Be Still! Rejoice! He is God!

Break out into singing all you children of the Jehovah Sabaoth! Be still! Rejoice! He is God! He is exalted among the nations! He is exalted in the earth! Be still! Rejoice!

Yesterday, I was taken aback by a post in facebook. On the post was one of our church’s original songs entitled, “Purihin Pangalan Niya” (personal translation: Praise His Name) and who originally composed it. What surprised me was that it was composed by the youth of Hope Tacloban in Philippines as a thanksgiving song after these youth and their families where transferred to their new houses whilst Typhoon Yolanda was wreaking dire havoc. The song is well loved as its lyrics and tempo will bring about singing and dancing full of joy and praises to God.

Such a timely reminder, as today Strait Times reported 7 new cases of the 2019 nCOV infection here in Singapore. Some cases are near home which whispered much fear in my heart. At the same time, the words, “Be still and know that I am God.” lingered in my mind. Looking for more comfort, I read through the whole chapter of Psalm 46:

“God is our refuge and strength,
A[a] very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the [b]midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the [c]tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be [d]moved;
God shall help her, just [e]at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah”

What an encouragement from the LORD! He is our refuge and strength! He is always present and He will help in any trouble whether it was earthquakes, crumbling mountains or roaring oceans. He gives us an assurance that He is always with His children. He is powerful and sovereign above it all even when nations are in chaos and kingdoms crumble. Desolation and wars aren’t something He is unconscious of, but rather, in His wisdom and judgement, His works. He is Jehovah Sabaoth, Lord of Hosts and He is with us! What do we need to do? Do we fear? Do we panic? Do we give in to defeat? No! We need to be still and know that He is God! Our God, the Lord of the Heavenly Armies! Again, we need to be still and know He is God! The God who doesn’t change! Whose faithfulness and mercies cover a thousand generations!

Somehow, I understood how those youth from Tacloban were able to compose such a wonderful song of praise amidst much lost and sorrow. The typhoon may have taken their homes, but the LORD God have provided new homes for them. From the provision God rendered to them comes a quiet confidence that He was with them during the storm, their very present help in that trouble, thereby yielding a song full of rejoicing!  Truly, His name is worthy of highest praises!

So instead of being discouraged of this rising number of 2019 n-COV infection, I pray that we stand firm, not letting fear seize our hearts. Instead, we hold our ground and continue to believe that our LORD God is the God Almighty above all things! No matter how this outbreak unfolds, God is God! Break out into singing all you children of the Jehovah Sabaoth! Be still! Rejoice! He is God! He is exalted among the nations! He is exalted in the earth! Be still! Rejoice!

If you would like to have this stillness in Jehovah Sabaoth through Jesus Christ is, I greatly and lovingly encourage you to click this.

 

 #GirlWithPinkBible

#TimeSpentWithGodIsTimeBestSpent

 

 

 

 

The Heart of the Father

“Communication” or “the way we interact with someone” (this is done by talking, facial expressions, hand gestures, and in our generation today we do communications through Facebook, sending SMS, voice call and even video call). The way we communicate with someone determines how we value them.

Examples:

We can talk freely with our friends and laugh about funny and silly things.

When we talk to our parents, teachers or someone older than us we always talk with respect.

When we talk to God, we talk through “Prayer”

“Prayer” is the way on how we talk to God when we thank Him for good grades, nice toys, and all the blessings He has given us. In the same way prayer is the way when we ask God for something that we wanted.

“Prayer is the way on how we talk to God”

We can learn through the Bible that Jesus talks to God the Father through prayer. In fact, Jesus taught us how to talk to God the Father in our prayers. Let us all read Matthew 6:9-13

A. God’s Word

Matthew 6:5-13

9 “This is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.

B. Teaching

As we talk to Father God in our prayer, we are looking into the good heart of God who hears all our prayers. By knowing His heart, we get to know His character as our Father which Jesus revealed by teaching us how to communicate with God through prayer.

Today, we are going to get to know the character of God the Father by looking into His heart through our prayer.

1. Key Point 1: God the Father is Powerful

“Power is the capability to do something.”

Who among you watch Marvel movies? Alright, the characters in different movies have their super powers that enables them to fight the bad guys. (Side note: But among them there One and Only Super Hero that saved the World, and His name is Jesus)

Most kids consider their father as “super heroes” or “super daddy” because of the strength that they can see from them. Our fathers are strong. They can lift us up and carry us in their arms. We often ride on their back and ask them to run around while they are carrying us.

What does the Bible teach about Father God’s being Powerful?

9 This is how you should pray. Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10 NLT)

Have you noticed how Jesus addressed God the Father as “Our” this means that we share one Father (with Jesus) who is in heaven.

Father God is so powerful (Jeremiah 10:12 NIRV “But God used His power to make the earth”) that by His spoken words He was able to create everything. In Genesis 1:1-2 NLT it is written “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

“But God used His power to make the earth” (Jeremiah 10:12 NIRV)

There are a lot of stories in the Bible where God showed his power. God even parted the Red Sea so that His sons and daughters, the Israelites can escape the chasing Egyptians.

Guide Question:

1. We all know that God is powerful, and He created everything that we can see around us. Name 3 of God’s creation which you like the most. Share why you like it.

2. God the Father is Provider

Can you still recall a moment when you ask something from your father? Like a new toy, a bicycle, a chocolate, or even a day in an amusement park?

We all grow up knowing that our father wakes early in the morning because he prepares to go to work. But have you ever wondered why he is doing all this thing? It is because he needs to provide for you.

Jesus showed how praying to our Daddy God connects us to him not because we need something but because we know that is our Great Provider (Jehovah Jireh)

10 Give us today the food we need (Matthew 6:11 NLT)

I remember another story in the Bible when it was evening, and there were a lot of people following Jesus. So, Jesus told his disciples to look for food, but they said that there were no nearby store and even if there is, they need to spend big amount of money to feed the people. Until one child offered his 5 loaves and 2 fishes. Let us look into the Bible what happened.

20 They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of left (Matthew 14:20 NLT)

Guide Questions:

1. Can you still recall the time when you asked from your father something? What was that thing? Did he give it to you?

2. What are the things you are asking Father God right this time? Share it to your life group and find a partner to pray for it.

3. God the Father is Protector

Our father is our life time protector. A “protector” is “someone with the ability to keep us secured against any harm or danger”

A “protector” is “someone with the ability to keep us secured against any harm or danger”

This photo of the father protecting his son went viral because of the great love of the father to protect the son from getting wet because of the rain.

This is the same love is what God is giving to you.

13 And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13 NLT)

Whenever King David is in trouble, he writes a Psalms to God to show how God protects him despite there are a lot of troubles. In one of his Psalm, he wrote:

2 “The Lord is my protector; He is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and in Him I am safe…” (Psalm 18:2 GNT)

Guide Questions:

1. Your father loves you so much that’s the reason why he protects you. What are the usual things that your father protects you from? Do you follow him? If yes, why? If no, why?

2. What are the things that makes you sad or worry? Share it to your group so you can pray for one another.

C. A Short Story About Father

Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, “My dad writes a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it poem, and they give him 50$”

The second boy says, “That’s nothing. My dad writes a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100”

The third boy says, “I beat both of you. My dad inspired other men to write down on pieces of paper. Those pieces of paper is what we now call “Bible” – His name is God!

Father God is a Forgiving Father

God’s character does not stop in just being a Powerful Father, a Great Provider and an All-Time Protector but He extends His love by forgiving our sins through Jesus Christ who save us all by dying in the cross for our sins.

12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. (Matthew 6:12 NLT)

Looking into the heart of the Father, we can see that His Power, Provisions and Protections are not because He is able but rather to keep us in dwelling in His Presence to satisfy us. Satisfaction is knowing who He is and His plan for our lives, especially His salvation plan for us.

Forgiveness

It turns out decisional forgiveness, as the department of psychology at the University of Munich refers to it, is necessary, but it’s not enough.

Moving forward requires our emotional forgiveness, which is bad news for those of us who have trained our emotions to wipe their feet at the door and stay out of logic’s way.

– Kayla Yui

For the whole article, please visit:

www.intouch.org/read/magazine/faith-works/what-you-dont-know-forgiven-supposedly

If you want to know more about the Lord and how you can offer your life unto Him, click here.

#GirlWithPinkBible

#TimeSpentWithGodIsTimeBestSpent

Endurance

Philippians 3:17-21 NLT

Life with Jesus is certainly a fun-filled, exciting life. It is full of love, and hugs, and warm thoughts, and comfort, and peace, and joy.

However, sometimes, it’s not easy. Because God loves us so much, He wants us to have the full experience, not just a one-sided, one-dimensional kind of life. That wouldn’t be very interesting at all.

That means that in this world, there will be pain, sorrow, and hardship. God actually designed it so that life would be that way.

But the best thing is that God also made it so that we would be able to go through it. He made it so that not only would we be able to endure all that life throws at us, but that in the process we would also learn something. And not just at the end, but also all throughout.

“Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.” Philippians 3:17 NLT

A good reminder for us here is the life of Paul the Apostle. He used to be a persecutor of Christians who got converted to Christianity by the hand of God Himself. And then he became one of God’s greatest servants.

When Paul answered the call of God, he wanted to do so many things for the Kingdom. He wanted to convert as many people as possible, he wanted to build churches, he wanted to love God in the best way that he possibly can. But then all of these did not come easy. Here’s a list of just some of the things that happened to Paul:

  • He was beaten and even had heavy rocks thrown at him
  • He was shipwrecked
  • He was put in jail multiple times
  • He had people who wanted to kill him, and he had to escape huddled in a basket
  • He was bitten by a deadly snake
  • He had a chronic terminal condition of some sort (perhaps eye trouble, I wouldn’t be surprised)

You would think even just one of those would stop him from serving Jesus. Can you imagine what his will must have been made of?

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.”. Philippians 3:20 NLT

Thankfully, God was with him at all times, and he was empowered to press on despite everything keeping him from his serving.

“He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:21 NLT

No matter how empty we think ourselves to be, there is always still something left over inside us, for us to do the task before us. This power comes from Jesus, who is an infinite fount of strength and power.

The Power of Prayer

I was raised in a pious Roman Catholic family, and we went to church every Sunday. Even at a very young age, we went to big people church, with full length masses that seemed to go and on. But I was a very obedient child, and I never missed one service. And every Sunday, I had one fervent, heartfelt prayer.

“Lord, please make me tall enough to reach the pews when I kneel.”

This was seriously my prayer at that time. Because each and every time we have to kneel, I didn’t have anywhere to place my praying hands. I was too short to reach the ledge of the pew when I was kneeling down. 

Full disclosure, I wasn’t a very tall kid. Right now I know I’m the perfect height, but back then, I knew I was a little bit shorter, a little bit cuter, than my other friends.

(Full, full disclosure — I was always the smallest in the classroom.  I never got picked for teams in PE.  At the end of prep school (the level before you start kindergarten), my uncle was surprised that I was part of the graduating class.  He thought that all along that I was just going there to play.  Because I looked too small to be going to school already.)

And I really prayed so so hard to Jesus that He would miraculously make me taller so that I can reach that pew ledge.

I’m not going to reveal what age I finally reached that coveted height, but let’s just suffice it to say that I can now happily reach that ledge when I have to kneel down on a pew. 

(I have some bonus tips for all you boys and girls right now: eat your vegetables, and do as many afternoon naps as you can. Those two things would have saved me many years of unanswered prayers about my height.)

Now that I know more about God, I should’ve asked for more.  I know that God is a God of wisdom, and perfect timing, and answered prayers.

And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
1 John 5:15 NLT

Prayer is powerful!  Even the few mumbled words of thanks we say before each meal; even the vague, jumbled thoughts of blessings for the family before we go to sleep.  Prayer is very powerful.

And not because it is the means by which our requests get sent to some sort of genie-god, who will only approve and process them if they are submitted appropriately.

It is also not because it is the only way that a sort of judge-god will hear our petitions, and mete out punishments or rewards accordingly.

Prayer is powerful because it is the outward expression of our faith, a vocal confirmation of our belief.

When we pray, the first thing that happens is that we are affirming to ourselves, and to God, that we believe in Him.  That’s why when we pray, we start out by saying who it is that we are praying to, and declaring His greatness.

9 This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:9-10 NIV

The second thing that happens is that we are acknowledging the extent of His capabilities.

4 He counts the stars
and calls them all by name.
5 How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
His understanding is beyond comprehension!
Psalm 147:4-5 NLT

But it is important to remember that even though we know the extent of His power, it doesn’t mean that our prayers will get answered by the sheer force of our own earthly belief.

Our prayers don’t get answered by how “well” we pray.  There is no checklist, no set rules, or number of words to use.  There is no timeline or special formula.

Which is not to say that it is a hopeless, fruitless exercise to try and get better at doing it.  Far from it.  Prayer reinforces our faith every single time we do it.  It keeps us close to God, and closer to His divine understanding.  It strengthens our spiritual resolve, the personal relationship that we have with Jesus, and the familial bond that we have with other believers.

So never stop praying.  God always answers the prayers of His sons and daughters.  We do not understand His timing, or His reasons.  But we are rest assured that our God will always hear us.

You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows to him.
Job 22:27 NLT

Kids Teaching – Empowered to Grow

Objective
God empowers us to move beyond the basics of Christian faith, and grow up in Christ, in a way that we can’t even imagine.

God’s Word
A Call to Spiritual Growth
Hebrews 5:11-6:3 NLT

Memory Verse:
It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.
1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT

Teaching
This month we are talking about Empowerment in Christ, and this week, our topic is Empowered to Grow.

A Call to Spiritual Growth
Hebrews 5:11-6:3

Paul wrote this letter, and he was very funny in the analogy.  When you read this during your discussion later, he says two things that are amusing to me.  The first is that, he calls the people dull (the equivalent of the bad S-word) and not willing to listen.  And the second that is that he compared people to babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.  It’s very funny, you should read it over and over again.

To grow means to undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically over a period of time.

(What does it mean to grow physically?  Height, weight, size, lenght, girth, etc. Show chart, growth over time)

All living things grow (bigger, taller, wider, longer, etc.) as time passes. Look at the person beside you. Does he or she look like a living thing? Then for sure, they have grown through the years.

Apart from physical growth, there’s mental growth as well.  As kids we are sometimes told to grow up! Especially when we do something that our parents or guardians think we should be doing better.

(Have you ever heard that from your parents or teachers?  Grow up, insert-name-here!  You’re not a baby anymore!)

And then, here comes my favorite part: spiritual growth.  You can also grow in Christ.

1 Know of Him

“And this is the way to have eternal life—*to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ*, the one you sent to earth.” (John 17:3 NLT)

We start with knowing of Him — that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  We recieve Him in our hearts, and promise to love Him.

(Who here has Jesus in their hearts raise your Bible!  If you don’t have a Bible, raise your pinky finger, so that you will pinky swear you will have a Bible next week!)

After the knowing, comes the growing.  You know of Him, now you can grow in Him.

But of course this type of growth is not measured in height or weight or size.  (You have to be this tall to read the Bible — not!)

This growth is measured in increase.  (Say it with me, “increase”.)

In other words, you can also use: “better”, “more”, “further”.

You see to grow in Christ means to increase in your knowledge of Him, your love for Him, and in obedience to Him.

And the wonderful thing is that it is Jesus Himself who will bring about this growth.

“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but *it was God who made it grow*.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NLT)

It was God who made it grow.

2 Grow in Him

God is the source of your growth. As you walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, read the Bible, pray, tell people about Christ and spend time with other believers, God will be at work in you producing fruitfulness and maturity.

Which is not to say that you don’t do anything to help along your spiritual growth.  This is where discipline comes in, when you put in the time and effort to read your Bible and pray everyday.  This is where the self-control and patience comes in, when you remember your Christlikeness even when everyone else around you is just so annoying and loud and testing you and tempting you to sin.

“Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.” (Proverbs 16:32 NLT)

(If you want to grow physically, what can you do to help your body?  Eat vegetables, get more naps in the afternoons, sleep long at night, etc.  It’s the same thing.  If you want grow in Christ, you can also do some things to help you along in your journey.)

And the great thing about it is that when it is God, when it comes from God, when He is the one moving, He moves with a supernatural power.  He works at a rate that we can’t imagine.  He can make things happen in your life so wonderfully, not even any of those superhero powers in the movies can compare.

That’s why we say, Empowered to Grow!  With a power that comes from Jesus Himself!

And when we grow in Christ, we can surpass whatever barriers we can think of.  You can have more faith that you’ve ever had before.  You can hear from Him more clearly than you’ve ever had before.  You can worship more deeply than you’ve ever had before.

Now we have to talk about lobsters.  Don’t worry, it’s all connected.

Lobsters are the only animals with a shell whose bodies grow faster than their shells.  That means they get too big for their shells, and when happens, they get rid of that shell, sometimes bashing their bodies against the rocks and corals just to get it off so that they can grow a new shell to fit.

I want to have that kind of faith!  I want to grow so much in Christ, that it overflows out of me, in my worship, in my serving Him, in my life.  And if I have to get rid of my shell, or whatever it is that’s keeping me from growing in Him and loving Him more that I have ever imagined, then I’m going to get rid of my shell and grow and grow and grow!

When I started out writing this teaching, I thought I would play with that word GROW, and think if acronyms that would work, and I came up with several.  Obviously, I was inspired:

  • God reveals our worth
  • God reshapes our weaknesses
  • God rules our world
  • God removes our worries
  • God renews our wisdom
  • God requires our work
  • God rejoices in our worship

But right now, let’s focus that last one.  God Rejoices in Our Worship, and when we are empowered to grow, we have an empowered worship as well, is that an Amen?  Then let’s stand up and worship God, and say yes God, I want to know You more, I want to grow in You.  Let’s worship.

Worship
I Love You Jesus (Children’s Prayer)
New Wine (Hillsong Worship)

Lifegroup Discussion
Read Hebrews 5:11-6:3 verse by verse.  Encourage lively reading.

  1. What can you say about Hebrews 5:11?  Why do you think Paul used these words? (Show them the NLT version, and lead them into a discussion about how even before, people “don’t seem to listen”).
  2. (Fold a big piece of paper in half, lengthwise, just one for your group.  On the first column, get suggestions from the group one by one, and write down things that babies and young kids do that kids their age don’t do anymore.)
  3. (On the other column, write down things that they do now that they have grown, that they couldn’t do before.  Lead them into thinking of their day to day activities at home, in school, and in church.)
  4. Do you remember when you first received Jesus? (Encourage them to think about the date carefully, and write it down in their notebook or Bible.  It is an important date.)
  5. What do you know about Jesus now that you didn’t know before?
  6. Are there still things in the Bible that you don’t understand?  Think of three questions and submit to the teacher.
  7. Can you think of other acronyms for the word GROW?
  8. What is your favorite worship song?

Teaching Slides here.

Why Choose To Forgive?

Were you offended by someone? Either intentionally or unintentionally? Did you choose to forgive, or you are still carrying on the burden of offense brought by the incidence? If you do, this Bible-based blog about choosing to forgive will surely encourage you to choose forgiveness over unforgiveness.

Offense means annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself. An offense is part of an everyday experience, in schools, in workplaces, in our circle of friends, in our family and even in social media – the most common and noticeable way is through “bullying”.

Alexander Pope mentioned that “to err is human, to forgive is divine” in one of his creation entitled “An Essay on Criticism”. Humans’ initial reaction to an offense can be described in Newton’s Third Law of Motion whereby it states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. As we get offended, we jump into a state where we get angry! This can go deep down into our senses for some time if we do not know how we should handle such situations in life.

In the book of Genesis, God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27). This means that we also possess the characteristics which God has and God expects that we will imitate the same – such as “forgiveness”. We will be able to live out the life with forgiveness as we continue to walk with God, read and meditate on His words, and praying.

As God wants us to live a forgiving life, He always serves as the best example.

  1. Adam and Eve

God created the first man and woman in Adam and in Eve. And He made them rulers in everything which He has created (Genesis 1:28). But the Fall of Adam and Eve happened when they were not able to overcome the temptation brought by the serpent (Genesis 3:1), and they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:17). This made them know the difference between the good and the bad.

God got disappointed with the situation and gave His rightful judgment to the serpent, to Eve and to Adam (Genesis 3:14-19). But one noticeable event after God made His judgment is when He “made garments for Adam and His wife and He clothed them” (Genesis 3:21) God remains to be a good Father to His creations, especially to Adam and Eve whom He created from His own image. God chose to forgive.

It is written in the book of John saying that If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)

2. Jesus at the Cross

Being crucified at the cross can be considered as the worst way to die for a criminal during that time. This feeling is magnified towards the crucifixion – from the moment when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus over thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14). Jesus predicted Peter’s denial (Matthew 26:34) and it all happened.

Jesus was mocked, insulted. His blood flowed in every stripes He received. He is God. He could have summoned the angels to fight back. But Jesus is “forgiving”.

Through Him we entered a new covenant of grace that will surpass all the laws. The Bible says that we have been saved “by grace”.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

In a day to day basis, I always sing the song entitled “Build My Life” every morning:

Holy, There is no one like You

There is not besides you,

Open up my eyes in wonder

Show me who you are and fill me

With your heart and lead me

In your love to those around me

This psalm is very powerful to me as it declares the sovereignty of God on the wonders that He alone can do. And as we really dig deeper into the revelation of who God is in our lives, there is faith (assurance) that God will fill us with his heart that is compassionate to other people – a heart that chooses to forgive and love.

God wants to bring back the relationship with us and restore our identity as His sons and daughters. We may think that God will not care for us for so many times we have offended Him through our sins. But very truly I tell you that Jesus is a forgiving God and apart from it He wants to give us the assurance of salvation.

Jeremiah 29:11


 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

         Jeremiah 29:11 

 

IMG_6531It took me almost 29 years to actually and genuinely understand what it means to trust God. During my early years of existence, I thought I was able to really grasp the content of Jeremiah 29:11. When I was younger, everything was easy. I go to school, do my best, behave properly and making my parents proud was more like the routine that I got used to and apparently, I was doing a pretty good job mastering this. But came my 20’s, everything changed. This was when I got the true taste of reality and confusion started to hit me hard. There were moments that I would cry at night praying and hoping that Jesus would just make all the pain go away in an instant because I could not take it anymore. And looking at my past, I could say that everything happened because Jesus was showing me what it really means to put my WHOLE TRUST IN HIM, and in HIM ALONE.

As you could see, I have placed different colors in the verse so I could share to you how I have come to truly understand Jeremiah 29:11. Without a doubt, Jesus is still continuously showing me the beauty in his word. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)


 

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord..”

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This part alone has so many reasons why God wants us to put out trust in Him. God deserves every bit of our trust because He is our Creator. He is our loving Father and He loves us as His sons and daughters.

 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

                                                                    Psalm 139:13-14  (NIV)

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. 

                                                                                               Isaiah 49: 15-16 (NIV)

Because God created us, therefore, He knows every single thing about us. He is an OMNISCIENT God. He sees everything, hears everything  knows everything, from past, present to future.

“Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the LORD “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.

                                                                                                                               Jeremiah 23:24

          Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

                                                                                                                                    Isaiah 40:26                                                                              

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

                                                                                                                              Matthew 6:31-32

All knowledge came from Him and His knowledge is perfect. He alone is perfect, and therefore,  His will and plans for us will never fail. Just like what He planned for our Lord Jesus Christ. Dying on the cross was not a failure but was the greatest success and the most beloved gift, a Father could ever give to His son and daughter.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

                                                                                                                                     John 3:16


 

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you…”

I believe that everything happens for a reason, and in this life that we have, its not always sugar, spice and everything nice. It is true that God is a God of love (1 John 4:8) and knowing that makes it hard for some people to understand why God would allow us to lose someone we love, or go through all kinds of pain and hardship.

When I have come to know God, I was able to understand that the world that we live in gives us a huge misconception about having a prosperous life. This world is always about having all the wealth, ageless beauty and health, unbeatable success etc.  The word of God clearly says that God made this world, but the spirit that lures around it is not from God. All the lust, greediness, anger and hate. These are far from God.

For everything in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world.

                                                                                                                                     1 John 2:16

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

                                                                                                                                  Romans 12:2

purpose

Despite all that, we must remember  that the road to a prosperous life is not about being born having a silver spoon in one’s mouth.  It is about having Jesus Christ in our lives. God, in all His ways, is leading us nearer to Him. His purpose for our lives is for us to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and to exalt His Name, offering our lives as a form of worship so that other people will come to know Jesus Christ. This is the only way for us to understand how God works in our lives, may it be in ups or downs, in joy or in pain. In whatever circumstances, putting our trust in God will never lead us to any form of harm because we will never be apart from Him.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

                                                                                                                         Romans 8:28

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33


“plans to give you hope and a future…”

Now your asking, “Why do we need a Savior?”. This may sound very bold to you, but the simplest answer is this: Because we are SINNERS and sin SEPARATES US FROM GOD. It is not because sin is more powerful, but because GOD IS HOLY.

But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Now, why would I put my trust in God knowing that I, having a sinful nature, will never be good enough for Him? Because again, God’s plan to give us hope and a future has been fulfilled many years ago when He gave His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for you and me.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Luke 19:10

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

1 John 3: 1

The truth is, He loved us first. We do not deserve to have a loving Father like Him, but still, HE LOVED US FIRST. And because, His love for us is so great, He sacrificed His son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, for you and me. Isn’t that enough reason for us to our trust in God? He is so faithful and so merciful that my mind could not even comprehend why He would do that for me. Again, it all comes back to His Love.

cross

Jesus Christ took all the sufferings and punishment that was supposed to be imposed to you and me. If Jesus did not died on the Cross, we will not be living under grace right now. So could you imagine the extent of His love for us? Its too much for us to bear, but, I am thankful to have come and know what Jesus did for me. And having Him in my life is the greatest gift I could ever have. I know have someone whom I could trust, someone who knows me and have good plans for me, someone who wants to prosper me in every way and will never put me in any harm, someone WHO BECAME MY ONE AND ONLY HOPE, so I COULD HAVE A FUTURE.

 

Hallelujah! All Glory to God!

 

Do you want to know more about Jesus and his love for you? Please click here!

 

 

 

None like King Hezekiah (Part 1)

hezekiah

Bible passages: 2 Kings 18-20, 2 Chronicles 29-32, Isaiah 36-39

*All Bible passages used are in NKJV

 

King Hezekiah, son of King Ahaz and Abijah, daughter of Zechariah, was the 13th king of Judah and the king who “did what was right, good and true in the sight of the LORD, according to all that His father David done” (2 Kings 18:3, 2 Chronicles 31:20) like some kings of Israel and Judah. I, as a kid, have known him for having an additional 15 years of life given to him by God when He prayed to God for his sickness (2 Kings 20:6) but never did I know that he was regarded as the king like no other.

2 Kings 18:5 says:

He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him..

He must have been quite a king to be regarded as such! The king who trusted God that no king before and after him was like him.  Let’s look at some characteristics of King Hezekiah:

  1. He was zealous for the restoration of both Judah’s and Israel’s relationship to the LORD God.  2 Chronicles 18:3-5 says:

    In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the LORD and repaired them.  Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, and said to them: “Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place.

    His first order of business as king was seeking God by cleansing God’s temple and urging the Levites to purify themselves before God. He unashamedly admitted before his people about the trespasses their fathers made before God by turning their backs from Him and forsaking Him that brought upon the wrath of God. He urged his people to come back to God as they were chosen by Him, as 2 Chronicles 18:11 says:

    My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.

    This king wasn’t afraid to admit their transgressions before God but instead he humbled himself and repented and then urged his people to do the same. He made them remember that they, the Levites, were chosen by God with a specific purpose for Him. After repenting and cleansing themselves, they worked on cleansing the temple, as 2 Chronicles 18:16 says,

    Then the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD to cleanse it, and brought out all the debris that they found in the temple of the LORD to the court of the house of the LORD.

    2 Kings 18:4 mentioned specifically that he abolished the pagan idols that the Israelites used to worship:

    He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.

    King Hezekiah led and commanded his people to worship only one God, “the LORD of hosts, the God of all the kingdoms of the earth who made heaven and earth” (Isaiah 37:16).

    2 Chronicles 29:29-30 says:

29 And when they had finished offering, the king and all who were present with him bowed and worshiped.30 Moreover King Hezekiah and the leaders commanded the Levites to sing praise to the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshiped

He even urged all Israel to seek God as 2 Chronicles 30:1 says:

And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel.

King Hezekiah recognized that knew seeking God and restoring their relationship with Him as one nation was of utmost importance and should be his foremost priority.

 

2. He diligently  and whole-heartedly obeyed God which resulted to prosperity and favor.

2 Kings 18:6 says:

For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses. The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went.

Moreover, 2 Chronicles 31:21 adds:

21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.

Throughout his life, King Hezekiah was faithful in every work that he did for God and served God with all his heart. He and his people honored the LORD through worship, burnt offerings, devotions to the law of the LORD and the giving of “firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field”          (2 Chronicles 31:5). This was rewarded by God by blessing his kingdom.  King Hezekiah saw this great abundance as it says in 2 Chronicles 31:9:

Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.10 And Azariah the chief priest, from the house of Zadok, answered him and said, “Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people; and what is left is this great abundance.”

The people gathered the grain for four months. Before this, grains were already taken by the priests as tithes and offerings dedicated to the LORD and by the people of Judah as provisions for their families. Still after all were full, the left overs were still great in amount!

King Hezekiah had the favor of God and with it came the favor of men. As it says in 2 Chronicles 30:11-12:

11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.

When the king sent letters to urge people all throughout Israel to come to Jerusalem to worship and keep the passover, some laughed and mocked at the runners carrying these letters (2 Chronicles 30:10). But God’s hand was upon the tribes of Asher, Manasseh, Zebulun and of course, Judah. He touched the nation of Judah that all obeyed, as one and with the singleness of heart, the command of the king and observed the passover. God blessed the feast with great joy and with a great number of people as 2 Chronicles 30:25-16 says:

25 The whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, also the priests and Levites, all the assembly that came from Israel, the sojourners who came from the land of Israel, and those who dwelt in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.

Abundance in grain, people, favor and joy! An overflowing abundance indeed!

 

Stay tuned for Part 2!

 

If you want to have this zeal, prosperity and favor from God like King Hezekiah had, click here.

 

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#TimeSpentWithGodIsTimeBestSpent

 

Mothers in the Gospel: Jochebed’s Bravery

Objective:
To teach children the value of being bravely obedient to God, and having sustaining faith in Him, through the life of Jochebed, the mother of Moses.

God’s Word:
Exodus 2:1-10 NIRV

Memory Verse:
Be on your guard. Remain strong in the faith. Be brave.
1 Corinthians 16:13

Teaching:
This month we will dedicate four weeks to learning about famous mommies in the Bible. These are women whom God called to be mothers — leaders in their households, bearer of children, daughters of God. We will study their lives, and by their experiences and examples, we will see what God wants us to learn from them.

This week, we will be discussing Jochebed (Jo-ke-bed). (Can you say that out loud?) She was also Moses’ mother. Who is Moses’ mother? Who is Jochebed?)

“To Amram she bore Aaron, Moses and their sister Miriam.”
Numbers 26:59b

From Numbers 26:59 we learn that Jochebed was married to Amram, and they had two children, Meriam and Aaron. At that time, the Pharaoh leader of Egypt was getting nervous about how big the Hebrew population was becoming. He became so scared that they would one day rise up and rebel against him, that he ordered all Hebrew baby boys killed.

But then Jochebed became pregnant, and gave birth to Moses. Now she knew that if anyone finds out about her new born baby boy, the entire family would be in big trouble. She knew she had to do something.

It’s a safe assumption to say that a lot of the Hebrews probably did kill off their babies. Maybe there was even a reward out for anyone who reports newborn baby boys, who knows? By this time, some of them have been tempted into idol worship, bowing to the gods of the Egyptians, and starting to follow their ways. They might have forgotten Jehovah God.

But Amram and Jochebed were strong in their faith during a time when many Israelites had become idolatrous. They knew that God was a covenant-making, promise-keeping God who provides and protects. And so when Moses was born, Jochebed hid him. She was able to hide Moses from the authorities for three months.

1 Be brave to trust

Our first key point today is a reminder for us to trust in God. Do you know that it takes a certain amount of bravery to put your trust in something? You could be the oldest, wisest, strongest Christian there is, you never miss your daily devotions, you go to church and life group and prayer nights and serve and praise and worship God with all your heart, and still (still!) two simple words can bring you down. Do you know what those two words are?

What if.

What if I fall? What if I fail? What if I don’t get it? What if I’m wrong? What if I lose? What if I die?

What if, what if, what if???

Jochebed might have had questions in her head at that time, we will never know. (When I meet her in heaven maybe I’ll ask her.) Let’s see, she might have been thinking, what if he cries out, and the neighbors hear? What if someone goes to their house? What if there was a surprise inspection? What if someone in town remembers that she was just pregnant and asks to see the baby to make sure that it wasn’t boy? There are so many areas for failure, so many challenges that she had to overcome.

But she pushed through her what-ifs and bravely trusted God in the most difficult decision that she could make for her son. It was literally life and death, not just for Moses, but probably for her and her entire family. It was a king’s decree after all, that they were all blatantly ignoring.

But instead of fear, she chose faith. She chose to be brave to trust in God no matter what.

2 Be brave to act

The second thing we learn from Jochebed in this story is the way that she acted on her faith. Yes, she trusted God, but she didn’t stop at just trusting Him in her heart. That’s simply where she started. She continued to be an amazing woman, a courageous mother, when she pushed through with her plan and actually went ahead and did it.

And it’s a very dramatic plan, wasn’t it? The optics are awesome: a baby in a basket, woven out of grass, floating on a river. What amazing bravery to actually hear this message from God, and follow through with it!

She didn’t just sit back and say, God will do the rest. She didn’t stay inside her house and just pray that she didn’t get caught. She had drive, endurance, courage! She did all that she could so that her baby would be saved! She sent her daughter to follow the baby down the river, who by the way, was so clever as to actually suggest her own mother as a caregiver to the baby. These women are awesome. Wow Mom indeed.

(Come to think of it, all the women in this story rock. Even the princess, who ignored her own father’s law and listened to her maternal instincts to take care of a crying, abandoned baby when the need arose.)

“faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”
James 2:17b NIV

James 2:17 says that faith without action is dead. The love of God that is within us has to be activated in order to become real love, Godly love. But we have to be brave to make it so.

Be brave

“Be on your guard. Remain strong in the faith. Be brave.”
1 Corinthians 16:13

This week through the life of Jochebed, we are reminded to be brave. To stand for our faith, and act out our love. To replace our what-ifs to God-wills. To be courageous instead of cowardly.

One simple act of bravery that we can do right now is to worship God. We show our faith in Him by proudly and loudly singing and praying of our love to Him. Are you ready? Let’s do it.

Worship:
In Jesus’ Name – Darlene Zschech
King of My Heart – Steffany Gretzinger
Victor’s Crown – Darlene Zschech