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Gracious God

Edsel Espiritu
Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is seemly.

The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names. The LORD lifts up the downtrodden, he casts the wicked to the ground.

Great is our LORD, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

-- Psalms 147: 1 - 6

PRAYERS AND PREACHING

Edsel Espiritu
Progressing towards spiritual maturity is a process that will never end in this life. There are two things I want to focus your attention on that will help you in that effort.

The first is found in Colossians 4:12,

Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

If you are going to be complete or mature in Christ, you need the prayers of others. In the long haul, I am convinced none of us make it across the finish line without the prayers of other Christians.

The second is found in Colossians 1:27-28,

...Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

In addition to the prayers of others, you need to be under good preaching and teaching to become complete in Christ. Preaching promotes change while teaching promotes growth, and you need both of them.

Looking back at my Christian life, I can still remember messages that literally shook my world and changed me. I remember one in particular when I had been saved less than a month.

Some new Christian friends took me to hear an evangelist preach. I was blessed so I decided to go back the next night. That night I heard a message that changed my life. It was a message on the parable of the sower, and that night I fell in love with the Word of God. It absolutely shaped me.

To become mature in your faith, make sure you are under solid biblical preaching and teaching, and develop the prayer habit as well as soliciting the prayers of others.

Visit www.answersBC.org for more resources to encourage you in your relationship with God.

UNLIKELY VESSELS

Edsel Espiritu
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 says,

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.

God delights in calling and using those the world passes by and counts as nothing. One old preacher said, "God isn't looking for golden vessels, God isn't looking for silver vessels, God is looking for yielded vessels." I think that is true.

It is amazing what God can do through someone's life who doesn't have to have the credit.

You may feel like you do not have much to offer. If that is the case, then you are perfect! When God does great things through you, then He will get the credit. People will know it was Him and not you!

God is looking for yielded vessels that He can use in a dynamic, community-altering way.

Why not say today, "Here I am Lord, use me;" and after praying that simple prayer, get ready. God may bring some amazing opportunities your way to step out and be used for His glory.



Visit www.answersBC.org for more resources to encourage you in your relationship with God.

YOU'RE NOT STUCK

Edsel Espiritu
1 Corinthians 10:13 says,

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

The word temptation in this verse also means test or trial. With that in mind, here are a couple of thoughts to encourage you today.

1. Whatever test, trial, or temptation you are facing today, it is "common to man." That means that you are not the only one who has gone through whatever you are facing.

It is comforting to know that others have faced similar problems before us and made it through!

2. God makes a way of escape with the trial or temptation. That means you're not stuck! Before your difficulty ever arose, God designed a way of escape. And that means of escape comes with the problem.

So if you find yourself embroiled in trials, tests, or temptations today, start looking for God's way of escape--it exists. Trust Him to guide you safely through and out of your difficulties!

Visit www.answersBC.org for more resources to encourage you in your relationship with God.

Spiritual Treasure

Edsel Espiritu

In 2 Corinthians 4:7, Paul tells us,

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

If you look at this chapter, Paul helps us understand that this treasure is ministry, the gospel, the Word of God, and the light and the glory of God, God's presence.

Paul wants us to understand that God has placed in us an incredible spiritual treasure...a treasure residing in these earthen vessels...our bodies.  The treasure is in you and me!

But that treasure needs to be poured out.

I can't help but think that Paul was thinking of two particular earthen vessels that were used in his day.  One was the vessel of mercy and the other the vessel of honor. 

One place you would find the vessel of honor was around the home.  People would use the water to wash their feet after traveling the dusty roads before they would enter your house, or they would use the water to quench their thirst.  Like the vessel of honor, we are to wash the feet of our family, to humbly serve them and to help quench their thirst for more of God.

The vessel of mercy looked identical to the vessel of honor, but it was located in public places like the town square, so that any traveler coming through that arid land would be guaranteed to find a fresh drink of water.  It was placed where the needs were.  We need to take mercy where mercy is needed most--out onto the highways of humanity.

You are an earthen vessel filled with His spiritual treasure, so start pouring it out--in your home and out where the people are.


Visit www.answersBC.org for more resources to encourage you in your relationship with God.

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Real Treasure

Edsel Espiritu

Proverbs 15:6 says,

In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.

Notice that this verse does not just declare there is treasure in the house of the righteous.  It says there is much treasure in the house of the righteous.

You can also find treasure in the house of the wicked, but Solomon says it is laced with trouble.  The income of the wicked has a bunch of trouble with it.

But the same is not true for those who are right with God.  When the treasure is found in their house, it does not have the same trouble that it does when it is found in the house of the wicked.

If you read on, the Lord shares two things that must accompany this treasure if it is going to be enjoyed.  First, you must have a right relationship with God.  Proverbs 15:16 says, Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, than great treasure with trouble.

It is better to have almost nothing and have a right relationship with God than to have everything money can buy and not have a relationship with God.  We must get our priorities right.

The second thing we need to have is a right relationship with people, lest the treasure become hollow and become a curse.  Proverbs 15:17 says, Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.

Some people have more prosperity than they know what to do with, but all of their relationships fail.  They do not have love.  Consequently, there is a vacuum they can never fill with things, that they can never fill by accumulating more possessions.
 
Pursue your relationship with God, and a right relationship with people.  Then you will enjoy the treasure God gives you!


Visit www.answersBC.org for more resources to encourage you in your relationship with God.

THE RIGHT WORD AT THE RIGHT TIME

Edsel Espiritu

The Right Word at the Right Time

Proverbs 15:23 contains a powerful truth,

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

Notice that this verse talks about not just a word spoken, but a word spoken in due season--at the proper time. How good it is! It is critical for words of encouragement, words of comfort, words of counsel, words of wisdom, and even words of correction to be spoken in due season. Timing is just as important as content.

I read once about a lady who invited family and friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. When they received the invitation, they let her know that they were going to come. In fact, they were looking forward to the day.

She really put on quite a spread. She baked pies and bread; she cooked a turkey with all of the trimmings--an incredible meal. When the time came for her guests to arrive, she lit candles and put the finishing touches on decorating the house.

The only problem was, no one showed up.

Then she remembered the calendar she had picked up from a local business. On that calendar it said that Thanksgiving was on the 21st rather than on the last Thursday of the month as it normally is every year. At the time she thought it was strange, but she figured that they must have moved the holiday.

She had prepared her sumptuous banquet a week early! The content was great but the timing was not so great.

So it is with our words. They can be just the right words, perfect for the need of the person, but if not delivered at the right time, they can fall short.

Be sensitive to pick the right time to speak as well as the right words to say.


Visit www.answersBC.org for more resources to encourage you in your relationship with God.

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IRONMAN

Edsel Espiritu
This is a heart warming story that I'd like to share with you...


A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?'
The father who, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'.
They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together.
One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together' to which, his father said 'Yes'. For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4-mile ocean swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and ending with a 26.2-mile marathon along the coast off the Big Island .
Father and son went on to complete the race together. Click below to view.
http://www.godtube. com/view_ video.php? viewkey=8cf08fac a5dd9ea45513

WHEN ALL IS LOST

Edsel Espiritu
 
 
…As the sparkling dew refreshes the earth, so the Lord will revive those who have long been dead. – Isaiah 26:19
 
Years ago, somebody I know lost everything he had badly wanted and worked hard for — his job, his bachelor’s pad and his chance for a U.S. citizenship. He had nothing left save a little money to fly back home and a few old furniture and appliances that he shipped back to the Philippines.
Back in Manila, he couldn’t find a job for a few years because he was overqualified for local jobs available then. He became so miserable. He lost faith in God and once said, “If God gives me money, then I’d believe in Him.”
Time passed. He later met a woman who was to become his wife. She managed to convince him to hear Mass regularly at the church in Baclaran. And then little by little, I saw that he began to smile again. Soon he found a job and started to rebuild his life. The woman was instrumental in bringing him back to the faith.
Sometimes God takes away from us things or people that veer us away from Him. When all is lost, many question His love and existence. But God redirects our paths to Him in mysterious ways. Like water is to a dying plant, He refreshes us and renews our spirit. Nova Arias
 
REFLECTION:
Are you going through some spiritual drought? Let God refresh you.
 
Father, renew my spirit and teach me to trust in Your ways.
 

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