Take heart. Wait Upon The Lord.

If we’ve come to really know God and believe in Him, we know that he is sovereign. Everything that is happening in our life is under his control and authority. Thus when bad things happen to us, often the first person that we blame and even complain to is God.

As I read Isaiah 40:27 this is the same scenario that I see.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord,

And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?

Isn’t this what we feel at times? We complain and ask God why he allowed this plight in our life. We ask God for justice for people who have deliberately wronged us. We sometimes feel that the Lord does not care or does not notice us in times of trouble and pain.

But be encouraged, after verse 27 God encourages us by revealing to us his heart and power.

Isaiah 40:28

Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth

Does not become weary or tired.

His understanding is inscrutable.

If ever you thought God did not notice you because he was tired or had other things to do. Take heart, he is always at work and he never gets tired. No one may really be able to understand how he works but surely, he knows what we are going through

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives strength to the weary,

And to him who lacks might He increases power.

Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

Take heart, even though you are very discouraged and tired. The Lord can give you strength. The strength comes from our hope and faith as we wait for his help. That’s why in times of discouragement you should not be complaining but instead, you should be exercising your faith to believe and wait in the Lord.

And as we wait in the Lord, the promise is we will have strength, we will run and not get tired, we will walk and not become weary.

I know during times of disappointment, trouble, and pain it’s hard to walk and stand up, but take heart, my dear brother and sister. We need to believe in God and wait upon him. We need to believe that in everything God can work out all things for good because He is a good God.

I hope this message brings you hope. It is hope and faith in the Lord that can cause us to fight the good fight. May we always stand firm and wait upon His deliverance.

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Our God who allows the good and the bad

If you think God is just a God who allows good you are wrong. God is a God who allows calamity as well.

Isaiah 45:7

The One forming light and creating darkness,

Causing well-being and creating calamity;

I am the Lord who does all these.

 

I know people always question, how can a good God allow calamity or evil. Numerous answers have been given. I for one particularly like what Ravi Zacharias said in one video.

Yes, this is a hard question to answer and who are we to really question God’s ways. But there is one thing that I know, even though God permits calamity, distress or evil in this world, He can always turn it for our good. So even with the bad that we think is happening in our lives, in God’s eyes, it is actually good because He can turn it for our good.

Singles Retreat 2018 Group PicI remember the past retreat that has just passed. I have been organizing retreats for years and by far, Singles’ Escapade has been the biggest one yet. When we started planning for this retreat we were only expecting 250-300 participants. A month before the retreat, a surge of registrants entered. For the first time, we had to close the registration two weeks prior to the event. We closed our registration at 397 and some people were still asking if they can join the retreat. Some problems are bad, and some are good, and this is definitely one good problem to have.

Then we started to think, how will we be able to accommodate all of these participants. We checked the venue, added an additional bus and even bought more materials. In the end, God delivered us, and we were able to serve 393 participants during the retreat.

Even during the retreat, I encountered so many setbacks and concerns:

  • We encountered a brownout during the second session
  • Only one shuttle was provided during checkout when it should have been four
  • There were so many concerns with the participants’ room
  • Food portioning was so small
  • The volume of our own speakers was not enough
  • The temperature of aircon in the hall cannot be adjusted

When all of these things happened the only thing that I can do is pray. Plus, I remembered what God showed me in Isaiah 45:7, “The Lord causes the good and the bad – well-being and calamity.”

It was then that I just started to really trust God. Yes, it is God who allows the good and the bad because he wants us to know that nothing is beyond His control. Even if it looks like everything is already bleak and hopeless, God is still in control and can do the impossible.

122 BaptizedIndeed, that is what I saw. Despite the many issues that we encountered during the retreat. God still worked mightily, and His word did not return to Him empty. The brownout did not stop the word of God from convicting people of their sin. The issues with the participants’ room cannot hinder God’s plan. And even if the volume of the speakers was not loud enough, God’s love through Jesus spoke so much volume that 121 people declared their faith in Him and were baptized.

Who can really thwart God’s plan? Man is just an instrument used by God for His glory. The bad that we encountered during the retreat was used for good. Truly God is good no matter the circumstance.

I know sometimes we view God based on our circumstances but remember, who God is according to His word and not according to our own circumstances. Not matter if we are experiencing something bad, God is always good and he can turn our situation around for our good.

I hope this gives you encouragement to just trust God and see Him work in your life. If there’s anything that encouraged you in this post, leave a comment below and I would love to hear from you. May the Lord strengthen and establish you. God bless!

1 Peter 5:10-11

10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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Blessed are the Pure in Heart

More than a month ago we went to Baguio. It was fun as we enjoyed the weather and buying vegetables. For those who haven’t been to Baguio vegetables, coffee beans, honey, ube jam, honey, etc. are very cheap there. And when we were looking for honey we wanted to ensure we buy pure honey since there are those who sell honey with a mixture of sugar. This is fake and not beneficial to the body.

I know as consumers we want to buy the purest of foods. We want to eat what is unadulterated and free of any contaminants. But did you know, just like how we desire purity in the food that we eat, God also desires purity – He desires a pure heart.

Matthew 5:8

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Matthew 5:8 is part of the Jesus’ sermon on the mount called The Beatitudes. From verse 3 to 11 in that chapter, each verse starts with “Blessed.” These are promises from God with a condition. The word “Blessed” simply means happiness – true happiness in its purest form. Not the type of happiness that the world offers, a happiness based on happenings and temporary. And verse 8 tells us that if you want to be happy you need to be pure in heart to be able to see God.

Now let’s look at the condition first. The condition is you need to be pure in heart. What does it mean to be pure in heart? A pure heart is a heart that is free from corrupt desires. Now that’s really not easy to have, right? Some of you may even be thinking that is totally impossible. We know we are sinners. We know we have a heart that is deceitful and wicked. So how can we have a pure heart?

Firstly, a pure heart is possible only through Jesus. Truly on our own, we cannot create a pure heart in us. It is Jesus who takes our heart of stone and turns it to a heart of flesh. Psalmist understood this that’s why he said in Psalms

 Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

It is only through Jesus that we can have a pure heart. A heart that is cleansed of our sin, through our faith in Him, because of His death on the cross. It is his blood that washes away our sins and guilt. That’s why when we place our faith in Jesus, to confess our sin and believe on his death on the cross, positionally we now have the pure heart and since we now have the pure heart we should show that in our actions. We should now aim to progressively live with a pure heart.

To live with a pure heart is to daily desire to please God in everything that you do. It means having the purest of motives to glorify him in your work, ministry and daily encounter with people. It means a life that constantly battles sin and says no to sin. It does not mean perfection but progression. The beauty of having a pure heart because of our faith in Jesus, is that if even there is a moment that we have sinned and somehow tainted our heart, there is always forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and we can stand up and try walking in purity once more. Progressive purity is simply purifying your heart of evil desires that will displease God because you want your heart to be solely for him alone – pure.

And then, what is the promise once we have a pure heart? We will be blessed because we will see God. Does that mean that literally we will see God? No, it does not literally mean that we will see God. It means to see God in your mind and heart that you get a glimpse of who He is. To see God is to somehow to be so close to him that you now know Him and understand his heart. Truly there is no greater joy than to know God and be close to Him.

The beauty of being pure in heart is not only seeing God and knowing Him but it is to know that when people look at us they will also see God in us because we act according to how He wants us to act. That in itself is already a big reason to say truly I am blessed and happy because I am able to bless others through my life.

 Just some questions that you may want to think about:

  • When you check your heart, is it pure? Or it is divided and not single-minded for Christ?
  • What are things that keep you from giving your whole devotion and heart to God?
  • Do you find your happiness in other things other than God?
  • Is not seeing and knowing God a good enough reason for you to live with a pure heart?

I pray that we will all live with a pure heart – to obey, fix our eyes on Jesus alone and live the purest of motive to only please Him. May you apply this in your heart that together, we will be blessed as we see and experience God in our life. God bless you!

 

 

 

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