Rebuilding Our Towers Upon the Rock

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Being a longtime user of secondhand computers has taught me two important lessons: 1) don’t depend too much on the computer (as if my entire life would come to a halt if it breaks down), and as much as possible, be always prepared to transfer my work on another unit; and 2) always have backups of my important files, both in USB drives and DVDs.

Furthermore, being a longtime Windows user has taught me another important lesson, and that is, to never build some important works that are fully dependent on the operating system itself (and other commercial applications). And that is because, some years down the road, the OS will inevitably and drastically change (and so do the applications built on it), and it will most likely leave my works obsolete. (Therefore, all my investments of money, time, energy, and creativity will be lost!) Mind you, I’m not a power user or a programmer, but this affects me as a regular user nonetheless. Just imagine the vast amount of computer programs ever written (and all that went into producing them) that have become unusable because the systems they were built for are now no more.

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These are the reasons why I love free and open-source software, esp. the various Linux distributions. (I have explored Linux a few times over the years and have plans to migrate.) I may know very little of programming — yet! — and therefore still unable to utilize its full power, but the degree of control over my computer that I’m given by Linux (even as a normal user) is already much greater than the control Windows would ever allow me. And this means a better preservation of my data, and a longer usefulness of my works. Imagine the possibilities: Some specialized distros such as Knoppix, Puppy, and AntiX make it possible to carry an entire OS in a flash drive, and totally independent on the computer hardware! And of course, full-fledged distros such as Debian and Arch are far more powerful. If I am able to migrate to Linux successfully, and if I am wise and careful, it is just possible that my works on the computer will last for a long, long time.

My friends, I’ve talked about my experience with computers because it is a small but clear picture of what we, as human beings, are all doing, whether we acknowledge it or not. And that is, we are all searching for that one solid foundation — a super-stable and super-dependable operating system, so to speak — on which to build our lives. Unfortunately, because technology is always changing, always advancing, there’s no such thing in computers. But for our lives? For our souls? For our future? For our works? Is there such a thing — a solid, unshakable, indestructible foundation? Yes, there is. The eternal Name of Jesus.

His name endures forever. His name continues as long as the sun. Men shall be blessed by him. All nations will call him blessed.

Psalm 72:17 WEB

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

This COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting chaos in the world, have truly showed many of us that the things that were supposed to protect us — the things that we thought we could depend on — are nothing but shifting sand underneath. Yes, that they aren’t the strong foundations we believed them to be. Not the economy. Not the government. Not the politicians. Not the business moguls. Not the companies we work for. Not our fellow men. And not even our religion. Yes, not even Christianity.

So many of us suffer from the losses. Our jobs. Our livelihood. Our homes. Our schooling. And, of course, our loved ones, who had died of the disease.

Yes, my friends. I’m generalizing. The situation is not as bad everywhere. And I admit that there are many well-intentioned people out there — heroes! — who are doing their best to help others in this difficult time. But still, they are limited in their power, and there are just too many things to do, and too many people in need of help.

Some will not appreciate me pointing this out at this time, but Jesus has this to say about investing our wealth on the things of this world:

JESUS: Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves don’t break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21 WEB

The pandemic is far from over, and yet, for those who can, it’s time to rebuild. And so let’s take this opportunity to reconsider our strategy. Especially for those of us who had suffered great material losses, perhaps it’s time to invest also on heavenly things, not just on earthly things. (Maybe by becoming one of my much-needed supporters?) Most important, perhaps it’s time to change the foundation of our lives for that thing that’s not a shifting sand, but an immovable bedrock. As Spurgeon passionately argues, it’s only the Name of Jesus that will last forever.

Note that I didn’t say Christianity, with all its warts and corruption. The religion may indeed endure, as Spurgeon believes, but that’s only because of Christ himself, who is its Head. I also didn’t say that you need to be a Christian, though a Christian you will be if you believe in him.

But what I’m saying is this: There is still someone out there who cares for us, someone we can absolutely depend on — God — Jesus Christ — and that we have an opportunity right here, right now, to rebuild our lives — our towers! — on his eternal Name.

Or, practically speaking, to rebuild our lives on his Word. The Bible.

JESUS: Everyone therefore who hears these words of mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell—and its fall was great.

Matthew 7:24-27 WEB

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

But I’m not here as a salesman, my friends. I’m not here to sell to you this idea of rebuilding your life on Jesus Christ. Rather, I am here to show you the truth of what it really means to be a follower of Jesus. And then, you decide for yourself, whether Jesus is worth your life or not.

What follows then are selections of verses from the Bible — passages that I will only barely explain, because I’m letting them speak for themselves.

First and foremost, there are indeed a lot of blessings that await us — even material blessings — if we obey and follow God.

It shall happen, because you listen to these ordinances and keep and do them, that Yahweh your God will keep with you the covenant and the loving kindness which he swore to your fathers. He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your livestock and the young of your flock, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you. You will be blessed above all peoples. There won’t be male or female barren among you, or among your livestock. Yahweh will take away from you all sickness; and he will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you know, on you, but will lay them on all those who hate you.

Deuteronomy 7:12-15 WEB

Blessed is everyone who fears Yahweh, who walks in his ways. For you will eat the labor of your hands. You will be happy, and it will be well with you. Your wife will be as a fruitful vine in the innermost parts of your house, your children like olive shoots around your table. Behold, this is how the man who fears Yahweh is blessed. May Yahweh bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.

Psalm 128 WEB

Blessed is a person who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 WEB

But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror; for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom and continues, not being a hearer who forgets but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:22-25 WEB

However, God has a much more important agenda for the believer than material prosperity, and that is his sanctification, or him becoming like Christ. You see, the Christian is called to holiness, and this lifelong process of becoming holy is a cooperative effort between him and the Holy Spirit.

Therefore prepare your minds for action. Be sober, and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ— as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior, because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:13-16 WEB, emphasis mine

So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12-13 WEB

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 WEB

Yes, far more important to God are the spiritual towers that the believer builds in his heart and soul — towers that are built through pains and sufferings. And yet, for the Christian, the sufferings he experiences are intimately associated with the blessings he receives.

And these spiritual towers, like a strong faith and a noble character, are the kind of works that lasts forever.

Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same thing to the prophets.

Luke 6:22-23 WEB

Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer on his behalf, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.

Philippians 1:29-30 WEB

However, I consider those things that were gain to me as a loss for Christ. Yes most certainly, and I count all things to be a loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ…

Philippians 3:7-8 WEB

Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward person is decaying, yet our inward person is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory, while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 WEB, emphasis mine

Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you. But because you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice, that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil doer, or a meddler in other men’s matters. But if one of you suffers for being a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter…. Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.

1 Peter 4:12-16,19 WEB

  • Song for worship: May this song, What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong, make us truly realize the blessings that we can have in Jesus’ eternal Name. Amen!
  • Image credit: Pexels.com

And now my questions to you, friend, are… Do you want to be saved? Do you want to know how YOU can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ? Do you want to be sure that you can spend eternity with him? Then please read this: God’s Plan of Salvation

Hey there. I need your help if I am to continue serving God (and you!) through writing and blogging. Your donation will go a long way to ensure that :-)
Support me:   Ko-fiPayPalLiberapay

For news about this ministry, for more of my writings, and for some resources you can study, especially audiobooks, please visit Swordsman Network.

Also available is my website Free Online Bibles — a simple, fast, and personal way to read the WEB, ASV, and KJV.


#bible, #blessing, #christian, #christianity, #church, #computers, #covid-19, #god, #holy-spirit, #jesus, #linux, #religion, #sanctification, #suffering

Too good to be true? Or just plain unbelief?

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We Christians often speak about how BIG our God is — how powerful, how awesome, and how mighty he is. And because he is that, we can dream about doing great things for him, and we are assured that no matter what kind of troubles we might find ourselves in, he is able to defeat our enemies for us. We proudly speak that with him, with our powerful God, nothing is impossible if we believe.

All of these are true, of course, with this one caveat that anything is possible with God only if it is according to his will. (Because God is not our personal genie.)  And yet… how many of us Christians truly live our lives in the light of this magnificence and almightiness of God? How many of us do attempt to accomplish seemingly impossible things? Not many I would say. Because here is the catch: For God to be powerful in your own life, you have got to have faith in him. In his perfect character. In his sovereignty. In his very nature as God. The faith to follow him in his difficult ways, and to obey his Word. The faith to risk everything in exchange for his blessings.

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The irony is, we boast so much of our God, and yet we expect so little from him. And we risk so little. We pray to him about our needs and desires, and yet we dare not ask too much lest we be disappointed if he said no. And we keep a tight grip on our comforts, fighting for the status quo — fearing change, suffering, hardships, and the slander of others — and yet we still have the audacity to call ourselves people of faith.

And the sad thing is, when God’s wonderful answer to our prayers does come — beyond anything we could have ever imagined, we say — we often doubt it, thinking it’s too good to be true (or not what it’s supposed to be at all). We doubt, we second-guess, we waver, so that in the end we forfeit the blessing — failing to give back what God demands in return. To believe it. And to do something about it.

Zacharias’s blunder is the prime example of these things I’m talking about, and it shows that being in the ministry, and even long years of service, are not guarantees that we will have the necessary faith when it matters the most.

Here was a matured man of God, and a priest no less, performing the sacred duties in the temple. Childless and already old, he had been praying for a child for years, and when God’s answer finally come, and in the most wondrous of ways — a message delivered by an angel! — and the promised child, what a great man he would become! — what did Zacharias do? He doubted it. He asked for signs, so he could believe.

Zacharias said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. Behold, you will be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things will happen, because you didn’t believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

Luke 1:18-20 WEB

Fortunately, God dealt graciously with Zacharias, and did not take back the blessing of the promised child. Still, he had to face the consequences of his unbelief.

Here is an important lesson to learn: Let’s not be conceited, my friends, just because we are an elder or a pastor in a church, or something. Faith in God has no direct correlation to our achievements or status.

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Is asking for signs from God wrong? No, not by itself. After all, God does give signs to guide us in his will, and the Christian is told to be discerning in all things, and to find the will of God in his life. And so, when does asking for signs become wrong? When does it become a sin? It is when our faith in these signs replaces our faith in God. That is, it is when these signs become our idol.

Remember what Jesus called the people who were asking for signs from him when he was already among them, the Son of God made flesh, and performing miracles after miracles? An evil and adulterous generation.

As I see it, the root cause of all these “signs problems” is that, as human beings, we tend to believe more in the things we can see with our own eyes and have physical evidences for, than in things we cannot see and only have faith in — in this case, the nature and character of God.

When Zacharias asked for signs from the angel, how did the angel respond? By giving his credentials. “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news” (v.19). In other words, Gabriel was saying to Zacharias that he should have believed him by virtue of who and what he is. The personal messenger of God Almighty.

In the same way, when we receive word from God — a command, an answered prayer, an encouragement, a piece of wisdom — we should believe it by virtue of who and what God is, and not because of any outward confirming signs. Appearances, after all, are sometimes deceiving, and God sees much more of people and of circumstances than we ever could.

And how do we know that the word we got really comes from God? Well, angels are a rare sight, but we do have God’s Word and godly people to guide us in our way. We also have our prayers, where we not only speak but also listen. There are no formulas, no set procedures, only guidelines (and woe to those who try to confine God and how he works on a set of rules!), but there comes a time when we do have to make a choice: to believe and to act, or to doubt and to keep on asking for signs.

To believe by virtue of God’s character and nature alone. This is the highest pinnacle of faith. Of course, new believers who are still getting to know God personally are not expected to display this kind of faith. And that is because they simply don’t have yet that foundational knowledge of God. Matured Christians, however, especially those who are in the ministry, and especially those who are deeply intimate with their Lord, are expected to act better. Much, much better. In fact, they are expected to glorify God by their steadfast, conquering, and amazing faith. For there is just no excuse to believe more in outward appearances than in what God says, when you already know personally how good, how faithful, and how mighty he is.

Now, on a personal note:

I’ve always wanted to write for God, and for many years I’ve waited and prepared for that. When God finally gave me his answer — calling me to full-time ministry and work for him as a blogger — I was overjoyed. Thus, my blogging ministry, Swordsman of the Word, was born. It was and will always be my dream job. To serve God and to work for my livelihood doing what I do and love best.

Unlike Zacharias, and despite the unlikeliness of that calling — because I didn’t have the resources, nor the contacts, nor the training and the experience — I didn’t doubt God. I believed, I acted, and I fought for it.

Yes, I didn’t doubt. Not God. And not the works I was called to do. The problem was, the people around me did. And still do.



And now my questions to you, friend, are… Do you want to be saved? Do you want to know how YOU can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ? Do you want to be sure that you can spend eternity with him? Then please read this: God’s Plan of Salvation

Hey there. I need your help if I am to continue serving God (and you!) through writing and blogging. Your donation will go a long way to ensure that :-)
Support me:   Ko-fiPayPalLiberapay

For news about this ministry, for more of my writings, and for some resources you can study, especially audiobooks, please visit Swordsman Network.

Also available is my website Free Online Bibles — a simple, fast, and personal way to read the WEB, ASV, and KJV.


#bible, #blessing, #blogging, #christian, #christianity, #doubt, #faith, #fear, #god, #hypocrisy, #idolatry, #jesus, #ministry, #religion

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