Control your Self

Thoughts on Titus 2

Great follow-up to the last post. While the world is doing its thing (deceiving and hating), what are Christians called to do? What does it mean to show love?

For the leader, it means to teach sound doctrine. It means to be proactive in teaching, shining a light to deceit and hatred. 

But you cannot teach what you do not know. So it also means to be proactive in knowing sound doctrine – devoting yourself in God’s Word, letting the Holy Spirit work in you and through the Church. This is love in action.

Paul then lists some more examples for Older men, Older women, Younger men and Younger women. But the common characteristic for all four? Self-control. 

To love is to get yourself in check. We must guard our mind, our heart, our tongue, our hands and feet. Many times we already know what we should and should not do, but the self says, “No, I want it my way.” Other times, there’s not even a struggle, the self just goes and does what it wants. Control your self, even though it’s difficult. This is also love in action.

But Why? Why go through the trouble? Good thing Paul reminds us:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,”

‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This is also the How. Grace through the sacrifice of Jesus has brought salvation to me and you. And it is also by grace that we are able to “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

Justice and Healing

Thoughts on Hosea 7

It’s been 25 weeks since my last post. Although I tried to restart a few times, none of them got out of Draft. I hope this sticks.

And God’s Word is timely, as it often is. Politics has been crazy in the Philippines, consuming the everyday lives of Christian and Non-christian alike. I do believe the Church will survive this, because God’s love will prevail, but the dividing issues and differing opinions have caused hurt and will leave many scars.

There is evil. There has been and will be evil people doing evil things. For the life of me I could never understand why. But there it is.

One side cries out for Justice. Another side calls for Healing. Both are valid, why can’t we have both?

“When I would heal Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed, and the evil deeds of Samaria; for they deal falsely; the thief breaks in, and the bandits raid outside. But they do not consider that I remember all their evil. Now their deeds surround them; they are before my face.”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭7:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

True Justice and Healing can only come from God. 

What then, do I think we should do? We should trust in God’s Justice and we should love as Jesus loves. God sees all things and, as the rest of the chapter goes, will deal with evil people accordingly. We should remember this.

Should we then just ignore oppression? No. We should call it out. But keeping our eyes on Jesus as we do. 

There’s still more to be done for God and for His Kingdom and we may be distracted by things that are way beyond our spheres of control and influence. I think we should focus on people, especially those who God has brought to us to lead and to love.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.””

‭‭John‬ ‭13:35‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Let’s start and persevere with this. Justice and Healing – from God – will follow.

Story of my (Christian) life

“And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 

He said, “Come.” 

So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:28-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Let us return to the Lord

Thoughts on Hosea 6

““Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:1‬ ‭ESV

Thank you, Father. Your discipline is proof of your love. If you didn’t care, we would just fall deep in our sin. You are more than able to heal us. As we return back to you. That we might live for you.

“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.””
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Our failure is because of lack of knowing, and the lack of persevering in knowing. Our love, “is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away” (v.4b). How easily distracted, how easily swayed and tempted. How lost we would be if not for your faithfulness.

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

How do we return back to God? It is through the repentance of our heart and mind that leads to action. Our whole being surrendered, again, then moment by moment.

What is true repentance

Thoughts on Hosea 5

What is true repentance?

“With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them.”
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The previous verses gives clues. “Their deeds do not permit them”, “The spirit of whoredom”, “The pride of Israel”..

There have been times when I try to return to the Lord, but I know in my heart that I was doing so half-heartedly. My actions do not show repentance. My heart is divided, distracted. I assume everything is alright.

Surely enough, I would fail in finding God. And the consequences of my sin – my not being under God’s good and perfect will – takes its toll on me and on the people I love.

“Blow the horn”, “Sound the alarm”, Hosea says. Trouble has come – as it comes to every man – and neither my strength, nor the strength of other people, nor the objects of my distraction, are able to save me.

“I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.”
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When my son does something wrong, I find myself acting the same way. The truth is, in my heart I would pardon the wrong almost immediately after it was done. But, for his sake, I would need him to acknowledge the wrong, to humble himself and come to me.

This part almost always takes so much longer than it needs to be. Just as it is for me when I know I have wronged God.

Let go of your pride, humble yourself. And don’t let guilt and embarrassment hinder you from returning to God. He is ready to welcome you with open arms. Go to God agad.