Esra’s heart

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. (Ezra 7:10 ESV)

I don’t know if there is something to add. I am speechless before Ezra’s heart.  I want to be as determined as he was to know God’s word, to understand it, and to obey and teach it. When you set your heart, there is no place for being lukewarm; there is no place for compromising a little. When you set your heart, God is first, His honor is your goal, pleasing Him your pleasure, and you will let nothing come between you and His will.

That is the kind of woman I dream and pray to be. That is the kind of person I pray you will be.

The secret of victory

“The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him. They carried off their livestock: 50,000 of their camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 men alive. For many fell, because the war was of God. And they lived in their place until the exile.” (1 Chronicles 5:18-22 ESV)

So they were expert in war. They knew what to do, how and when to do it.They had all they need to win, but they also knew that victory depended on God.  And it is the way we have to live our life, the way we have to wage our wars. We do all we can with all the means God provided and we cry out to him and wait for Him. If our wars are of God, then no worries we will win. Even if the battle is hard, we will win because the Lord of hosts is the one fighting.  If your war is not of God,  you don’t even want to win.  Remember what God did to Israel, He even gave them a king in His anger. “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. (Psalm 81:11-12 ESV).

How do you know that your war is of God? Well, that is another story. For sure, if you submit to Him and don’t insist on your own way (when whatever you do compromise your relationship with God or His standards), you know that whatever happens to you, good or bad, is from Him and is a victory.

A Life Worthy of the Gospel

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. Philippians 1:27-28

What does it take to live in a way worthy of the gospel? It takes faith of course, but faith in the reality of the gospel. It is easy to preach the gospel, to share our faith, to read the Bible without believing in the gospel, without being in awe of the gospel.
Before you think that I am crazy, think of it a bit.
If you really believed that Jesus died then raised from the death, would you not be taking risks for His sake, ready to suffer to bring Him glory?
If you really believed that God will judge you according to what you have done, would you not be doing more and better?
If you truly believed that sin separates you from God, would you not be more eager to repent quickly?
If you really believed that the way you treat the poor determines where you spend eternity, would you not be loving, serving, feeding them?
If you really believed in the holiness of God, would you not be rejoicing in your suffering, happy to be made holier?
If you really believed that Jesus came, died, and is coming back, would you still be friend of the world?
If you really believed that everyone who dies without Christ will go to hell, would you not be sharing your faith with your family, your friends…? Would you not be praying and fasting for them?
And if you truly believed that the one who created everything and is sovereign over everything loves you and is for you, would you still be afraid of being rejected? Would you still be looking for people approval? Would you still be afraid of the future?
Remember without faith, it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the key for a life worthy of our God and Savior.

Just a small act of disobedience

… And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.”  And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”  And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” Numbers 20:7-12

Nothing very serious. God asked Moses to talk to the rock and Moses, because he was having a bad day, because the Israelites were doing that again, struck the rock. Surely God could have understood. Moses had been so patient and so  obedient(Numbers 12). Was it not normal that for once he lost his temper? He surely didn’t want to disobey, he was just tired and emotionally exhausted.

But for God, what Moses did was serious. He was not a question of being tired, hurt or angry. It was a question of believing God and of honoring Him as holy in the eyes of the Israelites. Moses had  stopped believing for a moment that God would vindicate him. He had stopped believing that being meek with his enemies was worth it. For a moment he stopped looking at the reward and look at the circumstances. For a moment he forgot who he was serving. Because he stopped believing in God, he stopped honoring Him as holy.

It happened to Moses once and he missed the promised land. How many times do we forget to  honor Christ as holy in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15)? What circumstances make us stopped believing in God and disobey a bit? To know what steal our faith and our obedience is a big step towards victory and obedience.

I know for myself that when I feel betrayed, when I have trusted someone and I am hurt in return, I forget to honor Christ as holy in my heart. When I face injustice, I want to deal with it now. I don’t want to wait for the Lord. I stop believing that He will vindicate me, that he will bring forth justice. I strike and strike again with my words and my thoughts. I stop honoring Christ as Lord. I become my own Lord.

That’s what Moses did. He became his own God and deny the holy one of Israel. Every time we choose to take things in our hands we deny Him. And yes, we don’t commit sexual immorality or steal or kill. We are just angry and hurt. God will surely understand. I am sure He understands our hurts and anger. But I am also sure that He doesn’t understand our unbelief and our contempt for His holiness.

Let’s cleanse our hearts, renounce our unbelief and revere Christ as Lord in our mind, thoughts, hearts and feelings. Let’s give Him the glory He deserves.




Let’s not forget

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth
that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, two stir you up by way of reminder,
since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.
And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

2 Peter 1:12-15

It is so easy to forget, to forget the gospel, to forget God’s will, to forget God. A crisis and we react forgetting that the almighty God is in control.We are hurt and we act as if there was no God, no saviour, no resurrection, no heaven. We need to be reminded. We need to be reminded that we are new creatures, that God is sovereign and good.

We are so like the Israelites. Today we see the ground swallow God’s enemies when they are still alive and tomorrow we grumble against Him (Numbers 16:30; 41). Today we pray for God to deliver us and tomorrow we cry to go back to our place of slavery (Numbers 11:4-5). Today we see God open the sea and put the Egyptians to open shame and tomorrow we panic because we are afraid of our enemies (Exodus 14:28-31; Numbers: 13:32-14:1-4).

So like them, we need a reminder. They had tassels to remember and do all God’s commandments (Numbers 15:37-41). We  need to find what will help us not forget. We need  our own tassels.

When following is difficult

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise…

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. Hebrews 11:8-9; 17-19

Sometimes you wonder what God is doing with your life. Sometimes you don’t understand what He wants from you. It seems like the only thing you can do is to trust and keep obeying. You don’t see where you are going but you know that you must keep moving if you don’t want to miss Jesus. So you walk blindly in Him (Colossians 2:6).

Abraham is a great example of someone who walk blindly, obeying his God. If you are in that situation, take the time to read this post from John Piper. Enjoy.

“For many of you right now — and for others of you the time is coming — obedience feels like the end of a dream. You feel that if you do what the word of God or the Spirit of God is calling you to do, it will make you miserable and that there is no way that God could turn it all for good.

Perhaps the command or call of God you hear just now is to stay married or stay single, to stay in that job or leave that job, to get baptized, to speak up at work about Christ, to refuse to compromise your standards of honesty, to confront a person in sin, to venture a new vocation, to be a missionary. And as you see it in your limited mind, the prospect of doing this is terrible — it’s like the loss of Isaac.

You have considered every human angle, and it is impossible that it could turn out well.

Now you know what it was like for Abraham. This story is in the Bible for you.

Do you desire God and his way and his promises more than anything, and do you believe that he can and will honor your faith and obedience by being unashamed to call himself your God, and to use all his wisdom and power and love to turn the path of obedience into the path of life and joy?

That is the crisis you face now: Do you desire him? Will you trust him? The word of God to you is: God is worthy and God is able. ”

John Piper, Solid Joys