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)
7 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. 8 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. 9 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.”
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)
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
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.
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: 7:2 Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. 3 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. 4 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.
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)
5 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)
7 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.
I 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.
This 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.
GOD 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.
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.
I 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.
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.
Lately 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.
…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]; …
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.
Today’s word is from Isaiah 54:17 no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. The scenario is not new. Jesus had many accusers in His time on earth. So were the apostles. For example, Paul. Take note that the accuser uses words, spoken or written. Their accusations were based on their own personal (political) agenda and in the case of Jesus and the apostles (and later the believers of Jesus Christ) they were not true. For those who read the Bible to the end you will have noticed A RECORD OF AN ACCUSER of the brethren in the Book of Revelation. Jesus called the accuser the FATHER OF LIES. Those who lie and give false witness in courts/similar official places (of governing authority) are termed children of the father of lies. In the Old Testament Book of Exodus 20:16 recorded the original commandment of God against lying/giving false accusation about others, “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.”
In the New Testament Book of Revelation 22:15 Jesus names those (including everyone who loves and practices falsehood) who will not be allowed to enter into God’s presence (New heaven and new earth).
(The Bible verses are quoted from New Living Translation unless otherwise specified)
THE ACCUSER OF CHRISTIANS Revelation 12:10
10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.
THE GROUP WHO WILL BE EXCLUDED FROM GOD’S PRESENCE
Revelation 22:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Outside are the dogs [the godless, the impure, those of low moral character] and the sorcerers [with their intoxicating drugs, and magic arts], and the immoral persons [the perverted, the molesters, and the adulterers], and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying (deception, cheating).
GOD’S PROMSE OF A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR HIS PEOPLE
9 “Just as I swore in the time of Noah
that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,
so now I swear
that I will never again be angry and punish you.
10 For the mountains may move
and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
11 “O storm-battered city,
troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels
and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your towers of sparkling rubies,
your gates of shining gems,
and your walls of precious stones. 13 I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace. 14 You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away.
You will live in peace,
and terror will not come near.
15 If any nation comes to fight you,
it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.
16 “I have created the blacksmith
who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction.
And I have created the armies that destroy. 17 But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!
New Living Translation (NLT)
A NEW BEGINNING FOR EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN JESUS
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)
For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a human point of view [according to worldly standards and values]. Though we have known Christ from a human point of view, now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 18 But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God].
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us;we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.21 He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].
Today we read what happened to Jesus. Because Jesus said that the same will happen to His followers (disciples). Matthew recorded many teachings of Jesus which depicted everyday lives. They are timeless. Human heart and nature have not changed. Matthew 20:1-17 tells us the scene in the marketplace (employment agency) on one ordinary day. An employer (God) employs workers at different intervals and pays each one the same wage he has committed. But those who think that they deserve more just because they have been in employment longer become angry and indignant. They try to incite a revolt against the employer. But the employer tells them off. He is honoring his part of the employment agreement. But these protestors/revolters are not. They have forgotten or conveniently ignored the agreement. Why?
Jesus gave the reason why in His life.
13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’
16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. 18 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man[b] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. 19 Then they will hand him over to the Romans[c] to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
Jesus told the parable to show how jealousy and greed cannot be concealed and can ruin a person. His adversaries are driven by greed and are insanely jealous of Him. They (the religious and political leaders) have been there a long time. They have institutionalized themselves as the only authoritative governing voice for the nation (social, cultural, education, economic, religious and political). Jesus is not one of them. So how dare He now take the lead in all fields of the nation, with countless more followers from the grassroots than them (over their whole lifetime) in a mere short three years?
While Jesus is following God’s will, doing all the good deeds feeding the poor, genuinely caring loving those upon whom the society looks down, healing the sick, setting the captives/oppressed free, his adversaries are plotting to kill him.
Pilate the Roman Governor knows the motive of the adversaries of Jesus. Matthew 27:18 For Pilate knew that it was because of jealousy that the chief priests and elders had handed Jesus over to him.
The point for Christian intercessors of knowing or revising the above is to pray more effectively. Now we are reminded of the motive of the adversary of God, how shall we pray? I am led to read Mark chapter one and sixteen right now as I ask the Lord.
Here are the verses that should spur us into the right course and action:
Mark 1:3 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.[a] It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written:
“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
3 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
16:15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
In summary: Press on in the supernatural journey and run faithfully and consistently as we are led by the Spirit of Christ as ordained by the Almighty and not be distracted by the petty ways of man (motivated by personal agenda and not aligned with God’s plan).
1 Corinthians 2:12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
a word of encouragement 2 Kings 6:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
a word for those angry with God
Genesis 4:4-7New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”