Today’s News: be right

Today I cannot resist saying this. There is nothing your enemy can do to you if you are the righteousness of God in Christ. Righteousness is a gift. Jesus has paid for it. When you believe in Jesus, His death and resurrection for you, you receives this gift. The enemy cannot come in to steal, kill, and destroy anymore. You are set free from sickness, poverty, and any form of evil that the enemy tries to put on you and obstruct you from living the abundant life Jesus promises to every one who believes. Here are some of my favorite revealed verses (in NKJV) on the power of righteousness in Christ!

1 Corinthians 1:30 (NKJV) But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—

2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s [a]offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Footnotes: Romans 5:17 trespass

Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Thank God I am in Christ, a new creation, He is my Righteousness of God and I have every good thing God gives to the righteous (in Christ) by faith.

truth about resurrection

John 11:25 Resurrection and life

Whilst no one can turn back the time for the dead, for those who are still alive and perhaps grieving, you may want to know more about resurrection. Resurrection from the dead is part of the doctrine of the first principles of Christ. It is an essential foundational truth of Christianity. The teaching of the resurrection is the one essential truth that separates Christianity from all other religions of the world. (Hebrews 6:1-3) Every man will live forever. Some will live with God; some will live apart from God, but all will live forever.

The Bible records ten supernatural resurrections that returned the dead to human life. In addition to Jesus’ own resurrection, and “many bodies of the saints (believers) who had died were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:51-52). The remaining eight resurrections are recorded in

1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:32-37; 13:20-21; Luke 8:49–56; Luke 7:11-17; John 11:1-44; Acts 9:36-42; 20:7-12.

Jesus predicted his own resurrection: Matthew 17:22-23, “The Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of men, and they will kill him. And on the third day he will be raised to life again.” This greatly distressed the disciples. (PHILLIPS)

Jesus resurrected just as He said. (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-52; John 20:1-21:25)

Jesus Himself raised people from the dead: e.g. Lazarus (John 11:1-44), Jairus’ Daughter (Luke 8:49–56) and Widow of Nain’s Son (Luke 7:11–17).

Important truth concerning Jesus’ resurrection:

  1. Paul says that the fact that Jesus was resurrected is the proof that He is the Son of God. Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead…” (KJV)
  2. And the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead is our guarantee that we have eternal life through Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. (NKJV)
  3. Apostle Paul also said that the Holy Spirit was given to us as a deposit to guarantee our eternal life.  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, 22 and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. (NLT)

Jesus’ teaching on the facts of resurrection: Luke 20:34-38 (NKJV)

34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.”

The apostles also raised people from the dead:

Acts 9:36-42 (NLT) Apostle Peter resurrected Tabitha (Dorcas).

Acts 20:7-12 Apostle Paul resurrected Eutychus.

Old Testament Prophets raised people from the dead:

Widow of Zarephath’s Son raised by the prophet Elijah (1 King 17:17-24); Shunammite Woman’s Son raised by the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 4:18-37); an Israelite dead man’s body resurrected by touching prophet Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:20–21).  

Finally, there is hope for us as declared by the Apostle Paul in the following verses:

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 (NLT) 51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

1 Thessalonians 5:10 (NLT) Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.

2019 word: Be fearless, be sealed

When I ponder about why there is a sudden surge of interest in end-time prophesies, I receive the word “fear”, people are fearful and that is why they want to know more. That includes Christians. So last night I looked at some verses on being fearless.

The following verses are quoted from New King James Version (NKJV) Bible

2 Timothy 1:7 7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Proverbs 3:25-26  Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
 For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.

Psalm 91:5-6  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Psalm 112:6-7 Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
7He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

2 Corinthians 1:22 He sealed us as his own and gave us the Spirit as the down payment in our hearts.

Ephesians 1:13 In him, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and in him, when you also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

The following verses are quoted from Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) Bible

Psalm 105:15 “Do not touch my anointed ones, and do not harm my prophets.”

Psalm 121:7 The Lord will watch to keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life.

Acts 18:10 For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel coming up from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He called out with a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to harm the earth and the sea. He said,

Revelation 7:3 “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees until we have placed a seal on the foreheads of God’s servants.”

Revelation 9:4 They were told not to harm the earth’s grass, any green plant, or any tree, but only those people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads.

Let God arise 2019

 Let God arise,
Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is driven away,
So drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad;
Let them rejoice before God;
Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol[a] Him who rides on the [b]clouds,
By His name [c]Yah,
And rejoice before Him.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

O God, when You went out before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness, Selah
The earth shook;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God;
Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.
10 Your congregation dwelt in it;
You, O God, provided from Your goodness for the poor.

11 The Lord gave the word;
Great was the [d]company of those who proclaimed it:
12 “Kings of armies flee, they flee,
And she who remains at home divides the [e]spoil.
13 Though you lie down among the [f]sheepfolds,
You will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And her feathers with yellow gold.”
14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it,
It was white as snow in Zalmon.

15 A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan;
A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan.
16 Why do you [g]fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks?
This is the mountain which God desires to dwell in;
Yes, the Lord will dwell in it forever.

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
Even thousands of thousands;
The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.
18 You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the Lord God might dwell there.

19 Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah
20 Our God is the God of salvation;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.

21 But God will wound the head of His enemies,
The hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses.
22 The Lord said, “I will bring back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,
23 That [h]your foot may crush them in blood,
And the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from your enemies.”

24 They have seen Your [i]procession, O God,
The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.
25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after;
Among them were the maidens playing timbrels.
26 Bless God in the congregations,
The Lord, from the fountain of Israel.
27 There is little Benjamin, their leader,
The princes of Judah and their [j]company,
The princes of Zebulun and the princes of Naphtali.

28 [k]Your God has commanded your strength;
Strengthen, O God, what You have done for us.
29 Because of Your temple at Jerusalem,
Kings will bring presents to You.
30 Rebuke the beasts of the reeds,
The herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples,
Till everyone submits himself with pieces of silver.
Scatter the peoples who delight in war.
31 Envoys will come out of Egypt;
Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth;
Oh, sing praises to the Lord, Selah
33 To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old!
Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice.
34 Ascribe strength to God;
His excellence is over Israel,
And His strength is in the clouds.
35 O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places.
The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people.

Blessed be God!

Psalm 68 (NKJV) The Glory of God in His Goodness to Israel (To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song.)

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 68:4 Praise
  2. Psalm 68:4 MT deserts; Tg. heavens (cf. v. 34 and Is. 19:1)
  3. Psalm 68:4 Lit. Lord, a shortened Heb. form
  4. Psalm 68:11 host
  5. Psalm 68:12 plunder
  6. Psalm 68:13 Or saddlebags
  7. Psalm 68:16 Lit. stare
  8. Psalm 68:23 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. you may dip your foot
  9. Psalm 68:24 Lit. goings
  10. Psalm 68:27 throng
  11. Psalm 68:28 LXX, Syr., Tg., Vg. Command, O God

Lord, please give us success!

psalm 11825God gives us all things with Jesus freely!
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Psalm 44:7 You are the One who gives us victory over enemies;
84:11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. he gives us grace and glory.
89:18 Yes, our protection comes from the Lord.
90:15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good.
118:25 Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success.
118:21 I thank you for answering my prayer, and give me victory!
118:14 The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.
127:2 The Lord gives rest to His loved ones.
33:10 The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.
33:11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken.
AMEN. IN JESUS NAME.

The Lord says to me: ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’

SereneIsaiah 4113For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’ (Isaiah 41:13)
When the watchman felt troubled lately about a financial decision, the Lord spoke the this verse. He is here to help the watchman.
Why did I feel troubled? Because I was looking at the ‘man-made storm’ in the economy. I know it is just the usual responses from the market at this season. Yet I feel a bit concerned at the herd’s behavior.
So I turned to the Lord one night and He said, “Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”

Today when I recall how the Lord responded to my prayer with such a powerful verse, I am reminded of the incident in which Jesus responded and saved Peter immediately from sinking in the stormy sea.

The incident was different but the requirement of faith is the same. Faith is when we look at Jesus and not at the storm (big or small). Here is my note on what I have learned:
1. We need to focus on seeing Jesus and His might instead of watching the circumstances and base our assessment on them.
2. The uncertainty and inability to see far can cause fear and doubt. The situation can be magnified in our mind when we see others panicking.
3. We must ask the Lord to help us and He will hear and come immediately to our aid.
4. The truth is that the Lord is actually with us. He takes the initiative to come to us and says. “I am here to help you.” He is always HERE to help us. He is our ever present help!
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.

Bible verses from Matthew 14:24-33 (NKJV)
THE DISCIPLES ENCOUNTERED A STORM AT SEA IN THE DARK 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

JESUS CAME TO THEM 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
JESUS IMMEDIATELY SPOKE TO THEM 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
JESUS RESPONDED POSITIVELY TO INDIVIDUAL REQUEST NO MATTER HOW IMPOSSIBLE IT MIGHT SEEM 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

JESUS IMMEDIATELY TOOK HOLD OF THE PREDICAMENT OR EVEN AT RISK POSITION OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO CRIED TO HIM FOR HELP 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

OTHERS CAN WITNESS JESUS’ MIRACULOUS SAVING AND DELIVERANCE OF YOU FROM YOUR PERSONAL STORM. THEY TOO WILL BELIEVE JESUS’ DEITY. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

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.

today we run the race of Christian faith

2016 lakeThe Race of Faith
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Discipline of God
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”[a]
7 If[b] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Renew Your Spiritual Vitality
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

The Glorious Company
18 For you have not come to the mountain that[c] may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness[d] and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned[e] or shot with an arrow.”[f] 21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”[g])

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.

Hear the Heavenly Voice
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake[h] not only the earth, but also heaven.”[i] 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may[j] serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

Footnotes:

Hebrews 12:6 Proverbs 3:11, 12
Hebrews 12:7 NU-Text and M-Text read It is for discipline that you endure; God . . . .
Hebrews 12:18 NU-Text reads to that which.
Hebrews 12:18 NU-Text reads gloom.
Hebrews 12:20 NU-Text and M-Text omit the rest of this verse.
Hebrews 12:20 Exodus 19:12, 13
Hebrews 12:21 Deuteronomy 9:19
Hebrews 12:26 NU-Text reads will shake.
Hebrews 12:26 Haggai 2:6
Hebrews 12:28 M-Text omits may.

(The Holy Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible: Hebrews 12 New King James Version (NKJV))

Journey to see God: God of unfailing love

We love Him because He first loved us
We love Him because He first loved us

Guess who was the first person recorded in the Bible to describe God as the God of unfailing love? Abraham’s servant.
Genesis 24:12
“O Lord, God of my master, Abraham,” he prayed. “Please give me success today, and show unfailing love to my master, Abraham.
Genesis 24:27
“Praise the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham,” he said. “The Lord has shown unfailing love and faithfulness to my master, for he has led me straight to my master’s relatives.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The second man was Moses:
Exodus 15:13
“With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God described Himself to Moses:
Exodus 20:6
But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
Exodus 34:6
The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Both king David and king Solomon knew:
2 Samuel 22:51
You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever.”
1 Kings 8:23
and he prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The leaders of the remnants: The Bible teacher Ezra and Nehemiah, the governor builder of Jerusalem walls also knew and personally experienced:
Ezra 7:28
And praise him for demonstrating such unfailing love to me by honoring me before the king, his council, and all his mighty nobles! I felt encouraged because the gracious hand of the Lord my God was on me. And I gathered some of the leaders of Israel to return with me to Jerusalem.
Nehemiah 1:5
Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The psalmists (poets) were full of praises for God’s unfailing love. Here are two examples taken from the beginning and the end of psalms:
Psalm 5:7
Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe.
Psalm 147:11
No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The prophets’ testimonies of God’s unfailing love:
Isaiah 63:7
[Praise for Deliverance] I will tell of the Lord’s unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love.
Joel 2:13
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.
Micah 7:18
Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Finally, the testimony of John the beloved apostle of Jesus Christ:
John 1:14
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
John 1:17
For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

John 17:3

And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.

Good News continues to advance 2

20150518 heaven is realWe read what Jesus says about the Good News of the Kingdom of God from a fresh perspective today in the Spirit. What does Jesus mean by the term ‘called’ and the term ‘chosen’? We often talk about being called. It  is a privilege to be called by the Lord. In the case of the Great Feast, it appears that a special group was first destined and called but the members had been otherwise engaged and had not heeded the Lord’s calling. They carried on their usual farming and business activities because they could not ‘hear’ God. This is real. Jesus demonstrated this deafness of the people. He came to earth and lived among people. He spoke to them about the Kingdom of Heaven. But they went on doing their own thing like He never appeared to them. Some even became so annoyed with His message that they plotted to kill Him. They succeeded.

Another group of people was called too. Jesus described them as ‘everyone’ whom the servants of the Lord can see. Many came to the Great Feast. But some came without the proper dressing for he wedding. The King-Host noticed and singled them out to be evicted.

To sum up: Three groups are called. Those who are first invited but have chosen to ignore the invitation. Those who are ‘everyone’ but respond with honor and respect for the Lord and put on their proper ‘clothes’ (the robe of righteousness which is Jesus) for the wedding in heaven with Jesus, and those who also respond to the invitation but cannot really be bothered with God. They merely turn up for any festive occasion for a free meal and free entertainment.

Why is there a difference in the response? Two groups do not bother with God and thus miss out the Great Feast, indeed, the eternity with God. What is the secret for the third group, the few whom Jesus describes as the ‘chosen’? What has disqualified the ‘called’ but not ‘chosen’?

I believe the answer is given by Jesus Himself. Reading the context in Matthew 21 and 23 we find that Jesus was addressing those whom He described below: “You testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.” “…the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! ” (Matthew 23) “45 When the leading priests and Pharisees heard this parable, they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. 46 They wanted to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowds, who considered Jesus to be a prophet.” (Matthew 21)

What is the difference between these people and the few who are both called and chosen? The description of the Pharisees and the Sadducees revealed that they were walking by flesh and not by the Spirit. They tried all sorts of their usual, normal human social, economic, political and religious ways to find fault and perhaps trap Jesus. They could not accept Jesus because they did not know Him in the spirit.

Who can accept Jesus and His life message? Those who can accept the reality of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, God is Spirit. Jesus talked about the reality of God, the Heavenly places, the Kingdom of God, all of which can only manifest in the lives of the believers through the Holy Spirit. (Read the Gospel and letters of of John, Paul’s epistles, and the book of Acts).

Bible verses:

When Jesus told the parable of the Great Feast in Matthew 22, He was surrounded and often accosted by the Pharisees and Sadducees.

15 Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 16 They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him.

23 That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question:

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:

41 Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

Matthew 22 New Living Translation (NLT) Parable of the Great Feast

Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!

“So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.

“The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ 10 So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.

11 But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 12 ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. 13 Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Good News continues to advance

paul-thessalonica-bereaWe continue to walk with the disciples of Jesus. We have followed the journey of Paul and Silas to the point of revivals and persecutions in Acts 16-17.  We see how the disciples were led by the Holy Spirit, how they obeyed the Lord’s calling and found doors opened to the Gospel. We also witness how salvation and persecution came almost simultaneously. This is still applicable today. There are people who listen to the Gospel and joyously accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord. There are also those who listen with a further hardened heart against Jesus and His followers. Why? When we read the four Gospels we can see the answer everywhere. Jesus Himself encountered the same responses. Some listened and accepted His message of the Kingdom of God. Many rejected Him and thereby rejected the Kingdom of God. One thing that is key to the people’s believing is the words of God. Those who really honor God and His word receive the sharing and preaching of the word. They listen with respect and search the Scripture for the truth. Jesus has promised: Those who seek will find. Those who ask will receive. Those who knock, the door will be opened.

Acts 16 Persecution and Salvation: including successful and devout business woman and even a former enemy of Christ and his family. Honor for those who fear and worship the Lord and believe in Jesus. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 So we[c] decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.

11 We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.

13 On the Sabbath… we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. 14 One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. 15 She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests… 22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison… 25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!  29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. 35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” 36 So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.” 37 But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!” 38 When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city… 

Acts 17 Those who listened were persuaded and joined the disciples and those who became jealous and caused persecution. The people of Berea were more open-minded and many believed. 1 Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.[d] But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd…

10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

13 But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble…

a grandma’s testimony

The watchman was recently given the opportunity to meet an elderly intercessor grandma in late 70s. Her own mother died when she was a baby and she was raised by her grandparents until she was old enough to attend elementary school. She encountered Jesus and the awesome love of God when she was a young girl filled with hunger and hurt. The experience transformed her. She forgave those who inflicted the hurt. She rose above the past and emerged a victorious overcomer! When she spoke of her first encounter with Jesus and how God has loved her so much to send Him to die for her, her eyes turned red and teary.

One thing that struck the watchman was this godly woman’s firm faith and love for God. She has walked closely with Jesus for over 60 years. She is still filled with passion for souls and her greatest and first love Jesus. She declares that all she wants to do is to share the Gospel with those who are still lost. She has done this one thing over the last 60 years and is still going strong. She has many spiritual children and grandchildren. She has raised her own godly children too.

When asked how she had walked so intimately close with the Lord, she said,

“I hungered for His words after I was Spirit-filled, so I read the Bible. When I read the words of God, I believe they are real and I practice them. The more I read and believe and practice the more real they become to me. The more they become alive to me, the closer I experience God.” She then shared some of her own and others’ divine healing examples and the power of the Holy Spirit in the words of God she proclaimed when she encountered any form of injuries or sicknesses. I could perceive that she is filled with the Spirit of the Lord and she lives the life of the citizen of the Kingdom of God. She uses the Sword of the Spirit. What a godly grandma!

Another thing that stood out was that while evangelizing, she had her own successful and fruit-bearing tent-making profession until retirement. She raised a godly family and ministered to her ‘unbelieving’ (for many years until conversion) husband too. She said her key word is, ‘hold fast’ to her confession of Jesus as her number one! To equip herself in the words of God she took a part-time course for three years and graduated with honors.

She shared an example of how she practices God’s words, “After I read the teaching on tithing, I decided and started tithing. I earned a monthly wage of $350 then and I tithed $35. After that my income increased and I continued to tithe. By the time I earned $2000-$3000 I tithed $200-300 comfortably. After I retired I asked the Lord to give me a monthly income so that I could continue to tithe and the Lord has done that. The sum of money I receive monthly from my children is at the level which affords an unchanged amount of tithe.”

Prior to saying goodbye, she held our hands and blessed all of us who were present. The watchman perceived the blessing flowing with the power of the Lord in her and the Bible verses she pronounced with such strength and conviction came alive.

a godly business woman LydiaWatchman’s end notes: I have been shown more and more of these old guards of the faith in recent years. Many have walked with Jesus over 50 years. what is the message for me? ‘Hold fast and press forward’.