Let God Fight For You (Acts 18 Devotion)

Acts 18 is one of the chapters wherein God’s promise is really evident. To further appreciate it, we can read at the previous chapters and see Paul’s journey as he spread the gospel.

We knew now what happened with Paul – he was imprisoned, beaten, and stoned that he even almost died. We can imagine that he must be really tired from going from one place to another as he has been to many places God told him to go. Not only that, he was harmed. He might be regularly harmed that it actually look like it is already a norm.

Again, let’s put ourselves in Paul’s shoes – I believe he might have prayed for deliverance from all this pain and suffering – that it might be possible for him to just pass through a country and peacefully preach the gospel. I would also like to think, he would want to defend himself every time he was being physically hurt – he would want to fight back. But he followed God wholeheartedly and with full obedience – no matter what the trouble might be in this new place.

But during his stay in Corinth, something different happened. Lord told him on a vision:

“...“Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”” – Acts 18:9-10

If I were Paul, I would just shrug this vision off and say “Ugh, beating is normal. But thank You!” or probably ask God, “Why just now?”. Why not spare Paul from the start? He’s been through too much – Why just now? I believe the answer to this is, for us to see how powerful the Holy Spirit works in Paul’s life – I don’t think a normal human could survive all that, but because he has the Holy Spirit within him and He has God, he can do all things. Instead of questioning God, Paul got bolder to preach the gospel and just followed God without hesitation.

But, that peace did not last long. After some time, there he was again on the same situation – being brought up to the tribunal and maybe be stoned, again. People were just attacking him, let’s just hope verbally, and maybe he was reminded of God’s promise, we don’t know – but we can clearly see Paul was ready to defend himself. What happens next is just amazing:

But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” And he drove them from the tribunal.” – Acts 18 14-16

Paul didn’t even have to utter any word, God intervened through Gallio. He was not harmed in any way. How faithful and true to His promises God is! Just wow!

From this, we can have three points to ponder on:

  1. God got us covered. There are battled in our lives where in we don’t even have to say something or do something, but just plain trust Him. And we have to accept that some battles are only fought by Him, and all we have to do is just let Him fight for us. It’s God telling us not to stress ourselves out, He got us covered. He will be the one to fight our battles, and we just have to focus on Him. And just as He promised, He will be with us and no one will be able to attack us.
  2. When God give promises, it might not be on our own timeline, but surely He will come through. God might be building up Paul’s faith through the challenges which produced his endurance. And the same is true with us, God wants to builds us up first – our character, our heart. And then when the perfect time comes, when we are ready, His promises will come forth in our very eyes. He is never late, maybe early at times – just trust in His timing.
  3. Lastly, obedience is the key to God’s promises unfolding. If Paul stopped and stayed silent because he’s tired and terrified and too hurt – he wouldn’t be able to see the promise come true. Our obedience is the key to all this, God is generous to give all that our hearts desire, especially if it’s according to His will, but we must be willing to follow where He leads.

And if we think, the story ends here – keep on reading Paul’s journey especially when he got back to Jerusalem, you’ll be amazed of how faithful God is. That what He promised is not just a one time thing, that even after, God’s mercy is still evident.

I pray we be the same – the same heart, same obedience,and same faith. That we open our hearts to God’s leading and let Him move us towards Him. To listen, obey, and have an expectant heart to see His promises unfold our very eyes. And let’s not do this just because we are promised, I pray we be inspired by His unending love.

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New Blog Series: #RelationshipGoals

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Transformed by Grace has turned one last August, and as you remember last year we had our first Blog Series named Project:Standard. I was actually reluctant this year, because I can’t think of any good series to follow up, until last night.

I was reading up on 1 Corinthians 11, about head coverings. It was contoversial actually, for if you read it as is and took it literally, would result to legalism. I asked God for help, to understand the scripture – until He revelaed to me something about submission – specifically wives’ submitting to their husbands (would be one of our topic for this blog series). And since I have read so much about marriage and love over the course of my devotion, I thought why not collate all of them on a notebook and perhaps really learn more about it – and then #RelationshipGoals was created.

I am not creating this solely for myself, actually I wanted to collate all this for my future kids – and now, I think God is telling me to share the journey with you.

It won’t all be all about romantic love – no, it to be all about love in general: a father’s love, a mother’s love, sibling’s love, friendship – relationships we have here on earth. Are you excited? Cause I surely am! I mean who wouldn’t? We’ll be learning love not only from the Author of Love, but Love Himself.

Join me in this journey, as we uncover #RelationshipGoals in light of God’s Truth. I pray we open our hearts to whatever God will reveal to us – whether be it have renewed and wise heart and mind towards relationships, or even a completely new outlook about love.

God’s Reminder

I can’t relax. It was not I who took the exam, but I felt the same way when I did while waiting for my brother’s exam results. Ever since Thursday, I was checking PRC’s site relentlessly – praying the result was released already. It just usually take them three days for it – but somehow, this exam was different.

9PM came, then 10PM – still none. My mother was more than anxious than I am – maybe that’s because she’s excited – because alas we are all professionals. 11PM came, still PRC can be accessed easily, meaning still no results. We decided to sleep, and hope that when we woke up, I’d be greeting my brother “Congratulations!”.

Never did I intend to woke up in the middle of the night – but my excitement seems to have kept me up. I checked whenever I got woke. Friday, 9AM – still no results and now asking what took them so long. My past time was refreshing PRC’s page. I knew then they would release it by 9PM or else it would be release on Monday.
Coincidentally, I am attending Single’s Night – I knew I won’t be able to check PRC’s page from time to time- however while I still got the chance, I still do.

Quarter to 9 – the last time I checked – still none and it was time to worship God. It almost felt like God is telling me, “My daughter, relax – I’ve got this. You’ll have what you’re waiting for. But while you are waiting, seek me first.”. I let go, and just praised Him.

After the praise and worship, I manage to got a hold of my phone – when I opened it, there it was – a message telling me my brother passed –  To God be the glory! I can’t contain the happiness, it was as if I too passed the exam. But more than that I was reminded that most of the times, what we want, especially if God also wants it for us, will surely come – but how we wait for it, anxiously or we immerse ourselves in prayer, praise and worship – affects us. And I believe God wants to remind us to focus on Him first, let go of these things and just worship Him. Because in the most unexpected time, place, and person as well – He will deliver the desires of our hearts.


“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭ESV

Congratulations to all the new Engineers! May God use you‬‬ for His purpose! To God be the glory! 

Pursuit of Relentless Faith

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
– 2 Timothy 4:7

Just last month I had the privilege of joining a Single’s Getaway – held in the chilly weather of Baguio City. I was really excited to join as this was my first ever camp in my *toot* years of existence (Haha!). I expected to meet new friends and of course to have a whole different encounter with God, especially during this Season of Preparation. True enough, my expectations were not just met, but highly met by God. I was able to know many people – got out of my introverted comfort zone, did some small (and big) conversations that paved way to establishing godly friendships and most especially deeper relationship with God.

We are very blessed to have Pastor Jansen Morados as our speaker and he preached about Relentless Faith. After the sessionsI’ve got this renewed sense of faith and saw it’s importance not only in this season, but all throughout the season God will place us in the future.

But first what does relentless mean? According to the dictionary relentless means  oppressively constant; incessant; persistent – in other words it does not stop, continuous, or never ending. And faith as we know “…is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). But how then are we going to pursue relentless faith?

1. Acknowledge that we are in the fight

First and foremost, we must know that we are in a fight. Though not physical, this fight is deemed to be the most important fight of our lives, for it is spiritual. Especially that we are now called as His sons and daughters, even called by our own name (Isaiah 43:1). We should be spiritually aware of the attacks that will cause us to divert from God and His will.

Acknowledging that we are in the fight also has the need to acknowledge that we cannot fight alone. We need other people (Proverbs 27:17) and most importantly we need God. Aside from that it is also important to know the end battle – we are already victorious. Isn’t that great? Nevertheless, that should not stop us from being in the fight, still.

2. Just keep going

I had a different outlook of this battle when Pastor Jansen revealed to us that 2 Timothy 4:7 does not implore us to win. Yup! Surprised? Me too, it said that we just have to be in the race and finish it. We don’t have to do any winning because this battle has already been decided. We are on the winning team – we have already won, with Jesus raising to life. And nothing will say otherwise.

Even so, the enemy would want to distract us of that truth by telling lies (John 10:10). Lies such as:

  • “You’re just a mere human, you’re weak.”,
  • “You need to prove yourself to God.”,
  • “You’re not part of the team.”

Or maybe implant doubts in our hearts by asking questions like:

  • “If He really loves you why is there a need to wait?”
  • “If He does love you, why is He not giving you what you wanted?”
  • “Do you really have to put your trust in Him? Maybe you can do that yourself.”

Fortunately for us, that’s just about it, a lie. So just keep going and choose wisely whom to listen. Because who we listen to sets the pace in this race.

Again, I cannot stress out the importance of this, the battle’s already won just be in the fight, just keep the faith.

3. Anchor your faith to our immovable God

The same God who parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21) is the same God that holds our future in His hands. He is unchanging. He is the only thing constant in this world – and with that, we can surely anchor our faith in Him. Just as a boat anchored on the sea, no matter how hard the waves hit – it will stay still, not because the boat is perfectly engineered to stay still, but because of where it is anchored to.

Aside from that, we can be assured of His love for us. A love so unconditional – that did not let us be eternally separated from Him. A love so pure, He even sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins (John 3:16). And yes! That’s how He is. And that’s how He will always be. That is our Father in heaven.

 

Oh the wonderful pursuit of relentless faith – it does not only strengthens us, but deepens our relationship with our Abba. It makes us discover His heart more intimately, like a love story blossoming to its happily ever after. The pursuit of relentless faith is continuously believing – holding on that no matter what the situation is at the moment or in the future, the things we hoped for will be true, in His perfect time.

 

All Things Made Anew

Losses are inevitable. As much as we want to hold on to these things, there will be a point in our lives wherein we have to let go – whether slowly or abruptly. Sadly, there is no other way around, as much as we want to find one. And in order for us to move forward, we must remove our grip off these things.

Losses are devastating. It leaves us in pain, insecure, and in constant search of we don’t know what.  When we lost something, we don’t only lose what was, what is but as well as what will be – uncertainties that will surely keep us awake at night. And most of the times, wanting to give up.

Losses are overwhelming. More than what we can handle. It is world-shattering, and mind-numbing. It leaves a hole not only in our hearts but also in our whole-being. It almost shuts us down, especially if we let it get into our skin. It breaks us, and nothing in this world seems to make it alright.

We fixate on these things. And that’s the normal human reaction, or else I guess the expression “you only appreciate something when it’s gone” won’t be famous. But have we stopped, reflected, and maybe considered that what happened was more than just a lost? That it is an avenue for the Creator – the Maker, Himself, to move in our lives? That it is an opportunity for Him to make all things new?

“Behold, I will do a new thing…” – Isaiah 43:19 (KJV)

If we let Him, He’ll be able to turn the most excruciating journey to the most wonderful and fruitful one. I admit, there are times it will be frustrating. But that frustration teaches us to depend on Him and cry out to Him. Know that it’s okay not to be okay – just pour it out on Him. It shows humility and we need God in our lives. We need God to be complete.

In our brokenness, God works and one day we’ll look back and be surprised by how much we’ve gone far because of Him. We will get to see and realize that it is necessary to be broken – for Him to mold us. God is more than able to cover up the rough patches of the past. We’ll eventually realize that everything was a necessary piece of the puzzle. We will certainly look back and it will not hurt anymore, instead we’ll smile and just be purely grateful for what He has done.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

I want us to remember that God is able to turn tables into our advantage. Let us have faith that He will make whole what was shattered and even give us something better, in His perfect time. Trust that the uncertainties are for our own sake. Instead of fixating on what was, focus on Him. Instead of thinking what if, focus on Him. Let God turn us into a masterpiece He wants us to be. Let us grow in His grace and love. And one day, for sure,  the things we gained from the pruning – learning, maturity, memories, and even frustrations – will far outweigh the loss, or we thought was a loss.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)

God is a God of new beginnings – He makes all things new. In Him there is a future full of hope. In Him there is love that will complete us. In Him there is joy that overflows. In Him there is peace that cannot be shaken. Just keep the faith.

 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8 (NIV)