CHOOSE

CHOOSE GREATNESS: CHOOSE LIFE

Today I ponder on the legacy we shall each leave behind. There is always a point where each of us must make a crucial decision that will be etched into our history. I walked through the histories of many great men and women in the past. A few years back I was invited to write the life story of one special woman who gave her best years to others (strangers in a remote land). I met some who know her well in her past life as a successful banker and the people group in the remote backwater war-ravished land whom she has loved so dearly and relentlessly that she has given up her past life decades ago to become one of them. I asked her why? She said she loves them because she knows Jesus loves them. A childhood friend of hers said he believed she wanted to leave a legacy behind.

Your choice may be to continue staying in the comfort of your vineyard at the safe shady valley below with gentle breeze or to continue climbing up to the high summit where there is strong wind and brilliant light from the sun. I pray you choose right.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Deuteronomy 30:18-20  18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

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

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


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power and authority : treasure in jars of clay

Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Galatians 1:1 KJV) Paul had been given unique authority from Christ to be his representative and the founder of churches (see Acts 1:21-26). In his letters to the Corinthian Christians he identified himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” His apostolic ministry was clearly evidenced by the authority and the life transforming revealed words and power of the resurrected Christ. As a closing to my notes on a meditative journey in 2 Corinthians I have done the following chart on the subject of power and authority. My notes on the Bible verses are in brackets.

God-given power and authority

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (All authorities on earth will come to an end)

2 Corinthians 10:8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— (God-given authority to men is for constructive and not destructive purposes)

2 Corinthians 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction. (same as above)

1:18 [Christ the Power and Wisdom of God] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (The salvation message is the power to save and transform)

1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (The resurrected Christ is the power and wisdom in us)

2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (Paul’s speeches are confirmed by deeds of spiritual power which manifests in physical realm)

2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (man’s words are powerless; power of God makes things work)

4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (We are so privileged to be chosen for His glory)

4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. (No use to boast about your ministry unless your words can be confirmed by God’s power)

4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (God’s kingdom is about power in deeds that confirm His words)

6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. (God’s power raises the dead; power of God is the only source of life)

a new direction for investment: the Spirit way

Someone close forwarded to me a monetary write-up. I did not finish reading it and immediately told her not to share it to anyone anymore. The write-up mentioned an announcement by an international organization about a monetary decision and related speculations.

I am always confronted with questions like this. What shall we do about our rather humble investments which may be affected by policy changes in the world? Like what I told my faraway friend I could only tell her my views and predictions (prophecies) when we meet face to face as it is too complex to talk about in a chat. I would have to explain to her many multifaceted power factors and variables, social, political, economic, financial and many more. I shall need to explain to her the issues of two parallel kingdoms and citizens of the Kingdom of God are not to panic like the residents of another kingdom because we walk by the Spirit and not bound by the limitations of the external world.

So coming back to a small investor what shall we do? I have only one fall-safe advice. Do not follow the pack. Do not believe in the media (including so-called analysts). Do not make any hasty decision based on hearsay. Do not follow the world and its way.

Do follow the Holy Spirit.

I know someone will cry by now. How to follow the Holy Spirit if you have never practiced hearing Him and following His advice? Money is where the heart is. How to trust the Holy Spirit if you have never learned to trust and obey Him in small money matters like offerings and givings? Jesus gave a good way to test if you have listened and acted correctly. He said only the good trees produce good fruit. He also specifically said that hearing Him and acting on it would assure that your house is built on solid rock.

How to listen to the Holy Spirit? For a start, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and pray in tongue. Read God’s word (the Bible). Meditate on His words. Talk to God and listen to His Spirit talking to your spirit. No, it is not an intuition or magic. It is a relationship with someone really close built up over time.

Christians (born again by the Holy Spirit) have the ability to hear God. The Spirit in you is not a spirit of fear. It is a spirit of power, love, and sound mind. Fear is the major tool to make you lose peace and rest in God. You will forget God’s love for you which is a constant factor. God does not change His love. God’s Love is a supernatural power. Every Christian has this power.

My advice is always fall back on God’s love, peace and the faith that He has placed in your heart. Always maintain your close relationship with Him like you do with your best loved one. He has never failed me.

Be encouraged and built up by these Bible verses:

Romans 5:5 New King James Version (NKJV)

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

2 Timothy 1:7, 13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Timothy 3:16 training, discipline

3 John 2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.


Not Ashamed: Jesus’ words for today

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Ephesians 6:16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.

A sample of The New American Standard Bible, 1977 edition (NASB)

The Love Motivation

John 21:15 So when they had afinished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, 1son of John, do you 2love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I 3love You.” He *said to him, “Tend cMy lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you 1love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I 2love You.” He *said to him, “aShepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you 1love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him athe third time, “Do you 1love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, bYou know all things; You know that I 1love You.” Jesus *said to him, “cTend My sheep.

Just loving aloud: passionately unveiled

cross not loss
Magnify the cross, not your loss!

So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, 15 the perfect Father of every father and child[a] in heaven and on the earth. 16 And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.

17 Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.

18–19 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude[b] of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.

21 Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!

Footnotes:
Ephesians 3:15 Translated from the Aramaic. It could also be translated “the perfect Father of every people group.” The Greek word for “father” and the word for “family” are quite similar, which indicates that every family finds its source in the Father.
Ephesians 3:18 Or “excellence.”

(Ephesians 3:14-21 The Passion Translation (TPT) Paul Prays for Love to Overflow)

Watchman’s encounter: Awesome God waters His people

psalm 119-103
Psalm 119:103 sweet words from above

It was an awesome spiritual encounter. I was woken by the worship song downstairs. My housemate was ministering to a first year correspondence Bible College student group in the living room. The song was powerfully sung. I thought it was a recorded or online video but the guitar was clear and the surround effect was too good not to be live. They only sang one song, a Chinese original composition called “You are Worthy”. I did not know the number of participants. It sounded like a full house. The music was great and powerful too. I could not figure out whether there was one or two guitars. Then they prayed in tongue. It blended into the music and the song. I became wide awake and joined the praying in tongue in my room.

Later, when their class was over they prayed in tongue again. This time I was sitting at my desk, continuing my own study. I was also praying in tongue. I realized that I was singing in tongue, and it was a gentle beautiful song in an unknown tongue. The students then took turn to pray in understanding. The music was playing softly in the background. After their closing prayers I heard people talking and leaving.

I was impressed to open my Bible to see what the Lord has for me about my tongue (spiritual song). And the verses I received were most appropriate. They are taken from Psalm 119:97-104 MEM. Here is a description of what it means:
It means mighty, overpower.
Meaning: God waters His servants. God gives life-sustaining knowledge to His servants. God waters His people with understanding and insight. The two forms of MEM show Moses (in the open) and the Messiah (the “hidden” water).

The above confirms my spiritual song just now. When I was singing I could feel the flow in my spirit, like calm water, gentle, peaceful and refreshing. I could also feel the joy and sweetness in my soul. The Lord indeed gives understanding and insight to me and the students as they too prayed in tongue, expressing their passion and love for the words of the Lord in their spirit.

It was near midnight when the last of the students left. I then found out that there were only ten students. One young couple served as worship leaders and another older couple could sing very well too. One guitar accompanied the singing. But it was a powerful passionate worship team I heard. Who are the rest? Awesome!

Psalm 119:97-104 New King James Version (NKJV)
מ MEM
97 Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the [a]ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

Footnotes:
Psalm 119:100 aged

“God will see to it, my son.” He did.

Romans 8-32This morning’s love message is : “God will see to it, my son.” While God will see to it, we need to come to God with a vision, seeing into the unseen by unwavering faith, as led by the Holy Spirit.

(All Scriptures are quoted from NKJV unless otherwise specified)

Indeed, in the classic case of Abraham’s affirmation of his vision of God’s true nature, God saw to it that Abraham and wife did not have to lose their greatest love -their only son, Isaac, born to him and his wife Sarah at their very old age. What did Abraham see when he went to the mountain of vision with his son just as God instructed him to do? He saw the awesome love of God, who provided His own greatest love, the Son of God -Jesus as a substitute for Abraham and Isaac and all mankind!  Jesus became the perfect sacrifice! (Hebrews 10:5-14 “10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”)

God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah (Hebrew: מוֹרִיָּה‬‬ -“ordained/considered by the LORD”, which is the name given to a mountainous region by the Book of Genesis, in which context it is the location of the intended sacrifice of Isaac. The Vulgate renders the location specified by God for the sacrifice as terram Visionis, traditionally rendered “land of Vision” in Catholic translations.

Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.

22:8 Abraham said, “The lamb for the entirely burned offering? God will see to it, my son.” The two of them walked on together. (CEB)
God will see to it, my son,” Abraham replied. And they went on. (TLB)
Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept on walking together.(MSG)

22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.

Hebrews 11:17-19
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

John 8:55-56 (Jesus said)
Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

Where is our land of vision today? Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) We can see by reading His words.

We can also see (know) by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17) The Holy Spirit will enables us to see, Jesus said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-15)

What shall we focus on seeing? Like Abraham we only need to focus on seeing God’s great love, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Awesome! God’s name is LOVE.

the NOW time for plentiful harvest: Do not limit God

Luke 5-4
Luke 5:4

Luke 5:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon (Peter), “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

What did Jesus tell Simon Peter?
Key words: “Now”, “Go out”, “where”, “deeper”, “nets” and “catch”. Jesus issued a command with a specific time limit and an urgency. He also specified where, with what and for what purpose.

Did it work? Peter and his business partners had been fishing all previous night and didn’t catch a thing. But he decided to do exactly what Jesus said, “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”

And what happened when he acted on the word revealed by Jesus?
“And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!”

Key phrases:
1. Jesus “says so” to Peter specifically. Peter received the revelation.
2. Peter responded to Jesus, “I’ll let the nets down again”. Peter obeyed Jesus’ words exactly. He took the boat back to the deeper place and let down more than one net because Jesus said “nets”. indeed, all his nets were filled to breaking point!

When we receive a word from the Lord to meet our needs we can expect the Lord to give plenty and not a handful. Peter’s case is not an isolated one. God has demonstrated His superabundant supplies in the case of the widow with one last jar of oil in Elisah’s time. He filled all the empty vessels she borrowed and stopped only when she ran out of vessels. (2 Kings 4:1-6) Jesus would have filled more nets with fish but Peter ran out of nets.

The vessels and the nets we put out often limit the amounts we receive.

Lesson learned: Don’t limit God.

Bible in Diagram: John 17:1-5

THE WAY TO ETERNAL LIFE, HONOR AND GLORY

John 17:1-5

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life —to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.   I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.”

John17-1-5

What Jesus did on earth glorified God. he knew what His assignment was, how and when to finish it. He was totally focused. He knew His original source and was confident of returning there. His journey on earth was not in vain. He accomplished. He also gave us a glimpse of what it’s like:
A place of honor and glory.
Awesome!
(TO BE CONTINUED)

at the time when kings go out to battle

2 samuel 111
2 Samuel 11:1

Kings go out to battle. Great kings do not stay back in their comfortable palaces (comfort zone) and wait for news. They do not send a second in command instead. They go out to do the battle themselves, not as a figurehead!

This is the lesson we learn from King David and how his decision not to go to the strategic point of victory had cost him beyond anything he had achieved. Those who stay in their own comfort zone never achieve anything of lasting value. Worse, They could even lose all they have valued.

The world today sees through such hypocrisy. We are not persuaded by mere words. We want to see kings who effectively walk their talks.

Praise God for there are some hands-on kings (raised from senior citizens)!

We pray that there are kings who have the right value, can hear the Lord, make the right decision at the right time, for the right motive that aligns with God’s will, regardless of what those ignorant of God’s strategies may scorn and mock. The Bible is full of examples of adversaries from two different perceptions. perception from the wise and perception from the fools. The Bible also tells us very specifically who wins and why, how to be wise and how not to be fools.

History records how wise kings operate strategically and boldly.

King David was a wise king when he listened to the Lord. He failed big time when he chose not to listen. He was wise when he aligned his heart with the heart of God.

2 Samuel 11:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
David, Bathsheba, and Uriah
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 2:12
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

a fitting confession for a king to declare

1 timothy 1:121 Timothy 1:11-13 King James Version (KJV)

11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

today’s prophecy: Isaiah 55:5

Isaiah 555
today’s prophecy: Isaiah 55:5

GOD SENDS HIS COMMANDER FOR GOD’S OWN WAR
Joshua 5:13-15 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Commander of the Army of the Lord
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

GOD’S COMMANDER WORKS WITH MAN’S COMMANDER
2 Samuel 5:23-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.”

GOD SENDS MAN AS HIS ANOINTED COMMANDER
Isaiah 55:3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”