A just God

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:21-23 ESV)

What do we need to do to be able to follow Christ’s steps and not retaliate nor threaten? We need to be still because God is God; because He judges justly.

The Bible is clear, God judges everyone according to their deeds. He punishes who needs to be punished and avenges who need to be avenged. He is just and fair. But what about all those situations where you were abused, wronged and nothing happened? The persons involved have just kept living their lives as if nothing ever happened. From injustices to abuses, we tend to take things into our own hands. We stop entrusting ourselves to the one who judges justly and start doing what Jesus didn’t do: we retaliate, avenge ourselves or threaten.

The NLT version says that Jesus “left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” But it is difficult to leave what matters to us into the hands of someone who seems at best indifferent and at worst unjust. So to follow Jesus’ step we need to believe, to trust God when He says that He is just, and this will motivate us to be still and wait on Him, instead of retaliating. Why? Because to believe that God is just is to believe that:

  1. He cannot tolerate wrongdoing  (Habakkuk 1:13).
  2. He will punish every wrongdoing in a way or other.
  3. He will judge our own wrongdoings, even if they are done in response to evil done to you.

Peter says it clearly: “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile.” (1 Peter 1:17 ESV).

On one hand, entrusting ourselves to God, putting our cases into His care or protection, is a matter of trust (trust in His justice, and of course in His love and care), and on the other hand, it is a matter of fear of the Lord (because we were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ, 1 Peter 1:17-19). Sometimes, it is easy to think that to fear the Lord means only avoiding immorality or other ‘big’ sins. But to fear the Lord means also to trust Him, because not to trust him means questioning who He is, denying His divinity, what makes Him who He is.  So, if you fear God, you trust him; if you trust  Him, you fear Him (because you believe He is who He says He is), and you let Him take care of your case, even if it means waiting until the judgment day, or

Yes, it is difficult, but remember, He is:

The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” (Deuteronomy 32: 4)

 

 

Song of hope

 In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong!  We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them. Lord, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws;  our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. In the night I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek you. For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right. Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good. Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord’s majesty. O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people. Then they will be ashamed. Let your fire consume your enemies. Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship.Those we served before are dead and gone. Their departed spirits will never return! You attacked them and destroyed them, and they are long forgotten. O Lord, you have made our nation great; yes, you have made us great. You have extended our borders, and we give you the glory! Lord, in distress we searched for you. We prayed beneath the burden of your discipline. Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, Lord. We, too, writhe in agony, but nothing comes of our suffering. We have not given salvation to the earth, nor brought life into the world. But those who die in the Lord will live;  their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead! Go home, my people, and lock your doors! Hide yourselves for a little while until the Lord’s anger has passed. Look! The Lord is coming from heaven to punish the people of the earth for their sins.The earth will no longer hide those who have been killed. They will be brought out for all to see. (Isaiah 26 NLT)

A God who runs

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.(Luke 15:18-20 ESV)

I don’t know what you think about God, but I know that sometimes, many times, I have hard thoughts about Him. It is as if somewhere in the depth of my heart, I always have some doubts about His goodness. I cannot just see it, understand it: a God who runs to me because He loves me.

If I were an outstanding woman of faith, I would understand. But I am just like the other heroes of the Bible, weak, messy, and fearful. And I doubt. I doubt because I give Him no reasons to rejoice over Him, but He says He does. I doubt because He does not need me but want me. I doubt because how could He wants me, seriously? It just does not make sense.

But in the depth of my heart, I also know that it is true; that as incredible that it is, His love is the real thing. I know He is good and merciful, gracious and full of compassion, and He runs. When I come back to Him, ashamed of who I am, He runs to me. No questions asked, just His arms around me.

The Holy Spirit made it clear: the love of Christ surpasses knowledge. So we need to pray that we will understand it. There is no other way. So I pray for me, I pray for you, that we will understand that incredible love more and more and more.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Self-esteem (2)

Have you ever looked in the mirror and hated what you saw? Have you ever looked at your personality and wished you were different? If you are a little like me, you did. The good news for all of us who don’t like much who we are and what we see in us is that how we feel about us does not change who we are. We are people created according to a plan and a purpose.  We are not accidents. Who we are did not come about by chance. True, we live in a fallen word and our sins disfigure the perfect workmanship of God that we are.However, that does not change who made us, how and why. Created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), we were planned. God thought of us, of how we ought to be before our conception.

The next time you feel worthless, the next time you are treated like the bottom of the barrel and think it is normal, remember who made you. Remember that you are not a mere accident. Remember His purpose. No one will never be able to take that away from you. Remember who you look like. Remember and rejoice. Remember and give thanks.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:6-7)

In search of beauty…

For many years I have been looking for beauty (peace, goodness, love, generosity, honesty, loyalty) everywhere. I moved from places to places, hoping that the next one would be the right place. After decades of searching, I finally understood what God has been whispering in my heart. There is no beauty except in and through Him.

Searching for beauty has led me in the wrong places, with the wrong people. There were hurts and dramas, but always life and hope because of Christ. Is there beauty in the world? Of course, yes. But in the right places, those places where God has sown it in His creation, in His creatures. Outside God, there is no beauty, but through Him there is abundance of beauty for everyone who looks at Him and hopes in Christ. Trough His eyes, we won’t even notice what only appears beautiful, but we will admire and commend what is truly beautiful even if it appears ugly.

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

 

We are blessed!

He is blessed, and He has blessed us. Some of the new covenant blessings:

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29 ESV)

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.(Romans 4:7-8)

So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Galatians 3:9)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:3)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:2)

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.  (1 Peter 3:14)

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:14)

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelations 1:3)

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelations 14:13)

“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” (Revelations 16:15)

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelations 19:9)

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.(Revelations 20:6)
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelations 22:7)Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (Revelations 22:14)

Blessed He is

served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:25)
To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:5)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (2 Corinthians 1:3)
The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. (2 Corinthians 11:31)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:3)

in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:11)

which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (1 Timothy 6:5)

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:13)

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Peter 1:3)