Saturday, June 28, 2014

On becoming prosperous and successful

A man with common sense wants to prosper not only physically, materially but more so spiritually. It is God’s will that man will prosper.

But how shall man prosper physically, materially and spiritually?

The wisest of all Kings and all of men, Solomon, said, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” (Prov. 10:4 KJV). He reiterated this in Prov. 22:29 in this manner: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean (or ordinary) men” (KJV).

Diligence is defined this way:

Careful and persistent work or effort. It is conscientiousness or industriousness and meticulousness in doing ones work or activity.”

It is said that master artist, the genius Michaelangelo would work on his paintings carefully and meticulously until he has done the best he could. It is a persistent and hard work exerted resulting to what the experts call it an “obra maestra” - a master piece. If we do the same in all our endeavors, we shall succeed.

The equally genius Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the incandescent lamp which is now our modern fluorescent lamps and light bulbs, had to do numerous experimentations before he succeeded to produce the kind of lighting system that the world over is enjoying now. This has been a conscientious and meticulous hard work by Thomas Alva Edison!

But it is not enough that we prosper physically and materially. More importantly, we must also prosper in our soul or spiritually.

The Bible says, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper in health (physical) even as thy soul (spiritual) prospereth” (3rd John vs. 2 KJV). Even if someone has plenty of money and properties if he is sick or sickly and his soul is not “saved,” he is pitiful above all creation of God. Better to be poor in money and property but in good health and his soul be assured of eternal life by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, the LORD.

For by grace are ye saved through faith (in Jesus Christ) and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9 KJV). Also the Bible says, “therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28 KJV). The law does not save, but faith in God/Jesus Christ in person does!

Grace is unmerited favor. Meaning, man “as is” does not merit the favor from God, but by man’s faith in Jesus Christ, he is justified. Meaning “just-as-if” he has not sinned if he believes in his heart the saving virtue and power of Jesus Christ, and repents of his sins and accepts Jesus as his ONLY savior, no one else. Remember God is a jealous God. He died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3). Meaning, instead of the believer dying because he is a sinner - and for this matter we are all sinners, and the penalty for sin is death, Jesus Christ died in the sinner-believer’s stead or place.

What is faith? It is a complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The Bible defines spiritual faith in this manner: “it is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). Meaning, we must have full trust and confidence in the promises and assurances of Jesus Christ. For example, Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Where is God the Father? In heaven. So, one goes to heaven only if he believes in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God and accepts Him as his only savior. Jesus also said: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die (spiritually). Believeth thou this?” (John 11:25-26 KJV). We will all die physically, as this is already written, but for us believers, our soul and spirit shall live eternally, “For God so loved the word that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall have eternal life” (John 3:16 KJV).

We must believe that there is eternal life promised by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gave us a sampling of himself who died physically in the cross of calvary but resurrected and now at the right hand of God interceding for all repentant sinners; that although we have not seen heaven or God the Father nor Jesus Christ, we believe in our heart that God the Father and Jesus Christ and heaven exist; that there is a heaven reserved for all saved sinners, and Jesus Christ lives forevermore and like Him we shall live forever with Him. This is the meaning of Faith in God and in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and only Savior.

Be prosperous and successful. Be Christlike.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

God’s Formula for Success

Everyone wants to be successful especially when it involves our way of life. For instance, we want a successful family, or be successful in our relationships, particularly on our marriage relationship, or financially in our chosen career, vocation or profession, and etc.

God has given the formula for success, as follows:

8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 KJV).

Before giving the above formula for success in life, God said to Joshua who succeeded Moses to carry on the difficult task of conquering the promised land inhabited by giants – Canaan land.

“5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swear unto their fathers to give them.” (vss. 5 & 6)

Significantly, in vs. 7 God repeated His encouraging words in vs. 6 by reminding Joshua once more:

7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.” (vs. 7)

Notably, God, this time, inserted the word “very”, and He concluded by guaranteeing His abiding presence in this manner:

9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (vs. 9)

When God said, “this book of the law”, he was referring to the “Law of Moses” called the Pentateuch, or the first five books in the Old Testament, namely: Genesis, Exodus, Liviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. However, the law (of God) also includes the canonized books written by the prophets like Isaiah, and the rest of the prophets and other writings like the Psalms, in the Old Testament.

When, theologians say canonized, they refer to the books included in Old and New Testaments (OT 39 + NT 27 = 66 in all). All other writings have been excluded by the canonizing Fathers (priests). In the first to the third century A.D. (After death of Jesus Christ) there were no protestant ministers yet. Martin Luther, the “Father” of protestantinism was not yet born.

What were the standards used by the canonizing Fathers that will qualify a certain writing to be included in the canonized Bible (both Old and New Testaments)? The words must be spoken by God himself, or the writing must be done by God himself or written by the finger of God, like the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:34-28); it must have been written or authored by a man of God like Moses, Joshua, David, etc; or spoken of by the Lord Jesus Christ (like the Gospels as written or recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John); or authored by an apostle of Christ (there are 13 apostles including the Apostle Paul who authored 13 books of the Bible [or Epistles]), or authored by someone very close to the Apostles, like Matthew, Mark or Dr. Luke. In short, any book written or not authored or word not spoken by any of those enumerated above do not qualify to be canonized. Examine carefully, according to the above standards, whether the books included in your Bible are canonized or not.

Going back to the formula for success in life given by God to Joshua, when He said, “this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth”, meaning to say, you must know the law of God. Knowing is hearing or reading it. Thus, the Bible tells us “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). It did not say “reading” only because not all people can read, but they can have faith by hearing the Word of God.

So, when confronted with any problem of life, we should ask ourselves: “What say the Word of God”? Pray to God that He will bring to your remembrance what you have heard or read. Follow the Word, and you will not be mistaken.

God tells us, “but thou shalt meditate therein (the Word) day and night.” To meditate is to think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes, or to think deeply and carefully about (something). “Day and night” is figurative, not literal, otherwise we can do nothing else. In other words, always contemplate, think, consider, ponder, muse, reflect, deliberate about what the Word of God says or means, with prayer.

In addition, and this is extremely important, it is not enough that we know the Word, we must “observe to do according to what is written therein …” There must be action or implementation, not merely head knowledge.

There will be numerous troubles in life. We cannot escape them, for it is written, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days and FULL of trouble” (Job 14:1). A hundred years is but a few days compared to eternity. For example, Jesus Christ was born of a woman, so he suffered and encountered numerous troubles in his human life and existence. The most tragic and most serious was his crucifixion to redeem sinful man (Rom. 3:23). Since everyone of us are born of a woman, we shall have plenty of troubles, but no longer be crucified, because Jesus Christ took our place.

What is the promise of God to all believers (also called righteous or true Christians)? King David, “a man after God’s own heart” in Psalm 34 declared:

14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” (vss. 14, 15, 17 & 19)

To be successful in whatever undertaking we do, let us remember Joshua 1:8, “OBSERVE TO DO” heartily and with all patience and perseverance what God said in His Word (the Canonized Bible).