On Ezra

Ezra 4:4-5

Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose.

It occurred to me that the thought of opposition had since been in existence. It is part of human nature and of the world.

“A force is at work in every human heart that bitterly resists the work of God’s spirit…”

“God rejects the philosophy of the world in carrying out His work. There is a wordly religion and there is faith that God gives us, and the two must never be mingled.”

“The flesh never changes. No matter how long you walk in the Spirit, you will never get to the place where you cannot revert to your worst spiritual condition.”

See? I had many things arrived at from one book! It’s amazing how so many things can be extracted from a single verse. No matter what belief I have, things just branch out to the ultimate and universal good.

For one, i’m guilty of being such a hypocrite and occasionally, in “opposition” with many things. But I know for sure that I’m justified by God’s grace and faith, which cannot be explained by mere words. Only God could tell what kind of faith I have in my heart.

For today, I’m off to a new start. Struggles come everyday. Thus, everyday, indeed, I have to recharge through devotion.

“How Sure Am I That He Hears Me?”

In one of our evening Bible Studies, Em[1] asked a question that left everyone in the group dumbfounded. “How sure am I that the Lord hears me?” – a very common inquiry of someone new in hearing the word of the Lord, but difficult to answer. Everyone in the group provided practical common-sense answers, but I know that those weren’t enough to satisfy Em’s curious mind. What she truly needed was an empirical, straight, authentic… credible, literal answer.

What better way to satisfy her than to cite a verse from the Bible.

Unfortunately, nobody in the group was able to cite the exact verse – the verse where there is a direct assurance that God hears people. I told Em about the misgivings that people have when it comes to memory work. I told her that just to evade the question because I too, didn’t know the answer at that moment. I said, “I may not know the exact verse, but I do know that there is an assurance somewhere in the Bible.” Em took that as a good enough idea to ponder on for a while, but I know she would have wanted the Biblical say on the matter.

Later that evening, I consulted the concordance and I eventually found a verse; I immediately texted curious Em.

1 John 5:14

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

So, here are some things I took from that fiasco.

  • We don’t know everything, so we have to seek the aid of others. This may be in the form of people or things. There are more knowledgeable people than us. That’s an undeniable truth. And it would be better to keep that truth in mind, so as to remain grounded. Again, we don’t know everything and I believe that we are not supposed to know everything.
  • When in doubt of something, owning up to the fact that you’re doubting won’t hurt. We don’t have to pretend that we are so certain all the time. We might be wrong in the end, and if this proves to be the case, we will regret that we ever said “I’m sure”. Plus, what will people think if we turn out to be wrong? Perhaps they wouldn’t say anything to our faces, but we will definitely lose credibility.
  • When you don’t know the answer, again, be honest and own up to it. We could even say “I’ll get back to you on that” or “Don’t worry, once I find out the answer, I will tell you right away.” We should not be afraid to say “I don’t know”.
  • People are really afraid to be taken off-guard or to be vulnerable sometimes. I think there’s nothing wrong with letting weakness show. It’s part of being human and it’s more fun if we don’t know everything. Mysteries are beautiful; we just have to learn to appreciate the beauty of it all.

[1] Not the real name of the person