Tuesday, April 16, 2013
For the past few days, we’ve brought into light the first four (4) disturbing decisions some believers chose to follow which drove them to drift away from the fold of faith. Now, let us proceed further with the remaining subtle causes:
In today’s fast-paced, modern, and busy world, the most neglected Christian practice or virtue is prayer. Just like Martha in the scripture (Luke 10:41), we are pre-occupied with so many good things that we can no longer sense, determine, or discern if these good things are really the right things for us. Just because an act is good doesn’t necessarily mean that the act is right. Mary, however, did the right thing (Luke 10:42).
I once heard a minister who said, “Prayer is the most important activity of men, yet it is the least activity that men performed.” Sir Francis Kong is right when he said, “Never let the urgent take over the important. Your work is urgent but your God is important.” Remember that God doesn’t want you to pursue your church’ mission and vision at the expense of your intimacy with Him. In other words, God doesn’t want us to pursue God’s work at the expense of our intimacy with Him.
In spite of its myriad of definition, in my opinion, prayer is simply an act of humility that we choose to perform to commune with God acknowledging that apart from Him, our own strength, ability, and wisdom, even our whole being, can do nothing.
“For it’s not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit, says the LORD.” – Zech. 4:6
Prayer speaks of an intimate fellowship and communication with God. The Holy Spirit inspires us on what we ought to pray and He, likewise, uses the scripture to convey to us God’s message assuring us of its authenticity and void of mistake.
A believer’s faithfulness in prayer establishes his/her intimate devotion with God. Unless we give priority on this matter, we can never see nor gaze upon the awesome beauty of the LORD, but instead, gaze upon the deceiving beauty of the world. Consequently, this will lead us to gradually drift away.
“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” – Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
Lack of Knowledge of One’s Purpose:
“The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me.” – Psalm 138:8(a)
God did not choose and save us just for us to go to heaven. This is a selfish motive. We have a purpose to perform. The time we entered His kingdom through the born-again experience, He has already in mind what we are here for. This is the very same purpose He had before we were created.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." – Jer. 1:5
Just like Jeremiah who had been purposed by God to be a prophet, you, too, have a specific assignment for you to perform. As one minister wisely says, “You were not born just to make a living. You are here to live out an assignment on this planet. You were born to make a difference in the world.”
The scripture reminds us further as it says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” – John 15:16
Unless we have a clear understanding and grasp of our purpose, any problem that we may encounter along the way would seem to appear so big and insurmountable kind of an obstacle. The slightest offense done against us or the most trivial mistake we see done by our brethren could be a potent catalyst to drift us away.
“We make it our goal to please Him ...” – 2 Cor. 5:9(a)
The Need for Genuine Love:
On the other hand, if the love of Christ is in our heart, no amount of obstacles can deter us from fulfilling our purposes in life. For love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. – 1 Cor. 13:7-8
The world has a lot of interpretation about love, but the fact of the matter is that genuine love only rests in Christ. In my opinion, love is a very powerful arsenal in the world. Love actually emanates from the kingdom of God and penetrates the world to sustain its existence. Had it not for love, the world has long been in jeopardy.
You might be surprised on hearing this, but love has its limitation, too. It can only manifest its full force when properly reciprocated. You see, because of God’s love, He gave us a gift. But the Gift, Jesus Christ, could not bestow His wondrous intent unless the receiver, the world, accepts the gift.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
A person can only benefit from God’s ultimate expression of love when he/she responds accordingly by accepting the Gift.
“Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12
In the same way, there is also a need for every citizens of the kingdom to respond appropriately. The book of John is clear by saying, “If you love Me, you’ll obey what I command” – John 14:15. The same is true on a succeeding verse which says, “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father and I, too, will love him and reveal Myself to him” – John 14:21.
We can really determine the gauge of our love for the LORD by the gauge of our obedience to Him. Unless we capture this solemn truth, anyone among the citizens can be a candidate to drift away from faith.
Finally, let me emphasize what the Word of God says in the book of James: “remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins” – Jas. 5:20.
God’s love and mercy offers us bountiful hope for us to return back to Him once we found ourselves drifting away from Him. These will prompt other believers to summon us, with power, to come back to the fold of faith... Good to us if we could be the one leading others back.
“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” – Hebrews 2:1
Have a blessed day/evening to all!!
Thursday, April 11, 2013
We have been through discussing the first two (2) subtle reasons by which Christians drift away from faith. It was last Friday that we’ve mentioned how unresolved questions and the alluring nature of the world contribute to the believers being swayed to get out of the track. Now let’s move on to the succeeding reasons.
Wrong Company of Friends:
It is really true that as long as we are still in this world, we will always be mingling with people. People with different beliefs, principles, philosophies, and religion will always be just around the corner. They are in our workplaces, schools, neighborhood, communities, and in every places we go. We always meet them and find some as well-meaning individuals and we even befriended a few, if not, a lot of them.
While it is true that we always meet them almost everyday, we shouldn’t be caught off-guard of the way they could possibly influence us one way or the other. We shouldn’t be unaware of the fact that people around could impact us either positively or negatively. The truth of the matter is that, if we couldn’t influence them, we end up being influenced by them. That’s the sad thing.
That’s why the scripture is prudent in admonishing us by saying, “Do not be misled. Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33).
I don’t really know how the world does it, but our unbelieving friends have ways of tingling our emotions that we sometimes find them more meaningful and enjoyable to be with than our Christian friends are. This is especially so when they are there around to console us during our deepest moments where they make us smile and laugh.
I’m not saying here that just because our friends are unbelievers, they are entirely bad. No! In fact, we should be grateful that because of God’s bountiful love for us, He even uses our secular friends to minister and comfort us. This may even be a way for us to share our faith with them because, in the first place, they wouldn’t even have the guts to help us if they hadn’t seen anything positive in us. Unless, of course, if they do it with ulterior motives.
Similarly, we also need to consider what the book of Proverbs remind us when it says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20).
Does it mean, then, that we can be perfectly sure we will be in good hands when our friends are those who are completely Christians? Far from that. Not all who professes Christianity is genuinely real. There are those who really exploit others to execute their ploy of deceit, and there are also those who are still struggling for changes from their old sinful lifestyle accidentally affecting us.
But the bottom line here never changes. We need to be prudent in our choices of our inner circle of friends. Since friends have the capacity to make or break us, we need the help of the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment in making authentic friendship, so this would not drift us away from faith simply because of a mere dismay brought about by either professing believers or alluring secular friendship.
Lack of Fellowship with Genuine Believers:
A burning piece of coal slowly diminishes its light all alone by itself but miraculously glows all the more when joined together with other burning coals. This same principle applies to every citizens of the Kingdom. Whether we believe it or not, we really need one another to thrive in our Christian lives.
The Holy Spirit desires every believer to be His channel of blessings. He doesn’t limit Himself by working only in just one individual person. He loves to use each one to bless each other. That’s why it’s so wise for us to deliberately enlist ourselves and look after a good life-group network where we could regularly fellowship together with other believers.
There can be no other source of authentic encouragement, comfort, wisdom, insight, motivation, enlightenment, and inspiration except for an individual or group where the Holy Spirit works abundantly. The Source is so rich that He never runs out of plentiful supplies, just like a fresh, crystal clear water freely flowing from a prosperous river.
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." – Jesus (John 7:38)
A believer who withdraws himself/herself from joining or fellowshipping with other Christians will slowly experiences decreasing desire to further yearn after it, and instead finds himself/herself seeking it from people outside the Kingdom. When this happens, his/her own judgment will dictate him/her erroneously that the secular world’s companionship is more likable.
“He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” – Prov. 28:26
A Christian who finds himself/herself in this situation must immediately conduct a deliberate turn-around, coupled with prayers, to deter any attempt of the enemy to drift him/her away from faith.
(To be continued..)
A blessed day/evening to all!!
Friday, April 5, 2013
Last Tuesday, we’ve delved into the likelihood that we’re now on the verge of witnessing the most exciting and equally horrifying experience that men would ever encounter on this planet earth.. The rapture!
One positive sign of this claim is parallel to what the book of Matthew says, that on the lasts days, “... Even the very elect can be deceived” (Matt. 24:24). Please bear with me as we dig further into this.
We’re always been familiar of stories where we heard of fellow Christians drifting away from faith, and this occurs even in our own very churches. We are caught surprised to find out that friends and even relatives whom we esteemed highly succumbed to this dreadful dilemma. More disgusting, of course, if we find ourselves to be in their shoes.
How, then, can we identify the snares so we can avoid or warn others about them? Here are seven (7) potent reasons to consider, so we can keep ourselves or others away from the bait:
The Alluring World:
The world has myriad of things to offer to sway us away from faith. It tempts us to feed our sinful desires of things that are appealing to the eyes.
The world has a way of convincing us that there are more pleasures readily available on their side of the fence than it is with the other. It lures us to believe secretly that our faith has a way of depriving us of things we should be enjoying about. Just like a sheep, we tend to foolishly separate ourselves from the flock believing that we could have better things to enjoy if we do it our own way.
The lures of the world is so cunning and deceptive. It capitalizes it sting from the human’s inherent desire to seek for comfort, leisure, pleasure, and enjoyment. People almost always prefer to satisfy these desires at the expense of truth and what is right. It is worthy to note, however, that God does not really deprives us of anything that gives us enjoyment. In fact, He actually wants us to enjoy life. The only difference is that, our own perception of this thing is so shallow compared to God’s genuine desire for us to enjoy by staying in the faith. What seems to be appealing is actually disastrous, and what seems to be forbidding is actually glorious.
Unresolved Questions in Life:
Unbelievers have questions which they find it hard to look for gratifying answers because of their unbelief. This skepticism caused them failure to capture the truth. The book of Corinthians perfectly conveys it right when it says:
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1 Cor. 2:14
In like manner, believers who have unresolved questions in their hearts tend to lose heart and doubt God’s goodness and fairness. This is especially so when a believer encounters test, sorrow, and pain brought about by a loss of a loved one or anything they treasured so dearly. In their pain, they accused God of being unfair or out of control. When not addressed properly, these unresolved questions and pain could drift away from faith even the most unsuspecting believer.
It is necessary to understand that God’s love for us never changes regardless of whatever adverse circumstances we find ourselves into. He feels our very pain, and though He may not always give us an explanation for every pain and trials we face in life, He promises never to leave nor abandon us. The God who sees the bigger picture never exempts us from experiencing pain, especially that we are still on this planet earth which was marred by sin and Satan. Nevertheless, God has a way of turning our sorrow into joy.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
Similarly, the book of Genesis assures us that, “What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good.” – Gen. 50:20
The love of God for us is so powerful, intimate, and unfathomable that there is never yet a question that could ever conquer it.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Rom. 8:38-39
(To be continued..)
A blessed day/evening to all!!
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Early this morning, we’ve just finished conducting our second day Dawnwatch prayer meeting. It’s really a great privilege to be a part of a church which has a heart for prayer.
Before I involved myself in the ministry just a year ago, I’ve learned that they used to conduct this kind of prayer only once each month. I’m so grateful that God gave us a pastor who dared to challenge the conventional by making our Dawnwatch to be a seven days a month prayer meeting. What blessings we may have missed if she did otherwise and just retained the usual one.
Prayer, really, is a very crucial aspect of Christian life, which must be cherished intently by every believer, especially at this very critical period of human existence. I believe that the words of St. Paul admonishing us to devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful (Col. 4:2), is primarily directed and intended to the Church at this very generation of the 21st century.
A closer look, investigation, and observation of what’s currently happening around the world would lead every careful observer to the reality that the much-awaited hope, the glorious return of the Messiah, otherwise known as the Rapture of the Church, is about to unfold to the great amazement and bewilderment of the entire human race.
“I (Jesus) will come again, and take you unto Myself.” – John 14:3
Every believer should never be found innocent nor caught unaware of this very truth. No specific date and time was given by the scripture as to when this inevitable event will take place, but nevertheless, time and date are of lesser value as long as we’re prepared for this glorious event. Just like an expectant mother who is about to deliver her much-awaited baby on a time she doesn’t know, we too, must be ready for the occurrence of this blessed hope that will transpire at anytime we also really don’t know. At any rate, almost all the signs were already been there, so we must be on guard.
Being just informed of this fact is one thing, but being watchful is another and the most important thing of all. We cannot afford to stay passive and just merely wait. We need to take our stand to reach out, pray, intercede, and stand in the gap in behalf of God’s people. We are already been warned that in the last days, the love of many shall grow cold because iniquity shall abound (Matt. 24:12).
“... Even the very elect shall be deceived.” – Matt. 24:24
The need to pray for the leaders of the church, workers of the vineyard, loved ones, relatives, friends, neighbors, people in the government and the marketplace, the nation, and all the unbelievers, is of utmost importance at this point in time. We need to implore with great lamentation that God would carry out supernatural divine interventions so that countless people should come into repentance and enter in the kingdom and loving embrace of the Savior and LORD, Jesus Christ.
In the meantime, we should remain steadfast, responsible, accountable, and do other important aspects of the normal life, but this time, we will be more prudent and focus all the more on the things of the above rather than the things below. We will continue to fix our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith, knowing that in no other way can the entire human race be saved except through Him alone (John 14:6).
Meanwhile, let us reserve every controversy to the doubtful, but for us as believer, we will continue to pray, obey, and keep praying until we can pray no more because we are already caught up with Him in the clouds.
Have a blessed day/evening!!