letter to a reader: “Don’t let your heart be troubled”

John 14:6When Jesus prepared Himself to leave this world, He spoke to His disciples,
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, obey[d] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[e] who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.[f] 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”

23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

30 “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, 31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.

Footnotes:

14:2a Or There are many rooms in my Father’s house.
14:2b Or If this were not so, I would have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you. Some manuscripts read If this were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you.
14:7 Some manuscripts read If you have really known me, you will know who my Father is.
14:15 Other manuscripts read you will obey; still others read you should obey.
14:16 Or Comforter, or Encourager, or Counselor. Greek reads Paraclete; also in 14:26.
14:17 Some manuscripts read and is in you.

10th week 2nd day: LOOK

bare stonesToday’s word received in my spirit from the One Year Bible Reading of 10th week 2nd day is: LOOK. The word means different things to Jesus. He teaches us how not to look and how to look. In the passage from Mark 13, one typical disciple looks at the mega church and marvels at its grandeur: the magnificent building, the impressive building materials, multi-million dollars high-tech audio-visual-theatre-auditorium all purpose entertainment system,  equipments, hardwares, multi-purpose functional and conventional halls, cafes, restaurants, shops, consumer-commercial outlets, gyms, game arcades, and above all the breath-taking mega size. He even asks Jesus to look and admire them. The incongruity of the way the disciples look at and interpret Jesus’ mission on earth continues. They look at the wrong things: political and material positions and possessions. Power in the wrong realm and for the wrong agenda. The summary: The disciples look at the world that people bring into churches/the Temple of God. Jesus has warned churches about this worldliness in His stern letters to the seven churches in the last book of the Bible: the Revelation (chapters 1-3).

What does Jesus look at and want His followers to look at? Here is the contrast between what the disciples look at and what Jesus looks at:  (My notes are in bold italics.)

Disciples: look at the world and continue to be attracted by the things of the world. 

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”

Jesus looks at the eternal destruction of things and souls. 

Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Disciples: look at physical signs to counter their unbelief in the spiritual.

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus looks at the deceptions of the physical. He warns that they will certainly see plenty of physical signs but it does not help them one bit and will add to their further anxiety and fear, just like the people of the world. 

Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’[b] They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

Jesus advises His followers: When we see physical signs we should remember the spiritual agenda behind the signs. The only effective and pertinent help we have is from the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ Himself. Not from the physical realm. 

When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.[c] 10 For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.[d] 11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ last words on this passage: The physical signs will be depressive and heart-breaking for many. Even Christians. Endurance with the help and enablement from the Holy Spirit will see us through even the hardest time. 

12 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.[e] But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Footnotes:

  1. 12:42 Greek two lepta, which is a kodrantes [i.e., a quadrans].
  2. 13:6 Greek claiming, ‘I am.’
  3. 13:9 Or But this will be your testimony against them.
  4. 13:10 Or all peoples.
  5. 13:13 Greek on account of my name.

 

Today’s Bible reading: Psalm 35:19-28; Numbers 6:1-7:89; Mark 12:38-13:13; Proverbs 10:27-28

10th week 1st day: a distance of difference

distance from truth

There is a difference between what Jesus says and what a man hears. It is a hard issue. A heart issue. Here is today’s example. In today’s Bible reading, in Mark 12, Jesus talks about the reality of God and of the words of God which become life and spirit to those who hear, believe, receive as their own possessions and practice (John 6:63). He teaches that God is living and is over and above all the lives, time and history that human know of.

Note the conversation between Jesus and the well-schooled scribe (learned and recognized scholarly authority on the Law of Moses). See the difference between what Jesus says about loving God in a personal relationship through His words, and the interpretation of the scribe who places the command of God at a distance from him. 

Jesus says, “you”, “your”. The scribe replies, “the”. I have seen countless such distancing examples. Yet many Christians cannot understand why they cannot hear God. Why they cannot have a close relationship with God. The difference is the distancing of oneself when one receive the words of God. God is a personal God, and not a God in the distance, nor a God in history. He is not the God of a neighbor. He is my God. He is your God.

(The Scriptures are quoted from the Holy Bible NKJV unless otherwise noted.)

24…“Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”

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

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.[c]This is the first commandment.[d] 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[e] There is no other commandment greater than these.”

32 So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul,[f] and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

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.

Today’s reading from the Holy Bible: Mark 12:18-37; Numbers 4:1-5:31; Proverbs 10:26; Psalm 35:11-18

9th week 4th day: my cost

Counting of gold
counting gold in the Kingdom of God

Today is about cost. The cost of relationship. The hefty prices. Payment. I have stayed away from this nation for a long time. Recently I came back for awhile. The first thing that really shocked me was the cost. One morning after my walk in the park, I got into the usual nearby economy supermarket and took a few essential basic breakfast food. When I checked out, I was in for a shock. I did not have enough cash to pay for the stuff. I thought I was carrying more than sufficient cash to even buy more if I had wanted to. But how wrong it turned out. I was holding up the queue. So I told the cashier to remove three items: tea, toilet paper, and oranges. It was the moment of truth in this nation. In less than a year, inflation of all goods and service have rocketed  by over 30%-100% (plus newly implemented additional sales and service taxes). The plastic bags cost twenty-five cents a piece. As I had to walk quite a distance to the parked car, I had to purchase three flimsy plastic grocery bags. It was like daylight robbery. When I went to a wet market to buy sweet potatoes the following day, the foreign work seller sighed and mumbled to me apologetically after he weighed and calculated the price of two tiny pieces of sweet potatoes. He said. “Nowadays no one can afford to eat anything!” Then he threw up his hands into the air and pointed to the fish market, “Tell me, who can afford to eat a fish today?” The fish market was indeed quite empty compared to a year ago. I briefly gazed at it, sighed, and left with my two precious sweet potatoes, imagining the various ways I can ration these two pieces of delicacy.

The message that touches me deeply today is what Jesus said about the real cost.

In Mark 10:13-31, Jesus talks about the un-calculative childlike requirement to receive and thereby enter the Kingdom of God. There is a Kingdom where God rules. The qualification to receive and enter it is not to count like the people of the world count. The mathematics of this world does not measure up in His Kingdom. The disciples were shock too when they heard this new math. “Then who in the world can be saved?” They questioned Jesus. Like, what is the point? Even the one who can count most cannot enter?

What Jesus replies is even more shocking. First, the one who cannot count can enter. Second, those who can count must henceforth become someone who cannot count.

What? How can this be possible? But Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”

Peter could not understand and kept talking about human way of counting. So Jesus spoke to them about how the Kingdom of God’s math works. This is real good counting. I am happy I am using this math and not the one I had left behind.

Mark 10:29-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

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.[a]

Footnotes:

  1. 10:31 Greek But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.

Today’s reading: Mark 10:13-31; Leviticus 24:1-25:46; Psalm 33:12-22; Proverbs 10:20-21

9th week 3rd day: My God

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Do not despise the day of small things -Zechariah 4:10

When I kneel before God, in His holy presence, I know in my spirit He talks to me daily. In truth and in spirit I know. This morning I discovered to my horror that for several days I had been drinking a paper carton of ‘fresh’ milk that had gone bad even when I purchased it from a vendor who normally does not sell fresh milk. I noted the texture of the milk that floated on top of my coffee which did not look right. My dessert did not taste right when I topped it with this milk. The food looked and tasted strange. Yet I continued taking it daily. It did not give me second thought. I trusted the writing on the carton that said, “Valid until March 16”. In fact the unrealistic long expiry date should have alerted me. The ‘unqualified’ vendor from whom I made the purchase should have made me wonder before my purchase. But I was a sticker to label. The label clearly says, OK. The carton was in fact bulging and I chose to ignore its shape. Something that made it turn foul had entered it. The Lord asked me to look at all the signs which clearly pointed to imperfection and contamination. Yet I chose to continue ignoring the signs. Then the Lord even asked me to smell the milk. I smelled it and it smelled funny. Not right. But I insisted on putting it back into my refrigerator. This morning as I took the milk out and the Lord said, “taste it as it is and not mix it with other stuff.” I poured a bit into a cup and tasted it. It was yucky. It smelled disgusting too. Then it dawned on me that I had been a real stubborn fool, taking ‘poison’ for days and refusing to hear the Lord’s kind and wise advice. Yes, in a way, I actually acted out what the Israelites did when they refused to listen to God’s kind and timely advice and obey His perfect and good commands through His Holy Spirit. God is merciful and keeps granting my daily generic prayer and prayer for each meal too for supernatural protection against poison or other unclean effects , because I have not suffered any bad stomach at all having been consuming such foul stuff daily!

Today’s message from Leviticus 22-23 to me speaks exactly of this subject of contamination. God speaks of His holy and purity standard for sacrifices. He again makes a clear and specific distinction between the clean and the unclean in His eyes. He speaks of the unacceptability of contamination (defects).

There is a spiritual context in this teaching: Why does God want perfection and purity? Here is His answer: Leviticus 22:31-33 (All Scriptures are quoted from the New Living Translation Holy Bible unless otherwise noted)

“You must faithfully keep all my commands by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord. Do not bring shame on my holy name, for I will display my holiness among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who makes you holy. It was I who rescued you from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the lord.”

Another message that speaks to me as I kneel there interceding for my family and loved ones, “This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed from generation to generation wherever you live.” (Leviticus 23:31) “This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 23:43) God’s laws are for perpetuity. (One definition of the word ‘perpetuity: a bond or other security with no fixed maturity.) The purpose is for safeguard for the people of God from generation to generation, as long as the spiritual lineage of each generation continues in its purity as the chosen special holy nation of God. The people of the Kingdom of God that Jesus has bought with His own pure and unblemished blood . As read in Hebrews the revelations God gave to Moses are previews of the real good things that Jesus has brought after Moses. The holy and purity principles and goodness of those holy things and a holy lifestyle have never changed. Because God is the God for Moses and also the God for all Christians past, present and forever.

Why have I not listened to God in the matter of the spoiled milk? I ask myself. I ask the Lord. Here is the answer I received:

“Because you think I am the God only for big things. Am I not the God for small sparrows? Do I not concern for small details? My ‘PATTERN’ shows every detail.”

Zechariah 4:10 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

 

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

Today’s reading from the One Year Holy Bible: Leviticus 22:17-23:44; Mark 9:30-10:12; Psalm 33:1-11; Proverbs 10:19 

 

 

 

9th week 2nd day: my worship life

fall3All about worship today. God continues to instruct Moses to teach and execute holiness. He addresses specifically the priests in the passages today. (All Scriptures quoted are from New Living Translation Holy Bible)

But the verse that stands out to me is in Leviticus 20: Verse (2) “Give the people of Israel these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living in Israel.” God’s standard and pattern apply to all who live in His Kingdom. No one is exempted. Jews and Gentiles believers who worship God in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

These are the repeated declarations made by God to a people set apart by Him:  (7-8) So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy. (22) You must keep all my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice; otherwise the and to which I am bringing you as your new home will vomit you out. (23) Do not live according to the customs of the people I am driving out before you. It is because they do these shameful things that I detest them. (26) You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own. When Jesus came to earth He brought with Him a Kingdom of God. The pattern and standard of God rule this Kingdom. As we have read in Hebrews 10:1 the old system under the law of Moses was a preview of the good things that were to come with Jesus. The whole pattern of the tabernacle was to enable God’s people to worship Him. This has not changed. This is what the Holy Spirit reveals and teaches in Hebrews:

Hebrews 8:1-2 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle,[a] the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.

Hebrews 9:11  So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come.[a] He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 9:14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds[a] so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Hebrews 12:22-24

22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.

Hebrews 13:15

15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.

~~~~~~Today’s reading from One Year Bible: Leviticus 20:22-22:16; Mark 9:1-29; Psalm 32:6-11; Proverbs 10:18

 

end times witnessing: a doctor’s attitude

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Be Resilient: as Jesus is so are we in this world.

“We write so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” This is the writer’s attitude of Dr. Luke. He writes with a specific focused goal in his mind. He wants to communicate the facts he has personally observed and carefully researched and investigated, in an orderly manner, clearly and accurately. This is how we write too when we talk about the matters of God. I have observed and researched healthcare prevention and treatment and have worked with friends who are in the medical line and my perception of the dedicated ones is that they are serious and very cautious about what they have learned and practiced in their line of profession. A doctor has told me that it is because they have to deal with life and death issue. Life and death issue is the line where we cannot afford to be casual and/or untruthful. This is the issue that our Lord Jesus has dealt with while on earth and taught His disciples to do the same. Luke has followed closely the disciples of Jesus. This is the tenth year of my personal blogging, from an individual Christian viewpoint, learning to communicate what I have personally observed, encountered, researched and investigated. Last night I was led to read the introductions of Luke in Luke 1:1-4, and Acts 1:1-5. How relevant this guide and goal for me is. The Lord has spoken again to me and I know I still have a long way to go. I pray that I shall be faithful and focused.

Luke 1:1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)

Introduction
1 Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. 2 They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples.[a] 3 Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.

Footnotes:

1:2 Greek from those who from the beginning were servants of the word.

Acts 1:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

In my first book[a] I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. 5 John baptized with[b] water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Footnotes:

1:1 The reference is to the Gospel of Luke.
1:5 Or in; also in 1:5b.

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The Biblical baby name Luke is Hebrew in origin and its meaning is bringer of light, morning.

Luke is pronounced loo-k.

Luke was a physician in Rome and an early convert to Christianity. He befriended Paul, and was his companion during his many evangelical journeys and even imprisonment. Luke wrote one of the four gospels describing the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Luke is also called Lucas in the Bible.

Biblical reference for the name Luke:
2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 4:14; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24; Book of Luke; Acts of Apostles
Strong’s Bible Concordance G3065

Receive from God: blessings so good

two builders
Matthew 7:24 build on a solid rock -the words of God 

Blessings or curses: you choose. God spoke to His people through Moses. The blessings are really all that a Christian can ever ask for or imagine-like the apostle Paul saying: My God shall supply all you need according to the riches of His glory. Yes, God has offered this to you today.

Deuteronomy 28 New International Version (NIV)

Blessings for Obedience
28 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:

3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.

4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.

5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.

6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

7 The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

8 The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

9 The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. 11 The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.

12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.

Curses for Disobedience (quoted in parts; please read from 15-64 from your Bible.)
15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:

16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country….25 The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. …33 A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your days. 34 The sights you see will drive you mad. 35 The Lord will afflict…38 You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it…43 The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. 44 They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail. 45 All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you. 46 They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever. 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, 48 therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the Lord sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.

49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young. 51 They will devour…They will besiege all the cities throughout the land the Lord your God is giving you…58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God— 59 the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. 60 He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you…64 Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other…an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. 66 You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. 67 In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. 68 The Lord will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.

Footnotes:

Deuteronomy 28:20 Hebrew me

Seeing God: Discourse with Jesus (purpose and power)

Holy Spirit purpose power
See God’s Purpose and Power

God has revealed His purpose and power for us in this New Year’s journey to see God. Three questions are posted here today with answers from Jesus Himself. I have grouped some questions together for the same theme. Please read the passage or chapter for the context of each of the questions. I have taken them from the Gospel recorded by Luke (in NIV unless specifically denoted separately).

Question 6: What did you go out into the wilderness to see? To what, then, shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? (Luke 7:24, 31-32) (Read from Luke 7:24-35)

Jesus focuses on the key word ‘seeing’ again. You can only see what you want to see. Seeing takes growing up and maturity. In the Kingdom of God seeing requires a heart for God. Seeing what God sees. What does God see in this context of John the Baptist? Jesus has shown us what God sees: A true prophet, a messenger from God, accomplishing God’s plan faithfully. “’This is the one about whom it is written: “’I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’…

There are three types for seeing: (1) seeing the physical nature as it is, such as, the reed blown and swayed by the wind; (2) seeing man’s impressive worldly accomplishment, such as, display of wealth, social status, and political power (What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. Luke 16:15); or (3) seeing what God sees in the spiritual realm: His will being carried out just as planned for the salvation of mankind. How do we see what God see? We have two most reliable spiritual guides: the Bible, the Holy Spirit.

Seeing God through the preaching, hearing and reading of His words requires positive response and faith in action on our part. The positive response to God comes after a genuine conversion: “All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John.” (Luke 7:29; Matthew 3:5-6)

But another group responded negatively, the Pharisees and the experts of the law. They “rejected God’s purpose for themselves because they were not baptized by John.”(Luke 7:30) Jesus described them like children in the marketplace, mimicking their adults’ mocking, scorning, with contempt for matters they did not understand. Many Pharisees and Sadducees went to where John was baptizing but he saw through their real motive, rebuked them and exposed their unrepentant hearts which disqualified them from being

Question 7: Do you see this woman? Where is your faith? Who touched Me? Who do you say I am? However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 7:44; 8:25; 8:45; 9:20; 18:8)

Jesus focuses on the key word ‘FAITH’ when He asks the above questions. Do you see faith? Do you have faith? Where is your faith? What does faith look like? One thing that stands out is faith must manifest. It can be seen. God can see. The spiritual beings can see. Human can see.

Faith in Jesus brings salvation and healing. An ostracized woman had faith that Jesus came from God, had the power and authority to forgive sins, and was willing to forgive her many sins. So she took an action of faith to approach Him, showered Him her appreciation and reverential love, even at great cost, perhaps the greatest cost of her lifetime. She was forgiven. (Luke 7:44, 47, 50) Another similarly ostracized woman of faith approached Jesus with the same faith, boldness in action, risking being discovered and punished harshly according to their law. She was healed. (Luke 8:45, 48)

In the final analysis, everyone is confronted with the same question: “Who do you think I am?” Salvation and healing do not come cheap. No amount of lip service can bring a person this twin-benefit. Jesus questioned His disciples. “Where is your faith? Who do you think I am?” These are what He is looking for in everyone who wants to follow Him. Without faith in Jesus being the Son of God, the only way to God, no one can go to God. Without faith no one can please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

When Jesus returns he wants to find one thing on earth: Faith. (Luke 18:8) Why? Because before He comes again His believers are required to always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1, 8). During the interval between the time Jesus left earth and His imminent return, His followers will go through storms and squall, boat being swamped, great danger that need faith. That is why Jesus questioned, “Where is your faith?”(Luke 8:22-25) Faith makes things manifest from the unseen realm to the seen realm. (Hebrews 11:3)

Faith is the end time survival key. Faith extinguishes all the flaming arrows from the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16). We need to have the shield of faith as part of the full armor of God on the day of evil. (Ephesians 6:13). Jesus has taught His disciples to put on daily and be prepared for we do not know when it comes. The gospel of Jesus requires faith to receive. The same salvation message was proclaimed but the message some heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who listened to God and obeyed. (Hebrews 4:2)

Question 8: What is written in the Law? How do you read it? You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? (Luke 10:26, 40, 56)

Law is a highly esteemed and favorite study of the Jewish people because it governs every aspect of their lives. In the time of Jesus, There were scholarly experts and specialists in the Law of Moses. They knew all the fine prints and liked to question and challenge Jesus intellectually. But Jesus was more than well prepared for them than they thought. Jesus knew everything they knew. In addition He knew what they did not know because they had no direct link to God in the spirit. Jesus pointed out the flaw in their reasoning.

The Law of Moses had two parts: the written part and the part they read and understood and receive the power of God. The written part is external. People could read, memorize and recite them. The difficulty is in the reading and understanding internally. Jesus questions: “How do you read it?

There is no real understanding without allowing the words to become life and spirit inside us. (John 6:67)

Jesus pointed out the error of those who tried to interpret God’s truth using the same principle and method they use to interpret physical appearance–natural sciences and philosophy. (Luke 12:56) Reading the Bible is not difficult. But its interpretation requires the Holy Spirit. Jesus said this to the Sadducees who came to challenge Him on the truth of resurrection,

There is no real impact on lives if not accompanied by the power of God. God’s words require interpretation.Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)

Summary: Through God’s Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit

  1. Seeing that God’s purpose is to save through Jesus and it is a serious matter of either having eternal life with God or eternal damnation with the devil.

  2. Believing and receiving the power of God as real in our lives.

  3. Taking the bold step of faith in action: believe in Jesus and receive salvation and healing!

Seeing God: Interactive Discourse with Jesus -power and intellect

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Today we go interactive in a discourse with the King. King Jesus speaks through asking questions. And all His subjects are required to answer.
Why? Questions demand answers. Often He gives us the answers to His tough questions. The questions are often the answers themselves. Let us read at random five pertinent questions as the watchman opened the Bible and in no particular sequence here below and meditate on them. Jesus puts significance on the interactive requirement of His words, for His audience to think— search our intellect and emotion, expose the real hidden motives and attitudes behind our thought, respond, —and give an account to them, eventually having no choice but to agree with Jesus that He is right about the matter. (Bible verses are quoted from NIV and the boldness/italics of some words/phrases are added.)

Question 1: The following question is for those familiar with the story of the human Jesus. “Why do you still think Jesus is an ordinary good and clever man but continue to ignore or not to believe His true status as the Son of God?”

The twelve years old Jesus questioned Mary and Joseph who thought he was lost like any ordinary boy in a big city on their way home. They returned to Jerusalem and spent three days looking for Him and finally arrived at the temple courts and found Him sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. He was giving answers to His questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers.
Luke 2:49 Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?

The Bible did not record their answer if any to Jesus. They were astonished and stunned. Why do we look for Jesus away from God’s place? Where is God’s house? Do we know where it is? Is it far from us? Do we turn around from wherever we are going and return to look for Jesus? How shall we answer to Jesus if he asks these questions?

Question 2: This question addresses unbelieving spectators. “Why do you like to see the signs and miracles but do not want to believe that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Jesus said to a paralyzed man that his sins are forgiven and the Pharisees and teachers of the law began to feel offended and questioned in their heart the authority and credibility of Jesus to forgive sins because they knew and believed that only God could forgive sins. Jesus knew their thoughts. So He asked this following seemingly simple question.
Luke 5:22–23 “Why do you think these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk?’

In this instance too the Bible did not record any reply. Jesus went on to heal the man of his paralysis. Jesus performed the miracle to show and challenge the critics and skeptics this truth: Jesus is God. “Now that you have seen I can do what only God can do, are you not going to acknowledge that I am God?” —an unspoken question knocking on the doors of those hearts harden by religious jealousy and other worldly personal agenda). The same question is knocking on hearts today when we read of Jesus, clear and plain, though unspoken. How shall we respond? The question addresses the priority of a church. What is your real motive when you impose strict observance of your tradition and rules to the extent that you forego the original divine principle and purpose of the goodness of God behind the Law governing His elect people?

Jesus has shown us the supreme and divine-commissioned principle of God: to do Good (including healing, setting free from bondages and sufferings, and restoring the wholeness of a human) and Save Lives (from eternal damnation).

Question 3: In this account, Jesus addresses the heart matter. Why are your hearts so harden that you just do not want to see the goodness of God towards others?

He was teaching in a synagogue on Sabbath day and a man was there with a shriveled right hand. Obviously Jesus was expected to heal him. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were there to look for a reason to accuse Jesus of not following the Law of Moses and disqualify him as a teacher. The real question was they were they sincere in following the law themselves? Do they really care the true purpose of the law? Thus Jesus asked as follows:
Luke 6:9 Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?”

The Law of God given through Moses is meant for the good of all people under its governance, and intends to save and preserve lives from destruction. But a person’s obsession with fulfilling self-agenda (often driven by the love of physical pleasure—derived from the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17)— often diverts his attention from looking at the goodness of God to looking for excuses to accuse, manipulate and control other fellow human beings. The ‘religious’ hypocrites could not comply with the Law. They could not practice what they preached. (Matthew 23:3).

Jesus saw through the unholy-ungodly motives of these ‘religious’ hypocrites. No one could answer or challenge His question and they did not bother anyway. They were furious and jealous when Jesus showed that He could not be intimidated to obey mere mortal man. They began to scheme against Jesus because Jesus healed the sick man and demonstrated the goodness and greatness of God’s heart.

Jesus declared that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father (God). (John 14:9) He equated His miraculous healing with doing good and saving people. Jesus is perfect and merciful because God is perfect and merciful. (Luke 6:36; Matthew 5:48; Matthew 5:17-20) The Law is holy, righteous, good and spiritual. Jesus has taught us how to serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:6, 12, 14)

Question 4: Jesus challenges the blindness—the critical and judgmental perspective— of Christian (Pharisees and teachers of the Jewish laws). “Don’t you know you are blind?”

Again the questions are meant to be answered in the hearts. See clearly first. When you cannot see, you see a distorted picture of another Christian. The dust (problem) is not in your brother’s eye. You have a huge hindrance blocking your heart to see accurately and according to how God really see other Christians. Learn to know, obey and apply God’s words on yourself to see the unseen first. Don’t keep focusing on the physical and soul part (the mind, the emotion). You proclaim the wrong words because you have parked yourself in the wrong kingdom, even using the words of God according to the value and interpretation of the flesh (world) and not led by the Spirit of Christ. No one can really see clearly or accurately without being guided by the Holy Spirit. Sons of God are led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lifts us up to a higher ground and see from the eyes of God. The words of God are the Sword of the Spirit. They cannot be used unless you are walking by the Spirit and not by flesh. (1 Corinthians 2; Ephesian 6:12-18)
Luke 6:41 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to you brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Question 5: After challenging their blindness, Jesus challenges their deafness. “Why do you continue to talk idle words when you cannot hear what I say in the first place?”

Jesus equates hearing with doing. After hearing what Jesus says we need to digest, allow the words to transform us by the renewal of our mind, so that we do not continue to follow the world and its way, but know what the good, acceptable and perfect will of God, then we can act on the words with integrity appropriately and truthfully. (Romans 12:1-2) Our actions include both our words and our deeds. How do we know whether the two synchronize? Jesus has given us the guideline: Look at the fruits. We will do the works of Jesus and even greater things because of the Holy Spirit in us who believe. (John 14:12, 21; 15:4, 7-8; Mark 16:15-20; Matthew 28:18-20)

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

Look at the context of this question: Only good trees bear good fruits. Good fruits include what come out through our mouths (the words we speak) from our hearts (the thoughts we harbor). (Luke 6:43-45) Only a solid foundation keeps the building standing. Jesus has told us what makes a foundation solid:

“As for everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and put them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” (Luke 6:47-48)

Day two: God defines love in action

20150603 an evening 3God defines love in action: (Malachi 1b)
1. Love means giving one’s best without reservation.
2. Love is the highest form of gifts.
3. The gift of love is pure and holy, according to God’s prescribed revealed standards.
4. Love gift requires a cost, a sacrifice.
5. Love can only be binding in a legal relationship.
6. The opposite of love in a legal relationship is contempt.
7. Love requires honor and respect.
8. Love can be seen by all.
9. Love is the measurement for performance appraisal.
10. Love is never cheap or cheat.
Unworthy Sacrifices (1:6-14)
6 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name!
“But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’
7 “You have shown contempt by offering defiled sacrifices on my altar.
“Then you ask, ‘How have we defiled the sacrifices?[c]’
“You defile them by saying the altar of the Lord deserves no respect. 8 When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
9 “Go ahead, beg God to be merciful to you! But when you bring that kind of offering, why should he show you any favor at all?” asks the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
10 “How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings. 11 But my name is honored[d] by people of other nations from morning till night. All around the world they offer[e] sweet incense and pure offerings in honor of my name. For my name is great among the nations,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
12 “But you dishonor my name with your actions. By bringing contemptible food, you are saying it’s all right to defile the Lord’s table. 13 You say, ‘It’s too hard to serve the Lord,’ and you turn up your noses at my commands,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Think of it! Animals that are stolen and crippled and sick are being presented as offerings! Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the Lord.
14 “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great King,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!
Footnotes:
1:1a Hebrew An Oracle: The message.
1:1b Malachi means “my messenger.”
1:7 As in Greek version; Hebrew reads defiled you?
1:11a Or will be honored.
1:11b Or will offer.

When God talks, it’s about love (Malachi1a)

1John419Today we start a new reading on God’s revelation to prophet Malachi. The subject matter is love.God begins by declaring His love. “I have always loved you,” “This is how I showed my love for you:”

Summary:

  1. God talks .
  2. God talks about His love for His people.
  3. God talks to the person who can hear Him.
  4. God also shows how He loves.
  5. When you see for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, the Lord’s greatness reaches far beyond…(whatever boundary you have set to limit God’s love). 

Malachi 1:1-5 New Living Translation (NLT)

This is the message[a] that the Lord gave to Israel through the prophet Malachi.[b]

“I have always loved you,” says the Lord.

But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”

And the Lord replies, “This is how I showed my love for you: I loved your ancestor Jacob, but I rejected his brother, Esau, and devastated his hill country. I turned Esau’s inheritance into a desert for jackals.”

Esau’s descendants in Edom may say, “We have been shattered, but we will rebuild the ruins.”

But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies replies, “They may try to rebuild, but I will demolish them again. Their country will be known as ‘The Land of Wickedness,’ and their people will be called ‘The People with Whom the Lord Is Forever Angry.’ When you see the destruction for yourselves, you will say, ‘Truly, the Lord’s greatness reaches far beyond Israel’s borders!’”