God Redeems, God Rewards

Reward for obeying God

The real God introduced in the Bible is a God who sees even the things that are yet to come. Because of that capability, He is able to prepare measures that can remedy or thwart the evil that is to come unto man.

Let me give you an illustration to prove my point. An engineer who has invented a machine or an engine has full knowledge of the potential, capacity, and limitations of his invention as he was the one who designed and put all of its parts together. As its maker, he also knows the proper way of using and taking care of it, hence, he prepares a manual of instructions that aims to educate its would-be users for them to get the best that the machine can offer. That is, by following the dos and don’ts enumerated therein.

It is apparent that even before the engineer came up with his finished product, being a person with foresight, he has figured out the problems that might arise as the machine grows old — and if its user becomes reckless and disobedient to his given instructions. And should the engine fail or malfunction, the manual of instructions also provides simple troubleshooting tips and a list of reputable and trusted service centers that could fix the problem.

God is also an engineer but He is no ordinary engineer because He is the One who makes engineers. Being man’s Creator, His wisdom, ingenuity, craftsmanship, and foresight are beyond compare — they are unparalleled. And His love for man, His masterpiece, is beyond question. One proof of that is before God created man, He first made sure that man would have a conducive dwelling place wherein all of his needs are already available and accessible. And that is the earth. 

God intended the earth to be man’s habitation. As it is written in ACTS 17:26, (KJV),

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

God knows His creation inside out, from the most prominent details to the microscopic ones. He knows man’s every aspect — his strengths and weaknesses, his tendencies and limitations, and even the possible course of action that he might take given a certain circumstance or situation.

But unlike a man-made engine whose function depends largely on human intervention, the man that God created enjoys a certain degree of freedom. He can do things out of his own volition because aside from equipping him with faculties, God also gave him free will.

However, his freedom is not really absolute because there are also certain dos and don’ts that God laid before him; God also gave him a set of laws that he needs to follow and a list of warnings and precautions that he needs to take heed of. And all these are written in His “manual of instructions” — the Bible. Concurrent with his freedom is the awareness that if he disobeys, there are corresponding consequences, the same way that there are rewards if he opts to obey. But just the same, the decision to obey or disobey is his prerogative because he has free will.

God had foreseen the possibility that man might misuse and abuse his free will. We have to remember that one of the attributes of God is that He has the power to see things before they happen. Actually, as for the story of humanity, He knows it from its beginning up to the end, although the end is yet to come.

As it is written in ISAIAH 46:9-10 (KJV),

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

In these verses, God introduced Himself, His power, and His capability, as incomparable. Like what He said, there is none like Him. Nobody can be equally like Him in power, not even His Son. For one, only God can declare the end from the beginning.

God knows what is going to happen in the future. God had foreseen the possibility that man might not use his free will prudently, that he would disregard His precautions and warnings, disobey His dos and don’ts, and consequently, fall into sin. But unlike the ordinary engineer whose care and concern for his creation is limited only to preparing a manual of instructions and recommending service centers, God’s love and compassion for man is beyond measure. In fact, even before man was created, it was not only his place of habitation that God prepared but also the sacrifice that is more than sufficient to redeem him when he falls to sinfulness. And that is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

This biblical truth inevitably leads one to ask this question: “Does it mean that the Lord Jesus Christ had been preordained to manifest Himself in the flesh from the beginning in order to redeem man from sins?”

The answer to this question is given in REVELATION 5:9 (KJV), which says,

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

The pronouns “thou” and “thy” in the verse refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was slain, and by His blood, He redeemed every kindred and tongue, every people and nation.

When was He slain?

REVELATION 13:8 (KJV)

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 

The Lamb, which symbolizes the Lord Jesus Christ, “was slain from the foundation of the earth.” The statement “from the foundation of the earth” refers to the time when God was still creating the earth, meaning, man still doesn’t exist yet during that time. But as early as then, God had already foreseen the need for a Redeemer because He had seen the possibility that man would later on fall into transgression. That Redeemer is the Lamb, representing the Lord Jesus Christ, who had been destined to be slain from the foundation of the earth.

Aside from having the capacity to declare the end from the beginning, God also said in Isaiah 46:10, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” This is a very significant pronouncement of God because that “pleasure” is the theme of our existence. It is the reason why we exist — to give pleasure unto our Creator.

REVELATION 4:11 (KJV)

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. 

All things that exist were created for the pleasure of our Creator. And we know that His pleasure has no evil in it.

Whenever cabinet secretaries are being challenged to resign from their posts by the citizens who are dissatisfied with their performance, but they do not want to resign, we often hear them say that they serve at the pleasure of the President. Meaning, only the President can remove them from office as he was the one who put them there. But unlike the pleasure of a President which can be wrong, the pleasure of the Almighty God can never be wrong. We will always be safe if we exist for the pleasure of our Creator.

As God’s creations, the best that we can do is to show Him our gratefulness for our existence and for the Lamb that He prepared, which was slain from the foundation of the earth. Because through His blood, we were saved from sins. Again, the Lamb symbolizes the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

But God’s graciousness does not end there. He has also prepared a reward for those who will continue to live their lives for His pleasure and for those who will faithfully abide by His dos and don’ts written in His “manual of instructions,” the Bible. And His reward is also without measure — a life everlasting.  May we all be found deserving of His promised reward. Amen. 

From Reviler to Believer: The Enlightenment of the Thief on the Cross

Penitent Thief Crucified with Jesus

Whenever ordinary readers of the Bible come across Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32, and Luke 23:39-40, they sometimes get confused as to how the thieves that were crucified together with the Lord Jesus Christ actually treated Him while they were hanging on the cross. Their confusion stems from what seemed to be a contradiction between the accounts of Matthew and Mark, and the account of Luke. 

MATTHEW 27:44 (KJV)

The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

MARK 15:32 (KJV)

Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

In the verses above, Matthew and Mark both said that the two thieves both mocked and reviled Christ while they were on the cross. On the other hand, Luke mentioned that one of the thieves rebuked his fellow thief for deriding the Lord Jesus Christ.

LUKE 23:39-40 (KJV) says,

39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Actually, there is nothing to be confused about; more so, there is no contradiction at all in their respective accounts. All of their accounts are correct and true.

Apparently, confusion arises because some readers fail to consider the time element involved in the entire scenario. They have overlooked the fact that the two thieves and the Lord Jesus Christ were hanging on the cross, not just for a couple of minutes, but for about six to eight hours. And given that span of time, many things had happened which have opened the heart of one of the thieves, which made him change his attitude towards the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is true that both of them reviled the Lord Jesus Christ and hurled insulting words at Him, but that happened during the early hours of their crucifixion.

As the hours passed, after witnessing a number of things that had happened, one of them had a change of heart; he became compassionate toward Christ and eventually realized that Christ did not deserve to be in that situation — unlike the both of them who justly deserved a capital punishment for their felony.

One of the instances that could have reversed the thief’s impression of the Lord Jesus Christ was when he saw how caring and loving a son Christ was to Mary. The thief heard how Christ entrusted His mother, Mary, to the care of His beloved apostle, John. Even if Christ was in that very difficult situation, He was still thinking about the welfare of His mother, and He made sure that somebody would look after her when He was gone.

JOHN 19:26-27 (KJV)

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

The Lord Jesus Christ could see the hearts of men, and He saw how kind-hearted John was. That was why Christ entrusted Mary, His mother, unto him. That very day, John brought Mary into his own home where she was treated like a member of his household.

The thief also saw how Christ endured all of the insults and mockery of the people around them. Aside from that, he also witnessed how the Lord Jesus Christ remained meek despite the unkind treatment given to Him by the soldiers when He thirsted — instead of water, He was given vinegar.

JOHN 19:28-30 (KJV)

28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

The thief also heard Christ pray to the Father to forgive those who did Him wrong because they knew not what they do (Luke 23:34) — a prayer which can only be uttered by somebody whose heart overflows with love, mercy, and magnanimity.

The other incident that happened that struck the thief’s attention was when the sun darkened during their final hours.

MARK 15:33 (KJV)

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Darkness enveloped the whole land from the sixth hour, or twelve o’clock noon, up to the ninth hour, or three o’clock in the afternoon. 

Bear in mind that these things did not happen in a matter of minutes. They happened with intervals, within the span of six to eight hours. This implies that the change in the attitude of one of the thieves toward the Lord Jesus Christ did not happen at a snap of a finger; the change was prompted by the things that he saw and heard. After witnessing those things, the thief who earlier reviled and mocked the Lord Jesus Christ experienced a conversion — from being a reviler, he became a believer that Christ is truly the Son of God.

LUKE 23:34-43 (KJV) says,

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 
37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 
38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews. 
39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 
40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Inevitably, the thief developed a feeling of remorse and repentance for what he had said and done earlier that day, as faith already sprung in his heart. That was why when his fellow thief was still talking to Christ with sarcasm and disrespect, he reprimanded him. Until it reached the point when he implored the Lord Jesus Christ: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

We can say that that thief was very fortunate because before he died, he was able to acknowledge Christ. And most especially, he had been assured that he will merit the bliss of paradise when the Lord Jesus Christ replied to him, “shalt thou be with me in paradise.” 

So, very clearly, there are no contradicting ideas in the accounts given by the writers of the Gospel. The readers just have to realize that there are six or eight hours in the series of events that had transpired. And given those six or eight hours, many wondrous things could have happened. There is no denying that in the beginning, both of them railed the Lord Jesus Christ but, later on, one of them was moved by the things he had witnessed. He was enlightened. And this enlightenment led him to believing in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Developing faith in God and in Christ and entreating the Lord Jesus Christ to remember him when Christ goes to His kingdom were definitely the best things that this thief had done in his lifetime. Because of these, he became an heir of heaven. It is just unfortunate that the other thief did not experience the enlightenment and realization that he experienced. 

To end, let me just emphasize that there are no contradictions in the inspired Scriptures. If there are verses that seem to contradict each other, the reader just has to consider the background story and the surrounding circumstances of the given situation. And to avoid confusion and misinterpretation, it is best to invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit first when reading the Bible. 

May God bless us all!

The Purpose and Meaning of Life

Purpose and meaning of life taught by honeybees

All creatures exist for a definite purpose, and it is in the fulfillment of such purpose that their lives become meaningful. 

If you are a keen observer of the different creatures around you, you would come to understand that each of them is aware of the very purpose of their existence, and that they are ready to carry out their purpose, no matter what it takes.  

Take the case of honeybees. A male honeybee, or a drone, knows that his purpose or duty is to mate with and impregnate the queen honeybee. And since he understands what his duty is, he performs it despite his knowledge that, in doing so, he would lose his life because after mating with the queen, he is destined to die. Hence, they call it sexual suicide.  

Below is an excerpt of an article entitled, “Sexual Suicide by Honey Bees: The tragic Plight of the Male Honey Bee.”

Sexual Suicide by Honey Bees: The Tragic Plight of the Male Honey Bee:

“The Male honeybee, called a drone, exists for one reason only—to mate with the queen. He is entirely expendable once he provides this service to the colony..."

The drone takes his mission seriously, however, and will give his life for the cause. Honey bee mating is one of the most dramatic examples of sexual suicide in the insect world. Honey bee sex occurs in mid-air when the queen flies out in search of mates. Drones compete for the chance to mate with their queen, swarming around her as she flies.

Eventually, a brave drone will make his move. As he grasps the queen, the drone everts his penis using a contraction of his abdominal muscles and hemostatic pressure and inserts it tightly into the queen's reproductive tract. He immediately ejaculates with such explosive force that the tip of his penis ruptures, and is left behind inside the queen. The drone falls to the ground, where he dies soon after…”
 

From this, we see how the male honeybee is taking his mission very seriously, even if it would cost him his own life.


It can be said that the life of the drone becomes meaningful because he is able to fulfill the purpose of his existence and becomes an instrument in the proliferation, or birth, of more honeybees. If the male honeybee, or the drone, takes his duty for granted, the bees of their kind would probably have already become endangered, or they could have undergone extinction. But because of their sexual encounters, the queen lays lots of honeybee eggs, which later on will be hatched and become young honeybees. 

It is not only the male honeybee, or the drone, that has a specific duty to perform. Actually, each member of the honeybee colony has a duty to fulfill. The queen, for example, is in charge of protecting the entire honeybee colony; it is her responsibility to defend their colony from intruders. And since she assumes a very huge responsibility, she is not required to go out to look for her food. That duty belongs to the worker bees. 

The worker bees are the ones who go out, hovering from one blossom to another to gather nectar for the queen. The worker bees collect nectar from flowers by sucking, and then, bringing it to the hive so that the queen will be assured of a steady supply of food. As the nectar is passed on through their mouths, it gradually turns into honey, which the worker bees store in honeycomb cells. As the queen honeybee cannot consume all of the honey that has been stored for her, the excess is consumed by humans.  

Honey, the honeycomb especially, does not only taste sweet, but it is also very beneficial to man’s health. In fact, eating honey is recommended by the Bible.  

PROVERBS 24:13 (KJV) says,

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

We can always count on every pronouncement of God written in the Bible. Honey, indeed, is good; actually, it is considered as a complete food for it contains all of the essential minerals and vitamins that the human body needs. Its completeness can be likened to milk which is also considered as complete food for babies. 

It must be remembered that when God delivered the Israelites from the land of Egypt, He promised to bring them to a land flowing with milk and honey. 

EXODUS 3:8 (KJV)

And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey;...

That means the people of God would not lack nourishment in that land; both the young and the old would have a supply of complete food — milk for babes and honey for grown-ups. However, honey should not be given to infants or to children below one-year of age, as it could be detrimental to their lives. So, instead of honey, they should be given milk. Actually, even grown-ups are also advised to take just the right quantity of honey. 

According to the Bible, man should only eat a sufficient amount of honey, not excessively. 

PROVERBS 25:16 (KJV)

Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

If you ingest more than the sufficient amount of honey, your glycemic level will rise and this might induce vomiting. 

The point that I want to emphasize is this. If honeybees have not been faithful in fulfilling the purpose of their existence, that is, if the male honeybee refuses to risk his life in mating with the queen honeybee, if the worker bees, likewise, do not gather and store nectar for the queen, and if the queen fails to lay and hatch eggs which become young honeybees, surely, not only will their colony perish but, most especially, humans won’t get the chance to benefit from the health and curative properties of honey. Apparently, although honey is originally meant for their queen’s consumption, humans benefit from it, too. In other words, men have become the end beneficiaries of the bees’ diligent performance of their respective duties. 

Actually, even if we speak of other creations such as trees, cattle, fishes, hogs, and chickens, you will realize that the end beneficiaries of their existence are also men. They exist for the purpose of sustaining men of their need for nourishment; and their existence becomes meaningful because they are able to fulfill that purpose. 

Now, if non-human creatures exist for a definite and noble purpose, the same thing must be true with humans. Man also exists for a specific purpose, or duty, which he also ought to fulfill. And that duty is to serve God. Man must not spend his life aimlessly and uselessly; instead, he must spend it in honoring God and in keeping His commandments because that is his whole duty. 

As it is written in ECCLESIASTES 12:13 (KJV), 

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Man’s whole duty is to serve God, the Creator of life. We owe Him our lives and our beings.

ACTS 17:28 (KJV) says,

For in him we live, and move, and have our being;...

So, it is but rightful that our lives be spent in serving our Creator — for without Him, we could not have existed here on earth.

Sadly, the people then did not realize it, so they killed Him — the Son of God and Author of life.

ACTS 3:15 (RSV)

and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

Instead of showing love and gratitude to the Lord Jesus Christ and instead of serving Him, they even killed Him.

Indeed, it will be very unfortunate if we fail to understand the purpose of our existence, and if we won’t be able to discover the meaning of our lives, lest, we might just end up as loafers and idlers, or hedonists perhaps.

To understand the meaning of life is to know first the purpose of our existence as well as the duties that we have to fulfill. And it is in fulfilling our duties and in serving our purpose that our lives become meaningful.

As humans, our purpose and our whole duty is to serve God. That duty is what gives meaning to our lives — without it, our lives become purposeless and meaningless. So, if we want our lives to be purposeful and meaningful, we have to spend it in serving God. And serving God means honoring Him and keeping His commandments.

May God bless you!

The Sweetest Voices Ever


 
Voices from above


One of the fundamental doctrines that the Bible teaches God’s servants is to sing hymns of praises to Him. The practice of singing hymns to God dates back to the time of the Israelites, the early servants of God. And according to biblical accounts, they even used certain musical instruments, like psaltery, harp, and ten-stringed instruments to accompany them in singing. 


PSALM 92:1,3 (KJV)

1 It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: 3 Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.

Christians are likewise admonished to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. These songs are also a means of edifying, uplifting, and inspiring the brethren.

COLOSSIANS 3:16 (KJV)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

And each time that we sing to God, we have to do it with grace in our hearts. Men, in general, are inherent lovers of music. Proof to this is the huge number of songs that are being written and sung practically for everyone and everything else.

For instance, there are songs meant for one’s country wherein patriotism, love, and loyalty to one’s motherland are expressed. In fact, every nation has its own national anthem which its citizens, young and old, sing before important ceremonies or proceedings begin. There are also songs dedicated to our beloved parents for their unconditional love and sacrifices. Catholics, on the other hand, have lots of songs meant to exalt Mary. There are songs expressive of astonishment and amazement at the beauty of nature and the universe. And there are also millions of songs that people sing for their friends and loved ones.

If we sing songs for all of them, with feelings and enthusiasm, isn’t it all the more fitting that we sing hymns to our Creator to express our faith, gratitude, praises, and appreciation for His lovingkindness? It doesn’t matter if we do not have very pleasing singing voices, or if we sing out of tune; what matters is that we are singing to God with sincerity and grace in our hearts.

We can be sure that even Christ and the apostles also sang hymns to God. The Bible does not give us any confirmation that the apostles had nice singing voices, but I truly believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has a sweet and fascinating voice — sweeter and more fascinating than any other voice man has ever heard.

Aside from being sweet-sounding, the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ carries with it a certain irresistible charm and authority that is recognized and obeyed by His flock of sheep.

JOHN 10:3-5 (KJV)

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

The sheep recognize, listen, and heed the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ — a manifestation that they are acknowledging Him as their Shepherd.

There is a video of a scientific test that proves the familiarity and obedience of literal sheep to the voice of their shepherd, and that they would not obey the voice of a stranger but only the voice of their real shepherd.


Three people attempted to call on the sheep grazing in the meadow. Although the men were at a hearing distance, not one sheep was alarmed by the call; not one of them manifested any sign of recognizing the men’s voices and there was not even the slightest bodily response from any of them. But when their real shepherd called them, they immediately responded to his call; they obeyed him because they knew his voice.

The “voice” of Christ being mentioned in JOHN 10:3-5 does not actually refer to the actual audible voice; the voice symbolizes His teachings and commandments.

The obedience of the literal sheep to the voice of their literal shepherd can be likened to the obedience of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ to His voice or to His teachings. In other words, the real followers of Christ or the real Christians, do not just listen to His voice or to His teachings and commandments — they also follow them. And they would not follow any other teachings except Christ’s.

I came from a family of devout Catholics. My mother used to walk on her knees from the entrance of the Baclaran church all the way to the altar. My father and my grandparents, who hailed from Naguilian, La Union, were also devout Catholics.

All her life as a Catholic, my mother had been accustomed to priests reading a couple of verses during masses without giving any explanation to the verses that were read, and then proceeding with their storytelling. But when my mother heard the voice of Christ, that is, when she heard His teachings which she has never heard from the priests of the Catholic Church, she immediately responded to the voice of Christ. She departed from the Catholic Church and got herself baptized in the Church of God, where she continued fulfilling what Christ’s voice says. It only proves that if one person is among Christ’s flock of sheep, he or she will surely recognize His voice, and without hesitation, that person will follow Him.

I am certain that the voice of Christ is both sweet-sounding and captivating — this was why my mother’s interest was readily captured; she was not able to resist it.

On the other hand, I have no idea if the apostles possessed sweet-sounding voices, too. But what I am sure of is that they sang hymns and songs of praises to God, too.

MATTHEW 26:29-30 (KJV) says,

29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. 
30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

This is one instance when Christ and the apostles sang a hymn, after which, they went to the Mount of Olives. This was the night the Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas Iscariot.

Although we did not hear Christ’s audible voice personally, I firmly believe that the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most beautiful voice the world could ever hear. And the beauty of Christ’s voice can only be exceeded by the grandeur and magnificence of the Father’s voice. Peter, James, and John were able to hear the voice of the Father; and it was also heard by John the Baptist when he baptized the Lord Jesus Christ at the Jordan River, where He said, “...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17, KJV)

One truth that nobody can contest is that the voices of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the sweetest, the most sublime, the most endearing, and the most captivating voices one could ever hear. And such qualities are clearly reflected in Their teachings. Amen.

Is the Holy Spirit Merely an Active Force? The Bible Says Otherwise


Divinity of the Holy Spirit

While most people have a clear understanding about the divinity of the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, many are still uncertain if the Holy Spirit possesses the same attribute, and whether the Holy Spirit should also be worshipped and revered the way we worship and revere the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Actually, even religious leaders vary in their regard of the Holy Spirit. There are groups who say that the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, while there are also those who believe that it is just an active force.

But before we make any conclusions as to whether the Holy Spirit is a god or not, I am first inviting you to look at this matter from a broader perspective.

Let us begin with the prophetic pronouncements of the prophet Isaiah.

ISAIAH 53:1-5 (KJV) says,

1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

In the given verses, the Lord Jesus Christ had been referred to as “the arm of the Lord.” Specifically, He was the arm that delivered the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

As it is written in DEUTERONOMY 5:15 (KJV),

And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm...

The Israelites were brought out from the land of Egypt by a mighty hand and a stretched-out arm. All of us know what an arm is and what a hand is; they are parts of the human body. The arm and the hand are connected to each other such that the hand cannot function without the arm.

In another verse, this is what it says,

LUKE 11:20 (KJV)

But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

According to the Lord Jesus Christ, He was casting out devils using the finger of God. The “finger of God,” which Christ used in casting out devils, should not be taken literally because it was used to represent something else.

In MATTHEW 12:28 (KJV) it says,

But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come upon you.

The finger of God symbolizes the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit. In other words, it is the Holy Spirit that the Lord Jesus Christ used in casting out demons or devils.

The point that I am trying to drive at is this: The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word, which in the beginning was with God, and according to the Bible, the Word was God.

REVELATIONS 19:13 (KJV)

And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

JOHN 1:1 (KJV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Now, if the Lord Jesus Christ, which was called or whose name is the Word and the arm of God, is God, we wouldn’t be wrong if we believe and regard the Holy Spirit as God, too, since it is the finger of God, also a part of God. If the “arm” of God is God, then, the “finger” of God must also be God. (I hope you are able to follow the equation.) In the first place, there could never be a part of God which is not God.

Just like a guava tree, there is no part of a guava tree that is not guava. From its roots, to its branches and leaves, up to its fruits, they are all guava. What I say is not merely a sophist’s point of view because there is biblical wisdom in my argument.

ROMANS 11:16 (KJV)

For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

Here, the Apostle Paul used the olive tree figuratively; and he also made reference to the parts of an olive tree. Its roots, branches, leaves, and fruits share a common attribute because all of them are components of one particular tree.

God is a vast, enormous, immeasurable and unfathomable power in which the Holy Spirit is a part of, being the finger of God; Christ is also a part of God because He is the arm of God and also the Word. Again, let me reiterate, if the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Word and the arm of God, is God, it follows that the Holy Spirit, which is the finger of God, is likewise God. All the parts of the One Person whom the Bible calls God, is God; no part of Him is not God.

I don’t think that is difficult to understand. Only feebleminded pastors would say that the Holy Spirit is merely an active force, and not God, just like pastors of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are not only undermining the Holy Spirit but they are also insulting it.

The Holy Spirit is part of God’s deity and it has a separate person that is why we are also praying to Him.

JUDE 1:20 (KJV)

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,


Surely, Jude would not admonish Christians to pray to the Holy Spirit if it has no person and if it does not exist. We do not pray to something that does not exist and has no being. We pray to the Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ because they have their respective beings; we also pray to the Holy Spirit because it also has a being that is distinct from that of the Father and Christ.

That is why the Holy Spirit was sent to the apostles — for them to have another Comforter. When the Lord Jesus Christ was still with the apostles and the early Christians, He was the Comforter. As Christ couldn’t be with them much longer, before He ascended to heaven He told the apostles that He would pray to the Father to send them another Comforter.

JOHN 14:16 (KJV) 

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Indeed, the Comforter now is the Holy Spirit, also called the Holy Ghost.

JOHN 14:26 (KJV)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

As the Comforter, the Holy Spirit shall teach the apostles and remind them of all the things that the Lord Jesus Christ has told them.

Practically, there is really no reason for us to doubt the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Remember, both the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ are part of the Elohim (in Hebrew), or Theotes (in Greek), which means gods. So, if the Lord Jesus Christ is God, so is the Holy Spirit.

May God bless us all!

God and the Lord Jesus Christ are Always Busy

What is God doing right now


As ordinary humans, sometimes we wonder, what must the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be doing in heaven right now? What keeps them busy? 


Do they simply watch what we do down here on Earth? Or, are they too busy attending to so many pressing matters that concern mankind?

By referring to some verses from the Bible, we will have an idea about the things that preoccupy them. Let us start with the Lord Jesus Christ.

HEBREWS 8:1-3 (KJV)

1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 

2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 

3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.

Right now, the Lord Jesus Christ is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God’s throne. When we say that He is set or seated on His throne, we should not have the impression that He is simply seated the whole time, literally, and not doing anything.

To be seated on a throne means to be in power. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ is on the seat of power. And to be in His post entails so many duties and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

One of the duties that the Lord Jesus Christ performs is the duty of a high priest. As He is our high priest, He is tasked to offer gifts and sacrifices at the altar in heaven.

During the time of the Israelites, they offered goats, sheep, and cows for the forgiveness of their sins, and the ones who accepted those offerings were the high priests who, in turn, would offer them to God at the altar.

In the Christian dispensation, the one who performs that task is the Lord Jesus Christ because He is our high priest. In heaven, there is a temple and an altar which God built. And it is in that altar where the Lord Jesus Christ presents to God the offerings of His servants, which are not sheep and cows anymore, but their prayers, praises, hymns, vows, and thanksgivings.

The Lord Jesus Christ serves as our mediator to God; He intercedes for us. We need His intercession because, as sinners, we are not worthy to approach God. But through the mediation of Christ, God accepts our offerings; thus, our sins are being forgiven.

HEBREWS 13:15 (KJV)

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

The pronoun “him” in that verse refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. By Him and through Him, our praises and thanksgiving are able to reach God, because Christ is the one Mediator between God and men.

As written in 1 TIMOTHY 2:5-6 (KJV),

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 

6 Who gave himself as a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

All our sacrifices and offerings, including the love that we give to our spouses, the help we extend to our fellowmen, the support and care that we give to our family, and all the good works that we do, are presented to God by the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to these are the vows, fasting, contributions, charity works, and prayers of the servants of God, which the Bible likewise regards as offerings.

Aside from the duties of a high priest, there are other things that the Lord Jesus Christ is busy with.

HEBREWS 1:13 (KJV)

But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

We have to understand that when God told the Lord Jesus Christ to “sit on my right,” it means that the Father was letting Him take the seat of honor and power. He was giving Christ the authority to reign and rule as King over heaven and earth.

MATTHEW 28:17-18 (KJV)

17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

All power in heaven and in earth have been given to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has power over all flesh.

As it is written in JOHN 17:2 (KJV),

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Included in the power that the Father gave Him is the power to give men eternal life. Thus, part of Christ’s function is to save men for them to enjoy eternal life. And until now, Christ is working toward the fulfillment of that intention; in other words, it is a work in progress.

Others might ask, how is He able to carry out the function of saving men when He is in heaven?

Simple. The Lord Jesus Christ sends angels to deliver His servants from harm; He also sends the Holy Spirit to teach and guide the people here on Earth; and His Spirit goes with the preachers of God as they propagate His Gospel to all men.

Let me clarify — Christ only goes with the preachers of God, and not with all preachers. Definitely, you do not expect Him to go with preachers who make money out of the word of God and make a lucrative business out of religion. He will only be with the preachers who faithfully teach the Gospel with the sincere intention of leading people back to God for them to be saved and merit eternal life.

MATTHEW 28:19-20 (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 

20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Christ gave the early apostles an assurance that He would be with them until the end as they went forth to preach His teachings. The fulfillment of Christ’s promise was also experienced by later apostles like Paul and Barnabas for they, too, felt the guidance of Christ’s Spirit as they preached the Gospel.

ROMANS 16:25 (KJV)

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ...

Modesty aside, I can also testify to the guidance of the Spirit of Christ whenever I preach, whenever I answer questions of faith of different people, and whenever I defend the Christian faith.

As I am not young anymore, there are times when I tend to be forgetful. Sometimes I could not easily recall the specific chapter and verse of a particular book of the Bible that I want to cite. But whenever that happens, the spirit of Christ readily comes to my aid, and very swiftly, the verses that I want to cite flash in my mind.

Always, His spirit never fails to supply me with His words that I need to impart to people at a given situation. And without a doubt, I know in my heart that the Spirit of Christ is with me as I fulfill His commandment of making disciples in all nations.

The Lord Jesus Christ is always true to His promise, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” And that promise is still in effect until now because the world has not ended yet. We can expect that the preachers who teach the undefiled teachings of God are being accompanied and guided by the Spirit of Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ wants to draw people closer to Him, so He goes with His preachers as they teach His words to people. It is Christ who finds a way so that people can find the one true faith.

JOHN 12:32 (KJV)

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

When Christ was still on Earth in the form of a man, He was able to preach only in Israel. He was not able to reach the other parts of the world that were already existing during that time, such as the Philippines, because there was a limitation to what His human body could do; He couldn’t be in several places at the same time.

I said that the Philippines was already existing at the time that He was preaching in Israel because based on documents, the Philippine rice terraces in Ifugao were constructed 3,000 years ago. Since Christ preached on earth 2,000 years ago, it means that at the time that He was preaching, the rice terraces in Ifugao, Philippines had long been in existence.


But before He ascended to heaven, He made a promise that when His physical body has been changed into a glorious spiritual body, He will let all men be drawn to Him. When that happened, He was no longer barred by limitations. He could already approach any man anywhere on Earth, although not really by His own person, but through the instrumentality of the preachers that He sends. And He is the driving force that attracts or draws people to His teachings.

Very clearly, the Lord Jesus Christ is not idling in heaven. He is very busy in taking charge of so many things. As mentioned earlier, the Lord Jesus Christ is ruling over heaven and earth; this means that He is ruling over His servants and even over the angels, cherubs, and seraphs.

The angels in heaven are under His command. In fact, He sends them to Earth to safeguard the would-be heirs of salvation.

HEBREWS 1:14 (KJV)

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Angels are ministering spirits, and they are being commissioned to deliver the people of God from mishaps; that is why they are called guardian angels. If you are of God, if you are God-fearing, then you have a guardian angel.

As it is written in PSALM 34:7 (KJV),

The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

Although we do not exactly know everything that happens in heaven, we can be sure that the Lord Jesus Christ is always very busy.

How about the Father, is He equally busy? For sure, the Father is busier.

ACTS 17:26 (KJV)

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

The Father made all nations on Earth for men to dwell on. Not only that, He is also the reason why we live.

ACTS 17:28 (KJV)

For in him we live, and move, and have our being...

God is our Creator; we owe Him our lives and our beings. We exist because of Him. He maintains our lives; He provides us with all of our needs in order for us to survive.

ACTS 17:25 (KJV)

Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

God is the Provider of all our needs in life. He sees to it that we’ll not run short of our sustenance. Thus, He lets the crops grow and yield bountifully; He multiplies the fishes in the ocean to satisfy our hunger.

He makes the complex structure of nature and maintains ecological balance for us to have fresh and clean air and water, and a healthy environment as a whole, which are all vital to our survival. While the Lord Jesus Christ takes charge of the salvation of our souls, the Father is the great Provider of everything that we need.

The Father is also the one who makes the very tough decision as to who will live and who will die. We know that our lives are in His hands.

He also addresses the prayers and supplications of people, even if their requests happen to be self-centered and are in contradiction with other people’s prayers. Indeed, people often ask for two contrasting things.

For example, a farmer may pray for rain so that his crops will grow for him to have an abundant harvest. On the other hand, a salt maker, who also lives in the same village, prays for the rain not to pour because the rainwater will dissolve his salt. As he is a sea salt maker, instead of rain, he prays for the scorching heat of the sun so that his salt brine would dry, crystalize, and be harvested at the soonest possible time. We can just imagine the difficulty that the Father faces in addressing the prayers of men alone.

I repeat, we do not exactly know what really happens in heaven, but the Bible gives us a glimpse of how busy the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are up there. And we can be very sure that the things that keep them busy are all for the benefit of men.

To God and the Lord Jesus Christ be all the glory!

In the Midst of Hate, Why Not Do What Pleases God?


Leading others to serve God through good deeds

Truth seekers who get the chance to listen to my preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ inevitably develop an intense desire to serve God and be a part of the Church of God International. Not only that, because of the overwhelming joy that they feel, they also want their loved ones to learn what they have learned and to also join them in the true Church that they have found and to serve God all together.

Unfortunately though, sometimes things do not always happen in accordance with what they desire. There are instances wherein, not only do their loved ones resist the idea of changing religions, but their loved ones also prevent them from further listening to the Christian doctrines that I preach, more so, from joining the Church of God.

What is more saddening is that their loved ones’ objection and resistance are not really founded on any solid ground such as doctrinal matters, but mostly out of sentimentality. They simply want the truth seekers to stick with the religion that their parents and grandparents introduced to them, which they have been practicing all their lives, regardless of its unbiblical and erroneous beliefs and practices.

With the reactions that their loved ones show, these truth seekers are faced with the predicament of how they could convince their friends and family members to also join the Church of God — because they love them and also want them to be saved.

This is actually a dilemma experienced by many people. But this is not really a big problem because the Bible teaches us how we can lead our loved ones to serving God.

1 PETER 3:1 (KJV)

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

According to the verse, a wife can be instrumental in the conversion of her husband; she can lead him to faith without using words, but only by doing good deeds. The wife does not have to use persuasive words to convince her husband because her good deeds are capable of saying more than enough. As an adage says, actions speak louder than words.

Once the husband sees the positive changes that are happening in his wife because of her obedience to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ being taught in the Church of God, even without saying anything, the husband will readily believe that the Church that his wife joined is really of God. The husband will develop a curiosity at first, and later on, an interest in joining the Church of God.

Although the given example shows how wives can lead their husbands to God, this is also applicable to the other members of the family, and even to friends and workmates.

By putting into practice the teachings that you have learned in the Church, by doing good deeds toward them despite the cold treatment that they may give you, they would know in their hearts that you are not mistaken in joining the Church of God. And before you know it, they will be with you in your service to God. Just never get tired of doing good deeds.

1 PETER 2:12 (KJV)

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

If you keep on doing good things, if you continue to treat people with kindness despite the negative things they may say about you, time will come that even those who do not acknowledge God will learn to acknowledge Him; they will also glorify God.

One piece of advice to those who experience the same predicament: Do not be afraid of the rejection of other people; do not let their opinions hinder you in your desire to serve God. What you need to have is the kind of conviction that the apostles had — and your foremost concern should be to obey God before anybody else.

ACTS 5:29 (KJV)

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Our obedience should be rendered to God first, not to our family and friends, not to the rich and the powerful, and not to anybody else. God is our Creator; He is the owner of our lives. For that alone, it is but proper that we give Him our absolute obedience, full commitment, and love without reservations.

There is nothing wrong with loving your spouse, parents, siblings, and friends; there is nothing wrong about caring for them. But just see to it that your love for God is much, much greater than your love for any of them. Our love for other people only comes second to our love for God. We should love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.

As it is written in MATTHEW 22:37-39 (KJV),

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
38 This is the first and great commandment. 
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

So, if you want to serve God, if you want to heed His calling, you have nothing to fear; you should not let anything or anybody get in the way. If you truly love God, then nothing else should matter.

Do not be afraid of what other people will say. In the first place, they will always have something to say whatever you do, as you cannot please them all. So, you might as well do what is pleasing to God.

And it is pleasing to God if you will obey His teachings and if you submit yourself under the jurisdiction of His Church. And once inside the Church of God, you will be constantly taught to do good deeds, which you can apply when dealing with your loved ones.

And with God’s help, when they see how you’ve changed for the better, you will not encounter much difficulty in making them accept the faith that you have embraced.

May God bless you!