Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stay Faithful To God

5 All who are victorious (who overcome/conquerors) will be clothed in white. I (Jesus) will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before My Father and His angels that they are Mine.  Revelation 3:5 (NLT).

One of the main themes of the Holy Bible is God’s call to persevere and remain faithful to Him because He is faithful (see e.g., Isaiah 49:7; Psalm 36:5; 1 Corinthians 1:9). God never promised that life would be easy. However, God promised to be with us and never leave us (Isaiah 43:2-4; Hebrews 13:5-6). God through His Holy Spirit gives faithful believers the help, power, and strength to overcome any obstacle they may face (Psalm 118:5-9).

As a reward for their faithfulness, the names of all faithful believers of God (God the Father, God the Son-Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit) are listed in the Book of Life. This Book represents God's record of those who have humbly remained faithful, dependent, and obedient to Him, despite the many ups and downs of this life.  All faithful believers of God are guaranteed a listing in the Book of Life (see also Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 20:12, 15). Even more, God promises faithful believers a new clothing (“clothed in white”) as a sign of their victory, loyalty, and purity with God.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just A Dab Will Do!

20 Jesus answered, “Because your faith is too small (little). I tell you the truth, if your faith is as big as a (small, tiny) mustard seed (kernel, poppy seed), you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. All things will be possible for you.”
Matthew 17:20 (NCV).

God wants us to trust in Him Even a small dab of faith in God can move mountains and accomplish great things (Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 21:21). God is all-powerful, and He can overcome any challenge we face. Even more, we must never put faith in human strength and human effort, but in God’s power alone.  So, if you are facing a mountain that seems so big and un-moveable, turn your heart to God and trust in Him to move your mountain!

5 This is what the Lord says: “A curse is placed on those who trust other people, who depend on humans for strength, who have stopped trusting the Lord. 6 They are like a bush in a desert that grows in a land where no one lives, a hot and dry land with bad soil. They don’t know about the good things God can give. 7 But the person who trusts in the Lord will be blessed. The Lord will show him that He can be trusted. 8 He will be strong, like a tree planted near water that sends its roots by a stream. It is not afraid when the days are hot; its leaves are always green. It does not worry in a year when no rain comes; it always produces fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NCV).

 The New Student Bible. Zondervan Publishing Company, 1992.
 Life Application Study Bible. Tyndale House Publishers, 2005.
 Our Daily Bread. RBC Ministries 2012.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Obey God

Moses:  5 Look, I have taught you the laws and rules the Lord my God commanded me. Now you can obey the laws in the land you are entering, in the land you will take. 6 Obey these laws carefully, in order to show the other nations that you have wisdom and understanding. When they hear about these laws, they will say, “This great nation of Israel is wise and understanding.” 7 No other nation is as great as we are. Their gods do not come near them, but the Lord our God comes near when we pray (call) to Him. 8 And no other nation has such good teachings and commands as those I am giving to you today. Deuteronomy 4:5-8 (NCV).

As the people of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reminded the people of the importance of trusting, loving, and obeying God's laws (e.g., Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 8:1-20; Deuteronomy 10:12-13). However, many people today question if these Old Testament laws still applies to followers of Jesus Christ (also called Christians).

God gave Israel these laws to guide and direct the people toward healthy, happy, and devoted lives to Him. Moreover, God gave these laws to Israel so they would serve as an example or witness to the surrounding nations of God’s righteousness, mercy, compassion, wisdom, and understanding (see also Psalms 145:8-9; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 15:33). Similarly, Jesus Christ teaches His followers to be the light to the world of God’s righteous and wisdom (see Matthews 5:14–16).

The Ten Commandments are the heart of the Old Testament laws and they still apply to Christians today (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Matthew 19:16-19). These Commandments form a central core of ethics and goodness. The phrase “Judeo-Christian ethics,” often spoken in U.S. courtrooms and Congress, refer to the principles taken from the Ten Commandments.  Like Moses, Jesus commanded that we must allow these Commandments to penetrate our hearts and inner being for a balanced, fulfilled, and joyous life (see Matthew 22:34-40).

The New Student Bible. Zondervan Publishing Company, 1992.
Life Application Study Bible. Tyndale House Publishers, 2005.

Life’s Questions

Life is filled with questions. Troubled by what he saw in the world, the Prophet Habakkuk was a man who sought answers from God. Habakkuk saw a dying, hurting, and unjust world, and it broke his heart (Habakkuk 1:2-4). At the time, violence and injustice described Judah from the evil reign of King Manasseh (697–642 BC) to the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC). So, Habakkuk took his questions directly to God, in prayer.

Then God spoke to Habakkuk, telling the prophet to write His answer plainly so that the people would see and understand. God revealed to Habakkuk a vision of His glory (Habakkuk 2:14) that brought the prophet to solid faith (Habakkuk 2:4) and joyful praise (Habakkuk 3:16-19). God told Habakkuk that evil and injustice will not win, but eventually evil doers will be judged, and God’s goodness, power, and love will triumph.

Like the Prophet Habakkuk, we can also bring our questions and complaints to God. God wants us to come to Him with our struggles, problems, and doubts, as well as our joys, praises, and love. God is real and working in this world. Even more, God wants a personal relationship with us. We can trust God!

The teachings of Habakkuk gives everyone sound reasons to exercise faith and commitment to the supreme, holy, and just God (God the Father, God the Son – Jesus Christ, God the Spirit). Habakkuk 2:2-20 reminds us that the living God is not an absentee god. God is living, breathing and in control (Psalm 47:9; Acts 17:24-28; Colossians 1:15-20). On the surface, God’s power is not always visible, but God controls every situation and circumstance. Even more, God will ultimately bring justice to His world (see Habakkuk 2:2-3, 14). Judgment may not come quickly, but God’s judgment of evil and sin will come. God is still in control of this world and He will not overlook sin.

So let us all seek God’s high standards of faith and morality (e.g., see Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:1-21; Psalm 15; Amos 5:4; Habakkuk 1:12; Micah 6:8; Habakkuk 2:4). Those who love, trust, and obey God will find joy and happiness in Him (Habakkuk 3:18; Philippians 4:4) and live victoriously under any circumstances (Habakkuk 2:20; Habakkuk 3:16-19). The book Habakkuk begins with a complaint, but ends with one of the most beautiful songs in the Bible.

I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain! Habakkuk 3:18-19 (The Message Bible).

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Story of Jonah: God Saves!

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish: 2 "In my great trouble I cried to the Lord and He answered me; from the depths of death I called, and Lord, You heard me! . . . 7 "When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord. And my earnest prayer went to you in Your holy Temple. . . . 9 "I will never worship anyone but You! For how can I thank you enough for all You have done? I will surely fulfill my promises. For my deliverance (salvation, victory, real help) comes from the Lord alone." 10 And the Lord ordered the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach, and it did. Jonah 2:1-2, 7, 8-10 (The Living Bible), see also Psalm 3:8; Isaiah 12:2; Revelation 7:10.

God told the Prophet Jonah to take the message of His love, grace, and forgiveness to some sinful people, the Assyrians, and give the Assyrians an opportunity to repent. The Assyrians were a great but evil and cruel nation and Israel’s enemies (Jonah 1:1-2).  However, when Jonah heard God tell him to go tell the Assyrians to turn from their sins and worship God (repentance), Jonah disobeyed God and went in the opposite direction (Jonah 1:3). Eventually, Jonah’s disobedience led him into the stomach of a great fish – buried alive (Jonah 1:17; see also Hebrews 12:6). But inside the depths of sadness, Jonah came to his sense and called upon God for help. Even from inside the fish, God heard Jonah's prayer (Jonah 2).

Like Jonah, we can call-out to God for help from anyplace, anywhere, and anytime and God will hear us (Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:23-24). No sin or disobedience can separate us from God’s rescue, if we genuinely turn away from sin and turn to Him for help (see also Luke 15:11-24). Calling out to God in prayer is God’s life line to His people. William Law said, "He who has learned to pray, has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life."

The story of Jonah reveals that God’s love and compassion is for ALL people – Jews and non-Jews, religious and non-religious, saint and sinner.  The living God is willing to help and save anyone who will repent, turn from their sins, and call upon Him in genuine trust and belief. So, commit daily and fully to God with all your heart, mind, and soul. A wholehearted commitment, allegiance and devotion to God create in you a solid foundation of God’s full and never ending mercy, grace, and love.

Life Application Study Bible. Tyndale House Publishers, 2005.
NLT Study Bible. Tyndale House Publishers, 2008.
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary.  Victor Books, 1989.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jesus’ Longest Prayer

1 After Jesus said these things, He (Jesus) looked toward heaven and prayed, “Father, the time has come. Give glory to Your Son so that the Son can give glory to You. 2 You gave the Son power (authority) over all people so that the Son could give eternal life to all those You gave Him. 3 And this is eternal life: that people know You, the only true God, and that they know Jesus Christ, the One You sent. 4 Having finished the work You gave Me to do, I brought You glory on earth. 5 And now, Father, give Me glory with You; give Me the glory I had with You before the world was made. John 17:1-5 (NCV).

John 17 records Jesus' longest prayer. This prayer is the true “Lord’s Prayer” and is often called “the High Priestly Prayer of Christ” or “the Lord’s High Priestly Prayer” (in contrast to the “Model Prayer” of Matthew 6:9–13; Luke 11:2–4). In many aspects, this prayer it is a model prayer for all Christians. First, Jesus’ eyes looked toward heaven and prayed to God the Father for His help and need. Lifting one’s eyes to God was a common practice when one prayed in the Holy Scriptures. Also, Jesus prayed for others by praying for His followers (John 17:6-19), including those of us who follow Him in the future (unborn believers) (John 17:20-26). However, Jesus began His prayer by praying for Himself (John 17:1-5), but in praying for Himself, Jesus was also praying for us, our holiness, and our unity. Dr. R.A. Torrey wrote, "A prayer for self is not by any means necessarily a selfish prayer." Jesus’ prayer focused on giving glory and honor to God and help for His followers. Like Jesus, our daily lives and efforts must focus on bring glory, love, and honor to God first and foremost to the watching world (Deuteronomy 4:6; Matthew 6:9). In essences, this prayer reveals Jesus’ spiritual priorities: (1) glorifying and honoring God the Father, (2) the holiness, sanctity and unity of the church, and (3) the winning of a lost and hurting world. This should be every Christians’ priorities too in life!

King James Version Study Bible. Thomas Nelson, 1988.
Spirit Filled Life Study Bible. Thomas Nelson, 1991.
Life Application Study Bible. Tyndale House Publishers, 2005.
NLT Study Bible. Tyndale House Publishers, 2008.
Believer's Study Bible. Thomas Nelson, 1995.
KJV Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, 1994.
Wiersbe, Warren W. Bible Exposition Commentary.  Victor Books, 1989.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Return Your Heart To God!

22 “My wayward children,” says the Lord, “come back to Me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.” Jeremiah 3:22 (NLT).
1 “O Israel,” says the Lord, “if you wanted to return to Me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. 2 Then when you swear by My Name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise My Name.” 3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 4 O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or My anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins. … 14 O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts? Jeremiah 4:1-4, 14 (NLT).
God sent the Prophet Jeremiah to tell the people to turn their hearts back to God and stop seeking evil. Their hearts had become hardened and cynical to God's will. The Prophet Jeremiah instructed the people to turn from sin so the good seeds of God's Holy Word could take root and grow in their lives. However, the people continued to worship their idols (e.g., wealth, competition, position, sexual pleasure, and possessions) in secret. So, God announced through the Prophet Jeremiah that if the people continued in sin, He would bring disaster on their land (see 2 Chronicles 36). This punishment would continue until the people turn from their sin and turn their whole hearts to God.

God is true and faithful, and He wants His people to be true and faithful to Him. Even more, God is kind, merciful, and true. In His mercy, God is always willing to welcome you back with open arms (Luke 15). However, God wants you to confess and turn away from every sin and turn your whole heart to Him. So, do not let sin enter your hearts. Instead, find the lasting joy, peace, and love found in God! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

True Meaning of Salvation

Paul stated:  4 For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the Law was given. As a result, all who believe in Him (Jesus Christ) are made right with God. 5 For Moses writes that the Law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. 6 But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven’ (to bring Christ down to earth). 7 And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” 8 In fact, it says, “The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: 9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:4-13 (NLT).

Jesus Christ is the most complete revelation of God because He had enclosed within Himself both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (see e.g., John 1:18; John 10:30, 38; John 12:45; John 14:1-11; Colossians 1:15-20). Therefore, in Jesus we see the complete God-Trinity (God the Father, God the Son – Jesus, God the Holy Spirit) (Matthew 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:18). No one can fully know God apart from Jesus Christ. Even more, no one can find salvation and a right relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ (see John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21).

Good works and religious actions do not make a person saved and in a right relationship with God. But, ONLY faith in God through Jesus Christ can one find God. The Holy Scriptures are clear that if anyone genuinely believes in their heart and say with their mouth that Jesus Christ is the risen Lord, then that person will find salvation, heart peace, and a right relationship with God (Romans 10:8-12). Salvation comes by

1. Faith, which means complete and whole heart trust and belief in God;
2. Open confession of Jesus Christ as God’s Son, Lord, and Savior of the World; and
3. Obedience to God and His Holy Scriptures.

See Joel 2:32; John 15:7; Romans 10:9-10.

Jesus Christ saves us from sin and eternal separation from God to DO good works, show God’s love to one another, and display fruits of the Holy Spirit (see John 15:1-17; Ephesians 2:8-10; Galatians 5:22-26). Genuine faith in Jesus Christ will result in a changed life and an open confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (John 13:34-35). So remember, first Jesus and then good works!  Now, that is the true meaning of salvation.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


God is not a human being, and He will not lie. He is not a human, and He does not change His mind. What He says He will do, He does. What He promises, He makes come true. Numbers 23:19 (NCV), see also Isaiah 55:11.
As we read the Holy Bible, God reveals to readers several key themes that are repeatedly stated. His faithfulness in keeping His promises and love is a consistent theme in the Bible.  God reveals Himself throughout the Holy Bible as One that is always faithful to His people. The Holy Bible tells of God’s complete truth, love, reliability, mercy, and dependability. In all God says, God keeps His promises; therefore, we can always have complete trust and assurance in Him and His Holy Word.  Knowing God is faithful and reliable should create spiritual stability and confidence in our daily walk with God as we also remain completely faithful to Him as our God. 
Paul speaking:  What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 (NLT).

Friday, October 12, 2012

God’s Light

5 This is the message God has given us to pass on to you: that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 So if we say we are His friends but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying. 7 But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (The Living Bible) see also John 8:12.

The Holy Scriptures are clear that God is Light (1 John 1:5-7; see also Matthew 4:16; Luke 2:32; John 1:4-9; John 3:19-21; John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12:46; 1 John 2:8; Revelation 21:23).  In fact, when people see God they often describe seeing a great Light, often described as His glory.  That same glory radiated from Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2).

Light is associated with God’s holiness and purity (1 John 1:5). To walk in the Light is to walk with God (Matthew 5:14; Ephesians 5:8)!  The Light reveals good and evil (John 3:19-21). God wants every human to walk in the Light of His goodness (Matthew 6:22-23; John 8:12; John 12:46; Romans 13:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 6:14).  In fact, every human’s goal must be to seek God’s glory or light and imitate His image (1 Corinthians 10:31). Humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). God is holy, perfect and pure (Leviticus 11:44.  Like Himself, God wants everyone to be holy, perfect and pure to reflect His Light to the world (Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-16). Reflecting the image of God distinguishes us from all other creatures on earth and gives us a special relationship with God.  So, let us all walk in the Light!

References:  Frame, John. The Doctrine of the Christian Life. P & R Publishing Company, 2008.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

That Gentle Whisper of God

The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a Voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV).

The Lord God spoke to the Prophet Elijah and He told Elijah to go out and stand before Him on the mountain. And as Elijah stood on the mountain, God passed Elijah. First, Elijah witnessed a mighty windstorm that hit the mountain with a terrible blast, but the Lord God was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord God was not in the earthquake. Next, Elijah witnessed a fire, but again God was not in the fire. Then finally, Elijah heard a sound of a gentle whisper and God spoke to Elijah through His gentle whisper.

Sometimes, God reveals Himself with great, awe-inspiring, and overwhelming wonder (e.g., Exodus 3:2; Exodus 19:18; Psalm 68:7-8). Or, God may reveal Himself at church events, rallies, or conferences. At other times, God reveals Himself in a gently whisper to a humble and submissive heart.

Often times during Jesus’ public ministry on earth, Jesus escaped to a quiet place to pray and connect with God (see e.g., Mark 1:35; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 3:21; Luke 6:12).  Through those quiet times with God, Jesus would gather His strength and direction from God to carry out His ministry while on earth. In our hectic and frantic day, never forget to take time from the noise and busyness to listen quietly to God’s gentle whisper.  Although God is strong and mighty, He is also full of grace, gentleness, mercy, and tender love for His people and their concerns. 

God's Glory

6 But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (NLT)

The first and the great Commandment require exclusive allegiance and love to God and obedience to His commands (Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Matthew 22:34-40). The only true God is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6).  This God is the only true Trinitarian God of the Holy Scriptures (Matthew 28:19-20; John 3:36; John 5:23-24; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father (John 1:18; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Therefore, all world religions or non-religions are not pathways to the true God.

The Holy Scriptures are very clear that every area and action of life – education, work, family, possessions, talents etc. – must be done for the glory of God (Matthew 6:33; 1 Corinthians 10:31), in the Name of Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17) and in accordance with the Word of God (also called the Holy Scriptures) (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Ethical literature has often discussed the highest good, or summum bonum, as human happiness.  But the Holy Scriptures are clear that all humans must seek to glorify God and to seek His glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Once we seek God and His glory, we will truly find happiness and everything you need (Matthew 6:33)!

So, reach out to God by faith with your whole heart and God will respond.  God loves ALL people regardless of race, sex, or national origin and the living God wants a personal relationship with you (Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 25:6; Isaiah 56:3-7; Jeremiah 7:23; Malachi 1:11; Acts 10:34-35; Romans 3:29-30; Galatians 3:28). By seeking God and studying His Holy Scriptures, you will find the true meaning of life and happiness (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14).

References:  Frame, John. The Doctrine of the Christian Life. P & R Publishing Company, 2008.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Our True Safety

The Name of the LORD is a strong fortress (tower); the godly run to Him and are safe.
Proverbs 18:10 (NLT)
The Name of the LORD is a strong tower.  We can run to God and find safety and strength. With God, we find everything, including knowledge and wisdom. Most important, we can totally depend on God for our needs and protection. People like King Solomon and King David realized true safety, wisdom, and victory come with humility and complete trust in God and not from human pride and human trust (see Psalm 20; Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 15:33). In God, we find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). Sadly, the wealthy may believe their wealth is a strong defense, but the power of money is limited (Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 13:8).  Only God is our true safety and fortress!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Brain Power!

The good life begins in the fear of God— Do that and you'll know the blessing of God. His Hallelujah lasts forever!  Psalm 111:10 (MSG). See also Proverbs 1:7-9, Proverbs 9:10.

The only way to become truly wise and experience the good life is to fear God. To “fear God” means to respect, revere, love, worship, and honor God as the one true living God (Father, Son –Jesus Christ, and Spirit). Wisdom ultimately leads to obedience to God’s Word found in the Holy Bible.  Everyone who obeys and follows God and His Holy Word has insight, good understanding, and blessings (Psalm 112:2-9). Many of God’s blessings — honor, prosperity, security, freedom and peace — come to those who respect and love God and honor His commands.

Many people believe they can become wise, smart, and happy through academic pursuits, winning the lottery, or life experience. God is Wisdom and the only true source of wisdom (Job 12:13).  Anytime we make a decision that conflicts God and God’s wisdom found in the Holy Bible, we ultimately make the WRONG decision! 

God requires ALL people to obey the Holy Bible, and He rewards spiritual obedience and faithfulness with His blessings (see e.g., Deuteronomy 6:1-25; Deuteronomy 11:26-28; Psalm 115:13; Isaiah 30:19-26; 1 Peter 3:9). Spiritual and heart obedience to God brings His blessings (Leviticus 26:3-13; Deuteronomy 6:4-11; Deuteronomy 28:1-14).  Nonetheless, spiritual and heart disobedience causes God’s severe judgment (Leviticus 26:14-39; Numbers 20:12-13; Deuteronomy 28:15-68; 1 Samuel 13:13-14; 1 Samuel 15:13-23).

So, what are God’s commands?  The Holy Bible is God’s commands (see John 10:35; John 17:12; 1 Timothy 5:18). Even though the Holy Bible contains sixty-six books and written by over 40 authors, the Holy Bible calls itself one Book that is God-breathe and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  If the idea of reading sixty-six books appears overwhelming, God gives you a quick summary …

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 (NLT), with parallel references found at Matthew 22:34-40, citing Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18 of the Old Testament.

Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” James 2:8 (NLT).

Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. Romans 13:8-10 (NLT).
Finally, if you have any trouble obeying God, then ask God to help you!  God promised to send us His Helper called the Holy Spirit to help people obey His commands.  If you humble and sincerely ask God for help and strength to love and obey Him wholeheartedly, He will send you His Holy Spirit to be your Guide, Protector, and Instructor (read John 14 – 16 of the New Testament). Just ask God for help and He will send His Helper, the Holy Spirit!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Seeking God

4 Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His presence continually! 5 Remember the wonderful works that He has done, His miracles, and the judgments (decisions, rulings) He uttered. Psalms 105:4-5 (RSV).

The attitude of the heart is a key concern of God. God wants everyone to obey His commands (e.g., the Ten Commandments at Exodus 20:1-17), be holy instead of following their own corrupting desires (Numbers 15:37-41), and seek Him first as God (Psalms 105:4-5). People who do not seek God are often self-centered, focusing on what they can get from serving idols, like money, prestige and possession. However, God wants His people to be selfless rather than self-centered and to serve Him for who He is as our Refuge, Strength, and Provider.

Saul lost his kingship of Israel and eventually his life because he sought a medium rather than seeking God first (1 Chronicles 10:13-14). However, David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  David sincerely loved, obeyed, and sought God (1 Chronicles 16:7-36).  As king of Israel, David encouraged others to also seek God (1 Chronicles 22:19; 1 Chronicles 28:8-10). When David sinned with Bathsheba, he turned to God and confessed his disobedience and returned to seeking God (Psalms 51). Even more, David’s son, Solomon, also sought God (2 Chronicles 1:6; 2 Chronicles 6). Still more, the prophet Isaiah urged the people to seek God: “Seek the LORD while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). The Holy Scriptures state that God’s promises and blessings are given to those who genuinely seek God with their whole heart (Psalms 105:4-5; Isaiah 55:3; Hebrews 11:6). Jesus promises, "Seek and you will find" (Matthew 7:7).

The best place to start seeking God is prayer – talk to God from your heart!  Next, read God’s Holy Bible – life’s instruction book.  Finally, find a good bible-teaching local church to also seek, serve, and love God wholeheartedly. So, remember to seek God first and find God’s rich blessings and heart-peace!

Christian Ethics - Part Two

The issues of Organism of Revelation and Organs of Ethical Knowledge made important impressions on me while reading The Doctrine of the Christian Life by John M. Frame. As God’s image, humans have a fundamental ethical responsibility to imitate God.  However, the issue of Organs of Ethical Knowledge really sparked the most significant impression.

The mental capacities play an important role in ethical thought and action. The whole person – reason, emotion, conscience, imagination, will, and so forth – all work together and makes ethical decisions. I agree with Professor Frame that all of these faculties are “perspective on one another and on the whole person.” Conscience, intellect, experience, emotion, imagination and so forth are perspectives on the moral decision of the whole person.

In general, the heart is the “center” of all human’s being. The heart is the chief organ of moral knowledge, our moral will, and our desire to obey God. Even more, the heart is what God sees and governs the fundamental direction of human life.  God places His knowledge and obedience inside the human heart and they nourish one another.

Nonetheless, all of our human faculties such as emotion, intellect, and heart are fallen and must be redeemed by God’s grace. Un-regenerated human organs are quite different from regenerated ones.  Un-regenerated humans have a natural bent or disposition toward evil and wickedness. Through the Holy Spirit and the saving grace of Jesus Christ, God gives humans a new disposition, so that we feel different and our emotions, heart, intellect, will and so forth now belong to God.  Only by God’s grace can humans use their whole person to make right ethical decisions.  Our organs – conscience, intellect, experience, emotion, imagination and so forth – are perspectives on the moral decisions of the whole person. As Professor Frame noted, these faculties have a hermeneutical component because they discover and express meaning in the situations of life.

Moreover, all the human organs – will, intellect, emotions and so forth – play a positive role in the Christian life and ethics.  The Scriptures appeals to all aspects of our personality, including the mind, will, and emotions (see e.g., Ezekiel 33:11; Psalm 42:1-6). Many great people of the Scriptures, including the apostle Paul, the apostle John, and even Jesus Christ were filled and taught the people with emotions and intellect. In my opinion, Professor Frame states correctly

Scripture does not warrant any notion of the “primacy of the intellect.” For one thing, Scripture does not even distinguish between intellect, will, and emotions, as distinct “faculties” of the mind. . . . Therefore, it never exhorts us to bring our decisions and feelings into conformity with our intellect. . . . Scripture teaches that God’s grace saves us as whole persons.  Our thinking, acting, and feelings are all changed by regeneration.  God’s grace leads us to seek conformity with God’s Word.  The important thing is not to bring our emotions into line with our intellect, but to bring both our emotions and our intellect into line with God’s Word.