Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daily Ponderings: Psalm 2

Where is your Allegiance
Recommended reading: Psalm 2
The second chapter of the book of psalms foretells of the coming of the Messiah.  It talks about the wretched behavior of nations towards God (v.1-5), the sovereignty of God and coming of His anointed one to come and rule the earth (v.4-9), and warning to the kings of the earth (v.10-12).   Although we are not kings nor rulers of the earth all of us are part of the nations that they lead and we, whether intentional of not, influence those who are watching us.

Sometimes the word of God is very straight forward and very pointed.  These verses speak of how insignificant we are in relation to God and his power.  Yet He loves us and through His Words he speaks to us, his creation, in order to allow us a chance to choose to follow Him.  Mankind was created and modeled after perfection - God himself (Genesis 1:27).  He provided us with all the potential to become citizens of His kingdom to enjoy His abundant love and blessings.  Man was made in God's image but God left him to master his own heart.  He had to be the one to direct his own heart. 

In January 1991, I came to the USA on a fiancĂ© visa.  Tim and I got married and after a couple of years I got my Green Card, which legalized my permanent residence in this country.   For a while that was enough for me.  However, having a green card does not qualify me to all the rights and privileges of a citizen.  For example: I need a visa whenever we go to another country; and I am not allowed to vote even if I have very strong opinions about matters that are being decided upon on elections.  These restrictions prompted me to try to get my US citizenship; filled out all necessary forms; made sure I had all the required documents; and studied the book called "Citizenship for Dummies" for the test.  Then I was ready, or I thought I was.  In the very back of the book is a sample of the oath for the final step to becoming a citizen.   The words to the oath shocked me.  To pledge my allegiance to the USA is no problem for me.  I love the USA!  However that is not enough - I must also denounce my loyalty to the Philippines.  "This is like a divorce!", I said.  "Let me think about it." 

God wants to have complete allegiance from His people.  He is a jealous God and shares His throne in your heart with no one.  He will bless those who take refuge in Him with inheritance that's beyond what we can imagine.  While those who are against Him will be simply crushed and destroyed because they did not present a "masterpiece heart" that pleased Him.   If you are still relying on something less than God for a good life and inheritance then your loyalty does not reside in Him.  "Kiss the Son lest he be angry...Blessed are all who take refuge in him." (Psalm 2:12)

One of these days, I will use my wise judgment to go raise my right hand and pledge to be loyal to this country at all costs.  :)

Dear Father, most holy and loving God, you are my refuge, my provider, and my deliverer.  I heard your voice when you called me.  Thank you.  Here I am bowed down at your feet ready to serve you. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Revelation (Part 1)

God gave us the scriptures so that we would understand his character, his love and his plans so that we would know how to live accordingly.   The Old Testament is a compilation of stories, poetry and songs about God and His people.  We like to read them because their lives back then are often detached from our current lives that we look at their it as a "then"  Sometimes we are reluctant to study the Book of Revelation because of a preconceived idea that it is hard to understand.  We convince ourselves that it is full of symbolisms and deep secrets that only theology scholars could successfully interpret and understand.  However, symbols and parables are used throughout the bible - when God had a message for his people He used scenarios that make sense to us.  When God unveils a truth He intends it to prompt a reaction from those who hears it.  God did not give us an impossible puzzle in the book that was intended to enlighten the churches on "what must soon take place".

The Women's Ministry at Cornerstone is currently offering a bible study on Revelation.  As a by-product of my personal devotion and beyond what Beth Moore explains ("Here and Now...There and Then"), I will write a commentary on the book of Revelation.   Since the book shows a detailed and complete picture of what's to come, I will in particular focus on the things that would affect the way I view God and thus the way I live now.  To the churches to whom this message was revealed and to us who are now reading this book, the information contained in this revelation provide compelling reasons to re-evaluate life for a change.   These are not meant to be added in our data bank for us to pull out when ever we want to.  No.  In fact it was meant to be revealed to us for the purpose of heightening our knowledge of Jesus Christ - which would in turn serve as a basis of the choices we make in this life.  In an era where people treat the future as something "man-made", it is time to realize that the future has two destinations.  One is a road to eternal life with God and the other is a dead end where there is eternal judgment.  One is a reward and the other a punishment; one is glorious life the other is unimaginable torment.  We will be sorted according to the way we responded to the One True King.   

Revelation 1:1-9

"Blessed is the one who reads, hears and take to heart..." (Rev. 1:3).  There are three verbs that are mentioned in the third verse of the first chapter as actions that qualify someone to be considered blessed.  Reading, hearing and taking to heart the words of the book do not bring magical or mystical blessedness.  But it is the choice we make as a result of the knowledge revealed to us that makes us blessed or not.  All these were given to us so that we would know the truth and thus live by it.  Everything was revealed to us because God Himself wanted us to change. 

To the seven churches...   The church is the collective term that refers to the body of believers in Jesus Christ. This revelation was made for the church - those who already considered themselves followers of Christ.  It is not for those who are uninformed; nor is it for those who refuse to believe Him.  It is for them who got the idea.  If you believe in Jesus Christ then this message is intended for your eyes, ears, and heart.
About Jesus Christ - Jesus Christ is revealed.   The churches are now up for a new revelation.  They have known him as the Messiah since John the Baptist.  Some of these people to whom the revelation was made known saw Jesus live, teach, die and resurrected. At the writing of the Revelation it's been many years since they saw Jesus ascend into heaven.  Their hopes are beginning to weaken, faiths are being contaminated with the traditions of the world, and the pressures of life are pushing Christians to compromise their spiritual integrity.  The book of Revelation reveals Jesus Christ once more but in a way that they have not seen nor imagined before.  Through John they get a glimpse of events that will happen in the future when the Jesus Christ takes tramples those who did not believe in Him and rewards those who will be on His side.

The Alpha and Omega - who is, who was and who is to come (Rev 1:8) - The same Jesus who in the beginning was the Word (John 1:1), is the same Jesus who came and live among us and crucified, is the same Jesus who is revealed in the pages of the book will come back and reign as the King of all kings.  We have no way of escaping Him!  Be warned therefore lest we will be caught by surprise.