Archive for May, 2016

Accepting Christ

Posted: May 31, 2016 in Journals

“Accept Jesus Christ into your heart  and you will be saved.” Such a well-known statement. Such a familiar thought among today’s Christians. But is salvation really just “accepting Christ”? While it may be true that there is an element of acceptance, is that all there is to the image?

Embracing salvation is far greater than mere acceptance. You are not some well-off owner of an elegant house. And more importantly, Christ is not some street child on the streets, begging you to open your doors for Him and to give Him some space in the tiniest corners of your heart.

You don’t “accept” Him as if you are doing Him a favor. You are a rebel, a filthy-clothed being with hands ball-fisted against God. And God–He is the Majestic King hammering on your gates, demanding that you, the rebel, surrender to Him. You don’t accept Christ into your heart, you BOW DOWN to His Lordship. The call is not optional–it’s a decree, a command. One that has impending punishment if you do not heed.

Because it is only when you willingly subdue yourself under His rule that He can give you pardon, that He can give you peace. It is only when you stop fighting God’s kingship and cease breaking His rules that He can give you the love of a King to His subject, the love of a Father to His child.

A Faithful Watchman

Posted: May 31, 2016 in Journals

“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.” (Ezekiel 33:7)

Ezekiel was set as Israel’s watchman in a time of war and pestilence, in a time of impending danger. A watchman has the job of looking over the entire city by gaining a view of great distance, waiting for any sign of danger. The prophet was tasked to shout to the people the Lord’s coming judgment. He was tasked to cry out danger whenever he sees it.

We too, have been told to proclaim the truth as witnesses. We are told to shout to the world the gospel of God, which inevitably begins with “For the wrath of God is being poured out on all flesh.” This is doom we are commanded to tell people. This is “Danger! Danger!” we are told to cry out. Such is our task, like Ezekiel’s was. Before we can proclaim the better half of the Gospel, this proclamation must come first. This is our task. Shall the blood of the people we see every day be required upon our hands? They have to know the danger they are in. That because of sin they fall short of God’s glory, and such predicament calls for eternal punishment. They couldn’t be saved if they didn’t know they needed saving.

So pray help me, Lord. I have news to bear–the message of your holiness and justice, but also of your saving grace. Give me the courage, Lord, to speak it–and speak it courageously. Let no blood be required of me. Let everyone who chooses to jump to their deaths instead of life not do so without me fervently clinging to their feet, warning them of what is to become of them. Let everyone who refuses to forsake their sins to do not without me telling them the impending consequences. Let me be a faithful watchman, Lord.

Thus says the Lord GOD: Remove the turban and take off the crown. Things shall not remain as they are. Exalt that which is low, and bring low that which is exalted. (Ezekiel 21:26)

Our Lord is just. He brings judgment on every nation, bringing down and setting up kingdoms as He sees fit. He holds like water in His hands every heart, turning it where He wishes to, anytime He wants to. It’s never productive to take pride to heart. Israel is still being punished even now, because they abandoned the Lord’s precepts. Because they took pride in their own glory.

God’s judgment to the Jews is a warning: do not exalt yourself, to the point of your own destruction. And yet, along with the warning is also an assurance: “Exalt that which is low.” If we humble our hearts before God and bow down to His kingship, He will exalt us. Lift us up. So let us draw ever nearer to the throne of grace, never forsaking His  ways, but always ever relying upon Him.

Be Strong and Courageous

Posted: May 26, 2016 in Journals

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

You are in a battle–the greatest battle no less. You are in a war–the fiercest war to have ever been fought. And you have a cunning and crafty enemy–no other than the devil and your own sinful heart. Enemies lurk outside you /and/ within you.

But you have one ally–the Lord God Almighty. “It is the LORD your God who goes before you.” Why should you fear? The Lord’s side is the victory. The battle may be fierce, and the enemy may be strong. But the Lord is far, far, mightier and greater than the foe.

He has determined the end even before the beginning of time. He has sentenced the enemy to eternal suffering even before it lifted up its hand in rebellion against Him. And what’s more amazing, He chose to save you long before you existed, and chose to love you while your fists were yet balled in offense against Him.

We have our enemy. Our enemy is strong, having great power. But even the Prince of the power of the air is subdued to the authority of the King and Creator of the Universe. We have a deceitful heart. The heart is desperately wicked, luring you to sin every loving moment. But even the most twisted and vilest of hearts is subject to Jesus’ conquering power, to His changing grace.

Fear not. Be strong and courageous. Be of good cheer. Our King reigns, our Redeemer lives.

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Let not my lips utter a word
that my heart has not sent.
Let not a praise from me be heard
if, without sincerity, out it went.
And no, let not my tongue sing grace,
nor my mouth utter even one prayer,
if these words would be said in haste–
if my heart would not truly care.
But cleans my whole heart to purity;
wash away all my sinful guilt,
that I may worship you sincerely.
Pray hear me, lest without Your grace I wilt.