Encouraging one another

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 ESV)

So let’s do it!!!

 

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The LORD lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat. He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 147 ESV)

Amen!

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When carrying too heavy a load

“I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing well to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” (Jeremiah 32:40–41)

Life can be burdensome, especially when you are single. You have to carry your load alone. Of course there are friends and brothers and sisters in Christ who help, encourage and advise you, but it is not the same. There is that feeling of loneliness, that desire for a partner, that longing for someone to carry life burdens with us.

However there is a good news. We are not alone. There is someone who not only understands, support, encourages and helps us, but he also carries our load. He frees us from the burden of bearing your own load. He does the work.

Read attentively these verses.

From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)

No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.

(Isaiah 64:4)

The eyes of the LORD run through the earth, to show himself strong for those who trust him. (2 Chronicles. 16:9).

If I were hungry, I wouldn’t tell you. Call on me, I will deliver you. You will glorify me. (Psalm 50:15).

To old age I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. (Isaiah 46:4).

I worked harder than any, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians. 15:10).

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1).

Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength God supplies, so that in everything God may be glorified. (1 Peter 4:11).

Work out your own salvation, for it is God who works in you, to will and to work”. (Philippians 2:12–13).

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:6–7).

 

Our God is the one who does the work. So in the midst of our pains, difficulties and anxieties, let’s wait for the one who promised to do us good.

How many hair do you have?

So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:26-33

What do you think about your hair? Some spent a lot of time taking care of those fine thread-like strands. Others just don’t care. At the end of the day, hair is not that important. We can live without. But our heavenly Father numbered them.

But why? Because He cares. His providence extents to all His creature, even to sparrows.  And because in His mercy He gave us more value than they, He knows how many of them we have on our heads. And if God numbers the hairs of His people, much more does He number their heads and take care of their lives and souls. God takes more care of us than we do ourselves. We never miss our hair that fall, but God knows every one of them. And not a hair of our head will perish (Luke 21:18). We are so precious to God that even the less considerable part of us is important for Him.

As the Holy Spirit says: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

Today (every day) is the perfect moment to rest in the love of God and to walk through life with confidence.

 

When God becomes 100% for us (John Piper)

Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:3)

All of God’s wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus. All of God’s demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ. The moment we see (by grace!) this Treasure and receive him in this way his death counts as our death and his condemnation as our condemnation and his righteousness as our righteousness, and God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant.

The question this leaves unanswered is, “Doesn’t the Bible teach that in eternity God set his favor on us in election?”

In other words, thoughtful people ask, “Did God only become 100% for us in the moment of faith and union with Christ and justification? Did he not become 100% for us in the act of election before the foundation of the world?” Paul says in Ephesians 1:4–5, “[God] chose us in [Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.”

Is God then not 100% for the elect from eternity? The answer hangs on the meaning of “100%.”

With the term “100%” I am trying to preserve a biblical truth found in several passages of Scripture. For example, in Ephesians 2:3, Paul says that Christians were “children of wrath” before they were made alive in Christ Jesus: “We all once lived [among the sons of disobedience] in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Paul is saying that, before regeneration, God’s wrath was on us. The elect were under wrath. This changed when God made us alive in Christ Jesus and awakened us to see the truth and beauty of Christ so that we received him as the one who died for us and as the one whose righteousness is counted as ours because of our union with Jesus. Before this happened to us, we were under God’s wrath. Then, because of faith in Christ and union with him, all God’s wrath was removed and he then became, in that sense, 100% for us.

Therefore, exult in the truth that God will keep you. He will get you to the end because in Christ he is 100% for you. And therefore, getting to the end does not make God to be 100% for you. It is the effect of the fact that he is already 100% for you.

Grace upon grace

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

Who does not want God’s favor? Who does not want God’s blessing? Who does not want to be kept by the Lord  and to have His face shine on her /him? Who does not want His grace, His peace  and His mercy ?

If we know who God is, we want it all. He created everything and everything belongs to Him. He is good and mighty (1 Chronicles 29:12; Daniel 4:35; Psalm 119:68). And nothing is too difficult to Him (Jeremiah 32:27). We want His face to shine on us. The good news is that if you belong to Jesus, His face shines on You. If you follow Jesus, God’s grace is on you. He is not there to judge you and punish you, but to give you His grace. Even His discipline is love and grace (Hebrews 12:5-6).

In Jesus, we have all the spiritual blessings of God. In Jesus we have everything we need and more. Not all we want, not as we want it, but according to that grace that chose us and is bringing us home (Ephesians 1:3-5).

Truly “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16