Category: watchmen on your walls

Daily Word: how does God speak to man

genesis-122-4Intercessors are praying right now. Some believers are considering joining their rank and want to know how God speaks to man. Today we read the Bible for the first set of recorded verbal interaction (in conversation format) God had with man. We take note how God initiated the conversation and the respective responses of men impacted their lives. Those who responded positively to God received positive supernatural superabundant blessings just as God had spoken. Today every born again believer of Jesus can have the same interaction with our God, because our spirit can join to the Holy Spirit in us (1 Corinthians 6:17), as we pray and seek God and read His words. But we all need training so that we may do so effectively and proficiently. Remember one thing, we can speak to God and hear God through the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ. (BIBLE VERSES ARE QUOTED FROM NKJV UNLESS SEPARATELY SPECIFIED)

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING OF MANKIND: see how God took initiative to speak to man. Some men could hear Him. He spoke to them with the intention to help them/human out. The following three events (recorded in Genesis 3, 4, and 7) significantly impacted mankind. Read the whole passages in their respective context for more revelation. Take note that God even spoke to evil man (e.g the first murder, Cain) with the same good intention to save him.
ADAM’S CASE: Genesis 3:9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” (This took place after Adam had committed the first sin of mankind which caused the downfall of mankind!)
CAIN’S CASE: Genesis 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
NOAH’S CASE: Genesis 7:1 [ The Great Flood ] Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.

ABRAHAM’S FAITH JOURNEY (FORMERLY KNOWN AS ABRAM)
The beginning of Abraham’s calling: Genesis 12
Promises to Abram 12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

The end of Abraham’s life on earth: 24:1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 24:34 So he (his servant) said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great; and He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys.
25:7 This is the sum of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived: one hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.

ISAAC STAYED CLOSE TO GOD JUST AS HIS FATHER DID
Genesis 24:63 (AMPC) And Isaac went out to meditate and bow down [in prayer] in the open country in the evening; and he looked up and saw that, behold, the camels were coming.
Genesis 26:2 Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.
genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. 13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.
Genesis 26:24 And the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.”
Genesis 35:27-29 Then Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, or Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had dwelt. 28 Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years. 29 So Isaac breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

ISRAEL (FORMERLY KNOWN AS JACOB)
Genesis 28:13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
Genesis 31:3 Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”
JACOB’S PRAYER:
32:9 Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. 12 For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”
Genesis 47:27-28
So Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years.
JACOB’S DESCENDANTS GREW TO THE SIZE THAT GOD HAD PROMISED BY THE TIME THEY LEFT EGYPT TO CLAIM THE PROMISED LAND (an exodus population of 2.5 million)
Exodus 1:7
But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Numbers 1:45-47 (The number of able-bodied men of 20 years old and above)
45 So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel— 46 all who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty.
47 But the Levites were not numbered among them by their fathers’ tribe;

BIBLE VERSES ON HOW TO HEAR GOD
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. Mark 4:24
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Romans 8:16
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14
But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing of faith..? Galatians 3:5
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:18
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his go Philippians 2:13
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Colossians 1:9
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Daily Word: Numbers 2323 No curse can touch, no magic has any power against .

bible-verse-galatians-313
picture with Bible verse: Galatians 3:13

Today’s word is confirmed by two witnesses. I opened my Bible and was led to read this: Numbers 23:23 in which God declares: “No curse can touch Jacob; no magic has any power against Israel.” After reading and meditating on its implication today, I looked at emails that came through during the night and found a reader’s request to comment on a book, Derek Prince’s “Blessing or Curse: You can Choose” . I found the book and when opened it showed chapter 13, and the same reference to Numbers 22, 23 and 24 (alerting me to read Numbers 23:23).

In the Old Testament around 1407 BC a famous proficient “witch doctor” called Balaam was commissioned by a powerful rich king Balak to curse the people of God, the Israelites. But God says, NO CURSE CAN TOUCH JACOB, NO MAGIC HAS ANY POWER AGAINST ISRAEL. Balaam was a man well versed in using curses and magic power. But he could not use them against the chosen people of God.  God did not take it lightly. He turned the intended curses into blessings despite Balaam’s intention to curse as he commanded a high fee for his job and the terrified Moab king was willing to pay. Of course, when God intervened supernaturally, Balaam did not get his pay. He died a terrible death in the end.

Let us read some of the passages in Numbers 22, 23, 24. I deliberately quoted the blessings which still apply to God’s people today. The Christians who are the descendants of Abraham by faith. In spiritual reality, Jesus has accomplished the breaking of two major curses: the curse from the Law of Moses, and the curse from Adam’s fall. (Galatians 3:13-14) (The curses from the Law of Moses are recorded in Deuteronomy 28:15-68)

Numbers 22-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Balak Sends for Balaam
22:1 Then the people of Israel traveled to the plains of Moab and camped east of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. 2 Balak .., the Moabite king, had seen everything the Israelites did to the Amorites…“This mob will devour everything in sight, like an ox devours grass in the field!”
So Balak, king of Moab, 5 sent messengers to call Balaam …6 Please come and curse these people for me because they are too powerful for me…

Balaam Blesses Israel
23:7 This was the message Balaam delivered:
8 “But how can I curse those
whom God has not cursed?
How can I condemn those
whom the Lord has not condemned?
…Let me die like the righteous;
let my life end like theirs.”

Balaam’s Second Message
16 And the Lord met Balaam and gave him a message. Then he said, “Go back to Balak and give him my message.”
18 This was the message Balaam delivered:…
19 God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
20 Listen, I received a command to bless;
God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
21 No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob;
no trouble is in store for Israel.
For the Lord their God is with them;
he has been proclaimed their king.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
23 No curse can touch Jacob;
no magic has any power against Israel.
For now it will be said of Jacob,
‘What wonders God has done for Israel!’
24 These people rise up like a lioness,
like a majestic lion rousing itself.
They refuse to rest
until they have feasted on prey,
drinking the blood of the slaughtered!”
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Fine, but if you won’t curse them, at least don’t bless them!”
26 But Balaam replied to Balak, “Didn’t I tell you that I can do only what the Lord tells me?”

Balaam’s Third Message
24:2 Then the Spirit of God came upon him, 3 and this is the message he delivered:
“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,
the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,
4 the message of one who hears the words of God,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
who bows down with eyes wide open:
5 How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob;
how lovely are your homes, O Israel!
6 They spread before me like palm groves,[e]
like gardens by the riverside.
They are like tall trees planted by the Lord,
like cedars beside the waters.
7 Water will flow from their buckets;
their offspring have all they need.
Their king will be greater than Agag;
their kingdom will be exalted.
8 God brought them out of Egypt;
for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
He devours all the nations that oppose him,
breaking their bones in pieces,
shooting them with arrows.
9 Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down;
like a lioness, who dares to arouse her?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel,
and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

24:10 King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam…

Galatians 3:13-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”[a] 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised[b] Holy Spirit through faith.

Footnotes:
3:13 Deut 21:23 (Greek version).
3:14 Some manuscripts read the blessing of the.

FREEDOM FROM CURSES IS BASED ON ONE CONDITION
Galatians 3:22 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Revelation 22:2-4 New King James Version (NKJV) In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.

Daily Word: think carefully and focus on promise of good in rebuilding (Haggai 1818)

haggai-218God always speaks before a thing happens. What He has spoken always comes to pass.God makes it come to pass to show that the message is from God. What shall the hearers do? Just believe and go forward. All the great men of God in history accomplished great exploits following this simple key. Today we read from Haggai 2 this prophetic verse: “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.” (2:18-19)

This is spoken by God to a group of people who were uncertain about their future after starting to rebuild the Temple of God. They inherited a system of ruin (political, social, economic and religious) as a result of years of corruption, neglect, self-seeking among the rulers and administrators in all significant fields of life. They were also facing political and religious enemies all round bent on causing disruptions and distractions to prevent their nation rebuilding efforts.

Who are in this group of brave rebuilders whom God is addressing right now? The group of remnants who have sacrificially left their own comparatively safe and comfortable zone/homes in foreign land and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild. They have responded to a common calling: to rebuild their nation. In today’s language, they left their own personal agenda and responded to God’s agenda.

God also speaks to the anointed leader loud and clear. In the case of this prophetic passage from prophet Haggai, the leader is a prince, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, whom God calls, “My servant.”

Haggai 2:23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

Daily Word: Look, walk through, remain undaunted (Genesis 1317)

genesis-1317Today’s prompting is entirely action-oriented: “look” and do not limit your looking. The word was first given to a man of established wealth and power. Yet, God gave him a very hands-on instruction. God told him to look far. Do not set your own limit based on your own limited view. God did not ask Abraham to look at the past accomplishment. No doubt he was a wealthy and powerful man in his own right in his own territory. But God had uprooted him and moved him to a strange, hostile territory with uncertainty and threat in all aspects. Yet God asked him to look beyond and keep looking, as far as he can see or imagine and even beyond…Awesome. God is awesome. We serve an awesome God. Note that God asked him to look at the further positive gains which God was giving and going to give instead of focusing on the loss of Lot and Lot’s loyal support.

What was Abraham required to do after looking in every direction? A simple task: “Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Just walk through the territory and claim his right, based on God’s covenant and God’s authority. What did Abraham have? He had the Word of God, the Name of God, and the Covenant of God. What did he do? He obeyed and started walking through, exercising and executing God’s given authority just as God had said so.

It may seem too simple to be true. But Abraham was not just any man. He was a spiritual man. He heard God and communicated regularly and naturally with God like a close friend. God called him friend. Abraham was an intercessor. He was also a hands-on and action-oriented pragmatic man. Is this impossible for today’s would-be-Abraham? No. Jesus called His disciples friends. He even gave His life for His friends. Those who are followers of Jesus are born of the Holy Spirit under the Covenant established by the blood of Jesus, given the authority as sons of God, the Word of God, and the Name of Jesus. Awesome. God is awesome. We serve an awesome God. We call Him our Abba Father. We have His Spirit in us. We can discern spiritual matters. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us.

Genesis 13:2 New Living Translation (NLT)
2 (Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.)

Genesis 13:5-6
5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. 6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together.

Genesis 13:14-17
14 After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants[a] as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.”

Footnotes:
13:15 Hebrew seed; also in 13:16.

Note: There is one condition for the Covenant to take place: Lot must go. The Word clearly says, “After Lot Had gone,…” Lot was not included in the Abrahamic Covenant and had no share in what God had given to Abraham. Lot had a choice to stay in the favor of God by supporting Abraham. But he chose to leave.

I am also reminded of a scene at the time when Governor Nehemiah (with a formal official decree from the King Artaxerxes) entered Jerusalem and started to rebuild the Jerusalem wall. When the adversary party of three officials (Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem the Arab) heard of his plan  they continued to scoff contemptuously at him. But Nehemiah remained calm and undaunted, and boldly proclaimed, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall. But you have no share, legal right, or historic claim in Jerusalem.” (Nehemiah 2:19-20)

Daily Word (2/17/17) Why do you cry to God? Go forward!

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.

AAAJ watchman

exodus-141516In Exodus 14:14-16; 19-20; 15:1-2; 6-7, God gave Moses a sure win weapon.  All Moses had to do was to tell the people to go forward. Nothing would happen if they stood still. By faith, they went forward and of course they won the battle against the adverse forces: the enemy, the sea and their own fear and doubt.

“The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and…

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Daily Word: what has Mark 11:11 and Nehemiah 2:11 have in common? “Investigate, verify and act according to plan.”

nehemiah-218Jesus did something that Nehemiah did around 444BC. After He entered into Jerusalem, He inspected and verified first the actual condition of the Temple. Prior to this action, as recorded in Mark 11:9, 10 in acclaiming Jesus with the words of Ps. 118:25, 26, the people were publicly acknowledging Him as their Messiah. Hosanna, meaning “Save now” came to be a customary shout of praise like…but Jesus was not at all concerned with attending any celebration party after the brief interval at the gate, or seeking a personal glory through the people in Jerusalem who appeared to exalt him to the highest political position they could give to a fellow country man. Instead, He continued with His plan and carried it out quietly and effectively. The newly appointed Governor Nehemiah did the same thing. On arrival at Jerusalem, instead of attending a lavish inauguration party, he went out on his own in the quiet of the night and carried out his first hand investigation and proceeded with his plan without wavering. Nehemiah succeeded in re-building the wall of Jerusalem in 52 short days! Jesus completed His mission within the immediate holy passion week. Both were man of focused thoughts and action. No diversions or distractions ever succeeded in preventing them to finish their race and achieve their one utmost important goal.

Mark 11:11 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

11 And He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around at everything, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve, since it was already late.

Nehemiah 2:11-20 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Inspecting the Walls
11 I came to Jerusalem, and after I was there for three days, 12 I got up during the night along with a few men. But I did not tell anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me except the animal I was riding. 13 By night I went out by the Valley Gate toward Jackal Spring and the Dung Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, where there was not enough room for my animal to pass with me; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and returned to the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, but as yet I had not told the Jews, the kohanim, the nobles, the officials or the rest of the workers.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in: Jerusalem is desolate and its gates have been burnt. Come! Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a disgrace.”

18 Then I told them how the good hand of my God was on me and the words that the king had said to me. Then they replied, “Let us begin building!” So they prepared themselves for this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. They said, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”

20 I responded to them saying, “The God of heaven will bring us success. We His servants will arise and build. But you have no part, right, or historical claim in Jerusalem.”

Jesus focused on God’s mission and plan (the big picture)
John 12:28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”

John 12:49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.

Daily Word: what 13 means today to Reform a nation (and transform man)

galatians-615He resembled Ezra in his fiery zeal, in his active spirit of enterprise, and in the piety of his life: but he was of a bluffer and a fiercer mood; he had less patience with transgressors; he was a man of action rather than a man of thought, and more inclined to use force than persuasion. His practical sagacity and high courage were very markedly shown in the arrangement with which he carried through the rebuilding of the wall and balked the cunning plans of the ‘adversaries.’ The piety of his heart, his deeply religious spirit and constant sense of communion with and absolute dependence upon God, are strikingly exhibited, first in the long prayer recorded in ch. 1:5-11 , and secondly and most remarkably in what have been called his ‘interjectional prayers’, those short but moving addresses to Almighty God which occur so frequently in his writings,”* (Who is this man? Nehemiah, the comforter-deliverer)

Nehemiah’s Various Reforms in chapter 13 (Bible book: Nehemiah in NLT)
13:1 On that same day, as the Book of Moses was being read to the people, the passage was found that said no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be permitted to enter the assembly of God.[a] 2 For they had not provided the Israelites with food and water in the wilderness. Instead, they hired Balaam to curse them, though our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 When this passage of the Law was read, all those of foreign descent were immediately excluded from the assembly.

4 Before this had happened, Eliashib the priest, who had been appointed as supervisor of the storerooms of the Temple of our God and who was also a relative of Tobiah, 5 had converted a large storage room and placed it at Tobiah’s disposal. The room had previously been used for storing the grain offerings, the frankincense, various articles for the Temple, and the tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil (which were prescribed for the Levites, the singers, and the gatekeepers), as well as the offerings for the priests.

6 I was not in Jerusalem at that time, for I had returned to King Artaxerxes of Babylon in the thirty-second year of his reign,[b] though I later asked his permission to return. 7 When I arrived back in Jerusalem, I learned about Eliashib’s evil deed in providing Tobiah with a room in the courtyards of the Temple of God. 8 I became very upset and threw all of Tobiah’s belongings out of the room. 9 Then I demanded that the rooms be purified, and I brought back the articles for God’s Temple, the grain offerings, and the frankincense.

10 I also discovered that the Levites had not been given their prescribed portions of food, so they and the singers who were to conduct the worship services had all returned to work their fields. 11 I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, “Why has the Temple of God been neglected?” Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties. 12 And once more all the people of Judah began bringing their tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the Temple storerooms.

13 I assigned supervisors for the storerooms: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah, one of the Levites. And I appointed Hanan son of Zaccur and grandson of Mattaniah as their assistant. These men had an excellent reputation, and it was their job to make honest distributions to their fellow Levites.

14 Remember this good deed, O my God, and do not forget all that I have faithfully done for the Temple of my God and its services.

15 In those days I saw men of Judah treading out their winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in grain, loading it on donkeys, and bringing their wine, grapes, figs, and all sorts of produce to Jerusalem to sell on the Sabbath. So I rebuked them for selling their produce on that day. 16 Some men from Tyre, who lived in Jerusalem, were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise. They were selling it on the Sabbath to the people of Judah—and in Jerusalem at that!

17 So I confronted the nobles of Judah. “Why are you profaning the Sabbath in this evil way?” I asked. 18 “Wasn’t it just this sort of thing that your ancestors did that caused our God to bring all this trouble upon us and our city? Now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by permitting the Sabbath to be desecrated in this way!”

19 Then I commanded that the gates of Jerusalem should be shut as darkness fell every Friday evening,[c] not to be opened until the Sabbath ended. I sent some of my own servants to guard the gates so that no merchandise could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 The merchants and tradesmen with a variety of wares camped outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I spoke sharply to them and said, “What are you doing out here, camping around the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you!” And that was the last time they came on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and to guard the gates in order to preserve the holiness of the Sabbath.

Remember this good deed also, O my God! Have compassion on me according to your great and unfailing love.

23 About the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 Furthermore, half their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. 25 So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.

26 “Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives. 27 How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women?”

28 One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest had married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite, so I banished him from my presence.

29 Remember them, O my God, for they have defiled the priesthood and the solemn vows of the priests and Levites.

30 So I purged out everything foreign and assigned tasks to the priests and Levites, making certain that each knew his work. 31 I also made sure that the supply of wood for the altar and the first portions of the harvest were brought at the proper times.

Remember this in my favor, O my God.

Footnotes:

13:1 See Deut 23:3-6.
13:6 King Artaxerxes of Persia is here identified as the king of Babylon because Persia had conquered the Babylonian Empire. The thirty-second year of Artaxerxes was 433 B.c.
13:19 Hebrew on the day before the Sabbath.

What Transformation really means to an individual as well as a nation

Hosea 2:15 I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Galatians 6:15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.

*Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary

Daily Word: what the word 111 means to Jerusalem

nasaisrael1 Chronicles 11 recorded David and his mighty men who conquered the stronghold of Jerusalem. (Read the whole chapter)
1 Chronicles 11:3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them there before the Lord, and they anointed [him] king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord through Samuel.
4 And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is Jebus, where the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, were.
5 Then the Jebusites said to David, You shall not come in here! But David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the City of David.
6 And David said, Whoever smites the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander. Joab son of Zeruiah [David’s half sister] went up first, and so he was made chief.
7 David dwelt in the stronghold; so it was called the City of David.

Guards were set up to watch over the City.
All these chosen to be keepers at the thresholds were 212. This is recorded in 1 Chronicles 9:22 (AMPC)
9:2 Now the first [of the returned exiles] to dwell again in their possessions in the cities of Israel were the priests, Levites, and the Nethinim [the temple servants].
9:22 All these chosen to be keepers at the thresholds were 212…
26 But these Levites, the four chief gatekeepers, were in charge of the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.
27 They lodged round about God’s house, for the duty [of watching] was theirs, as well as the opening of the house every morning.

Stronghold background (war with Philistines)
1 Chronicles 10
10:1 Now the Philistines fought against Israel...13 So Saul died for his trespass against the Lord [in sparing Amalek], for his unfaithfulness in not keeping God’s word, and also for consulting [a medium with] a spirit of the dead to inquire pleadingly of it,
14 And inquired not so of the Lord [in earnest penitence]. Therefore the Lord slew him and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

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Original background (During Abraham’s time) Genesis 14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem [later called Jerusalem] brought out bread and wine [for their nourishment]; he was the priest of God Most High,
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a word of warning from Jesus

Matthew 21:5 Say to the Daughter of Zion [inhabitants of Jerusalem], Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey [a beast of burden].

Matthew 23:36 Truly I declare to you, all these [evil, calamitous times] will come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murdering the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother fowl gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused!
38 Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God’s help).
39 For I declare to you, you will not see Me again until you say, Blessed (magnified in worship, adored, and exalted) is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [astrologers] from the east came to Jerusalem, asking,…

Daily Word: end time assignment-Revelation 111

matthew-281820The theme statement received today: “The Temple, altar, and worshippers are to be measured.” (Prophesied by Apostle John) This watchman has been led today to browse a number of more often used and quoted Bible references/commentaries showing what the churches had been taught in christian history.

“And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” Revelation 11:1
“The measuring implies the protecting of, or the token of a resolve to protect, a portion of the sacred enclosure from desecration. The measuring, like the sealing of Revelation 7, is a sign of preservation during impending dangers.” “…the whole compass of the sacred enclosure, the house of God.” “The gist of the measurement is the preservation of the true, invisible Church, the Church within the Church; and everything necessary to the worship—Temple, altar, worshippers—all are reserved. (Excerpted from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)
“God will have a temple and an altar in the world, till the end of time. He looks strictly to his temple.” (Excerpted from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
“There were, therefore, three things, as indicated by this verse, which John was directed to do, so far as the use of the measuring-rod was concerned:
(a) to take a just estimate of what constitutes the true church, as distinguished from all other associations of people;
(b) to institute a careful examination into the opinions in the church on the subject of sacrifice or atonement – involving the whole question about the method of justification before God; and,
(c) to take a correct estimate of what constitutes true membership in the church; or to investigate with care the prevailing opinions about the qualifications for membership.” (Excerpted from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (Excerpts quoted)
CHAPTER 11 Re 11:1-19. Measurement of the Temple. The Two Witnesses’ Testimony: Their Death, Resurrection, and Ascension: The Earthquake: The Third Woe: The Seventh Trumpet Ushers in Christ’s Kingdom. Thanksgiving of the Twenty-four Elders.
This eleventh chapter is a compendious summary of, and introduction to, the more detailed prophecies of the same events to come in the twelfth through twentieth chapters. Hence we find anticipatory allusions to the subsequent prophecies; compare Re 11:7, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit” (not mentioned before), with the detailed accounts, Re 13:1, 11; 17:8; also Re 11:8, “the great city,” with Re 14:8; 17:1, 5; 18:10.

“This temple was a type of the church under the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 3:17 2 Corinthians 6:16, and is so to be interpreted generally in this book: for the material temple at Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans more than twenty years before this prophecy, never to be built more; not one stone was left upon another; so that John here was bid to measure the church.

And the altar, and them that worship therein; yet not the whole church, but that part of it which the inner court typified; the altar, and those that worshipped within that space where that was, which of old were only the priests and Levites; and under the New Testament signified those who were to be a holy priesthood, a spiritual house, those that should offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 2:5, who could endure a measuring by God’s reed, the word of God.”

Excerpts from: Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod,…. A measuring reed, which with the Jews was six cubits long, Ezekiel 40:5; with the Greeks and Romans, ten feet long; the Ethiopic version here calls it a “golden reed”, as in Revelation 21:15. This was given unto John very likely by the same angel that gave him the little book, since he afterwards bids him arise and measure with it; and by it seems to be designed the holy Scripture, or the word of God, which is sometimes called a line, a rule, and rod, Psalm 19:4, and which is the rule and measure of doctrine and faith;”

What about my personal revelation?
1. The apostle John was given a specific authority and task.
2. He was given this revelation, prophesy and this personal letter from Jesus Himself.
3. What is the purpose of showing this Bible verse today to this watchman?
My personal observation is that this verse comes before great changes and events that will bring in another era of man’s history on earth. It is like another spiritual door is now being opened and the events thereafter through that door are what human cannot comprehend and expect. The summary I quoted above of Revelation chapter 11 tells us briefly what are happening after 11:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary: Measurement of the Temple-The Two Witnesses’ Testimony: Their Death, Resurrection, and Ascension-The Earthquake-The Third Woe-The Seventh Trumpet Ushers in Christ’s Kingdom-Thanksgiving of the Twenty-four Elders. Watch this prophesy:”the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit”.

Coming back to John’s measuring (protective) assignment and authority over the Christian churches. Who has been given the same? We read what Jesus says to affirm my answer.

Matthew 28:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a] baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Footnotes:
28:19 Or all peoples.

Daily Word-the first word for team building: be humble

philippians-1%ef%bc%8f11Jesus started a team. He built a team. The first team continued and built more teams. The teams in turn built more teams…it goes on and does not stop. Today the team continues its multiplication effect just as Jesus has intended and demonstrated.

When I first started team building many decades ago in my own business management practice and teaching team building so my team can in turn build teams, I did not realize the Jesus initiative. Today I turned on recorded lessons from a Bible School and listened to one lesson at random as I was carrying out my usual daily chores. The first thing that struck me was that the topic (course subject) was “The Beatitudes” but the teacher talked about team building in the first lesson! As I continued to listen it makes sense and is entirely relevant to me and all Christians who are in a position to lead, train and teach. To me it is really a refresher course in good and basic management practice.

I summarize below the foremost key teaching for the disciples of Jesus in Matthew 5-7. (Living Bible (TLB))
One day as the crowds were gathering, he went up the hillside with his disciples and sat down and taught them there. He taught them to live another lifestyle and equipped them to go to the mission field. He first told them these: “Humble men are very fortunate!”

“Be humble” is the first key teaching of Jesus to disciples. The whole three chapters speak of this command. Why? Jesus knew very well then even the apostles would fall if they became proud. How could they not become proud? With all the power and authority after the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on them just as Jesus had promised. So much power and so much authority with the name of Jesus. Just look at what the apostles could do, preaching the gospels and converted thousands at one go, healed the sick, cast out demons, and even raised the dead! The first generation churches were jam packed with power and authority. It was like they operated with a direct pipeline to heaven channeling down every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3)

How not to be proud? The answer is to “be humble.” If it is not possible to be humble, then there is no need for Jesus to tell us how blessed it is to be humble. If the apostles/us are not likely to be proud then there is also no need for Jesus to specifically spend such time to mention what being humble means.

Pride comes before a fall. Jesus knows. The apostles know. Church history knows. So today we learn a good word. Be humble. Especially in a team like a church (an entity built on the foundation of the apostles). Pride breaks up. Humility builds up. Pride is self-focused. Humility is Christ-focused. Pride divides. Humility unites.

How to tell the difference between pride and humility? The Bible has given us a very accurate measure: Use the Bible as the plumb line. Check the fruit. Weigh on God’s scale.

Matthew 5 Living Bible (TLB) “Humble men are the world’s light!”

5 1-2 One day as the crowds were gathering, he went up the hillside with his disciples and sat down and taught them there.
3 “Humble men are very fortunate!” he told them, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
14 You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see.

A wise and successful king (Solomon) gave his sons the following warning about being proud: (Note how pride ranks together with other evils)
Proverbs 8:13 If anyone respects and fears God, he will hate evil. For wisdom hates pride, arrogance, corruption, and deceit of every kind.
Proverbs 13:10 Pride leads to arguments; be humble, take advice, and become wise.
Proverbs 16:5 Pride disgusts the Lord. Take my word for it—proud men shall be punished.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall.
Proverbs 18:12 Pride ends in destruction; humility ends in honor.
Proverbs 21:4 Pride, lust, and evil actions are all sin.
Proverbs 29:23 Pride ends in a fall, while humility brings honor.

Luke 1:51-53 New Living Translation (NLT) (Mary’s Song of Praise)
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.

How to identify the difference? Matthew 7:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.

What good fruit is from Galatians 5:22-23 [Full Chapter]
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

A warning about being fruitless from Jude 1:12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots.

Where good fruit comes from? James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.
Colossians 1:6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
Colossians 1:10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

Philippians 1:10

May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

A HYMN FOR TODAY: I’m pressing on the upward way

Higher Ground today!

AAAJ watchman

philippians-29Thirty years ago the watchman was born again, encountering the out pour of the love of God, crashing in, like never before, experiencing the Bible promise in Romans 5:5! In a traditional evangelical church he later attended, one hymn stood out and left a deep imprint which came to the forefront suddenly this morning. So the family ‘church’ worshiped with hymns today. Powerful, anointing and ageless the ancient hymns still are. By the time they realized they should have been worshiping in Spirit songs, they decided to skip, as they already had the anointing and presence of the Lord so powerful in them. After listening to a sermon on the power of joy (which was so appropriate), some of the members continued and interceded as led by the Spirit of the Lord. It was altogether an awesome day before the Lord.
Was the thirty years’ wait a long wait? Long…

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Kairos administrator: take the seven mountains of nation

isaiah-112A Kairos time has come for Christians to take the seven mountains of the nation. When we look at each of the mountains we see one key word: administration. What? We need an administrator. Administrators are not highly respected in our current world of management. Entrepreneurs are more valued. But the fact is that we have allowed corrupt and incompetent administrators to ruin the mountains of nation because we have abdicated in the past. Today we are called to become administrators again. What Biblical model shall we emulate? This is the question we shall answer.

From Daniel 1, 5 and 6 we read that Daniel was both a fearless, principled, godly, faithful spiritual man and a man well versed in every branch of learning, gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. He was both a man of spiritual discernment, vision, and demonstrated the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as a man competent and excelled in the administration and government of the nation, even the empire.

He had the Spirit of the Lord as described in Isaiah 11:2 (on Jesus):
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Yes, Daniel, the man with the Spirit of the Lord, is the administrator we are looking for to be on the top of every of the seven mountain of the nation today.

Daniel 1 (NLT)
4 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.
8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel.
17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

Daniel 5 (NKJV)
11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him;
12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.
16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas.
29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Daniel 6 (NLT)
Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. 2 The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. 3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.
4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. 5 So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”

10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help.

25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:

“Peace and prosperity to you!

26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.

For he is the living God,
and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
27 He rescues and saves his people;
he performs miraculous signs and wonders
in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian