Give Me Life, Give Me Jesus

Psalm 119: 159

“Consider how I love your precepts!

Give me life according to your steadfast love.”

Reading this passage makes me think of God’s redemptive love. The Psalmist sings of the importance and perfection of God’s law, giving his heart to God, seeking Him and crying out to Him for deliverance in the midst of his suffering.

When he is surrounded by wickedness, pained by their evil schemes and persecutions, he never loses his trust in God and love for His precepts because he knows that God is good and faithful, and the Lord is his “hiding place” and “shield” (Ps. 119:114). Yet, he keeps crying out for the Lord to give him “life”. We don’t deny that this “life” includes deliverance from evil hands of the wicked, but it goes deeper than that, doesn’t it?

Sometimes our pain doesn’t go away as soon as we would like it to, sometimes it remains for a lifetime. And even in such situations, God is still good and faithful and in control. And in the midst of lasting pain and suffering, He gives us Life – He gives us Jesus, who is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

In John 16: 33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In our suffering, we can have Life, we can have Jesus – He gives us peace in our faithful endurance of the trials, and He gives us hope in our trouble because we know that His word is true – He has indeed overcome the world/evil on the Cross, so reality goes far beyond what our naked eyes can see – it goes onto the Cross, to the One who is sitting on the throne on the right hand of the Father in Heaven, who is watching over us and interceding for us to God.

It’s a dangerous thing to keep looking at our circumstance and pain because we can easily be deceived by Satan and our heart into believing that we are alone in our struggles, that God doesn’t care and that He has left us to “die” in our painful circumstances. But these are lies from Satan, trying to take us away from God. I like the symbol of the Cross – it reminds me what Christ has done for me by dying on the cross to save me and give me a new and real life in God’s kingdom; it reminds me of whom I belong to, as well as the fact that I live “in between” – I live in this world but do not belong to it; this world and pain is temporary, and our life in Christ is eternal.

So as we wait for the Lord to act according to His good and perfect will, let us cry out to Him with the Psalmist, “Lord, give me Jesus, give me more of Him, so that this pain becomes a gain of more of you, in whom I belong and am blessed!”

Journey to Eternal Rest

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Matthew 11:28

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

There is a Love called Rest. This love and rest can only be found in Jesus. When the Lord created the world and rested on the seventh day, He set us upon the path to our destiny of His eternal Rest in His everlasting Love. Jesus has taken over all our burdens so that we can walk in Him towards that eternal Rest, which one day we will reach when He comes back again to take us to that place where He has prepared for us in His greatest Love (John 14:3).

Remember, you are not walking alone, our Lord Jesus walks with you and He calls you his friend; God’s many many children walk with you, and God has called you all his precious family. When you feel burdened with the many worries of this world, do not suffer alone my dear friend, cry out to God who is faithful to answer and hold you, and reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ, through whom God is faithful to show you love, comfort and encouragement. He will show you and lead you to taste how sweet His rest is, to remind you your holy destiny – the eternal Rest beyond your imagination, and set your eyes upon Him and rekindle a fire in your heart for Him alone.

Facing Your Fear Head On in HIM

Deuteronomy 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Someone asked me, “What does it mean to face your fear head on and not run away? What does it look like?”

I said, “That’s a very good question. Each situation is different, but in many ways, facing fear head on means knowing that the fear is there, like a fierce-looking lion threatening to tear you into pieces, but you don’t move back even one step or run away like you used to, you face it even with trembling, and you look at it in the eye and say, ‘Yes, I know you are here, I know you are scary, and I feel it very strongly, but I will be standing right here, I am not going anywhere. You do not control my life. God does, and He wants me to face you, so I will.’ It means accepting how you are feeling, and accepting how the other person(s) are feeling (if other people are involved), and not trying to deny any of those by trying to find reasons to convince yourself that it is not true, or that something bad would happen if you trust that or if you stay or if you move forward.

Now there are situations where we could take the next step forward and not just stand still, or even ‘tip toe’ like they say, but there are also situations that do not allow you to take the next step, so you stay where you are. The point is not to move forward at the moment, the point is to look at the scary lion in the eye and not shrink back.

It might sound a little bit like OCD treatment, and it does have some aspect of that, but most importantly, it is knowing your heart, knowing that you ran away before because you wanted security, and running away is not going to give you real security, it just pushes you further into a trap that Satan has set up for you. The only place where you will find security is in Jesus Christ. He has made you one with the Lord, so you are now God’s child. Nothing in this world can separate you from his love (Romans 8:37-39), and He is true to his promise, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ (Deuteronomy 31:6) Remember what pain and suffering that Jesus went through on the cross to redeem you, to make you a beloved of the Father, to make you the apple of his eye (Psalm 17:8), to give you his peace and security (John 16:33), then you know what you fear is a lie and it does not come from the Father, but the devil.

And this time you know you are not alone when you feel afraid, because the Lord is with you, Jesus is with you, the Holy Spirit is with you, in One – that, my friend, is the Power that created the whole world, the Power that raised our Savior Jesus from death so that we may have a new heart and a new life! And this time, you can move forward, you can run, and run into HIS arms.”

Tears & Beauty

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Psalm 61:2

“from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I”

If we have to struggle today, let us choose and decide to struggle in the Lord, in his world where He is the center, not in our world where we are the center, for only He can truly comfort our soul and give us rest.

And as we wait for that eternal rest that the Lord has set for us from the beginning of the world, that percet eternal rest in the New Jerusalem, let us learn to rest in him now day by day, step by step, as we put one foot in front of the other, as we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Remember His faithful promise to you, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9a)

Persevere to the End

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Matthew 21:29

“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.”

In the Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21: 28-32), when the father asked the first son to do something, he first said that he would not, but later “he changed his mind and went”.

As Christians, we are familiar with the struggle between the Spirit and the flesh. And many feel defeated and even despair after struggling and failing many many times over in the battle with some stubborn or “deep” sin, such as an addiction. It is understandable why they might feel this way. The snare is very real, the convicting of sin is very real, the remorse, the guilt, the shame, the pain, the deep cry, the anguish…they all seem too real for our souls to bear. But this passage brings us great hope because unlike how we might be feeling, in Christ, we are Capable of changing our mind and doing what pleases our Father in heaven.

The Lord knows the consequence of sin, as he terms it himself, “when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17) – the penalty of sin is death, but he also knows it’s impossible for us humans to be freed from sin’s bondage by ourselves. That’s why He has promised from the very beginning of human history to bring us a Savior, who will “crush the serpent’s head” and free us from sin. (Genesis 3:15) This Savior sent by God in his mercy and grace for his people is Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life (what we can never do) on earth on our behalf, and he died on the cross to wash away our sins, so that we will become as white as snow, blameless before the Holy King when we put our faith in Christ. Not only that, after he ascended to heaven, he sent His Holy Spirit to live in us, so that He will empower us to do what pleases the Lord – he is the One who changes our mind to do the right thing.

So when you feel so burdened in your struggle, in your fight, on your own strength, pause and pray, and ask the Holy Spirit who literally lives within you to help you “change your mind and do what pleases God” (that is part of his “job description”), and surrender…Surrender your sin, surrender your fight, surrender your guilt, your shame, your fear, your anger, your unspeakable pain and despair – remember, Jesus’ precious blood has washed away all your sins, when you ask for his forgiveness each time you are convicted of your sin, he is faithful to forgive you. And just let God do what He has promised to do: to renew your mind, to transform you, but you have to allow Him to do just that (Romans 12:2). Then when He moves you, which he certainly and definitely will, just follow him, follow Christ, as he has lived and modeled a holy life for you. When God moves you in your wilderness, it won’t be easy, but it will be much easier than moving yourself without God, as you have tried for so long.

Trust and know that the Lord is good. And because of His mercy and preseverance, you can and will persevere to the end.

[Feel free to send me a prayer request through the ‘contact’ page if you would like me to pray for you on any particular struggle(s). I might be able to reply to all messages, but know that I will stand with you and be praying for you.]

The Lord Preserves Us in Mercy

Deut. 4:29, 31

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul….For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”

Before Moses died, he prophesized that the people of Israel would enter and possess the Promised Land, but that they would also soon turn away from God to worship idols (Deut. 4:26-28). Now we know the Bible is God’s own Word, so Moses spoke these words from God. God knew these people’s hearts and that they would turn away from him.

The Lord knows our fallenness and our tendency to ignore, forget and disobey him. It’s all so easy and natural for us to sin, to forget who God is and who we are. It’s so easy and natural for us to turn from our Creator and worship created things as our gods (Deut. 4:23-24).

But the Lord doesn’t leave us in despair. He gives us hope through this passage (Deut. 29, 31), promising us that he will pursue us, and we will seek him and find him when we search after him with all our heart and soul (with true repentance). He will be found by us because he is a merciful God, and he is faithful to the Covenant of Grace that he has made with our forefather Abraham to save us. He so gently and firmly warns us through Deut. 4:9a, “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.”

This hope is made possible for us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has died for our sins on the cross so that we can stand before God again. When we believe in him, his perfect righteousness is counted to be our own, so the Lord pursues and keeps us because of Christ. He has sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, to remind us of his words and ways, so that we can rely on Him to “take care and keep our soul diligently” before God.

How great God’s mercy and grace is! How deep a love he has shown us in Jesus Christ our Savior! And how great a help and hope that we have in Him as we struggle in this life to love and worship him alone!