Read Any Good Christians, Lately?

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
2 Corinthians 3:2

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It’s been said that Christians may be the only bible that others will ever read.   No one is exempted from that!

Being a follower of Christ is a privilege, but it’s one that must not be taken lightly. There are responsibilities that come with it and that includes being accountable to everyone of your words, actions, lifestyle, and most importantly, how you treat others.

We may say that only God knows what’s in our hearts, and that we cannot please everyone. That’s true. But that doesn’t mean we go on neglecting our part in trying to win others for Jesus. It doesn’t mean that we go on with the lifestyle we want (there must be repentance). And it doesn’t mean that we regard ourselves over and above everyone else just because we now belong to the Kingdom.

Being a Christian means we walk in this world as our Savior did. We love. We serve. We share His message of salvation to everyone.

What are other people reading in your life? Are you truly living and carrying out what God’s Word teaches you?

Lord, teach me to walk in Your ways and to make my life truly reflect You and what You have been teaching me. Cleanse my heart of the old me and fill it with the desire to serve You and others. I pray that what others see in my life spark in them the desire to know You, whom I love and serve. Amen.

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Stew For Sale!

“Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
Genesis 25:29-34

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Many are all too familiar with this story. Esau was exhausted and famished that he did not think twice to sell his birthright in exchange for a portion of Jacob’s stew. During a time when a birthright was considered holy, it would be reckless to give this up. Not only would one relinquish his rights and privileges, he is also giving up his leadership role in the family and an inheritance twice that of the other sons.

For us Christians, our birthright is our spiritual inheritance – our position in Christ after having been saved by God’s grace.

After reading this, many will be quick to say that they would never do anything as rash as Esau’s actions, but how many times have we nonchalantly shrugged off our position in Christ for something trivial and temporary?

Proverbs 19:2 says

Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

It is not wise to make rash decisions when you are highly emotional. It could either be you are too happy, too depressed, too angry or in a state that you cannot really think straight or rationally.

Just like Esau, most people give up or sell their birthright when they are:

  1. Exhausted (v.30) – Esau was tired and famished from hunting his game.
  1. Exaggerated (v.32) – “I am about to die!” Nobody dies just by skipping a meal!
  1.  Execrate (strongly despise) (v.34) – The negation of love is not to hate. The absence of love is called “despise”. It means like you don’t give it much importance or value.

Reflection: What have I been desiring so much that I have or almost given up my birthright?

If we have any respect to how holy our birthright is, and if we truly value it, we should not exchange what is given to us by our Father for the sake of temporary pleasure.

The Father Knows Best

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!“ (Matthew 7:11)

It is every parent’s desire to give their child the best they can give according to their means. Sacrifices are made most of the time just to give the child their needs, as well as their wants—within reasonable limits, of course.

Have you ever observed how children ask their parents for something they truly need or desire? Children, in all their innocence, approach their parents with full expectation and confidence. How amazing is it that most of the time, children get something even greater than what they ask for? That’s because parents—in their natural inclination to give their children what they think is best—know what to give their children. And what they know is, of course, limited to their knowledge of what is good.

“Father” is an intentional name that God gave us to call Him.

This is an assurance that He will never give us what is bad for us. This is an assurance that He will always give us what will be best for us. As I read this particular passage over and over, a sense of peace and rest settles in me. Jesus encourages us to pray with impudence, showing that our heavenly Father is better than our earthly father for in Him, there is no evil. We take confidence in the fact that God is unlimited in His goodness—free from sin or weaknesses that our earthly father has.

As I further reflect on this passage, I am reminded: my heavenly Father is the creator of this universe; my heavenly Father gives according to His riches; my heavenly Father, who did not spare His own Son Jesus—how much more will He give us the smaller things according to His will.

So we, as His children, should come to Him with childlike faith, with importunity and boldness, in full expectation that our all-perfect Parent will give His best answer.

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Today, God offers you the best gift there is—His loving care and presence over your life through the Holy Spirit. Come to Him and cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.

Amazing Weakness

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Weakness is a quality this world frowns upon. It is the state or condition of lacking strength. Along with it is the frailty to succeed in school, at work, in ministry or even in personal relationships. In other words, it is not good.

Paul uttered these words after pointing out that he had a thorn in the flesh, it was a struggle for him to live under such harassment from Satan. Paul pleaded three times that his thorn would be taken away. He clearly wanted God to remove it but the Lord allowed it to remain so that Paul would not become conceited. He lived in the brokenness. He gloried in his weakness.

In the same way for the Christian, weakness is a state in which we humbly acknowledge our inability to succeed. It is in this state that we come to God, not of own effort and merit.

Weakness in us is greatness in God.

Weakness in spirit brings forth the declaration of helplessness and surrender, compelling us to step back, allowing God to be who He is, take over, and demonstrate His glory and might. Weakness pulls us down to our knees. Paul certainly was humbled by his weakness that allowed him to say “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (v10).

Weakness in the Christian is the revelation of God’s grace. And in that alone, we can boast.

We boast of our God’s sovereignty and omnipotence. We boast of our Creator’s splendor and might. We boast of our King’s victory and power. In the moment that we allow God to be God, true success is accomplished. The strength and power that God supplies amidst our weakness and limitations bring the ultimate glory to Him and not to us.

Are there things in your life that you are still trying to control, solve, or overcome? Do you have weaknesses or limitations that you cannot accept? Perhaps its time that you hand over the reigns to Him who is truly able, and see how amazing your weakness will turn out to be.

 

Heart vs. Mind

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“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”  (Romans 10:10)

The world, more often than not, places more trust and importance on the mind, believing that the mind is more powerful in achieving great things. But for the Christian, it is the heart that must drive us. Salvation is often referred to as a change of heart when someone repents, turns from their past, and follows Jesus. It is the heart that is regenerated at the point of salvation and springs forth in the life of the Christian.

“When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,” (Acts 11:23)

In Acts, Luke uses the heart to encourage new believers. The bowels were considered the seat of the emotions while the heart is the seat of the will. And because he has personally experienced that upon salvation, believers surrender the will to Jesus, Luke knows that this is what will drive Christians to spiritually mature.

Why the heart? We may believe this or not, but the mind is actually more fickle than the heart. Recall a time when you had to make a decision. How many times did you go back and forth before finally deciding? Now, recall the time you fell in love. I sure hope that it was not a question of who you will love or whether you will love or not. The heart, or will, is the source that drives the direction of our lives.

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  (James 1:6-8)

We hear of the phrases double-minded (or of two minds) but very seldom double-hearted or willed. If a person’s faith – the foundation of his or her principles – is certain and firm, making decisions would not be as difficult as compared to one whose fundamental belief is planted on an unstable rock. Today, let your mind be renewed by these words of truth and let your heart be transformed in belief; this newness will make your will in line and in accordance to God’s will, from His mind and His heart.

Thy Way, Not Mine

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Thy way, not mine, O Lord,

However dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand,

Choose out the path for me.

 

Smooth let it be or rough,

It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads

Right onward to Thy rest.

 

I dare not choose my lot;

I would not, if I might;

Choose Thou for me, my God,

So I shall walk aright.

 

Take Thou my cup, and it

With joy or sorrow fill,

As best to Thee may seem;

Choose Thou my good and ill.

 

Choose Thou for me my friends,

My sickness or my health;

Choose Thou my cares for me

My poverty or wealth.

 

The kingdom that I seek

Is Thine: so let the way

That leads to it be Thine,

Else I must surely stray.

 

Not mine, not mine the choice

In things or great or small;

Be Thou my Guide, my Strength

My Wisdom, and my All.

 

–Horatius Bonar