the NOW time for plentiful harvest: Do not limit God

Luke 5-4
Luke 5:4

Luke 5:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon (Peter), “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

What did Jesus tell Simon Peter?
Key words: “Now”, “Go out”, “where”, “deeper”, “nets” and “catch”. Jesus issued a command with a specific time limit and an urgency. He also specified where, with what and for what purpose.

Did it work? Peter and his business partners had been fishing all previous night and didn’t catch a thing. But he decided to do exactly what Jesus said, “But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”

And what happened when he acted on the word revealed by Jesus?
“And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!”

Key phrases:
1. Jesus “says so” to Peter specifically. Peter received the revelation.
2. Peter responded to Jesus, “I’ll let the nets down again”. Peter obeyed Jesus’ words exactly. He took the boat back to the deeper place and let down more than one net because Jesus said “nets”. indeed, all his nets were filled to breaking point!

When we receive a word from the Lord to meet our needs we can expect the Lord to give plenty and not a handful. Peter’s case is not an isolated one. God has demonstrated His superabundant supplies in the case of the widow with one last jar of oil in Elisah’s time. He filled all the empty vessels she borrowed and stopped only when she ran out of vessels. (2 Kings 4:1-6) Jesus would have filled more nets with fish but Peter ran out of nets.

The vessels and the nets we put out often limit the amounts we receive.

Lesson learned: Don’t limit God.

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Bible in Diagram: John 17:1-5

THE WAY TO ETERNAL LIFE, HONOR AND GLORY

John 17:1-5

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 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.   I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.”

John17-1-5

What Jesus did on earth glorified God. he knew what His assignment was, how and when to finish it. He was totally focused. He knew His original source and was confident of returning there. His journey on earth was not in vain. He accomplished. He also gave us a glimpse of what it’s like:
A place of honor and glory.
Awesome!
(TO BE CONTINUED)

persisting prayer

baptized with Holy SpiritHeed His call today! Be persistent in prayer.
Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care. If only you would listen to His voice today! (Psalm 95:6-7 NLT)

Today we learn what Jesus means by persistent prayer and why we need to pray persistently.
1. Keep on doing it until you receive what you need.
2. The key is in the spiritual realm.
3. Only the Holy Spirit can deliver it.
4. The persistence is for our good. Because otherwise we lose heart and fall away even though God has already given us through the Holy Spirit (in the unseen realm).
5. Note that the persistence is not because God is hard hearted or refuses to give until we have prayed long and hard.
6. It is not by our own might or power. It is by His Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6)
7. Stephen’s testimony demonstrated that only by being full of the Holy Spirit, being led by the Holy Spirit we can see God and His marvelous deeds in our lives. Spiritual blindness only leads to unbelief and loss of God’s favor.
8. Being born of the Holy Spirit is a must to see and enter God’s kingdom and living the Kingdom’s abundant lives. (John 3:3, 3:5)
9. Receiving the baptism (being filled/full) of the Holy Spirit is a must for manifesting the favor of the Lord just as Jesus did. (Luke 4:18-19)
10. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is linked to the Kingdom of God. It is not dispensable. Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:1-5; Matthew 3:11)
11. God wants us to live a holy life. The baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire should lead us wanting to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8)
12. The work of the Holy Spirit is a must for our daily living as the children of God. (Romans 8:12-14)

Matthew 7:7-11
Effective Prayer
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Luke 11:8-13
But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.[a]
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask[b] for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Footnotes:
(a) 11:8 Or in order to avoid shame, or so his reputation won’t be damaged.
(b) 11:11 Some manuscripts add for bread, do you give them a stone? Or [if they ask].

Acts 7:48-51 (Stephen’s testimony)
However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,
49 ‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?’
asks the Lord.
‘Could you build me such a resting place?
50 Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’[a]
51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen[b] at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you!

Footnotes:
(a) 7:49-50 Isa 66:1-2.
(b) 7:51 Greek uncircumcised.

Acts 7:55
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Romans 8:12-14
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[a] you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,[b] you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[c] of God.

Footnotes:
(a) 8:12 Greek brothers; also in 8:29.
(b) 8:13 Greek deeds of the body.
(c) 8:14 Greek sons; also in 8:19.

Jesus and His brothers

John71617The world can’t hate you, you go on to this festival of Shelters. Jesus replied His brothers. For even His worldly brothers didn’t believe in Him at that time. He was traveling around Galilee to stay out of Judea where the Jewish leaders were plotting to kill Him. His brothers told Him to leave and go to Judea, “where your followers can see your miracles!” They knew and had seen His supernatural power but they were not His followers. They wanted Him to show off the physical power He could display. They further said, “You can’t become famous if you hide like this!” They wanted him to become famous in their world. Judea was the centre of religious and political activities as people went there yearly for various national festivals. The ‘who is who’ would all be there, people of political/social/economic power, wealth and influential connection. They also said (obviously with unbelief), “If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”

What makes a person believe in Jesus? Even His brothers did not believe, who can believe? This is the question today.

Jesus told us the answer in John 7:17 “Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching is from God or is merely My own.”

Anyone can believe.
The condition in your heart must be right and ready. You really want to do the will of God.
Believing in Jesus is the will of God. (John 6:29, 39-40)
You will be given the discernment from God to know that Jesus is the One who comes from God and is speaking to you God’s message for you.
Anyone who is thirsty for God. (John 7:37)
Anyone who loves God will love Jesus. (John 8:42)
Everyone who listens to the Father (God) and learns from Him comes to Jesus. (John 6:45)

wife

Whose wife will she be? They asked Jesus. “Whose wife of the seven will she be?” They did not believe in a life20160116_135529 copy after this life on earth. They lived for power and wealth of this world and not the next. So they came to Jesus and challenged Him with a difficult question. In their custom, marriage was to have sons to inherit the legacy left behind by their forefathers. If a man died without leaving a surviving son his brother had to marry the man’s widow in order to have a son for him for the purpose of the inheritance. This passage is very relevant today. What is the purpose of Marriage? What if a person cannot produce a son? We shall read other passages to see the big picture. Be surprised. Be open. Be led by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 22:23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother…28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” (The poor widow had married seven brothers consecutively because they could not produce an offspring.)

29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

What did Jesus say?
1. Marriage is only for this earth. It has no relevance or importance in eternity.
2. Jesus’ ministry on earth focused on the eternal matters and not the earthly matters which Moses had already covered.
3. Think eternity when we read Jesus and the Bible (Scriptures)
4. Think the power of God in the big picture of eternity and not mere earth in the lifetime of a human.

Who instituted marriage laws? Moses. The purpose was to protect the weaker and less socially and economically advantaged groups like women, children, widows, orphans.
Here is what Jesus said about divorce.
Matthew 19:7-9
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

The apostle Paul gave a detailed teaching on the subject of marriage, divorce, and remaining single in 1 Corinthians 7.

1. Why marriage?

Principles of Marriage
7 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9 but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

2. Why not divorce?

12 But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.

3. Can one remain as he is (married/divorced/single)? Who is happier, married or single? Paul’s answer is there is an assigned and established condition and you stay at it and be happy. How do you know you are there, at the right place? The key word is “REMAIN” where you already are when you are called.

17 But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.
26 I suppose therefore that this is good because of the present distress—that it is good for a man to remain as he is: 35 And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.
40 But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgment—and I think I also have the Spirit of God.

4. Lastly, is any one more superior by being married or single?

6 But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. 7 For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.

Paul’s conclusion: Marital status is a gift. Being single and practice celibacy requires self-discipline and self-control.

Jesus has spoken on the same matter of celibacy in Matthew 19. Celibacy is a gift. Not all men can have it.

10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus Teaches on Celibacy
11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Coming back to the subject of marriage, we can see that it is indeed a serious and lifelong matter. Once you are in you cannot get out as you wish. Does marriage really work in today’s scenario when people no longer care about having sons to carry on their name and inherit their legacy? Are there happy marriages that last a life time? Just look around, and you will be surprised. Marriages are for lifetime happiness. The Bible started with Adam and Eve and they had a really long marriage. The marriage of Sarah and Abraham too was long and lifelong. Love was the main focus in the stories of the first several couples of mention in the Bible: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Rachael.

A final word on how God views marriage: It is both spiritual and physical. what one does in the physical impacts the spiritual. There is a spiritual beginning and end. A record in heaven.

Malachi 2:15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

Legacy unlocked

LegacyHe said to them, “I am now a very old man. You have seen everything the Lord your God has done for you during my lifetime. The Lord your God has fought for you against your enemies.” The speaker has left a sizable legacy behind for all whom he addressed in these final words. In this case, land. He spoke of land already in their possession and land not yet conquered. He gave the assurance that even then, “This land will be yours.”

How can that happen? He said further, “So be very careful to follow everything Moses wrote in the Book of Instruction. Do not deviate from it, turning either to the right or to the left. Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.”

He reminded them, “Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed! “

The above are quoted from Joshua (Commissioned 1406-1375 BC) the commander who brought the children of Israel into the promised land. (Chapter 23)

How does this ancient legacy translate into reality in modern time? Let us read some of the shocking remarks from Jesus who has indeed given us a powerful spiritual key to unlock the treasures (land-legacy) already reserved for us, in the following passages taken from Luke 6:

20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,
“God blesses you who are poor,
for the Kingdom of God is yours.
21 God blesses you who are hungry now,
for you will be satisfied.
God blesses you who weep now,
for in due time you will laugh.

22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

Love Your Enemies
35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Do Not Judge Others
37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

John 10:10 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

The harvest is great:be sent

harvest is greatWhen Jesus looks at the fields He sees a sea of people to be led into the Kingdom of God. He sees how best the Father’s will can be fulfilled. He has given the keys to what His followers must do to work with Him, using His resources: His name and His authority and power. The power of His words. The power of the Holy Spirit.

Reading from Luke 9 (57-62), 10 (1-20)
The Lord (Jesus) now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places He planned to visit. These were His instructions:

The harvest is great, but the workers are few. See what God sees. Focus on His perspective. The time? Now.
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields. God is the One who sends. He has lots of reserved workers. Just call Him. A prayer away. Use more of prayers than using our cell phone.
Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. Beware. There are wolves out there, even in our midst.
Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. No excessively cumbersome equipment. No need the latest tech. Use prayer.
And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road. No distraction. No disclosure of God’s confidential strategy to the enemy. Speak less and pray more. Beware. Watch and pray.

Prerequisites: (Luke 9) Focus on the spiritual and not physical. Kingdom of God becomes their focus.

Get Out of your comfort zone: no more concern with your usual physical needs, e.g. routine living, stability, shelter, bed, regular sleep.
Forget your past pattern/tradition/ritual: no more concern with your usual practices, e.g. physical preparation, continuing association with past duty, physical aspects of life, what others think of you.
Let go of your present relation/emotion: no more concern with even things that matter to you: sentiments with the past, meeting others’ expectations.

The real invincible equipment that each disciple carries: power and authority of Jesus over spiritual and physical realms (both seen and unseen worlds.) Use His words -The power of God’s words. Be led by His Spirit. Sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. Let the Son of God manifest in us.
In practice, Jesus has given these examples in Luke 10 of what the disciples would encounter in real life. They would not lack the physical supplies they needed. But their focus continued to be on the spiritual reality. Jesus told them that what they proclaimed in the spiritual realm would become real in the physical realm.
The positive supernatural power of the phrase “MAY GOD’S PEACE BE WITH YOU” proclaimed by the disciples based on the authority given by Jesus is real and tremendous.
Only the disciples can carry the blessing of this phrase on their mission.
The blessing is real and brings tangible outcome in the physical world.
It will go to the house that genuinely opens and grants hospitality to the disciples.
But the recipients in the house must respond correctly: they must be in peace and not in strife. They must supply the disciples all they need during their stay including free lodging and food –as an obligated payment for their work.

The disciples have Jesus’ authority over all the power of the spiritual enemy, and can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure them. Evil spirits have to obey them. They can do miraculous work in the town that welcomes them: heal the sick and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

some words about the thief

20160127_121942Jesus speaks of the thief who came to steal, kill, and destroy. Who is that thief and what did he come to steal, kill, destroy? How shall we prevent or counter? I have recently encountered some cases which I am now led to share. First bear in mind what Jesus has actually said when he said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10)

Reading the whole passage below (John 10:1-18), we find a number of important words Jesus speaks of: sheepfold, thief and robber, gate, gatekeeper, sheep, Jesus, flock, saved, steal, kill, destroy, good shepherd, sacrifices life, hired hand, money, authority, commanded.

We know by now that Jesus is talking about His believers (followers). His disciples. They are His sheep and belong to His sheepfold. Note that they can recognize Jesus’ voice, come to Him, be led by Him, and follow Him. Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to this world to save His sheep, give them a rich and satisfying life.

On the other hand there is an enemy group who came to this world with the purpose to destroy life. Jesus called them thieves and robbers. They came to steal life, kill life and destroy life. Another group is called hired hand who works for money and does not care about the life and death of the sheep. They are not real shepherds. They abandon the congregation and run away when danger comes.  Note that in these two cases the two groups share one common goal: each has its own selfish and evil agenda. One openly opposes Jesus and His followers, aggressively attacks and destroys, whereas the other one pretends to be on the side of Jesus and His sheep but in fact passively deceives and destroys too. The thief (open enemy of God) hates God. The hired hand is indifferent to God. Both have no love for God.

Only God (The Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) can give life. Jesus can give hIs life and take it again. Jesus loves the Father and obeys His commands. “This command I have received from My Father.” Jesus refers to the command to lay down His life for the salvation of mankind.

John 10:1-18 New Living Translation (NLT) The Good Shepherd and His Sheep

10 “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me[a] were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.[b] They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.

17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. 18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

Footnotes:

  1. 10:8 Some manuscripts do not include before me.
  2. 10:9 Or will find safety.

Another significant point is there are people who are not of Jesus’ sheep. They do not believe in Jesus even when they see the many supernatural good works that Jesus did in God’s name and authority. They even tried to kill Jesus for claiming to be the Son of God. (John 10:25-32)

But those who believe belong to Jesus. What will be their rewards for believing? Jesus gives us eternal life, and we shall never perish and no one can snatch us out of God’s hand (or Jesus’ hand). (John 10:27-30)

Why are some people against Jesus? They feel offended that He claims to be the Son of God. They are jealous of Him. They want to have what He has but cannot have. This is  not new. The devil became devil because he wants to be God.

Application today: Read the Bible and believe. Hear the Holy Spirit and obey. Be assured of our salvation and position in Christ as the children of God. Know that we have eternal life, rich and satisfying abundant life. Be aware that there are two groups of oppositions to God’s salvation through Jesus. These enemies of Jesus will try to cause damages and losses (in varying degrees) to Christians. Know the assurance from Jesus that God (the Father) is greater than all. We can be safe in His hands. (John 10:29)

NB: A case: a family of four (excluding the dad who passed away) have been severely and bitterly divided. The two siblings hate each other. Being unable to forgive each other has robbed them and the family of peace and love. The youngest member, still a child, growing up in this environment is being conditioned and adversely affected in body, soul and spirit. The only way to return to the peace that Jesus as given is to come back to the passage and obey Jesus: forgive and reconciled truthfully. One essential key is to walk by the Spirit and not be flesh.

God’s economy: power to make wealth

Money is a mode of exchange in modern economy, but it has become a symbol of power. The power of wealth. Today I am led to listen to some good teachings on the Bible way of getting wealth. Here is what I have received from listening to the lessons and as I read the Bible verses myself and meditate on them.

There are several points to note here:

  1. God gives Christians the power (anointing) to make wealth (money).
  2. Biblical method of making wealth is to actually work hard. Not by other means that the worldly system makes people to think they can pursue without hard work. Note the term used by the Holy Spirit to describe a person who uses other means to get money (a thief).
  3. The power of money is its ability to affect a person’s future. It is not to be squandered off with gratifying present sensual wants. It is to be used to invest wisely to generate monetary income and physical benefits to secure the future.
  4. The attitude towards money determines whether the man can make wealth or not. The master of the dishonest manager (steward) knows how to make wealth and stay in wealth. He is not solely dependent on the physical money. He is confident of his continuous favor from God and ability to make money in future despite the considerable losses he has incurred due to  his past wrongful employment and trust of the wrong person.
  5. Your money can be stolen by the thief. But the thief cannot steal your wealth-making talent. You can restore everything that the thief has taken from you unlawfully.

Bible verses are quoted from Amplified Bible.

Deuteronomy 8:17-18 Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember [with profound respect] the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore (solemnly promised) to your fathers, as it is this day.

Ephesians 4:28 The thief [who has become a believer] must no longer steal, but instead he must work hard [making an honest living], producing that which is good with his own hands, so that he will have something to share with those in need.

Luke 16:1-12 (quoted in parts with boldness added to highlight) 1 Now Jesus was also saying to the disciples, “There was a certain rich man who had a manager [of his estate], and accusations [against this man] were brought to him, that this man was squandering his [master’s] possessions…And his master commended the unjust manager [not for his misdeeds, but] because he had acted shrewdly [by preparing for his future unemployment]; for the sons of this age [the non-believers] are shrewder in relation to their own kind [that is, to the ways of the secular world] than are the sons of light [the believers].

In the following Bible verses, Jesus gives a further teaching in addition to the above. He talks about the greater wealth in heaven and eternity for His believers and followers. There are two essential investments: one for the individual (and his family) future on earth; another is for heaven/eternity. Both are essentials. Note that Jesus equates the word “faithful” to the wise ability to make investment with money (both in terms of physical financial investment and heavenly investment). 

And I tell you [learn from this], make friends for yourselves [for eternity] by means of the[d]wealth of unrighteousness [that is, use material resources as a way to further the work of God], so that when it runs out, they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings.10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little thing is also dishonest in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of earthly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that [earthly wealth] which belongs to another [whether God or man, and of which you are a trustee], who will give you that which is your own?

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

Just my personal thought (from ex-banker view-point):

I am reminded that some of us have ‘retired’ from the secular corporate world and can afford to sit back and relax. Reading the Bible I realize that there is no Biblical retirement age except that the Levites at fifty sort of ‘retire’ from active temple service. There is no retirement from working in anywhere else in the Bible. The talent/gift/anointing from God must be invested continuously until He returns. No retirement in view of the aforementioned scarce resources.

The purpose of working and making wealth: “So that he will have something to share with those in need.” (Ephesians 4:28) We need to work for what we share with others too! A very pertinent point. For example if a Christian is often behind or even defaults his monthly loan installment and still goes out and treat others as if he has the money is like stealing from the creditors. When a person borrows a loan he signs an agreement/covenant to repay monthly on time to his creditors. God is a covenant keeping God. He wants us to honor our covenant just as He does.

My own conviction (if I were young and indebted again): Do the first thing first. Pay the creditors his due. Then go out and share with the poor. Cut down on my own food intake and treat the starving poor if I can still have the energy to work after that. (If you can exercise faith you can fast your food and still live and work as usual, a spiritual man advised me many years ago. That started my journey in the Holy Spirit.)

Note: Please read my next post on fasting and Bible verses:
https://kzlam36.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/bible-verses-on-fasting/

God’s will: who will have everlasting life?

John 6 eternal lifeWhat did Jesus say about who will have eternal life? What is God’s will? What authority Jesus has over who gets eternal life?  The answers are as follows.

NKJV Bible John 6 (37-40; 44-47 boldness and italics added to some verses for highlighting purpose)

37“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

38“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

39 “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

44“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

45“It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.

46“Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. (note: Jesus refers to Himself here. Only Jesus has seen God.)

47 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.

The Seed for the Kingdom of Heaven

good soil for seedChapter 13 in Matthew is today’s Bible reading. Jesus speaks in parables. He speaks of sowing the words of God like sowing seeds on various grounds (good and bad soil). He is speaking of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. In reading the two subjects together and the previous chapters in Matthew, we know that Jesus is sowing the seeds of the Kingdom of God while teaching the large crowd who follow Him to hear Him and to be healed. The message today is “The Kingdom of Heaven”. Jesus is speaking and teaching the same message to a large crowd of varying heart conditions like the soils He talks about. In this passage, Jesus differentiates those who are listening and to whom He will give more understanding, and those who are not listening. The difference is in the word “listening”. By listening to Jesus, they will see the truth and receive. Jesus has taught and done many miraculous signs, but not all listen or see with understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven message Jesus is preaching authoritatively and powerful demonstrating by His supernatural ministry on earth. Unless one understands how it operates one cannot receive the Kingdom of Heaven and become a part of it.

One alarming thing that Jesus has pointed out is that the audience has control over whether they hear or not hear. See or not see. He explains why they cannot hear or see. “For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes-so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let Me heal them.” (Matthew 13:15) This statement clearly places the responsibility on an audience because he can close his ears and eyes by hardening his own heart and thereby misses out the Kingdom of Heaven. Frightening. 

Bible verses are quoted from the Holy Bible NLT. (Boldness added)

Matthew 13:1-15 New Living Translation (NLT) Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.
    They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

‘When you hear what I say,
    you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
    you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
    and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
    so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
    and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
    and let me heal them.[b]

Footnotes:

  1. 13:11 Greek the mysteries.
  2. 13:14-15 Isa 6:9-10 (Greek version).

9th week 6th day: Watch the Temple

Luke 21:36Today’s New Testament reading is the focal point of worship: My Temple. Jesus addresses the holiness (setting apart from worldliness) issue. Note that He stopped everyone from using the Temple as a market place. The definition of a marketplace: an open space where a market is formerly held in a town. The arena of competitive or commercial dealings; the world of trade. When we imagine our bodies being the Temple of the Lord (Holy Spirit), and we have turned it into a marketplace, we should see the incongruity. How does Jesus judge whether the holy place is being used correctly? He uses the criteria of prayer. Is the  place being used for prayers for all nations? If not, it becomes a den of thieves. A marketplace. Note how Jesus judges the marketplace. He calls it a den of thieves. 

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

Mark 11:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT) Jesus Clears the Temple

15 When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves,16 and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace.[a] 17 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”[b]

Footnotes:

  1. 11:16 Or from carrying merchandise through the Temple.
  2. 11:17 Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11.
The following verses are quoted from the Holy Bible New King James Version.

Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

[ Serving for God’s Glory ] But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
Today’s reading: Psalm 34:11-22; Leviticus 27:14-Numbers 1:54; Mark 11:1-26; Proverbs 10:23