Integrity is a tough word. It calls for purity, devotedness, faithfulness, and unwavering commitment. To be a man of integrity is a tough virtue.
In today’s environment, there are very few people we can find to be as such. One reason is that the people who were once men of integrity fell away from the virtue when great temptation came. And, the same could be said for the remaining few – many of them would fall away from the narrow road of integrity once tested big deal.
For the students, staying away from copying could never be easy. Do an honest survey and a very small number would dare to claim they have never copied during exams. Copying is just one thing. Not to say stealing intellectual and material properties – in different proportions and ways. Virtually everyone is guilty.
In the government, how much resources in different forms should have been given to the right people but sadly went into the pockets and hands of the few greedy? Our nation is known as one of the most corrupts in the world.
Even families are experiencing corruption. Unfaithfulness between married couples are becoming rampant. Siblings betray each other, or protect each other even at the expense of dishonesty. And in other ways the list could go on.
The Christian Church is not exempted – no. Many of the world’s systems that are anti-biblical have been popularly embraced by the Church for the sake of marketing, acceptance, and power. Many believers have also denied the simple Gospel in exchange for money, entertainment, prestige and honor.
God is looking for a people who are willing to offer their lives for the sake of righteousness. God wants to see devout lives that are fully surrendered to His ethical principles of justice, mercy, and uprightness. With these kind of people, God could do wonders of societal transformation. God desires for holy vessels whom He can use to change the world. Sin brings reproach, righteousness exalts – individually and corporately.
I stepped in and walked forward
Amidst the crowd and in front of the lights
All eyes were toward me
Seeing and beholding all my glory
And I gave my best, oh yeah
Knowing that they liked me
Cheers and whispers and smiles
They were all because of my glaring presence
I took a proud bow in my heart
Yes, this is me
I told in my heart
The most wonderful person of all
Adored and worshiped among all
Standing before the pulpit
Without any sign of nervousness
My manuscript was within my hand
Ready to deliver my grand stand
I believed I could do that well
No need to pray and depend on Someone else
I spoke with a confident voice
They all stood in awe
I knew I had it
I made myself even wiser
Flowering my words with eloquence
I walked away from the pulpit
Trying to sound wiser still
I spoke words without looking
At the papers
Impressing the crowd with
Thoughts that were locked in
In the middle of nowhere
A sudden thing occurred
I lost my words
And my mind stopped
To offer me thoughts
This could not be right
I would lost my dignity and prestige
Before all in shame
Alas! My tongue went twisted too
I could not utter a word properly
But I could recompose myself
And recuperate from this
I dictated my heart
My tongue would not obey me
My mind became stubborn
I felt my cheeks as hot as iron
And the people began to laugh
I took hurried downward steps
In humiliation I almost slipped
The manuscript that I was holding
Flew into the air
I never turned back to get it
All I wanted was to rush to the door
At home I cried and prayed
And in great rebuke
My Father Lord told
Everything is not about me
But everything should be done
Only for His Glory
There are many things that could keep any Christian away from the ministry for a certain point of time.
One of the most common is sin. Sin destroys the strength and the credibility of any servant of God. It also renders him/her powerless – he or she is stripped of the miraculous empowering of the Holy Spirit.
Another factor is the busyness of secular life. Though everything should be spiritual for the saint, but much of the activities that comes from the world takes away some precious time that should be set aside for God alone.
Yet to avoid the ministry is a suicide for the growing Christian. In fact a Christian could never grow without being involved in the ministry. The ministry does not need Christians who think they don’t need the ministry. Rather, these proud Christians could never survive without the ministry.
I am saying this out of Scriptural truth and experience. The ministry is not just important in the life of the believer. It is also essential.
God bless His hard-working servants in the vineyard.
Actually the title isn’t so good. Upon finishing reading this short reflection, the reader will come to see that there are countless reasons to prove that God is so good.
For one thing, who in the earth could say that he or she deserves God’s Grace? Of course there are many out there who would dare to claim so. These are the people who have missed altogether the true meaning of Grace. For them grace is earned, which is at once at odds with its real definition. Grace, Biblical grace is unmerited favor. Favor is for the obedient, but Grace is given even to the disobedient.
The forgiveness of God comes close to the list. God is so merciful and forgiving, that to forgive and forget a multitude of sin could be seen as part of His character. Yes I am emphasizing forgiveness here, and not His wrath to come at the day of Judgment when He recompenses every man for his or her evil deeds in hellfire.
The sweet sovereignty of God is another one. If not for His sovereignty, there could be no miracles or other stories that defy physical and natural limitations imposed by nature. Because of this many lives are saved – not in the natural means. And even problems, the insurmountable ones are overcomed. Thanks to His omnipotent power.
There are still a lot more, but let me tell now my story. For the past two weeks I have been down and could not move. I really feel unworthy. But God told me to act as a leader in an outreach – yes, He tells me to act – unworthy though that I am.
Sin always finds its way in me. No matter how much I try to avoid it, in so many subtle ways it could always reach out to me. God’s Grace however, catches me for restoration.
Matt Redman sings in his new album, Your Grace Finds Me, that God’s Grace is the same for the saint and for the sinner. Yeah, yes. There is grace for the righteous and for the sinner, or in other words, for the saved and the unbeliever. But also, no. There is a special kind of grace that is exclusive only for the saved. In God’s eyes, the saved are forever righteous. They have been justified. And, in great contrast, the good works of the unsaved are like filthy rags. Strong comparison. Heart-flattering for the saint, condemning for the wicked.
Sin damages my heart, and God’s Grace is always there to heal me. After committing the most hideous sins, i would bow down in prayer and ask for cleansing and forgiveness. Yes, immediate cleansing I receive, but it should not stop there. True repentance always calls for the changed mind and heart, and of course ways of life. Period. Anything less than that is not true repentance but only confession.
It is indeed an endless pursuit. Running away from sin, being taken by sin, and being catched and snatched away by God’s grace.
As long as a saint is on earth, the pursuit is endless. In heaven, this pursuit cannot happen. How I long to be with Jesus!
We do not naturally want bad endings. We do not want to be hurt, and when we do, if we could only turn back time, we would have corrected it. But for us the only sure available option is to start anew.
To begin again, however, is not that always easy. Often it is harder than we thought. Being dreamers in nature, we are always in the illusion that it would be better this time – that we are capable of doing better while exercising the least of efforts. Wrong.
As we strive to be better, there are many things that would pull us downward. The thoughts of past failures are always there. The inward weaknesses, the fleshly desires which are often undealt, would shake our determination to succeed. Noteworthy to mention – the judgement of the people around – those people who have marked out how filthy you are based from your past mistakes and sins – always play insurmountable forces to hold you back.
The only incentive then is to look upward and realized that there is Someone who is capable of ‘forgetting’ your errors and would not judge you, seeing that you are truly repentant and really try to change. Your forgiveness and shame could be deeper than the sea, but His forgiveness is even deeper than the abyss. You may have not felt real love, but His embrace is wider than the sky.
His Person and love alone are great motivations for each one of us to be hopeful that as long as He grants us to live another day, there would always be hope for genuine change.
The Christian life is a fight. A fierce battle. Every side could be at odds, every corner could be a battleground. Of course many are your friends, but many still could act as your enemies, no matter how much you befriend them.
Do not give up! Heads on toward the battle! Put on your helmet, wear your armour and sandals, carry your shield, raise up your sword! This is another combat! An epic battle!
Strike hard! Aim best! Shoot ahead! There are many witnesses – the saints of the past are all watching, watching and expecting that every Christian would share the same victory they had.
Every unnecessary weight should be removed – excess burdens. Sin should be dealt and buried and burned. Run the race without those filth! Just run with freedom in Christ!
Yes, look unto Jesus – the Author and Perfector of everything that we have as Christians! Just look and reflect unto His Glory, and in the process be the more transformed into His blessed likeness. The more we look at Him, the more peace we gain, the greater is our focus, and increasing is our strength!
That is the way to our epic battle! That is the Christian Life! Turn away from baggage and filth, and focus on the Holy. This way, we could win this. Like the countless saints before us, we will win this too!
Family relationship and the ministry. My preaching this Sunday at Calapan Bible Church, with Acts 16:1-5 as the Text. Wisdom in studies, especially in Math, I am really weak in this subject.