Living with Purpose  

Mark 10:32 

New International Version (NIV)

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him.

For Meditation

When we live life with purpose, we become determined, fearless, and confident. We do not avoid problems and difficulties. We accept them as realities of life and confront them with courage and conviction. That is the example Christ left for us and the sure way to accomplish God’s will and purpose for our lives.

  1. Have you stopped to consider the scene of Mark 10:32, with Jesus leading the way up to Jerusalem? Have you pondered the question of why His disciples were astonished, “while those who followed were afraid?”
  2. With Calvary in view, can you believe Jesus’ calm and determination, when He knew what the city held for Him? Can you believe His zeal and boldness?
  3. Did any of His disciples, and those who followed Him, stop to consider the purpose of what proved to be Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem? Did they know that the very thing they feared – death – was the reason Jesus set His face towards Jerusalem (Heb. 2: 15)?
  4. Did any of them know the joy Jesus had, as He gave Himself to the rejection of Jerusalem, and the cruelty of the cross to free us from the fear of death that held us in slavery? Can you feel His energy when He set before Him the joy of reconciling “to Himself all things, … by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20)?
  5. Does your life have purpose? Does it have meaning for the glory of God? How committed are you to the ultimate purpose of your life – living to become like Christ for the glory of God (Eph. 4:12-13; 1 Cor. 10:31)?

I pray that you set your face towards heaven, where Christ is seated on the right hand of God (Col. 3:1), with purpose and determination to confront every situation with the joy of glorifying the Father with your life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

So, may you live to become like Jesus when our final redemption in glory opens to us; and may you look to Him who is the author and perfecter of your faith, and persevere through your trials to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you (Heb. 12:2; Phil. 4:12).

Shalom

 

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Expecting A Word of God’s Unfailing Love

Psalm 143:8 

New International Version (NIV)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

For Meditation

How comforting it is to know that we can ask and expect God to affirm His unfailing love to us in His word every morning. Has He not invited us to come boldly before Him in hearty devotion, confidently trusting in His faithfulness (Heb. 4:16)? How refreshing it is, when, like the dew of Mt. Hermon, His love embraces us before His throne of grace.

There, in His presence, the Lord directs our path. He illumines our way by His word and leads us in His righteous and victorious ways. This is the confidence we have in Christ Jesus our Lord because we have entrusted our life to Him (Ps. 143:8). We can trust Him to rescue us from our fiercest enemies, as we hide ourselves in Him (9).

  1. So, why not trust Christ completely today with your fears and struggles?
  2. Why don’t you commit your plans to Him for counsel and direction (Prov. 3:6)?
  3. Why not entrust your life to Him who is able to keep it until that day we will be revealed in Him before the Father (2 Tim. 1:12)?
  4. Isn’t He who calls you, faithful (1 Thess. 5:24)?
  5. What do you have to lose?

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace” (Nu. 6:24-26).

Amen.

Shalom

 

It’s not You, but God

1 Samuel 26:12 

New International Version (NIV)

So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep.

For Meditation

When we get away with things in amazing ways, or when we succeed in our adventures, we shouldn’t congratulate ourselves as if we’re extraordinary. It’s God who does it all. We’re just harvesters, beneficiaries of His grace. So,let’s give glory to Him.

God put Saul and his soldiers into deep sleep, and that’s why David and Abishai got away with the king’s spear and water jug (1 Sam. 26:12). It wasn’t David’s military prowess or ability to evade detection that gave them the advantage over King Saul and his soldiers that night. Neither was it a natural sleep that overtook Saul and Abner, his army commander, out of exhaustion. It was God who “put them to a deep sleep” (12). He did that for a purpose – not for David to avenge himself on Saul in cold blood. Rather, God intended to show David that it is He who keeps him from his enemies.

The lesson for David was to trust in God’s deliverance and assurance that He will take care of Saul in His own way(10); and He did on Mt. Gilboa (31:4). David’s responsibility was to honor Him with his response: “The Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed” (26:11).

So, it is with us. It is God who leads us and does His wonders through our lives, that the glory would be His. Our actions following such situations, therefore, must be godly and gracious, just as David refused to kill Saul as Abishai suggested (8).

You may have gotten away with some dangerous or risky venture. Give glory to God. It may be some advantage you gained over your worst enemy on the job or business transaction. Don’t gloat. Remember the One who made it possible – your Lord Jesus Christ. He put your enemies to sleep to show you His presence in your situation to protect and deliver. It is His victory, not yours.

So celebrate Him by being humble and magnanimously gracious in your response to your enemy’s vulnerability.

Shalom

 

Is This How It Will Feel?

Matthew 25:10

New International Version (NIV)

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut

For Meditation

I have read the book and watched the movie, but I have never considered how those who were left behind in the 2014 apocalypse movie felt, until my experience at the O’Hare Airport in Chicago on Tuesday, May 9, 2018.

I had landed from Newark Airport in transit to New Orleans to visit my five-month old granddaughter for the first time. My anticipation was high, and I couldn’t wait to board my connecting flight in Chicago. With an hour and a half layover time to endure, I went straight to the connecting gate, found myself a comfortable front seat view of the championship game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors, and dug into my Kentucky Fried Chicken meal. The game got interesting, and by the time I came to my senses, my flight was almost landing at the Louis Armstrong International Airport. As I sat through the cold Chicago night at the airport, I heard a voice mockingly saying, “Left behind!” I felt so awful.

  1. Is this how it would feel to be left behind after the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)? Is this how Pastor Bruce Barnes felt when he was behind in the movie?
  2. Why did he miss the flight to heaven? Why did I miss mine to New Orleans?
  3. Did he get distracted by the delicacies of this world like I did with my Kentucky fried chicken meal at the airport; or was it the pleasures of the world, like I got absorbed by the NBA game that night?
  4. Did Pastor Barnes think he had so much time that he forgot the essentials of faith, as Pastor Baafi thought he had time at O’Hare? Isn’t it pathetic that many people think the same way and forget how quickly time flies and takes away the opportunity to be with the Lord in heaven forever?
  5. But, do you know that you must prepare for the reality of the Lord’s coming for His bride at the trumpet blast and the call of the archangel (16)? Didn’t Jesus tell us to prepare ourselves for His coming in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13)?

I pray you’ll not be like the five virgins who missed the opportunity to be with the bridegroom after all their wait for the occasion.

So: May you examine yourself to see whether you’re in the faith by testing yourself (2 Cor. 13:5); and may you stay alert and prepared for His coming, like the thief in the night, and not be left behind. The feeling will be awful, and the consequences, irreversibly devastating.

Shalom

A Privilege and Opportunity

1 Chronicles 29:14 

New International Version (NIV) 

 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

For Meditation

  1. Do you know what a great privilege it is to be afforded the opportunity and ability to give to God (1 Chron. 29:14)?
  2. Let’s get it straight: Do you know that God owns everything, including yourself and whatever He has graciously given you as steward? Do you appreciate Him for His mercy and grace to you in Christ for this privilege?
  3. Do you love Him enough to be excited about giving back to Him? Does it reflect in your generosity? Don’t you know that your giving reflects your hearts condition with Him?
  4. Do you recognize that God doesn’t need anything from you? Do you also know that He doesn’t need your permission to take whatever He so desires from you? Don’t you know that it is for your sake and blessing that He gives you the opportunity to willingly give to Him (Phil. 4:17)?
  5. So, do you know the blessedness of God’s overflowing joy in response to your willing and generous giving, according to the proportion of what He has blessed you with – what you have, not what you don’t have (2 Cor. 8:11-12)?

I pray your heart would open to the Lord in generosity, and with so much joy and praise to Him; not giving purposely to receive back from Him, but with a willing intention to glorify, praise, and thank Him for just who He is, and for all His mercies and grace to you every day.

Shalom

Alone with Jesus

Mark 4:34

New International Version (NIV) 

He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

For Meditation

  1. Does a father disclose a family secret to a favorite child in public? Is it common practice for a couple to have very intimate discussions outside the bedroom?
  2. Of course, friends meet in public places to converse and talk over many issues; but do you see how two of them often withdraw to have a heart-to-heart conversation?
  3. Doesn’t our Father in heaven seek such private space and moments with us? Do you see why Jesus spoke in parables to the public, but explained everything to His disciples when He was alone with them in private (Mk. 4:34)?
  4. Don’t you have a lot to learn from Him? Haven’t you been seeking His face on issues like direction, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding? Are they not all in His treasury? Has He not invited you to come boldly to His throne of grace, where mercy and grace waits to offer their help to you (Heb. 4:16)? How can He refuse to receive you, if you step aside from your busyness to be alone with Him?
  5. Do you see the opportunities personal devotions, Bible studies, and prayer times open to the believer in Jesus? Do you realize the blessings they offer for Jesus to reveal the secrets of His heart to you? So, why trade such precious times for anything else in this world?

I pray the Lord to open His heart to you when you give Him part of your precious time today.

So: May your heart rejoice in His presence; and may “He put a new song in [your] mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (Ps. 40:3).

Shalom

 

The Treasure of Character

Ruth 3:11 

New International Version (NIV)

And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.

For Meditation

Character! How important and distinguished!

It can be seen from a distance and smelled in an instant. It can either shout and dispel or be quiet and attract.

Roses cannot compete with the fragrance of a noble character. It permeates the odious atmosphere of hatred and rebellion to refresh and delight, bringing warmth to a cold old man like Boaz.

Its evidence cannot be challenged. Neither can its allurements be avoided. People love and crave it. There is nothing they will not give up in exchange for a noble character.

Boaz recognized it in an instant, the minute he laid eyes on Ruth, the Moabite young woman, in his field. The man of good standing in his community smelled the beauty of Ruth’s character, and he was hooked. She delighted his heart so much and consumed him with passionate love – a woman to treasure for the rest of his life.

When God matches a couple, contentment fills both in the end. Like Ruth and Boaz, it’s a love story to be retold until Christ comes.

  1. Do you have a noble character to delight someone who seeks a soul mate?
  2. Do you have a noble character that will set an example for a young soul?
  3. Do you have a noble character that would feed, clothe or shelter a person in need?
  4. Do you have a noble character to comfort, through prayer and presence, someone who has lost a loved one?
  5. Can you display the character of Jesus to delight the heart of a dying soul and bring them to saving knowledge in Christ?

I pray you do, for the love of Christ Jesus who gave His all to save you.

Shalom