In deciding what counts for 2017’s photos in this blog, I chanced upon these four that describe the distant past, the not so distant past, the present and the future. Four phases of life in pictures selected at random. Amazing.
To sum up: the long gone corporate past in the fast lane, the subsequent mosaic phase of seeking for light, then a soaring break through in the spirit, and lastly the firming of a signature.
God is awesome in shaping my life over the years and particularly in 2017. I have been assured that I am financially secure in Him. At the beginning of the year a close one challenged me to sow into the international ministry of a Bible teacher who has given away free tapes and CDs of all his Bible teachings since 1980. I have listened to them for over ten years. Sow by faith. So I finally did consistently this year. As I did I began to experience a positive transformation in many (including financial) aspects of my life.
The Lord has assured me of how real He is and how faithful He is to uphold His words. I am thankful that I was given those tapes of good practical Bible teachings which have changed my spiritual as well as physical life and indeed lifted me up to a more effectual walk with Jesus, Who Himself has shaped and written my signature.
Deuteronomy 8:18 NASB But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
God gives us all things with Jesus freely!
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Psalm 44:7 You are the One who gives us victory over enemies;
84:11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. he gives us grace and glory.
89:18 Yes, our protection comes from the Lord.
90:15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good.
118:25 Please, Lord, please save us. Please, Lord, please give us success.
118:21 I thank you for answering my prayer, and give me victory!
118:14 The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.
127:2 The Lord gives rest to His loved ones.
33:10 The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.
33:11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken.
AMEN. IN JESUS NAME.
SereneFor I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’ (Isaiah 41:13)
When the watchman felt troubled lately about a financial decision, the Lord spoke the this verse. He is here to help the watchman.
Why did I feel troubled? Because I was looking at the ‘man-made storm’ in the economy. I know it is just the usual responses from the market at this season. Yet I feel a bit concerned at the herd’s behavior.
So I turned to the Lord one night and He said, “Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”
Today when I recall how the Lord responded to my prayer with such a powerful verse, I am reminded of the incident in which Jesus responded and saved Peter immediately from sinking in the stormy sea.
The incident was different but the requirement of faith is the same. Faith is when we look at Jesus and not at the storm (big or small). Here is my note on what I have learned:
1. We need to focus on seeing Jesus and His might instead of watching the circumstances and base our assessment on them.
2. The uncertainty and inability to see far can cause fear and doubt. The situation can be magnified in our mind when we see others panicking.
3. We must ask the Lord to help us and He will hear and come immediately to our aid.
4. The truth is that the Lord is actually with us. He takes the initiative to come to us and says. “I am here to help you.” He is always HERE to help us. He is our ever present help!
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
Bible verses from Matthew 14:24-33 (NKJV)
THE DISCIPLES ENCOUNTERED A STORM AT SEA IN THE DARK 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
JESUS CAME TO THEM 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
JESUS IMMEDIATELY SPOKE TO THEM 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
JESUS RESPONDED POSITIVELY TO INDIVIDUAL REQUEST NO MATTER HOW IMPOSSIBLE IT MIGHT SEEM 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
JESUS IMMEDIATELY TOOK HOLD OF THE PREDICAMENT OR EVEN AT RISK POSITION OF AN INDIVIDUAL WHO CRIED TO HIM FOR HELP 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
OTHERS CAN WITNESS JESUS’ MIRACULOUS SAVING AND DELIVERANCE OF YOU FROM YOUR PERSONAL STORM. THEY TOO WILL BELIEVE JESUS’ DEITY. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Winter reminder: The seasons of winter and summer shall not cease. The ground will not be cursed. Not all living thing will be destroyed. It means some living things will be allowed to survive, at least two seasons will remain and the ground (earth) will not be cursed as long as there are human around to sow and pant and harvest crops. Those who grow plants from the ground will survive. God will give the sowers seeds and the eaters bread according to His words which are forever settled in heaven. These people will have bountiful supplies from heaven and live well.
21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.
Then He will give the rain for your seed With which you sow the ground, And bread of the increase of the earth; It will be fat and plentiful. In that day your cattle will feed In large pastures.
2 Corinthians 9:10
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
Jesus told the parable to show how jealousy and greed cannot be concealed and can ruin a person. His adversaries are driven by greed and are insanely jealous of Him. They (the religious and political leaders) have been there a long time. They have institutionalized themselves as the only authoritative governing voice for the nation (social, cultural, education, economic, religious and political). Jesus is not one of them. So how dare He now take the lead in all fields of the nation, with countless more followers from the grassroots than them (over their whole lifetime) in a mere short three years?
While Jesus is following God’s will, doing all the good deeds feeding the poor, genuinely caring loving those upon whom the society looks down, healing the sick, setting the captives/oppressed free, his adversaries are plotting to kill him.
Today we read what happened to Jesus. Because Jesus said that the same will happen to His followers (disciples). Matthew recorded many teachings of Jesus which depicted everyday lives. They are timeless. Human heart and nature have not changed. Matthew 20:1-17 tells us the scene in the marketplace (employment agency) on one ordinary day. An employer (God) employs workers at different intervals and pays each one the same wage he has committed. But those who think that they deserve more just because they have been in employment longer become angry and indignant. They try to incite a revolt against the employer. But the employer tells them off. He is honoring his part of the employment agreement. But these protestors/revolters are not. They have forgotten or conveniently ignored the agreement. Why?
Jesus gave the reason why in His life. 13 “He answered one of…
More and more individuals are called today to serve the Lord on a voluntary basis and have often to rely on his/her own savings or income from investments. I believe there is an urgent need for this group to learn the Joseph way. The key is to be able to know what is ahead and hear God’s instructions on what to invest.
Lately I received this reminder and again today to learn from Joseph’s testimony. There is no doubt Joseph had close relationship with God and could hear God.
Genesis 41 recorded how Joseph rose to financial power. Briefly, one night the powerful Egyptian Pharaoh (king) had two dreams that caused his spirit to be troubled and no one could interpret his dreams. He knew of Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams through his chief butler. He immediately summoned Joseph to be brought out of the dungeon to him.
Joseph not only accurately predicted the forthcoming economic boom, its subsequent global famine crisis and their timing, he also presented an immediate financial strategy and action plan to the king as a solution. It was remarkable that Joseph prophesied that God would give Pharaoh a favourable answer even before he knew what Pharaoh had dreamed of! He also knew the solutions beforehand. The king rightly recognized Joseph’s worth!
Let us read some of the Bible verses and see this spiritual yet financially proficient man in supernatural action:
Joseph’s Strategic Action 1: Before Joseph knew what the dreams were, Joseph confidently gave a prophecy of good news to the king. How could he be sure of the positive outcome? Amazing. Joseph was a man of God. God told him what was to happen.
Verse 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it; and I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream and interpret it.
Verse 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, It is not in me; God [not I] will give Pharaoh a [favourable] answer of peace….
Joseph’s Strategic Action 2: After Pharaoh told him the dreams, Joseph gave his interpretation, and advice on an economic/financial strategy and action plan to solve the future crisis and take advantage of the crisis.
He states the problem and its size ahead: 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, The [two] dreams are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do…29 Take note! Seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt are coming. 30 Then there will come seven years of hunger and famine, …for it will be very woefully severe. 32 That the dream was sent twice to Pharaoh and in two forms indicates that this thing which God will very soon bring to pass is fully prepared and established by God.
He also states the solution in terms of action plan. The solution actually ensures favour to him: 33 So now let Pharaoh seek out and provide a man discreet, understanding, proficient, and wise and set him over the land of Egypt [as governor]. 34 … let him select and appoint officers over the land, and take one-fifth [of the produce] of the [whole] land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years [year by year]. 35 And let them gather all the food of these good years …36 And that food shall be put in store for the country against the seven years of hunger…
Indeed, the king gave Joseph a positive response according to God’s plan for Joseph to rise:
37 And the plan seemed good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find this man’s equal, a man in whom is the spirit of God? 39 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Forasmuch as [your] God has shown you all this, there is nobody as intelligent and discreet and understanding and wise as you are. 40 You shall have charge over my house, and all my people shall be governed according to your word [with reverence, submission, and obedience]. Only in matters of the throne will I be greater than you are. 41 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.
Joseph’s Action 3: Implementation of a win-win action plan for the king, his nation and people. In doing so, his own family (his father Jacob and the whole family) was also ensured protection and sustenance. Other countries too benefited from his wise administration.
…56 When the famine was over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians; for the famine grew extremely distressing in the land of Egypt. 57 And all countries came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all [the known] earth.
…20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field because of the overwhelming severity of the famine upon them. The land became Pharaoh’s,..
23 Then Joseph said to the people, Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land.
24 At [harvest time when you reap] the increase, you shall give one-fifth of it to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own to use for seed for the field and as food for you and those of your households and for your little ones.
25 And they said, You have saved our lives! Let us find favour in the sight of my lord; and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.
26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt—to this day—that Pharaoh should have the fifth part [of the crops]; …
God is not overwhelmed with our problems. He is cool. He is on top of it. Nothing is impossible for God. Mark 6:50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
The Blessed State of the Righteous
Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who delights greatly in His commandments.
2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.
4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
5 A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
6 Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
9 He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted with honor.
10 The wicked will see it and be grieved;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire of the wicked shall perish.
(Psalm 112 NKJV)
Romans 3:22[Full Chapter]
even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 9:8-10
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”[a]
10 Now may[b] He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
2 Corinthians 9:9 Psalm 112:9
2 Corinthians 9:10 NU-Text reads Now He who supplies . . . will supply . . . .
But, on the contrary, as the Scripture says, What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]. [Isa. 64:4; 65:17.]
1 Corinthians 2:9 AMPC
Matthew 25:31-46 The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations on how they have treated His brethren (Israel).
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Who are the brethren of the King? The Jews.
Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
Romans 10:1 [ Israel Needs the Gospel ] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
I asked the Lord fresh words for this blog and perceived a verse: 1 Timothy 3:16 which talks about Godliness (Christlikeness) of/from Jesus. Both the apostles Paul and Peter told us to be godly. I quote below some related verses (red letters added by me). Note that godliness is associated with other characteristics: perfection (maturity in mind and character), virtue, integrity, righteousness, reverence, seriousness, faith, love, patience, gentleness of heart, contentment (inward sufficiency), knowledge, self-control, brotherly affection and Christian love.
Paul reminded Timothy that godliness requires training like he did physical exercises! It is not difficult, based on the assurance given by apostle Peter (2 Peter 1:1-4). Godliness promises great and abundant gain for this present life and the life to come! This is certainly good news!
Summary: Godliness is of divine nature. By the faith that God has given us in Jesus, through the divine power of the Holy Spirit, we get to know God and Jesus, and partake this godly nature.
1 Timothy 3:16 And great and important and weighty, we confess, is the hidden truth (the mystic secret) of godliness. He [God] was made visible in human flesh, justified and vindicated in the [Holy] Spirit, was seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, [and] taken up in glory.
The same passage 1 Timothy 3:16 from The Message Bible:
…This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough: He appeared in a human body, was proved right by the invisible Spirit, was seen by angels. He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples, believed in all over the world, taken up into heavenly glory.
Some passages on godliness from the New Testament:
Matthew 5:48 You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1 Timothy 2:2 For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 But refuse and avoid irreverent legends (profane and impure and godless fictions, mere grandmothers’ tales) and silly myths, and express your disapproval of them. Train yourself toward godliness (piety), [keeping yourself spiritually fit]. For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.
1 Timothy 6:6 [And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.
1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.
2 Peter 1:6-7 And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.
2 Peter 1:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.