Sunday, November 17, 2013

While We May


"'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'" Luke 13:8-9

Yesterday, there were news that a strong storm will be raging in KSA. The forecast could have said that our city would be affected because my Saudi neighbors were getting ready for it. Thankfully, today is another day here in Jubail City. Summer is almost over, and the bright morning sun brings light through my windows as usual. I can also hear the birds chirping outside. However admittedly, without the expected storm, I might be one of those who would less appreciate the beauty of this morning.



There are days when we spend a whole lot of time doing the things that we need to get "through" the day. The things that seemed so important IF tomorrow would still come. As Christians, we sometimes forget what we are really called to do-- "to bear fruit." We are called to live a holy life and to share the message of the cross to all men. This calling does not measure up to the abundance of our material possessions and successful careers, instead it is characterized through a continuous maturity in our spiritual walk and compassion to unsaved souls. "A true Christian will show, through words, actions, and doctrine, that he follows the Lord." (gotquestions.org)

God's grace is always sufficient for us. In every ordeal we encounter, His arm is never too short to help us, even to comfort us in all the days of our sorrow. But His grace could only last until He is pleased to give it to us. Let us make use of every moment to bring glory and honor to the One who created us and the reason of our existence. Praise be to Him whose patience endures the hardness of our hearts, and had given us mercies for many days of our lives, to turn away from our sins and have a new life with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Today may be another day, and tomorrow is certainly uncertain; but our eternity is secure in the hands of our Savior. And through His overflowing grace, may we always manifest the true gratitude of being able to see the light of every new day.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mary and Her Treasure







"But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart." Luke 2:19

And it came to pass that Mary born the child Jesus in a manger. Shepherds came to see the baby for an angel of the Lord appeared to them saying, "For unto you is born this day... Christ the Lord.".  When they witnessed these things, they glorified and praised God, while Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (ref. Luke 2:8-21)



I could only imagine what Mary had gone through. Since the angel appeared to her, she was put up to a lot of uncertain situations (in view of men).  She got pregnant before marriage, which could've led to stoning her to death. She labored on her way to Bethlehem with Joseph, wherein she also gave birth and laid her newly born baby in a manger; for there was nowhere else to stay.

But she didn't focus on all these hardships.  Mary definitely felt and experienced the pain and troubles, yet it hardly affected her faith.  She wasn't looking at the manger where she gave birth, but at the baby through whom the salvation of the Jews and Gentiles was promised!  What greater joy could there be?

Do we not see that in her time, the "good news" had not happened yet? She didn't understand how it will happen, but she believed it will. She pondered on the turn of events, not the insignificant ones, but the things that matter. The things that concerned about what the Lord promised to Israel. She thought about it deeply and many times.  

She didn't only ponder, but also "treasure" it in her heart.  "To treasure" means to keep or regard as precious or highly valuable.  If we define the word as a noun, a treasure is something being more than "important", but is of worth. And for Mary, the birth of Jesus worth her eternal life. And she kept remembering it like a treasure in stored- she kept it safe and guarded in her heart.

In our Christian walk, trials may come.  It may weaken or strengthen us. Temptations will always try to pull us down. Yet there is a promise to overlook these difficulties. And as Mary chose to magnify Christ during her tough times, so should we.

I've come to comprehend more of who Christ is in my life when I look to Mary's heart. Jesus is the treasure that is of immeasurable worth and significance. Without Him, I am nothing. There is nothing to look forward to, nothing to aim for. This life would just be a series of emptiness, living to die anyway. But because of God's faithfulness, He sent His Son to give us something of worth- because even our very life cannot be counted worthy. We are damned to eternal death because of our sin. But God sent His Son Jesus to save us from sin and death; thus to live a life of purpose and abandon the days of nothingness.

Today, I exalt God for the treasure He has given me. The treasure that will not rot or fade away. 

For He is eternal and will forever be my Lord and Savior.

Jesus, You are my treasure.

Reading: Luke 2

Saturday, June 15, 2013

While His Grace Flows








Early the next morning they went up toward the high hill country. "We have sinned," they said. "We will go up to the place the LORD promised."

But Moses said, "Why are you disobeying the LORD's command? This will not succeed! Do not go up, because the LORD is not with you. You will be defeated by your enemies, for the Amalekites and Canaanites will face you there. Because you have turned away from the LORD, He will not be with you and you will fall by the sword." Numbers 14:40-43



The Israelites wanted to parade their pride as boldness; their stubbornness as persistence. Nobody can fool God. He knows every beat of our hearts and every motive behind our actions. Instead of submitting to the LORD's will, they poised as if they were going to please God in doing His command that was supposed to be done at the time it was given. Delayed obedience is not obedience at all.  Their distrust in His power hindered them on carrying out God's instruction -the reason why His anger burned against this generation and punished them not to inherit the promised land (except for Caleb and Joshua). When they knew through Moses the result of their neglect on God's command, they suddenly felt the need to go against the Canaanites and Amelakites; to pursue the promised land. What stubbornness! 

God knew well that this is not about pleasing Him but doing what their selfish desires call them to do. Why did the Israelites suddenly become obedient? Certainly not to win God's favor, for if that's the case, they could've fallen into their knees and ask for forgiveness. When the LORD declared their fate because of their disobedience, they resisted and became decisive.  They suddenly became courageous to do what God wants them to do. They began running after their inheritance.  How mistaken were their motives. Their drive to get their inheritance will not make them victorious, but only their trust in God.

We do not do God's commands the way we want it and when we want it. We do not obey God for the sake of a reward, but of who He is in our lives. We are His people, and He is our God. To please Him, this should be our want.  To bring Him glory and honor, this should be our motivation. May we be more than eager and delighted to do His will while His grace flows in us. A lot of people hear about the promise of Salvation, yet only a few take heed of it. Most of them, like the Israelites, run away from what was promised for the fear of losing their so called "lives" in their endeavor with Christ.

If only the Israelites trusted and obeyed the LORD, they could have won the battle against their enemies. They could have enjoyed a land flowing with milk and honey. However, they chose to fight on their own strength. They chose to do their own will, and from that, they lost God's grace to win the battle with the giants and inhabit the land. Many a man, at the end of his life, would find himself without inheritance; for the grace of God had already been lifted from him.

But today, the battle goes on and His grace is abounding. Are we going to run away and save ourselves? Jesus is the only one who can save us. And God has given Him to us in His grace and mercy. Let's put our trust in our Redeemer and obey His precepts, thus we can enjoy an everlasting life with Him!

God's grace only lasts until it is given to us. May we take every opportunity to grasp it, fulfilling His will in our lives.




Reading: Mark 11:12-14, Numbers 14













Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Bronze Basin




The LORD said to Moses, "You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall water in it, with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the LORD, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die."
Exodus 30:17-20 ESV

We know that it was said in the Scriptures that the Old Testament's practice of worshiping God was merely a shadow of what was to come. As I take a look at how God instructed Moses and the Israelites on their worship to Him, I see how holy is the God I serve. In human terms, we might see a complicated, overly detailed deity. But when the truth is revealed to us, we see the vast gap that divides God and man.

The bronze basin was one of the LORD's instructions to Moses to be built. It would stand between the tent of meeting and the altar. The priests must wash their hands and feet in this basin before going into the tent of meeting, when they come near the altar to minister, and to burn a food offering to the LORD. The LORD said to Moses that they must do this lest they die. What a strict order! Or was it just fitting?

As Christians, we are more free to worship Him in Spirit and truth. He had given us this command in His grace, the reason that we are more privileged than the ancient believers.  Because Jesus is our mediator to His light and glory. The sacrifice was made perfect through Him, thus we need not to offer lambs whenever we come near to God. 

Yet God has not changed. He is the same holy God that the Israelites worshiped in the wilderness. And there could be no more bronze basin to wash our hands and feet, but the blood of Jesus that washed away our sin, will keep us clean in our daily offenses.

Quoting Matthew Henry Commentary on Exodus 30:17-20:
"They must not only wash and be made clean, when first made priests, but must wash and be kept clean, whenever they went to minister. It teaches us daily to attend upon God, daily to renew our repentance for sin, and our looking to the blood of Christ for remission; for in many things we daily offend."

We do not approach the throne of God casually. For His glory shines and no one could withstand it. Let us then draw close to Him in confidence, through humbling down in His grace and mercy, made accessible through Christ.

"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 
1 John 1:7-9 ESV

Readings: Exodus 29-30, Matthew 21:23-46




Saturday, March 9, 2013

Taking God Seriously





I wonder how did Moses feel whenever the Israelites grumble to him. In Chapter 17, his frustrations were expressed when he cried to the LORD "What shall I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me." (Ex 17:1-9). Did the Israelites forget that Moses was just a man who was sent by the LORD to save them from slavery? That he sacrificed his time with his own pleasures to obey God and rescue them?

I went into this point of my Christian life. I was self-centered. Only wanting what I could get. Then wanting even more. "What's in it for me?" I couldn't help but make sure of that. Yet as I see people serving the LORD whose lives are Christ-centered, I begun to look at mine and reflected on what's pleasing to Him. Moses could have just left the Israelites on their own and turn away from God's calling. But this is not about him.  Nor this is about us.

When God called Moses, He told him who He is. He is the God of his father-Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When Moses took heed to the voice of God, he saw His wonders. His powers rescued the Israelites through him despite his weaknesses. When the LORD willed to save the Israelites from Egypt, He rescued them in the midst of impossible hurdles. He led them in compassion and never left them again.

God reveals Himself to us, not just to know Him, but for us to know the necessity of our obedience to Him. We submit to His sovereignty because we know His authority. We tremble at His throne because we know His justice. We believe in Him because His power is no other. We love Him because He first loved us.

We serve God, not men. Let's not count merits of what we do to people and wait for recognition. We say "yes" to God, thus in Him we have our reward. Let our calling be true in our lives, in every thing at all times.

So how did Moses take Israelites' grumblings? He took God's calling seriously.

"But be sure to fear the LORD and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you." 1Samuel 12:24





Reading: Exodus 17-19





Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Let's look to God Today and Everyday!



This Day
Audio Adrenaline

It's six A.M
I'm so tired
The alarm sounds
And the new day begins
Before I go
And disturb this peaceful moment
I look to You

[CHORUS:]
I want to say a prayer
Before my feet can hit the ground
Lord I give this day to You

I'm amazed how You forgive me
Yesterday seems so far behind
It's a brand new day
And every day's a new beginning
I look to You

[CHORUS]

Breathe in
Breathe out
Breathe in
And watch the day begin
I wanna watch the day begin

[REPEAT CHORUS]


Please click the link below for the audio of this song:
This Day by Audio Adrenaline

God leads. Do you follow?







The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
“Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
You stretched out your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; 
               you have  guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
(Exodus 15:9-13 ESV)

The enemy may strike as if he thought about winning me over God, but I should know my God who delivered me from many situations in life; aside from His great work of my salvation, I don't know what else He couldn't give me. I cannot fathom His steadfast love. I wouldn't understand how great the love of God to His elect! Despite I, sometimes, am like the Israelites that after witnessing the power of God, becomes weak of what is seen in the world. But thanks be to God! He leads me to safe journey in the desert, His providence sustaining me from parching my heart and spiritual hunger through Jesus.

The LORD leads us, yes. And we are obliged to follow. In Christian life, the trials and temptations make the walk daring and difficult; simply because we have now waged war against the forces of darkness. At one point in our lives, we were on their side. But because God chose to unveil the truth to us, we turned from them and from the desires of our flesh. The good news is (if not better than that of salvation), God fights for us! "If God is for us, then who can be against us?"  Nobody! Because nobody can stand against the power of Him who reigns in the heavens and the earth! Moses said the truth when he sang,

"Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?" Exodus 15:11 ESV

Yielding to His Spirit and trusting in His perfection could be the hardest to do for a man. The thought of humbling ourselves and lifting the One who is all worthy and deserving of honor, brings out the shameless and sinful nature in us. Our haughtiness creates havoc in us, when the revelation of knowing we need a Savior. Yet as we go on struggling with Satan and our own self to persevere in pleasing our Lord, His grace abounds in every situation! The Israelites grumble for their fleshly needs, still God demonstrates His steadfast love to them. And as manna falls from heaven every morning, His mercies are anew everyday. Throughout generations, His compassion is unchanged. Molding us and resurrecting the likeness of Jesus in us.

"In Your unfailing love You will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In Your strength You will guide them
to Your holy dwelling." Exodus 15:13 NIV

Readings: Ex 15,16, Matt 19:1-15

The Spiritual Person

“The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as ...