Supernatural Christianity with a purpose

Ephesians 1:7 redeemed through the blood of Jesus

What is in God’s heart? How did Jesus demonstrate this?

Mark 6:34, 36 – “When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He was moved with compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd [lacking guidance]; and He began to teach them many things.

God’s solution to sin, sickness, poverty, and death: The sacrifice of Christ through the shedding of His blood. Ephesians 1:7 – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

Commandments given by Jesus to all believers: (Scripture quoted in New King James Version)

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Mark 16:15-20 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Luke 24:46-48 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things.

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

2 Corinthians 5:19 – “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

THIS is What Stirs the Heart of God:

Luke 15:7 – “I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance.”

For Evangelists: Psalm 2:8 – “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.”

Titus 2:14 – “God gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself.”

Examples of how the apostles and early churches/disciples applied what Jesus has commanded: How they prayed, the prayer’s effect, and how they applied:

Acts 4:29-31 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 5:12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

Acts 5:14-16 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Acts 5:29-32 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 6:7-8 Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 8:6-8 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.

Paul’s Ambassadorship: Rule of law

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

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.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:19 reckoning

Paul’s testimony: how he uses the mind of Christ

2 Corinthians 6:4

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)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 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.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 6:4 endurance
  2. 2 Corinthians 6:6 Lit. unhypocritical

Acts 26:24-26 The Passion Translation (TPT)

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!

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 26:24 The Aramaic can be translated “As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul, Festus interrupted.”
  2. Acts 26:24 Or “So much Scripture has made you senseless!”
  3. Acts 26:25 Or “words of sober truth.”

Paul’s confession: his key success factor

2 Corinthians 1:3

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:

  1. God is: God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
  2. 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.
  3. God is faithful with all His promises: when He says Yes He means Yes.
  4. 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.
  5. Paul is apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
  6. Paul follows God’s plan (walking by the Holy Spirit) in every decision.
  7. With God in mind, Paul and his team conduct themselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity.
  8. Paul values the answered prayer/intercession by the Corinthian and Achaia Christians for Paul and his team’s safety.

what good news really means

AW50thThis is a very compelling true story of how God took an unlikely young man in 1968, a college drop-out, and made him a Bible teacher with a platform to impact the world. “On March 23, 2018, Andrew celebrated his fiftieth year of being in ministry.It was fifty years ago that he had an encounter with the love of God, and it changed his life forever. This important fifty-year milestone was a celebration of all God has done since Andrew’s unconditional surrender all those years ago. Millions have been born again, healed, delivered, and transformed, and thousands of disciples have been raised up through Charis Bible College. From humble beginnings to a worldwide ministry, Andrew has proven faithful to the call.” “And,…when Andrew first went on television, the Gospel Truth broadcast only had 3 percent coverage in the United States. Now, with recent additions to ministry coverage, the program reaches a potential 3.2 billion people worldwide. By God’s grace, the Gospel is going farther and deeper than ever before!”

(Excerpts quoted from: http://www.awmi.net/about-us/ministry-history/ Please read the full article at this link.)
You can find the related very touching video story presented in five online TV episodes (March 19-23) at this link: 50th Anniversary Special
http://www.awmi.net/video/tv/#/2018/week12/monday
Many many free Bible study downloadable resources in articles, video, and audio. Many true life healed, financial and other breakthroughs testimonies in different aspects of lives.
http://www.awmi.net/
http://www.awmi.net/about-us/
Impact interviews: Campus days, business summits, men’s advance, healing is here, ministers’ conference, Gospel Truth Seminars etc.
http://www.awmi.net/reading/impact-interviews/

Power in His Name

power in Jesus' nameBefore Jesus left this earth He left His name with His disciples. They will pray in His name and speak to obstacles in His name, even command evil spirits to leave. Today we use His name a lot but do not find the same power manifesting as in the early church’s time. Why?
Reading some passages from the Bible we can learn more about His name and the power therein. There are much more significance in using His name than we often think. All Scripture are quoted from the New Living Translation (NLT) unless otherwise noted.

His name gives hope
Matthew 12:21
And his name will be the hope
of all the world.”

Power of His name gives life
John 20:31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

In His name, prayers get answered and requests granted
John 15:16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
John 16:23 At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.
John 16:24 You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

We are identified and separated as His people by His name
1 Corinthians 1:2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

Our belief is in His name
1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.

His name is written and has spiritual significance
Revelation 19:12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself.

We are identified finally by His name written on us too
Revelation 22:4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.

What does the name of Jesus do? Sins forgiven.
Acts 10:43 He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”

a conversation: Jesus and Matthew

Matthew 9Yesterday I encountered a set-back. Some important documents could not be located at the usual filing place. A locked place accessible to only three persons. I lost my cool because there was a time limit to complete the task. I am one of the three with access and the only one who knows what the documents are for. I lost peace. The peace of Jesus. This morning I spent time to sit in front of the Lord and praised Him. Then I read the Bible verses that opened in front of me as I sat on the floor. Jesus spoke: “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then He got up and rebuked the wind and waves. and suddenly there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:26) As I prayed in the Spirit interspersed with understanding and admitted my weakness I perceived the calm that I had lost in the storm. It is now a pleasant morning with the Lord’s presence.

Then I continued to read the passage all the way to chapter nine. I was further touched by the following record of a conversation between Jesus and Matthew. Yes. The bible did not record what Matthew had said to the Lord. But when I read the passage I realized what he had said and the Lord had heard and answered.

Jesus was saying that Matthew was a sinner and was like a sick person. He needed help. Jesus offered him what he needed. What did Matthew say? Matthew said yes to Jesus. “Yes, I will follow you. Yes, I am a sick person who needs to be healed. Yes I am a sinner who needs to be saved and delivered. Yes, Jesus, You can heal me. You can save me. You can make me into a new person. Yes, I believe You. Yes, come to my home. Yes, I am inviting all my colleagues and friends so they too can receive help from You. Thank You for stopping for me, taking the bother to talk to me, offer me a new beginning, giving me a new life. Yes, I am willing. Yes, I come, just as I am. Yes, I repent. Yes, Lord I know I am a sinner.

Matthew 9:9-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
Matthew the Tax Collector
9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.
10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’[a] For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”[b]

Footnotes:
[a] Matthew 9:13 Hosea 6:6
[b] Matthew 9:13 NU-Text omits to repentance.

New Living Translation Matthew 9:13
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

12 week 4th day: What did the Lamb do

ordinary day at oceanMaundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is a Christian observance in the United States. It is the day before Good Friday and takes place during Holy Week. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper and the initiation of Holy Communion (the Eucharist), observed in many Christian churches. Calendar day: Thursday, March 24, 2016; Thursday, April 13, 2017. 

What Do People Do? Many Holy Thursday services are held in the evenings and offer Communion (or Eucharist) to the congregation. Some priests or ministers wash parishioners’ feet in memory of the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Some Christians donate money to the poor.  Some people also prepare a meal that includes roast lamb, bitter herbs and wine around this time of the year. The term “Maundy” derives from the Latin word for “commandment”. In UK the tradition of the Sovereign giving money to the poor dates from the thirteenth century. The Sovereign also used to give food and clothing, and even washed the recipients’ feet. The last monarch to do so was James II.

WHAT DID JESUS DO ON AN ORDINARY DAY WHEN HE WAS ON EARTH?

We read the New Testament from the One Year Bible to see what Jesus did. My notes are in boldness and italics.

Luke 5:12-28 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Cleanses a Leper. Jesus cleansed the unclean. He showed compassion on an outcast of the society. He did it on any day. Not just one special day of the year. 

12 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

13 Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. 14 And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.”

15 However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic. Jesus forgave sins. He healed the physical and the soul illness. He did not reject one person because of any special sin. He knew what was inside the man even though others could not see. They saw a man totally paralyzed physically. But Jesus saw his heart that was crippled and bound by sins. Jesus healed him in and out. 

17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.[a] 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.

20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed,“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. 26 And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

Matthew the Tax Collector was called to follow Jesus on an ordinary day. He was just minding his business collecting tax and accumulating his worldly wealth. But Jesus stopped and talked to him and commanded him to become a disciple of Jesus. Jesus knew this man would give up everything and follow Jesus. True enough Matthew obeyed and followed. He became a true disciple of Jesus on an ordinary day when Jesus called and he heard. 

27 After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.”28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 5:17 NU-Text reads present with Him to heal.

One Year Bible Reading: Psalms 42:1-5; Numbers 33:40-35:34; Luke 5:12-28; Proverbs 11:23

BE WISE IN OUR COMPASSION: Judas Iscariot, sociopath (updated 12/20/16)

1-cor-162212/20/16: I am led to read this article again today as it appeared suddenly in my top ten list. Why? Is it because a case involving the same lawyer who seemingly has chosen to live by flesh has recently emerged? Previously after the incident I described in my following older blog I had noted a personality type described as sociopath but I did not really look at the subject much as I knew that my loss of money on this individual was due to my love of God (through my foolishly believing so).
But today I remember another more prominent case concerning a high ranking individual and the subject came up again in my conversation with an elder loved one while discussing dysfunctional human being. Like Judas Iscariot, there are persons in this world we cannot understand. They are human. But there seems a lacking in their make-up. Something inside is missing. When I tried to explain to the elder I could not find an exact word.
The closest I could say was there seemed a lack of humanness (which includes conscience , kindness/compassion and a sense of shame in doing wrong and or causing harm to others) in these individuals. According to the Bible, they have no fear of God. Yet they are purportedly Christians. Are they saved? Or do they belong to the brood of vipers Jesus had warned? Are they the tares sown in the churches by the enemy of God? I have no answer. Was Judas Iscariot capable of loving Jesus? It appeared he wasn’t. The apostle Paul placed a curse on anyone who could not love Jesus.
1 Corinthians 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

Today’s word is: “BEWARE OF THIEF-JUDAS ISCARIOT”. My personal inability to hear and obey the Holy Spirit in spiritual discernment which impacted my decisions in worldly matters was indeed very costly! The thief is not someone who comes from outside. The culprit is fellow Christian whom we are close to and trust like family. Let us read this message from the Holy Bible (NKJV), John 12:4-6. (Boldness added)

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

Several years ago I was alerted when the Lord opened this verse about Judas Iscariot to me when a friend and I decided to financially bail out a Christian lawyer who was dishonest in handling her clients’ money. The clients found out and demanded restitutions. She had by then squandered off the money to satisfy her personal lifestyle. I chose to ignore the Lord’s warning because we trusted then the other Christians who were associated with her. We paid a significantly large sum out of our love for God. It later turned out that our decision was wrong and foolish.

I made the same mistake of compassion for the poor a year ago for another Christian. I got my kind Christian friend involved too to bail out a Christian woman from loan sharks. The same verse came but I chose to ignore out of love for God. I was proven wrong immediately after the transfer of money.

In both the above cases I heard the word “witchcraft; sorceries”. I later realized that we were blinded by witchcraft and sorcery. The wrong spirit was there when they opened door to evil. Being Christians who are always too trusting my friend and I chose to ignore the Lord and gave them the benefit of the doubts in a humanistic way. Our inability to hear and obey the Holy Spirit in spiritual discernment which impacted our decisions in worldly matters was indeed very costly!

 Two days ago I was warned of this term “beware of pickpocket” as I was approaching a bus-stop. My spirit received the message not to use the bus. But my companion was adamant as we had to learn how to live humbly to prepare ourselves to serve in poor places. I did not like the look of three men sitting there alone. The warning in my sprit was clear and loud. So I took precaution. But I did not warn my fellow traveler for fear she would feel insulted because why should I hear the Lord and she could not hear? True enough she became the victim. The thieves ran off after their successful stealing when boarding the bus.

.But this morning again I was alerted to this verse. Because of the urgency and repetitions, I decided to put this down in writing.

I love Christians. Because they are God’s people. Because I love God. Jesus must have loved Judas Iscariot. But the ending for Judas Iscariot was horrifying. He did not repent to Jesus and ask for forgiveness. He went another way, opposite to where Jesus went. You see, Judas Iscariot was not unloved. He was not rejected. He was treated well and equally as the other disciples were. He was given a high and responsible status as someone entrusted with the money bag of the whole ministry of Jesus Christ. He was the financial controller of the first Christian ministry on earth. Lots of followers of Jesus put in their money. Lots of people wanted to be the disciples of Jesus. Living together with Jesus and the other disciples, what kind of lifestyle did Judas live? Where could he have spent the money he stole from the bag? what did he do when he purportedly went out to give the money to the poor? Surely many people would have seen and noticed his different lifestyle. Surely the other disciples knew of his spending habits and tastes for more expensive stuff. But no one said anything. Not one record in the Bible of any other disciple advising him or counseling him or suggesting to Jesus to make another the money custodian.

In the corporate world we look at the lifestyle and taste of an employee and take note. Is his or her lifestyle incongruous with his net earning? Where does he get his money from? is he to be trusted with the corporate account? We check police records prior employment. We ask questions and take instant remedial or precautionary steps immediately. Jesus says that the manager of the world is wiser than the Christian manager. (“For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.” Luke 16:8) We practice good and accountable stewardship in the corporate world I know of.

I pray that the born again Christians whom I know and love continue to abide in Jesus and let God’s words abide in them. Don’t go the opposite way. It’s not worth it. I pray each encounters God in reality, as Spirit. I have personally encountered my God in the Spirit. He is real. No amount of enjoyment in the flesh (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life) is worth giving up God for. With God, everything is possible. You can be changed to wholeness in Christ. Even Judas Iscariot. Be changed. PUT TO DEATH YOURSELF. 

COVETOUSNESS IS IDOLATRY

Colossians 3:4-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,

Jesus says, 

Matthew 16:26
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

10th week 7th day: He was there

coming and goingIn less than two weeks’ time will be the time of the calendar year when Jesus would be hung on the cross (historically). Today’s New Testament reading is ahead of 2016’s Calendar for the commemorative crucifixion date. In our Calendar, next Sunday will be Palm Sunday celebrated by many Christian churches. Many Christian churches hold special services on Palm Sunday where congregation members receive blessed palm leaves, which symbolize victory and joy. After Palm Sunday, when it comes to the subsequent week of watching, suffering, and victorious celebration of our Lord Jesus’ passion, Christians have three more holy days: Maunday Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Today’s reading from Mark chapter 15 is the chapter before the last chapter of Mark. I post the whole chapter here. I pray each of us who reads this receives form our Lord His own message for each of us as a believer and follower of Jesus. My own prompting in my spirit is “Watch the number of people participated and recorded in this chapter. See how each responded.” Yes, there are plenty of people from all walks of lives who have heard about Jesus and even witnessed what He has done, the preaching of the Good News of the Kingdom of God, the miraculous healing, the signs and wonders. I highlighted these people by bolding the letters in the verses. His religious enemies, the political and military head, military officer and soldiers, ordinary people (the crowd, the mob, the passerby), His disciples and followers. Women (specially mentioned and recorded here).

(I enclose at the end of this post the lyrics of a hymn “Were you there” which deeply touched y heart many years ago when I first heard it sung. )

Mark 15 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus’ Trial before Pilate

15 Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law—the entire high council[a]—met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.

Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner—anyone the people requested. One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising. The crowd went to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual.

“Would you like me to release to you this ‘King of the Jews’?” Pilate asked. 10 (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.) 11 But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. 12 Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”

13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

14 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

15 So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment.17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene,[b] was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) 22 And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”).23 They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.

24 Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice[c] to decide who would get each piece. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 Two revolutionaries[d] were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.[e]

29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. 30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

31 The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.

The Death of Jesus

33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 34 Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[f]

35 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 36 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!”

37 Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

39 When the Roman officer[g] who stood facing him[h] saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph[i]), and Salome. 41 They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there.

The Burial of Jesus

42 This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation,[j] the day before the Sabbath. As evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (Joseph was an honored member of the high council, and he was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.) 44 Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman officer and asked if he had died yet. 45 The officer confirmed that Jesus was dead, so Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. 46 Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.

Footnotes:

  1. 15:1 Greek the Sanhedrin; also in 15:43.
  2. 15:21 Cyrene was a city in northern Africa.
  3. 15:24 Greek cast lots. See Ps 22:18.
  4. 15:27a Or Two criminals.
  5. 15:27b Some manuscripts add verse 28, And the Scripture was fulfilled that said, “He was counted among those who were rebels.” See Isa 53:12; also compareLuke 22:37.
  6. 15:34 Ps 22:1.
  7. 15:39a Greek the centurion; similarly in 15:44, 45.
  8. 15:39b Some manuscripts add heard his cry and.
  9. 15:40 Greek Joses; also in 15:47. See Matt 27:56.
  10. 15:42 Greek It was the day of preparation.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

Today’s Holy Bible reading: Psalms 37:30-40; numbers 15:17-16:40; Mark 15:1-47; Proverbs 11:5-6

10th week 2nd day: LOOK

bare stonesToday’s word received in my spirit from the One Year Bible Reading of 10th week 2nd day is: LOOK. The word means different things to Jesus. He teaches us how not to look and how to look. In the passage from Mark 13, one typical disciple looks at the mega church and marvels at its grandeur: the magnificent building, the impressive building materials, multi-million dollars high-tech audio-visual-theatre-auditorium all purpose entertainment system,  equipments, hardwares, multi-purpose functional and conventional halls, cafes, restaurants, shops, consumer-commercial outlets, gyms, game arcades, and above all the breath-taking mega size. He even asks Jesus to look and admire them. The incongruity of the way the disciples look at and interpret Jesus’ mission on earth continues. They look at the wrong things: political and material positions and possessions. Power in the wrong realm and for the wrong agenda. The summary: The disciples look at the world that people bring into churches/the Temple of God. Jesus has warned churches about this worldliness in His stern letters to the seven churches in the last book of the Bible: the Revelation (chapters 1-3).

What does Jesus look at and want His followers to look at? Here is the contrast between what the disciples look at and what Jesus looks at:  (My notes are in bold italics.)

Disciples: look at the world and continue to be attracted by the things of the world. 

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”

Jesus looks at the eternal destruction of things and souls. 

Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Disciples: look at physical signs to counter their unbelief in the spiritual.

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus looks at the deceptions of the physical. He warns that they will certainly see plenty of physical signs but it does not help them one bit and will add to their further anxiety and fear, just like the people of the world. 

Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’[b] They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

Jesus advises His followers: When we see physical signs we should remember the spiritual agenda behind the signs. The only effective and pertinent help we have is from the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ Himself. Not from the physical realm. 

When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.[c] 10 For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.[d] 11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ last words on this passage: The physical signs will be depressive and heart-breaking for many. Even Christians. Endurance with the help and enablement from the Holy Spirit will see us through even the hardest time. 

12 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.[e] But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Footnotes:

  1. 12:42 Greek two lepta, which is a kodrantes [i.e., a quadrans].
  2. 13:6 Greek claiming, ‘I am.’
  3. 13:9 Or But this will be your testimony against them.
  4. 13:10 Or all peoples.
  5. 13:13 Greek on account of my name.

 

Today’s Bible reading: Psalm 35:19-28; Numbers 6:1-7:89; Mark 12:38-13:13; Proverbs 10:27-28

9th week 7th day: God’s precious belonging

20160127_164427 copyThis morning God speaks of His belonging. Surprised? He actually talks about a group of people. He calls them out and separate them for Himself and declares that they belong to Him. Who are they? The Levites. they are indeed the faithful servants of God. They are today’s disciples of the Lord.

Note that their number is the smallest among all the tribes:

When Moses and Aaron counted the Levite clans at the Lord’s command, the total number was 22,000 males one month old or older. (Numbers 3:39)

The Bible verses are taken from the Holy Bible New Living Translation.

Numbers 2:1-3:51 The Levites are called by God to be substitutes for the first born sons of Israel. 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Call forward the tribe of Levi, and present them to Aaron the priest to serve as his assistants. They will serve Aaron and the whole community, performing their sacred duties in and around the Tabernacle.[c] They will also maintain all the furnishings of the sacred tent,[d]serving in the Tabernacle on behalf of all the Israelites.

The Levites must be reserved for me as substitutes for the firstborn sons of Israel; I am the Lord. And the Levites’ livestock must be reserved for me as substitutes for the firstborn livestock of the whole nation of Israel.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, 45 “Take the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. And take the livestock of the Levites as substitutes for the firstborn livestock of the people of Israel. The Levites belong to me; I am the Lord.

The Levites are called to be in charge of the Tabernacle of Covenant. 
Put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant, along with all its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and all its furnishings as you travel, and they must take care of it and camp around it.
But the Levites will camp around the Tabernacle of the Covenant to protect the community of Israel from the Lord’s anger. The Levites are responsible to stand guard around the Tabernacle.”
he gave this command to the Levites who carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant:
The Levites are commended as guardian of the word of God and the covenant of God. 
The Levites obeyed your word and guarded your covenant. They were more loyal to you than to their own parents. They ignored their relatives and did not acknowledge their own children.

What do the Levites do? They carry the presence of God. 

Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses and Aaron: “When the Israelites set up camp, each tribe will be assigned its own area. The tribal divisions will camp beneath their family banners on all four sides of the Tabernacle,[a] but at some distance from it. 

17 “Then the Tabernacle, carried by the Levites, will set out from the middle of the camp. All the tribes are to travel in the same order that they camp, each in position under the appropriate family banner.

Here are some of the duties of the Levites after their return from captivity: 
The construction of the Temple of God began in midspring, during the second year after they arrived in Jerusalem. The work force was made up of everyone who had returned from exile, including Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Jeshua son of Jehozadak and his fellow priests, and all the Levites. The Levites who were twenty years old or older were put in charge of rebuilding the Lord’s Temple.

When the builders completed the foundation of the Lord’s Temple, the priests put on their robes and took their places to blow their trumpets. And the Levites, descendants of Asaph, clashed their cymbals to praise the Lord, just as King David had prescribed.

Then the priests and Levites were divided into their various divisions to serve at the Temple of God in Jerusalem, as prescribed in the Book of Moses.

Nehemiah 9:4

The Levites—…—stood on the stairway of the Levites and cried out to the Lord their God with loud voices.
Then the leaders of the Levites—…—called out to the people: “Stand up and praise theLord your God, for he lives from everlasting to everlasting!” Then they prayed: “May your glorious name be praised! May it be exalted above all blessing and praise!
God has made a covenant with the Levites:
Then at last you will know it was I who sent you this warning so that my covenant with the Levites can continue,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
The purpose of my covenant with the Levites was to bring life and peace, and that is what I gave them. This required reverence from them, and they greatly revered me and stood in awe of my name.
But you priests have left God’s paths. Your instructions have caused many to stumble into sin. You have corrupted the covenant I made with the Levites,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Today’s Bible reading: Psalm 35:1-10; Numbers 2:1-3:51; Mark 11:27-12:17; Proverbs 10:24-25