For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”
2 Chronicles 30:9 NASB
As I reflect on this passage, it is pretty clear that my repentance and reconciliation with God does not only bring blessings to my life but also bring blessings to those who are close to me.
The background of this verse is that king Hezekiah, being a ruler who did what was pleasing in the sight of God, reinstituted the celebration of the Passover. Not only he involved his people in Judah but he extended the invitation to the people of Israel so they could celebrate together. Though not all joined, there were who yielded to the invitation.
As I follow Jesus, I should always remember that my surrender and obedience to Him will not only for my benefit. My life should be a living invitation of God’s grace, which may the Lord use to bring people to Him or for His name to be proclaimed. Only God’s grace and compassion can free us from the sins of the world that enslave us.
I woke up at almost 9pm. I slept about 7pm to catch some sleep since I have been awake since 5am today. I am not a morning person but I needed to be up early because I was scheduled to serve as camera operator today in our church. Yes, this is one of the sacrifices I have to make serving in a ministry.
At the start of our devotion today with my co-volunteers, I was asked why are we here? My reply was: we serve as an overflow of God’s grace in our lives that we want to be a blessing, help where there is a need and serve God. For sure any volunteer will say the same. It is the primary motivation why we do what we do.
While the reason I mentioned above is so true, I would like to dig deeper. As I think of it, God does not need my service, I am not doing Him any favor. He can orchestrate things to accomplish His works even without my participation. If I do not volunteer, He can always have someone do the work. Therefore, another reason why I serve is because it is an area where He can develop my character.
The more I analyze, waking up so early is not actually a sacrifice. I see it as God’s way of teaching me the discipline of honoring my time commitment. Before I became a follower of Christ, I am usually an hour late in my appointments. But that was one of the things the Lord dealt with me early on when I became a Christian. I cannot be notoriously late because I am carrying God’s name now. I also learned that more than my will to follow God’s discipline, I need His grace even more.
Grace. There is no difference on the amount of will I possess before and after my conversion. What changed is that I get to acknowledge the grace of God in my life. Whenever I reflect how my day turns out every time I serve, it never fails to amaze me how His grace carried me thru.
Just to enumerate, here are the struggles I face when I volunteer:
Sleepiness. I cannot help to sleep earlier than 12:30am but I have to wake up 5am. Four and a half hours of sleep is not optimal for me, causing me to feel sleepy. Thank God that even I feel sleepy while operating the camera, the Lord covers me so I do not mess up!
Tiredness. Volunteer work starts 7am and ends almost 2pm with more than an hour of break. I usually cover 2 services, each service I am actively operating the camera for more than an hour. I am not a professional camera operator so it can be physically exhausting for me. Thank God that He never fails to sustain me!
Holding pee. I still feel nervous every time we are about to start the service, I always need to go to the restroom minimum of 3 times. But once the service starts, I need to hold the nature’s call. Thank God I can pray about it and know what to do!
Maintaining stable hands. To do this, I need to concentrate hard, have a good motor coordination while controlling my breathing. A slight shake can impact the experience of those who are watching the service. Of course, I want to honor the Lord by giving an excellent effort. Thank God that He helps me each time!
Like I have always said, it is only because of the Lord why I am able to serve. I do not have talent, my skill of handling camera is very basic and yet I am able to deliver. At the end of the day, I see the Lord’s hand working on and through me. I am just a witness of His goodness, a recipient of His grace.
Finally, being around with other fellow believers serving makes me feel so blessed. They are not just companions but God uses them to keep me grounded. Our group devotions keep me rooted with the Word while I learn from the stories how the Lord moves in their lives.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,
1 Timothy 1:12 NLT
It still amazes me how blessed I am that God made me hear praise and worship songs live from my neighbor local church every Sunday morning (and on Saturdays while they are rehearsing). I am so blessed with the songs they play and I cannot help myself but to sing along every time I am familiar with the lyrics of the songs they play.
Every week that I hear them, reminds me of God’s grace and faithfulness to me. Yes, I need to be reminded because it is impossible to keep my faith without some sort of Divine intervention. I admit that I am so weak on my own that I can only abide in Jesus through His power. Moreover, it is a delight to witness by hearing the worshippers in that local church, most of which are young, sing their hearts out as they worship the Lord.
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Psalms 96:1-2 ESV
Thank You Lord! ♥️♥️♥️
Yesterday, I heard my other neighbor who is very talented in singing sang Who Am I by Casting Crowns in karaoke. I don’t think he is a Christian and I wonder if He knew that what he sang is a worship song.
But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.'” And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
Exodus 32:11-14 ESV
This pleading of Moses to God happened after Israelites fell into idolatry. God was about to take his wrath upon the Israelites. But Moses implored on his people to be spared from disaster and God listened. It got me to thinking God knew what was all about to happen – the frailties of His people into idolatry, Moses interceding and His relenting from giving the punishment. Given that nothing surprises the Lord or hidden to His knowledge, it only showed how loving, gracious and merciful God is, who keeps His promise from generation to generation. God had every reason to put His judgment upon His people but He remembered those (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) who were faithful to Him and honored His word to them.
Moreover, this passage depicted a relational God. Moses’ statements used to appeal to God were bold, passionate and deeply personal. Moses sure would not be able to utter those words if God saw their relationship only as master and servant. Instead, the relationship felt more like of an intimate friendship or even more like that of a father and son’s, which one can be free and very open to say what is on his mind and what he feels.
Praise God that He is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow! That whenever I pray thru Jesus, our Eternal Father in heaven listens. And I am thankful that God answers my prayers not because I convince Him but because He is sovereign and nothing is hidden from Him, thus, every answered prayer is a sure victory. Finally, this motivates me to pour out my emotions every time I pray, the same way as Moses, to hold no bar and be personal because my God willingly listens and welcomes me to a relationship with Him.