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.

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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.

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.

Jesus’ teaching on what and how to watch

Luke 21:34

Today we learn what Jesus said about what and how to watch to be ready for dangerous times in answer to His disciples’ questions. We also read some historical accounts of what happened after Jesus prophesied. Note that they asked when the temple would be destroyed and the signs. Jesus answered more than that. But today we only read the part about the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem which came to pass in AD 70.

Because Jesus had given adequate warning about thirty-seven years ahead, those who heeded the prophecies survived, while most others perished. While the Jews suffered starvation, slaughter, and capture, Christians in Jerusalem escaped. Jesus foretold the terrible events that would follow his death. He warned his followers to immediately flee Jerusalem when the signs he predicted occurred. The Christian community carefully watched for the signs and followed the Savior’s warning. History reveals that His prophecies were realized. It also reveals the stunning fact that the believers obeyed the warnings, fled Jerusalem to a town called Pella, and thus saved themselves. 

I quote here some of the historical accounts of what happened. “The members of the Jerusalem church by means of an oracle, given by revelation to acceptable persons there, were ordered to leave the city before the war began and settle in a town in Peraea called Pella.” (Book III, 5:4,Eusebius, Historian, AD263-339). “For when the city was about to be captured and sacked by the Romans, all the disciples were warned beforehand by an angel to remove from the city, doomed as it was to utter destruction. On migrating from it they settled at Pella, the town already indicated, across the Jordan. It is said to belong to Decapolis (de Mens. et Pond., 15). “or on the approach of the Roman army, all the Christians in the province, warned, as ecclesiastical history tells us, miraculously from heaven, withdrew, and passing the Jordan, took refuge in the city of Pella; and under the protection of that King Agrippa, of whom we read in the Acts of the Apostles, they continued some time;” [Thomas Aquinas (1841)

Luke 21:5-7, 20-24, 34-37 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was [a]adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, “These things which you see—the days will come in which not onestone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

The Destruction of Jerusalem 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Importance of Watching 34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with [f]carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may [g]be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 21:5 decorated
  2. Luke 21:34 dissipation
  3. Luke 21:36 NU have strength to

You may click this link to read more on the subject

2019 New year’s eve: prayer, evangelists and watchman

Psalm 68:4

Two unexpected ministry friends joined my house-mate for the watch night on new year eve and spent a busy day visiting and ministering to a needy family. By the time the three of them returned they were practically quite weary but determined to spend the last hour of 2018 praying. I joined them and prayed together during which each person shared their most memorable encounter with God/the Word of God in 2018. I shared my whole recent healed testimony.

After that we each took turn to pray. I was not sure of what they meant so I prayed an intercessory prayer for my country which took my prayer partners by surprise. My house mate nudged me a few times and urged me to stop. So I ended the prayer in a hurry. As it was near midnight I suggested we all pray in tongue in the last 15 minutes. But it ended up we had not more than ten minutes to pray. I soon discovered I was praying/singing in tongue sort of solo as the others were like dozing off. They assured me they were praying softly in tongue. By midnight I was alone.

What was I to do? I was the lone watchman in the group. They are evangelists who go to the frontline and really work physically with people in need. I am just a typical spiritual watchman who is always in the background in the unseen realm. We are so different and yet we are all working in the Kingdom of God. We practice what we are called to do with the gifts the Lord has given each of us specifically. My gifts are entirely different from theirs.

When we were about to start the prayer meeting I received a verse in my spirit. At the close of the meeting I received another verse.

Beginning verse: Acts 11:12 Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. (This was Peter’s testimony of how the Holy Spirit guided him to do evangelism.) This verse was meant for the three evangelists as they have been doing just that!

Ending verse: Psalm 68:11 Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) The Lord Defeats the Kings of the Land “11 The Lord provided the message.
The women who proclaimed it were a great army”. The three evangelists are all women! The verse was meant for them!

The Lord has demonstrated how His Kingdom’s frontline ministry works, always using a team of individuals of different yet related gifts, such as, teaching, healing and helping.

Where do I fit in then? The watchman asks. Are watchmen obsolete? This is going to be what I shall focus on in the new year 2019. Finding a spiritual place and purpose in the Kingdom of God for watchman.

Reading Psalm 68 which I have posted on January 1 2019, I believe that this is what I have been called to do as a watchman, listening carefully in the spirit, praying in the spirit, reading God’s words as the Holy Spirit leads me, proclaiming those words which He wants a target audience to know and pay attention to. The words will exalt God and yet comfort and build His people up.

Here are some of the revealed verses from Psalm 68 about God that He wants you to see today as you are led to read this post. I pray you are stirred up in the spirit to praise and sing to the Lord a new song. I believe I am one of the troop who sing in the Spirit and not a solo singer.

Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV)

Blessing on God’s People

But the righteous rejoice and celebrate in the presence of God.
They will be happy and joyful.
Sing to God. Make music to his name.
Lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts.
His name is the Lord.[b Celebrate before him.
In his holy dwelling, God is a father for the fatherless
and a judge who defends widows.
God causes the lonely to dwell together as a household.
He leads out the prisoners with music,
but the rebellious dwell in a scorched land.