Our Ways Or God’s Ways?

​Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord . And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

1 Samuel 8:4‭-‬9 ESV

Indeed, the Bible gives us a full view of the contrasting condition of man’s and God’s heart. While man has rebellious and wicked heart, God remains to have a loving and firm heart.

As I reflect on the passage, I began to think that the unrighteousness of Samuel’s sons was not the real reason why they asked for a king. They thought they knew what was best for them and they decided follow their own way. Sadly, we are these very same people. We give in to our compulsions and desires, when we come to God we already made up our minds and we just want Him to go along with it. In spite of this, God still cares. He is not happy with our own choices if it is not for our good and according to His will. For sure, like what He commanded Samuel to warn the Israelites, He also never misses to do the same. At times, we feel uneasiness in our actions because we know that He is appealing to our conscience. Yet He allows our bad choices to prevail because He is sovereign. Our bad choices does not cause inconveniences to Him, what He does not want is to destroy ourselves with our independence from Him. So if it will restore us to Him by allowing us to suffer the consequences of our actions then He will allow it. 

Living a Christian life is a rollercoster ride, there will be times that you are on fire with God and there will be times that you feel so far away from Him. But that does not mean that He moved away when the truth is we are the ones moving away from Him. I know this very well because I always fall on the trap, the trap I make for myself. Every time I don’t feel like praying, read the Bible or work on my GLC online class but choosing to watch tv or play games all day, I feel like the Israelites falling into idolatry. Leisure is not bad but if it takes priority over God and spiritual discipline then I’m letting myself revive the old ways that Jesus has freed or restoring me from. Sad but true.

Sometimes, I wish that God will not allow me to choose and just make me follow only His ways always. But then again, God is gracious and loving that He gives us free will. Instead of questioning Him, I should appreaciate His grace. This same grace which gives hope that whenever I fall, God is sovereign to know how to bring me back to him. And that by every fall is a learning and opportunity to know Him more helping me to mature and grow as Christ’s follower. My prayer is I will not lost my focus in Jesus and the good works He has done in me. I do not want to be like the Israelites who forgot the God who brought them up out from their slavery in Egypt and chose them as His people. 

Finally, I want to finish the race and fight the good fight of faith with Jesus as my King!

Soli Deo Gloria!

– Rhia

God’s compulsion is our liberation – A staggering kind of love.

3“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3

Also, from “The Prophet Marries a Prostitute” by Dr. Ravi Zacharias, and “Moonlight drawn by Clouds”

Watching a drama series, I found myself moved by the characters and their actions: The heroine loves a crowned prince but was forced to leave him because of complication in their relationship. But the prince, refusing to accept this separation, found and made a way to be the rightful king and removed corrupt ministers. They ended up enjoying the freedom to be with each other. The series, more than anything else, displayed to me how determined God is to ensure that we, His church, His bride, can be with Him today and in eternity.

He wanted me and you by His side.

Jesus, in humility, made himself equal to us and gave himself up on that cross of Calvary. (This is no easy act, easy to understand but such a huge responsibility that He even sweat blood, praying in the garden.) He did it anyway, to obey His Father, and because He wants us to be cleansed of sins, with which we can never come to His presence. A holy, loving sacrifice once and for all.

Today, He still wants us by His side.

God has constantly spoken to us in our daily activities, no matter how mundane they may seem. When a bus past by you and has a message painted on it, when you wake up, and even when you found it hard to sleep at night. These are all evidences that God is in loved with me, with you. He desires to talk and build that relationship with you. Ptr. Bong Saquing said in his preaching that if God has a refrigerator, it would have been filled with magnets of your picture. If He has a wallet, your picture would have been there as well. If He has a cellphone, He would’ve constantly texted and called you. This is the truth: God, my friend, is madly in love with you.

A hurting and jealous God.

It may seem ironic that a God who is perfect, can be hurt (Ephesians 4:30) and jealous (Exodus 20:5). But just imagine with me, you are a man who has everything. You love someone and of course, you want the best for her. You have delivered to her your intention and yet she still chooses another person whom you know will be of no good for her. Imagine. If I were that man, I will surely be hurt.

I was moved when God showed me this. It’s just the same with Him. He has everything, He is everything. And yet, I still choose something else over Him. My current fight is with self-righteousness. I was thinking that I deserve to be blessed when I am able to accomplish some good deeds, or that I won’t receive anything when I failed to do so. When the truth is, God is just like a man who will give to his lover everything she needs, with or without her doing anything!

God is jealous not because of insecurity, but because we choose something far lesser than Him. He is jealous because He is eager about protecting that which is precious to Him, us. He is hurt not because He loses something when we worship something else, but because we lose Him whom is everything we need.

Worse than the prodigal son.

I found myself in the same shoes that C.S. Lewis once in.

I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape?…”

I can imagine God hurting, even crying, because I, whom He dearly loves, refuses to be with Him; that in one hint of sin, I will easily fall. I struggle but He hugs me. I kick and hurt Him, but He still embraces me. “I will never give up on you,” He says.

God is not done yet.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

I pray that we would always rely on Him alone, on His unconditional love. That no matter what we do, we would know that His grace, alone, is enough reason for Him to provide for us; that His love, alone, is enough reason for Him to never give up on us. And that His compulsion is to liberate us from idols, His very compulsion is to lead us to His side.

I pray that we will continually grasp every day, bit by bit, how wide and long and high and deep is the steadfast, sincere and strong love of Christ. That we will constantly be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:18,19.)

The Ultimate Love Story In Ruth

​Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord , the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my Lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”

Ruth 2:8‭-‬13 ESV

Everytime we come across with the book of Ruth, we right away associate this as a story of how a godly woman meets a godly man and they lived happily ever after. Yes, this is very true because this led to the line of David and that gave way to the prophetic ancestry of Jesus. More so, it captures the heart of every single Christians because it gives hope that when we seek the Lord and secure ourselves with Him first, He will provide our heart’s desire for a suitable partner in a most unexpected way.

For a change, I want to highlight a different love story and it is more powerful than Boaz-Ruth tandem. Clearly, the passage shows the love of God and how He took care of the widowed Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi. This also shows us that God really looks at the heart rather than on the race or worldly affiliation to have His favor. Ruth was a Moabite (descendant of Lot) not an Israelite. She might not had grew up with the knowledge about God the way the Israelites did, but when she knew Him after she married the son of Naomi she became a faithful servant. She left her own land and chose to go with Naomi without knowing what was in store for their future. As God honored the decision of Ruth to follow Him, God also honors our decision to follow Him in spite of our pasts and where we came from. This is the ultimate demonstration of love that we are unworthy yet God loved us first, He even sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins knowing that there are people who will still reject Him and His solution of salvation.

When we receive Jesus in our lives, we open ourselves to God’s new mercies every day. He will provide for our needs, keep us calm through our storms in life and teach us to live a life pleasing to Him – an abundant life. Truly, Ruth already was victorious even before she met Boaz. For sure, God could command anyone to deliver the blessing to Ruth. Nothing can prevent God from blessing the people who love Him. As for Boaz, his godly character led him to be an instrument of blessing. This is something that followers of Christ shall always be willing to do. For in taking part of God’s plan, we are also letting ourselves receive His blessings. If Boaz had refused the will of the Lord then he might not be the one we are reading today as one of the known Bible characters in the ancestral lineage of our Lord Jesus Christ. ❤❤❤

Soli Deo Gloria!

– Rhia

The Trouble When Everyone Just Does What Is Right In His Own Eyes

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:25 ESV

As I continue with my Bible Reading in a Year challenge, this passage has to be shortest yet profound verse that I have to reflect so far in the Old Testament. The book of Judges ends in this verse and so it is important to reflect on the entire book to get the magnitude of this ending verse. Judges is one of the books of the Bible that narrated the cycle of idolatry of the Israelites. The Israelites would sin, God would allow them to fall into the hands of their enemies, then they would cry out to God for deliverance and God would redeem them by sending judges to lead them back to Him. 

One who is reading Judges will see how patient and merciful God is, for sure in our own standard we would have given up easily on these people because they don’t tend to learn. Someone must think how such people keep on sliding back to idolatry in spite of all the wonders that God revealed to them but I think this story is our story as well. Everytime that we don’t intentionally make God our priority, we more likely to focus on our own idols whether it be money, relationship, work, vices or material things. And that is when we start to fall apart as that of generation of Israelites, unlike those generation in Joshua where they were fully committed to obeying the Lord.

Truly, I could not help but relate this to if it feels good then it must be right belief. Self-defined pleasure is not everything and should not be our one thing because it is blinding. Such is the issue of homosexual practices which others support as their right to love and they subscribe to it as love is love. This can be a good universal moral statement. However, if we apply the same concept to a father-daughter or mother-son in a romantic relationship, for sure the same people who support love is love belief might be against it or furthermore feel gross about it. As I heard from one preaching, love is not love if it does not follow God’s design. Moreover, we should not define our own moral compass because we on our own are not good with morality. That is why God already provided the moral laws for us and He laid it out for us to prevent us from harming and corrupting ourselves. This is real love that our loving Father in heaven does not want us to perish in sin, just as He sent the judges, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us sins and be cursed in our behalf.

This is what I’m so thankful about Jesus, we were so dirty of sin but He saved us and made us clean. Not that He only redeems people but He also teaches them how to live a life according to God’s moral laws. Yes, at times Christians still commit sins but as new creation who traded life with Christ, we are now convicted when sins enter our way of life. We become sensitive to our guilt and conscience for it is the power of the Holy Spirit who keeps us to abide in Jesus and obey the Father’s will. Without Jesus, we do not have king as that generation of Israelites in the book of Judges. Actually, they had king which is God but in their hearts they did not acknowledge Him as such. So the question now is will you allow Him to be your Lord of all and be the king you will faithfully serve?

Indeed, Jesus is the king everyone needs!

Soli Deo Gloria!

– Rhia