Tag: Holy Spirit

Paul writes a letter today

2-corinthians-4-6Paul’s writes this letter today.
2 Corinthians 5:9-10, 14-17, 20-21, 6:1-2
Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
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.
Marks of the Ministry
6:1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says:
“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Paul’s Sincerity
2 Corinthians 1:12-13, 20, 24
12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. 13 For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end.
20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,
24 Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.
2 Corinthians 2:17
17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:3, 6, 16
3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
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 by the Spirit of the Lord.
All Bible verse are quoted from New King James Version (NKJV)

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God’s finances and fasting

keep-watchEconomists like to foretell the future. I too. But I know the human mind. We are vulnerable to innumerable variables that distract. In my two previous blogs I recorded my thoughts on Esther’s fast. I did not go through a full fast due to my long absence from practice. Indeed, taking less meals daily is an ordinary practice for Christians and non-Christians who watch their weights and it has nothing to do with the spirit. So it does not count as preparedness for Esther’s fast which asks for three days’ complete abstinence from food and drink. What happened was I managed to abstain from solid food and snacks etc. But I had to take a few cups of hot drinks and fruits just to occupy myself. So it was not a complete fast.

Coming back to what happened in the spirit. I had set my goal mainly for a financial breakthrough in discernment and investment. I have decided to be a good steward and participate by active investment in the kingdom of God advancement, through supporting a front line evangelical and discipleship focused ministry.

On the second day I could focus more and listened to two good teachings: one on praying in tongue; another on sowing in the kingdom of God using His words as seed. On the third day I started reading economics and receiving financial news that are relevant to the short term future and the next three years. Within days I received good news about the ministry receiving the grace (favor) of God in significant financial saving in terms of expenses. The favor is significant because it means a hundred-fold reduction in cost (originally budgeted rent, transport, and fees). For me this is really good news! By faith I drew out the dividends I earned in the last two years to put into my own support fund for the ministry even though it does not need the fund right now. Incidentally the dividend I received last week from an investment I made a week ago amounted to one-tenth of what I drew out to start a new ministry support fund.

What have I learned? Align with the will of God and the heart of the Father in heaven. Learn from the Holy Spirit. Believe in the words of God. Take a step of faith. Action.

When I failed to adhere to a complete fast was I condemned? No. I stayed my position as a beloved child of the Father. I continued to believe in His underserved favor for me and the ministry I am supporting. Fasting is not to make me right with God. Belief in Jesus by faith has made me right with God.

Let us read Paul’s teaching to the Christians on the role of the Holy Spirit and believing in Jesus. These two are what a believer should always focus on. Our holy and godly living come naturally after these two flow in us. What do we do to receive these? By faith we believe the words of God. Let the words of God grow deep root into our heart based on the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

(Bible verse are taken from New Living Translation (NLT))
Galatians 3
2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.
5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[b] 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
9 So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.
11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
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[h] Holy Spirit through faith.

Ephesians 3:14-21
Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[a] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[b] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Footnotes:
(a) 3:14 Some manuscripts read the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(b) 3:15 Or from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.

In short, fasting makes me more focused on God and His way according to His words. I see my shortcomings in reading and understanding His words. I see the need to read the Bible like the time I first believed in Jesus. I see the urgent need to know God more. Above all, I see my position in Christ as a child of God which cannot be shaken. Once again, the verse that came to me in my spirit when I was first converted to Christ becomes a significant force in my life:

Galatians 2:20 King James Version (KJV)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Note: It is the faith of Jesus in me. Not my faith.

Queen Esther’s fast

esther 7Queen Esther requested her people in Susa to fast for her and with her for three days, “do not eat or drink.” It means total abstinence from intake whether solid or liquid. This is a fast that demands preparation. But she issued the command without notice. It was an emergency and she had to undertake the most dangerous mission to save the Jewish population in the Empire of Persia, all the 127 provinces under Persian rule stretching from India to Ethiopia (Asia, Europe and Africa). During the peak of the Persian Empire, Jews are thought to have comprised as much as 20% of the population, and have retained their ethnic, linguistic, and religious identity.

The 473BC Persian Emperor decreed general massacre, to take place in one day, of all the Jews, and confiscation of their properties to be effective in a year time, cunningly and deceptively instigated by the powerful Persian prime minister Haman, an enemy of the Jews, meant that for a year the Jews would live in constant fear and the suffering which is well described by 19th Century persecuted Jews in Persia, “victims of renewed persecutions which awaits them with each passing day. We are subject to the scorn of our enemies who view us as defenseless and do with us whatever they like. We live every day, hour and moment of our lives in constant dread of some new tragedy which they might bring upon us. Our lives, property, honor, everything that is dear to us is at the mercy of their anger and hostility, a situation which is worse than slavery.” (From 1860 attempts were made by the Persian Jewish community to secure assistance from European Jews.)

Slavery was even viewed as more tolerable than their fate. Esther said the same to the king, “For my people and I ave been sold to those who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate us. If we had merely been sold as slaves, I could remain quiet, for that would be too trivial a matter to warrant disturbing the king.” (Esther 7:4)

When facing death, fasting is a small price to pay in terms of suffering.

The amazing thing was Esther a young 19 years old Jewish woman of humble background was made the Persian queen at 14 in a beauty contest prior to this impending calamity in 478BC. She was an orphan, obedient to her pious adopted parent (uncle Mordecai), and had acquired his pious ad faithful belief in God and God’s way. Her story revealed her to be intelligent, well educated and courageous as well as beautiful.

Coming back to her command for all Jews in Susa to fast with her, how did she know they would or could? She knew. She practiced fasting and praying herself and knew the power. She was also confident that her own people, the pious Jews had made fast and pray their own lifestyle according to the Jewish laws. Indeed, as news of the kings decree reached all the provinces, there were great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.(Esther 4:3) When Esther heard the news of the decree and Mordecai’s request for her risky intercession before the king, she knew the only way was the way of her people who believed in God. They would all fast and pray to God for the miraculous divine intervention and salvation.

So there was no suddenness in her command. Fasting and praying was their way of life. Did it work? History showed it worked. How did God intervene? What were the outcomes of the fasting and prayers?
1. Mordecai’s and the Jewish people’s fasting prayers resulted Esther being raised to prominence to intercede for them.
2. When together with Esther’s fast and pray they resulted in Esther filled with wisdom from above, being favored again by the king, and succeeded in destroying the enemy and his cruel annihilation scheme against the whole people of Israel. Thus, Esther received her great reward from God and from the king.

Did their fast and pray bring them prosperity in addition to their lives being spared? The king gave the humongous wealth and possessions of Haman to Queen Esther. He also made Mordecai the prime minister, a powerful position to get wealth. The king’s decree gave the Jews in every city authority to unite to defend their lives. They were allowed to kill, slaughter, and annihilate anyone of any nationality or province who might attack them or their children and wives, and to take the property of their enemies. (Esther 8:11) Take note that in Susa the people took no plunder even thought they were decreed to do so if they wished.

Queen Esther’s fast worked. The Jewish race was saved. They were also given the opportunity to turn back to God. When the king gave Mordecai the pious Jew power and honor in his empire, the Jews were filled with joy and gladness and were in turn honored everywhere. They felt proud to be Jews. Many of the other people became Jews themselves, for they feared what the Jews might do to them. It was a reversal of the earlier political power position. (Esther 8:15-17)

The Hamans of the world had not stopped persecuting and hating the Jews. History has shown that even when the Jews tried assimilating into the alien racial, cultural and religious practices the enemies had not stopped their hatred, discrimination and killing. But there were also remnants of Jews who had been protected and kept safe, being preserved by respective anonymous “Esther” raised in history.

Do people still fast today like they did in the ancient times? The watchman had so far observed only one small group who kept and taught this practice. Even then, it became difficult for their members to follow through over time. God spoke through Prophet Isaiah about the kind of fasting results He wants to see:

Isaiah 58:6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.

Our Lord Jesus and His disciples fasted regularly. Jesus commented on the behavior of fasting. Fasting is an inner private act of faith done by a believer before God and not before man. There is a reward from God for fasting. (Matthew 6:16-18)

Jesus said, “And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Fasting is an act of faith. Fasting is always accompanied with seeking God and drawing close to Him. The principle concerning the positive link between fasting and God’s reward has never changed.

Fasting is an act of faith. God likes to reward faith. Hebrews 11:6
“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

the powerful effect of a fast

fasting effectThe watchman was prompted to fast a modified Esther’s fast for three days and thereafter four days’ Daniel’s fast. The reasons? For money. Why? The goal is to sharpen his discernment to prevent thieves (the enemy) come in to steal, kill, and destroy his investment. No, unlike what some may think, he does it not for himself. He has offered to guard and ensure funds are readily available for another’s ministry for God. This is the outcome of his recent prayers. So here he is fasting on the first day. It has been sometime since he last did the Esther’s fast, in which he fasted all food except water. Prior to this decision he did not prepare himself. So on the first day he had to modify the fast to taking a bun, a few spoons of cooked rice, and an apple. He did his normal chores just like any other normal day.

By the end of the day he was tired. Then he was prompted in his spirit to do a search on someone who is unknown and of no particular importance. He has never met and does not even know the person except as a Mr. so and so name through a woman friend. Two days ago when he knew that she was going out for a meeting with that man he remarked to her to this effect, “Beware of his possible ulterior motive concerning money.” The remark was uncalled for and most unwelcome but he felt in his spirit then he just had to make that seemingly presumptuous warning. When alerted again today in his spirit to search for that name he did not expect anything to that effect would turn up. It was the last thing on his mind. But the outcome was not surprising -the man had a past which linked to the financial matter he warned his woman friend two days ago.

This is only the first day of fast and the fast is only partial. And yet there is already an outcome. When he looks at the watchman blog he notes that an article he posted in 2012 about Esther’s powerful fast had reappeared in his top ten list today! So the fast is not a coincidence.

Fasting and praying are one of the most effective ways we stay focused on God and matters of God’s concerns. We can hear Him better and respond more accurately when we put off our flesh and follow the spirit. The watchman has done other forms of fasting regularly, like skipping one main meal and/or taking Daniel fast (light vegetable meals) for prolonged periods. But he has stopped Esther’s fast for a long time. Why? Because it is a drastic measure. When he decides to fast this time he realizes the time is desperate everywhere. This is desperate time indeed. This morning the first message that appeared on his chat board was a message predicting gloom in the economy, falling share prices and depreciating currency value. Decisions need to be made within the next period shortly.

Ideally, a Spirit filled Christian should be able to hear God and we often do or think we do. But when it comes to matters of finances and intimate relationship one just needs to be accurate, because errors will be costly. There are many variables in financial matters or in any matter of life pertaining intimate/close relationship between two persons. An economist, like a cautious and truthful medical doctor, will tell you that there is no fool-proof system that can encompass all variable factors that can determine the outcome. What we have are known factors and we acknowledge that there are factors which are not yet known.

Fasting is a spiritual weapon that helps one to uncover and confront those unknown and unseen factors with boldness and supernatural strength and wisdom from above.

In the case of Queen Esther, she boldly uncovered and confronted the arch enemy of hers and her people, the enemy who would kill, slaughter, and annihilate them. It was a direct confrontation before the king. And the king decided to favor her. What did Esther do prior to that showdown? She fasted for three days before the physical confrontation. She asked her people to fast with her and they did. She received her divine reward and the enemy was duly executed and his intended destruction of the innocent was annulled and turned against him and his gang. Esther and her people were miraculously saved.

For Esther the drastic measure of fasting achieved two things: regaining the power to control her own life (a power that ties to finances as the king sold the lives of the Jews to Haman for 10,000 large sacks of silver. Esther 3:9), and regaining the intimate favor of the king (her lawful husband). (Esther 5:2-3)

(Read the Bible book of Esther)

So encourage each other with these words.

first resurrectionWho is holy? God alone is holy-God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. The people of God are made holy by God. What will happen to the holy people?

I have done a word search and taken 22 verses with the word ‘holy’ from the Book of Revelation. The verses describe two scenarios: the holy God and His faithful people made holy by Jesus, and the unholy people under the rule of the enemy of God. There will be persecution for the holy people of God. But Jesus will come and judge and to reward. In the meantime the holy people of God must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.

Revelation 3:7 [ The Message to the Church in Philadelphia ] “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open:

Revelation 4:8 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”

Revelation 6:10 They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”

Revelation 8:4 The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.

Revelation 11:2 But do not measure the outer courtyard, for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months.

Revelation 11:18 The nations were filled with wrath, but now the time of your wrath has come. It is time to judge the dead and reward your servants the prophets, as well as your holy people, and all who fear your name, from the least to the greatest. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.”

Revelation 13:7 And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.

Revelation 13:10 Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword. This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.

Revelation 14:9-10 Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb.

Revelation 14:12 This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.

Revelation 15:4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed.”

Revelation 16:5 And I heard the angel who had authority over all water saying, “You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was, because you have sent these judgments.

Revelation 16:6 Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward.”

Revelation 17:6 I could see that she (Babylon) was drunk—drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses for Jesus. I stared at her in complete amazement.

Revelation 18:24 In your streets flowed the blood of the prophets and of God’s holy people and the blood of people slaughtered all over the world.”

Revelation 19:8 She (the Lamb’s bride) has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years. (See below 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 about the first resurrection)

Revelation 21:2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

Revelation 21:10 So he took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.

Revelation 22:11 Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.”

Revelation 22:19 And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.

Revelation 22:21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT)
The Hope of the Resurrection
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died[a] so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.[b] 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died[c] will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.

Footnotes:
(a) 4:13 Greek those who have fallen asleep; also in 4:14.
(b) 4:15 Greek those who have fallen asleep.
(c) 4:16 Greek the dead in Christ.

made holy

God made you holyOur God made us holy. This is the difference between Christianity and other religions. God made us holy by means of Jesus Christ. Jesus made us holy by becoming a holy sacrifice. The words of God (the Bible, the Truth) make us holy. The Holy Spirit makes us (all people who call on the name Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.)holy. God united us with Christ Jesus, joined to Him, one Spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:17) God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy. God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ.
In summary: we were chosen by God. Obeyed His words. Cleansed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Made holy by the Holy Spirit in us.

John 17:19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

Romans 15:16 I am a special messenger from Christ Jesus to you Gentiles. I bring you the Good News so that I might present you as an acceptable offering to God, made holy by the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 1:2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.

1 Corinthians 1:30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.

1 Corinthians 6:11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Ephesians 1:4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

Hebrews 10:10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Hebrews 10:14 For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

1 Peter 1:2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.

Hebrews 10:29 Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.

persisting prayer

baptized with Holy SpiritHeed His call today! Be persistent in prayer.
Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care. If only you would listen to His voice today! (Psalm 95:6-7 NLT)

Today we learn what Jesus means by persistent prayer and why we need to pray persistently.
1. Keep on doing it until you receive what you need.
2. The key is in the spiritual realm.
3. Only the Holy Spirit can deliver it.
4. The persistence is for our good. Because otherwise we lose heart and fall away even though God has already given us through the Holy Spirit (in the unseen realm).
5. Note that the persistence is not because God is hard hearted or refuses to give until we have prayed long and hard.
6. It is not by our own might or power. It is by His Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6)
7. Stephen’s testimony demonstrated that only by being full of the Holy Spirit, being led by the Holy Spirit we can see God and His marvelous deeds in our lives. Spiritual blindness only leads to unbelief and loss of God’s favor.
8. Being born of the Holy Spirit is a must to see and enter God’s kingdom and living the Kingdom’s abundant lives. (John 3:3, 3:5)
9. Receiving the baptism (being filled/full) of the Holy Spirit is a must for manifesting the favor of the Lord just as Jesus did. (Luke 4:18-19)
10. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is linked to the Kingdom of God. It is not dispensable. Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:1-5; Matthew 3:11)
11. God wants us to live a holy life. The baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire should lead us wanting to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8)
12. The work of the Holy Spirit is a must for our daily living as the children of God. (Romans 8:12-14)

Matthew 7:7-11
Effective Prayer
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Luke 11:8-13
But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.[a]
9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask[b] for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Footnotes:
(a) 11:8 Or in order to avoid shame, or so his reputation won’t be damaged.
(b) 11:11 Some manuscripts add for bread, do you give them a stone? Or [if they ask].

Acts 7:48-51 (Stephen’s testimony)
However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,
49 ‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?’
asks the Lord.
‘Could you build me such a resting place?
50 Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’[a]
51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen[b] at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you!

Footnotes:
(a) 7:49-50 Isa 66:1-2.
(b) 7:51 Greek uncircumcised.

Acts 7:55
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Romans 8:12-14
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[a] you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,[b] you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[c] of God.

Footnotes:
(a) 8:12 Greek brothers; also in 8:29.
(b) 8:13 Greek deeds of the body.
(c) 8:14 Greek sons; also in 8:19.

to him I will give power over the nations

Revelation 2
Revelation 2:26

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power ove the nations-“
The Message to the Church in Ephesus
“Write this letter to the angel[a] of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:

2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.

4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first![b] 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. 6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.

7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.

The Message to the Church in Smyrna
8 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Smyrna. This is the message from the one who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive:

9 “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. 10 Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.

11 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be harmed by the second death.

The Message to the Church in Pergamum
12 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:

13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.

14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

The Message to the Church in Thyatira
18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:

19 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.

20 “But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.

22 “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering,[c] and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.

24 “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. 26 To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end,

To them I will give authority over all the nations.
27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.[d]
28 They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

Footnotes:

2:1 Or the messenger; also in 2:8, 12, 18.
2:4 Greek You have lost your first love.
2:22 Greek a bed.
2:26-27 Ps 2:8-9 (Greek version).

The above passage is quoted from: The Holy Bible, Revelation 2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus talks about hate crime

Jesus the Son of God
Jesus, God’s beloved Son

Jesus talks about the hate crime against Him and His followers. “The world does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.”

Here is a summary of what Jesus has said about hate crime against Him and Christians:
The world hates Jesus.
Anyone who hates Jesus also hates God.
It hates Jesus because He accuses it of doing evil.
The devil does evil things.
The devil is a murderer from the beginning.
The devil has always hated the truth.
Because there is no truth in the devil.
When the devil lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
His children love to do the evil things he does.
All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it.
If the world hates you, remember that it hated Jesus first.
But the followers of Jesus are no longer part of the world. Jesus chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.
Jesus has given them you God’s word. And the world hates you because you do not belong to the world, just as Jesus does not belong to the world. Those who hear God’s words, receive and believe, are separated from the evil world. God’s words are truth and light. The world hates truth and light. God is truth and light. Jesus is the truth and the light.
Those who love God will not love money. No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
Jesus said, “And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.”

Why does the devil hate Jesus? Jealousy. Here are some classic examples of how jealousy can cause hatred and murder.

The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but He did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry…and while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him. Genesis 4
Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” Genesis 27
But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him. His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. Genesis 37

Was God unjust in favoring Abel, Jacob and Joseph?
Here is what God says about His standard of holiness and reason:
Let us look at the case of Abel and Cain, which is the classic case representing all mankind, the division of two groups: those who follow and obey God, and those who follow and obey the devil.

“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. but you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:7
It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed His approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith. Hebrews 11:4

What did Abel give as an offering and why did it meet God’s requirement? Genesis 4:4
When it was time for the harvest, Abel brought the best of the first born lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift.
We note two things that must meet God’s requirements: the person who gives and the gift itself. God accepted both Abel and his gift, the best of his first born lambs. How did Abel know about God and His requirement? God had shown Adam. Adam had taught his two sons, Cain and Abel. But Abel obeyed and Cain disobeyed.

The lamb represents Jesus. The redemptive symbol and spiritual implication.
Without Jesus the Lamb of God, human race will perish forever, forever cut off from the holy God.
Sin is the number one enemy that blocks man from God.
Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Jesus shed His blood to redeem human race from sins and the penalty of sins.
Abel became a righteous man because of his obedience to God’s holy standard, by an act of faith, offering an acceptable sacrifice. God’s holy standard has never changed. God does not change. That is why He sent His Son Jesus who is without sin to die as the Lamb of God.

John the Baptist witnessed that Jesus is the Lamb of God -the Son of God:
When he saw Jesus coming toward him he said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 (26-34) “The Father loves His Son and has put everything into His hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgement.” John 3:35-36 (27-36)

God witnessed that Jesus is His beloved Son:
“This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.” Matthew 3:17
“This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy. Listen to Him.” Matthew 17:5
“You are My dearly loved Son, and you being Me great joy.” Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22
“This is My Son, My Chosen One. Listen to Him.” Luke 9:35
“This is My dearly loved Son. Listen to Him.” Mark 9:7

The Apostle’s testimony: 2 Peter 1:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”[a] 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
Footnotes:
a.1:17 Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35.

Why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign?

a signWhy do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign?
I tell you the truth, I will not give this generation any such sign. Jesus said this. Mark 8:12

Prior to this He had performed many miracles. He displayed His supernatural power over sicknesses, evil spirits (spiritual realm), physical and natural elements. The news about His miracles had spread far and wide, and vast numbers of people came to see Him and followed Him. They were His eye witnesses. Mark 3:7-8

He healed a man with leprosy. 1:41-42
He healed a paralyzed man. 2:8-11
He healed a man with deformed hand. 3:3-5
He had healed many people. Power came out from Him to heal the sick and cast out demons. All the sick sought to touch Him. All who touched Him were healed. Those possessed by evil spirits too were delivered. 3:10-11. 6:56
He sent out His disciples (apostles) to preach the Kingdom of God and He gave them supernatural authority and power to cast out many demons and heal man sick people too. 3:14-15, 6:7, 12-13
The wind and waves obeyed Him. 4:41
He healed a demon possessed man. 5:1-20
He raised from death the daughter of a leader of the synagogue. 5:22, 35-36, 41-42
He healed a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 5:25-34
He fed 5,000 men and their families with five loaves and two fish. 6:41-44
He walked on water and stopped the raging waves and wind. 6:47-52
He healed a deaf man. 7:32-35
He fed 4,000 people with seven loaves. 8:6-9
He healed a blind man. 8:22-26

Coming back to the question, why do these people keep demanding a miraculous sign? More show of the power of Jesus? Why do they still want proof of His supernatural authority to show that He is from God? Why do people see the power of Jesus but still continue not to believe in Him?

I ask this question too today. Here is the answer I received from Jesus:
“You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Mark 8:33 (Jesus rebuked Peter for listening to Satan-influenced humanistic reasoning and not to the Holy Spirit. Jesus reprimanded Peter, “Get away from Me, Satan!”)

Peter was doing well when he listened to the Holy Spirit. But he lost his supernatural discernment the moment he switches back to his human mind. Jesus called that as being selfish, trying to hang on to the life he could see, not knowing that what he could see and feel (body and soul) could not save him. He was ashamed of Jesus talking about dying on the cross and resurrecting after three days. He considered Jesus being not politically correct. Mark 8:31-38
It is so clear that the minute a Christian resorts to using a human point of view to explain or question a supernatural miraculous sign from Jesus, he or she loses the spiritual privilege and faith that come only from the supernatural realm. The authority and power of Jesus would be of no use to them. They may still get healed or see their loved ones get healed but they would still be excluded from the Kingdom of God. Without faith in the supernatural God-Jesus, one just cannot get saved. Without faith one cannot please God. Without believing in the spiritual reality of Jesus one cannot connect to Him and interact with Him in a relationship. But the children of God must join to the Lord and be one with His Spirit. The children of God must be led by the Spirit of Christ. Believing in Jesus requires spiritual faith, and a belief in a realm human eyes cannot see. Unless we can see with our spirit the reality of God, we cannot enter. It is easy for many to believe in a historical Jesus who existed during a period on earth as a human but not a Jesus (in Spirit) who is still living today. This is the dilemma of many who choose the wide, easy and popular road today. Is there hope for this group? Yes, as long as you are still open to Jesus through the Holy Spirit and His words.

Bible verses: John 3:3, 5-6, 3:16, 4:23-24, 5:24, 26-27, 37-40, 6:29, 35-36, 40, 63; Romans 10:8-12, 8:1-2, 8:9, 8:11, 14, 16; Galatians 3:2, 26-29; Hebrews 11:1-3, 11:6. 1Corinthians 6:17.

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

for whom the bell tollsDid Jesus die for the COLORED PEOPLE? The IMMIGRANTS? Did he die for the LGBT? YES. The SOCIOPATH? HE DID. Surprised? But Jesus did. He died for everyone. why do I say so? In the last two days I read the following Bible verses which clearly say so.
Romans 8:29-39; John 10:1-18; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 3:16-17; Romans 10:9-13,20; Galatians 3:5,13,26-29 and many more.

I quote below two passages which my spirit perceives are the messages for us (Christians and non-Christians) today. The verses clearly include all regardless of racial, social class, economic, gender, physical, mental, emotional, educational, ideological, or other status and conditions. Because Jesus said that the Bible is spiritual, I would include the spiritual status too.  Indeed, Jesus has put the spiritual status as foremost in the matters of God and His ministry on earth. His Kingdom is not like what Pilate had thought. Pilate thought it was a political, military, and geographical entity. But Jesus said “NO.” The apostle Paul said clearly that Christians’ enemies are not flesh and blood. They are spiritual. When evangelical Christians forget or do not know this vital truth, we cannot pray effectively as we focus on the wrong perspective.

As an ordinary watchman, I do not know how to explain to the churches which continue to walk not in the Spirit for that matter. Being spiritual is not an issue in societies used to encountering the spiritual realm as a reality and norm.

Being spiritual places us on the right level with right focus and perspective. King David won his battles because he sought spiritual help. He asked God. God answered him and gave him the right strategies. So did Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Samuel and all who engaged in war. They asked God. (They did not ask the evil spirits or those with the evil spirits.)
Being spiritual does not mean we leave this world or become indifferent. Look at King David, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Samuel etc. They excelled in both civil and military governmental responsibilities, and continued to live in prosperity and success. Deborah was a housewife and a mother. But she was also a military strategist, counselor, commander and judge with spiritual insight. Christian spirituality wins war. The key is the Holy Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6)

Colossians 3:10-15 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Galatians 3:26-28 New Living Translation (NLT)
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Finally, I add a little poem here from which I quoted the title of this blog.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
(John Donne)

a spiritual continuum

a spiritual reviewChristianity is a progressive journey on a spiritual continuum. I realized this truth when I first encountered the Holy Spirit’s reality in physical life. It was a spiritual experience which could be confirmed by physical reality. The encounter transformed my life and my direction in life. Over the years since I changed course I have experienced the abundant life as Jesus has promised to His believers and followers in all aspects of my being, physical, mental and emotional, and spiritual. The change is from within and can be discerned externally. Here is a summary of what happened on the spiritual continuum based on my personal experience and how I perceive and recall it:

1. The baptism of the Holy Spirit first came to me as an overwhelming love of God. It poured out on me during a worship. The worship was not particularly emotional or anything. It was orderly and “conservatively” Spirit-filled. A guitar accompanied the singing of short choruses and hymns. The participants were mainly fellow business travelers like me who happened to stay in the group of hotels or its vicinity. The pastor preached on Joseph’s business model. It was calm and unemotional and rational. I was on a six-month corporate posting in that city and lived in the hotel. My colleagues introduced me to that Sunday service.

2. The Spirit-filled experience led me to read God’s words passionately. I spent nearly all my off-duty time reading the Bible. It was a journey to see God in His words.

3. My prayer life started then. I prayed/talked to God a lot. Asking questions and receiving answers through reading the Bible.

4. Many important changes started: value system, perspectives, priorities, interests and hobbies. These changes led to changes in daily life. New lifestyle and habits were being formed and built.

5. My worship life changed and I actively sought out a Spirit-filled and Bible-believing church to join when I returned to my home base.

6. I began to be interested in serving God and joining voluntary ministries to serve others.

7. My monetary giving to churches, missionaries and the poor began to align with God’s words.

8. Other visible cognitive-emotive, internal and external changes began to emerge: attitude, thoughts about self and others, communication, connection, association, social life, relationship and behavior etc.

9. During the early stages my struggles between following God’s words and my own words continued.

10. After some years I was stuck and stagnated spiritually.

Many years later I had another spiritual encounter with the Lord. I call it the second phase of accelerated growth on my journey on the spiritual continuum in which I experienced the reality of signs, visions and dreams. I have already written a lot on the second phase in my previous blogs. One significant change was a specific calling of a spiritual watchman’s role in the reading of God’s words. Demonstration of more pronounced gifts include: interpretation of God’s words as led by the Holy Spirit, manifestation of the word of knowledge and word of wisdom, and discernment in the spirit. When warranted by occasions, other gifts like gift of faith and gift of healing manifested.

I find an unchangeable constant factor of “a passion for God’s words” on this spiritual continuum. Jesus has declared that His words are spirit and life. This has been true and real to me as I progress. I find that the minute I stop having this passion I stagnate. Stagnation in the spiritual realm is the major obstacle to living an abundant life in the Kingdom of God.

Stagnation means: cease developing; become inactive or dull: stagnate into a set of routines. How to ensure not to set in a set of meaningless routines? My way of dealing with this is to be spiritual. Worshiping in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit. Singing in the Spirit. Taking Holy Communion. Talking to God. Writing/copying God’s words. Looking at the spiritual perspectives when I look at worldly events. The apostle Paul reminded us that sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. Thus my motto is: be led by the Holy Spirit.