Worthy of the Invitation

It is an honor to be invited to a special occasion. Of course, not all people think of it as an honor, but almost always, the idea of being invited to a special occasion means that the person who gave the invitation thought it worthy to invite friends. Not all friends can be invited. Usually, only the special and the closest kin and friends are given the invitation to attend special events. While sending invitation or receiving one becomes a normal aspect of our life, we could not deny the fact that being invited is actually an act of honor for friendship, love, and respect.

Being an introvert, I don’t usually attend gatherings or parties, if not required. I mean, I can go and attend, but this is not one activity that I particularly enjoy. I do make adjustments to this behavior because I need to and it is the right thing to do. But, yes, because I am an introvert by nature, socializing is not my thing. So, whenever I am invited to a special event such as birthday, christening, or party, I feel honored really, but I always think twice if I will go or not.

The choice to accept the invitation or reject it depends entirely to the person who is being invited. In the human level and social structure, we can have valid reasons to not accept a certain invitation, but when the invitation comes from God, the context becomes different. Yet, the choice to accept or reject remains the same.

God does send an invitation. Ever since God created man, He gives invitation to us to share a life of peace and abundance with Him. When He created Adam, God invited him and, thus all mankind, to subdue and have dominion over all other creatures (Genesis 1:26-30). Then, God invited Adam and Eve to eat any fruit they could behold in the Garden of Eden except for the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). When Adam and Eve fell and sinned against God, God sent countless invitations to His people through His prophets to return back to Him in every phase of history. When Jesus Christ came, carried our sins and took it way through His death on the cross, God gave another invitation to mankind — to come and believe in His Son Jesus Christ that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16).

The invitation from God is always there. Prophets, preachers, and teachers are messengers of God’s invitation. They have come and go but His invitation remains and is always present through His Word. People who hear God’s invitation are left with a choice to accept or to reject.

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ He who hears, let him say, ‘Come!’ He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.

– Revelation 22:17 (WEB)

Be worthy of God’s invitation. Jesus told about the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1-14) which actually talks about God’s invitation to the Jews to enter His Kingdom and the rejection of the Jews of God’s invitation. The king (GOD) in the parable asked his servants (prophets) to go to those He had invited (Jews) to come and attend the wedding feast but they refused. When no one came after the first invitation, the king sent his servants again to the same people, this time telling them more clearly in detail what lavish meal the king had prepared for them. Still, they refused the invitation and, instead, paid no attention to the invitation; others went to their farm, others went about their business, and others treated the servants shamefully and killed them. So, the king asked his servants to go out to the highways and invite anyone to the wedding feast as many as they could.

”Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. Go therefore to the intersections of the highways, and as many as you may find, invite to the wedding feast.’ Those servants went out into the highways and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good. The wedding was filled with guests.”

– Matthew 22:8-10 (WEB)

Because the Jews rejected God’s invitation and killed His prophets, God sent His invitations to anyone else who is willing to hear and accept His invitation. God’s chosen people were not worthy of the invitation.

When we reject God’s invitation, whether by not minding God’s message or by being too preoccupied with our own work and business, we do not become worthy of the invitation of God. God’s invitation is too valuable to be unheeded and rejected. His invitation is for us to have life and a joyful, abundant life.

God’s invitation is open to all and to anyone, whether good or bad. He does not classify people or group them according to status and appearance. He invites anyone and everyone. It is up to the person to accept His invitation or not.

The story, though, does not stop there. When the king came to check on the guests, he saw one who did not wear the wedding clothing and he asked his servants to to bind the man and throw him out in the outer darkness where there is weeping and grinding of teeth (Matthew 22:11-14). There are people who accept God’s invitation and who gather together with God’s people yet they have not worn the “wedding clothing”. They are not truly part of the guests in the feast God have prepared for people who follow Him genuinely. People who truly accepted God’s invitation change their clothing into the clothing that befits the ocassion. When we are invited into the Kingdom of God we have two things required to do:

1. Accept the invitation of God.

2. Repent and live a new life of obedience to God.

If you have already accepted God’s invitation, keep living in obedience to Him. Be worthy of God’s invitation. Sinning is not a practice of people who accepted God’s invitation to His kingdom. If you have not yet responded to the invitation of God for you, I pray that you will say yes to God, say yes to Jesus Christ, and enjoy His presence and the bountiful life He has prepared for you.

For many are called, but few chosen.”

– Matthew 22:14 (WEB)

The grace of God be with you and fills you with strength and joy as you walk in obedience to His will.

The Poison of Wine

Drinking of wine is closely associated with celebration and luxury. At least, these are the things I usually observe. When people want to celebrate and have a good time, there is always wine in the menu. People who enjoy luxury also get to taste the finest wines. This is a practice handed down from generation to generation since the beginning of the age.

Wines are alocoholic and, according to science, drinking wine can be addictive because the brain releases endorphins when it detects alcohol. Endorphins are known as the “feel good hormones”. As the name suggests, they make us feel good like a bubbly aromatic wine. These pleasant sensations aroused in the body when drinking wine, perhaps, is one of the reasons why people are allured to wine.

Some particularly enjoy wine for its flavor and heady feeling of glee and some use it for medicinal purpose as in 1 Timothy 5:23. Wine is not harmful in itself but anything in excess is. So, even if tasty wines are almost always present in every feast or celebration, it is wise to drink moderately. It is a natural part of a happy gathering but keep sobreity on top of the list. Above all, remember that even in drinking we are to give glory to God.

“Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31 (WEB)

Excessive wine is a poison to the body and mind. It may be there for our pleasure but when we lose control and give in to excessive drinking of wine or alcoholic drinks, it may cause more harm to the body which affects beyond the physical health.

“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who stay long at the wine; those who go to seek out mixed wine. Don’t look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly. In the end, it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will imagine confusing things. Yes, you will be as he who lies down in the middle of the sea, or as he who lies on top of the rigging: ‘They hit me, and I was not hurt! They beat me, and I don’t feel it! When will I wake up? I can do it again. I will look for more.’”

– Proverbs 23:29-35 (WEB)

“Those who stay long at the wine” means the persons love wine too much that they drink wine all the time and they could not get enough of its taste, its scent, or its effect to the body. The Bible says when we are addicted to wine or alcoholic beverages, it harms not only our physical body but also our mind. Too much drinking of wine will bring

  1. Woe
  2. sorrow
  3. Strife
  4. Complaints
  5. Bruises
  6. Bloodshot eyes
  7. Hallucination
  8. Confusion
  9. Numbness
  10. Addiction

It poisons our physical and mental system and this does not glorify God. It glorifies God that we take care of our physical bodies by taking in food moderately according to our body needs.

Wine can be tempting and alluring to the sight and taste but beware of the poison it can bring. It does not bring the supposed joy in the celebration but woe, sorrow, and strife. It brings bruises. It makes people senseless. It makes people unfeeling. Love of wine is not the path for peace or prosperity.

“Wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler. Whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”

– Proverbs 20:1 (WEB)

Teach the young ones to have self-control and moderation in wine. Teach them the Word of God so that their minds will open to the truth. Pray for those who need help in freedom from alcohol addiction. Pray for insitutions and organizations who help people overcome alcoholism. Pray for our communities who are poisoned by drunkenness. Jesus came to set the captives free. May they experience the freedom through the power and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Life Here and to Eternity

Physical death does not extinguish life. Oftentimes, we think that once we die, life has ended. Yes, only the physical life in the flesh. The flesh is not immortal. The flesh has an expiration date. All of us, rich and poor, will face physical death one day. The flesh will one day cease to live and it will die and decay. But, this end of life on earth does not mean that our very life has ended. Our soul, which is what we call our life, is eternal. When the flesh dies, the soul does not die with it. This truth carries big and significant implications as to how precious our life is.

We are not to take life lightly because our life is not just about the time we spend here on earth. Whatever we do with our time now and how we live our life now have tremendous impact to our life in eternity. This means, then, that we should live with care because what we do now will affect how we will be in eternity.

We are very much concerned of physical death. Rightly so. But, has it ever occured to us how much more concerned should we be about our life after death? Others might argue and say, “Are you sure there is life after death?” Whatever opinions others have, I believe in the Bible as the truth. The Bible teaches that there is life after death and people who have placed their faith in Jesus and lived in repentance and obedience to Him shall inherit eternal life. Moreover, believers have this great hope in Jesus, that a day will come when they will be resurrected to glory.

“…having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”

– Acts 24:15 (WEB)

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God’s trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

– 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (WEB)

God is the God of the living. Life in eternity is real and so is the resurrection of the dead. We could take great comfort that though we had been distraught and in grief for loved ones and friends who had gone before us, we could still see them one day in the resurrection of the dead.

The resurrection of the dead was the concern of the Sadducees when they approached Jesus to ask Him if whose wife will the woman be in the resurrection after she became the wife of each of the seven brothers who died one after the other (v.28). This question came from the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (v.23). Jesus answered them that they were mistaken because they do not know the Scriptures and they do not know the power of God (v. 29-30). Who would think or believe that time that the Sadducees did not know the Scriptures? How could they not know when they studied the Scriptures? So, Jesus said,

“But concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven’t you read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

– Matthew 22:31-32 (WEB)

Jesus then pointedly asked them, “Haven’t you read?” This silenced them because they have read it in the Scriptures but they never understood and they did not believe in the mighty power of God. Jesus plainly told them that the Scripture teaches there is resurrection of the dead and life in the resurrection will not be the same as we live our earthly life (v. 29-30). Jesus, furthermore, stressed that God IS the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that though they had died physically, they are still alive and existing. God is the God of the living.

What does this teach us?

1. There is life after death and there is resurrection from the dead. Do not limit or narrow our thinking to what we have here now. Be concerned of our future life in eternity because God will judge both the righteous and the unrigteous.

2. The resurrected life is not the same as how we live life on earth. Let us not liken life after death to the ways of life we have here on earth. In the resurrection, there is no marriage anymore. We will be like angels (Matthew 22:30). We will not become angels. We will have nature like that of the angels.

3. God is the God of the living. Let us not be too much concerned of physical death or of the dead because apart from physical death, we continue to exist. God looks at life and to the living — not only the physical life but also life in eternity. Be more concerned of the way of life we live now and be prepared for our life in eternity. We need to be concerned of this because one day we will be judged either for death in hell or eternal life with God.

“This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

– John 6:40 (WEB)

The flesh is physical, temporary, and corruptible but the soul is eternal. Fear God and surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you value your earthly life which is short and passing, then value your life too in eternity which is enduring and everlasting.

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