When Jesus was talking about keeping His Word as His disciples, the Jewish answered to Him with the family background of their pedigree. They thought they are free because they are the descents of Abraham and never been slaves of anyone before. They might not know or forget John 1:13, "children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” They understood the teaching of Jesus superficially and physically only. They had a form of godliness but not an essence of holiness (2 Timothy 3:5).
"Having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Tim 3:5)We sometimes deceiving ourselves with our contributions, services, family background, or spiritual achievement as if we are spiritual giants. But, we need to remember the teaching of Jesus, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32) not your family background, spiritual achievement, or servings or contributions. We must have room for His Word in us (John 8:37). Jesus let them know the reason they looked for a way to kill Jesus is they had no room for His Word. I have to have designated room for His Word in me and my daily life.
Father, I thank you for highlighting the room that I must keep in my soul and daily life. Thank you for challenging me once again what I must have and must not loose in my daily life and for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How to be with the Holy Spirit
“If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15)If you love someone, you will remember what she or he said to you. This is a natural response to the person we love because every word of the person we love is precious and we want to make the word come true for the person. Jesus reminded His disciples to think about how much they loved Him.
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16)Jesus promised with His disciples and us that He would be with them and us as the Spirit of truth after His ascension. He sent another advocate, helper, and counselor for us because He knew we can’t live without His help here on earth. He promised to be with us as the Spirit.
"But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:17-18)Actually, the Spirit is better than Jesus as a human because a human can be in one place but the Spirit can be different places at the same time. The Spirit is more accessible beyond our physical, spacial, or timely limitations. Therefore, His promise of the Holy Spirit is much better guidance for our lives on earth.
20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”This is the way God is with us now and forever.
Father, thank you for taking well care of us and being the best guardian for us. Help and guide us to remember Your Words so that we can be with you now and forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
This verse is one of my favorite verses that challenge and awake myself to be sensitive to the Spirit. This verse is an alarming verse for me to rethink and remember the reason for what I am doing. So, I often ask myself this question, “why are you trying to do it?” and I try to find a right, appropriate, and holy reason why I try to do for the Kingdom of God because I have to have a right reason for what I am doing for the Kingdom of God. It would be greater to have specific verses of the Word of God. Nothing better than that.
Father, I want to do everything driven by the Spirit. Pour out Your Spirit upon me to do what You want me to do every day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Psalms 66:8-12 (NIV)
8 Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
David declares to the people to praise God for what God had done for him although he had must be in difficult situations like slipping (v.9) and fire and water (v.12) because he realized that God "refined him like silver” (v.10) and “brought him to a place of abundance” (v.12).
This is like some of my favorite verses below although I am still struggling with them every day.
James 1:2-4 (NIV) - a principle of suffering
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Romans 8:18 (NIV) - Present Suffering and Future Glory
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV) - a formula of suffering
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Hebrews 12:5-8 (NIV) - the life of the true son of Father
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline —then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
Days to Pentecost 21, May 11, 2020 - Coram Deo
In Acts 17:22, Paul was talking to the people who think they are very religious after walking around and looked carefully at their objects of worship,
“You are ignorant of the very thing you worship and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.”
This is what the people who think they are religious or spiritual. Sometimes, I think I am spiritual because I read the Word of God everyday and pray to God every moment. But, what Paul said to the people of Athens is what I need to listen again and again and remember again and again.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
What stroke me in this passage is “God does not live in temples built by human hands.” God is everywhere. God is omnipresent. He is every where at the same time because He is Spirit (John 4:24, Jeremiah 23:24)
Jeremiah 23:24 (NIV)
24 Who can hide in secret places
so that I cannot see them?”
declares the Lord.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the Lord.
I dedicate myself to the Lord to live before the Lord no matter who is before me.
Father God, Thank you for leading me to recognize You are Spirit who is always with me. Help and guide me to live always before You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Acts chapter 7 can be described as the testimony of Stephen with what God had done with the Israelites showing how faithful God is, how God has fulfilled His promises with their ancestors, and how they are responding to God’s promises. But, in terms of the timing of Stephen’s life, he was about to die by stoning from the people who need to understand God’s plan. This is the last moment for Stephen to say something to the people around him.
Looking at the whole chapter 7, we can notice that what Stephen’s concern was at the last moment of his life. Chapter 7 is like his will. He told the people who are about to stone him about the big narrative of God’s plan for them. Stephen still had hope for them to come back to God because this is what God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4).
I thought about what I am going to say to the people around me at my last moment on earth. Definitely, I am going to say what I think the most important for them. I hope and pray that I would like to tell them what God considers the most rather than what I consider the most.
Father, thank you for showing a good example of the life of Your people. Pour out Your grace, mercy, and love upon me so that strengthen me enough to say what You want me to say to the people around me. In the wonderful name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. Looking at this verse, I asked myself, “Who do you trust the most?” “Whose words do you want to follow fully without hesitation?” “who is the most trustworthy you listen to without any hesitation?” “who is the most authoritative person in your life?” “who is the top expert you look for your problem or issue in your life?”
I remembered some pastors who I respect and look for when I have some questions and some experts who I consult right away when I encounter any issue by phone or email. I am ready to listen to them when I call them. I am ready to act according to their advice.
God is the top authority and best expert in my life. I am ready to obey what He said. He says to me today, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Jesus.” - Yes, Sir! My Lord, My God!
My Lord, My God, Thank you for your encouragement with your almighty power, unlimited knowledge, and huge love. I will follow Your Word and carry on with Your Word today, tomorrow, and forever. In Your Son, Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Days to Pentecost 18
1 Peter 2:2-10 (NIV)
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
Days to Pentecost 17
4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.
From this prayer of David, I could find his confidence and faith that God would save him from his troublesome situation that he needs God’s help. As I experience difficult situation and do not know what to do with all these new situation, I remembered God is my The Refuge in my life and He is the only One I put my trust and faith in. There are so many news, sayings, opinions, interpretations, and suggestions. Those make me confused more and complicated my thoughts and plans. Today, I focus on God more and more rather than other news or suggestions because He is the One who can free me “from the trap that is set for me, for He is my refuge” (v. 4).
Lord, I entrust my spirit into Your hand. Rescue me, for You are my faithful God. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Days to Pentecost 16
Acts 7:55-60 (NIV)
55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit,
looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him,
58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.
Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out,
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
When he had said this, he fell asleep.
3 Things happen when we are filled with the Holy Spirit
As Stephen saw in Acts 7:55, we can see “the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God” when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Although I don’t know what the glory of God and Jesus look like and how I should describe them, I see something above that belong to God, which inspires me to think more about God, have more passion for the Kingdom of God rather than my things on earth, and dream more about the dream of God, “All men are to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth of Jesus Christ.”
As Stephen said in Acts 7:56, we can say to the people without hesitation that “we are to see God and the Son of Man. Therefore we need to keep looking at the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ who is with us right now.” The Word of God is too familiar with us to take it fresh message everyday into our lives. We are more being attractive to other fancy and famous other saying of the people. However, it is immutable. Therefore, we must keep repeating the importance of the Word of God, which is the true life in our lives on earth
As Stephen confessed and cried out in Acts 7:59-60, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can give our whole lives to the Lord as we are confessing, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” and “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” as Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). We can fully follow Jesus with the true heart laying down self-centered ourselves.
Father, thank you for showing a good example of Spirit-filled life with what to do, what do say, and how to give our lives as a living sacrifice to You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.