Biblical Reflection

The true test

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5 

Here’s the thing: when everything is going good, it’s super easy to follow Jesus. But when the going gets tough, will you stay when all the odds are stacked against you? When friends and family have given up on you, will you continue to stand with and for Jesus? When you’re broken and your life is coming apart by the seams, will you still trust Him? If you are faithful and stand – even if it’s just you by yourself – the crown of life that the Lord Himself prepared for us is waiting for you (Revelation 21:4-5)

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We live in a world that can hammer fear into our hearts, thus shaking the foundation on which we stand. In the midst of suffering, pain, testing, sorrows, we ask God “Will You be there?”, but are we listening for His answer? He says “Fear not”. No matter what you’re facing, be it sickness, unemployment, or death knocking on your door, He says not to fear for He has not given us a fearful spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). We are the ones that allow fear to squeeze faith out of our hearts and fear is not of God.

We’ll be a threat to the enemy before we’re attacked. Welcome to the Christian experience for it’s not all about smelling the roses leaving yourself vulnerable allowing the enemy to pounce. We shouldn’t bend to the rhapsody of the world no matter how melodious and harmonious it might sound and look. 

Will You Be There" Is A Song By Michael Jackson Which Was Released ...

It’s super easy to follow Jesus. The true test is when the going gets tough, will you stay when all the odds are stacked against you? When friends and family have given up on you, will you continue to stand with and for Jesus? When you’re broken and your life is coming apart by the seams, will you still trust Him?

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Biblical Reflection

Into the Spiritual Desert 🌵

The spiritual desert is not a nice place to be in. You can get agitated, lonely, and even anxious, but to be properly prepared and equipped for battle, this is the place that we eventually come to.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Spiritual Desert, but I’ve been to that place at some point in my Christian walk. I felt doubtful; as if I was alone navigating through this vast desert as a stranger in a foreign land.

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And I continue to aimlessly wander around the Desert, deep in my emotions wondering where was God in all of this. Knock, knock, God, where are You? Are You still there?

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See, my experience was not even bad, but at the beginning, I aimlessly walked around in circles acting as if “Woe is me!” when in fact, God was there with me all along. 

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

God doesn’t forsake us, but we’ve forsaken Him. Time after time again. It’s like we trust Him with the minuscule matters, but not the big ones. The Desert is a place of testing and training. It’ll determine how weak or strong we are. We’ve seen Joseph go through his Spiritual Desert period in the form of training/tests while in prison for God was preparing him for a BIGGER task, and he couldn’t get there overnight. Moses spent his first 40 years in Pharaoh’s palace learning how to be a student and solider. The next 40 years of his life were spent in the desert taking care of his father-in-law’s flock of sheep. It was in this Desert, that the demoted Moses (from prince to shepherd) learned the qualities that he’ll need as Israel’s future leader and emancipator. He entered into the Desert as a dry cactus and left as a blooming one after his apprenticeship with God.

Everything cannot be perfect for then you won’t grow.

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As I said at the beginning of this reflection, I used to go around the Desert feeling sorry for myself. Now, I don’t look at trials and tribulations in the same way anymore. Whenever I encounter them, I look towards God asking Him what He’s teaching me here. What lesson does He want me to learn? I’ve learned to trust Him even more during these times thus growing through these lessons. There is no need to fear these hardships when we go through them with faith in God for this period produces a quality we all need: patience (James 1:2-3)

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To be in the desert is part of the Christian experience. Come on now, you can’t want the sweet-smelling savor without experiencing the bitterness! When we’re in the desert, we’re actually going through trials. And even if you don’t feel God, don’t think that He’s left us to face these battles on our own. He’s actually refining and sharpening us. He’s molding and humbling us to be more like Jesus. He’s strengthening us to weather these storms so that we may emerge not only victorious but stronger.

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And then the tests that God wants us to pass are passed with flying spiritual colors and there’s rain in your Desert! A beautiful outpouring of rain that washes away the stench of the battle that you just been through. And you feel elated and happy, but most of all, you feel stronger because of God, for it is in the Desert that God teaches people Who He really is. It is there that we learn to trust a Known God to an unknown future. 

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Now, how does that feel?

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Note: It’s weird that of all the things I could be inspired to write a post from, it steams from an MJ GIF for “Stranger In Moscow” (the 3rd one) again recalling Romans 8:28. This topic was heavy on my heart, but I kept putting it off until one night when it was past midnight and the house was quiet and God said that it was time to get the weight off my heart.

I was disappointed and almost gave up on writing this post as the page crashed twice and most of the words I wrote weren’t saved and I had to start all over again. But with the Holy Spirit, I persevered. When MJ wrote “Will You Be There”, I believe that he was in his own Spiritual Desert at the time and that’s the song I identify with most, but “Stranger In Moscow” was an eye-opening song for me where it concerns the emotional human heart.

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Biblical Reflection

The ONLY house I want to dwell in.

When I was young, I felt as if I belonged nowhere. I did not fit into a society that demanded so many unethical things, and, I still don’t. However, the thing I wanted most was to move the farthest away from the village in which I grew up and so, I started saving up to purchase a house. But then medical problems arose and it was one thing after the other and before I knew it, the dream of acquiring a house went down the drain.

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However, God intervened and led me to John 14:2 in which Jesus promises…

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Lately, the verse is once again on my heart. Sabbath worship is just a taste in this life of the joys and delight in God’s house. I do have a place to live and a bed to rest my head on when the night falls, so I am utmost grateful that God has taken my mind away from temporal things.

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And this is my reply to John 14:2:

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

Psalms 27:4

Because…

Lord, I love the house where you live,
    the place where your glory dwells.

Psalm 26:8

May our hearts be continually set on desiring to be with the Lord.

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Biblical Reflection

A time to reflect ☕

 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5 

Joy. It’s the main ingredient that God wants us to have in life. Take some time to think of how you’ve experienced joy in your relationship with Jesus and thank Him.

Talent. Don’t envy your neighbor because he/she has been blessed with more gifts than you. Instead, focus on the talent/s God has given you to bring glory and honor to His Name. Invest your time and talent/s in Him.

Solitude. Regularly seek God’s voice in the silence and solitude. Ignore your devices for a little while to focus your being on God.

Let us continually examine our heart daily as we prepare to meet the King.

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Biblical Reflection

Jesus is not the reason for the season.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19

I was recently asked why I don’t celebrate the birth of my Savior given that it’s a Christian tradition. And that’s just what it is: tradition, a man-made one at that, too as Christmas tends to undermine the birth of Christ. It is not biblical, it will never be biblical for God never changes. Why didn’t the early church celebrate the birth of Christ? I was looking up something on birthdays recently (another post, another time) and I wondered where in scripture did the Jews celebrate birthdays? Why shop until we drop? Why snowmen, elves, trees, lights, and a chubby man in a red and white suit trespassing into people’s homes by going down a chimney? Why do we do many things in His Name that are based on tradition and not scripture? Why celebrate His birthday as a man when He is not?

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Someone else inputted, “But Jesus is the reason for the season”. For me, He isn’t. It sounds like a slogan drummed up by a pretty good marketing team to target Christians, so they can get into the Christmas spirit. 

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

Colossians 2:8

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In “Do this in remembrance of me”, Jesus never directed anyone to celebrate or commemorate His birthday. Yes, I’ve heard the argument that “we give gifts for the giving of gifts comes from the wise men.” Yes, the wise men brought gifts, but they were not giving gifts for Jesus’ birthday. Rather, they were presenting gifts to a King and this event does not state that it was the King’s birthday. Rather, Jesus was already said to be a toddler when the wise men came to visit. 

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 

John 18:37 (NIV)

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It’s hard to believe now, but I used to celebrate Christmas. I woke up one morning in search of the truth after celebrating it didn’t sit too well on my heart. I prayed and sought God’s guidance in the matter. All of this was before I got baptized by the way. The Lord led me to the conclusion that this holiday was not to be celebrated anymore, so I stopped. I don’t miss it at all. There are some pastors out here that also came to the same conclusion to stop celebrating the holiday, but they love to compromise by still placing lights as decorations around the church minus the tree. It doesn’t make sense. 

RELATED: That time of year

A great testimony & eye-opener by Sue Love!

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Christ was never in Christmas for Christmas did not originate with His birth. He is not a sun god or a fairy tale, and He doesn’t deserve the silliness surrounding the hype around this time. He is not the reason for the season. You are. Jesus is not caught up in the commercial hype of the season; you are. Jesus is not interested in which gift is His underneath the tree; you are. When Jesus came to earth, it wasn’t for Jesus, it was for us, so we can gain salvation and everlasting life. Saying that “Jesus is the reason for the season” is like saying “Jesus was born for Jesus”. And if He was the reason for the season? Then Christmas would’ve gone a little something like this:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

Luke 4:18

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Jesus is the Word and the Word was always here. The Word is God and the Word was always with God and God has no beginning or end. No day, no month, nor year. He is Spirit, and He is Truth, and we must worship Him in such. The concept of Christmas seems like a golden calf to me.

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Biblical Reflection

Consider the Lily. 🌼

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

Luke 12:27

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Go outside and look around. Take in the trees, the flowers, animals, and the way the wind blows. Look at the sky in the evening. Don’t you just marvel at the setting of the sun? Luke 12:27 reminds us that man does not have the ability to make things as beautiful as God. Not even Solomon’s majestic finery can compare for his was made by man. Solomon had to toil and spin despite his glory but still couldn’t compare to the effortless lilies in the field. 

God’s creation reveals His beauty to the world. 

Let us consider the lilies.

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The lily symbolizes devotion and humility; it is an emblem of loveliness or purity. Lilies have been most associated with King Solomon. It is mentioned 15 times in the Bible; 8 of those mentions occur in SOS (Song of Solomon). We’re first introduced to the lily in the building of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:19; 1 Kings 7:22; 1 Kings 7:26; 2 Chronicles 4:5). I noted a few things about lilies while studying verses on this sweet flower: it grows in fields, in the valleys, and even among thorns. In SOS 2:2, the church is compared to a “lily among thorns”. In SOS 5:13 the young woman compares her beloved’s lips to lilies.

The lily is also a beautiful picture of Christ (SOS 2:1). I love the five comparisons between the lily of the valley and Christ, Benjamin Keach gives in his book “Preaching from the Types and Metaphors of the Bible”:

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1. A lily is a sweet and a fragrant flower with a strong scent. Our Lord Jesus has a sweetness in His ministry especially when He gave “himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

2. A lily is white and very beautiful. White is a symbol of purity (Revelation 3:4). What better representation of the purity of Jesus Christ, the one “who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), who “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22), who was tempted “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). and who in him is no sin” (1 John 3:5), than a beautiful white lily?

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3. A lily is very fruitful. One root may put forth fifty bulbs. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He brings forth much fruit (John 12:24).

4. A lily, according to the ancient writer Pliny, is the tallest of flowers and yet hangs its head down. This a beautiful picture of the greatness of the Son of God matched only by the greatness of His humility (Philippians 2:6-8).

5. The lily has many medicinal qualities. According to ancient teaching, it could be used to restore a lost voice, help faintness, was good for the liver, and helped to reduce fluid retention. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the great physician and is fully capable of curing all diseases and maladies of the soul.

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When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He tells us to consider the lilies (Matthew 6:28-29). When we’re anxious, He wants us to look at nature and He uses birds as an example in Matthew 6:26. We can’t look into tomorrow, neither can the birds. The birds don’t worry for the Great Provider always provides for them. We shouldn’t worry over things we can’t control for worrying cannot add an extra hour to our life (Matthew 6:27); rather, it shortens our lifespan. Besides, Jesus tells us to come out of the world and if we were to worry constantly, how are we any different from the world (Matthew 6:31-32)?

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Food for thought: If God can clothe and feed the flowers of the field and provide for the birds of the air, imagine what He can do for you! Rest easy, for, there’s no need to worry; He is in control. We have today; leave tomorrow up to God and don’t waste time worrying.

Consider the lilies.

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Biblical Reflection

There is NOTHING like the peace of Christ!

God promises us that His peace “surpasses all understanding” if we only ask for it. No matter what struggle we’re going through, we can turn to God and seek His peace. If you’re tired, worried, or simply overwhelmed, find a quiet place to seek God. Talk to Him, pray, and worship Him in song. Meditate on peaceful verses such as:

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When you know Jesus, you tend to know peace.

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May you always know the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in your life and hearts.

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Biblical Reflection

We have EVERYTHING we need to live a life that pleases God.

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Will Provide (Genesis 22)

This week, I’ve been focusing on cleaning God’s temple. I’ve been reflecting on thoughts, speech, reading material (including blogs), etc. Throughout reflection, I’ve come to realize that God has given us everything to live a life pleasing to Him.

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When we repent from sin, we become a new creature in Christ. We’re to be faithful to Him (and His teachings) and walk in the salvation He has provided for us. I marvel at the MANY ways God provides for His people over the years. He has blessed us with so many good gifts be it material or spiritual, but He has also given us special gifts that are, everything we need for a life (eternally) of godliness (spiritually).

So, what are those things that we’re equipped with to live a life that is pleasing to the Creator? A new heart and the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). We also have His Word which we are to read, search, and study daily (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As we continue to take up our cross daily, the more we grow in godliness because knowing God intimately changes the heart and the more we’ll want to put sin to death when temptation comes knocking on the door.

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Reflection: Recall and thank God for the many ways in which He has provided for you and your family and friends over the year.

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