Choose Life

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” —Deuteronomy 30:19-20

God takes no pleasure in seeing us lost, wandering, searching. He wants us to know His will. He makes it clear and simple. He gives just two choices: “life and good” or “death and evil” (Deuteronomy 30:15). He even says which one to choose: “Choose life”. To choose life is to choose God Himself and obey His Word.

When Moses addressed the Israelites for the last time, he pleaded with them to make the right choice by observing “all the words of this law. . . . Because it is your life” (32:46-47). God’s will for us is life. His Word is life. And the Lord Jesus Christ is the Word. 

God gave us a perfect example to follow— the Lord Jesus Christ. 

When the Word is our guide and worship is our goal, God will grant us the wisdom to make life-affirming choices. 

Let us love and obey God and enjoy life in Him.

Restoring Order

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,  to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 
—Titus 3:1-2

Order requires intervention.
It does not happen naturally.

God brought order out of chaos. 

He did it when He was creating the nation of Israel (Ex. 7–14). 
When God said it was time to bring the Hebrew people out of Egypt, Pharaoh objected. 
His nation’s economy depended on the Hebrew workers, so Pharaoh didn’t want to lose them. 

To change Pharaoh’s mind, God sent 10 plagues to convince him. 
Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate the first two plagues. 
But they could not reverse the plagues—any of them. 
They could cause chaos, but they could not restore order. 
Only God can do that.

With effort, we can bring order to our living spaces.
But none of us can bring order out of the emotional and spiritual chaos of our lives. 
Only God can do that. 
He restores order to chaotic situations when we live as God intended—speaking no evil, being peaceable and gentle, and showing humility to all (Titus 3:2). 

Our world and our lives do have much chaos and confusion. 
We need God to restore our souls.

May God help us to live as He want us to live— serving Him and loving others.

When we put our problems in God’s hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.

Follow the Father!

Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the former ways of his father David; he did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments and not according to the acts of Israel. — 2 Chronicles 17:3-4.

Asa, king of Judah, modeled devotion to God for a season in his life (2 Chron. 14:2). 

He removed the idols from his kingdom, restored the altar of the Lord, and led the people into a covenant with God. 

Asa’s son Jehoshaphat carried on this legacy by seeking the God of his father and walking in His commandments. 

Jehoshaphat purged the land of idol worship and sent out priests and Levites to teach God’s law in all of the cities of Judah.

Jehoshaphat’s reign resembled that of his father.

He faithfully honored Asa’s godly example. 

Yet even more important, Jehoshaphat’s heart took delight in the ways of the Lord. 

Today, if we are looking for a father to follow, remember our heavenly Father and take delight in His ways. 

We honor God’s name when we call Him our Father and live like His Son.

Christ's Gifts for the Church

For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith. —Ephesians 4:12-13

Christ gives spiritual gifts to the church, the body of Christ. These gifts include: 
(a) apostles, who open up new mission territories to the gospel; 
(b) prophets, who apply the Word in spiritually compelling ways; 
(c) evangelists, who share the gospel that often brings a positive response; 
(d) pastors/teachers, who communicate the Word so that believers are built up in their faith. 

All the parts of the body are necessary for the body to function properly. 

And no one part is better than another.

God gives gifts to His church. 

They are giving for the benefits of the body of Christ.

The gifts are given so that Christians will be “perfected” in their faith and move on to maturity. 

The effective use of these gifts creates a unity that bears witness to the reality of Christ.

It matters little what title or position we hold in the church.

What is important is that we strengthen the faith of God's people.

It does not matter if we are moved to another role.

It does not matter if we no longer hold a specific title or position.

Out of love for God, we serve to build up fellow believers.

May God use us as His instrument to touch others' lives.

May our lives show others God's grace.

God’s gifts to us are not for us but for others.

Meekness is not Weakness

Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Meekness is not weakness.

Meekness is an attitude of humility toward God and gentleness toward men, springing from a recognition that God is in control.

It is strength and courage under control, coupled with kindness.

Meekness is an attitude toward God in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.

We see this in the Lord Jesus Christ who found His delight in doing the will of His Father.

The meekness manifested by the Lord Jesus Christ and commended to the believer is the fruit of power.

The Lord Jesus Christ was meek because He had the infinite resources of God at His command.

He could have called angels from heaven to prevent His crucifixion.

The Lord Jesus Christ told His weary, burdened followers, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matt. 11:29).

The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect model of meekness.

As a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23), meekness is a virtue that should characterize the Christian.

Lord, If You Are Willing

And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”(Matthew 8:2)

Here we have a leper who didn't hesitant to interrupt Jesus with his needs.

His disease made him desperate.

He had been ostracized from society and was in emotional distress.

He saw the Lord Jesus Christ busy with great multitudes.

But he made his way through the crowd to talk with Him.

He came and worshipped Him.

He approached the Lord Jesus Christ in worship, with trust in His power, and with humility, acknowledging that the choice to help belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ.

He said, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."

In compassion, the Lord Jesus Christ touched him, though he was "untouchable" by the standards of the Jewish law.

The leper was cleansed immediately.

Like the leper, we don't need to hesitate to approach the Lord Jesus Christ with our desire for His help.

Let us go to Him in humility and worship.

Let us have confidence in His power.

Let us trust in Him; He will make the best choices for us.

Let us surrender to His will.

Through Faith in Christ Jesus

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26 )

We are sons of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The law is no longer our tutor.
God the Holy Spirit is now our tutor.
He gives us the faith to believe in Christ Jesus.
He tutors us all through our life.

Salvation is from faith to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are all baptized into Christ.
We died together with Him.
We live together with Him.
Our commitment is to put on Christ.

We are one in Christ.
There is now no distinction between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians.
There is now no distinction between the free men and those who are servants or slaves.
There is now no domination of the men over the women.
In Christ Jesus, we are one body.

We are one in Christ.
And we are Abraham's seed.
And we are heirs according to the promise.

All of grace.
Not by the works of the law.
But through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, alone!

No Compromise

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed. (Galatians 2:11)

The apostle Peter came to the Gentile Christians in Antioch.

The apostle Paul confronted the apostle Peter because he was to be blamed.
Before certain Jewish Christians came from Jerusalam, he would eat with the Gentile Christians.
But when they came, he withdrew and separated himself.
He feared those who insisted on the rite of  circumcision for salvation.
And the rest of the Jewish Christians followed him.
Even Barnabas was led astray with their hypocrisy.

What the apostle Peter did was wrong.
He was not honest about the truth of the Gospel.
He had compromised it with the tradition of men.
By His action, he had led many Christians astray.

Salvation is by grace through faith. 
No more and no less. 
No compromise and no excuse needed!
What we have to do is to be honest about the Gospel of God,
And we insist on explaining the whole truth of God in love!

The apostle Paul confronted Peter before everyone else.
The apostle Peter had shown favoritism toward the Jewish Christians.
He had separated himself from the Gentile Christians.
He had put a stumbling block before the Gentile Christians.
He had exalted the Jewish Christians.
He had compelled the Gentile Christians to live like the Jewish Christians!

Whether we are Jews or Gentiles, we are all saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
We are saved because we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Circumcision is nothing; uncircumcision is nothing.
What counts is a true faith in the living God!

The Jewish Christians was given the Law.
They were commanded to keep the Law.
But history showed us that they had failed miserably!

Whether we are Jews or Gentiles,
We have all failed and fall short of the Glory of God.

By the works of the law no flesh shall be justified!
No! Not one!

Salvation is by grace through faith.
No man-made rule or tradition is needed
Not even the Jewish circumcision!

Paul, an Apostle

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:1-5)

The letter to the Galatians was written by Paul.

Paul was an apostle. 

The apostles were the early followers of the Lord Jesus Christ who carried the Christian message into the world. They preached the gospel, or the Word of God.

An apostle is not from men nor through man. No man can appoint himself or others as an apostle. Apostleship is a gift of God.

Apostleship is conferred by God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father had raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and the work of spreading the Word of God was given to the apostles. 

The apostle Paul included his brethren in his letter. It is a good practice to emphasise teamwork and unity among Christians.

The letter to the Galatians was a secular letter to the churches in Galatia.

The apostle Paul greeted the Galatian Christians with the grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. All good things come from God, and it is always a good practice to admit our dependence and submission to God.

Galatian 1:3-5 deserves our attention: "our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen".

Grace and peace are given through our Savior Jesus Christ. God the Father sacrificed His Son to save us from the present evil age. The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself up willingly for our sins. He died for our sins on the cross at Calvary.

Salvation belongs to the LORD. Glory be to God forever and ever. Amen.

The Temple of the Living God

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

In 2 Corinthians 6:16, We are told that we are the temple of the living God. God will dwell in us, and walk among us. He will be our God, and we shall be His people.

We are the dwelling place of God. We are His living temple. God lives and moves among us.

This is serious business. We are to get ourselves ready.

We are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. Nothing stands between us and God. Nothing hinders our relationship with God. Christ has reconciled us with His Father.

Nothing separates us from the love of God. We are to honor God by living a holy and righteous life. We are to live according to the Word of God, and be a light of God to the world and our family and friends.

We are to obey God and fear Him only. We are to keep God's commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

We are to please God and do His biddings.

We are to worship God and God alone. Nothing else matters.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven, 
Hallowed be Your name. 
 —Matthew 6:9

Words do not have to be many to be meaningful. 

The Lord’s Prayer is one of the shortest and most memorable of all Jesus' teachings. 

The Lord's Prayer brings help and healing.

It reminds us that :
God is our heavenly Father.
God's power is at work on earth, just as it is in heaven.
God provides food, forgiveness, and fortitude for each day.
All honor and glory belong to Him.

There is nothing in our past, present, and future that is not included in our Lord’s brief words that help and heal.

It is easy to speak many words and give little thought to the things we say.

Let us rather spend more time meditating on God and His words. 

Lie Down in Green Pasture

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
—Psalm 23:2-3

Sometimes we need to be reminded to lie down.

In Psalm 23, Our Good Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures and leads us beside the still waters.

God knows that we need calm and rest.

Our bodies need regular rest.

God Himself rested on the 7th day after His work of creation (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:9-11).

Jesus knew there was a time to minister to the crowds and a time to rest. He instructed His disciples to “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31).

When we rest, we refocus and are refreshed.

Rest is a gift. 
Rest is a good gift from our Creator who knows exactly what we need.

Praise God that He sometimes makes us lie down in green pastures.

Obey our Pastor

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. — Hebrews 13:17

Pastor makes an easy target for criticism.
Every week he is on display, carefully explaining God’s Word, challenging his people toward Christlike living.
It is easy to overlook all the good things a pastor does, and focus on our personal opinions.
Let's remember that our pastor is not perfect.
Though we must be careful not to follow him blindly, we must only confront his errors through the proper channels. 
Our pastor is faithfully presenting God’s truth and modeling servant leadership. 
Before God, he is responsible for guiding us spiritually. 
We should want him to do his work joyfully and not grievously. 
Causing him grief would be of no benefit to the church.
By honoring our pastor we honor God and make things better for our church.
Let's remember: Every pastor needs the support from his people.

God Cares

Sometimes, we feel as if we can't go on,
We are tired, we are weak, and we are worn,
But God knows our limits better than we do,
And in His Strength we find the enablement to endure.

Sometimes, our lives are overloaded with fears, struggles, and heartaches, 
We feel that we are in danger of going under,
In those times, let us remember our Heavenly Father,
He is ready to help us carry our load,

Sometimes, the testings of life can be a burden too heavy to bear,
But we can be assured that God loves us deeply; 
He knows our load limits,
He knows... and He is ready to help.

The apostle Peter said, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Look unto Jesus

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:2

Salvation is only through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. He had chosen us before the foundation of the world, and He will keep us saved to the end.

Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. He died to save us. Jesus died on the cross to satisfy God's justice and reconcile us with God. Jesus died on the cross to prepare for His people the Way.

Jesus died a humiliating and torturous death. Jesus died for the victory of winning souls. Jesus had victory over death and the grave through His resurrection.

We are to look unto the Lord Jesus Christ, all the days of our lives, in peace and in war, in troubles and in trials.

If God is for us, who can be against us?