Today’s prayer: the watchman’s 3 am prayer (august 22, 2016)

prayinghandsI am led to read and pray this prayer again at the dawn of today. There is an urgency for Christian to pray. The appointed time is now. Pray for your loved ones and their future. Pray for your brethren. Pray for nations. Pray for the Kingdom of God. Pray like Abraham, the father of faith! His prayer has come true in history! The outcome is not over yet. You will continue to see the positive results of the covenant God has with those who call on the name of Jesus.

Dear heavenly Father:

Today I read of the faith of Abraham. Abraham mourned and wept for Sarah who died at 127 years old, he went to buy a piece of land so he could give her a proper burial. The owner offered to give it to him free. But he said, “No, listen to me. I will buy it from you. Let me pay the full price for the field so I can bury my dead there.” So Abraham bought the plot of land for use as a permanent burial place.

Prior to this episode, Abraham heard from your angel from heaven regarding his descendants’ future, “This is what the Lord says: because you have obeyed Me and have not withheld even your only son, I swear by My own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed –all because you have obeyed Me.”

Abraham was now a very old man and You have blessed him in every way. Then he sent his oldest servant to go to his homeland to find a wife for his only son (of promise).

Father, I pray You open my eyes to see why this episode about Abraham’s last lap of his faith journey was revealed today?

Please give me spiritual wisdom and insight so that I may grow in my knowledge of You.

I pray that my heart and those of my loved ones (including my brethren in the house church and all who have been led by the Holy Spirit to read this prayer) be flooded with light so that we can understand the confident hope You have given to those You called –Your holy people who are Your rich and glorious inheritance, and the rich and glorious inheritance You have given to Your holy people.

As there are so many hurting and suffering people in this world, Lord, I also pray that we (Your children, the sons and daughters of God) will understand the incredible greatness of Your power for us who believe You, the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of power and honor at Your right hand in the heavenly realms.

Your Son, Christ Jesus, has now all authority in heaven and on earth, including all realms (physical and spiritual). He is now far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else –not only in this world but also in the world to come. He has commissioned us to go and make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey all the commands that He has given us. But Lord, look at us, we are not manifesting His authority and power!

The thief has come in to steal, kill, and destroy. Your people are still being imprisoned, oppressed, and destroyed physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We are not exercising the authority and power Your Son has promised and indeed given to His disciples.

Lord, once we were dead because of our disobedience and many sins. By Your grace we have been saved. You have raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus, as vine branches united with the vine. Yes, Lord, we believe!

The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus has sent His disciples to go and announce that the Kingdom of Heaven is near, heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Jesus declared clearly that He is the Healer. Power came out from Him. He healed all. The disciples did likewise as Jesus had commanded. Power came out from them and they healed just as Jesus did. As they went everywhere and preached the Good News, Your Spirit worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

Lord, speak through us. Grant us favor from heaven as You have granted Abraham, who walked by faith, believing in the unseen, and not by sight. Open our eyes to see the spiritual heavenly realms just as Abraham had seen. He was walking so close with You that You even called him friend. He was strong in your mighty power. He could see into the spiritual realms. How else can we explain the unquestioning faith and obedience to let go of his self, and unrelenting pursuit to be separate from the rest of the world and its way (devilish wiles), even paying high costs?

Yes, Father, we want to imitate You, in everything we do, because we are Your dear children. We want to live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. We want to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. We want to be strong in You and in Your mighty power, so that we may be able to stand firm against the strategies of the devil. Help us to put on every piece of Your armor and stand our ground.

O, Spirit of Christ, help us in this hour of our weakness. For we do not know what to pray as we ought. Intercede for us with groaning too deep for words. Help us to set our minds, like Abraham did, on the things of the Spirit, walking according to the Spirit, receiving Your life and peace.

Father, we thank you for You have poured Your love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. You called Abraham friend. Jesus had called His disciples friends. And now, we are called Your children. You have given us the Holy Spirit who bears witness with our spirits that we are Your children.

By Your Spirit, we are led as Your children. And we now cry, “Abba, Father!” Thank You, Abba Father, for hearing my prayer.

In Jesus name, I pray.

Jesus and the Father in heaven

John 5-36On Sunday (Today Christian equivalent to Jewish Sabbath-Saturday) Jesus performed a miracle and healed a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. The Jewish leaders objected to the miracle because it happened on their traditional rest day. Jesus further revealed that He is the Son of God who can override all the traditions of man. Thus the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to kill Him. So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. 21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. 22 In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.Let us compare the religious leaders at that time with Jesus.

The religious leaders were not interested in the miraculous healing of a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years.
They were only concerned with the loss of their own authority and control through the Law of Moses and their added traditions.
They did not care whether their religion or tradition brought lives and healing to the suffering people.
They did not have an accurate knowledge of the God whom they claimed to worship.
They did not have a relationship with the spiritual God.
They were merely using God’s name to perpetuate their own self-importance through exercising their religious authority.
They felt threatened by Jesus because Jesus had all that they wanted but could not have: real spiritual relationship with God, authority and power from God, and a genuine love from God.

Jesus explained to them why he had what they wanted but they did not have:
Jesus is the Son of God.
He has a close relationship with His Father in heaven.
He only does God’s will: Whatever God does, Jesus also does.
This miraculous healing of a man who had suffered for thirty eight years (and daily placed in a location right in front of the religious leaders and they could not do anything about his sickness) is no big deal to Jesus.
There are bigger miracles Jesus can do: Raising the dead. Giving life. Absolute authority to judge the living and the dead. Give eternal life.

Jesus also told them who would qualify to receive eternal life:
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

today’s reading is from: John 5

Jesus and His brothers

John71617The world can’t hate you, you go on to this festival of Shelters. Jesus replied His brothers. For even His worldly brothers didn’t believe in Him at that time. He was traveling around Galilee to stay out of Judea where the Jewish leaders were plotting to kill Him. His brothers told Him to leave and go to Judea, “where your followers can see your miracles!” They knew and had seen His supernatural power but they were not His followers. They wanted Him to show off the physical power He could display. They further said, “You can’t become famous if you hide like this!” They wanted him to become famous in their world. Judea was the centre of religious and political activities as people went there yearly for various national festivals. The ‘who is who’ would all be there, people of political/social/economic power, wealth and influential connection. They also said (obviously with unbelief), “If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”

What makes a person believe in Jesus? Even His brothers did not believe, who can believe? This is the question today.

Jesus told us the answer in John 7:17 “Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.”

Anyone can believe.
The condition in your heart must be right and ready. You really want to do the will of God.
Believing in Jesus is the will of God. (John 6:29, 39-40)
You will be given the discernment from God to know that Jesus is the One who comes from God and is speaking to you God’s message for you.
Anyone who is thirsty for God. (John 7:37)
Anyone who loves God will love Jesus. (John 8:42)
Everyone who listens to the Father (God) and learns from Him comes to Jesus. (John 6:45)

CHAPTER 20: BEWARE OF THE JERUSALEM SERPENT WELL; DUNG/REFUSE GATE

relevant today!

AAA Jack's watchman notes

Religion Blogs

Nehemiah 2:13 “And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the  Dung Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.”

Lately, the watchman is interested in why many Christians are weak, succumbs to sickness and live in defeat and fears. He reads that the Dung Gate describes how in practice the defilement in our bodies and minds should be rooted out and burn. Through the Dung Gate, trashes were taken out of Jerusalem, to a valley of Hinnom, where smelly, rotten and disease infested trashes were burnt. The Dung Gate spiritual meaning is that sin, like trashes, could defile and destroy our physical and mental being and must be cast out and burn.

Jesus described about how a person could be defiled in Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of…

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to him I will give power over the nations

Revelation 2
Revelation 2:26

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power ove the nations-“
The Message to the Church in Ephesus
“Write this letter to the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:

2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first![b] 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.

7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

The Message to the Church in Smyrna
8 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:

9 “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

11 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.

The Message to the Church in Pergamum
12 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:

13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.

14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

The Message to the Church in Thyatira
18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:

19 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.

20 “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.

22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering,[c] and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.

24 “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end,

To them I will give authority over all the nations.
27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.[d]
28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

Footnotes:

2:1 Or the messenger; also in 2:8, 12, 18.
2:4 Greek You have lost your first love.
2:22 Greek a bed.
2:26-27 Ps 2:8-9 (Greek version).

The above passage is quoted from: The Holy Bible, Revelation 2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus talks about hate crime

Jesus the Son of God
Jesus, God’s beloved Son

Jesus talks about the hate crime against Him and His followers. “The world does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.”

Here is a summary of what Jesus has said about hate crime against Him and Christians:
The world hates Jesus.
Anyone who hates Jesus also hates God.
It hates Jesus because He accuses it of doing evil.
The devil does evil things.
The devil is a murderer from the beginning.
The devil has always hated the truth.
Because there is no truth in the devil.
When the devil lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
His children love to do the evil things he does.
All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it.
If the world hates you, remember that it hated Jesus first.
But the followers of Jesus are no longer part of the world. Jesus chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
Jesus has given them you God’s word. And the world hates you because you do not belong to the world, just as Jesus does not belong to the world. Those who hear God’s words, receive and believe, are separated from the evil world. God’s words are truth and light. The world hates truth and light. God is truth and light. Jesus is the truth and the light.
Those who love God will not love money. No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
Jesus said, “And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.”

Why does the devil hate Jesus? Jealousy. Here are some classic examples of how jealousy can cause hatred and murder.

The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but He did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry…and while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Genesis 4
Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” Genesis 27
But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. Genesis 37

Was God unjust in favoring Abel, Jacob and Joseph?
Here is what God says about His standard of holiness and reason:
Let us look at the case of Abel and Cain, which is the classic case representing all mankind, the division of two groups: those who follow and obey God, and those who follow and obey the devil.

“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. but you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:7
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed His approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. Hebrews 11:4

What did Abel give as an offering and why did it meet God’s requirement? Genesis 4:4
When it was time for the harvest, Abel brought the best of the first born lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift.
We note two things that must meet God’s requirements: the person who gives and the gift itself. God accepted both Abel and his gift, the best of his first born lambs. How did Abel know about God and His requirement? God had shown Adam. Adam had taught his two sons, Cain and Abel. But Abel obeyed and Cain disobeyed.

The lamb represents Jesus. The redemptive symbol and spiritual implication.
Without Jesus the Lamb of God, human race will perish forever, forever cut off from the holy God.
Sin is the number one enemy that blocks man from God.
Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Jesus shed His blood to redeem human race from sins and the penalty of sins.
Abel became a righteous man because of his obedience to God’s holy standard, by an act of faith, offering an acceptable sacrifice. God’s holy standard has never changed. God does not change. That is why He sent His Son Jesus who is without sin to die as the Lamb of God.

John the Baptist witnessed that Jesus is the Lamb of God -the Son of God:
When he saw Jesus coming toward him he said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 (26-34) “The Father loves His Son and has put everything into His hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgement.” John 3:35-36 (27-36)

God witnessed that Jesus is His beloved Son:
“This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.” Matthew 3:17
“This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy. Listen to Him.” Matthew 17:5
“You are My dearly loved Son, and you being Me great joy.” Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22
“This is My Son, My Chosen One. Listen to Him.” Luke 9:35
“This is My dearly loved Son. Listen to Him.” Mark 9:7

The Apostle’s testimony: 2 Peter 1:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”[a] 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
Footnotes:
a.1:17 Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35.

He faithfully reported everything he saw

Revelation 1
Revelation 1

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.

Revelation 1 New Living Translation (NLT)
Prologue

1 This is a revelation from[a] Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon[b] take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, 2 who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

3 God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.
John’s Greeting to the Seven Churches

4 This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia.[c]

Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit[d] before his throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.

All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

7
Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
And everyone will see him—
even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen!

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,”[e] says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
Vision of the Son of Man

9 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. 10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit.[f] Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book[g] everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”

12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man.[h] He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.[i]

19 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.[j] 20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels[k] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Footnotes:

1:1a Or of.
1:1b Or suddenly, or quickly.
1:4a Asia was a Roman province in what is now western Turkey.
1:4b Greek the seven spirits.
1:8 Greek I am the Alpha and the Omega, referring to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.
1:10 Or in spirit.
1:11 Or on a scroll.
1:13 Or like a son of man. See Dan 7:13. “Son of Man” is a title Jesus used for himself.
1:18 Greek and Hades.
1:19 Or what you have seen and what they mean—the things that have already begun to happen.
1:20 Or the messengers.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”

writing on wall2The watchman hears today. This a valley of decision now for the nations (states) which are gathered together to vote. Are they electing a Persian King like King Cyrus the Great, or a Babylonian king like King Belshazzar who would see the writing on the wall? (His kingdom fell overnight and Babylon was no more!)Read Daniel 5 for “Writing on the Wall”. Either you are with Cyrus the Great who protected God’s people and rebuilt the Temple of God, or you just wait for the writing on the wall to appear on your wall.

Daniel 5:25 “This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
26 “Here is what these words mean:
Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
28 Peres[g]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

Isaiah 1 New International Version (NIV)
1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
A Rebellious Nation

2
Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.
3
The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”

4
Woe to the sinful nation,
a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.

5
Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
6
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with olive oil.

7
Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
8
Daughter Zion is left
like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a hut in a cucumber field,
like a city under siege.
9
Unless the Lord Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.

10
Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the instruction of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
11
“The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
12
When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?
13
Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.
14
Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15
When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.

Your hands are full of blood!

16
Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

18
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20
but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

21
See how the faithful city
has become a prostitute!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her—
but now murderers!
22
Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.
23
Your rulers are rebels,
partners with thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them.

24
Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
“Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes
and avenge myself on my enemies.
25
I will turn my hand against you;[b]
I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities.
26
I will restore your leaders as in days of old,
your rulers as at the beginning.
Afterward you will be called
the City of Righteousness,
the Faithful City.”

27
Zion will be delivered with justice,
her penitent ones with righteousness.
28
But rebels and sinners will both be broken,
and those who forsake the Lord will perish.

29
“You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks
in which you have delighted;
you will be disgraced because of the gardens
that you have chosen.
30
You will be like an oak with fading leaves,
like a garden without water.
31
The mighty man will become tinder
and his work a spark;
both will burn together,
with no one to quench the fire.”
Footnotes:

Isaiah 1:17 Or justice. / Correct the oppressor
Isaiah 1:25 That is, against Jerusalem

three kings of Persia (3)

favour-grace-and-mercyThe third king of Persia who made a significant impact on God’s people was Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) who reigned during the period 465-424BC.(Ezr.7:1,21-26; Ne.2:1-8) He appointed Ezra as the secretary of state for Jewish affairs (in today’s language). He trusted and favored Ezra so much that he gave him everything he asked for. He wanted to beautify the Temple of God in Jerusalem and also make sure the priests and Levites there were carrying the worship correctly. So he listened to Ezra’s advice and sent Ezra to Jerusalem in 458BC with all the resources Ezra needed. He paid for all expenses to re-establish the proper Temple worship and sacrifices. He also gave Ezra authority to ensure compulsory religious education of the people of God (teaching them the Law of Moses) and their due compliance with the Law. He decreed that those who refuse to obey the Law of Ezra’s God and the law of the king would be punished immediately, “either by death, punishment, confiscation of goods or imprisonment.” He honored God and favored God’s servants-gave those who served God tax free status!

Here is a prayer of Ezra, praising God for the favor from God and from the king:
Ezra 7:27-28 New Living Translation (NLT)
Ezra Praises the Lord
27 Praise the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who made the king want to beautify the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem! 28 And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.

Thirteen years later, the same Persian king listened to another trusted Jewish official in his court, Nehemiah, allowed him to go back to Jerusalem in 445BC to re-build the wall of Jerusalem so the enemies would not be able to continue to harass the people of Israel and interrupt the Temple worship.

From these Biblical records we can see that king Artaxerxes I knew the two officials well, trusted them, acknowledged their godly wisdom, moral integrity, professional ability and leadership quality. History had proven that king Artaxerxes’ judgment was right in employing and granting favor to these two great men of God! Both men of God were not ambitious or greedy for gains for themselves. They served God faithfully, served the king with integrity,  and capability for the respective task assigned. They truly loved God and loved the people of God. Upon completion of their respective specific assignment they returned to their own previous posts in the Persian Empire working close to the king and continuing to counsel him wisely. In today’s language, this is a win-win situation when both parties work together with integrity, justice, and honor  for one another, sharing the ultimate reverential fear of the Almighty Holy God of Heaven.

three kings of Persia (2)

4decreesDarius I, the Great, was the third king after Cyrus II, the Great, and reigned in Persia for the period 522-486BC. During his entire reign, the governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and his companions, the Persians who were in the region beyond the River, were against the re-building of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. They bribed agents to work against the them and to frustrate their plans.

In 520BC the governor’s letter of complaint went to his superior, the satrap who had charge of Babylon and the country west of the Euphrates, no records of the decree of Cyrus II instructing the re-building were found among the archives kept at Babylon. However, a further search found the memorandum at Ecbatana, where Cyrus had resided. Darius I confirmed this decree and ordered his officials to help the Jews.

Darius I reorganized the satrapies. His system of military commanders, introduction of coinage, legal and postal systems lasted as long as the empire of Persia. These facilities and the autonomy allowed to the subject people contributed to the stability of the empire. Under such a system the small community of Jews in Judah (only 42,360 people returned to Judah in response to the Persian king’s decree) was sustained. Jewish officers were appointed to govern them.

We can see how God had preserved the people of Israel in history. Indeed, during the entire period of re-building of the Temple and later the wall, the enemies of the Jews were harassing and threatening them. But God had raised powerful foreign kings to grant the people of God justice, favor and protection. All these fulfilled the promises of God spoken through the prophets of God long before they actually happened.

Indeed, by granting favor to the people of Israel, the Persian kings too continued to sustain their power and considerable prosperity. The Persian Empire which was established by Cyrus the Great lasted from 559BC to 651AD (interrupted by Moslem conquest). The main religion of ancient Persia was Zoroastrianism, but after the seventh century, it was replaced by Islam.

Believers Should Stand Firm

narrow ridgeNow, dear brothers and sisters,[a] let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed—the one who brings destruction.[c] 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? 6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. 8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

Believers Should Stand Firm
13 As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first[d] to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth. 14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, 17 comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

Footnotes:

2:1 Greek brothers; also in 2:13, 15.
2:3a Some manuscripts read the man of sin.
2:3b Greek the son of destruction.
2:13 Some manuscripts read chose you from the very beginning.

The above passage is quoted from the Holy Bible 2 Thessalonians 2 NLT

Three kings of Persia (1)

Bible life giving Spirit of powerWe read how three Persian kings (559-424BC) appeared in Jewish history. Who are they and what did the Bible say about them. Most importantly how did these kings treat the Jewish people and their God? We shall read them in three short blogs.

The Indo-European Persians were nomadic pastoralists from S Russia, probably entered the Iranian plateau late in the 2nd millennium BC. The Achaemenes was claimed as founder of the dynasty by later kings. The three kings we mention here were his descendants.

All Scriptures are quoted from the Bible New King James Version (NKJV).
1.Cyrus II, the Great. (=Darius the Mede?) 559-530BC. 2 Ch.36:22-23; Ezr.1:1-4,7-8;5:13-17;6:3; Is.44:28;45:1; Dn.1:21;5:30;6:28;10:1
2.Darius I, the Great. 522-486BC. Erz.4:5;5:6-7;6:1; Hg.1:1; Zc.1:1
3.Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) 465-424BC. Ezr.7:1,21-26; Ne.2:1-8

CYRUS II
Cyrus II defeated Babylon in 539BC. He gave back the Jews the precious vessels looted from the Temple of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. More important, he gave royal authorization for the rebuilding of the Temple to any Jew who wished to return to Judah. (Ezr.1:1-4) He appointed a Jewish prince, Sheshbazzar, as governor. (Ezr.5:14)

Cyrus fulfilled the prophecies of Jeremiah 29:10 of the return of the Jews to Jerusalem after seventy years of exile, and Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1 of Cyrus being raised to carry out God’s purpose.

Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the Lord, “After seventy years re completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good words toward you, and cause you to return to this place.”

Isaiah 44:28 Who says of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”

2 Ch.36:22-23 That the above prophecies be fulfilled in the first year of Cyrus’ reign, the Lord stirred Cyrus’ spirit and he made proclamation to allow the Jews to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of the God of Israel. Cyrus confirmed this in writing, “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And he has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!”
Isaiah 45:1-7 God described Cyrus as His anointed, and promised, “To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut: I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron…I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me…that there is none beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other…”

Indeed, Cyrus II was the grandson of Cyrus I and he rebelled against his Median overload, killed him and took over his capital in 550Bc, and defeated the seemingly all powerful invincible Babylon in 539BC. He conquered other kingdoms too. Daniel prospered during his reign.

Cyrus recognized and gave honor to the God of Israel. This was written in his decree about God’s favor for him to conquer other kingdoms on earth. He also expressed his obedience to God’s command for him to build the temple of God in Jerusalem. (2 Ch.36:22-23; Ezr.1:1-4,7-8;5:13-17;6:3)

“All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And he has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.”

Ezra 6:3-5 recorded the decree of King Cyrus II authorizing the re-building of the Temple of God at Jerusalem. it specified the foundations, the building materials of stones and timber, the payment from the king’s treasure, and the return to Jerusalem all the gold and silver articles which the former Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had plundered from the Temple and brought to Babylon, “to be restored and taken back to the temple in Jerusalem, each to its place; and deposit them in the house of God.”

King Cyrus II was the most powerful ruler then but he acknowledged another who was more powerful than him. He acknowledged and honored the God of Israel. It is interesting to note he knew God wanted him to re-build the temple. Unlike other foreign conquerors he decided to adopt a new system of government. He allowed freedom of worship and local government autonomy through appointing Jewish citizens to be officials. His successors continued his policy which fitted into God’s plan for Israel. By aligning with God’s plan King Cyrus II prospered and his kingdom became strong and powerful just as God had promised through the prophet Isaiah.

July 30, 2016.
(To be continued)

There was a man named Ezra.

amos-plumb-lineThere is this Christian teacher who is fully qualified in knowing and teaching the Bible and is filled with the Holy Spirit. At the right time he goes to see the President of the country and the President respects, honors and favors him. The President gives him everything he asks for regarding the matter of following God’s Law to govern the people. The reason? The President believes that by pleasing God he and his family will be blessed instead of cursed. The President is afraid of God’s wrath against “the realm of the President and his sons”.

The President gives this Christian man full authority to access the federal and state treasuries for all the resources he needs for the church, and blanket executive power to execute the following based on Biblical principles in the country selected by God for God’s people:

1.Conduct inquiries into all aspects of lives in the country, to ensure that they are based on Biblical plumb line.
2.Give generous offerings and donations to the church according to God’s will.
3.Provide whatever God requires for the upkeep of His church.
4.Appoint magistrates and judges who know the Bible to govern all the people.
5.Teach the Bible to anyone who does not know it.
6.Anyone who refuses to obey the Bible and the national Constitution will be punished and corrected immediately according to the Law.
7.Tax free status assured for the church and all the church workers. They are exempted from paying all taxes, rates, custom and excise of any kind.

(I have put the above historical record into today’s language, taken from the Bible book of Ezra, Chapter Seven)
The time was in the seventh year of Persian King Artaxerxes’ reign (465-424BC).
The Biblical man is called Ezra. He was a descendant of the chosen high priest Aaron. This Ezra was a scribe well versed in the Law of Moses, which the God of Israel had given to the people of Israel. He was the priest and scribe who studied and taught the commands and decrees of the Lord to Israel. The King of Persia described Ezra as the priest and teacher of the law of the God of heaven. About 47 years after the completion of the Temple of Jerusalem, Ezra went to ask the king for favor and the king gave him everything he asked for. The king gave him a teaching job in Israel that he was most qualified to do, to teach the Law of Moses, and with absolute authority to ensure the law is practiced and fully complied with. God’s favor was on him. This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the Lord and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.

July 28th 2016

today we run the race of Christian faith

2016 lakeThe Race of Faith
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Discipline of God
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”[a]
7 If[b] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Renew Your Spiritual Vitality
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

The Glorious Company
18 For you have not come to the mountain that[c] may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness[d] and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned[e] or shot with an arrow.”[f] 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”[g])

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Hear the Heavenly Voice
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake[h] not only the earth, but also heaven.”[i] 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may[j] serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Footnotes:

Hebrews 12:6 Proverbs 3:11, 12
Hebrews 12:7 NU-Text and M-Text read It is for discipline that you endure; God . . . .
Hebrews 12:18 NU-Text reads to that which.
Hebrews 12:18 NU-Text reads gloom.
Hebrews 12:20 NU-Text and M-Text omit the rest of this verse.
Hebrews 12:20 Exodus 19:12, 13
Hebrews 12:21 Deuteronomy 9:19
Hebrews 12:26 NU-Text reads will shake.
Hebrews 12:26 Haggai 2:6
Hebrews 12:28 M-Text omits may.

(The Holy Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible: Hebrews 12 New King James Version (NKJV))

Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign?

a signWhy do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign?
I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign. Jesus said this. Mark 8:12

Prior to this He had performed many miracles. He displayed His supernatural power over sicknesses, evil spirits (spiritual realm), physical and natural elements. The news about His miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see Him and followed Him. They were His eye witnesses. Mark 3:7-8

He healed a man with leprosy. 1:41-42
He healed a paralyzed man. 2:8-11
He healed a man with deformed hand. 3:3-5
He had healed many people. Power came out from Him to heal the sick and cast out demons. All the sick sought to touch Him. All who touched Him were healed. Those possessed by evil spirits too were delivered. 3:10-11. 6:56
He sent out His disciples (apostles) to preach the Kingdom of God and He gave them supernatural authority and power to cast out many demons and heal man sick people too. 3:14-15, 6:7, 12-13
The wind and waves obeyed Him. 4:41
He healed a demon possessed man. 5:1-20
He raised from death the daughter of a leader of the synagogue. 5:22, 35-36, 41-42
He healed a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 5:25-34
He fed 5,000 men and their families with five loaves and two fish. 6:41-44
He walked on water and stopped the raging waves and wind. 6:47-52
He healed a deaf man. 7:32-35
He fed 4,000 people with seven loaves. 8:6-9
He healed a blind man. 8:22-26

Coming back to the question, why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? More show of the power of Jesus? Why do they still want proof of His supernatural authority to show that He is from God? Why do people see the power of Jesus but still continue not to believe in Him?

I ask this question too today. Here is the answer I received from Jesus:
“You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Mark 8:33 (Jesus rebuked Peter for listening to Satan-influenced humanistic reasoning and not to the Holy Spirit. Jesus reprimanded Peter, “Get away from Me, Satan!”)

Peter was doing well when he listened to the Holy Spirit. But he lost his supernatural discernment the moment he switches back to his human mind. Jesus called that as being selfish, trying to hang on to the life he could see, not knowing that what he could see and feel (body and soul) could not save him. He was ashamed of Jesus talking about dying on the cross and resurrecting after three days. He considered Jesus being not politically correct. Mark 8:31-38
It is so clear that the minute a Christian resorts to using a human point of view to explain or question a supernatural miraculous sign from Jesus, he or she loses the spiritual privilege and faith that come only from the supernatural realm. The authority and power of Jesus would be of no use to them. They may still get healed or see their loved ones get healed but they would still be excluded from the Kingdom of God. Without faith in the supernatural God-Jesus, one just cannot get saved. Without faith one cannot please God. Without believing in the spiritual reality of Jesus one cannot connect to Him and interact with Him in a relationship. But the children of God must join to the Lord and be one with His Spirit. The children of God must be led by the Spirit of Christ. Believing in Jesus requires spiritual faith, and a belief in a realm human eyes cannot see. Unless we can see with our spirit the reality of God, we cannot enter. It is easy for many to believe in a historical Jesus who existed during a period on earth as a human but not a Jesus (in Spirit) who is still living today. This is the dilemma of many who choose the wide, easy and popular road today. Is there hope for this group? Yes, as long as you are still open to Jesus through the Holy Spirit and His words.

Bible verses: John 3:3, 5-6, 3:16, 4:23-24, 5:24, 26-27, 37-40, 6:29, 35-36, 40, 63; Romans 10:8-12, 8:1-2, 8:9, 8:11, 14, 16; Galatians 3:2, 26-29; Hebrews 11:1-3, 11:6. 1Corinthians 6:17.

Lord, while they curse, may you bless

may you blessKing David’s depression: Psalm 109 study on verbal abuses:
King David expresses the mental and emotional anguish of a person oppressed by verbal abuses. The weapons they use are words. Lies and slanders. Accusations. Hate crimes. This is done by people whom David has considered his friends. They have turned against him for no legitimate reasons.

How does David defend himself against such verbal abuses? David prays.

My God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for people who are wicked and deceitful have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship. (1-5)

In 1-5, 16-19 We read that the enemy was wicked, deceitful, and spoke against David with lying tongues. The wicked never thought of doing kindness, hounded to death the poor, needy, brokenhearted, loved to pronounce curses and never blessed.

David asks the Lord to do to his enemy what the enemy does to others. In 8-20 David prays against his enemy. He cannot stop his accuser from smearing him with verbal abuses and wrongful accusations, so he turns to God for help.

Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him be found guilty, and may his prayers condemn him. (6-7) May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers, to those who speak evil of me.” (20)

David speaks of how the accuser’s verbal abuses do hurt him, and how his mental anguish has affected and caused sicknesses and suffering to his physical body.

But you, Sovereign Lord, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow; I am shaken off like a locust. My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt. I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads. (21-25)

David knows and believes that God can turn the curses from his enemy into blessing. The enemy’s curses will no longer have any effect on him. Instead God will vindicate him.

Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love. Let them know that it is your hand, that you, Lord, have done it. While they curse, may you bless; may those who attack me be put to shame, but may your servant rejoice. May my accusers be clothed with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak. (26-29)

David knows one truth: God is always on his side. If God is for us who can be against us? This is David’s key to success. He overcomes his depression by his re-focus on God and no longer on the enemy. He witnesses God and not the enemy.

With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord; in the great throng of worshippers I will praise him. For he stands at the right hand of the needy, to save the lives from those who would condemn them. (30-31)

David is a man of God. Here is another example of his declaration of his unwavering conviction and faith in God: “Give us aid against the enemy, for human help is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” (Psalm 108:12-13)

Romans 8:31-33

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

Then the righteous will shine like the sun

righteous shine like stars
the righteous will shine like the sun

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’
“‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.
“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.
“‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”

Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”
Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one. The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world, and the harvesters are the angels.

“Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!

(Above quoted from the Holy Bible, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

For she cares nothing about the path to life.

Babylon.jpgMy son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen carefully to my wise counsel.
Then you will show discernment,
and your lips will express what you’ve learned.

For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
and her mouth is smoother than oil.
But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.[a]
For she cares nothing about the path to life.
She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
Stay away from her!

Don’t go near the door of her house!
If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.

In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”

Footnotes:
5:5 Hebrew to Sheol.
(above quoted from the Holy Bible, Proverbs 5:1-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
Avoid Immoral Women)

Revelation 17:5 A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.”
Revelation 18:2 He gave a mighty shout: “Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen! She has become a home for demons. She is a hideout for every foul spirit, a hideout for every foul vulture and every foul and dreadful animal..

Prayer window

Look Uplook up to Jesus When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

(Above passage is quoted from the Holy Bible Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT) (Footnotes: e. 3:14 Some manuscripts read the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. f. 3:15 Or from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.)

Colossians 1:18-20 (NLT)
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.[a]
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Footnotes:
a. 1:18 Or the firstborn from the dead.

Colossians 2:8-10 (NLT)
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.[b] So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Footnotes:
a. 2:8 Or the spiritual principles; also in 2:20.
b. 2:9 Or in him dwells all the completeness of the Godhead bodily.

A fast day is not only a sad day, but an opportune day.

watchman on the walls JerusalemThe sages explain: “Every generation for which the Temple is not rebuilt, it is as though the Temple was destroyed for that generation.” A fast day is not only a sad day, but an opportune day. It’s a day when we are empowered to fix the cause of that destruction, so that our long exile will be ended and we will find ourselves living in messianic times; may that be very soon.

The fast of the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, known as Shivah Asar B’Tammuz, is the start of a three-week (July 24 – August 14) mourning period for the destruction of Jerusalem and the two Holy Temples.

The fast (abstain from eating or drinking between dawn and nightfall) commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date:
Moses broke the tablets when he saw the Jewish people worshipping the Golden Calf.
During the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, the Jews were forced to cease offering the daily sacrifices due to the lack of sheep.
Apostomos burned the holy Torah.1
An idol was placed in the Holy Temple.2
The walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans, in 69 CE, after a lengthy siege. (Three weeks later, after the Jews put up a valiant struggle, the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple on the 9th of Av.)
The Jerusalem Talmud maintains that this is also the date when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem on their way to destroying the first Temple.

Abstaining from food and drink is the external element of a fast day. On a deeper level, a fast day is an auspicious day, a day when G‑d is accessible, waiting for us to repent.

(above quoted from: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/479885/jewish/The-17th-of-Tammuz.htm)

Also read: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/144558/jewish/Tisha-BAv-and-the-3-Weeks.htm

Watchman’s notes: Christians need to know that God’s will for salvation includes both Jews and gentiles. This is written in the Bible. Jesus has told us to pray according to God’s will. During the time when the Jews are fasting and mourning what shall we do? I believe each should seek God and pray too for them. Some Christians may fast too. My experience is that fasting and praying as a small group helps one to focus and not be easily discouraged. On the other hand, some watchmen may find it more convenient to fast and pray alone. I pray all of us receive fresh revelation and insight to pray for not just the Jewish people but also for those nations that God has imprinted on our hearts at this time of great strife and fear among the nations of the world.