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Live Your Life for God

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." -Galatians 2:20

Growing Wise

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid. Good people obtain favor from the Lordbut he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.” – Proverbs 12:1-2

Guidance gets you directed to the path you are to take. | Photo from gov.uk
Guidance gets you directed to the path you are to take. | Photo from gov.uk

To be hold accountable for every action and speech is necessary. It is one of God’s ways to shape our hearts and prepare us for the calling we are to live out.

We keep on praying for “Godly wisdom” yet some of us forget to yield to guidance from church elders and leaders. We crave to be knowledgeable with the Word of God yet we mostly tend to “know” but not “apply” it in our lives.

Correction may hurt but it shapes and keeps us aligned to the path God wants us to take. Guidance may seem silly for a Christian who seem to “know” the word well; yet failure to submit is failing to honor those who are ahead.

Growing in Christ is a process. It is never about who goes first, It was and always will be about who can last.

God will always send the right people to guide. Never hate guidance especially correction. It keeps you aligned to God’s will which has always been the best for our lives.

Practice What You Preach

“Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean.” – Matthew 15:10-11

Have you been confessing and even asking God to reveal any sins you’ve committed before church service or starting your day? Most of us fail to do this – neglecting the power of confession and the consequences of not practicing it. It brings confusion and conflict and even leads us to misguide others both through action and words. Sin blocks our hearts from God’s Word and revelation in our lives. In other words, no matter how we try to meditate on God’s word, we can’t fully live it out because of how we try to deny the fact we are sinners.

The gospel of Matthew, chapter 15, tells the story of how Jesus was asked by the Pharisees and Sadducees (teacher of the law) what He can say about those who break tradition. Jesus replied by asking them about what they can say about those who break the law. Obeying tradition doesn’t justify breaking the law of God. Jesus showed how these teachers preach the law but does not obey it. They have been blinded by their excuses that they can’t fully guide people correctly.

The gospel brings light. With it we can see what needs to be corrected in our lives. It is the food served that heals us from spiritual blindness. However, if we just look at it and never really take it, then it can never be digested nor absorbed by our system. This means even our hearts can’t benefit from it that it would easily fall into sin! Every word comes from our hearts and it can deceive us (Matthew 15:18-19). The Word justifies us, not the other way around. It teaches us to admit our own faults and submit to the God’s guidance. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who have used the word to justify their actions instead of being justified by it. This is where deception happens. Once we deceive ourselves with our excuses, those who look up to us will be deceived by this false belief and will be led astray. Good thing King David showed us how to we can protect it.

King David’s Psalms shows how man’s heart can be vulnerable; and he also shared how to protect it. “I will keep your Word deep within my heart…” he says. He has opened up to God how He feels, listens to Him, waited on His instructions, and worshipped Him whether there’s an answer or none. God’s Word had been planted so deep in his heart that when God showed him his sins he repented and worshipped God more. The Word can never be bent after all.

Meditating on God’s Word is planting His seeds deep in our hearts. Since the heart can be vulnerable, it means it can easily sin when the enemy influenced it through the world’s temporal joys. It allows you to desire the world so much that you bring conflict to others just to have it. But as you plant the seeds of His Word and meditate on it, it becomes more protected from the ways of the world and hears God’s whispers more!

Before you share God’s Word, remember to lift your heart to Him. You can do this by confessing your sins and bringing it into the light. Allow God to nurture and shape your heart. This will allow you to practice more what you preach with or without anyone looking.

Lost and Found

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” – Psalms 139:7

There are many ways how a believer can lose his way from Christ. It can be ambition, or simply one’s own mistakes. While ambition can be good, most of us forget how every dream was planted by God for His glory and purpose. And like every shortcomings we have, most of us linger on one’s own mistake for so long we condemn ourselves instead of moving on from it. In both ways, we forget how we have a loving Father who pursues and faithfully waits for us to return to His guidance. This leads us to make wrong decisions after another and even shy away from God.

The book of Jonah tells us two types of lost Christians: one who ran away from the Lord and one who forgot His guidance. God instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh and convict them. Nineveh was to be destroyed because of their ways. However, Jonah ran away from the Lord and sailed on a cargo ship. But God was everywhere that he produced a storm that struck fear to its crew. To stop the storm and save the people there, Jonah had to be thrown at sea. There, he was saved by a big fish that swallowed him up. God commanded the fish to vomit Jonah on shore where he once again received instructions to go to Nineveh. After Jonah went and prophesied in Nineveh, its people decided to fast, pray, and change their ways. Of course, God spared them.

Most of us, like Jonah, knew our gifts yet forget the fact it was given by God for a purpose, and it’s always to touch lives. Jonah ran away knowing surely God will spare Nineveh if it repents. In other words he found it useless to use his gift to these people if God would not do what he prophesies. Maybe he finds it embarrassing if God didn’t keep his end of the bargain… In our case, most of us have used our own gifts away from how God intends them to be used. We let our fears take a hold of us – even how the world sees “ambition”. But choosing to run and hide from God will not bring us away from what we have to do. Eventually, His Will will find us.

The people of Nineveh, on the other hand failed to follow God’s guidance. Most Christians have forgotten their commitment to God and in the process condemns themselves or even ignores His ways completely to walk with the world. But this is where people like Jonah are used. As we use our gifts to share God’s great love, we in turn save other Christians and bring them back to God’s loving arms.

There is no place where we can hide from God. When He calls you, you can’t run away from it no matter if you have fallen to sin. Jonah saw God in the storm and allowed his gift to deliver God’s message to Nineveh. Nineveh heard God through Jonah and mended their ways. Either way, God made a way to connect and make His presence felt. No matter how lost we are in life, there will always be a way back to God’s loving arms – and all of this has been ordained in God’s timetable.

Blotted

“Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. ” – Psalms 32:1-2

Let’s have an activity…

Take out two clean sheets of bond paper. On the first piece, draw a big black circle on the middle. On the other piece make lots of black dots using a fine tip pen (small dots). It doesn’t matter how many dots, just do it. Now, compare the two sheets of paper. Of course, the difference is obvious. But what we are checking here are the similarities. Both are blotted with black ink. Both are unclean.

Like these two pieces of once-clean-bond papers, we too have become unclean because of sin. The big circle on the first piece represents any terrible sin committed by man. Many of those who commit such are usually judged and disgraced by society. The tiny dots on the second piece of paper represents sins that many of us see as excusable. However, no matter how simple a sin may be, the fact still remains that the second piece of paper has become unclean – enough that it’s difficult to also read any message that will be written on it.

Sin hinders us from having a clear communication with God. When we write a message using any of the two sheets mentioned, it becomes unclear. At some point, a pen stroke or a written letter will overlap one or two dots. An ‘’L” can become an “i”, or an “i” to a “j”. The same goes with sin. Even as we pray for people or for ourselves, letting our own desires and even our doubts can hinder it coming through to God or for us to understand what He wants us to know. Prayer is no communication if we only talk to God. Prayer has always been the channel used to open our hearts to His message for us.

In Psalms 32:1-2, David expressed the importance of a confessed sin to God. A forgiven man – whose sins is covered up by God and is not even counted – is someone who is not deceitful. This means he lived in truth: he didn’t hide his sin but admitted it – confessed it to receive God’s forgiveness and guidance.

Many of us deceive ourselves when we commit a sin. While a man whose sin so great is judged by many, we make excuses on some small sin like telling white lies. No matter how many times we make excuses for a sin committed or how we try to hide it in the eyes of the public, God knows our sins and it doesn’t make us more perfect than someone who committed one big crime. A sin is a sin.

Like these two pieces of blotted paper, we too are made unclean by our sins. If we want to have a better relationship with the Lord, open communication is a must. This starts with confessing our sins. It humbles us and opens our hearts to value God’s guidance. In other words, the moment we confess, God erases the sin which makes us open to receive His message. After all, how can we become better if we can’t even admit the areas that needed correction? How can we have a better relationship with Christ if we continue to lie to Him?

Slow Yet Sure

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24

Have you ever thought you are not worth a certain promise given by God? Or that you are not good enough? Compared to other Christians who continue to serve Christ you feel that you are not as able as they are or that you are less compared to them?

There are times when we stumble on our race towards Christ. Hey, the race track isn’t that perfect, and somehow the enemy builds stumbling blocks that will trip you, wound you, and even put you to a halt. Sometimes you’d ask God why or what should you do to make sure your path is straight and cleared from all that can lead you to fall. But that is not the point here. The point is how you run, rise, and even run again towards Him – how you continue to go on that race no matter how slow or how fast you go.

Being active at church is not the basis of winning our race towards God. It has always been our hearts – our attitude towards the race. Most inactive Christians believe that this is the basis of what a “good Christian” is. It leads many to feel lesser compared to volunteers. However, as frustrated as they may feel about it, that is not the case with God. Unfortunately, while there are some who have dedicated themselves to serving the church and other ministerial activities outside their respective congregations, there are those who simply do this out of their want to be called “good Christians” or for other hidden agendas. They do such to glorify themselves instead of God.

Praise God for we are not judged by our own standards or by the standards of the world, but His. Each of us has a purpose and to accomplish that we have to trust that God is at work. He has everything planned out and all you have to do is do your best today. It doesn’t matter if you are making disciples fast or preaching the gospel now or leading a discipleship group. What matters is that in all you do, you commit it to God and obey His statutes. The best way you can truly win souls for Christ is to live out His teachings and it starts by humbling oneself to Him.

Jesus Christ lives in each of us and that alone makes us worthy – and we are made so much more if we value that worth rather than the condemnation the enemy impresses on us. We are not to compare ourselves to others nor be envious of their own success. We may feel empty at some point but be excited for only the empty can be filled! It’s a process: empty to be filled and emptied and filled.

In your slow pace on the race track, enjoy God’s company as He walks with you. It doesn’t matter who goes first or runs fast, what matters is how you focus on the goal and move towards it; and it starts with having a surrendered life. God is shaping you and preparing you – making sure you endure the race towards Him. Keep in mind that in every race, people applaud more the runner who continues the race despite the difficulties he faces.

Where Your Loyalty Is…

“Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”, “Here I am,” he replied.  Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”  Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” – Genesis 22:1-3

There are times when people get so blinded by the world that they stopped focusing on the Word – or they just twist its meaning to fit it to their wants. We often pray to God during our times of great need but most of us tend to forget about Him once prayers are answered. We tend to forget about giving and tithing to spend on luxurious cars and houses. We tend to forget praying and fasting with the excuse of being busy with our jobs. We tend to make business deals with our offerings to missionaries instead of just giving our help knowing that we have been blessed with enough finances to help them preach the Word to the world… a thing they were tasked to do.

In the story of Abraham and Isaac, we see how God tested Abraham’s heart. We can remember in Genesis 12:1-2 how Abraham was promised to be the father of God’s nation. In Genesis 21:1-3 we also saw how God fulfilled that promised amidst Sarah’s (Abraham’s wife) old age. Now, in the verse above, you may think that God is a sadistic one by asking Abraham – who has so loyally served Him – to sacrifice Isaac, his son. This is one cruel joke! But it wasn’t a joke. God was certain with His instructions and Abraham’s love for God led him to agree to it.

Countless times we forget that all that we have is a test and a trust. Yes, the Lord is faithful to fulfill His promises to us, but are we faithful in serving and glorifying Him? While we often preach how we should be faithful during our times of dryness, we should also remind ourselves and our brethren to BE FAITHFUL in times of harvest. What we have is all from God and all He asks is just a tenth of it, although He deserved more than that. How do you spend the 24 hours of your everyday? How do you spend your income? How do you serve your family? How do serve God?

When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, an angel appeared to stop him from what he was about to do (Genesis 22:8-12). He had passed God’s test and has assured that his love was on God and not on His promise (Hebrews 11:16-17). Other than Abraham, Job was also one of the memorable personalities in the Bible. He had praised and loved God through his harvest season, and loved and praised God even more when all was stripped away from him. In the end, Job was given more than what he once owned.

Like Abraham, let us remember to focus our sights on the Lord and not just on His promise. Yes, we can be very confident on the fact that the Lord is faithful to His promises; however, we tend to lose focus on Him even on a single sign of an affirmation that He will fulfill it.

All that you are now and all that you have is because of Him. Merely saying “thank you God” is not enough. Remember, it is not of your own efforts that you have been saved from sin (Ephesians 2:8-9) neither are all the properties and relationship because of how talented or dedicated you are (John 3:27). You are merely a steward.

A person who acknowledges and loves God is a gracious person: able to give and sacrifice because he knows how the Lord has blessed him; able to manage his properties because knows that the Lord has anointed him… it may be difficult but to follow the Word instead of the world – to turn away from all the convenience it offers – but knowing that God is always with you and that you have pleased Him makes all of it worth it (Proverbs 16:3).

Wait…It Will Come

“At the time I have decided my words will come true, You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting. It will happen” – Habakkuk 2:3 CEV

Children are dreamers. Each one of us, and even kids today, has that dream to become a somebody someday or have something. However, as we grow older, we realized that there are just some dreams that seem silly or it simply changes. But even with these sudden shifts of wants and goals, one thing remains — the Dream Giver.

God, our dream giver, instills ideas in our heads to become or to acquire something even if it seems too big for us to accomplish. And while most of us dim the possibility of making such dreams into reality, there are simply those who take their chances and succeed.

In John 10:10, we see how Christ came so that we may have an abundant life. When we say abundance, we’re not just talking about money but rather our growth as an individual. But while we see that God wants us to be abundant, what really hinders this from happening is our impatience and lack of faith. We expect the dream to magically manifest itself immediately into reality and when it doesn’t happen we became hopeless. We even expect that the dream will be exactly parallel to what we desire that sometimes we don’t even recognize it already happened. We become less thankful, complainers, and even prayed to God to take away whatever problem we are presently facing that seems to make the promise to be unfulfilled. We forgot to focus on this one promise stated in James 1:4 – to let things run its natural course which leads us all back to pray for strength and wisdom rather than frustrate over the pains and length of our wait…

Habakkuk 2:3 tells us of God’s plan and the assurance of its fulfillment. In some version of the bible, he had referred “My word’s will” as “this vision”. Another version even states the latter part of the verse as “though it may be delayed, wait for it. It will happen and will never be late”. If we look at the different versions, it only states one thing: God gave a vision and no matter what it will happen!

If we look further at the last part of Habakkuk, we see how the author delighted himself in the Lord’s promise, and praises Him even though circumstances may seem dim for its fulfillment. Through the dry season – the long wait – one should still rejoice on the Lord!

The waiting season is a gift. This is not the time to focus on the promise but on the One who gave the promise. It is not a time to moan and complain about its pains and frustrations. It is a time to even be thankful for no matter what trials may come, we know God is forever faithful and will always assure the promise will come to pass, better than what we expected. That in waiting we are prepared to serve His greater glory!

Wait patiently. Believe. Obey God. Pray.

Is it a YES or a NO?

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:38

Are you willing to say YES to God’s best for your life?

Last year, God revealed something that led me to see more how my wants and desires is messing up the best He has for me. It made me see that when He gave a promise, God’s not joking. He won’t take it back, but He can fulfill it to someone else rather than you if you say no to it. How?

Mary is one of the best examples of a person who gave her YES to God’s will for her life. She said YES to God when the Archangel Gabriel gave her the message God has for her – to be the mother of His only begotten Son whom she will name Jesus.

Mary said YES, but that is not because she was controlled nor because God changed and shaped her. She said YES with her own will because she understood GOD’S WORD will always be done whether she said YES to it or NO – whether she is the one or someone else will take the place once she declines it.

God’s Will have always been a gift He so lovingly gives out. It directs us to the best life we can have and the purpose we were to become – if we say YES to it. Being shaped by Him is all about understanding the fact His Plans will push through no matter what. In the end His Word will be the only thing that will remain. It’s up to you whether you will receive His grace, respond to His call, and follow Him…

So, have you said YES to His Word or No?

In Time

A right time for everything
A right time for everything

There’s an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Was there ever a time where you acted on a certain situation in hopes that you are helping speed up the process of attaining something you want?

There are countless situations man finds himself in trouble of getting out. Usually, this was brought about by how they rush on things. Overseas workers who came and stayed in a foreign land is one. Instead of waiting to process their travels legally, they ended up entering illegally and staying there, hiding from authorities.  While we can say this is for their family, we need to remind ourselves that sometimes it is better to do things according to what is right and trust God will deliver the best for us. If they only had the patience to wait for the right time. If only they were able to wait a little bit more…if only…

In the story of Abraham and Sarah, there was a part where Abraham was offered Sarah’s slave girl to be a concubine. Sarah was old and doubts she’ll ever have a child. Thinking that the promise to Abraham doesn’t include her, she told him to sleep with her slave girl so he can have a son. After months, Ishmael was born.

But the Lord had other plans….better plans….

Unlike what Sarah believed, God has a great plan which includes her. Soon, Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son whom they named Isaac — a name given by the Lord himself.

God makes way even through impossible situations. We just have to trust His timing and believe He will fulfill it. Do not make way but instead stay obedient to God and be in the present. Enjoy the company of family and friends and learn from what your situation offers.Ask for His guidance…Use your waiting time well…

He makes way!

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