#9Mornings 9: Peace of the Prince

(Read John 14:27)

Because of Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice, we finally have peace with God (Romans 5:1). His sacrifice reconciled us with the Father, which therefore fulfilled His role as the Prince of Peace. But apart from having peace with God, Jesus’ first coming and sacrifice also gave us the peace of God.

Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

This peace comes from knowing, believing and accepting the truth that the Lord is in control. 1 Peter 1:2 says, “May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord”. As we grow to understand the depth, richness and wonders of His love, we get to learn how to rest in His power and wisdom, and give our lives in His divine care (Ephesians 3:18–19, Psalm 27:13-14, Psalm 37:39-40, Psalm 55:22).

Our trust in Him grows, and we rely on His goodness and faithfulness to us. We may not know what the future brings nor can we predict it; but we learn to trust that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). This is how we know that He truly makes all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). We can be sure that His purposes will prevail and be fulfilled (Psalm 33:11; Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 45:9; 46:9–11).

Because of Jesus, we can be confident that “nothing can separate us from the love of God.” (Romans 8:39).

And this is the kind of peace we get to experience; the peace that truly “transcends all understanding”, so different and life-changing. It’s like no other. And we have Jesus to thank in this whole lifetime and beyond.

Let the incomparable peace of God rule in our hearts this Christmas and always.

Have a blessed and grace-infused Christmas! Thank You, Jesus!

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For further reading/reference:

#9Mornings 8: Peace with God

(Read Isaiah 9:6)

Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah foretold God’s plan and will to enter history as our Prince of Peace. Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He came to the world one peaceful night, with no extravagant fanfare, in the humblest of places.

The angels announced His birth to the shepherds, proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14). This signified the ultimate purpose of Jesus’ role—to establish peace between us and God.

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In our sinful and broken state, we are considered enemies with God (Romans 5:10). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Isaiah further prophesied, “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

This is the salvation that we sing about—Christ Himself dying on the cross for sinners who deserved wrath and death, reconciling us to God.  All our sins, transgressions, and iniquities have been forgiven because Jesus bore them, crucified them on the cross with Him. Christ, who knew no sin became sin on our behalf, so that we could be made right with God (2 Cor 5:21).

Because of this sacrifice, God’s people have been restored to a relationship of peace with Him (Romans 5:1). And this ultimately fulfils Jesus’ role as “Prince of Peace”

If we embrace Jesus by faith, we can be forgiven. When we acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour, we also receive Him as the heavenly Prince who established our peace with God.

Jesus, the Son given, the Christ, the Prince of Peace —made it all happen.

 

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Further readings/references:

Knowing the Peace of the Prince

Jesus is the Prince of Peace

#9Mornings 6: What Grace

(Read Titus 2:11-12)

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The best Christmas gift anyone has received and can receive is God’s grace. And it is the probably the most important concept that we must know, understand and live by.

Grace is commonly defined as God’s unmerited favour, or God’s love in action. But it’s beyond being just “unmerited”—it is favour granted to sinners who deserve His judgment and wrath, yet the Lord chose to show them favour. A Christian pastor said, “Showing kindness to a stranger is ‘unmerited favor’; doing good to one’s enemies is more the spirit of grace” (as in the concept of Love your enemies in Luke 6:27-36).

Grace is embodied fully and tangibly in the person of Jesus Christ (see John 1:17). The first coming of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate during Christmas, was God’s saving grace dawning upon this broken, sin-infested world. Grace means God sending His one and only Son, to die on the cross so that we unworthy sinners may be saved from sin and death (which what our sinfulness deserves), then be reconciled to God and receive eternal life and citizenship in heaven (see John 3:17, Romans 6:23, 1 John 4:10, 2 Timothy 1:9-10).

And that is the good news of the Gospel! When you understand and experience the grace of God in Jesus Christ, it propels you and teaches you to live a life that pleases Him; to live sensible, righteous, godly lives, so we can draw those who live otherwise to the Saviour amidst the sin-darkened age. Through His grace, God has blessed us with the abilities to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires” so that we can live out a sensible, righteous, and godly life (Titus 2:12). His grace also enables us to point people home to God and/or to draw them back to having a personal and intimate relationship with our Saviour.

And that is how what the grace of God does—it saves us, then it propels and teaches us to be godly people who do good deeds, as we look forward to second coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for our salvation. Remember what Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” This Christmas, take some time to reflect on how the grace of God works in your life, and how you can live it out right in and under His amazing grace.

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For more readings/references:

#9Mornings 5: Mary Did Know

(Read Luke 1:46-56)

Mary’s hymn of praise, or commonly known as the “Magnificat” is one of the most iconic and celebratory moments in the Bible. After Mary was visited by an angel foretelling the birth of Jesus (see Luke 1:26-38), she met with Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the Baptist (see Luke 1:39-45). They shared the inexorable joy that’s about to come their way.

Mary’s song expressed her personal praise to the Lord for His treatment of her, and how the Almighty God had blessed the righteous through all generations. Moved with joy and gratitude, Mary sang of God’s favour and blessing in her life, and in the lives of the people who fear Him, who humble themselves before Him, and serve Him (v48-55).

Mary knew she was uniquely blessed, and magnified the Lord’s name, still recognising her humble state as a servant of God in a place of utter thankfulness. She declared the goodness and faithfulness of God over her life and her community (v48-55).

Mary knew and understood God’s consistent character and nature. She knew that the Lord loves and cares for the poor and the humble, always lifts them up, and never forsakes those who are in need of Him, especially His own dutiful servants (see Ps 102:27, Ps 149:4, James 4:10, Prov 3:34, Luke 6:20, 1 Pet 5:6-7).

Mary knew and acknowledged that everything that comes from God’s hand, is out of His mercy and grace (see James 1:17, James 4:6, Psalm 84:11). As one commentary says, Mary knew that “God owes her nothing; she owes God everything.”

Mary knew that when she accepted this blessing and responsibility, she had nothing to fear, because God Himself was her “Saviour” (see Isaiah 41:10, Ps 27:1). She trusted God enough to surrender her life, her future to His will, responding, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).

Mary knew that God’s plans always prevail, and He never breaks His promises (Prov 19:21, Isa 14:27). She knew that God is in authority and His Word never fails (Deut 4:39, Joshua 21:45).

Let’s all learn from Mary’s example of humility—a servant who fears and honours God, who joyfully remembers His goodness and love, and who trusts in His plans and purposes.

 

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#9Mornings 4: Light in the Dark

(Read John 1:4-5)

In a world covered in spiritual darkness because of sin, we need the Light.

Jesus is this Light. He declares in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Jesus came to a world of chaos, a world full of pride, hate, greed and self-centredness; divided and prejudiced; a world where the religious leaders were misleading the crowd, where people misunderstand and misinterpret God’s precepts, plans and purposes (Romans 3:23, Matt 23:23-24, Isa 64:6)

But in His first coming, Jesus brings in His light “that darkness has not overcome” even up to this day (John 1:5). He embodies hope in our despair; He whispers peace in the midst of the turmoil; He becomes the inextinguishable light in the surrounding darkness.

Even in our personal spiritual journey where darkness persist to break in, Jesus is the light we need to illuminate our skies, to expose the lies and snares of the enemy, and to free us from the bondage of sin. His Light does not in any way excuse our sins, but instead, His sacrifice on the cross propels us and brings us to a place of repentance, with a desire to change our life direction.

Jesus said in John 12:36-37, “Believe in the Light while you have the Light, so that you may become children of light.” When we receive Jesus and believe in Him, we become rightful children of God, “not of natural descent or human decision, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).

We become children of Light when we follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we believe and obey His Word even though oftentimes we cannot clearly see the next steps. But we can trust that His Word will be “the lamp to our feet and light to our path” (Psalm 119:105). We can be sure that Jesus will always lead us to the right direction, according to God’s will and purpose.

 

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#9Mornings 3: Immanuel

(Read Matthew 1:23)

It was around 735 BC when the birth of Jesus was predicted by the prophet Isaiah to the nation of Judah (see Isaiah 7). And interestingly, Jesus was named hundreds of years before He was even born!

His name “Immanuel” translates to, and basically summarises the real essence of Christmas in these three words: “God With Us”. However, “Immanuel” is not really a personal name for Jesus, but rather a title or description of His role of bringing God’s presence to humanity.

When you look more closely into it, and reflect on this phrase more deeply, doesn’t it stagger you? The Lord, the Almighty God made a way to be physically with us, to dwell visibly among us. It speaks of the loving nature of our God—that out of His grace, He has given us a Messiah, a promise He had fulfilled us a long time ago because He is a faithful God (see Deut 7:9, Heb 10:23, 1Cor 15:57, Acts 15:11, Eph 2:8-9)

And notice how He didn’t send an angel or some sort of delegate or representative to do the job. He did it Himself, He came down Himself to rescue His people, to give life and hope to this desperate world. His name “Immanuel” merely signifies what kind of God we serve—a God who cares, a God who is personal, a God who is present.

Therefore, the best part of Christmas is not just the festivities or the presents we give and receive; but it is knowing that the presence of God with us. In sorrow and joy, in trials and successes, He is with us.

 

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#9Mornings 2: Word Became Flesh

(Read John 1:14)

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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 1:1-5 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. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The Word (or Logos in Greek) refers to no other than Jesus Christ. And this passage speaks of the relationship between the Son and the Father even before everything was created. Jesus was right in the beginning with the Father and was God Himself (v1-2); was involved in the creation (v3); and is the invincible light of all mankind (v4-5).

Jesus Christ is the divine expression of God, the complete embodiment of the invisible and incomprehensible God. Everything that God is, His truth and totality is expressed in His Logos (Word), and this expression IS God. In Jesus, we see God. Verse 14 says, “…We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus was the Word. The Word was God. The Word became flesh. In other words, God became human. Hence, Jesus Christ was fully human, and Jesus Christ was fully God.

John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God…” God the Father, the Creator of the universe is Spirit, and is invisible to the human eye. In Biblical history, the law has been given to Moses by God (v17); and Yahweh has spoken through the prophets, all His promises and precepts. But there came a time when people, including leaders and so-called law enforcers had violated His words, and easily disregarded these divine commands from an “invisible God”, that they continued living in sin and rebellion (Ezekiel 22:26; Matthew 23:37).

And in due time, the Word (Jesus), the total embodiment of the nature of God, became flesh, was born human, and came to live with us (Matt 1:23; Rom 8:3; Phil 2:5–11). God’s Word in the person of Jesus, the “one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known” (v18). And while the law came through Moses, “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (v17). God Himself came down to preach the truth about His goodness, love and redemption to all mankind in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the gift of grace sent to mankind, to save us from sin and death, and to offer us eternal life regardless of our racial or social backgrounds (Colossians 3:11). Jesus—who experienced being human Himself, who got tempted, got hungry, got thirsty, became physically weak and tired, even experienced death—has become our High Priest who can empathise with us, having experienced all these, yet lived a sinless, spotless life, in complete surrender and obedience to God (Hebrews 4:15). And He offers us grace, He offers us mercy. He wants to forgive us, to be reconciled with us, to show us His loving ways, and share heaven with us. If only we will attempt to get close to Him, accept our need for Him, and embrace this priceless gift He is offering by His incarnation.

We must seek Jesus, and ask His Holy Spirit who dwells in everyone who’s placed faith in His name to make the living and active Word of God to be made flesh, and be alive in our own lives.

 

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Some substantial reads/references:

What does it mean that the Word became flesh (John 1:14)?

Jesus is the Eternal Word of God

The Word Became Flesh

 

 

#9Mornings 1: God so loved

(Read John 3:16-17)

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John 3:16 is probably the most popular and widely used Christian statement of why Jesus came to earth. And it points us to one simple thing: the love of God.

Jesus is the manifestation of this love. Jesus came to reveal God’s unfailing love and faithfulness to mankind (John 1:17). Because He loves us so, God made THE way for us. Jesus is that way (John 14:6), our way back to the Father.

Jesus offered Himself–fully God, He became fully man, took on flesh and blood, and dwelt among sinners (John 1:14). He lived a perfect and blameless life, in perfect obedience and surrender to the Father’s will (Heb 4:15, John 18:29).

As God had done with Abraham in Moriah, God had provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins; but this time, it’s His own Son. Jesus died in our place. He had to be born man to die for us sinners–to save the lost, to give His life a ransom for many, and to give us life (v17, Luke 19:10, John 10:10, Mark 10:45).

God loves you, the sinful and broken you, that He was willing His own Son, heaven’s perfect Lamb to save you. His love is so immense, so powerful that He did not even spare His own Son (Romans 8:32). His love is so consuming and unconditional that even when we’re still sinners He died for us (Romans 5:8).

He offers eternal life through Jesus; we gain eternal life by believing in Him, and placing our faith in His sacrifice.

Jesus is the Father’s gift of grace to mankind, out of His boundless love. The gift of grace that we do not deserve. And this undeserved gift is, and must be the main reason for the season, the reason why we’re thankful, the reason why we celebrate.

#JESUS
#Godsolovedtheworld

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Sleeping through the storm

Could you sleep tightly during a storm? One episode in the Bible shows how Jesus Himself absolutely could. He was so chill, so unalarmed He didn’t mind that the boat He’s sleeping right on was close to sinking, while everyone else could have had some sort of cardiac arrest while the chaos unfolded. Let’s read this passage and reflect on how and why  this anecdote from Jesus’ life is and should be of great significance to us.

(Read Matthew 8:23-27)

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Thoughts to ponder:

  • This passage paints a picture of Jesus’ humanity–He did get tired and need some sleep. He was absolutely human like us who felt the same feelings, who had the same physical needs. This fact validates His qualification as our intercessor between us and God the Father (Hebrews 2:17).
  • The disciples who were with Jesus in the scenario were scared to death as the waves broke into the boat. Even if they knew Jesus was with them, they were consumed by fear, and overwhelmed by anxiety that they seem to forget who they were with. Even after seeing Jesus perform miracles and supernatural things, they lacked faith and entertained fear before anything else.
  • This is a reflection of us, our humanity–it’s so easy to worry and doubt, to be frightened of the troubles and challenges that confront us day by day, even the ones that have not come our way yet.
  • Jesus had to wake up to rebuke His disciples, “You have so little faith!” Notice that He rebuked the disciples first before the actual storm. Many times in life, we must first be reminded that God IS ACTUALLY with us–He is our Lord who is always able, He is faithful and mighty to save, His kindness and mercy lasts for eternity; and we can trust Him.
  • We fail to remember how God has already shown His faithfulness and kindness to us in the past, how much He’s blessed us, protected us, delivered us and cared for us. We tend to not believe that He can do it again; that He can rescue us from our daily storms again. And again. And again.
  • Jesus knew a storm was coming; He wasn’t even shocked or panicked about it. In this life, God did not promise that we will not go through stormy weathers; in fact, Jesus told us to expect trials and sorrows in this life (John 16:33). All He ever promised is that He is and will always be with us amidst the difficulties, and He will neither fail us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).
  • This passage also captures a vivid picture of Jesus’ deity, His divine and supreme nature that “even the wind and waves obey Him”. Sometimes, God uses man’s extremities as an opportunity to perform His supernatural, to work His miracle, by just one word, in a heartbeat. We just got to believe that He is the Lord, and He is able. Wait and watch in awe.
  • Because of this we can lie down in peace and, like Jesus, sleep through the storm.

#HeCalmsMyStorms
#dirtybibles

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New Clothes

Want something new to wear? Check this out.

(Read Colossians 3:12-14)

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Thoughts to ponder:

  • Holiness is a sign of belongingness to God. If you are in Christ and has accepted Him and His love, you are changed from the inside out, and you become set apart to live an honourable life before God.
  • It is the Holy Spirit’s job to sanctify us and help us be conformed to the image of Christ. Our job is to surrender to Him, and actually obey God by heeding His Word, and following the examples of Christ.
  • We must wear the Holy Spirit daily, which means being clothed with His virtues and fruits (See Gal 5:22-23). As God’s children, we must radiate the beauty and goodness of our Father and Creator so we can bring Him honour and glory.
  • Learn to forgive. Sometimes it is hard work, sometimes it seems impossible. But just think of how you have personally experienced God’s forgiveness and deliverance, of how God must have saved you and pardoned you from a myriad of things, which you know you don’t and won’t ever deserve. He must have been so patient and long-enduring with you. Learn how to seek His help when you know you are struggling to forgive past faults and troubles some people caused you.

#newclothes
#dirtybibles

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25 Prayers

(Written earlier in June 2017)

Prayer is essential in a man’s life. I think the Bible itself simply cannot emphasise that enough.

Jesus Himself needed to pray constantly, and always sought the Father in everything. He would breathe and speak it. His life is a perfect demonstration of complete dependence on God in prayer.

Is prayer a constant thing in your life? Or is it something that you’ve been missing all this time?

Has it been just a tedious religious routine? Or an actual expression of your faith and devotion?

Has it been your source of strength and encouragement? Or just a last resort when all else have failed?

We will never run out of things to pray for. There are always so many matters that you can and must pray for–your family, your job, your relationships, your dreams and goals, bigger opportunities, etc.

With the recent happenings, where people are ruthlessly killed after enjoying an amazing concert, or even while driving on a highway, you would want to pray for safety and protection. With the things happening in the economy, whether you understand it or not, you would want to pray for financial stability.

We need help. We need God. We need to seek His will more than ever. We need protection from the works of the enemy. We need our hearts and minds to be ready for the things ahead of us that we do not and cannot know about.

We need to increase our faith. We need to believe that God is with us to strengthen and comfort us (Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 23:4); that through the wars and storms, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He is God who is in control; we can trust Him.

God is faithful. God is loving. He commands us to pray instead of worry, and He promises that He will give us His peace when we do so (Philippians 4:6-7).

And so I borrowed a list of 25 things that we all need to be praying about more from this amazing blog. When I saw this list, I knew I had to share it. It reminds us of the most significant life aspects that we must always take into account, including the areas that need God’s power and providence.

  1. Our government

  2. Our nation

  3. The community you live in

  4. The homeless

  5. Children without parents (orphans)

  6. People who do not know Christ

  7. Those that have run away from God

  8. Those that are struggling with addiction

  9. Being a better parent

  10. Being a better spiritual leader

  11. Becoming a more active member of the body

  12. Your enemies

  13. The house you live in

  14. Your children

  15. Your preacher/ministers (or priests/bishops)

  16. Your congregation

  17. The hungry (impoverished nations)

  18. Missionaries

  19. Those dying for their beliefs

  20. Our military

  21. Your spiritual life

  22. Widows/widowers

  23. Those that have recently lost loved ones

  24. The spread of the gospel

  25. Opportunities to reach those that are lost

So please, find the time and motivation to bring these supplications and petitions to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you know how to pray for each matter, to intercede for people and life scenarios. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us everything (John 14:26), and He is able to intercede for us in accordance with the Lord’s will (Romans 8:26–27).

God, why so quiet?

(Read Isaiah 40:27-31)

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Let’s be honest. There are times when we would think that God doesn’t seem to hear or see our situation, especially when it’s challenging and chaotic, and everything just seems to be going out of control. You can’t help but worry and doubt and question, “God, where are you in all of these? Can’t you see me? Can’t you see how bad everything looks right now? Aren’t you going to do something about this? You know I can’t, but can you? Will you?”

Then disappointments turn to doubts, doubts turn to disbelief, and disbelief turns to resentment. And we find ourselves in a place where it is just so hard to trust God anymore, simply because He didn’t seem to respond when we called on Him. He didn’t give the answer or solution we were expecting. And we think we know better than Him–we know better how the problems must be solved. This is us; this is how we think very often.

But this Biblical passage by Isaiah smacks us in the face and simply reminds us that the Lord is the everlasting God–are we forgetting that He is the Creator of all? He is immeasurable. He doesn’t get tired out. He knows everything (also in 1 John 3:20). He sees everything (see Hebrews 4:13).

He is most definitely aware of what your whining about, and knows about all your worries and doubts. Before we even said a word, He knows it already (Psalm 139:4). And believe it or not, because He knows us, He understands us. He understands us perfectly.

God knows what He’s doing. We are limited, but He’s not (Psalm 147:5). It is us who have limited understanding. He said in Isaiah 55:9 that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. However, because of our undying attempt at control, we find this hard to believe. And we tire ourselves out in the process, and the waiting time becomes long and exasperating. Then we lose our patience; eventually, our trust in Him.

But here’s the main thing: Isaiah goes on and says that Yahweh energises those who get tired, and He gives fresh strength to the weak; and that no matter how young and old you are, you will get tired and fail. It’s inescapable. But all who plugs in to the Lord, the main and only legitimate source of power and strength, will renew theirs. They will continue to have the energy to wait, to hope, to trust, to praise and to serve the Lord in the middle of trouble. And the promise is they will not get tired, they will not lag behind.

And so, when God seems quiet and distant, know that this is the perfect time to learn how to seek His strength more than ever to enable you to trust Him with the things that you don’t understand, that don’t make sense to you. Remember how kind and faithful He already is to you, and hold on to how good He always has been.

His response may not be quick or instant, (as we all love instant, we live in an “instant world”), but know that He is never late, and He is never too busy for you. He’s heard your call, He’s never missed one. And His answer is on its way, and will arrive at the time and place He’s already set. Let your strength be renewed; let your faith be restored. He got it all covered, in Jesus’ name.

#OurStrengthisRenewed
#dirtybibles
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What plan?

(From Proverbs 19:21, 23)

There are instances in life where this couple of proverbs prove right. Sometimes, even if you know you’ve worked hard, invested a lot of your time and resources in things that matter so much in your life, some things would not just go as planned, and/or you’d be taken to a completely different direction, not the one that you would’ve anticipated or even imagined.

Even after a long, tedious period of seeking the Lord, praying and fasting about it, it just doesn’t seem to go your way for some reason. And you’re pretty much left disappointed, tired, sometimes, even angry with God and everyone around you! You knew you deserved better, and whatever you ended up with was not what you’ve asked and worked hard for.

Yet the Bible says that we can do all the planning and toiling but the Lord’s purpose, whatever it is that He’s already pre-destined, pre-designed and pre-planned, will always prevail (v21). And we can be sure that He has good reasons as to why certain plans won’t come into fruition, or outcomes are not in the shape you’ve expected or calculated. He said in verse 11 of Jeremiah 29:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This is His promise. Remember that God always has your best interest in mind, and only He knows what’s best for you and I. Be encouraged that He’s already worked it all out for you (Proverbs 16:4). You just got to walk in it. But this part takes trust, and a lot of patience, because it’s not stated in the promise that it’s going to be easy and problem-free.

Along the way, yes, He will allow us to experience disappointments, failures, difficulties; only to realise (again and again) that we can’t handle it on our own. But those who know how to fear (revere) Him, wait on His timing, and trust Him will always renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). They are the ones who truly succeed because they encounter God in the process; they learn how to hope in the God who holds the universe; they learn how it is to persevere, and develop strength of character (Romans 5:3-4); they learn that the God who is powerful and kind and wise is on their side amidst the struggles; and they can trust that if Plan A doesn’t work out, God has already placed a Plan B that is surely bigger and better. They can always believe that. Proverbs 3:5-6 says to:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Verse 23 of Proverbs 19 indicates that because they honour God, praise Him, and worship Him in the middle of difficult circumstances, they are given life and energy anyway; they can feel safe and secure anyway; and they are protected from harm anyway, which is probably why the plan didn’t succeed in the first place. They can keep walking under God’s protection until they reach the destination God has prepared skilfully for them.

Let’s choose to be thankful to God when things don’t go as planned; and trust that wherever He redirects us, greener pastures await. His ways are always perfect. His timing is never too late, never too early. You can continue walking by faith, and be sure that He’s got you covered.

#Hispurposeprevails
#dirtybibles

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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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