New Year's Resolution




Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. 

(1) Our relationship with God: love, joy, and peace
(2) Our relationship with men: long suffering, kindness, and goodness
(3) our hallmark: faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

In short, we are to love the Lord our God with 'all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind', and 'our neighbor as ourself.' (Luke 10:27)

Wait on the Lord




Sometimes we feel that God has let us download because He doesn't provide an immediate answer to our prayer.

But waiting for the Lord can transform us into a people of growing faith.

King David spent years waiting to be crowded king and fleeing from Saul's wrath.

He grew into "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22).

When we become frustrated with God's apparent delay in answering our prayer, let us remember that God is interested in developing faith and perseverance in our character.—James 1:2-4

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Wait on the Lord! 

Death is not the End!




Everything in this world eventually comes to an end.
All things, good and bad, do come to the end;
And life ultimately comes to the end, sometimes sooner than we expect!

It can be quiet disheartening when things come to an end.
We all know the painful emptiness of our heart when we lost our loved one(s)!
How we wish it was not over yet!

Through His death and resurrection, Jesus interjects hope for us.
Death is no longer the end!
Death is the door to eternity with God!

So let our heart not be troubled!
God has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

This life may be full of joys or disappointments.
But we keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the victory of the Cross!
Thank, Lord Jesus, for Your death and resurrection that guarantee our eternal future!

Shifting Shadows




Life changes like shifting shadows.
Nothing stays the same forever.

Some things change fast; 
Others take their sweet time.

To everything there is a season. (Ecclesiastes 3)
There is a time for every purpose under heaven. 
A time for birth and a time for death; 
A time for planting and a time for uprooting;
A time for gain and a time for loss;
A time for tears and a time for laughter;
A time for mourning and a time for dancing.

Sometimes we welcome changes; 
Often not.

But God does not change. (Malachi 3:6)
We can always rely on Him through the shifting seasons of life. 

Talking about apostle Paul




Apostle Paul’s conversion and his early Christian witness were greeted with skepticism and fear.

When he began preaching that Jesus is the Son of God, people said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose?” (Acts 9:21)

Later when Paul went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples, they were afraid of him.

In years to come, Paul never ignored his past, but spoke of it as evidence of the mercy of God.

Like Paul, we don’t need to parade our failures or to pretend they didn’t happen.

Instead, we can thank the Lord that through His grace and power, our past is forgiven, our present is changed, and our future is bright with hope.

Our life is changed forever, and only Jesus can transform our life.

Discovering God’s Will




Often, we want to know right now, God’s will for our life.

We dream and talk about tomorrow, when our duty is for the present. Our duty is to do what God asks us to do today, and wait for Him to reveal the next step.

As we obey God today, we will be strengthened to take the next step and the next step. Eventually, we will learn to walk with God and discover His will for our life.

Never worry about tomorrow. What happens tomorrow is God’s business. You and I are to obey God’s Will today and leave the future to Him.

Psalm 37:23 said, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”

If we walk with God today, we will discover His will for our Tomorrow.

Jesus the Living Water




Jesus is the Living Water who satisfies our deepest needs.
One of Jesus’ most memorable conversations took place at a well where He asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water (John 4:1-42).
It quickly progressed to a discussion of something more when Jesus said to her: “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life”
As a result of the conversation, the woman and many people in the village where she lived came to believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior of the world.
We can’t live without water. Nor can we truly live now or eternally without the living water we receive from knowing Jesus Christ as our Savior. And we can drink of His life-giving water today.
Only Jesus, the Living Water, can satisfy the thirsty soul.

Love in Truth




The Elder, To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1-2)

1. Apostle John loved Gaius in truth.
- He loved him sincerely, for Christ's sake.
- He loved him truthfully and honestly,in God's truth.
Church leaders and members should do likewise. We must love our brethren. We must love them with the right motive, right belief, right manner, right speech and right action. We must love just as the Lord loves us.

2. Apostle John prayed for Gaius.
- He prayed that he may prosper in all things.
- He prayed that he may be in health.
Church leaders and members should do likewise. We must pray for our brethren. We must pray for their health and well being. We must pray for their station, position, and role in life. their undertakings, their visions, missions, and objectives, their future etc.

3. Apostle John praised Gaius for the prosperity of the soul.
- Here lie the priority and centrality of the Christian life.
- Only when the soul is willing to assume a humble position that the Spirit can manage the whole man.
- Only when the soul is first prospered then the material and bodily needs can be better taken care of.
Church leaders and members should do likewise. We must pray for our brethren. We must pray for their salvation, their protection, their spiritual growth and maturity. This then is loving our brethren in truth.
 

Seeking God's Help




I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:5-6)

  • I called on the LORD in distress. The Psalmist told us to pray to God for help and guidance when we are in distress. We are not told to bury ourselves in our work. We are not told to hurt ourselves more by disputing, complaining, grumbling, questioning, or whining. We are not told to indulge ourselves on food, drink, pleasure shopping, or a whole lot of entertainments around. We are told to seek God’s help and not to depend on human solutions and worldly wisdom.

  • The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. God hears prayers and He answers them. He will respond in a way that is best for us. He will rescue us and brought us out into a broad place. Always have faith with God; all our problems will be solved.

  • The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? God is our Shield. God is our Safety. God is our Refuge, God is our Strong Tower. God is our Fortress. He is our Father. God is our Creator. God is our Provider. God is our Sustainer. God is our Helper. God is our Guide. God is our Victory! If God is for us, who can be against us? Who else shall I fear? What can man do to me? I would rather dwell in the house of the LORD, gaze upon His beauty and seek Him. This is all I want!

Pursue God




Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Colossians 3:12-14)

  • As Christians, we must put on Christlike attitudes and actions. We must identify with Him. We must make Him known. We must reveal His presence in our lives.

  • As Christians, we must forbear and forgive one another. It takes great effort to maintain peace and harmony in our local church, within the church leadership, and in our homes. Impatience, bitterness, and ruthlessness will only ruin relationship.

  • As Christians, we must forgive others because Christ had forgiven us. God’s grace should extend out from us to others. When we bear anger, resentment, and bitterness in our hearts, we erect barriers to God's grace within ourselves and hinder its flow to others.

  • Above all, we must put on love. Love is the bond of perfection. God's love is made perfect in us as we love one other. Love brings us closer to God and closer to each other. Love forgives all sins and keeps no record of misdeeds. Love is the source of all virtues.

Have Mercy upon me, O God




Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:1-2)

  • Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness. Here we have the public confession of King David who had an embarrassing record of flagrant sins which he had kept hidden. King David pled for God’s mercy. He recognized that his sin had offended God, and that God could judge him.

    Likewise, all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We deserve God's wrath and condemnation. Like King David, we plead for God's forgiveness and grace through God’s lovingkindness, the atoning blood of Christ, His Son.

  • According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. God's tender mercies are the extension of His love for us, according to His sovereign pleasure. God could have abandoned us and left us to our deserved fate. He could have condemned all of us and send us to Hell. But God chose otherwise. God saved us by judging His Son in our place – Jesus willingly bore our sin on the Cross. There on the Cross, God's justice was satisfied and God's mercy triumphed! God blotted out all our sins of His own free goodness, and shows Himself altogether bountiful, and does not look for any payment for it at our hands. Through His grace, God washed away all our sins for all time by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, our Perfect Paschal Lamb.

    And so when we feel the heavy burden of sins weighing us down, we must confess them to God and ask Him to blot out all our sins on account of what His Son had done for us! We must plead with Him to take our sins all away!

  • Help me, Oh Lord! Save me according to Your lovingkindness! Blot out all my sins! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God The Creator




Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them. (Psalm 69:34)

  • We are told 80% of all life on Earth is found in the seas. Most of that life is out of sight, and many are just too small for our eyes to observe.

  • From the microscopically small to the unsearched reaches of the universe, it is all the work of our Creator.

  • In those magnificent structures, seen and unseen, God’s creative glory is revealed.

  • As we consider the creation, it reminds us to appreciate God’s creation more.

  • And as we grow to understand the wonder of creation, it always points us to the Creator Himself, and call us to worship Him.

  • The psalmist said, “Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them”.

  • If creation itself gives praise to the Creator, we should certainly do the same and more!

  • Oh! What a Mighty God we serve! What a Wonderful Provider! What a Powerful Deliverer! What a Beautiful Savior! What an Everlasting and Dependable Father! What a Great and Trusted Friend! Oh Father of Mercy and Truth, we desire to praise and adore Your Holy Name!

God Told Us The Truth




For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)

  • God always tells us everything we need to know to get to Heaven.

  • Here we are told that sin began with Adam’s disobedience. Sin started from Adam and spread all over the world, and brought death to all men. In Adam all die. This is the destiny of all mankind in Adam. If we disobey God as Adam did, our destiny will be death.

  • Unlike Adam, Christ led a life of obedience to God in every way. He committed no sin. He obeyed God even unto His death on the cross. Because of Christ’s obedience, God made Him the firstfruits of eternal life. Christ is the first one who conquered the power of death.

  • We will either be in Adam or in Christ. There will be no middle ground! And those who are in Christ will be made alive.

  • How can we be in Christ? We are to live by His Word and remain in His love. We are to follow Him in all we do. We must obey His commands.

  • God had told us the truth! He hasn’t left us to find our own way. God doesn’t hide the truth from us. He loves us and wants us to know the whole truth! He showed us how completely sin has affected our lives in order to reinforce just how much Christ has delivered us from. Christ’s work has made us safe. God’s Word has made us sure. Thank You Lord for Your mercy and grace!

Why Me?




My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (James 1:2-3)

  • Some trials are highly related. We may experience multiple trials at the same time, or a string of trials one after another.

  • Having a life crisis is a very challenging and a complicated time. But our God is sovereign. He is still in control. He will still care, protect, and bless us, no matter how bad we have been.

  • Tribulation is used by God to shape and change us. The testing of our faith produces patience and perseverance. We will have more staying power and the ability to endure.

  • We are called to be joyful when we fall into various trials. The trial of our faith causes genuine faith to be strengthened! We are refined by fire and becoming more like Christ.

God's Way




But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7:6)

  • When God is at work in our lives, He makes great changes in us.

  • Throughout the OT, God told His people to expect major changes between Him and them.

  • When God sent Jesus, the Jews felt that their way to God was being destroyed. But Jesus wasn’t destroying anything. He was completing it. The old way paved with laws became a new way paved with the sacrificial love of Jesus.

  • And God is still at work replacing old ways of sin and legalism with the way of love that Jesus completed. When He removes our old ways of thinking and behaving, it may feel as if everything familiar is being destroyed. But God is not destroying anything; He is building a better way. And we can be confident that the end result will be smoother relationships with others and a closer relationship with God.

  • Upheaval often precedes spiritual progress. We must expect subtle changes in our body, mind, intellect, ego, and in all spheres of life. Spiritual progress is treating people and problems God's way more than our way. If we are to be saved, we must change, and we must do it God’s way.

Remember the Giver




Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today. (Deuteronomy 8:11)

  • One of the dangers of owning a lot of stuff is that it can lead to spiritual loss. The more we have and the more we feel we have all we need, the more prone we are to forget our need and desire for God.

  • Yet everything we have comes ultimately from God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Sadly, our enjoyment of God’s provisions might just mean that we end up loving the gift and forgetting the Giver.

  • This is why, when God was getting ready to give His people a life full of bounty in the Promised Land of good and plenty, He warned, “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God”.

  • If God has allowed us to enjoy material abundance, we are to remind ourselves where it came from. All of us, whether rich or poor in world’s goods, have much to be thankful for.

  • Let us heed the warning not to forget the Lord and praise Him for His abundant goodness. Let us love the Giver more than the gifts.

Your Mission Field




Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. (Acts 8:35)

  • God saves us one by one. If you have access to one, then that is your mission field. Every soul with Christ is a missionary, and every soul without Christ is a mission field. And a missionary will always be in the mission field speaking the truth of the Gospel in love to others. He wants to share his experience of Christ, his faithfulness to Christ, and how he was used by God to touch and change the lives of many.

  • One person cannot reach the entire world. No missionary can go out to the whole mission field and speak to everyone. But we can speak to our neighbor. But who is my neighbor? It is the next person we meet along the way.

  • The Spirit brought Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading the Scriptures and needed someone to explain them to him. The Spirit gave Philip the right words to say, and the eunuch confessed his faith in Christ. God opens doors of opportunity when we allow his call to challenge our plans in life.

  • Ask God to bring you to the one He has prepared. He will get you to the right place at the right time to speak to that individual. He will speak through your lips, work through your hands, and fulfill in you the great purpose of His will.

  • Oh Father, we have been called to witness; we have been called to speak of Your dear Son. Oh Holy Spirit, grant us discernment, and lead us to some seeking soul.

  • To be successful in God’s kingdom is to be faithful where He has placed you as a missionary in your mission field.

The Holy Spirit




But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26)

  • Jesus was going away. He told His disciples very soon He would not be with them. He would be arrested, betrayed, condemned and crucified. Jesus was going away to die, be raised to life and ascend back to the Father.

  • But the disciples were not to worry. Jesus would not leave His disciples alone. His Father would send them the Holy Spirit in His name to live in them and to be with them. The Holy Spirit would be a successor of Jesus in His teaching of the disciples. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, Teacher, and Helper would minister to the disciples when Jesus left. He would teach them all things from the Word. He would give them the complete understanding of God’s Word.

  • The Holy Spirit would only teach what Jesus taught. Jesus had brought the fullness of revelation. He had given us all we need to know. The Holy Spirit would continue to bring to mind the things about Christ.

  • As we open the Bible to read or study, the Spirit of Truth is with us to guide us into all truth. On our own we are blind, but through the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit we can see.

  • We thank you Holy Spirit, because you are dwelling in our hearts and transforming us into the likeness of Jesus.

In The Love of God




Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:21)

  • On cold days, we often find places to keep us warm.

  • In our quest for holiness, we must keep ourselves in the love of God.

  • We must think about God’s love. We must find ways to enjoy His radiance and warmth all day long.

  • Let us dwell on the thoughts that God always love us.

  • We are God’s beloved; we are God’s children.

  • God loved us even before we were born. And He loved us now!

  • Romans 8:39 made it clear that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

  • The apostle John often described himself as the disciple Jesus loved. We must do the same! We are the disciple Jesus loves! This should be our theme all day long!

  • Let us keep ourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 

Preach Christ




For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5)
  • The apostle Paul spread the gospel to distant regions of the world.
  • He extended himself as a servant to meet the needs of others (2 Cor. 11:16-29).
  • He wrote this about serving: “We do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake”.
  • Not all of us are called to endure hardship to spread the gospel in distant lands.
  • But each of us is responsible as a servant of God to share Christ with people in our sphere of influence.
  • It is our privilege to help our neighbors, friends, and relatives.
  • Let us ask God for openings to serve and to talk about Jesus who gave Himself for us.
  • We serve God by sharing His Word with others.


Something is Better Left Unsaid




Many things we do know or understand,
But we prefer not to say.
We try to keep silence,
when we can't help.

In life...
Some things are better left unsaid,
Some hurts are better left behind quietly,
And some memories only recalled for very short whiles...

Many things...
After going through,
Are better left within us.
Many happenings...
are better left unsaid.
it is enough that we knew.

Life is quite an experience to go through.
I know and you know...
But It's your take and nobody else's.
 

The Humble and Better Way




Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3)

  • As Christians, we can choose to think that we are superior.
     
  • Or we can humbly serve the interests of others.
     
  • The apostle Paul said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).
     
  • As we focus on Jesus’ example, We can learn to consider others’ needs more important than our own.
     
  • The Lord Jesus took the form of a bondservant, and gave Himself up for us.
     
  • His sacrifice for us shows us the humble and better way.
     
  • Let us learn to be more like the Master.
     
  • Let us have more meekness and more humility.
     
  • Let us have more zeal to labor, more courage to be true.
     
  • Let us have more consecration for work He bids us do.
     
  • Our Joy comes from putting others’ welfare ahead of our own.
     
  • Christ’s love show us how we must love our neighbors as ourselves.


Pressure Lamp




Some old story ---

I wonder if you still use pressure lamp in your home today. Most of us don't do it anymore. We rely too heavily on electricity today.

I had it back in my childhood years. It was always a delight to have a bright light all over the house at night.

As a young adult, I was promoted and given the responsibility to light the pressure lamp every evening. It was an honor I greatly appreciated until today.

But it wasn't easy to master the basic skills. I was sweating all over before I saw my first gas mantle light.

The tank had to be 3/4 full with kerosene, giving enough space for air. The fuel cap and the pressure relief valve were then closed. Then came the pumping of air into the tank with full strokes, the part I really enjoyed and sweated a lot. LOL.

Then the spirit cup was filled with alcohol. The fuel was lit in the cup through a round hole on the bottom part of the lantern. The pressure knob was turned on and the mantle getting brighter. Wow! Such bright light! It was wonderful!

But one thing I disliked: I never enjoyed installing a new mantle when the old one is worn-out or torn. And I still do!

The pressure lamp lit up the big house.

As school children, we did our homework and studied. The adults did what they had to do softly, not willing to disturb the peace and serenity of the night.

The pressure lamp often brought the family together. We enjoyed one another's company.

And it was fun and joy with unspoiled happiness during festivals and celebrations. We sang, we laughed heartily, we danced, we ate.... etc again and again. The pressure lamp brought us together with so much happiness, caringness, freshness, passion, love... No ipad, no iphone, no tablet, no computer, no video game, no TV... Just a transistor radio with dry cells under the bright light of the old pressure lamp...
 
 

Our Good Father




For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. (1 Samuel2: 22)

The good Father will not abandon His people!

The good Father will always welcome His people home!

The good Father will always hug his prodigal sons!

The good Father will never let his children go hungry!

The good Father will never let His people to continue dishonoring Him!

The good Father will never allow His children to continue walking in sin!

The good Father will always rescue His people.

The good Father will always bring His people home!

And the good Father will be with His people forever!

How good it is to have God as our Father!

Befriending God




And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. (James 2:23)

  • The creation of the world shows there is a Designer behind the universe.
     
  • The conscience indicates a Lawgiver behind each human’s sense of right and wrong.
     
  • The creativity we express in music and art reflect the same attribute that the Creator possesses.
     
  • Christ reveals what God is like in human form.
     
  • And the communion or fellowship of the Spirit in the Christian heart manifests the reality of God.
     
  • The Bible tells us there will be those who deny the reality of God.
     
  • But James reminds us of His reality and how an Old Testament believer befriended Him: “‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God”.
     
  • Have you met the redeeming God?
     
  • He gave His Son to become your real, eternal Friend.
     
  • The dearest friend on earth is but a mere shadow compared to Jesus.


We Are From One Blood




And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings. (Acts 17:26)

  • All people have their roots in the Creator God.
     
  • Therefore all are equal.
     
  • That was what the apostle Paul told the Athenians: “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth”.
     
  • We are all from one blood.
     
  • We are not to pride ourselves as a superior people.
     
  • We are not to call others barbarians.
     
  • We all descended from our first parents, Adam and Eve.
     
  • Neither race nor ethnicity is superior or inferior to another.
     
  • We stand in awe of our Creator.
     
  • God has made us all.
     
  • God has given to all life, breath, and all things.
     
  • We are equal in God’s sight.
     
  • Together we must praise and honor Him.
     
  • God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.
     
  • God has made us from one blood.
     
  • We are from one blood.
     
  • We are one people.

Salvation is Free, But It Is Not Cheap




Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)

  • We are all vulnerable to fantastic offers.
     
  • They pay us nothing but trouble.
     
  • We are offered false hope that ends in dashed dreams.
     
  • There is one offer, however, that is genuine, though fantastic beyond belief.
     
  • It is the offer God makes to us.
     
  • It is salvation through faith in Jesus’ finished work on the cross: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
     
  • It is an offer that cost Him greatly.
     
  • And we get the benefits.
     
  • The book of Romans tells us, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”.
     
  • By saying yes to salvation, we can have hope, peace, forgiveness, incomparable riches, and redemption.
     
  • This is the real deal.
     
  • And Jesus’ death and resurrection guarantees it.
     
  • Our salvation was infinitely costly to God.
     
  • But it is absolutely free to us.
     
  • It is a fantastic offer.
     
  • Come and get it.

Pride Before the Fall




Then Uzziah prepared for them, for the entire army, shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and slings to cast stones. And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones. So his fame spread far and wide, for he was marvelously helped till he became strong. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. (2 Chronicles 26:14-16)

  • A tragic flaw causes the downfall of a hero.
     
  • This was true of Uzziah, who was crowned king of Judah at age 16.
     
  • For many years, he sought the Lord.
     
  • And while he did, God gave him great success.
     
  • But things changed when he was strong.
     
  • His heart was lifted up, to his destruction.
     
  • Uzziah entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar.
     
  • He openly defied God’s decree.
     
  • Perhaps pride convinced him that God’s rules applied to everyone except him.
     
  • When Uzziah raged against the priests who told him this was not right, the Lord struck him with leprosy.
     
  • In life, we often see a person of good reputation fall from honor into disgrace and suffering.
     
  • King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death.
     
  • He dwelt in an isolated house.
     
  • He was cut off from the house of the Lord.
     
  • It is a lesson to us.
     
  • We need to follow the Lord with a humble heart, all the days of our lives.



Heaven is Home




For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)

  • As Christians, our true home is heaven.
     
  • But sometimes our desires lure us to the here and now.
     
  • We enjoy God’s good gifts. We enjoy marriage, children, grandchildren, travel, careers, friends etc.
     
  • At the same time, the Bible challenges us to focus on things above (Col. 3:1-2).  These include the unseen benefits of heaven: God’s enduring presence (Rev. 22:3-5), unending rest (Heb. 4:9), and an everlasting inheritance (1 Peter 1:4).
     
  • All believers should desire the heavenly inheritance.
     
  • The stronger the faith, the more fervent the desire.
     
  • Several Old Testament believers mentioned in Hebrews 11 had strong faith in God that enabled them to embrace His promises before receiving them.  One such promise was heaven.
     
  • If we too put our faith in God, God will give us a desire for that heavenly country and will loosen our grip on this world.
     
  • When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.
     
  • When we all see Jesus, We will sing and shout the victory.
     
  • For the Christian, heaven is home.

Leaning on God's Everlasting Arms




Therefore say to the children of Israel: "I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. (Exodus 6:6)

  • Some of us knew the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior for years.
  • But we often rebelled against Him as our Lord.
  • Then through many difficult circumstances, we sensed the Lord Jesus Christ reaching out to us, and we turned back to Him.
  • Eventually our arms grew stronger, and we had done many things to God’s glory.
  • God’s outstretched arm restored our spiritual life.
  • He gave strength to our arms to enable us to serve Him with the gift He gave us.
  • The Lord promised Moses that His outstretched arm would rescue the Israelites from bondage in Egypt (Ex. 6:6).
  • He kept that promise even though His often-rebellious people doubted.
  • God’s mighty arm is outstretched for us as well.
  • No matter the outcome of our situation, He can be trusted to bring about His will for each one of us.
  • We can depend on God’s strong arm.
  • We can lean on the everlasting arms.
  • With God’s strength behind us and His arms beneath us, we can face whatever lies ahead of us.


The Times of Joy and Sorrow for Mothers




To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

  • We rejoice with mothers for their precious babies who have come into the world.
     
  • We counsel anxious mothers and try to assure them that God is watching over their rebellious teenagers.
     
  • We stand with mothers at the bedside of injured or ill children and feel their pain.
     
  • We cry with mothers in their grief when their son or daughter dies.
     
  • Mary, the mother of Jesus, also experienced times of joy and sorrow.
     
  • What joy she must have felt when the Christ-child was born! (Luke 2:7).
     
  • What excitement when the shepherds and later the wise men came to worship Him (Luke 2:8-20; Matt. 2:1-12).
     
  • What uneasiness when Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35).
     
  • And what heart-wrenching grief as she watched her Son dying on the cross! (John 19:25-30).
     
  • But her seasons of being a mother didn’t end with that terrible scene.
     
  • She rejoiced that He rose from the grave.
     
  • Mothers, and all of us for that matter, experience many great joys and intense sorrows.
     
  • But when we submit our lives to the Lord, every season of life can serve His eternal purposes.

Always Be Preparing




Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
(2 Timothy 2)

  • Living a life that pleases the Lord takes mental, spiritual, and physical preparation.
  • A heart dedicated to God must be prepared to serve Him (1 Sam. 7:3).
  • The Bible tells us to always be preparing.
  • We are to be ready to do good works (2 Tim. 2:21).
  • We are to defend scriptural truth (1 Peter 3:15).
  • We are to share the Gospel with others.
  • Even our giving takes planning (2 Cor. 9:5).
  • And that is just a start.
  • There is some stress, though, when we are always getting something ready for somebody.
  • It’s hard to balance priorities with the pressure to prepare a lesson, a message, or a document continually on our mind.
  • But we don’t need to stress, because God will enable us with His power.
  • Let’s ask God to guide us as we prepare to serve, honor, and tell others about Him.
  • The best preparation for tomorrow is always the right use of today.

But this He said to test him




John 6:1-15

The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle of the Lord Jesus which is recorded in all 4 gospels.

This miracle occurred between 6 months and a year after the healing of the man at the pool.

This period, on which John is silent, is covered in Luke 6:1 to 9:10 and Mark 3:1 to 6:30. During the same period, the Lord Jesus taught 'The Sermon on the Mount' (Matthew 5 to 7).

The Lord Jesus had gone to the mountain to be alone with His disciples.

But the crowds followed Him, attracted by the miracles which He had performed.

They became hungry.

The Lord asked Philip where they could buy bread. This He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do.

Though Philip had already seen great miracles such as the turning of water into wine, he did not have miracles in his thinking. He could not see how such a huge crowd could be fed.

We may be critical of Philip for his lack of faith, but we too, sometimes fail when the Lord tests us.

We may find ourselves in very difficult situations when we should instinctively turn to the Lord in prayer, trusting to see Him work, but we do not. Oh, let us be more prayerful and more conscious of the Lord's presence with us! He will never let us down!

Andrew introduced to the Lord Jesus a lad who had 5 barley loaves and 2 fishes, and Jesus performed the miracle.

Every person in the crowd was fed with plenty to spare.

The crowd responded to this miracle by acknowledging that the Lord Jesus was 'the Prophet' (or the Messiah).

They wanted to make Him their king but He slipped away from them, to be alone on a mountain.

They did not realise that His kingdom is not political or earthly.

They wanted a miracle-worker to meet their needs, but they were not willing to follow Him, in obedience to His Word and in self-denial.

Does the Lord Jesus have the sincere love and devotion of our heart or are we lukewarm in our devotion to Him?

God Gave His Only Begotten Son




For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son
John 3:16-21

Nicodemus may have been very surprised to hear that he, a devout Jew, needed to be born again. He must also have been puzzled that the Son of Man, the Messiah from God, must be lifted up to die in order to save sinners.

He is now to learn about the amazing love of God.

In his first letter, the Apostle John makes a statement about the nature of God: 'God is love'. Here in his gospel, he makes a statement about the love of God in action – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

This is often the very first Bible verse that we memorize after we are saved.

God did not spare His beloved Son, but punished Him for our sins. What wonderful love!

The Jews were expecting the Messiah to come to punish all of their enemies. But Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to bring salvation!

God's love was not restricted to the Jews. He loved the world and gave His Son to save sinners from all nations. What a glorious message we have to declare! Whoever believes and trusts in the Lord Jesus, whether he is a Jew or a Gentile, has everlasting life.

Verse 18 contains a very solemn statement: ‘He who does not believe is condemned already’.

Why do so many refuse to trust in Christ? It is because they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil and they hate the light.

Men and women refuse to believe in Christ because they love their sin!

If we have not come to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness, if we have not repented of our sin, if we have not trusted in Him to save us, may these solemn words drive us to call upon the Savior.

He who does not believe is condemned already. Why choose condemnation when in Christ we can enjoy everlasting life? Let us come to the Lord Jesus and rejoice in His gift of Salvation.

The Sacrificial Lamb




Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:19-34)

The ministry of John the Baptist was so powerful that it attracted huge crowds.

Many people wondered if he was the Messiah (the Christ).

John was very careful to point out to the priests and Levites sent by the Pharisees that he was not the Christ.

John also denied that he was Elijah or the coming Prophet. The Jews were expecting Elijah to return to earth. The 'Prophet' is another term for the Messiah.

John was a great preacher and a very humble man who pointed men away from himself to Christ.

He was the herald who called on the people to prepare for the coming of Christ among them.

The Lord Jesus came the next day to be baptized and John pointed Him out as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Why did Jesus submit to baptism if it is for sinners who have repented? Jesus identified Himself with sinful mankind by taking human flesh and this is symbolized in His baptism. His baptism also represented the baptism of terrible suffering which He was to suffer in His death as our sacrificial Lamb.

John also testified that Jesus is the Son of God who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. This title of Jesus proves His equality with God the Father. The Jewish leadership recognized His claim to be equal with God and they hated Him for it.

The almighty Son of God died as a sacrificial Lamb to save sinners. That was John's message. It is ours too! The message does not change! Sinful men and women still need to be saved and the only Savior is the risen Lord Jesus Christ!

To Live Is Christ




"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
- Philippians 1:21 -

The believer did not always live to Christ.

He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Savior making a propitiation for his guilt.

From the moment of the new birth the man begins to live to Christ.

He is willing to part with all that he has.

The Lord Jesus Christ has completely won his love.

To His glory he would live.

In defense of His gospel he would die.

Paul's words mean more than most men think.

They imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ.

His life was for Jesus.

Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life.

Can we honestly say that for us to live is Christ?

Many carry out this principle in some measure.

But how many dare to say that he has lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did?

Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian.

Let us present ourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ, to live only in Him and to Him.

The Savior Is Ours




"In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances."
- Isaiah 49:8 -

Jesus Christ is Himself the sum and substance of the covenant.

He is the property of every Christian believer.

Has He power? That power is ours to support and strengthen us, to overcome our enemies, and to preserve us to the end.

Has He love? There is not a drop of love in His heart which is not ours.

Has He justice? It is ours, for He will by His justice see to it that all which is promised to us in the covenant of grace shall be secured to us.

All that He has as perfect man is ours.

As a perfect man the Father's delight was upon Him.

He stood accepted by the Most High.

God's acceptance of Christ is our acceptance.

The love which the Father set on a perfect Christ, He now sets on us.

For all that Christ did is us.

That perfect righteousness which Jesus wrought out, when through His stainless life He kept the law and made it honorable, is us, and is imputed to us.

Christ is in the covenant.

What a blessing to know that the Savior is our!

The Life Of Christ




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

When the Lord in mercy passed by and saw us in our blood, He said, "Live."

This he did first, because life is the most essential thing in spiritual matters.

Until life is bestowed, we are incapable of partaking in the things of God.

This life which grace confers upon the saints at the moment of their quickening is the life of Christ.

The life of Christ runs into us, and establishes a living connection between our souls and the Lord Jesus.

Faith is the grace which perceives this union, having proceeded from it as its first fruit.

Faith joins the body of the Church to its all-glorious Head.

Faith lays hold upon the Lord Jesus with a firm and determined grasp.

She knows His excellence and worth.

No temptation can induce her to repose her trust elsewhere.

The Lord Jesus is delighted with this heavenly grace.

He never ceases to strengthen and sustain His people by the loving embrace and all-sufficient support of His eternal arms.

Here is a living, sensible, and delightful union which brings forth streams of love, confidence, sympathy, complacency, and joy.

Then, the heart is as near to heaven as it can be, and is prepared for the enjoyment of the most sublime and spiritual kind of fellowship.

The Lord Jesus Became Poor




For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. - 2 Corinthians 8:9 -

The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted.

Yet for our sakes He became poor.

It was impossible for our Divine Lord to have fellowship with us unless He had imparted to us His own abounding wealth, and had become poor to make us rich.

Had He remained upon His throne of glory, and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving His salvation, there would be no communion with Him.

It was necessary that the righteous Saviour should give to His sinning brethren His own perfection.

It was necessary that we, the poor and guilty, should receive His fulness of grace.

Only then could we be able to embrace each other in true and hearty fellowship.

Jesus must clothe His people in His own garments before He can admit them into His palace of glory.

He must wash them in His own blood, or else they will be too defiled for the embrace of His fellowship.

Here is love!

That for our sake the Lord Jesus became poor that He might lift us up into communion with Himself.

Come, Come to Me




"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28 -

The cry of the Christian religion is the gentle word, "Come."

The law was a dispensation of terror; the gospel draws with bands of love.

Jesus is the good Shepherd going before His sheep, bidding them to follow Him, and ever leading them onwards with the sweet word, "Come."

The law repels; the gospel attracts.

The law shows the distance between God and man; the gospel bridges brings the sinner across it.

From the first moment of our spiritual life until we are ushered into glory, the language of Christ to us will be, "Come, come to me."

As a mother puts out her finger to her little child and woos it to walk by saying, "Come," even so does Jesus.

He will always be ahead of us, bidding us to follow Him.

He will always go before us to pave our way, and clear our path, and we shall hear His voice calling us after Him all through life.

In the solemn hour of our death, His sweet words shall usher us into the heavenly world with "Come, come to Me."

As His voice to us is "Come," our response to Him will be, "Come, Lord, and abide with me. Come, and occupy alone the throne of my heart. Reign there and consecrate me entirely to Your service."