A group of Christians in a particular time and place were experiencing serious divisions.
So their pastor had to step in and bring all of them in the same point of viewing things again.
This I believe is the key to Christian humility that leads to relational unity.
He tells them to remember who they were before they became a Christian:
” For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
Paul was to the point for all of us who may tend to think arrogantly about our being right with God by describing all of us apart from Christ:
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
Indeed, we have nothing to prove and nothing to boast about.
Here is the very reason you are a Christian:
And BECAUSE OF HIM you are in Christ Jesus… (emphasis mine)
At the end of the day, it is not because of us but because of Him. It was not us who chose Christ first but He chose us first. We may think we sought after the Truth but the reality is, God was the One who pursued us, therefore this keeps our feet on the ground and our point of reference the same.
It was His grace not our own good works, our own efforts, wisdom, background and own doing. We are Christians all because of God’s grace and mercy.
To God alone be the glory!
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8)
I was recently with a couple, who’s marriage and life I admire and respect highly.
We were going to get ourselves some snacks just outside church office after our work hours and just have a little catch up. Ethel, my wife was not with me at this time but I’m sure she would love to be with these two as well. They’ve been following Jesus longer than we do as a married couple and I get to have tons of positive impartations just being with them, watching them talk to each other, how they treat restaurant staff and talk about their family and kids.
The thing that struck me the most being with them at this particular time was their praying lifestyle. Going out the office the wife had a friend who got into a serious emergency. The wife wanted to do something but the husband gently led her and said, “wait, let’s just pray now.” And so we did pray, sincerely while walking to the resto.
Then while at the restaurant having our snacks, we talked about the challenge of parenting toddlers and the right way of leading them in love. The wife may have not noticed this but I did. She was talking about the power of prayer again. She said was “Joash, you know, when I’m get into a conflict with the kids, or when they throw a tantrum or cry resisting vitamins or medications I pause and immediately pray and get back to attend to them.”
The kind of praying lifestyle this couple showed me made me think: “Have I limited my prayer time in specific time and place and have forgotten that I could tap on it anytime of the day and see things change? Have I taken concerns that arise throughout the day into my own hands already and have forgotten I could pray and call on to my Father for help?”
As I think about these questions, I am reminded once again by those lines from a famous old hymn:
“Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear. Just because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
This may be simple but that moment that was a huge reminder for me about the reality of this power & privilege we have-this access that’s 24/7 that we can tap into anytime, anywhere!
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
-Psalms 100:1-5 ESV
Happy September 1st! The “-ber months” are finally here! And for us here in he Philippines, we’re just used to celebrate “Christmas” very early and well … up until February, even March 🙂 We’re just culturally a “party” people. We love celebrations, happiness and cheers.
This Psalm reminds us that as God’s people we really are to be doubly thankful and rejoicing at all times simply because our Lord is good and his love for us endures forever!
He had proved it through the finished work of Jesus Christ His son on the Cross.
Here are seven ways we could rejoice and give God thanks. According to the psalm, we can do it through:
Playing an instrument (“make a joyful noise”)
Serving Him (“serve the LORD with gladness”)
Singing Him a song (“come to His presence with singing”)
Pursuing a greater knowledge of Him (“Know that the LORD, He is God”)
Say Thanks to Him for specific things (“enter His gates with thanksgiving”)
Praise Him for Who He is to Us (“enter His courts with praise”)
Bless Him and Adore him for His unchanging Character (“Bless His name”)
May we all continue to be thankful people, as we look to the goodness of God and His steadfast and forever love to us in Christ. Happy “ber-months” ahead!
CONGRATULATIONS on your new chapter of walking with God!
It’s a milestone worth celebrating! A moment I believe you and I should treasure and mark as one of the most significant events in our lives, getting water-baptized and publicly declaring our resolve to follow Jesus and build our lives established in Him.
That’s in fact what the Victory Weekend is all about-to help us get established in our faith in Christ Jesus and inspire us to keep pursuing Him along with other believers. Our “discipleship journey” does not end there. In fact, this exciting adventure of walking with God would be for a lifetime. Indeed, we never graduate from following Jesus in this side of life.
Now maybe you are asking, “what’s next?” or “what now?”
Here are 3 things I would recommend you to do so you don’t loose track or get lied to by the enemy and be enslaved by sin once again:
1. EMBRACE YOUR FREEDOM.
Enjoy your new status in Christ, you are now a free man! You’re longer a slave to the world’s expectations nor trapped in Sin’s hold and power. You now are enabled to respond and obey God’s word. So rejoice in Him! Live in the newness and freshness of this life in Him.
“17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -1 Corinthians 5:17
Secondly, 2. GET INVOLVED.
Be part of the life of the church. Join a volunteer ministry in the service you just use to attend. Sign-up and serve along with others and develop friendships inside our church community.
“13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”-Galatians 5:13
Last but never the least, 3. STAY HUNGRY!
Keep longing for God, intentionally grow in your craving for God’s word to know God and experience more of Him. Begin answering the biblical foundation guide we call “The Purple Book” and do it along with others by attending the “Purple Book Class.” In this way, you become stronger and more established in the Word and in your lifetime walk with Him.
“17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”- 2 Peter 3:17
Here’s the details of the Purple Book Class (Biblical Foundations Class) that will happen on the White Room of Victory Greenhills. Hoping to see you there!
Our reality will test our theology.
What we know about God and what we believe about Him will truly be tested by the experiences and the situations we might find ourselves in. And we either adjust the God of the Bible that we used to know, or we humbly trust His unchanging character.
Days ago, I was about to help one of our church leaders get out of the hospital after 2 long weeks of battling a disease. We praise God that our prayer for her better health and recovery has been answered, she was about to finally leave the hospital!
And she did.
But immediately the day after, I was the one being rushed to the emergency room!
It was funny now but not at that moment. I was in pain! My headache gauge was about 95-98% and I felt like a vegetable, I was so weak and helpless. Thankfully my brother came to our house and drove me to the hospital about 3AM and we got some of my friends praying for me.
I knew I was not going to back in shape again and I had the assurance this was going to be but temporary. But who knows? What if it was not? Thankfully I’m back at the church office writing about my experience.
While I was on the hospital bed, resting and waiting for hours for the results, I thought about 3 realizations that gave me the certainty I was going to get back up again. I had a strong sense within me that God is not yet done with His purpose for me. Here is what the hospital bed thought me:
1. I am nothing but dust and ash
“From dust you came and to dust you shall return” . I knew I was not dying yet but the reality of sickness & death bjust comes right into my face whenever I’m in a hospital. It’s just a humbling experience. More than the meds and the doctors, I am in a way forced to hold on to God and to no one else. Just being there reminds me of the reality that one day, all these life will soon be past.
2. God is the Source of my life
It’s not me nor my parents. I did not caused my self to exist. My parents may have been planned by my parents but definitely God breathed life into me and caused me to exist. Therefore, this life is God’s gift to me- a privilege and not an entitlement. I owe it to Him because he gladly gave me this chance to live and move and have my being. Therefore, I should live to acknowledge Him, to thank Him and to honor Him. But I didn’t and I wouldn’t because I was blinded by Sin and my need of Him. I thought I could live apart from Him who created me. I was only right before the eyes of men, religious yes but not righteous in God’s eyes. I needed a rescue. Thankfully…
3. Jesus came to save me and give purpose to my life
While on the bed, I was refreshed of God’s saving grace. That I am now right with Him note because of my service and work for Him, but because of Jesus perfect and finished work for me. He dis not just paid for the debt of sin I was not able to pay, he entrusted me with a purpose. He made my little, tiny, temporary life here on earth significant. He gave me meaning, a reason to live, a mission to accomplish. I now work not just for the here and now but for the kingdom that is and is to come!
Are you on a sick bed in this Christmas season?
I am praying that the grace and the knowledge of God would be as real to you as He is. And may the purpose for which He allowed you to exist be continually fulfilled and daily fully in His time, and ever be for His glory. 🙂
“‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.”