The watchman’s encounter with God’s reality in the physical realm

On 30th August 2013, while I was listening to the Spirit vs the flesh -the power of the Gospel, I encountered the spectacular shower of golden rays in my kitchen from the spiritual realm which manifested in the physical realm. It was not a vision. Because I used my mobile phone and video recorded the phenomena in visual and sound.

After that I let my house group and my family members watch it and confirmed.

Today I came across the teaching below: “Basics of Righteousness 8 of 8: Spirit vs. Flesh” on YouTube, which is the same as what I have recorded in my CD in 2013 and was listening to when the supernatural encounter happened –Spirit vs the flesh -the power of the Gospel. I would like to share with you this truth which set me and many others on the right track.

If you ask me to use one phrase to describe the most important thing in my life, I will say this without hesitation, “Our God is real and the Bible is real!”

Watch “Basics of Righteousness 8 of 8: Spirit vs. Flesh. Chinese subtitles.” on YouTube

decision determines destiny

the power in time: Ephesians 5:16-17

I just listened to an excellent teaching on “the power in time” by my favorite Bible teacher, considered one of the premium Bible teachers today. The subject is based on Ephesians 5:15-17, about how to walk as wise, redeeming the time. He teaches that time is a resource that impacts eternity. We can take from the eternal and sow into this temporal life, and from the temporal and sow into eternity. Some go through time, never redeeming one minute. How to redeem time? 1. Have the right attitude. Hebrews 11:1 (faith). 2. Do not look at the temporal. 2 Corinthians 4:18. We have spiritual eyeballs to choose to see through God’s words, our default, and expect God’s promises to be fully realized. 3. Perseverance. Galatians 6:9. Do not grow weary doing good, for in due season (time) we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

The above encouragement is timely as I am pondering on making a choice in what to major in third year. I just watched the presentation of the seven faculties to choose from. It is hard to make a decision at this moment. I have narrowed down the options to three. But it appears that all three are relevant to my future direction: ministry, business, and media school.

My mentor advises me to be patient and continue to finish my present year’s course and the Holy Spirit will guide me on the right choice. Has my fasting worked in terms of sharpening my spiritual hearing ability? I seem out of practice after having been so engrossed in busyness in chores, what with sudden landing of a young ward to serve for a season (time)… Alas. But I am determined to redeem time and sow into eternity come what may.

My generic guide: Bible verses from Luke 4:18

Luke 4:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [a]to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [b]oppressed;

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 4:18 NU omits to heal the brokenhearted
  2. Luke 4:18 downtrodden

fasting: aligning with God for a money goal

Matthew 6:19-24

I am fasting from the service of money. Lately I find that my increased focus on money has caused thorns and thistles to grow and choke the words in the soft garden of my heart. Thus, I have found an additional purpose to fast. I am fasting from the most prevalent worry of this world, the fear of a lack of money (Actually not for myself, ironically.) Like the Apostle Paul advised, “I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control.” What has money got to do with subduing the body (physical)? For me and many other born again believers, we believe we need to hear God and receive wisdom to manage our lives on earth. God actually speaks through His revelation words and many other ways. When we are tied down in our physical needs and worrying and occupied mind we just cannot hear Him clearly and align with His plan accurately. Fasting is always accompanied with reading His words and praying. I pray this sharing of my experience encourages you to ponder over how you may hear God too.

As I have written in this blog previously, there are variations and ways to prepare. (click this link to read)

Three types of fasting: Normal- Abstaining from food, solids, liquids except for water. Absolute – Abstaining from everything. (Not more than three days.) Partial (Daniel 10:3) Restricted Diet. Jesus fasted and taught it as a part of the Christian discipline.

You may choose from a long list of choices: 1. the number of days (1, 3, 7, 14, 21, 40) 2. the number of meals to abstain (1, 2, all ) 3. eat vegetables/fruits only 4. no solid intake, drink water/liquid only.

This time I decided to have plain water with no food and solid intake for three days. Prior to this, I did a full 24 hours’ fast as a preliminary trial, followed by a break of taking one light meal a day for two days. I would urge you to follow the prompting you receive from the Lord. How is the fast so far? It is showing positive effect after getting through the tough second day. For new comers, yes, you may feel physically uncomfortable initially. But you can overcome it by focusing on the right source of your strength and purpose. Throughout the Bible God tells us that He is our strength and focus.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Paul’s Disciplined Lifestyle

24 Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack[a] keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious. 25 A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever. 26 For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise[b] or box like one throwing aimless punches, 27 but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body[c] and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 9:24 Or “the runners in a stadium.” This refers to the Pan-Hellenic stadium near Corinth where the Isthmian games were held.
  2. 1 Corinthians 9:26 Or “I don’t run aimlessly.” That is, Paul ran with his eyes on the goal of ending well.
  3. 1 Corinthians 9:27 Or “I beat my body black and blue.” This is an obvious metaphor of placing the desires of one’s body as second place to the desires of the Holy Spirit. See Rom. 8:13.

Money Matters: To SERVE money means to place such a high value on it that we develop a wrong priority compared with our relationship with God and others. Here are some symptoms: Place our trust and faith in it. Look to it for our security and happiness. Expect that it will guarantee our future. Desire it more than we desire God (as evidenced by the time we spend with whom). Our life is then spent in the pursuit of it rather than God.

Jesus spoke about money through these Bible verses:

Matthew 6:19-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Teaching about Money and Possessions

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

22 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

Paul’s warfare and weapons

We finally reach a key survival tactic, how do Christians win wars? Apostle Paul is really an expert in this field judging from the long list of challenges he went through and his always emerging as the victor and not the victim! I have done a simple chart with the key Bible verses from 2 Corinthians 10. Please read the whole chapter for a better understanding. Paul’s other letters speak of how we can control and train our thought life. For example, Philippians 4:8 is a good place to start your meditation.

2 Corinthians 10 warfare and weapons

Philippians 4:8  (NKJV)

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

2 Timothy 1:7  (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Paul’s leverages: grace and economics

In recent years the world notes how effective economic leverage works in social-political re-engineering. Today we study another kind of successful leverages from a great master, Paul, a businessman-apostle. Economic (financial) interest is always the top priority in this world. It ties with the micro self-interest of an individual and the macro self-interest of a group, a nation or even the whole world.

In 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 we continue to reflect on Paul’s motivations and strategies, supporting a broader understanding of mission – one that sees the purpose of the church as going beyond mere evangelism, and including all manner of personal and social reconciliation (including the use of financial and economic resources). Paul presented a sustainable economical and spiritual inter-linked blue-print to the Corinthians who were already well versed with the marketplace and its language. Now Paul teaches them the higher spiritual reality which is an integral part of their physical financial reality. Take note that the Corinthian Christians were just ordinary individuals (not particularly outstanding or privileged in terms of intellect, wealth and status) when they were first converted. But they have apparently been transformed and blessed with bountiful physical prosperity and spiritual gifts after that. (1 Corinthians 1:26) Apostle Paul showed them the way of God’s economy and finance.

Here is my simplified chart on this practical application of grace and economics by Paul. (Please read Chapters 8-9 in 2 Corinthians)

2 Corinthians 8-9

Application regarding Christian giving:

  • Paul reminds us that our source of wealth is God’s grace through Jesus Christ
  • God gives us the ability to make wealth
  • God makes us abound in everything
  • We are to abound especially in giving grace
  • We are to give ourselves to God first
  • Then we will be able to give financial gift to others
  • We (the believers) are expected to give to the ministry of Christ
  • We give what we have (not what we do not have)
  • God will ensure we have more than enough to give
  • We must complete the doing of the giving
  • He who sows sparingly will also reap bountifully
  • The recipients are to ensure that gift be administered with transparent honor

Background:

In the summer of 50 A.D., the apostle Paul left Athens and traveled to Corinth city where he met Priscilla and Aquila, a tent-making couple who greatly aided him in his ministry. He stayed with them and joined them in the marketplace. Following Paul’s visit between 51 and 52 AD, Corinth became the centre of early Christianity in Greece. Paul’s friends and fellow evangelists Silas and Timothy joined him in Corinth. He preached the gospel every Sabbath until he left the city around Autumn of 52 A.D. Paul revisited the city in 58 A.D. during his third missionary journey (see Acts 20:1-3).

Why did Paul choose to leave a somewhat neutral intellectual Athens where he discoursed with civil Jews and Gentiles without being obstructed but instead proceed to a melting pot like Corinth? Because he saw a greater Gospel sharing evangelical opportunity at Corinth with its strategic crossroad location situated between Italy and Asia Minor on the Isthmus and is master of two harbors and a large population with various needs conglomerating for the economic boom and related activities. Corinth city was flourishing by the 1st century AD as an important international center of administration, trade, games and entertainment. Corinth had the largest population in Greece with Greeks, Jews, Romans, even the Phoenicians and Phrygians from the east. Corinth’s financial prosperity was the result of business activities, athletic games, the skills and quality of its statesmen and craftsmen, and immorality. Because of its close connection to the sea, with ports to the east and to the west, the cosmopolitan population of Corinth consisted largely of sailors, merchants, adventurers, and refugees, which included retired and discharged veterans.

Thus, Paul and his team had found a needy evangelistic target as well as a market niche from the Jewish refugees (from Rome), Roman soldiers, the many tradesmen and religious pilgrim travelers and the games competitors and spectators.

Corinthian became the second largest city in the Roman empire, boasting a population of 700,000 people. In eighteen months Paul built the largest church in the history of the world.  The lowest estimates are 40,000 and most historians say the number was more like 80,000 people.

Paul’s motivation speech

2 Corinthians 7:13

I was asked to give an impromptu speech for five minutes under the main topic of “high performing organization” to my fellow corporate colleagues. We were each given 10 minutes to prepare. Unlike others who were experienced managers, I was at that time a fresh graduate and had to think outside the box. I chose to speak on “leadership” with a very simplistic illustration of a man standing on top of a patch of ground. Then the ground was dug away and he fell into the hole. It gave the message that a leader without supporters/helpers (or a king without subjects) is useless. The seemingly insignificant supportive workers (or citizens) in an organization (kingdom) form the solid ground the CEO-leader stands on. A high performing organization requires a leader who values and sustains those who together make and hold up the solid ground for a pre-defined and agreed upon common good and rewards according to each share of contribution in efforts. I was thinking of a somewhat “populistic” yet effective performance-based leadership.

Good management theories and practices have sustained over the years and in fact have impacted all economic activities. In my worldview, ethical, productive, and constructive economic activities and their sustainable distribution of positive outcome can solve many problems in this world.

I use the term ‘economic activities” to sum up all the activities that involve two humans or more doing something productive together with the goal of achieving a mutually beneficial increase in the sum total outcome than each would have achieved on his own. There is a term called “synergy” to describe this: a state in which two or more things work together in a particularly fruitful way that produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. Expressed also as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

I find this quote relevant and give a higher level of perspective: “We are all bound to work in the vineyard where God is the husbandman. We have all been given our little vineyard, but the way in which we cultivate it is of great importance for the prosperity of our neighbour’s vineyard… In fact all our vineyards are a part of the Lord’s great vineyard, the Holy Church, and we are all bound to work here too.” ― Sigrid Undset

The apostle Paul was such a practitioner. In his letter (speech) to the Corinthian Christians (2 Corinthians 7) he showed such a servant-leadership characteristic. He had every right to tell them off as being ungrateful and disrespectful etc. But he did not. Instead he praised them for the positive things they had done and highlighted those aspects that showed their sincerity in their relationship with him and his team.

He wrote: 7:Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one. I do not say this to condemn; for I have said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.

He praised them further for their repentance: 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

He spoke of his talking good about them to his co-worker Titus who also witnessed their goodness when visiting them: 13 Therefore we have been comforted in your comfort. And we rejoiced exceedingly more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. 16 Therefore I rejoice that I have confidence in you in everything.

I will continue in my next blog on Paul’s motivational leadership practice.

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

2 Corinthians 6:4

Today we learn how effectively Paul use both his mind and spirit: aligned with the mind of Christ and the Spirit of Christ.

His challenge list reads like a horror movie, far worse than any nightmare: five times whipped with 39 stripes each, three times beaten by rod, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, one night and one day in the deep, in journeys often, in perils of waters, robbers, own countrymen, gentiles, city, wilderness, sea, false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness often, hunger, thirst, fasting often, cold, nakedness, deep concern for all churches, threat of imminent arrest (his life) from city authority. He was in constant physical and mind challenges: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, and labors. (2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 6:4-5)

Imagine a human always being hounded, on the look-out, on the run, slandered, taunted, intimidated, verbally and physically abused, violently assaulted, falsely accused, brutally arrested, beaten, condemned as guilty without evidence, imprisoned without a just trial, and always overhung with the death sentence.

But what did Paul say about his conditions? How did he deal with such an overload of injustice and schemes of torments after his life? His letters showed how he looked at things both sides. He lived in both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, the spiritual and the physical realms, the temporary and the eternal, the external and the internal, the seen and the unseen. To Paul, both were real. He really experienced them, the natural and the supernatural. By knowing the two parallel realities Paul was able to handle the challenges confidently and overcome them successfully. Because his focus and priority are always on the side of the real victor, Christ.

He explained this plainly in his letters (2 Corinthians 6:6-10). There are two sides in everything: the view of the enemy and the view of a Spirit-filled Christian (reflecting God’s view). The evil and the good. The good will always overpower the evil one. Paul effectively and fearlessly exercised his spiritual power and authority over his unseen foe who worked through other human and natural elements. I append below self-explanatory Bible verses on this awesome revelation!

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NKJV)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Footnotes:

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

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

24 Festus interrupted Paul’s defense,[a] blurting out, “You’re out of your mind! All this great learning of yours is driving you crazy.”[b]

25 Paul replied, “No, Your Excellency Festus, I am not crazy. I speak the words of truth and reason.[c] 26 King Agrippa, I know I can speak frankly and freely with you, for you understand these matters well, and none of these things have escaped your notice. After all, it’s not like it was a secret!

Footnotes:

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

super blood wolf moon, Holy Spirit, meaning

Acts 2:37 Day of Pentecost AD 30

An unusual set of circumstances will combine in the early hours of Monday morning in the skies above the northern hemisphere, resulting in a phenomenon called a super blood wolf moon. Overnight from Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, into Monday, Jan. 21, millions of people in North and South America will have a prime view of a total lunar eclipse. The Jan. 21 total lunar eclipse will be the last one until May 2021, and the last one visible from the United States until 2022.

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. ” (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20) This phenomena was prophesied by prophet Joel and confirmed by apostle Peter in his first public preaching after the first baptism of the Holy Spirit upon each of the 120 apostles/disciples of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Prophet Joel’s prophecy was about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the showing of wonders in heavens and on earth before “the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” I quote below the Bible verses in context from Joel 2:29-32.

Joel 2: 29 “And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered:” (KJV)

It is notable that in apostle Peter’s account he confirmed the prophecy of the pouring of the Holy Spirit. He then focused on the salvation message, testifying the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The result was spectacular as follows:

Acts 2:37-38, 41 King James Version (KJV)

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Again, it is notable that Peter did not mention any other things but specified solemnly that the believers would receive a divine gift from God: the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) which comes with salvation. So, at this time of watching the phenomenon in the natural world, let us meditate on the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The power of God is essential in our Christian walk, just as in the lives and ministry of Jesus, the apostles and disciples. As I read Paul’s letters to the churches I realize that he would not have survived without the power of the Holy Spirit. The dangers, trials and adversities he went through are no different from those gone through by some evangelists, missionaries and even believers in some countries and people groups today in varying quantities, frequencies and intensities. In fact today it is worse in some places where there are oppositions magnified and strengthened by advanced technologies from believers of other faith and philosophies.

I would therefore urge all Christians whether you are watching the blood moon or not to spend time reading the words of God and ask the Lord what you and your loved ones can do to go deeper in the walk with the Holy Spirit like Paul and many others did starting from the Pentecost Day AD 30.

The Bible verses quoted from Acts and Joel referred to the phenomena that will happen before the Lord Jesus returns. This is why it is even more pertinent to read and understand what the Lord is telling us today as we watch the things that can be seen while focusing on the things that cannot be seen with our physical eyes.

Paul’s relationship: with the Holy Spirit

2 Corinthians 3:3

I now realize that in the previous two chapters of 2 Corinthians Paul spoke of his relationship in Christ with God and then with man. In the third chapter he described his relationship with the Holy Spirit, his power source. I summarize below my understanding. Indeed this is my favorite chapter!

Chapter 3: Paul’s Ministry of the Holy Spirit

  1. Paul described the Holy Spirit as: The Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of Christ, the Lord.
  2. The Holy Spirit writes letter in the heart, gives lives, changes lives.
  3. New covenant of the Spirit gives life.
  4. Ministry of the Spirit is far more glorious than the ministry of the Old Testament.
  5. Whenever the Scripture is read and the people turn to the Lord, the Holy Spirit removes the veil in hearts to see Jesus as the Christ.
  6. The Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
  7. The Holy Spirit transforms us into the same image of the Lord, from glory to glory.
  8. Paul’s sufficiency is from God who made him minister of the new covenant of the Spirit who gives life.
  9. The ministry of the Spirit is also called: the ministry of the new covenant, the ministry of righteousness and the ministry of glory.
  10. Holy Spirit causes: Boldness, unveiled heart when the truth is preached, liberty whenever one turns to the Holy Spirit, transformation of lives.

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.

Paul’s fearless success factor: with God at sea in tempest

Acts 27:43-44

While meditating 2 Corinthians on how to be fearless in the fearful days, I was led to read Acts 27 Paul’s fearlessness at sea in a tempest. The incident happened around 62AD, about five years after he wrote to the Corinthians. In the letter to Corinthians he stated that he was shipwrecked three times and spent a day and a night in the deep previously. Paul lived a supernatural life by the Spirit. He was always with His God (ours too).

In this shipwreck he again stayed calm and confident at all time. The captain (owner) and the helmsman of the ship panicked. The Romans centurion was persuaded to listen to them. But only Paul was right in his predictions.

Paul was right because he knew our God, “the God to whom I belong and whom I serve,” Paul described to them. God had sent spiritual messenger (angel) to tell Paul things beforehand.

Paul perceived correctly the voyage would end with disaster and much loss, cargo and ship and possibly lives before they encountered the tempest.

 After they encountered the tempest for many days and lost all hope Paul gave them his words of comfort and assurance of safety from the Lord: that there would be no loss except for the ship which would run aground on a certain island. “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.”

 Paul’s further prediction and advice: unless the sailors who tried to escape on their own stay in the ship they could not be saved; that all should take nourishment for this was for their survival (after fourteen days of fasting); “not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” He promised.

That night they ate and the next day they were shipwrecked. Those who could swim jumped overboard first and got to land. The rest on boards and on parts of the ship. And all 276 escaped safely to land.  The ship was a total loss.

Paul’s confession: his key success factor

2 Corinthians 1:3

I started reading 2 Corinthians in the Bible with freshness and revelation in my spirit. I believe this is an antidote to the prevailing fear in the face of uncertainties in the external factors that appear to impact our life and our ministry. In chapter one Paul displayed his key success factor, the God he believed in. Who is God? What can God do? What has God done? What is his relationship with God? These are the questions he has answered. I pray you too will be comforted and reassured as you read Paul’s confession in this letter.

My summary of 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Paul is entirely God-focused:

  1. God is: God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
  2. God raises the dead: who delivered them (Paul and his team) from death in the past, and does deliver them (present), and in whom they trust that He will still deliver them in future.
  3. God is faithful with all His promises: when He says Yes He means Yes.
  4. God is his witness; anointed them; given them the Spirit as seal and guarantee; God gives grace and wisdom abundantly to Paul and his team.
  5. Paul is apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
  6. Paul follows God’s plan (walking by the Holy Spirit) in every decision.
  7. With God in mind, Paul and his team conduct themselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity.
  8. Paul values the answered prayer/intercession by the Corinthian and Achaia Christians for Paul and his team’s safety.