That All May See Your Progress (Devotional)

The Christian life is not a life of perfection but progression. Although there will be challenges, there will be growth from them. Although there will be trials, there will be triumphs. And the evidence is growth. For the true Christian is a growing Christian. You may think that a life of self-denial is suppression but not so! For one grows more in self-denial than self-actualization. How so? For Christ is at work through the Holy Spirit in conformity to Christlikessness. That is true progress. As Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14-15,

Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given you through the prophecy spoken over you at the laying on of the hands of the elders. Be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

In light of what’s been given to Timothy by God, He is told to be so involved that his progress be evident. Ministry growth aside, his own personal spiritual growth takes into account. Remember, he is receiving this as a believer. For the believer must grow so much that others may see. It is one thing to look at yourself but for those around you it is better. For they can see areas that perhaps you have not realized that you have grown in. Or better yet, areas that you thought you would never grown in, the progress is evident. I remember as a new believer, and those around me saying “there’s something different about you”. And I already knew what it was all about. Even now, although there is much work in me to be done but all we do is press forward.

Questions to consider

How have people seen your progress as a believer?

Where do you believe God wants you to grow in now?

Book Review: Rescuing the Gospel by Erwin W. Lutzer

My book review on Rescuing the Gospel by Erwin W. Lutzer. Great read!

A few weeks ago was the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. One that I am fortunate to celebrate in this lifetime. In light of this, I picked up this great book that discusses the Protestant Reformation, what led up to it, it’s immediate impact, and how it impacts us today. As we know, the Protestant Reformation began as a response to the Catholic Church pertaining to matters such as indulgences, papal authority, church tradition and so forth. The main issue focuses on what is central to the gospel is justification by faith. It is a gift freely given by God without merit. This was not well-received by Catholics and even today, they adhere to salvation plus works.

What I enjoyed about this book is that it serves as a nice primer to the Protestant Reformation. This was great for me, as I only know of it as an event…

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Book Review: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey, host of the Dave Ramsey Show has been offering financial knowledge and helping people get out of debt since 1992. He has written multiple books as well as hosted seminars, such as the Financial Peace University. In his book, the Total Money Makeover, he offers a step by step method in becoming debt free and financially stable. By no means is it a get rich quick scheme nor scam. As much as all of us desire that one secret to our financial problems, that is not realistic. However, it does not mean it is not possible. The difference here is that it takes hard work and effort.

 As Ramsey says constantly, it is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. That is something I appreciate as it is demonstrated in the book through the steps he offers, which is in chronological order. In other words, you cannot go into the next step until the previous one is accomplished. Again, it takes work, but the end result is worth it. Included in the book are testimonies of people who achieved financial freedom, despite their situation. I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. Trust me, I am in my own despairing financial struggle but one thing I learned is that there’s always worse case scenarios and that it can be learned from. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, change is possible! 

Financial principles aside, it also features a biblical perspective which I appreciate as a believer. However, I don’t not mean this in the context of the prosperity gospel. This isn’t sowing a seed and becoming filthy rich. No, this is about being financially responsible. Moreover, it is about trusting God in the provision and wisdom of our finances. If you are lacking in financial direction, this is a good place to start.

Highlights

“You are where you are right now financially as a sum total of the decisions you’ve made to this point.”

“It is human nature to want it and want it now; it is also a sign of immaturity. Being willing to delay pleasure for a greater result is a sign of maturity. However, our culture teaches us to live for the now. “I want it!” we scream, and we can get it if we are willing to go into debt. Debt is a means to obtain the “I want its” before we can afford them.”

“Your largest wealth-building asset is your income. When you tie up your income, you lose. When you invest your income, you become wealthy and can do anything you want. How much could you give every month, save every month, and spend every month if you had no payments? Your income is your greatest wealth-building tool, not debt.”

Intro to New Series: Jesus’ I Am Statements

In this new series, we will be looking at the “I am” statements of Jesus. These statements are only found in the Gospel of John as John writes to show Jesus as the divine Son of God! But oftentimes, they are overlooked or misinterpreted without further study. So what is the best way to look into them? The Bible! As we see in John’s Gospel, we count 7 “I am” statements of Jesus,

  1. I am the bread of life 6:35, 48, 51
  2. I am the light of the world 8:12; 9:5
  3. I am the door of the sheep 10:7, 9
  4. I am the good shepherd 10:11, 14
  5. I am the resurrection and the life 11:25
  6. I am the way, the truth, and the life 14:6
  7. I am the true vine 15:1

The “I am” statements describe who Jesus is
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, many misinterpretations are made in light of Jesus teachings. After all, “isn’t He the carpenters Son?” (Matt. 13:55). Or if you were one of the Pharisees, Jesus’ words would be rendered blasphemous and worthy of death, even to the point of killing Him on the spot! Jesus clarifies and stands by His Words in light of His authority given to Him by God the Father. Just Jesus’ baptism alone confirms this in a Trinitarian manner as the Holy Spirit descended like a dove with God the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”(Matt. 3:17). We see a more direct statement in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, “YOU are my beloved Son, with whom I am pleased” (Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22, EMPHASIS MINE). Just that confirmation alone puts all objections to rest. But as we will see, Jesus extends that throughout His ministry with these statements.

The “I am” statements show Old Testament Continuity
Over the course of this series, we’ll see how these statements correlate to the Old Testament. Thus we recognize the importance of the Old Testament as part of redemptive history. For Christ is the fulfillment, the zenith, and the end goal. Seeing this fulfillment in Christ also demonstrates God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises. That He would send Christ, the offspring who would crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15), the true Abrahamic offspring who in all nations shall be blessed (Gen. 22:18), and the royal Davidic offspring whose kingdom is forever (2 Sam. 7). This is just to name a few but all are consistent with God’s promises in Christ. More specifically, we will see Old Testament Scriptures parallel to the “I am” statements.

How does it apply to us?
It is essential to have a biblical understanding of Jesus. For many today, He’s seen as a great teacher, a revolutionary, a paradigm of righteousness, or a historical figure. But as God incarnate? Or as the One who died for our sins? Or as the only way to God? That’s where many draw the line. But as we will see, these statements bear witness to who Jesus truly is. Anything that’s a denial or incomplete or false view of Jesus is not the true Jesus. Thus you would have no relationship with Him. But a true biblical understanding only deepens the relationship one has with Christ, because you learn of Him as He is according to His very Word! Therefore, it is important to take these statements into account.

Stay tuned for the first “I am” statement, “I am the bread of life”! Each week, a new statement will be released!

Questions to consider

  1. Do you remember reading these statements for the first time?What were your impressions?
  2. What did you do to learn more about them? Or if you haven’t, would you consider doing so?
  3. How did these statements deepen your relationship to Christ?

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What Walking by Faith Means

Beautifully said here by Ian Hamilton in his book, “The Gospel Shaped Life” concerning walking by faith. I know it can be hard as we are bombarded with things daily that shake our faith. Or how in those times, we act according to our flesh than faith. So I appreciate what’s said here as Hamilton brings us back to walking by faith, not by sight! Oftentimes we struggle because we feel like we don’t have faith. And so we shame ourselves with guilt and shame and unworthy, saying “what’s the point”? Sadly, that kind of attitude makes us look more into ourselves than looking to God.

What does it mean to walk by faith and not by sight? To walk by faith is to live your life on the basis of the faithful character of God and the absolute trustworthiness of his promises. This is what it means to live as a Christian, refusing to believe what your eyes tell you even what you see appears to oppose what God has promised and challenges the essential goodness of his character.

Too often we allow ourselves to be dispirited by the shallowness and variableness of our faith. I do not mean that our shallow and variable faith should not humble us. But too often we spend more time looking into ourselves than looking out to our God and nourishing our faith in the glory of who God is and what He has done for us the Lord Jesus Christ. The primary focus of our faith, and what most strengthens faith, is faith’s direct object— the unfailingly good and gracious God who spared not His only Son but gave Him up for us all.

Christ is your Life

“Christ, who is your life” -Colossians 3:4

For the believer, we have been passed from death unto life (John 5:4). Moreover, Christ becomes your life. Think about that. It’s not just turning over a new leaf, or new years resolution but that Christ becomes your life. Notice it does not say “Christ, who is a part of your life”, but your life! Meaning the entire thing. Unfortunately, many professing Christians only have Jesus as a part of their life. As a mere accessory; not the entirety. They only go to Him when it’s convenient not commonplace. In other words, only when they need something from Him rather than for Him alone. Yet doesn’t Paul say that I count everything as loss so what Christ would be gain? (Philippians 3:8). Nothing else matters but Christ. Without Christ, there’s no life! Without Christ, you’re not living, just existing. Moreover, you’re dead in trespasses and sins. But in Christ, there’s life and life in abundance (John 10:10).

Blessed be the name of the Lord, for He brought His church to Himself. They are alive and solely alive in Him! He is the vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5). For He is the source of life (John 14:6). Not only is He the saviour of your soul, but He is Lord of your life. That’s what it means for Him to be your life- that He would rule over every single aspect of it. Furthermore, He gave His life so the He would be your life. A sacrificial life for a set apart life unto Him. It took the death of God’s own Son in bearing our sins so that we would be made alive in Him. The sin was great, yet the grace was greater! He did all this so that He would be your life! He went all out so that you would be all in.

Is this true for you today? Is Christ your life? Or merely a part of it, if at all?

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God’s Everlasting Love

Now I know it’s Valentine’s Day and some of you are not fans (I don’t blame you). So I wanted to share something that is so uplifting. I came across this quote for the first time today. MIND BLOWN. And i just had to share, especially that some people feel lonely on Valentine’s Day or just feel unworthy of Gods love in general. Nevertheless, it does not diminish God’s everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). This isn’t reckless love, this is everlasting love! Steadfast love! Undying love! God is the very epitome of love! (1 John 4:8). He’s always loved you. So much so He sent His Son to die for our sins as a display of His love (John3:16; Romans 5:8). Even when you and I didn’t love Him, He’s loved you. Even at times, we doubt His love or even leave His love (Rev. 2:4), He loves you! Always has. Always will.