9th week 6th day: Watch the Temple

Luke 21:36Today’s New Testament reading is the focal point of worship: My Temple. Jesus addresses the holiness (setting apart from worldliness) issue. Note that He stopped everyone from using the Temple as a market place. The definition of a marketplace: an open space where a market is formerly held in a town. The arena of competitive or commercial dealings; the world of trade. When we imagine our bodies being the Temple of the Lord (Holy Spirit), and we have turned it into a marketplace, we should see the incongruity. How does Jesus judge whether the holy place is being used correctly? He uses the criteria of prayer. Is the  place being used for prayers for all nations? If not, it becomes a den of thieves. A marketplace. Note how Jesus judges the marketplace. He calls it a den of thieves. 

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

Mark 11:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT) Jesus Clears the Temple

15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves,16 and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.[a] 17 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”[b]

Footnotes:

  1. 11:16 Or from carrying merchandise through the Temple.
  2. 11:17 Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11.
The following verses are quoted from the Holy Bible New King James Version.

Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

[ Serving for God’s Glory ] But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
Today’s reading: Psalm 34:11-22; Leviticus 27:14-Numbers 1:54; Mark 11:1-26; Proverbs 10:23

walk in victory with Jesus: Day three

this is the third day. the second day was interrupted by an event that was beyond all prediction, showing the fragility of human lives and human way against the vast unknown in the sky…

anyway we are not too late. so we carry on and trusting the Lord’s Spirit to lead us on this victory march with our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Matthew 4

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Temptation of Jesus

4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

3 During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]”

7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]”

8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’[e]”

11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

The Ministry of Jesus Begins

12 When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he left Judea and returned to Galilee. 13 He went first to Nazareth, then left there and moved to Capernaum, beside the Sea of Galilee, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. 14 This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:

15 “In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali,
beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River,
in Galilee where so many Gentiles live,
16 the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light.
And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow,
a light has shined.”[f]

17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.[g]”

The First Disciples

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

Crowds Follow Jesus

23 Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.24 News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all. 25 Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns,[h]Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River. 40 days fasting desert

Footnotes:

  1. 4:3 Greek the tempter.
  2. 4:4 Deut 8:3.
  3. 4:6 Ps 91:11-12.
  4. 4:7 Deut 6:16.
  5. 4:10 Deut 6:13.
  6. 4:15-16 Isa 9:1-2 (Greek version).
  7. 4:17 Or has come, or is coming soon.
  8. 4:25 Greek Decapolis.

 

David’s prayers: praying to spiritual maturity

Today we read how prayers can lead us to spiritual maturity: David’s prayers. I took the first and last psalms with the phrase “hear my prayer” for our reading here. Note the similarities and differences between the two incidents. (Note: Bold highlights added by me.)

My brief notes: in Psalm 4 David was rather sure of his own effort to remain godly and righteous and ability to carry out God’s laws. In Psalm 143 he humbled himself and declared that no one was righteous before God! Note how David had matured spiritually in his walk with God. It is important to note that he mentioned his spirit fainting and failing and needed God’s Spirit to lead him! In both psalms we see one common factor: David always prayed. He put his hope in God and not in man. A marked change in spiritual maturity is his becoming God-focus (instead of self-focus) in Psalm 143 prayer.

Psalm 4 (ESV) Answer Me When I Call

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    You have given me relief when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
    How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
    ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
    and put your trust in the Lord.

There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
    Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
    than they have when their grain and wine abound.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

_____________

Psalm 143 (ESV) My Soul Thirsts for You A Psalm of David.

143 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
    give ear to my pleas for mercy!
    In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
    for no one living is righteous before you.

For the enemy has pursued my soul;
    he has crushed my life to the ground;
    he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.

I remember the days of old;
    I meditate on all that you have done;
    I ponder the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

Answer me quickly, O Lord!
    My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
    lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.

Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!

11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
    In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
    and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
    for I am your servant.

_________Keys to effective prayers:

  1. be Spirit-led
  2. be God-focus

Prayers to grow spiritual maturity
Prayers to grow spiritual maturity

Today’s prayer: the watchman’s 3 am prayer

Dear heavenly Father:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Jesus name, I pray. praying_hands_bible

Fasting the three days’ “Esther fast” (no food and no water)

Three years have passed. Note how the Lord has changed those who obey and fast according to the Bible. Fasting has become a way of life for many Christians. They are led by the Holy Spirit and not by the flesh (human efforts). They have encountered God in their personal experience.

fasting as the ultimate weapon

Preparing for Fasting

This blog is relevant as some of the watchman’s brethren are preparing for the three days’ Esther Fast, no food and no water. The Yom Kippur fast is the same, but only for one day. It is useful to learn more and prepare well, in body, soul and spirit.

AAAJ watchman

 The watchman learned from last year’s experience that the most difficult part is not drinking water. He can stand the not eating part but needs to really fortify against dehydration. He is one of those who do not take much plain water. So the tips here are very relevant to him.

How to prepare for this year’s special fasting? (Or any kind of fasting?)

Tips: Don’t make it any more difficult than it has to be; fasting is easier if you prepare your body in advance; there are things you can do to ease your fast after it has started. Above all, set goals before you start. Why do you want to fast? What motivates you to do so?

Everybody’s body is different, and everybody reacts differently to fasting. These tips may or may not work for you. Above all else, you should listen to your own body and…

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(Revised March 2013) chapter 37: a prayer for those who want to live by the Spirit

hands raised

This was originally posted on 9-17-2009. It is very relevant today. —————if you want to live the victorious life of the son of God. You need to live by the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit)! _____________

For those who want to live a victorious Christian life, a life as the son of God, in the kingdom of God, you have no choice but to live by the Holy Spirit. When you ignore the Holy Spirit and His work, you end up living a substandard Christian life.

This is what the watchman has discovered in his quest to live Biblical and in the Spirit. He struggled all the way and tried to be good when Jesus Himself has clearly declared that no one is good (except God). Not living the Kingdom life means not living as sons of God. Instead of being guided by the Holy Spirit, a Christian chooses to continue patterning his lifestyle after the world, compromising with ungodly standards and living lives of no eternal value.

If you want to live by the Holy Spirit, please pray with him in this prayer (which he found from a very good book by a senior intercessor):

“Dear Lord God and Heavenly Father: Thank you that I can come before You and repent of our failing to live by the Spirit as sons of God. On behalf of myself and Your people, I repent for living in rebellion and disobedience to Your word. Please forgive us for not allowing the Holy Spirit to take charge and rule over us (the church).

Please forgive us for trying to do Your work in our own strength when Your word clearly proclaims that it is not by might, nor by power but by Your Holy Spirit alone. We now repent for living by the flesh and not living by the Spirit. We call ourselves sons of God but we live like the world, when Your word clearly states that living according to the flesh (the world) will die. Please forgive us of all our sins of rebellion and disobedience, of living in the flesh and not living in the Spirit, and for taking You for granted.

Please forgive us for our ignorance of Your word. We pray that You will help us to go back to Your word, learn to live by the Spirit and no longer live by the flesh.

Thank you Father God that we can be sons of God led by the Spirit of God, no longer patterning our lives after the world but after our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for hearing our prayer. In Jesus’ awesome name we pray. Amen.”

________________________________

Watchman’s note in March 2013

This above prayer has been answered during the last three years plus. Many things, including life priorities have been drastically changed and the watchman has been saved from falling into the following category:

The Lord Jesus (Who has the final say) said, don’t fall into this terrible end:

Matthew 7:21-23 I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’