2019 Yesterday I watched Barry Bennett’s lessons on Galatians and
learned that I need to get revelation knowledge for myself for healing and
financial matters. Today I read Mark 5 and Romans 8 together. I prayed for
revelation knowledge. Here is a summary of what I received after a morning of
reading and meditating on the words of God.
Three kinds of physical healings are recorded here: a man in mental agony and torment, a woman with chronic disease, and a dying girl (who died before Jesus could get there. Of course, Jesus raised her from the dead when He arrived).
The place: the man was isolated in a remote place (in the tombs); the woman was mingling in the crowd; the girl was very sick, lying in bed at home with her family and relatives.
On 30th August 2013, while I was listening to the Spirit vs the flesh -the power of the Gospel, I encountered the spectacular shower of golden rays in my kitchen from the spiritual realm which manifested in the physical realm. It was not a vision. Because I used my mobile phone and video recorded the phenomena in visual and sound.
After that I let my house group and my family members watch it and confirmed.
Today I came across the teaching below: “Basics of Righteousness 8 of 8: Spirit vs. Flesh” on YouTube, which is the same as what I have recorded in my CD in 2013 and was listening to when the supernatural encounter happened –Spirit vs the flesh -the power of the Gospel. I would like to share with you this truth which set me and many others on the right track.
If you ask me to use one phrase to describe the most important thing in my life, I will say this without hesitation, “Our God is real and the Bible is real!”
Watch “Basics of Righteousness 8 of 8: Spirit vs. Flesh. Chinese subtitles.” on YouTube
Many tragedies occurred lately this 2019 Easter and Passover. I now recall reading this, “The big tragedy in the church today is that for the most part Christians major on and build their lives upon truths that are non-foundational or non-essentials.” The Bible teacher continued to state that “from the beginning it’s always been God’s intention that we be stable and well-balanced beings. It is not God’s will that we live unstable and unbalanced lives. This is not the quality of life that Jesus died to give us.” He said.
How may Christians live a balanced and stable quality life? Jesus came to give us truths (words) as our foundation to build our lives upon and not be shaken and fall. What are those word foundations? The teacher taught, “Righteousness by faith (Faith-Righteousness) is the cornerstone (or capstone) of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Why did God call Abraham righteous? Because he believed God. Likewise, we believe in Jesus whom God gave us through sacrificing His life for us and made us righteous before God by grace through faith. The teacher described the foundation truths as the vital signs of a person.
Daily we return to bed knowing how miraculous it has been that a day has passed and we are still alive. This is how many acknowledge these days.
What does Jesus say about living a good life with the right focus on earth? Let us read some of His words lest we forget.
Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9)
Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” (Luke 7:22)
“If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” (Luke 11:36)
Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” (Luke 12:15)
[ Teaching about Money and Possessions ] Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Luke 12:22-23,25)
“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware,” (Luke 21:34)
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. (John 1:4)
For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! ” The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 5:21,39; 6:63)
[ Jesus, the Light of the World ] Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12)
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, ” (John 10:10,11,15,17-18,28)
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” (John 11:25)
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:6,20)
I am fasting from the service of money. Lately I find that my increased focus on money has caused thorns and thistles to grow and choke the words in the soft garden of my heart. Thus, I have found an additional purpose to fast. I am fasting from the most prevalent worry of this world, the fear of a lack of money (Actually not for myself, ironically.) Like the Apostle Paul advised, “I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control.” What has money got to do with subduing the body (physical)? For me and many other born again believers, we believe we need to hear God and receive wisdom to manage our lives on earth. God actually speaks through His revelation words and many other ways. When we are tied down in our physical needs and worrying and occupied mind we just cannot hear Him clearly and align with His plan accurately. Fasting is always accompanied with reading His words and praying. I pray this sharing of my experience encourages you to ponder over how you may hear God too.
Three types of fasting: Normal- Abstaining from food, solids, liquids except for water. Absolute – Abstaining from everything. (Not more than three days.) Partial (Daniel 10:3) Restricted Diet. Jesus fasted and taught it as a part of the Christian discipline.
You may choose from a long list of choices: 1. the number of days (1, 3, 7, 14, 21, 40) 2. the number of meals to abstain (1, 2, all ) 3. eat vegetables/fruits only 4. no solid intake, drink water/liquid only.
This time I decided to have plain water with no food and solid intake for three days. Prior to this, I did a full 24 hours’ fast as a preliminary trial, followed by a break of taking one light meal a day for two days. I would urge you to follow the prompting you receive from the Lord. How is the fast so far? It is showing positive effect after getting through the tough second day. For new comers, yes, you may feel physically uncomfortable initially. But you can overcome it by focusing on the right source of your strength and purpose. Throughout the Bible God tells us that He is our strength and focus.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Paul’s Disciplined Lifestyle
24 Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack[a] keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious. 25 A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever. 26 For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise[b] or box like one throwing aimless punches, 27 but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body[c] and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Or “the runners in a stadium.” This refers to the Pan-Hellenic stadium near Corinth where the Isthmian games were held.
1 Corinthians 9:26 Or “I don’t run aimlessly.” That is, Paul ran with his eyes on the goal of ending well.
1 Corinthians 9:27 Or “I beat my body black and blue.” This is an obvious metaphor of placing the desires of one’s body as second place to the desires of the Holy Spirit. See Rom. 8:13.
Money Matters: To SERVE money means to place such a high value on it that we develop a wrong priority compared with our relationship with God and others. Here are some symptoms: Place our trust and faith in it. Look to it for our security and happiness. Expect that it will guarantee our future. Desire it more than we desire God (as evidenced by the time we spend with whom). Our life is then spent in the pursuit of it rather than God.
Jesus spoke about money through these Bible verses:
Matthew 6:19-24 New Living Translation (NLT)
Teaching about Money and Possessions
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
22 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
We finally reach a key survival tactic, how do Christians win wars? Apostle Paul is really an expert in this field judging from the long list of challenges he went through and his always emerging as the victor and not the victim! I have done a simple chart with the key Bible verses from 2 Corinthians 10. Please read the whole chapter for a better understanding. Paul’s other letters speak of how we can control and train our thought life. For example, Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start your meditation.
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Today we are reminded that the ten plagues only struck those who chose not to believe and acknowledge the righteous God whom Moses and his people believed, the same God we believe. Take note the idolatry arrogant heart of Pharaoh caused him to make foolish and self-destructive decisions. He exalted himself above the righteous and holy God. Pharaoh did not fear God because he thought he himself was god. While he comfortably indulged himself in his luxurious palace wining and dining opulently, his people suffered in prolonged incremental fear and torment. He had no love or compassion even for his own people. Why was his heart hardened? He was obsessed with keeping an ample supply of cheap/free labor the miserable enslaved Israelites provided to perpetuate his wealth and related social-political power. He was consumed with jealousy of Moses, a former prince of Egypt, now the formidable great transformer leader championing for the justice, freedom and wellbeing of the Jewish nation.
Moses, on the other hand, after his miraculous encounter with God, was truly supernaturally transformed into a great and courageous leader who at the age of 80 would leave his comfort zone and even stick out his neck for the love of God and God’s own people. What happened in the end? “Exodus 12:40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” The rest is history.
The life of Moses produced good fruit that lasts to eternity. Pharaoh’s life? Plagues and burning.
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.
Today I have done a simple diagram. Let us read this new wine revealed in new wineskin. I am awed that we can actually apply this simple rule of law to every practical aspect of our lives, as ambassadors for Christ, representing the Kingdom of God.
2 Corinthians 5:11-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
Be Reconciled to God
12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not [a]imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Today we learn how effectively Paul use both his mind and spirit: aligned with the mind of Christ and the Spirit of Christ.
His challenge list reads like a horror movie, far worse than any nightmare: five times whipped with 39 stripes each, three times beaten by rod, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, one night and one day in the deep, in journeys often, in perils of waters, robbers, own countrymen, gentiles, city, wilderness, sea, false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness often, hunger, thirst, fasting often, cold, nakedness, deep concern for all churches, threat of imminent arrest (his life) from city authority. He was in constant physical and mind challenges: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, and labors. (2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 6:4-5)
Imagine a human always being hounded, on the look-out, on the run, slandered, taunted, intimidated, verbally and physically abused, violently assaulted, falsely accused, brutally arrested, beaten, condemned as guilty without evidence, imprisoned without a just trial, and always overhung with the death sentence.
But what did Paul say about his conditions? How did he deal with such an overload of injustice and schemes of torments after his life? His letters showed how he looked at things both sides. He lived in both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, the spiritual and the physical realms, the temporary and the eternal, the external and the internal, the seen and the unseen. To Paul, both were real. He really experienced them, the natural and the supernatural. By knowing the two parallel realities Paul was able to handle the challenges confidently and overcome them successfully. Because his focus and priority are always on the side of the real victor, Christ.
He explained this plainly in his letters (2 Corinthians 6:6-10). There are two sides in everything: the view of the enemy and the view of a Spirit-filled Christian (reflecting God’s view). The evil and the good. The good will always overpower the evil one. Paul effectively and fearlessly exercised his spiritual power and authority over his unseen foe who worked through other human and natural elements. I append below self-explanatory Bible verses on this awesome revelation!
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NKJV)
4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
24 Festus interrupted Paul’s defense,[a] blurting out, “You’re out of your mind! All this great learning of yours is driving you crazy.”[b]
25 Paul replied, “No, Your Excellency Festus, I am not crazy. I speak the words of truth and reason.[c]26 King Agrippa, I know I can speak frankly and freely with you, for you understand these matters well, and none of these things have escaped your notice. After all, it’s not like it was a secret!
Acts 26:24 The Aramaic can be translated “As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul, Festus interrupted.”
Acts 26:24 Or “So much Scripture has made you senseless!”
I now realize that in the previous two chapters of 2 Corinthians Paul spoke of his relationship in Christ with God and then with man. In the third chapter he described his relationship with the Holy Spirit, his power source. I summarize below my understanding. Indeed this is my favorite chapter!
Chapter 3: Paul’s Ministry of
the Holy Spirit
Paul described the Holy Spirit as: The Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of Christ, the Lord.
The Holy Spirit writes letter in the heart, gives lives, changes lives.
New covenant of the Spirit gives life.
Ministry of the Spirit is far more glorious than the ministry of the Old Testament.
Whenever the Scripture is read and the people turn to the Lord, the Holy Spirit removes the veil in hearts to see Jesus as the Christ.
The Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
The Holy Spirit transforms us into the same image of the Lord, from glory to glory.
Paul’s sufficiency is from God who made him minister of the new covenant of the Spirit who gives life.
The ministry of the Spirit is also called: the ministry of the new covenant, the ministry of righteousness and the ministry of glory.
Holy Spirit causes: Boldness, unveiled heart when the truth is preached, liberty whenever one turns to the Holy Spirit, transformation of lives.
Today I am back to 2 Corinthians on why Paul was fearless against all odds. Chapter 2 showed a different Paul from the evangelistic goal-focused apostle Paul we may imagine he was. I summarize below my deeper understanding after reading this part of his letter to the Corinth Christians.
Chapter 2: Pauls’ Ministry of the body of Christ -Paul teaches the right priority in ministry, motive and manner in handling the body of Christ.
He clarified that his ministry was not to bring sorrow to himself and/or the body of Christ but joy: through forgiving, comforting, reaffirming God’s love.
He showed his concern for the body of Christ which took precedence over his personal ministry. For example, he wanted to follow through their progress in Christ. So he chose to forego an opportunity to preach gospel at Troas and instead returned to Macedonia to wait for his co-worker Titus whom he expected to bring the latest news about the Corinthian body of Christ.
Paul followed the Holy Spirit and the peace in his heart. When he did not find rest in his heart he decided not to start an evangelical work in a new place alone despite the valuable opportunity offered. He also followed the rule that they worked in a team of two or more (he, Titus and others).
Whilst in the midst of uncertainty with his flocks at Corinth: their spiritual condition and his (and his team’s) relationship with them, he remained calm and confident of the positive outcome and described the work of the evangelists always in triumph in Christ because it is God who initiates the work and causes the victory to manifest.
He has personally experienced the God-initiated work which always gives life and triumph over death and doom.
Paul was confident with the Corinth Christians because he was fearless to preach the word of God with sincerity and authority in Christ. He wanted them well. He had God’s heart for them.
I started reading 2 Corinthians in the Bible with freshness and revelation in my spirit. I believe this is an antidote to the prevailing fear in the face of uncertainties in the external factors that appear to impact our life and our ministry. In chapter one Paul displayed his key success factor, the God he believed in. Who is God? What can God do? What has God done? What is his relationship with God? These are the questions he has answered. I pray you too will be comforted and reassured as you read Paul’s confession in this letter.
My summary of 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Paul is entirely God-focused:
God is: God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
God raises the dead: who delivered them (Paul and his team) from death in the past, and does deliver them (present), and in whom they trust that He will still deliver them in future.
God is faithful with all His promises: when He says Yes He means Yes.
God is his witness; anointed them; given them the Spirit as seal and guarantee; God gives grace and wisdom abundantly to Paul and his team.
Paul is apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
Paul follows God’s plan (walking by the Holy Spirit) in every decision.
With God in mind, Paul and his team conduct themselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity.
Paul values the answered prayer/intercession by the Corinthian and Achaia Christians for Paul and his team’s safety.