2009 March Day 22-24 Enter by the narrow gate

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In March 2009, the watchman decided to live the Bible and learn to apply in daily practical living the words of God. It was indeed an eye opening journey. Although it was meant for spiritual novice, the watchman has received glimpses of how the Kingdom of God may be lived on earth and the will of God be done on earth as in heaven.

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

poor in Jerusalem

Jesus spoke these famous sayings in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

When I first read theses many years ago, I decided not to ponder too much upon them as I could not reconcile my understanding of a kind and loving God Who does not want any one to perish with these rather exclusive words. Do they mean only some exclusive few could enter the kingdom of heaven? The idea does not make sense. As Jesus clearly stated that God loves the world (all people) so much that He gave His only Son (Jesus) to die for them so that those who…

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3 am class: watching by the Spirit

Sometimes the watchman receives a message at midnight. It has not been an easy season due to the weather. As this is an arid land and it has not rained for months even the deep wells are drying up too. At night it cools down slightly and people try to sleep and rest after a really hot and tiring day. So, what important words the Lord wants to say when a person is kept wide awake at midnight and carries the first watch for the time 12-3am?
This is the message today. Romans 7 and Romans 8, the contrast between walking by the Spirit of God (Christ) and walking by one’s own flesh (physical and mental efforts). I shall use a table to present the summarized points taken from Romans 7 and Romans :1-27. Please read the two chapters yourselves. I included verses from both KJV Bible and NLT Bible.

Romans78

5 am lesson: Jesus gave His life for what?

grace-of-god-that-covers-your-sins1Jesus gave His life in order to rescue us from this evil world. He did it because it is God’s will. No one can earn his own salvation from sins and the evil of this world. God’s grace is unmerited favour. People who do not want Jesus are not pleased with free unmerited gift from God. But Jesus says, enter through the narrow gate or perish.

Galatians 1

May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ[b] give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.[d]

15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him 16 to reveal his Son to me[e] so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.

Galatians 2

Even that question came up only because of some so-called believers there—false ones, really[b]—who were secretly brought in. ..They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you.

15 “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”[d]

19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.[e] It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

birthday to remember: in the beginning

woman praising God

Everyone has a beginning. The beginning is good.

Genesis 1-2:2 New International Version (NIV)

The Beginning

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Chapter two

1Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

how to live Romans 12:2

do not follow the custom and pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewal of our mind: be filled with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God
do not follow the custom and pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewal of our mind: be filled with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God

In the beginning people were created not to become drunkard.

The first Bible warning against alcoholic drink is from Genesis chapter 9. After the flood that wiped out every living things (except those in the ark) on earth, Noah enjoyed bounty harvest (of vineyard) on earth. But in celebration of such a good life, he got drunk and slept in nakedness. The consequence: His youngest son committed sin and his descendants had to suffer the penalty of a curse by Noah.

The second warning against alcoholic drink is the tragic story of Lot who was made drunk and committed incest and gave birth to two cursed people (Moab and Ammon) by his two foolish daughters from Sodom.

The third warning against alcoholic drink is the Mosaic Law that allows long suffering parents to bring their drunkard and glutton rebellious son before the Israelite elders to sentence him to death to purge this evil from among the people!

Excessive food and drink open a door to evil: sin and death.
Genesis 9:21 (Noah)
One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.
Genesis 19:32-33 (Lot and daughters)
Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him…
Deuteronomy 21:19-21 (the law)
19 In such a case, the father and mother must take the son to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’…purge this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The effect of alcohol cannot be underestimated. Half its effect is enough to cause death and total destruction.

Judges 16:25 (the death of the Philistines) Half drunk by now, the people demanded, “Bring out Samson so he can amuse us…3000 men and women on the roof who were watching as Samson amused them… 29 Then Samson .. prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.
1 Samuel 25:36-38 (Nabal’s death)
36 When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk…In the morning…sober…his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck him, and he died.
2 Samuel 13:28 (Amnon’s death)
Absalom told his men, “Wait until Amnon gets drunk; then at my signal, kill him!!”

Proverbs 23:19-21 (a father’s warning to his son: the destructive power of excessive food, alcohol drink, and sleep causes a man go off the right course of godliness and thus become poor!)
19 My child, listen and be wise:
Keep your heart on the right course.
20 Do not carouse with drunkards
or feast with gluttons,
21 for they are on their way to poverty,
and too much sleep clothes them in rags.

Isaiah 56:11-12 (drink and food and party can never satisfy)
11 Like greedy dogs, they are never satisfied.
They are ignorant shepherds,
all following their own path
and intent on personal gain.
12 “Come,” they say, “let’s get some wine and have a party.
Let’s all get drunk.
Then tomorrow we’ll do it again
and have an even bigger party!”

Jesus warns Christians against alcoholic drinks and parties
Matthew 24:48-51
48 But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ 49 and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 50 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, 51 and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

How not to succumb to the temptation of alcoholic drinks, excessive food and partying? By the power of the words of God and the Holy Spirit.
Let us read Apostle Paul’s teaching:
Ephesians 5:1-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
Living in the Light
1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, ..
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you…7 Don’t participate in the things these people do…
10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them…14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
Living by the Spirit’s Power
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 12:1-2
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Ezekiel 43 Let them study its plan: the Temple

speak word like Jesus

The pattern of the Temple.

Ezekiel 43:1-12New Living Translation (NLT)

After this, the man brought me back around to the east gateway. Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of his coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with his glory. This vision was just like the others I had seen, first by the Kebar River and then when he came[a] to destroy Jerusalem. I fell face down on the ground. And the glory of the Lord came into the Temple through the east gateway.

Then the Spirit took me up and brought me into the inner courtyard, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. And I heard someone speaking to me from within the Temple, while the man who had been measuring stood beside me. The Lord said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. I will live here forever among the people of Israel. They and their kings will not defile my holy name any longer by their adulterous worship of other gods or by honoring the relics of their kings who have died.[b] They put their idol altars right next to mine with only a wall between them and me. They defiled my holy name by such detestable sin, so I consumed them in my anger. Now let them stop worshiping other gods and honoring the relics of their kings, and I will live among them forever.

10 “Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, 11 and they will be ashamed[c] of what they have done. Describe to them all the specifications of the Temple—including its entrances and exits—and everything else about it. Tell them about its decrees and laws. Write down all these specifications and decrees as they watch so they will be sure to remember and follow them. 12 And this is the basic law of the Temple: absolute holiness! The entire top of the mountain where the Temple is built is holy. Yes, this is the basic law of the Temple.

Footnotes:

  1. 43:3 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Latin Vulgate; Masoretic Text reads I came.
  2. 43:7 Or kings on their high places.
  3. 43:11 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads if they are ashamed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’”
The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days.
And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
Mark 16 New Living Translation (NLT) Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning,[a] just at sunrise, they went to the tomb.
but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,[b] who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.
After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene,
12 Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country.
14 Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together.
19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?
God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,
All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.
I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Not Carnality but Christ -be a new creation!

Crosslife's Space:

CHRIST IS OUR REAL LIFE!

The-Family-of-God

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

Jesus is my real life
The watchman is reminded today of the way we should live in Christ.
Last night during a home prayer meeting one brethren suggested praying for a local Christian group. When the others started praying, the watchman asked the Lord what to pray for and he was shown a terrible verse, which stated that when Israel asked the prophet to pray they did not mean it. They had no intent to obey what God would speak to them through the answer to prayers by the prophet. So there was no need to pray for them! The stern words were sad. How can any Christian meeting come to such a terrible stage? Yet, history showed that the Israel nation sank to that low over again and again. God sent prophets to warn them but they killed the prophets. The same thing happened to the apostles and many…

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Jesus foretells the future to whom? Matthew 24

Often we read the Bible without noticing whom Jesus is talking to. The audience may be the crowd, or the enemy, or the believers: those who want to follow Jesus, or those who already follow Him, or those whom He has called to follow Him and they have responded positively. Of course often He is talking to His first twelve disciples or the 72 whom He calls, disciples too and sends out for short mission trips. Today we read the very important chapter of Matthew 24 in which Jesus foretells the future.

Who are the audience? His disciples. What does He wants His disciples to take heed? What shall  we take heed today? The answers that Jesus has given are:

Be wise, faithful, pay attention, be discerning spiritually, flow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, see the unseen behind the seen, have the words of God inside, not be troubled by the external adverse circumstances, be separate from them and flee when the time comes to do so, be ready for the return of Jesus, and meanwhile continue to be faithful to feed the brethren in Christ with solid food from the Bible (the word that will not perish).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bible verses are quoted in parts with added boldness.

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.

And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you.

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled;

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.

26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.

32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it[d] is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.

a king’s revival call

2 Chronicles 30 revival callOn this Easter Sunday we read an interesting Bible passage from 2 Chronicles 30 concerning a king’s revival call to his people to come to Jerusalem to prepare and celebrate passover’. Be blessed when you read with me.

King Hezekiah now sent word to all Israel and Judah, and he wrote letters of invitation to the people of Ephraim and Manasseh. He asked everyone to come to the Temple of the Lord at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord, the God of Israel. The king, his officials, and all the community of Jerusalem decided to celebrate Passover a month later than usual.[a] They were unable to celebrate it at the prescribed time because not enough priests could be purified by then, and the people had not yet assembled at Jerusalem.

This plan for keeping the Passover seemed right to the king and all the people. So they sent a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north, inviting everyone to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord, the God of Israel. The people had not been celebrating it in great numbers as required in the Law.

At the king’s command, runners were sent throughout Israel and Judah. They carried letters that said:

“O people of Israel, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,[b] so that he will return to the few of us who have survived the conquest of the Assyrian kings. Do not be like your ancestors and relatives who abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and became an object of derision, as you yourselves can see. Do not be stubborn, as they were, but submit yourselves to the Lord. Come to his Temple, which he has set apart as holy forever. Worship the Lord your God so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.

“For if you return to the Lord, your relatives and your children will be treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his face from you.”

Celebration of Passover

10 The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them. 11 However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.

12 At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the Lord. 13 So a huge crowd assembled at Jerusalem in midspring[c] to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 14 They set to work and removed the pagan altars from Jerusalem. They took away all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.

15 On the fourteenth day of the second month, one month later than usual,[d] the people slaughtered the Passover lamb. This shamed the priests and Levites, so they purified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Temple of the Lord. 16 Then they took their places at the Temple as prescribed in the Law of Moses, the man of God. The Levites brought the sacrificial blood to the priests, who then sprinkled it on the altar.

17 Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the Lord. 18 Most of those who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway, even though this was contrary to the requirements of the Law. For Hezekiah said, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon those 19 who decide to follow the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not properly cleansed for the ceremony.” 20 And the Lord listened to Hezekiah’s prayer and healed the people.

21 So the people of Israel who were present in Jerusalem joyously celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. Each day the Levites and priests sang to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments.[e] 22 Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites regarding the skill they displayed as they served the Lord. The celebration continued for seven days. Peace offerings were sacrificed, and the people gave thanks to the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

23 The entire assembly then decided to continue the festival another seven days, so they celebrated joyfully for another week. 24 King Hezekiah gave the people 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep and goats for offerings, and the officials donated 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep and goats. Meanwhile, many more priests purified themselves.

25 The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, including the priests, the Levites, all who came from the land of Israel, the foreigners who came to the festival, and all those who lived in Judah. 26 There was great joy in the city, for Jerusalem had not seen a celebration like this one since the days of Solomon, King David’s son. 27 Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~New Testament Bible verses

Jesus says in Matthew 26:28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.

And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.
He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant
the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.
After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.”
You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’
And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.”
[ Ministers of the New Covenant ] But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.
He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
[ The Glory of the New Covenant ] The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away.
2 Corinthians 3:14-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

14 But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. 15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

Jesus Christ is risen todayJesus Christ Is Risen Today
By: Latin carol, 14th cent.

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly king, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
Now above the sky he’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
Praise him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

Notes;
Hymn # 127 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Lyra Davidica
Tune: Easter Hymn
1st Published in: 1708

Mark 11-12 Q & A time with Jesus

Bible key

When we read Mark 11-12 we find twelve situations in which Jesus is being questioned and/or questioning in return. What do people usually ask given a chance to see Jesus face to face? Different motivation drives different question. Amazing how some miss the opportunity to know Jesus as He really is, because they keep focusing on the wrong questions. But Jesus does give everybody a chance to ask the right question. He even asks the questions for them and give them answers to the right questions.

Summary of Mark 11 (Bible verses are quoted in parts; I have added boldness to some phrases)

The first question is: Who is Jesus? Answer: He is the Lord.

And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it,’ and immediately he will send it here.”

The second question is: Who are you to argue with Jesus? (Just as the fig tree who spoke to Jesus giving excuse for its false pretense by having leaves before figs) The answer is:

14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

The third question Jesus asks is:What do you think the temple of God is for? The answer: a house of prayer.

17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?[e] But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”[f]

The fourth question Jesus asks and answers is: Do you have faith? If you have faith you will not think things to the contrary of faith.

24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

The fifth question is: Do you want your prayer answered? The answer is: know your heavenly Father’s heart.

25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

The sixth question Jesus asks is awesome. He doesn’t answer silly question. If you ask a silly question you will be asked a question that you cannot answer without admitting your foolishness.

28 And they said to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority to do these things?”

29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one question; then answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things:

Summary of Mark 12 (Bible verses are quoted in parts; I have added boldness to some phrases)

The seventh question that Jesus asks is: what makes you think you can get away with murder?

“Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others. 12 And they sought to lay hands on Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.

The eight question that Jesus asks is: Why do you persist to be a hypocrite? You know the answer.

But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it. 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”

The ninth question that Jesus asks is: Do you want to know why you ask this ridiculous question? The answer is because you are walking by flesh, and do not understand the Bible (which is spirit and life in the spiritual realm. Heaven is a spiritual realm).

24 Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?

The tenth question is asked by a scribe who knows the answer and Jesus makes him answered finally.

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving[d] that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”…

34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

But after that no one dared question Him.

The eleventh question that Jesus asks cannot be answered by anyone who tries to challenge His deity. He again answers the question in everyone’s mind, He is the Lord Himself.

35 Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’[i]

37 Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?” And the common people heard Him gladly.

Finally the twelve question Jesus asks is: How does the heaven keep account? The answer is: not as what man thinks (in quantity). In heaven it is the quality (of sacrifice) that really counts.

43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

His Promose: In gathering

Zephaniah 3

18 “I will gather you who mourn for the appointed festivals;
you will be disgraced no more.
19 And I will deal severely with all who have oppressed you.
I will save the weak and helpless ones;
I will bring together
those who were chased away.
I will give glory and fame to my former exiles,
wherever they have been mocked and shamed.
20 On that day I will gather you together
    and bring you home again.
I will give you a good name, a name of distinction,
    among all the nations of the earth,
as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”

gathering of sheep

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

walking with Jesus: Diaspora mission is a kairos opportunity

Brothers and sisters in Christ:

Today we divert to reading the following passage of an executive summary. Changes are already in place for those who are ready to walk with Jesus in this last week of the passion. All we need is a step of faith.

“Diaspora mission is a kairos opportunity.”

Diasporas from Cape Town 2010 to Manila 2015 and Beyond

(http://www.lausanne.org/content/lga/2015-03/diasporas-from-cape-town-2010-to-manila-2015-and-beyond)

Sadiri Joy Tira

The Lausanne Movement and scattered peoples

According to the United Nations Development Programme, there are over 214 million international migrants—people living outside their country of birth. Caused by multiple factors, both voluntary and involuntary, diaspora is a complex issue that is changing world demography, economies, policies, cultures, and societies.

The current global phenomenon of diaspora is a God-initiated and God-orchestrated missional moment in contemporary history. The mass redistribution of people has profound implications for missions strategy. Recently, global diaspora movements have caught the attention not only of government policy makers and social scientists, but also of missiologists.

Global diasporas, particularly diasporas and missions, were a highlighted topic at the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town in 2010. One of the issues discussed was how to minister to, minister through, and minister beyond diasporas or scattered peoples. Global diaspora missions were embraced and integrated into The Cape Town Commitment.

Lausanne III highlighted ministering to and mobilising the diaspora people. However, this push came primarily from practitioners. Therefore, there arose a need for a collaboration of academics and practitioners in the study of diaspora and missions. Furthermore, informed discussion of diaspora and missions was also needed through a growing body of literature. In anticipation of the challenges and opportunities presented by this need, the Lausanne Movement leadership tasked the Senior Associate for Diasporas to form a wider organization.

The Global Diaspora Network (GDN) was organized during the conclusion of Lausanne III in order to broaden the diaspora network and project the diaspora agenda beyond the event. The GDN headquarters/secretariat office was established in Manila.

The GDN has been instrumental in the formation of Diaspora Institutes at various theological training institutions. There are also increasing numbers of evangelical students in doctoral programs of various seminaries who are writing diaspora-related dissertations. Their research and writing will be major contributions to the growing body of diaspora missiology literature.

The GDN will convene the Global Diaspora Forum (GDF) from 24-28 March 2015 in Manila. The purpose of this global gathering of diaspora missiology scholars and practitioners is to assess and advance diaspora missiology five years after Cape Town 2010. The vision of the GDF 2015 is: to gather the key evangelical leaders to engage, discuss, and mobilize the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world, specifically to the people on the move.

The Lausanne Movement and GDN are hoping that more than half of the key evangelical seminaries around the world will offer a course on diaspora missiology as a result of GDF 2015, thus catalyzing the global church to embrace diaspora missions. More information about the forum may be found on the Global Diaspora Network website, www.globaldiaspora.net.

In particular, after GDF 2015, the GDN will be publishing a comprehensive compendium on diaspora missiology to promote it as a respectable academic field, alongside other existing disciplines.

While many agencies are responding slowly to the realities of diaspora, there is a gradual realization of the strategic value of diaspora missiology for reaching the ‘global peoples’.

Diaspora mission is likely to accelerate as academics and practitioners implement diaspora missiology following Cape Town and the Manila Global Diaspora Forum. Diaspora mission is a kairos opportunity. I am thankful that the Lausanne Movement’s embrace of diaspora missiology is stimulating the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole world, particularly to the diasporas—the scattered peoples.

walking with Jesus: Mark 10 making a difference

In reading Mark 10 we see the difference Jesus wants His disciples to make. We are to march with a different drum beat. When I read the history and biographies of many missionaries, at the beginning of the 20th century, I understand what Jesus means in this chapter. These are Jesus’ disciples. They make a difference. They listen and obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They give up their comfort zone because of the great commission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations. Many give their lives for the love of Christ.

Key verses from Jesus on the order of the Kingdom of God in which His disciples are to operate:

1. “43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.” (Mark10:43-44)

2. “for My sake and for the Good News.” (Mark 10:29)

The disciples are asked to make a difference in the following aspects of lives:

1. “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?” Jesus questions. He wants His disciples (including all who follow Him) to differentiate with merely being concerned with what the law (whether secular/civil/religious) allows. It is the extra mile we walk with Jesus that matters. The fruit of the Spirit enables and empowers us to walk the second mile with Jesus. (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23)

2. “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.”  Jesus wants us to differentiate from the worldly ways of management (e.g. time management), value system (based on hierarchy, monetary and material possessions, social status, political and governmental posts etc.).

3. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus wants us to make a difference even in our daily living just as Jesus has done.

4. “the blind man said, “I want to see!”” Jesus wants us to really see when others remain blinded by the things of the world and its system.

1 John 2:15-16 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

~~~~~~~~~~~Bible verses from Mark 10 (quoted in parts; boldness added)

Then Jesus left Capernaum and went down to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. Once again crowds gathered around him, and as usual he was teaching them.

Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”

Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”

“Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.”[a]

But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. 11 He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good...

21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.

29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.[g]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

33 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man[h] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans.[i] 34 They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.”

36 “What is your request?” he asked.

37 They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

41 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 42 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“My Rabbi,[j]the blind man said, “I want to see!”

52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.[k]

Mark 8-9 “see the kingdom of God present with power”

Jesus is concerned with the understanding of His disciples (followers). I quote from Mark 8-9 in parts and add boldness to some verses. Please read the whole chapters from your bible.

Brief notes: Seeing the kingdom of God requires understanding of God’s nature and God’s will for His kingdom. Jesus shows us how it is operated. We need to look at things through His eyes and His heart. Jesus is God focused at all times. The pharisees look at what Jesus does with a wrong motive. They do not want to believe in Him and they have no real interest in wanting to know God personally. Jesus wants us to do differently. We see lots of signs but the Person God is bigger than the signs. The spiritual God matters (and not physical stuff). Seek God.

“How is it you do not understand?” (Mark 8:21)

He wants us to “see the kingdom of God present with power”! (Mark 9:1)

Mark 8

Then His disciples answered Him, “How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?”

He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”

And they said, “Seven.”

They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. And He sent them away,

11 Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him. 12 But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.”

13 And He left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. 14 Now the disciples[a] had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. 15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”

16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have no bread.”

21 So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

25 Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. 26 Then He sent him away to his house, saying, “Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town.”[c]

29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”

30 Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him.

31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 33 But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Mark 9

And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”

14 And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. 15 Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. 16 And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”

17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe,[a] all things are possible to him who believes.”

24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”

29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”[b]

30 Then they departed from there and passed through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know it. 31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” 32 But they did not understand this saying, and were afraid to ask Him.

35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”

41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.

49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire,[g] and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”