Paul’s fearlessness: right priority right time right target

2 Corinthians 2:14

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. He has personally experienced the God-initiated work which always gives life and triumph over death and doom.
  6. 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.
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how a talking donkey saved a prophet

Balaam and donkey
Balaam, donkey and angel with sword

How did a donkey save a prophet? Why was the donkey, an apparently dumb weight-bearing animal, able to see into the spiritual realm but his master the prophet remained blinded? The following account gives us the answer.

Food for thought: God can enable even an animal see, understand and talk sense. What did the animal gain? He had faithfully served his master since the day he was owned. How did the master treat the donkey? Was Balaam grateful that his donkey saved him from instant death? Did he repent and set the donkey free from bondage? There was no record of any kind acts on the part of Balaam. Instead he went on to his personal destruction in a subsequent war against Israel. If he made his donkey accompany him it could mean that the donkey was killed in the war too due to the personal greed for power and money of his master. Sad end for a gifted prophet and his faithful donkey. Take note that God spoke and warned Balaam repeatedly. He even used the donkey to prevent Balaam from self-destruction.

Meditate on this:
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

The account of a faithful talking donkey who saved his master’s life:

“Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.
Now Balak (king of Moab)saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites (already defeated by the Israelites). And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. ..Then he sent messengers to Balaam (a prophet powerful in cursing) ..to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

So the elders …came to Balaam and spoke to him …So Balaam said to God, “Balak…king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, ‘….’”

And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

…Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they…“Thus says Balak..: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’”

…So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

Interaction between Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel:

Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again. Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”

And he said, “No.”

Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before Me. The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”

Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

…And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.”…

(The above account was recorded in Numbers 22.)

Winter reminder: The seasons of winter and summer shall not cease.

a Serene beautiful winter.

Lake Tahoe winter
Lake Tahoe Winter

2cor910
a Cambodian Rice field

Winter reminder: The seasons of winter and summer shall not cease. The ground will not be cursed. Not all living thing will be destroyed. It means some living things will be allowed to survive, at least two seasons will remain and the ground (earth) will not be cursed as long as there are human around to sow and pant and harvest crops. Those who grow plants from the ground will survive. God will give the sowers seeds and the eaters bread according to His words which are forever settled in heaven. These people will have bountiful supplies from heaven and live well.

Genesis 8:21-22
21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

22
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

Genesis 1:29
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.
Isaiah 30:23
Then He will give the rain for your seed With which you sow the ground, And bread of the increase of the earth; It will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed In large pastures.
2 Corinthians 9:10
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,

a thanksgiving letter from Paul is going out all over the world

Paul's thanksgivingThanksgiving power!

AAAJ watchman

colossians-316171:1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. 2 We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer

3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.

6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is…

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Fruitfulness: And their fruit shall be for food and their leaves for healing.

Ezekiel 47:12After writing my previous blog on renewal of my prayer and worship life by emulating those missionaries who focus on staying and soaking in the presence of the Lord, I experienced some significant (to me) changes. Here is what happened today.

I had to accompany some guests to a shopping mall for a birthday teen to buy her present. Having waited a long time (like two hours) in some clothes shops, I suggested we walk back to the first one she visited. While waiting on a bench in front of a clothes shop, I noticed a tiny girl in a wheel chair. She seemed tired and making some sounds. Her dad sat next to me. The passers by tried looking in other directions so as not to make his situation more difficult. But I was led in my spirit to start a conversation with him. He told me she is his second daughter, fifteen years old. She has the body and stature of a very young child. He told me she was operated three times, and had chemotherapy for brain tumor at three years old. The treatment affected her bone marrow and stunted her growth. She is now on hormone treatment to help her growth. He told me his three children’s names and their meanings (sun, star, and light). The girl is named after a star. I told him I am a Christian who believes that our God heals, and asked him whether he believes in divine healing and miracles. He said yes. He said he is open to all religions and agreed that I could pray for her. So I shared with him about Jesus and that Jesus saves and heals. Then I prayed for his second daughter. She voluntarily stretched her hands to me and held my hands as I spoke to her, prayed and blessed her.

I told her she has a beautiful name and I thanked our God for creating beautiful things like the sun, the stars and light. She brightened up and smiled. By faith I spoke to the body to be restored to God’s original beautiful creation and design.

After that the dad told me he believes this is not a chance meeting. He is not local. He drove from another town with his family today to visit the eldest daughter who studies in a college here. He was waiting for his wife and eldest daughter who were also shopping in the same shop my guests were shopping. The newly renovated and expanded mall is huge and there are many beautiful branded clothes shops. He said he believed God had arranged this meeting. I too believe the same. After coming out of two other more trendy shops for youngsters with empty hands, I suggested to the teen to return to this particular shop as its name came to my mind for no reason. While the birthday girl and her entourage were giving this more classic shop another try I saw this man and his daughter sitting next to me. This is not a chance meeting. I agree.

This incident confirms to me that going to the secret place of the Father in heaven through prayer and worship opens a new realm of spiritual reality on earth. Where I currently reside, people do not normally go around talking to strangers, volunteering to pray for healing. But this watchman has been convicted to do something that makes a difference, regardless of how the gathering crowd may view or comment. What matters is that the Lord has answered prayers. The prayer of the watchman to be led deeper into the Holy Spirit river of healing and wonders, and the cry of a father to help his daughter. He has waited for twelve years for a breakthrough. His waiting has not been in vain. She can walk, but she needs further strengthening, he said. She also attends a normal school. I pray he and his child will continue to walk by faith, love, and hope.

Here is the assurance from our Lord Jesus:
Mark 5:36, 40-42 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
36 [a]Overhearing but ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear; only keep on believing.
40 And they (others) laughed and [a]jeered at Him. But He put them all out, and, taking the child’s father and mother and those who were with Him, He went in where the little girl was lying.
41 Gripping her [firmly] by the hand, He said to her, Talitha cumi—which translated is, Little girl, I say to you, arise [[b]from the sleep of death]!
42 And instantly the girl got up and started walking around—for she was twelve years old. And they were utterly astonished and overcome with amazement.

Footnotes:
Mark 5:36 Some manuscripts so read.
Mark 5:40 G. Abbott-Smith, Manual Greek Lexicon.
Mark 5:41 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.

Hebrews 7:25 AMPC
Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.

Ezekiel 47 (Quoted in parts)
8 Then he said to me, These waters pour out toward the eastern region and go down into the Arabah (the Jordan Valley) and on into the Dead Sea. And when they shall enter into the sea [the sea of putrid waters], the waters shall be healed and made fresh.
9 And wherever the double river shall go, every living creature which swarms shall live. And there shall be a very great number of fish, because these waters go there that [the waters of the sea] may be healed and made fresh; and everything shall live wherever the river goes.
12 And on the banks of the river on both its sides, there shall grow all kinds of trees for food; their leaf shall not fade nor shall their fruit fail [to meet the demand]. Each tree shall bring forth new fruit every month, [these supernatural qualities being] because their waters came from out of the sanctuary. And their fruit shall be for food and their leaves for healing.

Hold Fast: Just Live by Faith

Romans 1:17 live by faithHebrews 10 New King James Version (NKJV)

Animal Sacrifices Insufficient

10 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Christ’s Death Fulfills God’s Will

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”[a]

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offeringsfor sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.”[b] He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Christ’s Death Perfects the Sanctified

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”[c] 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”[d] 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hold Fast Your Confession

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Just Live by Faith

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[e] says the Lord.[f]And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”[g] 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me[h] in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.[i] 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 “For yet a little while,
And He[j] who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the[k] just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”[l]

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 10:7 Psalm 40:6–8
  2. Hebrews 10:9 NU-Text and M-Text omit O God.
  3. Hebrews 10:16 Jeremiah 31:33
  4. Hebrews 10:17 Jeremiah 31:34
  5. Hebrews 10:30 Deuteronomy 32:35
  6. Hebrews 10:30 NU-Text omits says the Lord.
  7. Hebrews 10:30 Deuteronomy 32:36
  8. Hebrews 10:34 NU-Text reads the prisoners instead of me in my chains.
  9. Hebrews 10:34 NU-Text omits in heaven.
  10. Hebrews 10:37 Or that which
  11. Hebrews 10:38 NU-Text reads My just one.
  12. Hebrews 10:38 Habakkuk 2:3, 4

Daily Word: Isaiah 5417 verbal accuser silenced and rendered ineffectual

isaiah-5417-copyToday’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
Isaiah 54:9-17
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].

Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

scott-in-indiaAll hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let highborn seraphs tune the lyre, and as they tune it, fall
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.
Before His face Who tunes their choir, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye morning stars of light, who fixed this floating ball;
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.
Now hail the strength of Israel’s might, and crown Him Lord of all.

Crown Him, ye martyrs of your God, who from His altar call;
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.
Extol the Stem of Jesse’s Rod, and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race, ye ransomed from the fall,
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him Who saves you by His grace, and crown Him Lord of all.

Hail Him, ye heirs of David’s line, whom David Lord did call,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all,
The God incarnate, Man divine, and crown Him Lord of all.

Sinners, whose love can ne’er forget the wormwood and the gall,
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.
Go spread your trophies at His feet, and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every tribe and every tongue before Him prostrate fall
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.
And shout in universal song the crownèd Lord of all.

[John Rippon add­ed this verse in 1787]

O that, with yonder sacred throng, we at His feet may fall,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all,
Join in the everlasting song, and crown Him Lord of all!
Words: Ed­ward Per­ro­net. The first stan­za ap­peared anon­y­mous­ly in The Gos­pel Mag­a­zine, No­vem­ber 1779. In April 1780, the same mag­a­zine pub­lished eight vers­es ti­tled, “On the Re­sur­rect­ion, the Lord Is King.” It re­sur­faced half a doz­en years later, again anon­y­mous­ly, ac­comp­an­ied by an acros­tic po­em whose let­ters spelled out “Ed­ward Per­ro­net.”

Music: Cor­o­na­tion, Ol­iv­er Hold­en; first ap­peared in his Un­ion Har­mo­ny or Un­i­ver­sal Col­lect­ion of Sac­red Mu­sic (Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts: 1793) (MI­DI, score). Al­ter­nate tunes:

Diadem, James El­lor, 1838 (MI­DI, score)
Miles Lane, Wil­liam Shrub­sole, 1779 (MI­DI, score)
[Oliver Holden (1765-1844)]

One of the most dra­ma­tic in­stanc­es of [this hymn’s] use was found in the ex­per­i­ence of the Rev. E. P. Scott in In­dia. His friends had urged him not to ven­ture near a cer­tain bar­bar­ous in­land tribe, whom he wished to evan­gel­ize. But he went forth with high cour­age, ne­ver wa­ver­ing in his du­ty, and trust­ing in God to pro­tect him. When at last he reached their coun­try among the hills, he came up­on a com­pa­ny of these sav­ag­es. Im­me­di­ate­ly they sur­round­ed him, point­ing their spears at him with threat­en­ing scowls. He had no­thing in his hand but his vi­o­lin; and so, clos­ing his eyes, he be­gan to play and sing, “All Hail the Pow­er of Je­sus’ Name.” When at last he opened his eyes he ex­pect­ed to be killed in­stant­ly. But his life had been spared through the sing­ing of the hymn. Their spears had dropped, and they re­ceived him first with cur­i­o­si­ty and in­ter­est, and then lat­er with ea­gern­ess, as he told them the gos­pel sto­ry and won their hearts to the will of Je­sus Christ. (Quoted from online source)
Here is a video of the hymn and this little story:
https://youtu.be/Z24MNyfZlRk

a new season of grace and power to do miraculous signs and wonders

acts-1511Acts 14:3  But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.

Acts 15:11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 20:24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Acts 20:32 “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.

Ephesians 2:8-9 [Full Chapter]
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Ephesians 1:2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Ephesians 1:6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

Ephesians 1:7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

Ephesians 2:5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)

Ephesians 2:7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Ephesians 3:2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles.

Ephesians 3:7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.

Ephesians 6:24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Music today: Handel’s Messiah

handels-messiahThis is the time when some churches and Christian concert institutions sing and perform Handel’s Messiah, a musical rite of Christmas season, the Baroque-era oratorio still awes listeners 250 years after the composer’s death. It is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frederic Handel (1695-1759), with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. The oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. Some institutions perform this famous work on a yearly basis around this time. In Messiah, says Laurence Cummings, director of the London Handel Orchestra, “the chorus propels the work forward with great emotional impact and uplifting messages.” Handel wrote the original version of Messiah in three to four weeks. Most historic accounts estimate the composer spent only 24 days writing the oratorio. There are roughly a quarter of a million notes in Messiah. At a little more than three weeks of 10-hour days, That means Handel would have had to keep a continuous pace writing 15 notes a minute. An often repeated legend about Messiah tells the story of King George II who was so moved by the “Hallelujah” chorus during the London premiere of Messiah that he rose to his feet and then everyone in attendance followed suit as not to be sitting when the king stood.
Thus we believe the regularly debated tradition of standing during the “Hallelujah” chorus came to be.

Although its structure resembles that of opera, it is not in dramatic form. Instead, Jennens’s text is an extended reflection on Jesus as the Messiah (Christ). The text begins in Part I with prophecies by prophet Isaiah and others, and moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the “scene” taken from the Gospel of Luke. In Part II, Handel concentrates on the Passion of Christ and ends with the “Hallelujah” chorus. In Part III he covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ’s glorification in heaven.

Bible verses are quoted from: Isaiah, Haggai, Malachi, Luke, Zechariah, John, Psalms, Matthew, Lamentations, Hebrews, Revelation, Job, Romans, and 1 Corinthians.

Part I

(1) Overture
(2) Comfort Ye
Isaiah 40:1-3
1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. . . .
3. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(3) Every Valley
Isaiah 40:4
4.Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight, and the rough places plain.

(4) And the Glory of the Lord
Isaiah 40:5
5. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

(5) Thus saith the Lord
Haggai 2:6,7
6. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; Yet once, a little while and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come
Malachi 3:1 1. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

(6) But who may abide the Day of His Coming?
Malachi 3:2
2. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire.

(7) And He shall Purify
Malachi 3:3
3. And He shall purify the sons of Levi. . . that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

(8) Behold A Virgin Shall Conceive
Isaiah 7:14 (Matthew 1:23)
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name EMMANUEL, God with us.

(9) O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
Isaiah 40:9
9. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, and be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Isaiah 60:1
1. Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

(10) For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
Isaiah 60:2,3
2. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. 3. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(11) The people that walked in darkness
Isaiah 9:2 (Matthew 3:16)
2. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

For unto Us a Child is born
Isaiah 9:6
6. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

(13) Pastoral Symphony
(14) There were shepherds abiding in the field
Luke 2:8
8. There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
Luke 2:9
9. And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

(15) And the Angel said unto them
Luke 2:10,11
10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

(16) And suddenly there was with the Angel
Luke 2:13
13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

(17) Glory to God
Luke 2:14
14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

(18) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion
Zechariah 9:9,10 (Matthew 21:5)
9. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Savior. . 10. . . And he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

(19) Then shall the eyes of the blind
Isaiah 35:5,6
5. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(20) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd
Isaiah 40:11
11. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; and he shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Matthew 11:28, 29 28. Come unto [Him], all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and [He shall]give you rest. 29. Take [his] yoke upon you, and learn of [Him]; for [he is] meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(21) His yoke is easy
Matthew 11:30
30. [His] yoke is easy, and [his]burden is light.
Part II

(22) Behold the lamb of God
John 1:29
29.Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.

(23) He was despised
Isaiah 53:3
3. He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. . . Isaiah 50:6 [He]gave [His] back to the smiters, and [His] cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: [He] hid not [His] face from shame and spitting.

(24) Surely He hath borne our griefs
Isaiah 53:4,5
4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . . 5. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:the chastisement of our peace was upon him,

(25) And with His stripes we are healed
Isaiah 53:5b
5. and with His stripes we are healed

(26) All we like sheep have gone astray
Isaiah 53:6
6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

(27) All they that see him laugh him to scorn
Psalm 22:7
7. All they that see [him]laugh [him] to scorn: they shoot out their lips, they shake their heads, saying:

(28) He trusted in God
Psalm 22:8 (Matthew 27:43)
8. He trusted [in God] that he would deliver him:let him deliver him, if he delight in him.

(29) Thy rebuke hath broken His heart
Psalm 69:20
20. [Thy] rebuke hath broken [his] heart; [He is] full of heaviness. [He]looked for some to have pity [on Him], but there was none; neither found [He] any to comfort [Him].

(30) Behold, and see if there be any sorrow
Lamentations 1:12
12. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto [his] sorrow. . .

(31) He was cut off out of the land of the living
Isaiah 53:8b
8. he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of [Thy] people was He stricken.

(32) But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell
Psalm 16:10 (Acts 2:27)
10. [But] thou [didst] not leave [his] soul in hell; neither [didst]thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

(33) Lift up your heads, O ye gates
Psalm 24:7-10
7. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 8. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. 10. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(34) Unto which of the angels said He at any time
Hebrews 1:5 (Psalm 2:7)
5. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?

(35) Let all the angels of God worship Him
Hebrews 1:6b
6. “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

(36) Thou art gone up on high
Psalm 68:18 (Ephesians 4:8)
18. Thou art gone up on high, Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

(37) The Lord gave the word
Psalm 68:11
11. The Lord gave the word: great was the company of [the preachers].

(38) How beautiful are the feet
Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7)
15. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

(39) Their sound is gone out
Romans 10:18 (Psalm 19:4)
18. their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

(40) Why do the nations so furiously rage together?
Psalm 2:1,2 (Acts 4:25-26)
1. Why do the heathen rage, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? 2. The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His Anointed,

(41) Let us break their bonds asunder
Psalm 2:3
3. Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

(42) He that dwelleth in heaven
Psalm 2:4
4. He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

(43) Thou shalt break them
Psalm 2:9
9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

(44) Hallelujah
Revelation 19:6
6. Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Revelation 11:15 15. . . the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. Revelation 19:16 16. . . . KING OF KINGS, LORD OF LORDS.
Part III

(45) I know that my redeemer liveth
Job 19:25, 26
25. I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand on the latter day upon the earth: 26. And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. 1Corinthians 15:20
20. [For] now is Christ risen from the dead. . . the firstfruits of them that [sleep].

(46) Since by man came death
1Corinthians 15:21,22
21. Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(47) Behold I tell you a mystery
1Corinthians 15:51,52
51. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed, 52. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet;

(48) The trumpet shall sound
1Corinthians 15:52b-53
52. the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(49) Then shall be brought to pass
1Corinthians 15:54b (Isaiah 25:8)
54. then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’

(50) O death where is thy sting?
1Corinthians 15:55-56 (Hosea 13:14)
55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 56. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

(51) But thanks be to God
1 Corinthians 15:57 57. But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(52) If God be for us
Romans 8:31, 33, 34
31. If God be for us, who can be against us? 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

(53) Worthy is the Lamb
Revelation 5:12, 13
12. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13. . . . Blessing, and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Amen.

1998 Bruce L. Johnson
Produced by Techsys, Inc.

The performance I personally like is this one from:
(https://youtu.be/iTMJVvld9ok) 1,016,642 views

Stephen Cleobury conducts a wonderful performance of Handel’s “MESSIAH” from Pieterskerk https://www.youtube.com/collegiumregale

Lynne Dawson, soprano
Hillary Summers, alto
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Alastair Miles, bass
The Brandenburg Consort
Crispian Steele Perkins, trumpet
The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

0:00 Ouverture
3:04 Comfort ye my people
5:54 Ev’ry valley
9:15 And the glory of the Lord
12:06 Thus saith the Lord of hosts
13:27 But who may abide
17:31 And he shall purify the sons of Levi
20:07 Behold, a virgin shall conceive
25:56 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
31:18 For unto us a child is born
35:22 Pifa
37:52 There were shepherds
39:11 Glory to God
41:10 Rejoice
45:27 Then shall the eyes
50:26 His yoke
53:00 Behold the lamb
55:54 He was despised
1:05:22 Surely he has borne
1:07:05 And with his stripes
1:08:54 All we like sheep
1:12:43 All they that see him
1:15:46 Thy rebuke
1:18:56 He was cut off
1:21:28 Lift up your heads
1:24:32 Unto which of the angels
1:26:24 Thou art gone up on high
1:29:35 The Lord gave the word
1:30:42 How beautiful are the feet
1:32:48 Their sound is gone out
1:34:19 Why do the nations
1:35:45 Let us break their bonds asunder
1:37:28 He that dwelleth
1:39:39 Hallelujah
1:43:33 I know that my redeemer liveth
1:49:20 Since by man came death
1:51:24 Behold, I tell you a mystery – The trumpet shall sound
2:00:40 Then shall be brought
2:04:10 If God be for us
2:09:16 Worthy is the lamb

a new message for Yom Kippur 2016 meditation (5): we have shalom with God

lightRomans 5 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Shalom with God through Messiah
Therefore, having been made righteous by trusting, we have shalom with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. [a] 2 Through Him we also have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in suffering—knowing that suffering produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Ruach ha-Kodesh who was given to us.

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Messiah died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man someone might even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us. 9 How much more then, having now been set right by His blood, shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him. 10 For if, while we were yet enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Yet Sin Reigns through Death
12 So then, just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, in the same way death spread to all men because all sinned. 13 For up until the Torah, sin was in the world; but sin does not count as sin when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in a manner similar to the violation of Adam, who is a pattern of the One to come.

15 But the gracious gift is not like the transgression. For if many died because of the transgression of one man, how much more did the grace of God overflow to many through the gift of one Man—Yeshua the Messiah. 16 Moreover, the gift is not like what happened through the one who sinned. For on the one hand, the judgment from one violation resulted in condemnation; but on the other hand, the gracious gift following many transgressions resulted in justification. [b] 17 For if by the one man’s transgression, death reigned through the one,[c] how much more shall those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Messiah Yeshua.

18 So then, through the transgression of one, condemnation came to all men; likewise, through the righteousness of one came righteousness of life to all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man, many will be set right forever.[d]

20 Now the Torah came in so that transgression might increase. But where sin increased, grace overflowed even more— 21 so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness, to eternal life through Messiah Yeshua our Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 5:2 cf. Isa. 54:17.
  2. Romans 5:17 Lit. judgment from one to condemnation . . . gift from many trespasses to acquittal.
  3. Romans 5:17 cf. Gen. 2:17; 3:6, 19.
  4. Romans 5:19 Lit. made righteous, cf. Rom. 1:17.

John 5 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Healing on Shabbat
5 After this there was a Jewish feast, and Yeshua went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now in Jerusalem there is a pool by the sheep gate, called Bethzatha in Aramaic,[a] which has five porches. 3 In these a crowd of invalids was lying around—blind, lame, disabled. (4 )[b]

5 Now a certain man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. 6 Seeing him lying there and knowing he had been that way a long time, Yeshua said to him, “Do you want to get well?”

7 The invalid answered Him, “Sir, I have nobody to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I’m trying to get in, somebody else steps down before me!”

8 Yeshua tells him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!”

9 Immediately, the man was healed! He took up his mat and started walking around. Now that day was Shabbat, 10 so Judean leaders were saying to the man who was healed, “It’s Shabbat! It’s not permitted for you to carry your mat.”

11 But he answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

12 They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Pick up your mat and walk’?” 13 But the man who had been healed didn’t know who it was, for Yeshua had slipped away into the crowd in that place.

14 Afterwards, Yeshua finds him in the Temple. He said to him, “Look, you’ve been healed! Stop sinning, so nothing worse happens to you.” 15 The man left and told the Judean leaders that it was Yeshua who had made him well.

Sent by the Father
16 Because Yeshua was doing these things on Shabbat, the Judean leaders started persecuting Him. 17 But Yeshua said to them, “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” 18 So for this reason the Judean leaders kept trying even harder to kill Him—because He was not only breaking Shabbat,[c] but also calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

19 Therefore Yeshua answered them, “Amen, amen I tell you, the Son cannot do anything by Himself. He can do only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He does. He will show Him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever He wants. 22 The Father does not judge anyone, but has handed over all judgment to the Son 23 so that all should honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

24 “Amen, amen I tell you, whoever hears My word and trusts the One who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed over from death into life. 25 Amen, amen I tell you, an hour is coming and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of Ben-Elohim. Those who hear will live! 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. 27 Also He has given the Son authority to judge, because He is the Son of Man.

28 “Do not be amazed at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice 29 and come out![d] Those who have done good will come to a resurrection of life, and those who have done evil will come to a resurrection of judgment. 30 I can do nothing on My own. Just as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, for I do not seek My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me.”

The Father Testifies about the Son
31 “If I testify about Myself, My witness is not valid. 32 There is another who testifies about Me, and I know that the testimony He gives is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 I do not receive the testimony of man, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was the lamp that was burning and shining, and you wanted to rejoice for a while in his light.

36 “But the testimony I have is greater than that from John. The works the Father has given Me to finish—the very works I am doing—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father who sent Me has testified concerning Me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form. 38 Nor do you have His Word living in you, because you do not trust the One He sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you suppose that in them you have eternal life. It is these that testify about Me. 40 Yet you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life!

41 “I do not accept glory from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me. But if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that comes from God alone?

45 “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have put your hope. 46 For if you were believing Moses, you would believe Me—because he wrote about Me. 47 But since you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”[e]

Footnotes:

  1. John 5:2 Lit. in Hebrew. Bethesda (Heb.) means House of Mercy. Bethzatha (Aram.) means the place of poured out water.
  2. John 5:4 ASV adds: They waited for the water to be moved. Other mss. also add verse 4: because an angel of the Lord sometimes went to the pool and moved the water. Then, whoever went into the water first was healed from whatever disease he had.
  3. John 5:18 cf. Mk. 2:27; Lk. 13:16.
  4. John 5:29 cf. Ezek. 37:12; Ps. 16:10; Dan. 12:2.
  5. John 5:47 cf. Deut. 18:15-19.

Tree of Life Version (TLV)Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

conversation with God: about the issue of faith

the faith of JesusLately I was bogged down by the matter of faith, when confronting the attitude of a whole generation of people (especially the younger ones) who choose to walk the path not assigned by the Lord. When it impacts those whom I care, it becomes my issue too. I do realize that my path has been re-aligned according to the Lord’s plan and I have made a decision to move on as He leads me, but I now linger for those whom I still care. I read the parable of the condition of the soil (Luke 8) again this morning. It speaks afresh. Then I interceded as I took the Holy Communion specifically for some. I asked for wisdom to speak to them later. I received the Lord’s guidance for the counsel I intend to give as I prayed: what to say, how to say them, separately or in a group. Finally in closing the Lord showed me one verse to dispel my fear as I had also interceded for my own fear. I am reminded again of my little faith where my own people are concerned.

The Lord spoke and taught me again on the conditions of heart of people: some are not even saved, some are facing temptation, and some only go after the cares, riches and pleasures of this life. All need to re-direct their attention and focus to God and understand His purpose for them. The obstacles are: the devil who came to the world with the sole purpose to steal, kill, and destroy; the temptations of the world;  the love for things that cause worries, the love for riches, and the love for pleasures. “Am I equipped to speak to them on these dangers and stressors in their lives?” I asked. 

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. 12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. 13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. 14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest. (Luke 8:11-15)

Here is the reply from the Lord:

The Lord spoke and comforted me with these words, “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? (Luke 12:27-28)

Indeed, this is a faith issue. Do I have little faith? I read the word about faith. Here is the assurance.

Galatians 2:20 King James Version (KJV)

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The faith is no longer my own little faith. The faith I have is the faith of the Son of God’s faith. Jesus’ faith. This assures me. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name, I receive.