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 youโ€”unless, of course, you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5ย 

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).ย 

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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.ย 

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 ๐ŸŒต

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.

lifeisstillworthwhile: โ€œ Stranger In Moscow (1996) โ€ | Michael ...

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.ย 

For I know the plans I have for you,โ€ declares the Lord, โ€œplans 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).ย 

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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.ย 

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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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Bible Study

Exodus: a short introduction

Meaning: Exodus is a Greek word meaning “exit”, “departure” or “going out”.

Author:ย Moses

Penned: 1445-1404 B.C.

Position:ย the 2nd book of the Bible, Old Testament, and Pentateuchย 

Chapters: 40

300 years separate Genesis from Exodus.

In Exodus, we’ll read about the freedom for God’s people from slavery and the beginning of national identity. This book gives us an insight into Hebrew customs and it emphasizes God’s covenant. The deliverance from bondage is a beautiful analogy of the sinner’s redemption from the bondage of sin. God is presented as:

^ The great “I AM”;

^ The One Who controls history;

^ A holy God;

^ The God Who remembers, and

^ The God Who speaks.

Exodus records the 10 Commandments, the 10 plagues, the beginning of the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea and the building of the Tabernacle.

 

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Soon, I’ll be uploading the study for Exodus and I invite you to join me. Until then, study the Word and continue to look heavenward for we need to hold onto God more than ever given the times that we’re living in. The coming of our King draws near.

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guideย 

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Bible Study

Genesis: an origins recap

After completing the study of Genesis last year, I wanted to dive straight into Exodus, but the timing was not right. I’ve since moved on to restudy other books and I’ve discovered so many gems, but they’re not to be shared until the Lord permits me to. So, let’s recap where it all started.

Meaning: Genesis comes from the Greek word meaning “origin”, “source”, “generation” or “beginning”.

Author: Moses

Penned: 1450-1410 B.C.

Position: the 1st book of the Bible, Old Testament, and Pentateuchย 

Chapters: 50

The Book of Genesis opens with the story of creation. It is followed by the fall of man, the spread of civilization, the Great Flood, the call of Abraham, promises of salvation through the Messiah and Joseph in Egypt as a type of Christ.

Genesis relates to the beginning of the universe, life, time, mankind, the Sabbath, marriage, sin, death, family, redemption, prophesy, language, and sacrifice. This bookย covers more time than the remaining books of the Bible combined.

It has 3 sequential geographical settings:

(1) Mesopotamia (chapters 1-22);

(2) The Promised Land (chapters 12-36); and

(3) Egypt (chapters 37-50).

The time frame of these 3 segments are:

(1) Creation to ca 2090 B.C.;

(2) 2090-1897 B.C.; and

(3) 1897-1804 B.C.

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I’ve learned a lot since I’ve restudied Genesis. From creation to redemption plans. However, there is an analogy that stood out for me besides the typification of Christ, and that is when God clothed Adam and Eve. After the couple is banished from the Garden of Eden, God clothed them (3:21; also cross-reference Matthew 6:25-34). This scene typified Christ’s death for in order for God to clothe the pair, He had to sacrifice an animal to create the garments. That means blood had to be shed and in this early scene, we see God’s desire to save mankind, but first, someone had to die for our sins. And in 22:13, a ram is provided for a sacrifice. Christ arrives on the scene later to fulfill every Messianic predictions from Genesis:ย 

3:15 – Christ is the seed of the woman.

4:25 – From the line of Seth.

9:27 – From the line of Shem.

12:3 – The descendant of Abraham.

21:12 – The descendant of Isaac.

25:23 – The descendant of Jacob

49:10 – From the tribe of Judah

After the fall of man, God could’ve ended mankind and declared the end, but He had us in His heart, and thus, we’re just at the beginning of the greatest love story ever told. Although we grieve Him, He still loves us very much.

Genesis covers more time than any other book in the Bible. It opens with the words: โ€œIn the beginning God createdโ€ (1:1), and it ends with โ€œin a coffin in Egypt” (50:26). Thus, it covers the whole plight of man, who was created in Godโ€™s image to live forever, but because of sin became destined for the grave. The book leaves the reader anxiously anticipating the redemptive intervention of God (via bible-studys.org).

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Have you read this wonderful book where our history begins? What’s your favorite verse or chapter? Which character did you identified with the most? What was your favorite lesson, discovery, or analogy?

In case you missed it:

Bible Study Guideย 

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Devotional Nuggets

Devotional Nugget #14: Omakase

For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.

Ecclesiastes 9:1

I love learning new and exotic words so when I came across the Japanese word omakase, I immediately loved the translation of it: โ€œI will leave it up to you.” Omasake is the Japanese tradition in letting the chef choose your order.ย 

We can say the same when it comes to going to God with our prayers: โ€œI will leave it up to You.โ€ That is why when we pray, we ask for His will to be done (Matthew 6:10).ย 

2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive. Before we truly begin to talk ourselves into doubt thus allowing us to spiral down a hole of anxiety, we need to take those thoughts captive. Over the years when I handed my worries and burdens off to God, I saw His hand in everything when I did not attempt to take it back. I saw His hand in health challenges, finances, job transitions, and even where my family was concerned. We should never be afraid to approach God in prayer for we’re His servants, and we’re accepted by Him (Isaiah 41:9-10). Faith unfolds when we leave everything in God’s hands and by witnessing His hand in all things (Isaiah 66:2).ย 

Truly learn to trust the Father, so when you put your problems in His hand, you won’t be tempted to steal it back.ย 

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Application

Whatever it is that you’re holding tightly onto, put it in God’s hand, leave it up to Him and watch Him work. Share with God what’s on your heart daily for He loves and values hearing from us.

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Devotion ๐Ÿ’™, Passion for Praise ๐Ÿ›

Scripture of the Month: PROCLAIM THE NAME OF THE LORD!! ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

The Lord has done many wonderful things for us throughout our lives. In the comment section below, I’ll like if you can share what you’re thankful for so far in 2020 or just give God the praise that He undoubtedly deserves.ย