Supernatural Christianity with a purpose

Ephesians 1:7 redeemed through the blood of Jesus

What is in God’s heart? How did Jesus demonstrate this?

Mark 6:34, 36 – “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd [lacking guidance]; and He began to teach them many things.

God’s solution to sin, sickness, poverty, and death: The sacrifice of Christ through the shedding of His blood. Ephesians 1:7 – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Commandments given by Jesus to all believers: (Scripture quoted in New King James Version)

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Mark 16:15-20 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Luke 24:46-48 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 – “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

THIS is What Stirs the Heart of God:

Luke 15:7 – “I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance.”

For Evangelists: Psalm 2:8 – “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Titus 2:14 – “God gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself.”

Examples of how the apostles and early churches/disciples applied what Jesus has commanded: How they prayed, the prayer’s effect, and how they applied:

Acts 4:29-31 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

Acts 5:14-16 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Acts 5:29-32 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 6:7-8 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 8:6-8 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

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an urgent message (1498th post) to watchmen

watchmen on the wall

Watchman’s notes on 18/2/19: Around 2009 I was introduced to a group which focused on spiritual activities. The founding pastor testified that she personally encountered Jesus, was miraculously saved from a Buddhist background, delivered from demonic attack and subsequently walked in the power of the Holy Spirit healing sick people. She encouraged sick people to use intensive Bible reading, attend regular prayer meetings and wait upon God to help themselves without the use of medicine. Worship then appeared to focus on exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

However, it soon becomes evident that there are no significant miraculous healing testimonies except testimonies occurred many years ago. There are obvious doctrinal self-contradictions with mixed and confused teachings in combining the Old and New Testaments. Most noticeably, there is no practical application of the Grace and Love as taught by Jesus. Instead of teaching and practicing the grace and truth that came through Jesus, the leader focuses on the teaching and practicing the Old Testament Legalism and the ministry of death and condemnations (as warned by apostle Paul against the legalism teachings by the Judaists in 2 Corinthians 3 and Galatians). It is no surprise that increasingly “devotees” have left in disappointments and hurts.

We must take heed the stern warnings from Jesus and the early apostles against the yeast (false teachings) of the Pharisees and the Judaists. The apostle James has also clearly warned that a double-minded man (Christian) will not receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:7-8)

The earliest Jerusalem church’s apostles and elders have unanimously agreed and decreed that they should not test God by putting a yoke (i.e. commanding the Gentile believers to follow Jewish practice and keep the law of Moses) on the neck of the Gentile (non-Jews) disciples which the Jews themselves were unable to bear. (Acts 15:10-11) “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”.

After I stopped attending their gatherings, there are news that the above mentioned leader has changed their worship to emulating worshiping in heaven (as popularly imagined) using harps* (see my notes at the end) which she deems worthy to be the one of the main few exclusive musical instruments used in heaven. Yesterday I heard that they are selling harps* (made by a third world country) to many (presumably churches and Christians) like hot cakes (exorbitantly expensive ones). This latest news has prompted me to revise what I have written in this blog ten years back about the duties of a watchman and his/her weapons. I have since cast that 2011 blog to trash bin.

REVISED FOCUS for all “watchmen” (Every born again believer): we have the Holy Spirit inside, the Bible, and eternal life which means know God and Jesus.

What has Jesus taught and commanded us? What has Jesus demonstrated while on earth? Let us emulate Him!  

Jesus is our sole spiritual power source and authority. He has personified God -grace and truth in Himself. He has given every believer in Jesus the Holy Spirit and His gifts and anointing. Jesus said that He and the Father (God) will dwell in every believer of Jesus. Jesus has reconciled every believer with God. God’s presence is now in us and not outside us somewhere (as in the Old Testament time). No amount of external atmosphere or ambience can bring God to anywhere nearer than what Jesus has accomplished for every believer of Jesus!

The works of Jesus every believer is to do and continue doing: doing what Jesus did. Jesus did not do any harp playing worship. Neither did the apostles and disciples of Jesus in the early churches did. What did Jesus and His apostles and disciples do? Preach the gospel, heal the sick, set the oppressed free.

The New Testament has assured us that every born again believer of Jesus already has the following qualifications:

  1. We are saved by grace (God’s initiative) and not by works (our initiative). It is already a done deal through Jesus.
  2. We are born of the Holy Spirit.
  3. We are saved, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, justified, sanctified and made the righteousness of God. God has made Jesus become our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption.
  4. We have eternal life: know God and Jesus.
  5. We have His Word: The Bible.
  6. We have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
  7. We can do all things in Christ Jesus who strengthens us.
  8. We are seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
  9. We are sons of God; therefore, we are led by the Holy Spirit.
  10. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and are given His gifts to bear fruits.
  11. As Jesus is, so are we in this world, anointed by the Presence of God (the Holy Spirit dwelling in us).
  12. We have received the same precious faith as the apostles did.
  13. We have been made partakers of the divine nature of God.
  14. We walk by the Spirit.
  15. We live by faith.

Our mission on earth: Our spiritual anointing (empowerment by the Holy Spirit) is to do the work that Jesus had done and greater works than what Jesus had demonstrated while on earth as a man (Luke 4:18; John 14:12). Jesus has given us power and authority to do them: witnessing for Jesus, seeking, healing and saving the lost, doing and teaching about the kingdom of God, be ambassadors for Christ, imploring the world to be reconciled to God.    

Commandments given by Jesus to all believers: (Scripture quoted in New King James Version)

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

See my other blog on the Bible verses from: Matthew 28:18-20 , Mark 16:15-20 , Luke 24:46-48 and Acts 1:8

Examples of how the apostles and early churches/disciples applied what Jesus has commanded: How they prayed, the prayer’s effect, and how they applied:

See my blog on the Bible verses from: Acts 4:29-31, Acts 5:12, Acts 5:14-16 , Acts 5:29-32 , Acts 5:42 , Acts 6:7-8 and Acts 8:6-8

Jesus teaches that His truth can set free those under the legalistic bondages imposed by the Pharisees and scribes.

The Truth Shall Make You Free ] Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32

2 Corinthians 3:14-18 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord

Footnotes:2 Corinthians 3:18 Or from the Lord, the Spirit

*Note on harps: I have written another related blog: please click on: harp and lyre delusion effect on Christian worship congregation. 

Ihave no issues with using harp or any other musical instrument if you like its music. But I would caution that it is not an exclusive Christian musical instrument and it does not give anyone healing or deliverance unless they believe in Jesus who shed His blood for our redemption, by the power of the Holy Spirit. I also urge Christians and churches to remember the command of Jesus for His believers, to go (out into the world) and witness for Him, make disciples of all nations. There is nowhere in the New Testament Bible (throughout Jesus’ walking on earth as a man, up to His death, resurrection and ascension to heaven and the establishment of Christianity on earth) that speaks of Christians (and churches) practicing using of any specific musical instrument to worship. i believe that as watchmen for truth, we have a responsibility to point other believers to the truth.

A pagan king had used the same musical instrument, the harp, to accompany the worship of him (as their compulsory idol) by his subjects: “when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up” (Daniel 3)

CHOOSE

CHOOSE GREATNESS: CHOOSE LIFE

Today I ponder on the legacy we shall each leave behind. There is always a point where each of us must make a crucial decision that will be etched into our history. I walked through the histories of many great men and women in the past. A few years back I was invited to write the life story of one special woman who gave her best years to others (strangers in a remote land). I met some who know her well in her past life as a successful banker and the people group in the remote backwater war-ravished land whom she has loved so dearly and relentlessly that she has given up her past life decades ago to become one of them. I asked her why? She said she loves them because she knows Jesus loves them. A childhood friend of hers said he believed she wanted to leave a legacy behind.

Your choice may be to continue staying in the comfort of your vineyard at the safe shady valley below with gentle breeze or to continue climbing up to the high summit where there is strong wind and brilliant light from the sun. I pray you choose right.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Deuteronomy 30:18-20  18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Joshua 1:7-9 New Living Translation (NLT)

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


power and authority : treasure in jars of clay

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Galatians 1:1 KJV) Paul had been given unique authority from Christ to be his representative and the founder of churches (see Acts 1:21-26). In his letters to the Corinthian Christians he identified himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” His apostolic ministry was clearly evidenced by the authority and the life transforming revealed words and power of the resurrected Christ. As a closing to my notes on a meditative journey in 2 Corinthians I have done the following chart on the subject of power and authority. My notes on the Bible verses are in brackets.

God-given power and authority

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (All authorities on earth will come to an end)

2 Corinthians 10:8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— (God-given authority to men is for constructive and not destructive purposes)

2 Corinthians 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction. (same as above)

1:18 [Christ the Power and Wisdom of God] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (The salvation message is the power to save and transform)

1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (The resurrected Christ is the power and wisdom in us)

2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (Paul’s speeches are confirmed by deeds of spiritual power which manifests in physical realm)

2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (man’s words are powerless; power of God makes things work)

4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (We are so privileged to be chosen for His glory)

4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. (No use to boast about your ministry unless your words can be confirmed by God’s power)

4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (God’s kingdom is about power in deeds that confirm His words)

6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. (God’s power raises the dead; power of God is the only source of life)

Paul’s warfare and weapons

We finally reach a key survival tactic, how do Christians win wars? Apostle Paul is really an expert in this field judging from the long list of challenges he went through and his always emerging as the victor and not the victim! I have done a simple chart with the key Bible verses from 2 Corinthians 10. Please read the whole chapter for a better understanding. Paul’s other letters speak of how we can control and train our thought life. For example, Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start your meditation.

2 Corinthians 10 warfare and weapons

Philippians 4:8  (NKJV)

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

2 Timothy 1:7  (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

the new transformer

Revelation 18:4-8

Today we are reminded that the ten plagues only struck those who chose not to believe and acknowledge the righteous God whom Moses and his people believed, the same God we believe. Take note the idolatry arrogant heart of Pharaoh caused him to make foolish and self-destructive decisions. He exalted himself above the righteous and holy God. Pharaoh did not fear God because he thought he himself was god. While he comfortably indulged himself in his luxurious palace wining and dining opulently, his people suffered in prolonged incremental fear and torment. He had no love or compassion even for his own people. Why was his heart hardened? He was obsessed with keeping an ample supply of cheap/free labor the miserable enslaved Israelites provided to perpetuate his wealth and related social-political power. He was consumed with jealousy of Moses, a former prince of Egypt, now the formidable great transformer leader championing for the justice, freedom and wellbeing of the Jewish nation.

Moses, on the other hand, after his miraculous encounter with God, was truly supernaturally transformed into a great and courageous leader who at the age of 80 would leave his comfort zone and even stick out his neck for the love of God and God’s own people. What happened in the end? “Exodus 12:40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.”  The rest is history.

The life of Moses produced good fruit that lasts to eternity. Pharaoh’s life? Plagues and burning.

The First – Fifth Plague Exodus 7-9
The Sixth – Ninth Plague Exodus 9-11
the Tenth Plague Exodus 12


Paul’s leverages: grace and economics

In recent years the world notes how effective economic leverage works in social-political re-engineering. Today we study another kind of successful leverages from a great master, Paul, a businessman-apostle. Economic (financial) interest is always the top priority in this world. It ties with the micro self-interest of an individual and the macro self-interest of a group, a nation or even the whole world.

In 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 we continue to reflect on Paul’s motivations and strategies, supporting a broader understanding of mission – one that sees the purpose of the church as going beyond mere evangelism, and including all manner of personal and social reconciliation (including the use of financial and economic resources). Paul presented a sustainable economical and spiritual inter-linked blue-print to the Corinthians who were already well versed with the marketplace and its language. Now Paul teaches them the higher spiritual reality which is an integral part of their physical financial reality. Take note that the Corinthian Christians were just ordinary individuals (not particularly outstanding or privileged in terms of intellect, wealth and status) when they were first converted. But they have apparently been transformed and blessed with bountiful physical prosperity and spiritual gifts after that. (1 Corinthians 1:26) Apostle Paul showed them the way of God’s economy and finance.

Here is my simplified chart on this practical application of grace and economics by Paul. (Please read Chapters 8-9 in 2 Corinthians)

2 Corinthians 8-9

Application regarding Christian giving:

  • Paul reminds us that our source of wealth is God’s grace through Jesus Christ
  • God gives us the ability to make wealth
  • God makes us abound in everything
  • We are to abound especially in giving grace
  • We are to give ourselves to God first
  • Then we will be able to give financial gift to others
  • We (the believers) are expected to give to the ministry of Christ
  • We give what we have (not what we do not have)
  • God will ensure we have more than enough to give
  • We must complete the doing of the giving
  • He who sows sparingly will also reap bountifully
  • The recipients are to ensure that gift be administered with transparent honor

Background:

In the summer of 50 A.D., the apostle Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth city where he met Priscilla and Aquila, a tent-making couple who greatly aided him in his ministry. He stayed with them and joined them in the marketplace. Following Paul’s visit between 51 and 52 AD, Corinth became the centre of early Christianity in Greece. Paul’s friends and fellow evangelists Silas and Timothy joined him in Corinth. He preached the gospel every Sabbath until he left the city around Autumn of 52 A.D. Paul revisited the city in 58 A.D. during his third missionary journey (see Acts 20:1-3).

Why did Paul choose to leave a somewhat neutral intellectual Athens where he discoursed with civil Jews and Gentiles without being obstructed but instead proceed to a melting pot like Corinth? Because he saw a greater Gospel sharing evangelical opportunity at Corinth with its strategic crossroad location situated between Italy and Asia Minor on the Isthmus and is master of two harbors and a large population with various needs conglomerating for the economic boom and related activities. Corinth city was flourishing by the 1st century AD as an important international center of administration, trade, games and entertainment. Corinth had the largest population in Greece with Greeks, Jews, Romans, even the Phoenicians and Phrygians from the east. Corinth’s financial prosperity was the result of business activities, athletic games, the skills and quality of its statesmen and craftsmen, and immorality. Because of its close connection to the sea, with ports to the east and to the west, the cosmopolitan population of Corinth consisted largely of sailors, merchants, adventurers, and refugees, which included retired and discharged veterans.

Thus, Paul and his team had found a needy evangelistic target as well as a market niche from the Jewish refugees (from Rome), Roman soldiers, the many tradesmen and religious pilgrim travelers and the games competitors and spectators.

Corinthian became the second largest city in the Roman empire, boasting a population of 700,000 people. In eighteen months Paul built the largest church in the history of the world.  The lowest estimates are 40,000 and most historians say the number was more like 80,000 people.

Paul’s motivation speech

2 Corinthians 7:13

I was asked to give an impromptu speech for five minutes under the main topic of “high performing organization” to my fellow corporate colleagues. We were each given 10 minutes to prepare. Unlike others who were experienced managers, I was at that time a fresh graduate and had to think outside the box. I chose to speak on “leadership” with a very simplistic illustration of a man standing on top of a patch of ground. Then the ground was dug away and he fell into the hole. It gave the message that a leader without supporters/helpers (or a king without subjects) is useless. The seemingly insignificant supportive workers (or citizens) in an organization (kingdom) form the solid ground the CEO-leader stands on. A high performing organization requires a leader who values and sustains those who together make and hold up the solid ground for a pre-defined and agreed upon common good and rewards according to each share of contribution in efforts. I was thinking of a somewhat “populistic” yet effective performance-based leadership.

Good management theories and practices have sustained over the years and in fact have impacted all economic activities. In my worldview, ethical, productive, and constructive economic activities and their sustainable distribution of positive outcome can solve many problems in this world.

I use the term ‘economic activities” to sum up all the activities that involve two humans or more doing something productive together with the goal of achieving a mutually beneficial increase in the sum total outcome than each would have achieved on his own. There is a term called “synergy” to describe this: a state in which two or more things work together in a particularly fruitful way that produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. Expressed also as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

I find this quote relevant and give a higher level of perspective: “We are all bound to work in the vineyard where God is the husbandman. We have all been given our little vineyard, but the way in which we cultivate it is of great importance for the prosperity of our neighbour’s vineyard… In fact all our vineyards are a part of the Lord’s great vineyard, the Holy Church, and we are all bound to work here too.” ― Sigrid Undset

The apostle Paul was such a practitioner. In his letter (speech) to the Corinthian Christians (2 Corinthians 7) he showed such a servant-leadership characteristic. He had every right to tell them off as being ungrateful and disrespectful etc. But he did not. Instead he praised them for the positive things they had done and highlighted those aspects that showed their sincerity in their relationship with him and his team.

He wrote: 7:Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

He praised them further for their repentance: 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

He spoke of his talking good about them to his co-worker Titus who also witnessed their goodness when visiting them: 13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

I will continue in my next blog on Paul’s motivational leadership practice.

Paul’s Ambassadorship: Rule of law

Today I have done a simple diagram. Let us read this new wine revealed in new wineskin. I am awed that we can actually apply this simple rule of law to every practical aspect of our lives, as ambassadors for Christ, representing the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

Be Reconciled to God

12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:19 reckoning

Paul’s testimony: how he uses the mind of Christ

2 Corinthians 6:4

Today we learn how effectively Paul use both his mind and spirit: aligned with the mind of Christ and the Spirit of Christ.

His challenge list reads like a horror movie, far worse than any nightmare: five times whipped with 39 stripes each, three times beaten by rod, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, one night and one day in the deep, in journeys often, in perils of waters, robbers, own countrymen, gentiles, city, wilderness, sea, false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness often, hunger, thirst, fasting often, cold, nakedness, deep concern for all churches, threat of imminent arrest (his life) from city authority. He was in constant physical and mind challenges: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, and labors. (2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 6:4-5)

Imagine a human always being hounded, on the look-out, on the run, slandered, taunted, intimidated, verbally and physically abused, violently assaulted, falsely accused, brutally arrested, beaten, condemned as guilty without evidence, imprisoned without a just trial, and always overhung with the death sentence.

But what did Paul say about his conditions? How did he deal with such an overload of injustice and schemes of torments after his life? His letters showed how he looked at things both sides. He lived in both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, the spiritual and the physical realms, the temporary and the eternal, the external and the internal, the seen and the unseen. To Paul, both were real. He really experienced them, the natural and the supernatural. By knowing the two parallel realities Paul was able to handle the challenges confidently and overcome them successfully. Because his focus and priority are always on the side of the real victor, Christ.

He explained this plainly in his letters (2 Corinthians 6:6-10). There are two sides in everything: the view of the enemy and the view of a Spirit-filled Christian (reflecting God’s view). The evil and the good. The good will always overpower the evil one. Paul effectively and fearlessly exercised his spiritual power and authority over his unseen foe who worked through other human and natural elements. I append below self-explanatory Bible verses on this awesome revelation!

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NKJV)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 6:4 endurance
  2. 2 Corinthians 6:6 Lit. unhypocritical

Acts 26:24-26 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 Festus interrupted Paul’s defense,[a] blurting out, “You’re out of your mind! All this great learning of yours is driving you crazy.”[b]

25 Paul replied, “No, Your Excellency Festus, I am not crazy. I speak the words of truth and reason.[c] 26 King Agrippa, I know I can speak frankly and freely with you, for you understand these matters well, and none of these things have escaped your notice. After all, it’s not like it was a secret!

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 26:24 The Aramaic can be translated “As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul, Festus interrupted.”
  2. Acts 26:24 Or “So much Scripture has made you senseless!”
  3. Acts 26:25 Or “words of sober truth.”

super blood wolf moon, Holy Spirit, meaning

Acts 2:37 Day of Pentecost AD 30

An unusual set of circumstances will combine in the early hours of Monday morning in the skies above the northern hemisphere, resulting in a phenomenon called a super blood wolf moon. Overnight from Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, into Monday, Jan. 21, millions of people in North and South America will have a prime view of a total lunar eclipse. The Jan. 21 total lunar eclipse will be the last one until May 2021, and the last one visible from the United States until 2022.

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. ” (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20) This phenomena was prophesied by prophet Joel and confirmed by apostle Peter in his first public preaching after the first baptism of the Holy Spirit upon each of the 120 apostles/disciples of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Prophet Joel’s prophecy was about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the showing of wonders in heavens and on earth before “the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” I quote below the Bible verses in context from Joel 2:29-32.

Joel 2: 29 “And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered:” (KJV)

It is notable that in apostle Peter’s account he confirmed the prophecy of the pouring of the Holy Spirit. He then focused on the salvation message, testifying the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The result was spectacular as follows:

Acts 2:37-38, 41 King James Version (KJV)

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Again, it is notable that Peter did not mention any other things but specified solemnly that the believers would receive a divine gift from God: the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) which comes with salvation. So, at this time of watching the phenomenon in the natural world, let us meditate on the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The power of God is essential in our Christian walk, just as in the lives and ministry of Jesus, the apostles and disciples. As I read Paul’s letters to the churches I realize that he would not have survived without the power of the Holy Spirit. The dangers, trials and adversities he went through are no different from those gone through by some evangelists, missionaries and even believers in some countries and people groups today in varying quantities, frequencies and intensities. In fact today it is worse in some places where there are oppositions magnified and strengthened by advanced technologies from believers of other faith and philosophies.

I would therefore urge all Christians whether you are watching the blood moon or not to spend time reading the words of God and ask the Lord what you and your loved ones can do to go deeper in the walk with the Holy Spirit like Paul and many others did starting from the Pentecost Day AD 30.

The Bible verses quoted from Acts and Joel referred to the phenomena that will happen before the Lord Jesus returns. This is why it is even more pertinent to read and understand what the Lord is telling us today as we watch the things that can be seen while focusing on the things that cannot be seen with our physical eyes.

Paul’s relationship: with the Holy Spirit

2 Corinthians 3:3

I now realize that in the previous two chapters of 2 Corinthians Paul spoke of his relationship in Christ with God and then with man. In the third chapter he described his relationship with the Holy Spirit, his power source. I summarize below my understanding. Indeed this is my favorite chapter!

Chapter 3: Paul’s Ministry of the Holy Spirit

  1. Paul described the Holy Spirit as: The Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of Christ, the Lord.
  2. The Holy Spirit writes letter in the heart, gives lives, changes lives.
  3. New covenant of the Spirit gives life.
  4. Ministry of the Spirit is far more glorious than the ministry of the Old Testament.
  5. Whenever the Scripture is read and the people turn to the Lord, the Holy Spirit removes the veil in hearts to see Jesus as the Christ.
  6. The Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
  7. The Holy Spirit transforms us into the same image of the Lord, from glory to glory.
  8. Paul’s sufficiency is from God who made him minister of the new covenant of the Spirit who gives life.
  9. The ministry of the Spirit is also called: the ministry of the new covenant, the ministry of righteousness and the ministry of glory.
  10. Holy Spirit causes: Boldness, unveiled heart when the truth is preached, liberty whenever one turns to the Holy Spirit, transformation of lives.