Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Encouraged by the Spirit of God

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
- Hebrews 12:1-3

Father God,
Thank You for Your encouragement today through Your Word.  Yes, Lord, I decide today to run with perseverance the race You have marked for me.  I will fix my eyes on Jesus and not on my circumstance.  Jesus has been before me, and He knows what I am going through and am feeling right now.  I may be in  a situation where my relationship with my father is in tension (well, it has always been that way), but by faith, I declare that there is full restoration in our relationship in Jesus' name. Thank You, Jesus!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On Being a Jew

A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.  Such as a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
 - Romans 2: 28-29
[NIV Footnotes]
A real Jew is someone who pleases God, not someone who has been circumcised (outwardly) but someone whose heart is right with God and obeys Him.  God desires our heartfelt devotion and obedience.

How often am I living like a real Jew? How often do I live with a circumcised heart?  How often am I right with God? Father God, I confess that at times it seems like I live like a Jew outwardly but my heart is not.  Father, make my heart right with You; cleanse it and make it pure that I may give glory to You. In Jesus' name. Amen

[Journal entry: November 22, 2011].

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In The Shadow of The Almighty

God's promise of protection for His children is a sure thing!  We can count on His Word when He says, "I will protect him."  The world is not a danger-free place, and God doesn't promise to eradicate all dangers in this world.  But what He does promise us is His help and protection whenever we face danger.

We are not alone to face the "giants" of this age for God Himself is our Guardian and our Protector.  We are to dwell and rest in our Almighty God, entrusting our lives to Him. We are to trade our fears with faith in Him.  God is our refuge and our fortress in whom we trust.

Psalm 91 gives us the bigger picture of our Mighty God who protects whom those who belong to Him.  I am comforted by this psalm and am able to declare this truth whenever I face danger or even face fears in my life.

Photo courtesy by

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”
 3 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
   nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
   ten thousand at your right hand,
   but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
   and see the punishment of the wicked.
 9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
   and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
   no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
   to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
   I will be with him in trouble,
   I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
   and show him my salvation.” 

 As I read Psalm 91, I notice that the word used is "will", not "might, may, probably, nor maybe."  It says "will," which means it's not only a probability, but it's a definite act which is going to happen.  What God says will really take place.  Not only that, the action verb that succeeds the auxiliary verb, "will", in every sentence is a sure thing that God promises to be doing. I list down these...

will save
will cover
will be your shield and rampart
will command
will protect
will answer
will lift
will be with
will deliver
will honor
will satisfy
will show
will rescue

All these God will do.  But here's the condition: "If you make the Most High your dwelling."  That means we have to take part in the decision in placing our trust in God.  It is a choice to make: Do I place my trust in God or on other things or people?  Should I or shouldn't I acknowledge God as my refuge and my fortress?

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."  Now what would happen to us if we choose to trust God? I list down these...

will find refuge
will not fear
will not come near
will only observe
will tread
will trample
will not befall

What will we not fear? The terror of night, the arrow that flies, the pestilence, and the plague.  What will not come near us?  A thousand or ten thousand men who wants to take our lives or harm us.  What will we only observe with our eyes?  The punishment of the wicked.  What will not befall us? Harm or disaster.  What will we tread upon and trample on?  The "lion and cobra," that is, our enemies.

Not only that, but even angels will guard and protect us as God will command them to.  Wow! Isn't it amazing?  Our  God in all His power will do anything and everything to protect us in times of trouble or danger!  We have assurance in Him only IF we place our trust in the Almighty God.  In times of great stress and fear, God will watch over us!

Father God, You are mighty in all Your ways!  You are my God whom I place my trust.  You are my refuge and my fortress!  Your Word is truth and that whatever you declare You will fulfill it.  Thank You, of God, that I can trust in You, and You are always ready and able to help me and protect me in the face of danger. This I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

[Journal entry: December 11, 2011]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In Chains for the Gospel

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
- Philippians 1:12-14

Paul at his time of writing was imprisoned in Rome, and though he was in this situation, he was rejoicing.  His situation, if we looked at it, is bad.  But in Paul's eyes, it was another opportunity to advance the gospel.  Even in chains, he still preached the gospel to the guards and to his fellow prisoners.  Paul didn't wallow in self-pity.  Instead, he rejoiced in the Lord and has been encouraged to speak the word of God all the more without fear!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Rock, My Fortress, My Salvation

Photo courtesy by


1Truly my soul finds rest in God;
   my salvation comes from him.
2Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

 3How long will you assault me?
   Would all of you throw me down—
   this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4Surely they intend to topple me
   from my lofty place;
   they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
   but in their hearts they curse.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Promised Crown of Life

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
- James 1:12

Father God,

I praise You and worship You for Your mercy and faithfulness are new every morning! Thank You that I have a reward waiting for me -- eternal life! Lord, thank You for Your grace You are giving me to persevere under trial.  Lord, by Your grace I am able to stay faithful under pressure.  It's okay. This suffering is temporary.  There is an end to every suffering. I am looking forward to Your reward -- an everlasting reward: to be with You in eternity!

I give You all the glory and honor and praises that You alone deserve in Jesus' name. Amen!

[Journal entry: January 11, 2012]

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Genuine Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
- James 3: 13-18

Monday, February 6, 2012

Great, Glorious, Majestic is He!

All honor and praises belong to our God. He alone deserves our highest and best praises!  He alone deserves the glory! Mighty is our God! Holy is His Name! Majestic are His deeds!

Psalm 111

1Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8They are steadfast for ever and ever,
done in faithfulness and uprightness.
9He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever --
holy and awesome is his name.

10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What Should Be

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.
- Romans 12: 12-16

Father God, thank You for reminding me today of the hope I have in you.  Thank You for reminding me on how I should be and on how I should be treating others.  Lord, I have hope in You -- I should be joyful for that.  I have affliction -- You have allowed it and I should be patient with it.  I have access to You through prayer; I should be faithful to it.  Thank You, Lord, for showing me Your way; I often forget.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

God Loves, God Hates

There are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against your neighbor, and do not love to swear falsely.  I hate all this," declares the Lord.
- Zechariah 8: 16-17

 God hates evil. He wants us to love truth and peace just as He loves it.  God sets the things we are to do, and He wants us to obey Him.  If we obey, He has promised to reward us.  If we obey, we are giving Him the glory.  God is faithful in keeping His promise, but we are also to do our part: obey Him.  God loves truth and peace. We are to do the same.

[Journal entry: December 16, 2011]