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!
How about you?
When do you usually resort to prayer lately?
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.”
We do crazy stuff simply because we don’t know how much loved we are.
It’s the almost the same story we get to hear over and over again. That a particular person would seem to be ok and then all of a sudden a crazy headline takes us by surprise:
-A father commits adultery
-A single lady gets herself pregnant
-A teenager gets addicted to drugs
-A single pro gets hooked in pornography
-A certain woman has been spreading gossip
These are but a reality of how broken all of us are and how each of us are in dire need of a true love that would make us whole and complete again–free from all the wanting, and and all the thirsting and all the worldly cravings that really never satisfies.
And until we genuinely realize the fact that we are perfectly known and yet at the same time perfectly loved by God in and through Jesus Christ, we will never get to be free and empowered to live according to how we were supposed to live and thrive in this life.
So hear this truth again and again, and allow it to heal and restore you as it sinks deeper and deeper into your heart:
YOU ARE LOVED.
YOU ARE DEEPLY LOVED!(Man! You are affirmed, approved, and accepted!)
Did that got through you?
YOU ARE PERFECTLY LOVED! (eternally, unconditionally, and unendingly)
God became man to hand it personally to you. He lived to demonstrate it and he died to prove it! And now He lives again, ruling and reigning in the heavens, wooing you to finally realize it, that you would own it and hold on to it until it begins its work in you.
Despite of what you’ve done and your unworthiness, He runs to you to embraces you and says “I love you and I have already paid for it all!”– all the shame all the pain and all those sinful stuff you’ve committed. AndGod says to you “as far as the east is from the west I have taken away your sins from you. And as far as the heavens are above the earth so great is my love for you!”
It is only through His great love alone could we stop doing these crazy stuff and start to live enjoying life as it’s made to be enjoyed- under the grace and the favor of the LORD, in all its fullness and all its abundance, for our ultimate good, all for His glory.
“The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want.
He make me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake”
Myfriends and I recently attended a concert at the Music Museum and this word got my attention as we were going down the stairs.
Then I thought to myself, a lot of people go through life, just passing by this word and not really getting the heart of it.
If you try to ask random people, some would say its a genre of music. For others who grew up with a religious background its just the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and for some, they’d say its the good things you do for God or a way to earn your ticket to heaven.
But what is it really? What would a biblical worldview of the gospel look like?
GOOD NEWS! GOOD ADVICE
More than a doctrine, a teaching or a set of Scriptures, the gospel is primarily an eventcentered on the person and the life work of Jesus Christ. It is His Story that is actually the heart of the Christian faith. Dr. Rice Broocks gives us a clear and complete summary of what it is:
Therefore, the gospel is not about what we do for God, but what He has done for us through Jesus. And what He has done for us elicits a response on our part if we would believe it or not. Indeed, it is the power for us to be made right and accepted before God who is holy and righteous. And it is through this gospel we who are enemies of God could become His very children.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” -John 1:12
NOT JUST THE A-B-C’s BUT THE A to Z
Timothy Keller, a pastor and Bible teacher makes this point clear: “The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make progress in the kingdom.”
The point is as believers we never actually graduate from the gospel. It’s not just for the lost who needs to become new creations in Christ, but it also for Christians who continuously needs transforming. It is for you and I who continuously needs to be more like Jesus in our character and attitude, in thoughts and in our actions.
The gospel is the basis of our personal relationship with God. It must be at the core of our faith walk and life journey with God. It tells us how sinful and morally ugly we are in ourselves,yet loved and accepted in Christmore than we ever dared hope!
Do you have friends who need to know about this good news?Time to take this good news to them.
Are you struggling with character issues in your personal life and relationships?Time to get back to the gospel.
Here’s a prayer you could pray daily to saturate yourself with the goodness of the gospel, reminding yourself of the essence and the heart of God for us in Christ.