Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots

Isaiah 11 The Message (MSG) A Green Shoot from Jesse’s Stump Root of Jesse

11 1-5 A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump,
    from his roots a budding Branch.
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
    the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
    the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.
Fear-of-God
    will be all his joy and delight.
He won’t judge by appearances,
    won’t decide on the basis of hearsay.
He’ll judge the needy by what is right,
    render decisions on earth’s poor with justice.
His words will bring everyone to awed attention.
    A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.
Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots,
    and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.

Wear Love

wear JESUS

Colossians 3 The Message (MSG)

He Is Your Life

1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

5-8 And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

9-11 Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.

12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

5 am lesson: seeing God from the will of His good pleasure

Originally posted on AAA Jack's blog (A Watchman on your walls):

See God on His throne See God on His throne

The 5 am gathering of brethren in Christ learned that seeing God, that is, reading His words, require starting from the end (the goal and end result intended by God). That is how they were led in the Spirit to read Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

When they read chapter one this way the eyes of their hearts opened, just as Paul had prayed (which prayer the brethren copied and prayed daily). The key verses of the first prayer are: Ephesians 1:17-19. without the opening of our spiritual eyes we cannot understand this letter at all.

What does God want to achieve as the end result for His people? A glorious body of Christ, holy and without blemish, presented to Him, be the praise of His glory, fulfilling the will of His good pleasure! That makes sense of all the blessings He has given to…

View original 556 more words

True prophets: John sees Jesus as Jesus is

If anyone asks which prophet this watchman would like to be, I would say, John. John, like other prophets, is full of love for God and matters of God. John is a prophets’ prophet. He calls himself, the beloved of Jesus. Jesus loves all disciples, with no favoritism. God has no favor. But John loves to love. Because he opens his heart to God’s heart. God is love. God is Spirit. John emulates love. John allows himself to be led by the Spirit of Christ. God’s love compels him to endure what he goes through. Thus he sees the Revelation. He sees Jesus as Jesus is.

Revelation 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prologue

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, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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…

Vision of the Son of Man

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.

a wake up call today

Begin with the end in mind. The Bible was completed two thousand years ago. The apostle John was the last author through whom the Holy Spirit has spoken. Wake up.

[ Be Ready for the Lord’s Coming ] “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning,

You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.

This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

[ Warning about Antichrists ] Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come.

And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist.

1 John 4:3

But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.

2 John 1:7

I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.

Revelation 6:9-11New Living Translation (NLT)

When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. 10 They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters[a]—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:11 Greek their brothers.

Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.

Revelation 3:3

Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.

memoirs of Nehemiah (background: the Holy Spirit)

sons of God led_by_the_spirit

You cannot read Nehemiah’s memoirs without reading the background, the Lord reminds me. Then I recall that a few years back when I read this book I was led to read several other books: Ezra, Esther, Haggai, and Zechariah. This round I need to read more, and they are in the New Testament! All about the works of the Holy Spirit. So this is another spiritual journey for the watchman and all who walk with Jesus. Who are the builders? What do they first build? These are the questions I am led to read today.

For those who want to swim in the depth of the mighty river of the Holy Spirit, read Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 2 as well in addition to the above books. Have a wonderful walk with Jesus as His Spirit leads us together, joined to Him, one spirit with Him! (1 Corinthians 6:17)

Reading of Bible books.

My random notes: on rebuilding each own broken down spiritual life (as individual, family, small group, church)

  1. Nehemiah was called to build the walls of Jerusalem because God’s people cannot worship God even when there is a temple. But the temple must be built first (by Zerubbabel).
  2. The building of the temple starts with the foundation.
  3. Before the foundation was built, the altar was first built.
  4. The altar was built on the same old site of the previous altar.
  5. to put this in today’s Christian language: we start with the altar (prayers) and offering our bodies as living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2) on the old site (the Scriptures of the Bible). The foundation of the prophets and apostles. In all these, be led by the Holy Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6-7)
  6. who are the builders? “all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose.””The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile.”

Zechariah 4:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT) (highlight added)

Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it![a]

Footnotes:

  1. 4:7 Hebrew Grace, grace to it.’

Romans 8:14 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[a] of God.

Footnotes:

  1. 8:14 Greek sons; also in 8:19.

Ezra 3 New Living Translation (NLT) (highlight added)

The Altar Is Rebuilt

In early autumn,[a] when the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled in Jerusalem with a unified purpose. Then Jeshua son of Jehozadak[b] joined his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his family in rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel. They wanted to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, as instructed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar at its old site. Then they began to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar to the Lord each morning and evening.

They celebrated the Festival of Shelters as prescribed in the Law, sacrificing the number of burnt offerings specified for each day of the festival. They also offered the regular burnt offerings and the offerings required for the new moon celebrations and the annual festivals as prescribed by the Lord. The people also gave voluntary offerings to the Lord. Fifteen days before the Festival of Shelters began,[c] the priests had begun to sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord. This was even before they had started to lay the foundation of the Lord’s Temple.

The People Begin to Rebuild the Temple

Then the people hired masons and carpenters and bought cedar logs from the people of Tyre and Sidon, paying them with food, wine, and olive oil. The logs were brought down from the Lebanon mountains and floated along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea[d] to Joppa, for King Cyrus had given permission for this.

The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring,[e] during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. The Levites who were twenty years old or older were put in charge of rebuilding the Lord’s Temple. The workers at the Temple of God were supervised by Jeshua with his sons and relatives, and Kadmiel and his sons, all descendants of Hodaviah.[f] They were helped in this task by the Levites of the family of Henadad.

10 When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed. 11 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord:

“He is so good!
    His faithful love for Israel endures forever!”

Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid.

12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. 13 The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:1 Hebrew In the seventh month. The year is not specified, so it may have been during Cyrus’s first year (538 B.c.) or second year (537 B.c.). The seventh month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of September/October 538 B.c. and October/November 537 B.c.
  2. 3:2 Hebrew Jozadak, a variant spelling of Jehozadak; also in 3:8.
  3. 3:6 Hebrew On the first day of the seventh month. This day in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in September or October. The Festival of Shelters began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.
  4. 3:7 Hebrew the sea.
  5. 3:8 Hebrew in the second month. This month in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of April and May 536 B.c.
  6. 3:9 Hebrew sons of Judah (i.e., bene Yehudah). Bene might also be read here as the proper name Binnui; Yehudah is probably another name for Hodaviah. Compare 2:40; Neh 7:43; 1 Esdras 5:58.

These are the memoirs of Nehemiah 1

Nehemiah’s Concern for Jerusalem

Nehemiah time Jerusalem gates

The new season has arrived. The book for this season is Nehemiah. It is all about building. You will be surprised at this builder. He is the cup-bearer of a Persian king. He builds the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days! We start to read chapter one today. These are the memoirs of Nehemiah….a man who delights to honor God. God honors him too.

Nehemiah 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

These are the memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.

In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign,[a] I was at the fortress of Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. Then I said,

O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.

Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth,[b] I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’

10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.[c] Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”

In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1 Hebrew In the month of Kislev of the twentieth year. A number of dates in the book of Nehemiah can be cross-checked with dates in surviving Persian records and related accurately to our modern calendar. This month of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred within the months of November and December 446 B.c. The twentieth year probably refers to the reign of King Artaxerxes I; compare 2:1; 5:14.
  2. 1:9 Hebrew of the heavens.
  3. 1:11 Hebrew today in the sight of this man.

perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this

esther 7

Once again, we read about the story of  how God uses two persons-a Jew named Mordecai and his cousin queen Esther- to save God’s people from annihilation in many lands under the Persian Empire. There is a whole book in the Bible (“Esther”, Old Testament) on this awesome move of God. The Jews remember this in an annual festival called Purim.

Esther 4:14 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther 9:20-22 New Living Translation (NLT) The Festival of Purim

20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, 21 calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days.[a] 22 He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.

Footnotes:

  1. 9:21 Hebrew on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar, of the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Purim begins this year on Wednesday evening, March 4, 2015, and continues through Thursday night, March 5.

How do the Jews spend the day? Here are excerpts taken from Jewish sources.

  1. Hear the whole megillah. The megillah, a.k.a. “The Book of Esther,” is the scroll that tells the Purim story.
  2. One of Purim’s primary themes is Jewish unity. Haman tried to kill us  all, we were all in danger together, so we celebrate together, too. Hence, on Purim day, we place special emphasis on caring for the less fortunate.Give money or food to at least two needy people during the daylight hours of Purim, March 5. In  case you can’t find any needy people, your synagogue will likely be collecting money for this purpose. At least, place two coins in a charity box earmarked for the poor. On Purim, we give a donation to whoever asks; we don’t verify his or her bank balance first.
  3. On Purim, we emphasize the importance of friendship and community by sending gifts of food to friends. On Purim day, March 5, send a package containing at least two different ready-to-eat food items and/or beverages (e.g., pastry, fruit, beverage) to at least one Jewish acquaintance during the daylight hours of Purim. Men send to men and women to women.
  4. During the course of Purim day, March 5th, gather your family, maybe invite a guest or two, and celebrate with a festive Purim meal. Traditionally, this meal begins before sundown and lasts well into the evening. The table should be festively bedecked with a nice tablecloth and candles. Wash for bread or challah, and enjoy a meal featuring meat, wine and plenty of Jewish songs, words of Torah and joyous Purim spirit. Sing, drink, laugh, have fun together.
  5. On Purim, we include the brief V’al Hanissim section in all the day’s prayers, as well as in the day’s Grace after Meals. This prayer describes the Purim story and thanks G‑d for the “miracles, redemptions, mighty deeds, saving acts and wonders” that He wrought for our ancestors on this day many years ago. In the morning service, there is a special Torah reading (Exodus 17:8-16), describing the battle Joshua waged against Amalek—Haman’s ancestral nation—almost one thousand years before the Purim events unfolded.
  6. On Purim, children—and some adventurous adults, too—traditionally dress in costumes, an allusion to G‑d’s hand in the Purim miracle, which was disguised by natural events. Make sure your children masquerade as good, cheerful characters, such as Mordechai and Esther. Dress up your kids before taking them to the synagogue for the megillah reading. Many synagogues have a masquerade party, along with prizes for the children, during or after the megillah reading.

(above taken from http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/1362/jewish/Purim-Guide.htm)

True Prophets: Abraham’s key success factor

Abraham at the altar

We always know Abraham as a man specially favored by God, one man God has called and separated from his idol worshiper family in order to start a new people of God. Indeed he is special. He is also called a prophet by God. What God has spoken through him has come true.

Today we read why he is so special. His secret for success. Is it because he is endowed with hereditary, physiological, social, and  material comparative advantages and resources? No. The answer is none of the above.

God says, “all because you have obeyed me.” His key success factor is he obeys God. Awesome word, obedience. He obeys God without questioning. He obeys the true God. Not any other gods. Just God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel). God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Our Creator.

Genesis 22:15-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. 16 “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that 17 I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants[a] beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. 18 And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

Revelation 3:7-9New Living Translation (NLT) The Message to the Church in Philadelphia

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia.

This is the message from the one who is holy and true,
    the one who has the key of David.
What he opens, no one can close;
    and what he closes, no one can open:[a]

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.

Footnotes:

  1. 3:7 Isa 22:22.

Footnotes:

  1. 22:17 Hebrew seed; also in 22:17b, 18.

True Prophets: king David’s last words

david

Today we read further on David’s last words received from the Holy Spirit. It is all about God.

David (king of Israel) is a man who hears God in great details. His son Solomon is known for having been given the task to build (construct) the temple of God. But it is David who hears and received the detailed plan from God, even in writing and drawing, and he hands them faithfully to his son whom God has instructed to be the building constructor of the physical temple and all its parts. This is what a true prophet does. Hearing and receiving and faithfully conveying the correct and exact messages form God.

Watchman’s random notes from these passages:

1. The people whom David calls to hear, witness and obey God’s words: Interestingly he has not called the religious officials, Instead he calls the administrators (government officials). Those in power and authority: political (tribal/community) leaders, army (military forces, law and order) authorities, men with physical strength and power (mighty men, warriors).

Why? Because David is a man of war and he knows whatever good the people want to follow and obey can be ruined and destroyed overnight by those who hold physical (like police and military) power, government (political) authority and brutal force.

2. ‘You must not build a Temple to honor my name, for you are a warrior and have shed much blood.’ David tells these physical leaders that they are not chosen by God and do not qualify to build the temple of God. Just as he is not chosen to build. They cannot assume and equate physical power with spiritual power and authority.

3. Why does David not ask the religious priests,  Levites, and temple servants  to come and listen? Because he knows they will obey. They are not the problems. They have no physical power. They will obey the rulers in power and authority. So will all the craftsmen and skilled workers. The potential trouble-makers (rebels) will not be among the lower ranks.

4. However, David also prophesies that if Solomon the number one ruler of the kingdom fails to know God intimately, obey God’s instructions, love God with all his being, then all else will collapse. (Just as Jesus has said in John 10:10: “the thief will come in to steal, kill, and destroy). His abundant life will be taken from him and even his people. This has come true.

5. Christians to ponder: What are God’s instructions to me today? What plan of my temple am I following? How am I building, handing over to and equipping my son and daughter? Besides God Himself, what other ‘rulers, principalities, forces and commanders in the spiritual realm’ are watching, listening and witnessing at this point of time?

Ephesians 6:12  New Living Translation (NLT)

12 For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:12 Some manuscripts read you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bible verses:

1 Chronicles 28:1-21  New Living Translation (NLT) (quoted in parts; highlight added)

David’s Instructions to Solomon

David summoned all the officials of Israel to Jerusalem—the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of the army divisions, the other generals and captains,[a] the overseers of the royal property and livestock, the palace officials, the mighty men, and all the other brave warriors in the kingdom. 2 David rose to his feet and said: “My brothers and my people! It was my desire to build a Temple where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, God’s footstool, could rest permanently. I made the necessary preparations for building it, 3 but God said to me, ‘You must not build a Temple to honor my name, for you are a warrior and have shed much blood.’

4 “Yet the Lord, the God of Israel, has chosen me from among all my father’s family to be king over Israel forever. For he has chosen the tribe of Judah to rule, and from among the families of Judah he chose my father’s family. And from among my father’s sons the Lord was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 And from among my sons—for the Lord has given me many—He chose Solomon to succeed me on the throne of Israel and to rule over the Lord’s kingdom. 6 He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will build my Temple and its courtyards, for I have chosen him as my son, and I will be his father. 7 And if he continues to obey my commands and regulations as he does now, I will make his kingdom last forever.’

8“So now, with God as our witness, and in the sight of all Israel—the Lord’s assembly—I give you this charge. Be careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God, so that you may continue to possess this good land and leave it to your children as a permanent inheritance.

9 “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.”

11 Then David gave Solomon the plans for the Temple and its surroundings,

David also gave Solomon all the plans he had in mind..

13 The king also gave Solomon the instructions concerning the work of the various divisions of priests and Levites in the Temple of the Lord. And he gave specifications for the items in the Temple that were to be used for worship.

14 David gave instructions regarding how much gold and silver should be used…

17 David also designated the amount of gold for the…

18 He designated the amount of refined gold for the altar of incense. Finally, he gave him a plan for the Lord’s “chariot”—the gold cherubim[c] whose wings were stretched out over the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. 19 “Every part of this plan,” David told Solomon, “was given to me in writing from the hand of the Lord.”

20 Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly. 21 The various divisions of priests and Levites will serve in the Temple of God. Others with skills of every kind will volunteer, and the officials and the entire nation are at your command.”

Paul says, “I love you”

20150214 good morning

The apostle Paul seems a serious man. Some of his words are stern. Yet, in a letter he says, “I love you” twice. Let us read the two passages today and see what is the meaning of love.  Here are just some random thoughts. Please read the whole two chapters (and the whole Book in your time) to get the full message from Paul.

Where is Paul in this letter? in a prison.

to whom is the letter addressed? The Philippians church

Love means: sharing the special favor of God, as partners in spreading the Good News about Christ.

Love means: defending and confirming the Good News, the Truth of Jesus, regardless of circumstances.

Love means: motivated by the tender compassion of Jesus.

Love means: overflowing more instead of diminishing.

Love means: growing in understanding and knowledge of ” what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation..”(1:9-11)

Love means: staying true to the Lord.

Love means: settle your disagreement.

Love means: your names are written in the Book of Life, so what else matters? (Surely not petty differences among fellow citizens of the Kingdom of God)

Love means: “For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance.” (1:19)

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

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.

Philippians 4:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters,[a] stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.

Words of Encouragement

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner,[b] to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

the work that God is doing

20150207 wprking 2What work is God doing today?  The work that cheers Christians up!

Philippians 2 Living Bible (TLB) 1 Is there any such thing as Christians cheering each other up?

Do you love me enough to want to help me? Does it mean anything to you that we are brothers in the Lord, sharing the same Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic at all? Then make me truly happy by loving each other and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, working together with one heart and mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.

5 Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus Christ, who, though he was God, did not demand and cling to his rights as God, but laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men.[a] And he humbled himself even further, going so far as actually to die a criminal’s death on a cross.[b]

Yet it was because of this that God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name which is above every other name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Dearest friends, when I was there with you, you were always so careful to follow my instructions. And now that I am away you must be even more careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him. 13 For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants.

14 In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing 15 so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of people who are crooked and stubborn. Shine out among them like beacon lights, 16 holding out to them the Word of Life.

Then when Christ returns, how glad I will be that my work among you was so worthwhile.

Kings and priests: Jesus (continued)

inside outJesus has taught us a key to wellness: body, soul and spirit.

We read Matthew 15 today to see what God means by being clean, just He has taught Moses in all the laws, patterns, and standards of heaven.

Note the difference between commandments and traditions. Commandments come from God in us (God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) giving us His laws written in our spirit, joined to His Spirit, the Word of God (which Jesus says, is life and spirit). Commandments are forever settled in heaven and cannot be changed. Traditions can be changed. Because as Jesus says, they come from men.Traditions are based on what inside a man and evil begets evil.v

Matthew 15:1-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

Defilement Comes from Within

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; [a] and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’[b] But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’[c] Thus you have made the commandment[d] of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And[e] honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”[f]

10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Prayers by kings and priests: Moses

Moses has received from God more than just the laws. He has received a kingly priestly pattern about the ministry to God. God has given him the pattern and standard on matters of God, from heaven. Today we read from Exodus 30 the pattern and standard of prayers. Prayers bring us before the Most High, God Himself. In Moses’ time only Aaron, the appointed high priest can enter the Holy of Holies.Only he is given the position and authority to pray and intercede before God. He has to do the ‘burning of incense‘ every morning and twilight, ‘a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations’. Jesus prays and stays in the presence of God at all times. he and the Father are One. Prayers establish a bond between man and God, in the spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:17 New King James Version (NKJV)

17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

[ Worthy Is the Lamb ] Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
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Exodus 30 New King James Version (NKJV) The Altar of Incense (boldness added)

You shall make an altar to burn incense on; you shall make it of acacia wood. A cubit shall be its length and a cubit its width—it shall be square—and two cubits shall be its height. Its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay its top, its sides all around, and its horns with pure gold; and you shall make for it a molding of gold all around. Two gold rings you shall make for it, under the molding on both its sides. You shall place them on its two sides, and they will be holders for the poles with which to bear it. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you.

7 Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; nor shall you pour a drink offering on it. 10 And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord.”