He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and [a]prudence, 9 having made known
to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed
in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might
gather together in one all things in Christ, [b]both which are in heaven and
which are on earth—in Him.
Footnotes: Ephesians 1:8 understandingEphesians; 1:10 NU, M omit both
by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is
the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared
beforehand that we should walk in them.
He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened
with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in
your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may
be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and
depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that
you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that works in us,
Is it merely my conscience involved to live my personal preferences? Today let us meditate on what the Lord Holy Spirit spoke through Apostle Paul on this controversial subject in our very personal and subjective world and the predominant “me, me, me” philosophy believed in, practiced and permeated throughout many human societies. The following bible passages speak specifically to God’s people, -the Christians and draw us to focus on some practical missions in this life: promote spiritual growth in others, beware of others’ judgmental conscience (do not let others have the opportunity to condemn yours), do not (even if passively) cause others fall into a trap (take offense) even if dug by themselves because they interpret your actions according to their conscience. This is a tall order to Christians. Are we keepers of others? Reading this passage it would appear “yes”. Like what Paul advised all Christians, “I sincerely attempt to do anything I can so that others may be saved.” In the final analysis nothing else matters.
1 Corinthians 10:32 (NKJV) “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,”
1 Corinthians 10:23-33 The Passion Translation (TPT) )
You say, “Under grace there are no rules and we’re free to do anything we please.” Not exactly. Because not everything promotes growth in others. Your slogan, “We’re allowed to do anything we choose,” may be true—but not everything causes the spiritual advancement of others. 24 So don’t always seek what is best for you at the expense of another. 25 Yes, you are free to eat anything without worrying about your conscience, 26 for the earth and all its abundance belongs to the Lord.[a]
if an unbeliever invites you to dinner, go ahead and eat whatever is
served, without asking questions concerning where it came from.[b]28 But
if he goes out of his way to inform you that the meat was actually an
offering sacrificed to idols, then you should pass, not only for his
sake but because of his conscience. 29 I’m
talking about someone else’s conscience, not yours. What good is there
in doing what you please if it’s condemned by someone else?
30 So if I voluntarily participate, why should I be judged for celebrating my freedom?[c]31 Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God. 32 And make sure you’re not offending Jews or Greeks or any part of God’s assembly over your personal preferences. 33 Follow my example,
for I try to please everyone in all things, rather than putting my
liberty first. I sincerely attempt to do anything I can so that others
may be saved.
Offence [Noun] skandalon originally
was “the name of the part of a trap to which the bait is attached, hence,
the trap or snare itself, as in Rom 11:9, RV, ‘stumblingblock,’ quoted from
Psalm 69:22, and in Rev 2:14, for Balaam’s device was rather a trap for Israel
than a stumblingblock to them, and in Matt 16:23, for in Peter’s words the Lord
perceived a snare laid for Him by Satan.
“In NT skandalon is always
used metaphorically, and ordinarily of anything that arouses prejudice, or
becomes a hindrance to others, or causes them to fall by the way.”
Wise sayings about the rich and the poor to meditate today.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong
The destruction of the poor is their
The way of the Lord is strength for
But destruction will come to the
workers of iniquity.
The blessing of the Lord makes one
And He adds no sorrow with it.
The labor of the righteous leads to
The wages of the wicked to sin.
He who has a slack hand becomes
But the hand of the diligent makes
He who gathers in summer is a wise
He who sleeps in harvest is a son
who causes shame.
The Lord will not allow the
righteous soul to famish,
But He casts away the desire of the
The wise in heart will receive
But a prating fool will fall.
He who walks with integrity walks
But he who perverts his ways will
Treasures of wickedness profit
But righteousness delivers from
The fear of the wicked will come
And the desire of the righteous
will be granted.
The mouth of the righteous brings
But the perverse tongue will be cut
The lips of the righteous know what
But the mouth of the wicked what is
The righteous will never be
But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.
When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked
is no more,
But the righteous has an
(Based on Proverbs 10)
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
One of the best places to learn to hear God is in the area of your finances. First He supplies every need, plus more. Develop a heart to give and He will give seed to you. Ask God for double: enough for your needs and extra to bless/give others in needs.
2 Corinthians 9 The Passion Translation (TPT)
The Offering for Needy Believers
9 Actually, there’s no need to write you about this contribution for the holy believers in Jerusalem, 2 for I already know that you are on board and eager to help.[a] I keep boasting to the churches of Macedonia about your passion to give, telling them that the believers of Corinth[b] have been preparing to give for a year. Your enthusiasm is contagious—it has stirred many of them to do likewise. 3 Still,
I thought it would be best to send these brothers to receive the
offering that you’ve prepared, so that our boasting about how you were
ready to give would not be found hollow. 4 For
if, after boasting of our confidence in you, some of the Macedonians
were to come with me and find that you were not prepared, we would be
embarrassed—to say nothing of you. 5 That’s
why I’ve requested that the brothers come before I do and make
arrangements in advance for the substantial offering you pledged. Then
it will be seen as a matter of generosity and not under pressure, as
something you felt forced to do.
6 Here’s my point. A stingy sower[c] will reap a meager harvest, but the one who sows from a generous spirit will reap an abundant harvest. 7 Let
giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it
spring up freely from the joy of giving—all because God loves hilarious
generosity![d]8 Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything[e]—every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do. 9 Just as the Scriptures say about the one who trusts in him:
Because he has sown extravagantly and given to the poor, his kindness and generous deeds will never be forgotten.[f]
10 This generous God who supplies abundant seed[g] for the farmer, which becomes bread for our meals,[h] is even more extravagant toward you. First he supplies[i] every need, plus more. Then he multiplies the seed as you sow it, so that the harvest of your generosity[j] will grow. 11 You will be abundantly enriched in every way as you give generously on every occasion,[k] for when we take your gifts to those in need,[l] it causes many to give thanks to God.
12 The priestly ministry[m] you are providing through your offering not only supplies what is lacking for God’s people, it inspires an outpouring[n] of praises and thanksgiving to God himself. 13 For as your extremely generous offering meets the approval[o]of those in Jerusalem,
it will cause them to give glory to God—all because of your loyal
support and allegiance to the gospel of Christ, as well as your
generous-hearted partnership with them toward those in need. 14 Because of this extraordinary grace, which God has lavished on you, they will affectionately remember you in their prayers. 15 Praise God for his astonishing gift, which is far too great for words![p]
2 Corinthians 9:2 The
Aramaic can be translated “I know the goodness of your impulses” (or
“intentions”). Paul was not hesitant to point out the obvious qualities
and virtues of others.
2 Corinthians 9:6 The
Aramaic can be translated “the one who sows with a storehouse of seed”
(remaining). This describes a farmer who is stingy with his sowing.
Since he has a storehouse of seed, he can afford to sow liberally.
2 Corinthians 9:10 The Greek word epichorēgeo
is used in Greek literature for someone who pays all expenses for the
drama/choir (production), plus more, providing income for those who take
part. God is seen as the leader of the divine choir, orchestrating
everything and providing all that is needed to bring forth the sounds of
his glory on the earth.
2 Corinthians 9:15 The
Greek and Aramaic texts have a clean break at this point. This has
caused some scholars to conclude that chs. 10–13 may have originally
been separated from the earlier chapters, which could imply that the
following four chapters make up the missing letter of Paul to the
Corinthians. If this is so, when reading 2 Corinthians, one could begin
with chs. 10–13 (Paul’s missing letter), then read from chs. 1–9. The
term for this is “appending”; that is, taking an earlier document and
adding a later manuscript to it. Yet in this case, the earlier document
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Psalm 35:27 (NKJV)
27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause; And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
2 Corinthians 9:7-9 (RSV)
7 Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written,
“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness[a] endures for ever.”
Today we start reading from the end. It is good to be more focused on what matters in the end and not waste time on squabbling on matters that do not add value to whether one enters or not in the end.
By the way, the mention of dog in 22:15 is somewhat disturbing for owners of dogs. So I have found a few different versions which are more specific and the word “dog” pertains to human and not our pet.
Those not permitted to enter are outside: the malicious hypocrites, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, murderers, idolaters, and every lover of lies. (TPT)
Outside are the dogs [the godless, the impure, those of low moral character] and the sorcerers [with their intoxicating drugs, and magic arts], and the immoral persons [the perverted, the molesters, and the adulterers], and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying (deception, cheating). (AMP)
Outside the city are all those who live like dogs—those who do evil magic, those who sin sexually, those who murder, those who worship idols, and those who love to lie and pretend to be good. (ERV)
Revelation 22 New King James Version (NKJV)
The River of Life
And he showed me a [a]pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 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. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
The Time Is Near
6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the [b]holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8 Now I, John, [c]saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that.[d]For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him [e]be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
Jesus Testifies to the Churches
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the[f]Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
14 Blessed are those who [g]do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 [h]But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
18 [i]For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, [j]God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God[k] shall take away his part from the [l]Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I Am Coming Quickly
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be[m]with you all. Amen.
What is in God’s heart? How did Jesus demonstrate this?
Mark 6:34, 36 –
“When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He was moved with compassion
for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd [lacking guidance];
and He began to teach them
God’s solution to sin, sickness, poverty, and death: The sacrifice of Christ through the shedding of His blood. Ephesians 1:7 – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
Commandments given by Jesus
to all believers: (Scripture quoted in New King James Version)
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it
is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus
came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven
and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am
with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Mark 16:15-20 And He said to
them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who
believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be
condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they
will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up
serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them;
they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the
Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the
right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord
working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Luke 24:46-48 Then He said to
them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer
and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission
of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And you are witnesses of these things.
Acts 1:8 But you shall
receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be
witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of
2 Corinthians 5:19 – “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
THIS is What Stirs the Heart of God:
Luke 15:7 – “I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance.”
For Evangelists: Psalm 2:8 – “Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.”
Titus 2:14 – “God gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself.”
Examples of how the apostles
and early churches/disciples applied what Jesus has commanded: How they prayed,
the prayer’s effect, and how they applied:
Acts 4:29-31 Now, Lord, look
on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may
speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and
wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.” 31 And when
they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with
Acts 5:12 And through the
hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And
they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
Acts 5:14-16 And believers
were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so
that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and
couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.
16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing
sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all
Acts 5:29-32 But Peter and
the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give
repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these
things, and so also is the Holy Spirit Whom God has given to those who obey
Acts 5:42 And daily in the
temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as
Acts 6:7-8 Then the word of
God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem,
and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. 8 And Stephen, full
of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
Acts 8:6-8 And the multitudes
with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the
miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came
out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were
healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.
Watchman’s notes on 18/2/19: Around 2009 I was introduced to a group which focused on spiritual activities. The founding pastor testified that she personally encountered Jesus, was miraculously saved from a Buddhist background, delivered from demonic attack and subsequently walked in the power of the Holy Spirit healing sick people. She encouraged sick people to use intensive Bible reading, attend regular prayer meetings and wait upon God to help themselves without the use of medicine. Worship then appeared to focus on exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
However, it soon becomes evident that there are no significant miraculous healing testimonies except testimonies occurred many years ago. There are obvious doctrinal self-contradictions with mixed and confused teachings in combining the Old and New Testaments. Most noticeably, there is no practical application of the Grace and Love as taught by Jesus. Instead of teaching and practicing the grace and truth that came through Jesus, the leader focuses on the teaching and practicing the Old Testament Legalism and the ministry of death and condemnations (as warned by apostle Paul against the legalism teachings by the Judaists in 2 Corinthians 3 and Galatians). It is no surprise that increasingly “devotees” have left in disappointments and hurts.
We must take heed the stern warnings from Jesus and the early apostles against the yeast (false teachings) of the Pharisees and the Judaists. The apostle James has also clearly warned that a double-minded man (Christian) will not receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:7-8)
The earliest Jerusalem church’s apostles and elders have unanimously agreed and decreed that they should not test God by putting a yoke (i.e. commanding the Gentile believers to follow Jewish practice and keep the law of Moses) on the neck of the Gentile (non-Jews) disciples which the Jews themselves were unable to bear. (Acts 15:10-11) “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”.
After I stopped attending their gatherings, there are news that the above mentioned leader has changed their worship to emulating worshiping in heaven (as popularly imagined) using harps* (see my notes at the end) which she deems worthy to be the one of the main few exclusive musical instruments used in heaven. Yesterday I heard that they are selling harps* (made by a third world country) to many (presumably churches and Christians) like hot cakes (exorbitantly expensive ones). This latest news has prompted me to revise what I have written in this blog ten years back about the duties of a watchman and his/her weapons. I have since cast that 2011 blog to trash bin.
REVISED FOCUS for all “watchmen” (Every born again believer): we have the Holy Spirit inside, the Bible, and eternal life which means know God and Jesus.
What has Jesus taught and commanded us? What has Jesus demonstrated while on earth? Let us emulate Him!
Jesus is our sole spiritual power source and authority. He has personified God -grace and truth in Himself. He has given every believer in Jesus the Holy Spirit and His gifts and anointing. Jesus said that He and the Father (God) will dwell in every believer of Jesus. Jesus has reconciled every believer with God. God’s presence is now in us and not outside us somewhere (as in the Old Testament time). No amount of external atmosphere or ambience can bring God to anywhere nearer than what Jesus has accomplished for every believer of Jesus!
The works of Jesus every believer is to do and continue doing: doing what Jesus did. Jesus did not do any harp playing worship. Neither did the apostles and disciples of Jesus in the early churches did. What did Jesus and His apostles and disciples do? Preach the gospel, heal the sick, set the oppressed free.
The New Testament has assured us that every born again believer of Jesus already has the following qualifications:
We are saved by grace (God’s initiative) and not by works (our initiative). It is already a done deal through Jesus.
We are born of the Holy Spirit.
We are saved, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, justified, sanctified and made the righteousness of God. God has made Jesus become our wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption.
We have eternal life: know God and Jesus.
We have His Word: The Bible.
We have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
We can do all things in Christ Jesus who strengthens us.
We are seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
We are sons of God; therefore, we are led by the Holy Spirit.
We are filled with the Holy Spirit and are given His gifts to bear fruits.
As Jesus is, so are we in this world, anointed by the Presence of God (the Holy Spirit dwelling in us).
We have received the same precious faith as the apostles did.
We have been made partakers of the divine nature of God.
We walk by the Spirit.
We live by faith.
Our mission on earth: Our spiritual anointing (empowerment by the Holy Spirit) is to do the work that Jesus had done and greater works than what Jesus had demonstrated while on earth as a man (Luke 4:18; John 14:12). Jesus has given us power and authority to do them: witnessing for Jesus, seeking, healing and saving the lost, doing and teaching about the kingdom of God, be ambassadors for Christ, imploring the world to be reconciled to God.
Commandments given by Jesus to all believers: (Scripture quoted in New King James Version)
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
Jesus teaches that His truth can set free those under the legalistic bondages imposed by the Pharisees and scribes.
[ The Truth Shall Make You Free ] Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32
2 Corinthians 3:14-18 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord
Ihave no issues with using harp or any other musical instrument if you like its music. But I would caution that it is not an exclusive Christian musical instrument and it does not give anyone healing or deliverance unless they believe in Jesus who shed His blood for our redemption, by the power of the Holy Spirit. I also urge Christians and churches to remember the command of Jesus for His believers, to go (out into the world) and witness for Him, make disciples of all nations. There is nowhere in the New Testament Bible (throughout Jesus’ walking on earth as a man, up to His death, resurrection and ascension to heaven and the establishment of Christianity on earth) that speaks of Christians (and churches) practicing using of any specific musical instrument to worship. i believe that as watchmen for truth, we have a responsibility to point other believers to the truth.
A pagan king had used the same musical instrument, the harp, to accompany the worship of him (as their compulsory idol) by his subjects: “when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up” (Daniel 3)
Today I ponder on the legacy we shall each leave behind. There is always a point where each of us must make a crucial decision that will be etched into our history. I walked through the histories of many great men and women in the past. A few years back I was invited to write the life story of one special woman who gave her best years to others (strangers in a remote land). I met some who know her well in her past life as a successful banker and the people group in the remote backwater war-ravished land whom she has loved so dearly and relentlessly that she has given up her past life decades ago to become one of them. I asked her why? She said she loves them because she knows Jesus loves them. A childhood friend of hers said he believed she wanted to leave a legacy behind.
Your choice may be to continue staying in the comfort of your vineyard at the safe shady valley below with gentle breeze or to continue climbing up to the high summit where there is strong wind and brilliant light from the sun. I pray you choose right.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 30:18-20 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them
John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
Joshua 1:7-9 New Living Translation (NLT)
7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) (Galatians 1:1 KJV) Paul had been given unique authority from Christ to be his representative and the founder of churches (see Acts 1:21-26). In his letters to the Corinthian Christians he identified himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” His apostolic ministry was clearly evidenced by the authority and the life transforming revealed words and power of the resurrected Christ. As a closing to my notes on a meditative journey in 2 Corinthians I have done the following chart on the subject of power and authority. My notes on the Bible verses are in brackets.
1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (All authorities on earth will come to an end)
2 Corinthians 10:8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— (God-given authority to men is for constructive and not destructive purposes)
2 Corinthians 13:10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction. (same as above)
1:18 [Christ the Power and Wisdom of God] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (The salvation message is the power to save and transform)
1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (The resurrected Christ is the power and wisdom in us)
2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (Paul’s speeches are confirmed by deeds of spiritual power which manifests in physical realm)
2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (man’s words are powerless; power of God makes things work)
4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (We are so privileged to be chosen for His glory)
4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. (No use to boast about your ministry unless your words can be confirmed by God’s power)
4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. (God’s kingdom is about power in deeds that confirm His words)
6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. (God’s power raises the dead; power of God is the only source of life)
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.
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
Meditate on These Things
8 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)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Today we are reminded that the ten plagues only struck those who chose not to believe and acknowledge the righteous God whom Moses and his people believed, the same God we believe. Take note the idolatry arrogant heart of Pharaoh caused him to make foolish and self-destructive decisions. He exalted himself above the righteous and holy God. Pharaoh did not fear God because he thought he himself was god. While he comfortably indulged himself in his luxurious palace wining and dining opulently, his people suffered in prolonged incremental fear and torment. He had no love or compassion even for his own people. Why was his heart hardened? He was obsessed with keeping an ample supply of cheap/free labor the miserable enslaved Israelites provided to perpetuate his wealth and related social-political power. He was consumed with jealousy of Moses, a former prince of Egypt, now the formidable great transformer leader championing for the justice, freedom and wellbeing of the Jewish nation.
Moses, on the other hand, after his miraculous encounter with God, was truly supernaturally transformed into a great and courageous leader who at the age of 80 would leave his comfort zone and even stick out his neck for the love of God and God’s own people. What happened in the end? “Exodus 12:40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” The rest is history.
The life of Moses produced good fruit that lasts to eternity. Pharaoh’s life? Plagues and burning.