’re OK on your own.

Christ came for the sinners. He came to bring them hope and a new life. If there were no sinners, the Son of God wouldn’t have come.

Everyone is a sinner. You, who’s reading this, is not an exception. You and I need Jesus as much as these notorious people do. And He calls us to repent from sin, and submit our lives to Him and follow Him.

Let’s take some time to examine our hearts, our perspectives, our motives. Let’s check how “sick” we actually are, and ask the Lord for His help, for His mercy, for His deliverance from our sins. Let’s ask Him how we can follow Him and live for Him.

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