Prosperity God’s way: the rich and the poor

Wise sayings about the rich and the poor to meditate today.

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city;

The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

The way of the Lord is strength for the upright,

But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,

And He adds no sorrow with it.

The labor of the righteous leads to life,

The wages of the wicked to sin.

He who has a slack hand becomes poor,

But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

He who gathers in summer is a wise son;

He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish,

But He casts away the desire of the wicked.

The wise in heart will receive commands,

But a prating fool will fall.

He who walks with integrity walks securely,

But he who perverts his ways will become known.

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing,

But righteousness delivers from death.

The fear of the wicked will come upon him,

And the desire of the righteous will be granted.

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,

But the perverse tongue will be cut out.

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,

But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.

The righteous will never be removed,

But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.

When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,

But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

(Based on Proverbs 10)

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Prosperity God’s way: the grace of giving and receiving

2 Corinthians 9:8

One of the best places to learn to hear God is in the area of your finances. First He supplies every need, plus more. Develop a heart to give and He will give seed to you. Ask God for double: enough for your needs and extra to bless/give others in needs.

2 Corinthians 9 The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Offering for Needy Believers

9 Actually, there’s no need to write you about this contribution for the holy believers in Jerusalem, for I already know that you are on board and eager to help.[a] I keep boasting to the churches of Macedonia about your passion to give, telling them that the believers of Corinth[b] have been preparing to give for a year. Your enthusiasm is contagious—it has stirred many of them to do likewise. Still, I thought it would be best to send these brothers to receive the offering that you’ve prepared, so that our boasting about how you were ready to give would not be found hollow. For if, after boasting of our confidence in you, some of the Macedonians were to come with me and find that you were not prepared, we would be embarrassed—to say nothing of you. That’s why I’ve requested that the brothers come before I do and make arrangements in advance for the substantial offering you pledged. Then it will be seen as a matter of generosity and not under pressure, as something you felt forced to do.

Hilarious Generosity

Here’s my point. A stingy sower[c] will reap a meager harvest, but the one who sows from a generous spirit will reap an abundant harvest. Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving—all because God loves hilarious generosity![d] Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything[e]—every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do. Just as the Scriptures say about the one who trusts in him:

Because he has sown extravagantly and given to the poor,
    his kindness and generous deeds will never be forgotten.[f]

10 This generous God who supplies abundant seed[g] for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals,[h] is even more extravagant toward you. First he supplies[i] every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it, so that the harvest of your generosity[j] will grow. 11 You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion,[k] for when we take your gifts to those in need,[l] it causes many to give thanks to God.

12 The priestly ministry[m] you are providing through your offering not only supplies what is lacking for God’s people, it inspires an outpouring[n] of praises and thanksgiving to God himself. 13 For as your extremely generous offering meets the approval[o] of those in Jerusalem, it will cause them to give glory to God—all because of your loyal support and allegiance to the gospel of Christ, as well as your generous-hearted partnership with them toward those in need. 14 Because of this extraordinary grace, which God has lavished on you, they will affectionately remember you in their prayers. 15 Praise God for his astonishing gift, which is far too great for words![p]

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 9:2 The Aramaic can be translated “I know the goodness of your impulses” (or “intentions”). Paul was not hesitant to point out the obvious qualities and virtues of others.
  2. 2 Corinthians 9:2 Or “Achaia,” the Roman province where Corinth was situated.
  3. 2 Corinthians 9:6 The Aramaic can be translated “the one who sows with a storehouse of seed” (remaining). This describes a farmer who is stingy with his sowing. Since he has a storehouse of seed, he can afford to sow liberally.
  4. 2 Corinthians 9:7 See Prov. 22:8 (LXX). There are seven things in the Bible that God loves: (1) the resident foreigner or immigrant (Deut. 10:19), (2) righteousness in our affairs with others (Ps. 11:7), (3) justice (Ps. 37:28), (4) the gates of Zion (Ps. 87:2), (5) his righteous people (Ps. 146:8), (6) a hilarious or cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), and (7) those he disciplines (Heb. 12:6).
  5. 2 Corinthians 9:8 The Greek word Paul uses is autarkeia, and it is found in classical Greek as meaning “independently wealthy, needing nothing.” See Aristotle, Pol. 1. 8, 14.
  6. 2 Corinthians 9:9 See Ps. 112:9.
  7. 2 Corinthians 9:10 The Greek word epichorēgeo is used in Greek literature for someone who pays all expenses for the drama/choir (production), plus more, providing income for those who take part. God is seen as the leader of the divine choir, orchestrating everything and providing all that is needed to bring forth the sounds of his glory on the earth.
  8. 2 Corinthians 9:10 See Isa. 55:10.
  9. 2 Corinthians 9:10 The Greek word is chorēgeo (see the first footnote on this verse).
  10. 2 Corinthians 9:10 Or “righteousness,” used in this context as “generosity” (or “righteous works” of benevolence).
  11. 2 Corinthians 9:11 Or “You will always be rich enough to be generous at all times.”
  12. 2 Corinthians 9:11 Or “through us.”
  13. 2 Corinthians 9:12 The Greek word leitourgia (similar to “liturgy”) is used in Luke 1:23 for the priestly ministry of Zechariah in the temple.
  14. 2 Corinthians 9:12 Or “a superabounding.”
  15. 2 Corinthians 9:13 Or “passes the test.”
  16. 2 Corinthians 9:15 The Greek and Aramaic texts have a clean break at this point. This has caused some scholars to conclude that chs. 10–13 may have originally been separated from the earlier chapters, which could imply that the following four chapters make up the missing letter of Paul to the Corinthians. If this is so, when reading 2 Corinthians, one could begin with chs. 10–13 (Paul’s missing letter), then read from chs. 1–9. The term for this is “appending”; that is, taking an earlier document and adding a later manuscript to it. Yet in this case, the earlier document is appended.

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.”


Paul’s leverages: grace and economics

In recent years the world notes how effective economic leverage works in social-political re-engineering. Today we study another kind of successful leverages from a great master, Paul, a businessman-apostle. Economic (financial) interest is always the top priority in this world. It ties with the micro self-interest of an individual and the macro self-interest of a group, a nation or even the whole world.

In 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 we continue to reflect on Paul’s motivations and strategies, supporting a broader understanding of mission – one that sees the purpose of the church as going beyond mere evangelism, and including all manner of personal and social reconciliation (including the use of financial and economic resources). Paul presented a sustainable economical and spiritual inter-linked blue-print to the Corinthians who were already well versed with the marketplace and its language. Now Paul teaches them the higher spiritual reality which is an integral part of their physical financial reality. Take note that the Corinthian Christians were just ordinary individuals (not particularly outstanding or privileged in terms of intellect, wealth and status) when they were first converted. But they have apparently been transformed and blessed with bountiful physical prosperity and spiritual gifts after that. (1 Corinthians 1:26) Apostle Paul showed them the way of God’s economy and finance.

Here is my simplified chart on this practical application of grace and economics by Paul. (Please read Chapters 8-9 in 2 Corinthians)

2 Corinthians 8-9

Application regarding Christian giving:

  • Paul reminds us that our source of wealth is God’s grace through Jesus Christ
  • God gives us the ability to make wealth
  • God makes us abound in everything
  • We are to abound especially in giving grace
  • We are to give ourselves to God first
  • Then we will be able to give financial gift to others
  • We (the believers) are expected to give to the ministry of Christ
  • We give what we have (not what we do not have)
  • God will ensure we have more than enough to give
  • We must complete the doing of the giving
  • He who sows sparingly will also reap bountifully
  • The recipients are to ensure that gift be administered with transparent honor

Background:

In the summer of 50 A.D., the apostle Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth city where he met Priscilla and Aquila, a tent-making couple who greatly aided him in his ministry. He stayed with them and joined them in the marketplace. Following Paul’s visit between 51 and 52 AD, Corinth became the centre of early Christianity in Greece. Paul’s friends and fellow evangelists Silas and Timothy joined him in Corinth. He preached the gospel every Sabbath until he left the city around Autumn of 52 A.D. Paul revisited the city in 58 A.D. during his third missionary journey (see Acts 20:1-3).

Why did Paul choose to leave a somewhat neutral intellectual Athens where he discoursed with civil Jews and Gentiles without being obstructed but instead proceed to a melting pot like Corinth? Because he saw a greater Gospel sharing evangelical opportunity at Corinth with its strategic crossroad location situated between Italy and Asia Minor on the Isthmus and is master of two harbors and a large population with various needs conglomerating for the economic boom and related activities. Corinth city was flourishing by the 1st century AD as an important international center of administration, trade, games and entertainment. Corinth had the largest population in Greece with Greeks, Jews, Romans, even the Phoenicians and Phrygians from the east. Corinth’s financial prosperity was the result of business activities, athletic games, the skills and quality of its statesmen and craftsmen, and immorality. Because of its close connection to the sea, with ports to the east and to the west, the cosmopolitan population of Corinth consisted largely of sailors, merchants, adventurers, and refugees, which included retired and discharged veterans.

Thus, Paul and his team had found a needy evangelistic target as well as a market niche from the Jewish refugees (from Rome), Roman soldiers, the many tradesmen and religious pilgrim travelers and the games competitors and spectators.

Corinthian became the second largest city in the Roman empire, boasting a population of 700,000 people. In eighteen months Paul built the largest church in the history of the world.  The lowest estimates are 40,000 and most historians say the number was more like 80,000 people.

Paul’s motivation speech

2 Corinthians 7:13

I was asked to give an impromptu speech for five minutes under the main topic of “high performing organization” to my fellow corporate colleagues. We were each given 10 minutes to prepare. Unlike others who were experienced managers, I was at that time a fresh graduate and had to think outside the box. I chose to speak on “leadership” with a very simplistic illustration of a man standing on top of a patch of ground. Then the ground was dug away and he fell into the hole. It gave the message that a leader without supporters/helpers (or a king without subjects) is useless. The seemingly insignificant supportive workers (or citizens) in an organization (kingdom) form the solid ground the CEO-leader stands on. A high performing organization requires a leader who values and sustains those who together make and hold up the solid ground for a pre-defined and agreed upon common good and rewards according to each share of contribution in efforts. I was thinking of a somewhat “populistic” yet effective performance-based leadership.

Good management theories and practices have sustained over the years and in fact have impacted all economic activities. In my worldview, ethical, productive, and constructive economic activities and their sustainable distribution of positive outcome can solve many problems in this world.

I use the term ‘economic activities” to sum up all the activities that involve two humans or more doing something productive together with the goal of achieving a mutually beneficial increase in the sum total outcome than each would have achieved on his own. There is a term called “synergy” to describe this: a state in which two or more things work together in a particularly fruitful way that produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. Expressed also as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

I find this quote relevant and give a higher level of perspective: “We are all bound to work in the vineyard where God is the husbandman. We have all been given our little vineyard, but the way in which we cultivate it is of great importance for the prosperity of our neighbour’s vineyard… In fact all our vineyards are a part of the Lord’s great vineyard, the Holy Church, and we are all bound to work here too.” ― Sigrid Undset

The apostle Paul was such a practitioner. In his letter (speech) to the Corinthian Christians (2 Corinthians 7) he showed such a servant-leadership characteristic. He had every right to tell them off as being ungrateful and disrespectful etc. But he did not. Instead he praised them for the positive things they had done and highlighted those aspects that showed their sincerity in their relationship with him and his team.

He wrote: 7:Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

He praised them further for their repentance: 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

He spoke of his talking good about them to his co-worker Titus who also witnessed their goodness when visiting them: 13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

I will continue in my next blog on Paul’s motivational leadership practice.

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.


Just thinking aloud 4

thinking aloud4I have not been thinking aloud for sometime. What have I been doing? Well I have been studying and sitting for exam. I am serious. The last time I studied for exam was when I did a postgraduate degree for a second career. The current three years’ course is for my “third career”. Yes, my family members are laughing out loud when they read this. At my age and my station? Unbelievable! Well, why am I taking up such a seemingly directionless challenge? I could have easily gone on a world cruise and enjoy watching, listening and recording a great variety of perspectives of many sights, sounds and tastes.

For the benefit of my closed ones and other passers by, here is a random list of my study goals in no order of importance. As some may observe the goals are personal.
1. to be a role model for the younger generation who have aversion to study in my extended family. (I include this goal because several very young members are still students)
2. to compel me to leave the soft couch and sit on a chair with hard back.
3. to change my habit from random information skimming to a focused in-depth study.
4. to have a clear sense of direction.
5. to have a specific higher goal.
6. to practice self-discipline.
7. to exercise my memory and brain functions.
8. to practice long-suffering and perseverance.
9. to learn focus and deter distraction.
10. to equip for a third career. (I include this goal as a commercial motivation for myself and the younger generation too!)

Have I achieved or progressed in any of the above goals? To some degree, yes. I did not include my spiritual and goals of higher values in the above list. They are personal too. Have I achieved or progressed in them? Yes, very much. Would I recommend to my peers such a course? Yes, definitely. Far, far better than going on a world cruise. From a spiritual watchman’s perspective, cruising in the sky has a wider and more panoramic view than taking a ride in a boat.

what should a nation do to be great again?

usa-1344768_1280This is still the watchman’s message to nations who would be great. I posted the original blog on 6/26/2016 after the Brexit vote. The nation was not given the right to choose their anointed leader because one out of two candidates opted to hand over the leadership without further contest as a result of media pressure. The initial prophetic move became stagnated until today.  In the same year there was another election that started a second prophetic move which again was bitterly countered by the media. Just as predicted, the move seemed even more impossible than Brexit. But it has moved and is still moving strong.

Personally, the watchman watches the global economy. When nations are strong and booming in their respective economy, the global economy booms and more people on earth will benefit. When nations are weak in economy and continue to live by debts, donations and social welfare handouts, poverty and related evil grow deep roots and human sufferings increase.

I ask the Lord what to pray when I pray for national leaders. The word I was reminded of is “BOLDNESS”, which was what the disciples prayed for in Acts 4:29. “Grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word”.

Deuteronomy 8:18 But you shall remember [with profound respect] the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore (solemnly promised) to your fathers, as it is this day.

Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the Lord brings [true] riches, And He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God].

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even while we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

AAAJ watchman

UKGOD SPOKE TWICE.
What should a nation do to become great again?
1. I am reminded of the successful examples in the Book of Ezra and Book of Nehemiah.
Rebuild your Temple of God/churches. Rebuild your walls: physically by demarcation and sovereignty over your borders (spiritual defense too).
I pray the Lord’s Spirit be poured out mightily upon you.
When you align with God’s plan and His words you will be great again.
Prosperity and peace.
Booming trades and bountiful harvests.
No one will lack.
You will be the head and not the tail.

2. READ THE BIBLICAL LESSONS ON EXCELLENT EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL NATIONAL LEADERS: FINANCE MINISTER Joseph, PRIME MINISTER Daniel and his friends, COMMANDER prophet Samuel, SPIRITUAL LEADER prophet Elijah, EDUCATIONIST Scribe Ezra, CIVIL GOVERNOR Zerubbabel, Nehemiah and many more.

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2017 favorites: power to make wealth

2017 Favorites

signature
I took this picture when passing a bank. I like the use of the phrase “unique as signature”.

signature4
I took this picture this morning as I looked at the sky and clicked at random. Then I discovered that this bird happened to be in the sky, soaring!

signature2
This is an interesting picture I took in probably a financial centre.

signature3
This one of course is in a financial centre.

In deciding what counts for 2017’s photos in this blog, I chanced upon these four that describe the distant past, the not so distant past, the present and the future. Four phases of life in pictures selected at random. Amazing.
To sum up: the long gone corporate past in the fast lane, the subsequent mosaic phase of seeking for light, then a soaring break through in the spirit, and lastly the firming of a signature.
God is awesome in shaping my life over the years and particularly in 2017. I have been assured that I am financially secure in Him. At the beginning of the year a close one challenged me to sow into the international ministry of a Bible teacher who has given away free tapes and CDs of all his Bible teachings since 1980. I have listened to them for over ten years. Sow by faith. So I finally did consistently this year. As I did I began to experience a positive transformation in many (including financial) aspects of my life.
The Lord has assured me of how real He is and how faithful He is to uphold His words. I am thankful that I was given those tapes of good practical Bible teachings which have changed my spiritual as well as physical life and indeed lifted me up to a more effectual walk with Jesus, Who Himself has shaped and written my signature.

Deuteronomy 8:18 NASB But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

proof by fruit: today I bless this woman

proverbs 4:2324EngI find it hard to make some Christians understand the importance of fruit. One person keeps saying Christians are supposed to be the underdog and bullied and trampled upon by the society in every aspect of life! I am trying to encourage her to read Andrew Wommack’s “You’ve already Got It!” which shows how the Bible clearly says that God is on our side and and has already given us all resources by grace, and the power (Holy Spirit) to appropriate them and live an abundant and well life in this life too! But we need to know the spiritual keys (God’s words) to unlock them! (My interpretation of what Andrew teaches). Anyway I told this woman this: “Guard your heart! Guard your mouth! See the fruit! Jesus asks for fruit that can be seen!” Fruit is tangible and can be seen no matter how knowledgeable about the Bible and how spiritual we say we are. Real treasure can only come from the store of rich treasure (God’s good words) we have in our heart.

Coincidentally, here is a small incident that happened in the marketplace today with another woman to prove that fruit can be seen and blessing can be tangible.

While waiting for my takeaway from an oriental food stall, I overheard a conversation at another food stall between the solo food seller (a woman) and an older man who appeared to be one of her regular customers, from what I heard in their conversation. The woman looked like any ordinary food seller manning a small chicken rice stall. She appeared middle-aged. What interested me was what she told the older man.

“Look, you claim you are not judging others or saying bad things about others, but you are talking about people behind their back! You mention names. We are taught not to say things behind others’ back, no matter how pure you claim your motive is. Stop it! I don’t want to listen and be a part of this! Don’t tell me or anyone about others! It is not right. It will harm you. Look at the state you are in! Stop!” Compared to this energetic woman the man indeed seemed less fit or well. He struggled to even sit down. He listened to her and finally shut up and nodded.

After I paid for my food I drove off and my spirit was prompted to lead me into a blessing prayer for this woman who was brave enough to speak the truth to help out that poor man. I blessed her with health, wellness, and prosperity in all she puts her hands to do. Today she will receive. This is a woman who has faith in God’s words and practices them in her daily life. She is wise to guard her heart and her mouth. She refuses to join in the gossip. She has got it-The secret to prosperity. She was faith-filled and godly in her own simple way. I marvel at how God blesses the small people.

Proverbs 4:23-24 Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.

Financial Freedom: the Joseph Way

More and more individuals are called today to serve the Lord on a voluntary basis and have often to rely on his/her own savings or income from investments. I believe there is an urgent need for this group to learn the Joseph way. The key is to be able to know what is ahead and hear God’s instructions on what to invest.

Genesis 41:33Lately I received this reminder and again today to learn from Joseph’s testimony. There is no doubt Joseph had close relationship with God and could hear God.

Genesis 41 recorded how Joseph rose to financial power. Briefly, one night the powerful Egyptian Pharaoh (king) had two dreams that caused his spirit to be troubled and no one could interpret his dreams. He knew of Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams through his chief butler. He immediately summoned Joseph to be brought out of the dungeon to him.

Joseph not only accurately predicted the forthcoming economic boom, its subsequent global famine crisis and their timing, he also presented an immediate financial strategy and action plan to the king as a solution. It was remarkable that Joseph prophesied that God would give Pharaoh a favourable answer even before he knew what Pharaoh had dreamed of! He also knew the solutions beforehand. The king rightly recognized Joseph’s worth!

Let us read some of the Bible verses and see this spiritual yet financially proficient man in supernatural action:

Joseph’s Strategic Action 1: Before Joseph knew what the dreams were, Joseph confidently gave a prophecy of good news to the king. How could he be sure of the positive outcome? Amazing. Joseph was a man of God. God told him what was to happen.

Verse 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; and I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream and interpret it.

Verse 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, It is not in me; God [not I] will give Pharaoh a [favourable] answer of peace….

Joseph’s Strategic Action 2: After Pharaoh told him the dreams, Joseph gave his interpretation, and advice on an economic/financial strategy and action plan to solve the future crisis and take advantage of the crisis.

He states the problem and its size ahead: 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, The [two] dreams are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do…29 Take note! Seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt are coming. 30 Then there will come seven years of hunger and famine, …for it will be very woefully severe. 32 That the dream was sent twice to Pharaoh and in two forms indicates that this thing which God will very soon bring to pass is fully prepared and established by God.

He also states the solution in terms of action plan. The solution actually ensures favour to him: 33 So now let Pharaoh seek out and provide a man discreet, understanding, proficient, and wise and set him over the land of Egypt [as governor]. 34 … let him select and appoint officers over the land, and take one-fifth [of the produce] of the [whole] land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years [year by year]. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years …36 And that food shall be put in store for the country against the seven years of hunger…

Indeed, the king gave Joseph a positive response according to God’s plan for Joseph to rise:

37 And the plan seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find this man’s equal, a man in whom is the spirit of God? 39 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Forasmuch as [your] God has shown you all this, there is nobody as intelligent and discreet and understanding and wise as you are. 40 You shall have charge over my house, and all my people shall be governed according to your word [with reverence, submission, and obedience]. Only in matters of the throne will I be greater than you are. 41 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.

Joseph’s Action 3: Implementation of a win-win action plan for the king, his nation and people. In doing so, his own family (his father Jacob and the whole family) was also ensured protection and sustenance.  Other countries too benefited from his wise administration.

…56 When the famine was over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians; for the famine grew extremely distressing in the land of Egypt. 57 And all countries came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all [the known] earth.

Chapter 47

…20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field because of the overwhelming severity of the famine upon them. The land became Pharaoh’s,..

23 Then Joseph said to the people, Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land.

24 At [harvest time when you reap] the increase, you shall give one-fifth of it to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own to use for seed for the field and as food for you and those of your households and for your little ones.

25 And they said, You have saved our lives! Let us find favour in the sight of my lord; and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt—to this day—that Pharaoh should have the fifth part [of the crops]; …

Letter to my young friends: Get Solomon’s treasure

Bible verse Proverbs 31:2630Dear young friends:

Today I am led to read Proverbs 1. King Solomon (reigned Israel 970–931 BC) was a very versatile, multitasking, talented and diligent man who authored 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32) amongst other famous art and scientific accomplishments. He received 666 talents of gold yearly (10:14). That’s about 730,000 ounces of gold per year. (10:14) At today’s gold price of $1252.08 per ounce, that means $914,018,400 yearly income from gold alone around three thousands ago! Why did he write Proverbs? What we can receive from reading this Book? Many ask. The answer I have received is “PLENTY” of especially practical wisdom, how to conduct one’s life wisely. The rewards are both material prosperity and beyond material wealth. The overall advice encourages a reverential fear of God, courage, kindness and piety living. In sum, the themes of Proverbs are neatly summed up in Eshet Hayil: “build a worthy family, stay on the path of virtue, and you shall be rewarded.”

Reading the Proverbs daily one chapter following the calendar date is a lifelong habit of many successful people. The Holy Spirit is in every born again Christian and we can read and ask the Lord to speak to us the verse(s) he wants us to pay specific attention.

There are 31 chapters (915 verses, or 15038 words) in the Book of Proverbs, an average of 29 verses or 500 words a day. For a person with basic English reading speed of 100-200 words you can finish reading your chapter in less than 5 minutes.

A testimony: I know of a young Christian child who wanted to be wise and do well in her study. She prayed and asked how to do that. Then she was led to read and copy the Proverbs (written by the wisest man in the world) one chapter daily. She truly became wise and excelled in her academic pursuits. She has since recommended this to other young people who are similarly struggling with their studies. From what I know she can study any subject and do just as well within a short span of time. Her uncle once told me that during a brief interval of her visit she had measles. So she studied insurance and passed her exam within the brief grounded period! They have never seen anything like this. Many youth find it hard to study but this one finds a way to help herself. Once she told me that to learn Chinese she was reading the Chinese dictionary (like a text book) from beginning progressively based on the number of Chinese characters’ strokes starting with the single stroke, and by then she had progressed to the words with six strokes. I had never seen anything like this but I was not surprised.

Proverbs 1:1-9 New Living Translation (NLT)
The Purpose of Proverbs
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.

2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
A Father’s Exhortation: Acquire Wisdom
8 My child,[a] listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
9 What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck.

Proverbs 31:25-31 (of a wise successful business woman)
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

I pray you too be encouraged to read and copy down the wisdom the Lord uses through this Book of Proverbs to speak to you. How do you apply the words? By faith put into action. You will harvest just as Solomon had advised three thousands years ago.

Your watchman friend

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~“
About Chinese characters
“Far from being complicated drawings, Chinese characters are made out of simple single strokes, all of them variations of only eight basic ones. All strokes have their own name and are written according to a few rules. It’s very important to learn to recognize them, since the number of strokes in a character is often the easiest way to find it in an index… but this will become clear after learning radicals and the use of dictionaries.” (Online source)

BTW: What happened to the young person? She became conversant in several professions. No worry about employment and enjoys the flexibility of choosing what she likes to do and where.