Do Not Forget the Lord your God

As I read Deuteronomy 8:6-18, I am reminded of God’s great promise to His people. He promised them a land filled with milk and honey. A land filled with natural resources capable of producing wealth for them. But God warned them not to forget the source of this blessing. Because when they have plenty to eat, when the herds and flock have multiplied, when their gold and silver have increased, the natural tendency for man is to bask in his own glory. To forget who gave them the ability to produce wealth in the first place.

Isn’t this the same for us? We are driven to go to God only when we need something from Him. But when we have everything we need, or even more, we suddenly lose sight of the source of it all.

Do not forget the Lord your God. When we are blessed with every kind of spiritual or physical blessing, let us acknowledge that this is from the Lord. Having this mentality will help us respond better to the difficult times, when we feel like something has been taken from us. Once we become aware of this truth, we’ll be able to understand that everything we have is never completely ours. We are merely stewards of the grace and blessings of God. He can give, He can also take away. The proper response to this is how Job responded.

“The Lord gave and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21

As I prepare my message for Sunday’s vesper service, I am reminded to always keep the Lord in mind. Most especially in moments when I feel very blessed with everything that has been happening in my life right now. Because even when you get so involved with ministry, there is still that possibility that you will forget the Lord and focus more on the ministry, rather than the reason why you are serving. Let us never forget the Lord – never forget to spend time with Him and always acknowledge (with thankfulness in our hearts) the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

Try writing down all the things the Lord has blessed you with. He is the source of everything.

What is Abundant Life?

Can we add another hour to a day? Rather than having 24 hours a day, can it be 25 instead? Why just an hour? If some would have their way, they would probably request for more time in a day. Isn’t this how most individuals feel?  As if time is ticking by so fast when there are still so many things we need to do or want to do. We want to travel. We want to learn to play the guitar. We want to stay healthy.  Staying home during weekends seems to be a big “No-No”, especially when you’re single.  Why stay home when you can mingle? That’s life for us. We might have a lot of things that we want or plan to do, but the question we should answer is: with all the things I am doing or I want to do, how do I ensure I make the most out of every opportunity? When it’s time to assess your life, can you confidently say “I am living an abundant life”? What is abundant life?

Jesus said in John 10:10 – “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, NASB)

Jesus came so that you may have life. But for you to have an abundant life, you need to actually have life first. And the life that is being talked about here is not the physical life we have right now, but our spiritual life or condition. We are spiritually dead because of our sins.

 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned — Romans 5:12. And you were dead in your trespasses and sins - Ephesians 2:1.

By nature we inherited sin, which in essence means we are spiritually dead. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we were born sinners

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me – Psalm 51:5

At one point in our lives have we not lied? Slandered someone? Lusted? Or harboured anger and bitterness? Jesus came to die for you, that your sins might be paid for. Because the penalty for sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord - Romans 6:23

Jesus paid for your sins by dying on the cross Through one man, the whole human race was condemned and plunged into sin, but through this last Adam, salvation was provided for the whole world – 1 John 2:2. With that sacrifice, you are now alive through Christ and can have a life with a relationship with Him

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) – Ephesians 2:4-5. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive – 1 Corinthians 15:22.

Through Jesus you can be spiritually alive. But that is just the second part of what He wants for you. He wants you to have life and that life should be spent with a deep intimate relationship with Him. You are not merely to live, be saved and just go to heaven after your assigned time in this world. You are not just to sojourn or pass by this world without experiencing this relationship with him (Romans 8:14-15) There is more to just living that he wants you to experience and understand. This abundant life is not based on material possessions, financial capability or resources. This is an abundant life where Jesus is all you need. Jesus longs to give you the best in life and you can only truly experience an abundant life through a relationship with Him.

The Apostle Paul is the greatest example of someone who has lived an abundant life. Paul suffered a lot – imprisoned repeatedly, flogged severely, and even exposed to death. Five times received the forty lashes minus one, three times beaten with a rod, once stoned, three times shipwrecked and a lot more. And despite of everything he has gone through, he lived life knowing the secret to being filled and having abundance. Why? Because he understood that a life of abundance is only possible through Jesus. That he can do anything (Philippians 4:13), be anywhere, experience whatever as long as He has Jesus.

It’s not about the quantity of what you have, but the quality of your existence.

A life of hope, peace, love and contentment. This is a life where His love is manifested and experienced every day that it overflows with your every action. You were created to experience Jesus in your life! We shouldn’t find satisfaction in simply knowing that we are already spiritually alive, we need to take the necessary steps to develop an intimate connection with Jesus. You won’t find true contentment by having an “as long as I know I’ll be going to heaven, I’m fine” attitude.  You can’t live abundantly if you lack the motivation to know Jesus more.

Jesus Christ wants to come in and be part of your life. But you need to respond! After all, we are to walk and abide with Him (John 15:1-17). Get to know Christ more and include him in every part of your life. You can do this by going back to the basic spiritual disciplines:  prayer, fellowship and studying the bible. Because in the end, desiring to live life with Him each and every step of the way is what makes an abundant life.

So are you living the abundant life?

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message in B1G South Connect entitled “God wants best – Embrace It”. The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

3 Ways How to Manage your Emotion

As a single, I must admit that marriage is one topic we usually want to talk about. It’s a big desire within our hearts. But at times we get too preoccupied about this topic that we lose sight of other matters within our hearts. Yes, it’s a big concern that most singles have right now, but we need to remember that the heart has a lot of emotions that we need to learn how to handle as well.

One book in the bible contains lots of emotions. From emotions of joy and praise to emotions of sadness and despair – The book of Psalms. The Psalms are poems or songs that are meant to be read or sung. Psalms don’t just express emotion, but they also impart lessons that we can learn. It is to give instruction in line with the emotions they show.

When we look at Psalm 42, we learn how the Psalmist was able to handle his emotions or heart very well. Let’s look at the background of this Psalm. There are different emotions showed in this Psalm alone. From reading it, one would observe that there is a struggle – a spiritual depression.

1 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

 

The psalmist was experiencing a trial in his life. He is comparing himself to how a deer thirsts for water, just as how he thirsts for God – to be with and experience God once again. He is at a time in his life that crying is no longer new to him. Day and night he cries and compares tears to food, as if it was a regular part of his life. Mockers have surrounded him and the psalmist is looking for a solution – the answer to the mockery he is experiencing.

 My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

 

The struggle seems to be so overwhelming that he feels like he’s drowning. It is like being overwhelmed with the power of a wave that you have no control over, and if you would compare that to his trial he does not have any control over what is happening around him.

 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

 

Truly, there are so many emotions in this psalm but you would see that it was handled properly. Here are three ways how to manage your emotion and not be overwhelmed by it.

 

(1) Respond and not React

Rather than reacting wrongly, he responded. When people react, it seems to be defensive and in our reactions, our emotions usually take the central role. Responding though, is more thoughtful. You respond by processing things which restore the balance, rather than being controlled by too much emotion. You include logic into it. He responded through the series of verses in this Psalm.

Response Psalm 42
Remembering the Past These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God, With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
Assuring Oneself Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
Acknowledging the Lord O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
Holding on to who God is The Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.
Assuring Oneself Again 11 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

 

(2) Be Honest about your emotions

The point where you just bare your soul to God. What does this mean? This shows how you understand the Lord. God knows everything, so why do we need to tell him what we feel? When we are moved, when our emotions are overflowing and we can’t contain it anymore – He wants you to unload all of it to Him! We need to understand we can tell him everything

God’s love wasn’t earned – it was given freely. Therefore, nothing you can do or say will also negate it.

 

(3) Preach to yourself

Talk to yourself! See the example of the Psalmist in verse 5

 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him

 

When we learn to talk to ourselves we learn how to embed God’s word deep within our souls. That’s why it is important to know God’s word in order to battle your emotions with it. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones said it perfectly.

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says,: “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

 

I know it is not easy when you’re carrying so much emotion in our heart. This is why it is important to be firmly rooted on God’s word, that it may be our guardrail for the heart. In the end, the designed response of the heart is Worship. We manage our emotions by responding and not reacting, being honest to God about it and preaching to ourselves. We want our hearts to just glorify God and worship Him. May we learn to handle our hearts well so it will always lead to a response of worship.

How about you? How do you manage your emotions?

 

Note from the author: This is an excerpt from my message in B1G South Connect entitled “Reactions of the Heart”. The B1G South ministry is the singles ministry of CCF Alabang. We have service every Saturday at 6pm at the 3rd floor of CCF Alabang. Everyone is invited! I would love to meet you if you have time to visit.

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