Category: Bible Reflection & Challenge

What About The Unbelieving?

What About The Unbelieving?

God has promised His people a new heaven and a new earth. The old creation must make way for the new creation, if God is to be glorified. Jesus said this event will occur when “the world is made new” (Isaiah 65:17). By then, God’s eternal purpose in Jesus would have been accomplished and so as Ephesians 1:10.

The overcomers shall inherit the Kingdom of God: the new heaven and the new earth and will enjoy a special relationship with God. What about the rest of the unbelieving world? What will happen to them? They shall not inherit God’s Kingdom!

Bible Verse: Revelation 21:8 (NKJV)

“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Reflection and Challenge

Is cowardice enough to send a person to hell? L. Morris says John here isn’t speaking of natural timidity, but of that cowardice which makes a person to ultimately choose himself and his safety over Christ.

Many Christians today say that they believe the Bible, but don’t live the way they should. If we truly understand the seriousness of our sin and the cost for Jesus to pay for our salvation, you would understand the consequence of being an unrepentant sinner. That is true for yourself and everyone else. Do you truly believe it?

Ephesians 1:10

The book of Revelation tells us what will happen in the end: God wins! And those who thirst for Him will be given freely from the fountain of life. This will all happen when the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven (Revelation 21:2). That should be very encouraging for all Christians, but also very humbling. The most important fact about the city is that God lives there with His people.

On the other hand, those who reject Jesus and become apostates are specifically prohibited from entering the New Jerusalem. All of those unrepentant family members, friends, coworkers, and everyone else that did not accept Jesus as their Savior will have to face God and pay for their sin in the Lake of Fire for eternity. Once in, you can’t get out.

The Lake of Fire

Hell or “the Lake of Fire” (Revelation 20:15) is a witness to the righteous character of God. He must judge sin. Hell is also a witness to human responsibility, the fact that people are not robots or helpless victims but creatures able to make choices.

God does not send people to hell; they send themselves by rejecting the Savior (Matthew 25:41; John 3:16-21). Hell is also witness to the awfulness of sin. If we once saw sin as God sees it, we would understand why a place such as hell exists. So to think that people I know could spend eternity there is heart-breaking.

Just seeing how the entire world is falling apart makes me wonder if the end of the world is drawing near. Nobody knows when they will die. Are you prepared to meet God?

If we truly believe that people you know could spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, won’t it affect how you relate to all the people around you?

Have you given them the Gospel? Do you pray for them? It is worth thinking about since every person will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. How does that affect how you live?

Letting Go And Letting God

Letting Go And Letting God

Romans 1:17 says, “the just shall live by faith.” It does not say the just will only get saved by faith. Genesis 24 is a great example of Old Testament saints living by faith even though they did not have the Holy Spirit. That should convict us, just for the fact that we have the Holy Spirit. Do we live by faith? Are we letting go and letting God take control?

Bible Verse: Genesis 24:14 (NKJV)

Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, “Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,” and she says, “Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink” – let her be the one You have appointed for thy servant Isaac. And by this, I will know that You have shown kindness unto my master.”

Reflection and Challenge

It is amazing how many individuals in this narrative had radical faith in spite of being only people. Isaac had to trust God, Abraham, and the servant to find him a suitable wife. Abraham had to trust God and the servant to do the same. The servant had to trust God to direct him to the right woman and that Rebekah would be willing to move. Rebekah had to trust God that Isaac would love her. Not to mention, the parents letting her go.

I think it is funny that whenever you must trust God, you end up needing to trust another person (s) as well. How well do we trust others?

I am not saying that I have this type of faith but these people in Genesis 24 are definitely inspiring and we can learn a valuable lesson from them. Technically, the passage deals with the marriage relationship, but radical faith can be applied to every other type of decision in our lives.

Faith is the opposite of fear. In spite of this decision being one of the most important in their life, they let go of control and let God. That is a good definition of radical faith, “Letting go and letting God.”

Faith - Opposite of Fear

As Christians, we say that we get saved by faith, but never live by faith as Romans 1:17 says. WHY? Is it possible we don’t trust God enough to take care of us in our everyday life? He saved our soul. Is He not able to take care of our body as well? That is called fear.

I have heard that the Bible says, “Fear not!” 365 times. That’s one for everyday of the year. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God will never lead you using fear.

*Read here: The Importance of Faith

Faith is a choice. God shows up when His people trust Him as He did at the end of the servant’s prayer. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God answers when we trust Him. Why don’t we do it more?

This principle is applicable to every area of life, not just the marriage relationship. God leads us to decisions or crossroads, just to see what we will do. The best decision is to choose to trust Him. He will come through. How well do we trust Him in our lives?

God In A Pillar of Cloud

God In A Pillar of Cloud

When traveling through clouds or fog, we have to exercise caution, because hidden dangers are enveloped in mist and obscured. But that is also why the cloud was a perfect cloak for God. It allowed Him to journey with His people, the Israelites, yet remained hidden. The “pillar of fire,” too, revealed and concealed God’s presence (Exodus 13:21-22).

Bible Verse: Exodus 14:19-20 (NIV)

“Then the Angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.”

Reflection and Challenge

Knowing that the enemy was in pursuit, and hearing the wind blowing all night, the Israelites must have wondered what was going to happen and why God was taking so long. But God always knows what’s best for His people and He is always on time.

We may not always understand God’s ways because His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), but His way is always the right way. So let us be reminded that God knows what He’s doing; He isn’t in a hurry, and as long as we follow Him, we are safe and in the place of His blessing.

Going back to the verse, when God led His people out of Egyptian slavery in a pillar of cloud, He did not only make sure that they knew He was near, but also that they could not exploit His presence nor control His movements.

“The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud” (1 Kings 8:12). But what does the cloud teach us about God? Why did God wrap Himself in a pillar of cloud while leading the nation of Israel out of Egypt into the Promised Land? The cloud indicates that partial vision is our normal experience of God (1 Corinthians 13:12) and that we know infinitely less than what there is to know.

Do you sometimes feel that despite your best efforts, you are not able to draw close to God? Why does our attention constantly slip away from Him in prayer? Perhaps, you might say, “It’s because I’m exhausted from work and all that my body wants to do is rest.”

*Related Article: When God Seems Far Away

Or maybe you are deeply thinking of something else that concerns your family; your job or you’re already planning in advance what you can do tomorrow to make things less tiring and stressful. But then again, maybe it is because God wraps Himself in a pillar of cloud.

When we are trying to pray but it seems our hearts and minds are lost in a fog, we are to move through it by faith. Regardless of how we feel at the moment, we need to make a firm decision to trust that God is present though hidden. When we do, we will be at peace with the dark cloud and then God’s light is revealed.


*Recommended Resource:

Finding Jesus in the Exodus: Christ in Israel’s Journey from Slavery to the Promised Land
By Nicholas Perrin

If you want to understand who Christ is, you have to begin by understanding what Jesus meant when He said in Luke 24:27, “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”

In Finding Jesus in the Exodus, biblical scholar Nicholas Perrin shows that the Bible’s story of the Exodus from beginning to end is filled with prophetic foretellings of the person and work of Christ:

  • Moses as a great deliver and prophet
  • The voice in the burning bush
  • The Passover Lamb of God
  • The unleavened bread
  • The rock and pillar of cloud
  • The red sea crossing
  • The manna from heaven

You will see all of these and more as examples of Christ in the story of the Exodus.

Warning: God Will Humble You!

Warning: God Will Humble You!

It is human nature to claim credit for all the great things that happen in our lives. Like we accomplished them in our own strength. Especially in America, God has blessed us immensely. But as James 1:17 says, “Every good . . . and perfect gift is from above.” So be warned; God can and will humble you. Because God does not allow for pride in the lives of His children. 

Bible Verse: Daniel 4:37 (NLT)

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All His acts are just and true and He is able to humble the proud.”

Reflection and Challenge

The grand lesson God wanted King Nebuchadnezzar to learn – and that we must learn today – is that God alone is sovereign and will not permit mortals to usurp His throne or take credit for His works. We are but creatures, and God is the Creator; we are only subjects, but He is the King of kings.

When men and women, created in God’s image, refuse to submit themselves to Him, they are in grave danger of descending to the level of animals. “Do not be like a senseless horse or mule,” warned King David, who was guilty of acting like both (Psalm 32:9). Like the impulsive horse, David rushed into sin when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then like the stubborn mule, he had delayed confessing his sins and repenting (2 Samuel 11; 12).

This is what happened in the life of Nebuchadnezzar. After years of conquest and growth of the Babylonian empire, he was filled with pride. Even though Daniel was his number 2 man, he was still filled with pride. That is also true in our lives as well. After all the things God has done in our lives in the past, why do we still try to take the credit? Why don’t we give it to God, who truly deserves it?

God Does Not Delay

God is patient with sinners, but when the time comes for Him to act, He does not delay. As we read in Daniel 4:31-33, a solemn voice from heaven interrupted King Nebuchadnezzar’s egotistical meditations and announced that the time of probation had ended and judgment was about to fall.

The words were still on the king’s lips when everything began to change. His mind became like that of an animal (Daniel 4:16) and he was driven from the royal palace to live in fields with the beasts. Since he was beastly at heart, God allowed King Nebuchadnezzar’s brutish nature to be revealed openly.

As Nebuchadnezzar learned the hard way, God does not like the credit going to others. God humbled Nebuchadnezzar for his pride. Eventually, he learned the lesson that God wanted him to learn through his difficult experience (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32), and that is, to acknowledge the sovereignty of God.

Warning God Will Humble You

God can and will humble you as well. As Christians become more and more proud, we better turn back to God and realize He deserves all the credit. He will humble us if we don’t. The Bible teaches both divine sovereignty and human responsibility, and when we accept both, we find no contradiction or conflict. No person is freer than the believer who surrenders to the sovereign will of God.

The first thing King Nebuchadnezzar did after his ordeal had passed was to praise the Lord (Daniel 4:34-35). What an exciting expression of worship! When was the last time you praised God for everything He has done in your life?


*Recommended Resource: 

Determined to Believe: The Sovereignty of God, Freedom, Faith and Human Responsibility
By John C. Lennox

A fresh look at the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human freedom. Challenging widely held assumptions about theological determinism, Lennox explores the different types of predestination and the problems they pose; investigates what the Gospels and Paul’s Letter to the Romans say about responsibility; and tackles the issue of Christian assurance. 

Your Bethel Moment With God

Your Bethel Moment With God

Do you still remember your Bethel moment or first encounter with God? Do you know that God enjoyed that moment as much as you did? Our Bible Reflection and Challenge today has its entire context in Genesis chapters 34 and 35.

Bible Verse: Genesis 35:1

Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”

Reflection and Challenge

In Genesis 34, Jacob’s daughter Dinah was violated by a young man from a nearby city. As soon as Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, learned of it, they staged a fierce and bloody counter-attack. Strangely enough, God is silent through this whole ordeal. There was no indication of His approval or disapproval.

But as we enter the 35th chapter, after the heartache and crimes had passed, God spoke to Jacob. God called him from the scene of tragedy to revisit the sacred site where they had first met – Bethel. Do you notice how God seems to be as present in chapter 35 as He seems to be absent in chapter 34?

It is worth noting that more than 20 years earlier, Jacob had given Bethel its name, “House of God.” It is in that place where he experienced his first encounter with Yahweh and was awakened to a vivid awareness of His presence (Genesis 28:16-17).


The Encounter [Streaming Video Purchase]
By David A.R. White

Stranded in the middle of nowhere, five strangers take refuge in a deserted roadside diner. An arrogant businessman, a lonely woman, an estranged couple, and a teen runaway, they appear to have nothing in common. But the Christlike proprietor seems strangely all-knowing and offers more than temporal nourishment.

The Encounter 2: Paradise Lost [Streaming Video Purchase]

The follow-up to the Pure Flix hit movie, “The Encounter” increases the intensity and action as a group of damaged individuals face the life-changing decision of accepting Christ – invited by a man claiming to be Jesus Christ himself.

A retiring drug smuggler, his drug-addicted wife and his ruthless bodyguard find themselves trapped by a suspended DEA Special Agent at a Thai resort owned by a troubled former Wall Street investment banker and his wife, who mourn the loss of their only son in a devastating tsunami.

It is an explosive mix of personalities. Violence looms, but a mysterious guest, claiming to be Jesus Christ, arrives to offer each of them one final chance at redemption in this inspiring, thought-provoking thriller.

Special Features:

  • Making of Paradise Lost
  • Commentary with David A.R. White and Bruce Marchiano
  • English and Spanish Subtitles

When God spoke to Jacob again, after many years of trying to outmaneuver his father-in-law, He identified Himself as “the God of Bethel” (Genesis 31:13). Now God is calling Jacob back to the place of encounter. Why? What’s with Bethel that God is choosing it over any other location to be His meeting place with Jacob?

Indeed, God’s choices in these matters are as mysterious as His decision to allow events to run their course or intervene. But no matter what we think and believe, God’s sovereignty is evident. This means that God will always accomplish His purpose for He said, “My counsel shall stand” (Isaiah 46:10 ESV).

Can you recall a Bethel moment with God? Life-changing encounters with Him? And does it surprise you to learn that God enjoyed the closeness you shared as much as you enjoyed it? Perhaps you would do well to revisit that place because God uses these special encounters to reveal Himself to your true self, redeemed and remade in Him.

Please do share your Bethel moment with God in the comment section below.

Waiting Upon the Lord’s Promised Return

Waiting Upon the Lord’s Promised Return

Bible Verse: 2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Reflection and Challenge

In context, this verse is talking about the day of the Lord or what we call His second coming. In Revelation 16:15, it is written that “He will come like a thief in the night.” And as nobody knows when the thief is coming, so is the Son of God will come at a time that nobody knows precisely about. Yes, not even the angels nor the Son Himself knows when exactly He is coming back, but the Father only (Matthew 24:36).

As Christians, we are anxiously waiting for this great day when we get the chance to be finally home with our heavenly Father. The meaning of this verse can be taken by heart not only as we wait upon the Lord’s promise to return but in all His promises.

Truly, God is eternal; He has no beginning and no end. He goes beyond and over the limits of time. His time zone is different from ours and from anyone and anywhere else’s. His timing is always perfect. He is not slow but patient in answering us, in His own perfect timing. After all, He knows what is best for us all when and wherever we need it!

So, the next time you feel weary and tired waiting for answers, why not think about how unworthy we truly are, how undeserving we truly are for His love and providence. Yet, He loved us even when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He answers our prayers at the right time when He finds us ready to receive.

Looking forward to the joy that is prepared for you, can you wait as long as it takes?

Choosing Between Blessings And Curses

Choosing Between Blessings And Curses

Bible Verses: Leviticus 26:3-4, 14-16 (NIV)

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit.”

“However, if you do not listen to me or obey all these commandments, 15 and if you break my covenant by rejecting my decrees, treating my regulations with contempt, and refusing to obey my commands, 16 I will punish you.”

Reflection and Challenge

In these verses, it’s very clear that to obey God is “to follow My decrees” but to disobey Him is “to reject My decrees” and to despise His statutes. The word translated “reject” means “a hostile meeting with the intention of fighting.”

Our bodies are the sanctuary of God, and we must be careful to use them for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 6:15-20). The Holy Spirit of God lives in us, and we must not grieve Him by using His temple for ungodly purposes (Ephesians 4:30). Christians who indulge in illicit sex or who defile their imagination with evil thoughts are guilty of violations just as serious.

As children of God, we already have everything we need for “living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3), because we now possess “every spiritual blessing” in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). But to possess these blessings is one thing; to enjoy them is quite something else. As we trust God’s promises and obey His commandments, we draw upon our spiritual inheritance and are able to walk successfully and serve effectively.

Some of the “success preachers” today like to claim these covenant blessings for the church but prefer to apply the judgments to somebody else! Think about it, if this covenant applies to God’s children today, then we should be experiencing the judgments whenever we disobey Him.

*Read here: Blessing Through Obedience

However, experience shows us that more than one compromising believer is successful, healthy, and wealthy, while many of God’s faithful children are going through trials and difficulties. Now, why is that?

The good news is that even in the worst situations, however, there is always hope, for the Lord is “the God of compassion and mercy! He is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. He lavishes unfailing love to a thousand generations. God forgives iniquity, rebellion, and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7).

God’s covenant with His people never changes, and if we confess our sins, He will forgive and restore us (1 John 1:9). Whether in blessing, chastening, or forgiving, God always keeps His covenant and is true to His Word.

But knowing how merciful, faithful and forgiving God is must impel us to obey His decrees and statutes all the more. Let us be reminded of God’s great love for us that caused Him to give His only begotten Son to die for us so that we will be reconciled back to God.

And whenever the choice between God’s blessings or curses is laid before us, let us choose the blessings by obeying God’s commandments.

Choose Today Whom To Serve

Choose Today Whom To Serve

Bible Verse: Joshua 24:15 NKJV

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”

Reflection and Challenge

Hollywood knows that they hate God. They do not want to see anyone get saved from their sin by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Satan even knows that he will eventually lose the war with God, but he wants to take as many people down to the lake of fire with him as possible.

There is no doubt there is one God who created everything and everyone in the world. He is holy and has died and rose again to save you. But Satan is the Father of deception. He can’t allow people to get right with God. So how will he do it? Well, Americans cannot get enough entertainment. Why not movies? Those weak-minded Americans will never know the deception that is manipulating their mind.

How is this possible? It’s kind’a like magic. Make an illusion or a lie that everyone focuses on and then change the context. This is what Hollywood has been doing for the last several years.

Now I could get flack for telling you this but you need to hear what God laid on my heart tonight. Last week Avengers: Infinity War came out. I went to go see it. This movie is going to condition millions of people’s minds to hate the God of the Bible. There are two main elements that were used to deceive the audience. One was an outright mockery of Jesus, even though He died and rose again to save you. The second was a conditioning of hatred of absolute rulers.

Just today I heard a message which included Revelation 6:10a. It says, “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O LORD, holy and true.” I learned something I never saw before.

The Greek word for “LORD” in this verse is despotes. This is the Greek word where we get despot or an absolute ruler. At the end of the world, God will be hated for being the absolute ruler of the world just as He is hated today for being the absolute standard of right and wrong.

In the movie, Thanos is made to look like an absolute ruler but not an absolute standard of right. Whether he got all 6 infinity stones does not matter, Hollywood made him look like an absolute ruler and second to none. Hollywood and Marvel tried to make several parallels between the God of the book of Revelation, which is in the Bible, and Thanos, but they don’t need to be mentioned here.

Some might say that I am reading into the movie too much but I always remember Matthew 7:16a “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” You can know what is in the heart of men by their actions or in this case, their movies.

I pray that you are now aware that not all despots are bad. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Will you serve God or Satan? The choice is yours. Whom do you choose?

Choose today whom to serve …

Man’s Way vs. God’s Way

Man’s Way vs. God’s Way

Bible Verse: Hebrews 11:24-25 (KJV)

“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

Reflection and Challenge

God rewards faith. Throughout the Bible, God has given us promises of blessings if we would just believe them. And yet people are finding it so difficult to believe them since they are only in a book. Like Moses, he was told of all those blessings and he decided he could trust God with his life, status, wealth, everything. He knew God would reward him for his faithfulness in spite of losing so much.

God has promised us so much, including heaven, peace with God, purpose, hope, and many more, if we just trust His word. This is the gospel message in a nutshell. Trust God’s Word is true and that God is sufficient to save anyone from their sin so that we may spend eternity with God.

It cannot get anymore amazing than that. It is so much easier for us to believe the gospel and suffer ridicule on earth than suffer for eternity because of our sin. This is also true in the lives of Christians. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

More often than not the path of faithfulness is the more difficult path because you have to swallow your pride and trust God. The easiest paths are always sinful and enjoyable. That is never the path God wants for His children. He wants us to take leaps of faith so that He can show us what He is capable of rather than giving credit to us.

Usually, it is very difficult to take a bone from a dog. But if you give a dog a juicy steak, it is a whole lot easier to take the bone away. The bone is like a trusting your own understanding of situations and the steak is like the rewards for faithfulness. Which one are you chewing on now? Is it time to switch?

What Does it Take to Follow Jesus?

What Does it Take to Follow Jesus?

Bible Verse: Luke 14:33 (NIV)

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

Reflection and Challenge

Does God really mean that young children be left orphans, old parents and grandparents abandoned by their able children, husbands and wives part ways, all possessions big and small deserted, and everyone else preaching the Gospel bare-footed and naked? Certainly not!

Did not our heavenly Father send Jesus to give up everything including His very own life so we may be delivered, live in peace and live life at its fullest (John 10:10)? How then can He just ask us to give up all these that He has freely given?

Jesus here is showing what it would take to be His real disciples. He has bought us with His own precious life. This makes following Him as a disciple in the making, not a cheap stuff that can be easily grabbed by anyone from the drive-through of famous fast food chains with just a few coins. Truly following Jesus will not be a walk in the park either. His words meant that in order to follow Him, we must learn to let go of our attachment from everything we have.

God is talking about allegiance and loyalty because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). Although He does not mean to take away from us everything we have instantly, we must always be willing to give up anything if we are to choose between following Him or this world. This makes up a true and a loyal disciple. 

Perhaps, many rich or even not so rich “Christians” are giving two thumbs up when someone says that this verse should not be taken literally. They would be jumping with a sigh of relief. But, what if God says it should? What would your stand be?