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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Meekness: If You Don't Have It You're Nothing

Number of churches planted, how mega your church is, how many mega churches you have, big church income, big membership--everyone in church looks for these today. Everything's up-size. Everything's gauged and valued numerically and by size. Doesn't anyone look at what's in the heart anymore? Worse, meekness today is looked upon as a weakness. Everyone's out to brag. And great braggers make it to the top!

When I was among young people, there was this church denomination that started a contest. The pastor with the highest number of new members and biggest church income would be given a Php 10,000 bonus. I thought it was funny. What was this, a franchise business? Even the born again church cannot recognize greatness except numerically--anything that translates to money value.

But Jesus laid it all clear:
Unless you change and become like little children, you will never 
enter the kingdom of heaven. 
Hence, whoever takes the lowly position of this child 
is the greatest in God's Kingdom. [Matt.18.3-4]

Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth. Meekness is the fruit of genuine love. If you have God's love truly in you, the natural result is meekness. Meekness summarizes the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. You cannot be arrogant and possess the fruit. The arrogant and haughty cannot have God's love operating in them. If they do love, it is for self gain, for ulterior motives. And often, it is to enslave--it has a worldly tag price. Don't crave for the food of the stingy man, says Proverbs. 

Pride and arrogance terribly eat away at the Spirit's fruit [or whatever of it remains] and often leads to corruption. Thus, God can only entrust creation to the meek. They alone are designed to inherit the earth. But ironically, they don't look like earth inheritors. They have nothing to show for it, like Jesus didn't. Jesus didn't have posh church buildings, cars [or chariots], huge income, and big membership--in fact he didn't have any member [he only had disciples]. Even Pilate could not believe Jesus was king. He asked him: You are a king then? 

Whatever happens, be careful not to be found wanting in meekness any time, more so on Judgment Day. Meekness makes sure the heart is pure and clean, like Jesus' heart. You brag about nothing but God and what he does and accomplishes. Everything is God's success. Never claim anything for yourself. Yeah, this has been said over and over, even numerously heard in testimonies. But believers still attribute success half of the time to themselves. They share the glory with God.

How the Meek Judges

God should endow glory as he sees fit. Let him proclaim it on you. "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." The Father endowed that on Jesus of His own volition. Jesus never proclaimed it for himself. He didn't say, "I am the Father's beloved Son and He's well pleased in me." Jesus was rigid with holiness and righteousness and denounced fiercely the religious temple leaders of his time. He would have been accused by the church today as being judgmental and self-righteous if the church had seen him do it then. 

However, he judged and denounced in true meekness because he did so only as the Father told him to. He spoke as he heard the Father speak. He did not do anything of his own decision or judgment. That is genuine meekness in ministry. Today, true prophets of God judge as they hear the Father speak. They denounce sin only as the Word of God does so. 

How the Arrogant Judges

Arrogant people judge according to man's standards, church denominational standards, to be precise, which does not come straight from the Father's mouth but only misuse bible verses to serve man's own designs. They do everything out of denominational pride, to make a name for their church, making sure their denominational name gets full credit. You see it in all the names of their local churches. One denomination's success cannot be claimed by another. The Kingdom of God is different. It's success and accomplishments can be claimed by all believers. Jesus' death on the cross, for instance, is not exclusive to any one denomination. It is claimed by all Kingdom citizens. Any believer can enter His Presence any time they want. Can you enter a denominational church premise anytime you want and preach there if you're not a member? Thus, in a genuine Kingdom success and achievement, only Jesus gets the credit. Everyone is reduced to meekness, though meekness is heaven's gauge for greatness.

The Least is Greatest

Today, no one in church believes this Kingdom principle--the least shall be the greatest. No one wants to be least. In fact, they hate being least. They're all out to make a name for themselves and their denomination. They want all the degrees and titles and mundane honor. They want to achieve this and that so they can brag about it to others. They even want their names seen or etched as marks to remind others that an achievement is attributable to them.

Frankly, almost no one is meek today in church. Look around and see if you can pinpoint an individual in your church who doesn't care about recognition and who makes it a quiet career to be meek in Christ--to be almost unnoticed and yet doing God's true will daily and every moment. Is there? If you can [with all honesty], your church is powerfully blessed with that individual because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. I've seen church folks who bring flowers to the church altar each Sunday and who feel bad if their efforts are not recognized publicly. The pastor, to appease the hurt sentiments, oblige and recognize such people on stage. They have junked meekness in the trash and favored pride by all means. They make the church a playground for immature people.

It's as good as trashing God's favorite trait in a believer and going all the way for worldly arrogance. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. But who cares in man's churches today? All they want is to be accepted in this world. And they do it for God. 

You can't go wrong with Godly meekness. Meekness comprises in simply and quietly obeying God, His Word and his will, obeying your pastor, and not making a big fuss over it all. Not comparing yourself with others. Meekness has this beauty of a gentle, graceful spirit with people, being stern about living a holy and righteous life when it comes to personal living, but being patient with others on the same. Like Jesus, meek believers are full of grace and truth.

The meek are the greatest in the Kingdom. No matter how most church people today disdain the meek [and no matter how weak or poor they seem to be], God still opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Believe it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kingdom Culture: Creating Genuine New Creations in Christ

Make sure you have the Kingdom culture deep within you, not denominational or any other culture. Make certain also that you and what you do in life are well grounded only on the Jesus culture. Be strict about this. Be fanatical even. But everything should be natural in the spirit, nothing forced on yourself. It should all happen effortlessly. The Kingdom culture is there because it's no longer you who live but Christ who lives in you.

Culture in the Physical

A lot of Christians still operate in their worldly culture. They are yet too controlled by the influences and propensities triggered by their race, nationality, nationalism or "love" for country, and in the Philippines, their regionalism. Because they are Ilocano, Tagalog, Ilonggo, Bocolano, or Visayan, they claim they have such and such tendencies dictated by their regional culture and which they claim runs in their blood. That's all a lie. Anyone in Christ is a new creation; the old is past! Among the aims of salvation is to create the new man. That new man has nothing in him but the Jesus DNA--his life, character, power, and ministry. The Jesus culture.

We are not anymore of this world--or of our culture, nationality, region, or even family blood. Lots of Christians still proudly claim their family blood [or family culture] is what controls their personality and propensity, and even merit their accomplishments and skills to it. "I'm good at this and that because it runs in the family!" Or, "I passed the board exams because my family is good at passing them!" Some even think their bad attitudes are okay because they are family derived. In the Philippines, some folks think it's okay to be easily angered by minor things because they come from a family prone to "high blood pressure."

No doubt God puts genes in the family blood to create identical capacities and qualities. But we are not to ascribe success to them or make them as excuses for bad character; successes should all be ascribed to God [and bad character to the devil]--because through Christ in us we are able to tap on God's qualities and capacities. We have God's spiritual genes or DNA because we are his offspring. Our Kingdom culture should radically transform us into God's own children, his real sons and daughters.

I love my dad and mom and greatly thank God for them. Among my siblings, it was I who personally took care of them, became close to them, and they literally asked for me in their times of pains during old age. They felt very comfortable with me and opened up their hearts to me. It was I God used to share the Gospel with them and bring them to a knowledge of God and his salvation. They both received Christ as personal Savior because God used me.

But I had realized the truth earlier on that God merely used them to take care of me for a while. They were my dedicated and faithful custodians until the set time had come for me to know personally my true Parent, God. God is my real Father. He's my true dad, my own Father, and thus I call him today. I am what he is, and what I am is all because of who he is. He is God and I am God's son through Christ in me. My Jesus calls me "god" because the bible says they are called "gods" through whom the Word of God came--and, Jesus added, Scriptures cannot be broken about this. Scriptures cannot be wrong on this.

Hence, I have a unique culture in me that makes me a stranger and alien in this world. The world sees me as something alien, out of this world, and the feeling is mutual. I live and think differently. You cannot identify a single worldly trait in me and my ways. I am no longer affected by my former identity through my race, nationality, region, history, tribe, clan, or family. Christ is all and all is Christ. This is not an exaggeration; this is Kingdom truth. Anyone in Christ is a new creation.

I no longer see Filipinos, Americans, Chinese, Japanese, browns, whites, blacks, Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Visayans, etc. And I no longer identify or label myself in the same manner. I am Christ's and He is mine. Period. I no longer see believers in Christ as Methodists, Baptists, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, or what-have-you. I see them as one man in the one Body of Christ.

However, lots of Christians still see as the world sees because they have not yet seen the King and His Kingdom, and thus they have zero Kingdom culture. They still see Americans, Filipinos, and Koreans [in fact Filipino believers are still dying to live in the US because it's heaven to them], and they still see Nazarenes, Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals [and despise and separate themselves from each other]. They are still slaves of the culture of the world--and friendliness with the world is enmity with God.

Worse, a lot of Christians in church who are citizens of a first world country still dominate and subjugate their brothers who are citizens of a third world country. They assume the imperialistic nature of their religious predecessors who used religion and God to subjugate weaker nations and oppressed them, stealing their wealth and resources in the name of mission work, just to enrich their denominations. They're still of the world and no nothing about Kingdom culture.

If you are a genuine new creation in Christ, you should have the Jesus culture powerfully in you. It should define who you are in the world and in the Kingdom.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Misreading God's Judgment as His Favor

It's easy to misread God's judgment as his favor. I see it happen many times. God gives a guy a stern judgment to give him a chance to remedy or correct his wrongs, but he thinks it's God's favor on him and brags about it in church, becoming more arrogant and rotten. And blind church people applaud him--often because he has money or has political church clout.

Take this guy, for instance. He has complicated heart problems that necessitated operation that cost his family more than a million pesos. Plus, God allowed him to have cancer, too. He survived them all and brags that God really favors him and approves of his ways and life. But the guy is actually rotten in character and has a penchant for putting people to shame. And he sometimes even mocks the Word of God and ridicules those who sincerely and avidly believe God's Word by applying it in their lives and ministries.

To me, this is how I read God's action on his life. God is giving him a chance to correct his ways, so He allowed the diseases to afflict him. Even in the bible, diseases were used by God to make man come to his senses and repent and amend his ways. But even in the bible, many people erred by misreading God's judgment as His favor. Because they recovered in the end, they thought it was God's favor on their life and resumed their arrogance and rotten character.

God allows diseases for several reasons, one of which is to wake you up from your wickedness or rottenness. Sometimes, diseases in you serve as testing for others who see you suffer in your sickness, as in the case of Job. Sometimes, ailments are allowed to take your faith to the next level, or for a revelation that is so high you need to be humbled so you won't boast about it, as in the case of Paul's thorn in the flesh. But sometimes, diseases are for warnings because you're already at the borderline of demonic wickedness, but you still don't realize it. You think you're still okay with God.

By His grace you don't end up dead [yet]--well just a bit on the boarder of death--to make you realize your sin, as in the case of Hezekiah who became a bit arrogant and showed off to an official delegation from Babylon all his wealth and grandeur. God sent an illness that almost killed the king.

Good for Hezekiah, he repented and was given another 15 years to live. But church leaders and church people today are mostly not as sensitive to God's judgment. They have lost their spiritual sharpness so that they keep misreading God's judgment as His favor. Take this couple for example...

They have an abnormal child and the husband keeps womanizing and gambling. They have a big and booming business but which is slowly losing ground and at the brink of bankruptcy if they only do one small final mistake. But they see all of these as God's favor on their lives. The abnormal child is seen as some kind of a God-given amulet that attracts wealth, and their brushes with bankruptcy is seen as God's rescue efforts because He favors them.

They never see it as God's fatal warning, letting them get a taste of what's coming to them if they continue in their sins. The couple is a champion of idolatry and occultism, combining feng shui and the bible as their weapons against bankruptcy. And because the dreaded bankruptcy just misses them by a few inches, they think God is protecting them and their business. So they always brag about it. They think their feng-shui-and-bible formula is effective and recommends it to others.

Often, God just gives us an inkling of what He can give us if we remain in sin. He does not punish us [yet] as we deserve. He gives us warnings--near brushes with disaster to make us wake up, and then rescues us just in time. But often, due to spiritual blindness, we misread His judgment as favor just because we have been rescued.

But God's Judgment is Indeed His Favor

But sometimes, however, God's judgments are really his favors. They serve as warnings to keep us from sin, hell, and from the devil. Sin makes us vulnerable to demonic attacks, so God judges us to warn and wake us up and go back to the right path. Indeed, God getting us out of trouble like that is His favor to us.

If God's judgment and rescue make us truly repent, then it's His favor. If God's judgment and rescue make us more arrogant and continue in rottenness, then it's His condemnation. He who believes is not condemned. But he who doesn't believe stands condemned already...

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