It’s Your Call!

 Colossians 3:15

New International Version (NIV)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

For Meditation

It’s your call, this choice between peace and torment in your life. Picture this dialogue between you and God this morning, and may it finally help you sort things out with the Lord in this battle.

  1. You: Lord, why am I still in this torment? Why this chaos around me?
  2. Are you not the One who said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7)? Have I not done that? So, why am I not sensing your peace?
  3. God: My child, I have already released my peace to do exactly what I promised you. The problem is, you are resisting its administration in your heart. See how doubtful and unbelieving you still are. For instance, why are you still striving with your spouse? How about your colleagues? Why can’t you let go and forgive them? Where is love? Have you read Colossians 3:1-4 along with Philippians 4:6-7? Why can’t you trust me to work things out for you? Don’t you know that you hold the key to unlock the power of my peace’s ministry in your life?
  4. As a parent, do you recall how painful it was for you to see your child struggle with you over the administration of the medicine that would soothe their pain? How did you feel about it? But when that child finally yielded to your assurances, do you remember the calm and tranquility that swept over them and your home?
  5. Can you imagine my pain as I see you struggle this way when my peace is right by your side to umpire in your situation (15)? Can you let go and yield to the rule of my peace in your tormented heart and confused relationship?

Again, it’s your call!

I pray you will allow the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, to settle every dispute in your life and calm the storms in your heart.

So: May God turn your wailing into dancing and clothe you with the garment of joy, so that your heart can sing His praises and never be silenced. May you say with David:

“O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Ps. 3:11-12).

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Do You Have A Burden?

Nehemiah 1:3

New International Version (NIV)

“Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

For Meditation

He didn’t have to concern himself with Jerusalem and the condition of the returnees, but he did. Nehemiah was born in exile and did not personally know Jerusalem and the rich temple worship. His knowledge was through history and the religious practices of his people in exile. But I am sure that like Moses, he had godly parents who taught him about God. He had gained the trust of King Artaxerxes I and risen to become the king’s cupbearer. In modern terms, Nehemiah was the king’s safety assurance officer for food and drinks. With that purview and responsibility in the courts of the Persian king, what did Nehemiah need and why should he concern himself with the affairs of Jerusalem?

The fact is, when your heart is after something, no matter how remote, your mind cannot refuse to wrestle with its challenges. Nehemiah was secure and prosperous in Persia, but his heart was with his people and Jerusalem.

Two groups had left since King Cyrus opened the door for the exiles to return and the temple was rebuilt. Formal worship was re-established, but the report he received said: “The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Ne. 1:3). Something must be done; but what and how?

I don’t know what report you have received lately about your people and nation, but Nehemiah’s response to that heart-breaking report is a perfect model for any situation.

  1. He responded immediately.
    • How promptly do you respond to a pressing situation?
  1. He was burdened by the report.
    • Do you know that the fire of action is lighted in the depth of a broken heart?
  1. He turned to God in fasting and prayer (5-11).
    • Who do you turn to in your hour of deep anguish and distress?
  1. He confessed the sins of the nation and asked God to make him part of the solution.
    • Do you see yourself as part of the problem as well as the solution; or do you set yourself apart from them?
  1. God gave him favor before the king, and he became the instrument of change for the Jerusalem Wall Rebuilding Project.
    • Do you see what God is waiting for to change the deplorable conditions and moral filth around you?

I pray that God burdens you with a situation in your family, community, nation, or the world that will move you to your knees before Him.

May He make you an instrument of solution when you call on Him; and may He favor you before any person of influence who holds the key to the solution.

Shalom

 

What Report Have You Received?

Isaiah 37:14

New International Version (NIV)

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.

For Meditation

King Hezekiah panicked the first time he received a long message from the field commander of King Sennacherib because the Assyrians had destroyed many nations including the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 17:6). Hezekiah, therefore, tore his clothes and adorned himself with sackcloth. He went to the temple of the LORD, but instead of a personal prayer, he sent an emissary to the prophet Isaiah to solicit prayer for the remnant of Israel (2 Kings 37:1-4).

When for the second time, Hezekiah received a threatening and scathing message from Sennacherib, he went up to the temple of the Lord, but this time, he spread the letter out before the Lord and prayed (Isaiah 37:14-20). He affirmed the might of the “God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim.” The maker of heaven and earth, the God of Israel rules over all the kingdoms of the earth. But here was Sennacherib, a heathen king, sending a letter with words that ridiculed the living God.

Yes, Hezekiah agreed that Sennacherib had routed all the nations he had attacked and destroyed their gods, but he affirmed that they were no gods, but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Yahweh alone is God. So, “Now, LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, LORD, are the only God” (20).

  1. Isn’t that wonderful? When you hear a bad report, what do you do with it?
  2. Who do you turn to for help? Is it to a person, medium, or system?
  3. Can those people or mediums guarantee the help you need? Do you remember the gods of those nations Sennacherib burned after laying waste their peoples and lands (19)?
  4. Do you remember the many times you have been disappointed by the people and systems you trusted to help?
  5. Has God ever disappointed you? Has He not been ever faithful – if you really understand His ways?

I pray you’ll turn to God first when things heat up for you. Panic is never the right response. It only drives fear through the heart and paralyzes you. Your best recourse is on your knees, and with upraised hands to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

May He answer you from heaven and give you victory over your enemies – be they humans, systems, or situations. May the world around you notice your calmness and God’s glory upon you, and be convicted of their need for Jesus as Savior and Lord.

“Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Ps. 20:7).

Shalom

 

Transformed into His Image

2 Corinthians 3:18

New Living Translation (NLT)

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

For Meditation

I remember growing up in my hometown. Money didn’t come by very easily for me. Occasionally I would find and dig out an old, rusty, weather-stained, and discolored coin from the ground and do everything to bring it alive. Nothing about my find looked like a coin except its shape. Its glory had faded and needed restoration. So, I would wet the ground, put the coin in it, cover it with sand, and then stamp my heel on it to begin my crude process of polishing it. The painful process continued until the entire surface of the coin was “sandblasted” that way. The final wash revealed the face of the personality embossed on one side, and the national crest that authenticated the coin, on the other. Its value was also revealed as well as every detail from the day it was minted. It glimmered in the sun and I could proudly use it for any transaction I wanted. In a way, that is the process Paul was describing about believers in 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Every new believer is like that old coin dug out of the ground by our Savior. He made us in His own image, but sin has stained, rusted, and discolored us. He searches for us with all His heart and digs us out of this muddy world. Spiritually, He makes us into a new creation in Himself (5:17). He begins His transforming work in us to reveal His glory – His image and likeness. The veil that blinded us is lifted. We can now see Him in His word. The Holy Spirit transforms us by the renewing of our minds through the word (Rm. 12:1-2). We reflect His glory more and more as He blasts off every stain of sin and bad behavior in us (2 Cor. 3:18).

  1. But how well do we take this painful process of transforming us into His image with ever -increasing glory?
  2. Do you know that the more you allow Him to “sandblast” the stain off of you, the more He reveals His glory in you?
  3. Are you aware that your cooperation with the Holy Spirit in this transformation process, allows you to better see the glory of the Lord Jesus?
  4. Do you present yourself daily to Him as a burnt offering – a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him (Rm. 12:1)?
  5. Are you allowing Him to transform you into His image by the renewal of your mind (2)?

I pray you do, and that you do not jump off the altar of sacrifice when the Holy Spirit turns His refining fire up.

Remember that the eternal glory to be revealed in you is worth every pain and suffering you may suffer now (2 Cor. 4:17). And He will not stop until He sees His glorious face in you.

Shalom

Just Trust Him 

Isaiah 55:8
New International Version (NIV)

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

For Meditation

  1. Have you ever tried to understand why somethings happen the way they do and why God allow them? Ever tried to understand what God does and how He does them?
  2. As a psychologist probes the thoughts of their patient, have you tried to get into God’s mind to probe His thoughts? Have you tried to pick His brain to know what His next move will be?
  3. Have you been struggling with the “Whys” and the “How’s” of things? Don’t you think it’ll be wise to stop it right there? For who made any of us a psycho-analyst of the One who created us?
  4. Don’t you know that His ways are higher than our ways? Haven’t you realized yet, how His thoughts are way higher above our feeble minds? So, how can we even try to make God’s ways fit into our human pattern or mold? How can we try to bring God’s thoughts to conform to ours? See how miserable and frustrated we become when we try to investigate God and bring Him to our court?
  5. Why, then, don’t you make it easier for yourself and just accept rather than trying to explain God? Why don’t you just trust and obey, instead of struggling to ‘solve’ God like a jigsaw puzzle.

I pray you finally settle it in your heart that God is too “high and exalted for any human to completely know and understand” (Is. 6:1). His ways are beyond our best imagination, and our intellectual capacity cannot capture His thoughts. He chooses to reveal as much as He wants to, and nothing more.
So: May you learn to zip it, freeze it, and yield everything to the Most High God; and may your eyes be opened to see God for who He really is and so confess with Job:

“Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know … My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3-6).

May the Lord prosper you in all things and bless you with long life and excellent health.
Shalom

When the Angels Came to Sing

Luke 2:13

New International Version (NIV)

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

For Meditation

A group of students at McKinley Tech High School in Washington, D.C. were surprised when the former President of the United States of America dropped in on their class in September 2017. “You don’t mind me crashing, right?” Obama asked. Later, the former President said he felt “hopeful about the future.” I am sure the President’s visit will continue to encourage the students throughout their lives.

The Bible is filled with many of such surprises, but my favorite is the night the angelic choir surprised the shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem. Just an ordinary night for the men in their routine flow of things, and suddenly, an angel appears to announce the birth of “a Savior” who is “Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11). Before they could get their thought together, “Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (14).

I am not sure the shepherds did mind the angels crashing in on their tepid night. The Messiah was born and they were privileged by the divine announcement with angelic orchestra accompaniment. But why the choir?

Every great event deserves a celebration, and no event on earth deserves it better than the day God took on flesh and entered the world as an ordinary baby. Jesus came with a mission – to save the world from sin and to call us back to God. That trumps any deal on earth. It is “Glory to God in the highest” and peace on earth for the recipients of His grace.

Heaven was tumultuous, but the world was cold and asleep. The only attentive people were those shepherds who were “Keeping watch over their flock” (Lk. 2:8). The Chief Shepherd had come and the poor shepherds were called to join in the heavenly celebration. Let the party begin!

And the party continues today till Jesus comes back for His flock.

  1. Have you joined the celebration?
  2. Are you rejoicing that Jesus crashed in on your party?
  3. Why don’t you call your family and friends to come and join you?
  4. Why don’t you share your joy with those around you?
  5. Why don’t you also surprise somebody today with the Good News?

The angelic Choir brought the joy of heaven to the shepherds that day. The shepherds hurried in search of the Godchild, and when they had seen Him, they “spread the word” (17).

May you who have heard the song of the heavenly choir and received the peace the Savior has wrought in your heart, move swiftly to announce the Good News to all who will listen; and may your joy result in praise and glory to God in Christ(20). Amen!

Shalom.

 

If Wishes Were Horses

2 Kings 5:11

New International Version (NIV)

I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.

For Meditation

What is wrong with people? What makes us think we should get everything we wish, or that everything should be done our way, as if the world revolves around us? Rich or poor, we’re all basically selfish. We push people around with authority, if we have it, or by emotional manipulation. We demand and claim without respect for the interest of others; and when our expectations are unmet, we go bonkers. Only when we submit to the Holy Spirit’s control do we consider the interest of others.

Naaman, the Aramean General came with a retinue of horses and chariots to the door of the prophet Elisha for healing from his leprosy. He expected a welcome that recognized his rank, but Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed” (2 Kings 5:9 -10). That was insolence to the General’s ears.

The whip cracked, and the wheels of the chariot squealed, as the General turned away at top speed towards his country.

 “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy” (11).

If wishes were horses, Naaman would have ridden them to his healing and cleansing. But God is not human to be manipulated. He is sovereign and does things his way.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD (Isa. 55:8).

God’s way for the healing and cleansing of Naaman’s leprosy sounded foolishness to the Syrian General (1 Cor. 1:18). He wished his healing came by way of his experience. Elisha’s words insulted his intelligence, and he wouldn’t be humiliated by the so-called prophet.

  1. Isn’t that how we act with God sometimes?
  2. Don’t we go to Him with our rehearsed expectations for ready answers the way we want them?
  3. Do you see how many Christians command God in their prayers, as a master to their servant?
  4. How many times have you walked away from God, grumbling and complaining like your “little darling” who always want their way?
  5. Do you see why many people turn away from Jesus when they can’t fit Him in their selfish and worldly ways? But is there any other way to be saved apart from a clean wash in Calvary’s flood (Eph. 2:18-19)?

I pray you’ll remember that God wants to receive and hear from us at any time (Heb. 4:16). Our needs are His desire to satisfy (Matt. 6:25-34). However, our expectations should line up with His will; for He knows what’s best for us.

So: May you ask, seek, and knock on heaven’s door and expect your Father in heaven to answer you (7:7-11); but, may you remember that your wishes are only realized in Christ Jesus, our Sovereign Lord and King.

Shalom