The Power of Truth

Let truth prevail

When Absalom rebelled against his father, King David, he was able to bring the populace along with him through lies and deception; so much so that even some of David’s advisors began to talk against him.

David no longer knew whom to trust. And the untruths were bringing him to despair.

So what was David’s reaction? Did he try to drown out the misleading voices with what he knew was the truth? Did he counter the lies with his own lies against Absalom? Did he allow himself to just wither away and disappear?

No. What he did was to affirm one truth he held about God.

But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. -Psalm 3:3

Truth belongs to the Lord! And it is powerful against the lies Satan throws at you. Didn’t Jesus battle Satan’s lies with the word of God and triumph?

The Apostle Paul compared God’s word with the sword of the Spirit. So did the writer of the Book of Hebrews.

God’s word cuts deep into the fallacies of the enemy so that truth can prevail and carry us through difficult situations. Truth declares that God is mighty and has abundantly good intentions for us.

You only need to believe. David did and he triumphed.

So will you!

An Expression of Love

“No, you shall never wash my feet.” –Peter the Apostle

The quote above comes from the Gospel of John, chapter 13, verse 8. It was spoken during the Last Supper when Jesus suddenly stood up, wrapped a towel around his waist, took a basin of water and began washing the disciples’ feet. When he got to Peter, this was Peter’s reaction.

In answer to Peter, Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

What was Jesus trying to convey to Peter and the rest of the disciples?

He was both servant and leader. He led with righteousness, he served with humility. He was the Son of God, yet it was not beneath him to wash the feet of his followers.

He then said to everyone, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

It was not just about washing feet. It was about having an attitude of serving one another. It is a Godly thing to do. It is the highest form of spirituality.

Being a part of Jesus is being a part of his love.

Thus, service in the name of the Lord is an indelible expression of love.

The Power of Forgiveness

When Jesus hung on the cross tortured, pained and dying, he could have cried out to God the Father to send twelve legions of angels to descend and help him and even slay the people who crucified and mocked him.

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? -Matthew 26:53

But He didn’t. Instead, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Having legions of angels come to the aid of Jesus would have been a powerful act. But many would have died.

Yet, in His love, Jesus forgave. And because of this act of forgiveness, many even to this day have known the gift of life that God offers to all.

Forgiveness on the cross proved to be more powerful than calling down heaven’s armies.

It’s easy to wish ill upon those who hurt or misjudge us. Vengeance is a real temptation. But there is no power there. There is only emptiness.

True power comes out of forgiveness, for it brings to both the forgiver and the forgiven a touch of Godly love. Godly love is never momentary. It causes eternal ripples of heavenly goodness.

Live a powerful life. Forgive!

Who Are They?

They cackle like hens
under the jealous glare
of the Master of Scorn

Instead of soaring like eagles
under the loving gaze
of the Heavenly Father

They peck and scratch and search
for crumbs of happiness
never knowing

They can feast of joy’s fullness
at the Master’s Table
if only they’d look up

And when the teacher nears
they shy away
scampering here and there

Leaving him hurt and alone
to return to the Savior’s presence
where His angels await

Yet again

A Different Kind of Answered Prayer

At times God answers a prayer with a challenge; not because He wants us to have a difficult time or the answered prayer must be paid for. But because He wants us to know our worth.

Let me explain. Perhaps you’re cash-strapped. So you pray for finances or financial blessings. But God instead sends you a project that you’re paid for to do. The project may seem daunting or challenging. But it’s not because God wants you to struggle or have a difficult time. It’s not also because the project is a payment for the answered prayer. Rather it’s because God wants to reveal your worth.

In other words, God has supplied us with potential we may not even be aware of. He wants us to discover it and use it for His glory. Perhaps the project may even be an open door to other projects or opportunities.

God has created us and given us what we need for a purpose. Thus, he may not give us the answer to our prayers on a silver platter. But he wants us to build on the answered prayer so we may realize the beautiful creation that he made us to be.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. -Ephesians 2:10

The Eyes of Criticism

Eyes We are told that criticism should always be constructive. Yet, one’s construction can be another’s destruction. In other words, no matter how constructive one thinks his criticism is, it could still be deemed destructive by the receiving party.

This is because it depends on the motive behind the criticism. Does the motive come from self-righteousness, envy, pride, hate, or some other negative factor? Or does the criticism come from a misunderstanding of the person being criticized?

One problem, I believe, behind the desire to criticize is that we see people and situations with the eyes of the self. We have eyes of criticism, ready to narrow down what the self deems as wrong without seeking to look at the whole picture. Thus, we may think our criticism is constructive, yet it hurts the person being criticized and does nothing to better the situation.

This is why the Bible exhorts us instead to be motivated by love.

Do everything in love. -1 Corinthians 16:14

How can we do this?

We focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). In other words, we focus on Jesus Christ. We seek to see with the eyes of Christ.

When we see with the eyes of criticism, we see what’s wrong. When we see with the eyes of Christ, we see what’s beautiful.

The Essence of a New Song

New Song to the Lord

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. -Psalm 96:1-2

How do I understand the verses above? Must I compose a song to the Lord? Must I dig up a new song from Youtube to sing to the Lord?

I believe the verses above speak more about the attitude of the heart when approaching the Lord. Allow me to postulate three:

1. Come to the Lord with a refreshed heart. If there’s anything that the Holy Spirit enjoys doing it’s refreshing our inner person. God is the God of the new. He brings newness to us everyday. When we come to God, let us come with a desire to be refreshed and renewed, so that, when we sing unto Him, though it may be an old hymn, there will be a newness to the song.

Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. -Acts 3:20 (NLT)

2. Come to the Lord with joy. The Lord saves! And whatever salvation may mean –from the penalty of sin to overcoming trials and tribulations– it is always a reason to be joyful. A heart full of joy is already a heart that is singing. The melody may be silent, the words unheard, but the Lord hears the song, for the world will sing with you.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. -Isaiah 55:12 (NIV)

3. Come to the Lord with overflowing gratitude. There will always be more than one reason to thank God. Thus, our thanksgiving must always be exuberant and never-ending. To be thankful is to open more doors to God’s blessings and opportunities. Gratitude to the Lord is always a song of praise.

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. -Ephesians 5:19-20 (NIV)

The Zigzags of Life

Last weekend I drove alone to the town of Barili, which is almost 200 kms. from the city I live in. Since it was my first time to travel to this town, along the way I made a wrong turn. I had gone several kms. before realizing my mistake and had to double back. Good thing there were road signs that revealed my mistake and pointed me back to the right path.

Between Carcar city, where I momentarily lost my way, and the town of Barili are zigzag roads that skirt a mountain range. Because only a few cars were on the road, I gunned the engine of my car and sped through the twists and turns of the way. I enjoyed the drive immensely although there were a number of sharp curves with steep enbankments on either side.

I arrived safely in Barili town tired but thankful for the pleasant journey.

The journey called life, however, may not be as simple. We may get lost at times and there will definitely be twists and turns, highs and lows, rough and smooth. But we have a terrific guide that will always point us to the right direction.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. -Psalm 119:105

Yet, it’s the zigzags of life that make the journey worthwhile, for they exercise our faith. They may look perilous and some may be easy to traverse, but it is God ultimately who is the one who will see us through.

We can be fearful so that our journey will be slow or we can be reckless and arrive quickly. Either way we will not be able to experience the abundance of sights and sounds that can enliven us. Or we can enjoy the adventure knowing that we journey with God and will see and feel things as he does.

If we treat faith as an adventure, the zigzags of life become joyful and the destination exciting.

Reviewed by His Word

I like buying books from Many times I can get discounted books or used books of the titles I’m looking for. So far the used books were not a disappointment in that they came in good condition. And then, of course, there are the Kindle editions which I can readily download into my desktop or device.

Yet, what I like most are the reviews of the book I’m interested in. There are always both pros and cons, which can give me a fairly good idea on the quality of the book. I try to weigh the pros and cons and from there discern if the book is worth buying and reading.

Not so, however, when I come to the Bible, the Word of God. I let it, instead “review” me.

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

I like the last line, because if there are things that need to be reviewed, they are our thoughts and attitudes. Both are activities of the mind.

Our thoughts can go unrestrained. Out of them come doubt and fear, two negative impulses that feed on each other. We regret the past or worry about the future, which then affects the present. Our fear is magnified to one degree or another, so that we lose self-confidence, courage or fortitude to live the life that God intended for us to live.

This, in turn, creates attitudes of low self-esteem, cynicism, and “it must be God’s will for this to happen.”

The word of God never teaches us to cower in the darkness. It teaches us instead to “fear not,” to be excellent and to look at our challenges as a strengthening of our inner being. God created us to be overcomers through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37).

So, we allow God’s word to “review” us, not because God wants to put us down.

But because God wants to create in us a bestseller!

Countering Negative Words

In 1 Kings 19 we can read about Elijah, a powerful man of God, who, after a great victory over 450 priests of Baal, suddenly succumbs to despair because he believed in a negative word. It was a threat from Jezebel, the queen of the priests Elijah defeated. His spirit was crushed because of a negative word.

Negative words can come in many forms: a threat to life or property, an insult, disparaging utterances, discouragement, etc.

In receiving a negative word, we can react the way Elijah did (1 Kings 19:3-5):
* he became afraid – Elijah was afraid and ran for his life
* he distanced himself from everyone – while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness
* he gave in to self-pity – I have had enough, Lord … take my life
* he engaged in negative self-talk – I am no better than my ancestors
* and immobilized himself – Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep

Later, he withdrew himself further by going up a mountain and into a cave. But this is where he encountered God and countered the negative words that so affected him.

First, he listened to God. God spoke in a gentle whisper. God’s power lies in his word. For us who believe, his word is already within us. It is for us to stir it up through faith that we may dispel the effects of negative words thrown at us.
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. -Psalm 119:114
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. -Romans 15:4

Secondly, he obeyed God. God spoke to him, told him he had a purpose for him and Elijah simply obeyed.

When we know that God has a purpose for us, we can also know that his purpose will be fulfilled. No negative word or action will be able to thwart God. God is not a God of failure.

…So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -Isaiah 55:11

In moments of receiving a negative word, we need to look to God’s word for encouragement, comfort, strength and renewed purpose. It is he who leads and guides us.

No negative word can take that place.