Words, Thoughts, Prayers, Bible Apps, Visions, Images. 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
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 . . . .
[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.
I received a note from the WordPress. Here it is: Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com! You registered on WordPress.com 8 years ago. Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
I decided to reblog this blog which was posted on 13th July 2009. It is interesting to see how one person struggled with spiritual issues when he first encountered the spiritual reality of God.
CHAPTER THREE: AS DIFFICULT AS CAN BE FOR A MAN
chapter three: as difficult as can be for a man
Jack was into the second day of Biblical living when he discovered it was not as simple as he thought. A modern intellectual man with no spiritual experience whatsoever who tried to put the Bible knowledge in his head into practice was doomed to failure from the start. As he started on the Beatitudes (the Sermon on the Mount) of Jesus he found that…
I ask the Lord to reveal to me Biblical models to emulate.I have been led to read two related passages: Romans 15-16 and Acts 27-28, to learn Paul’s way of conducting his relationship and interactions with others: his friends (brothers and sisters in Christ with whom he stayed in contact through correspondence) and others (Roman officials and soldiers, sailors and crew of ship, fellow travelers/prisoners on board, and island people in needs).
Here are my notes on the testimony of Paul as revealed in the book of Romans chapters 15-16 and Acts chapters 27-28.
1. He walks in transparency with the Lord closely and listens to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit tells him things to come. Thus he can use his spiritual gift of words of knowledge and words of wisdom to counsel others.
2. He keeps abreast with his friends and brethren in Christ, and sustains a close relationship even from a geographical distance and despite the relatively primitive mode of communication (one thousand years ago).
3. He truly values their friendship and keeps them in constant prayers.
4. Their good and genuine relationship is mutual as they keep him in their prayers too and supply his physical needs. They do not forsake him even when he is under house arrest.
5. His relationship with the non-believers demonstrates what Jesus did: Fearlessness, boldness and courage, firmness with speaking the truth about God and His Kingdom, spiritual authority and power, practical wisdom as appropriate, kindness and compassion for their physical needs and welfare.
6. Paul lives his words.
7. He testifies to them the greatness and faithfulness of the God he serves.
8. He demonstrates the awesome power of God (the Holy Spirit) in his accurate prophecy/forecast regarding the storm, the danger, the fate of the ship and the people on board. He also demonstrates the power and compassion of God in ministering to the needs of the people on board and the people on the island.
9. He focuses on his mission of preaching the Good News of the Gospel of grace and building up the churches (believers). He is transparent in his relationship and interactions with the believers. He also shows that he is a man of integrity to the non-believers.
10. He knows the supernatural God, believes in the revealed truth about Jesus Christ, is passionate to witness Him, walks in the power of the Holy Spirit and is confidence of what he preaches and teaches.
In sum, Paul has the indwelling Spirit of the Lord as described by Isaiah (in a prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 11:2): The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
I quote below some passages from the above four chapters. Please read the whole chapters on your own. I pray you receive your revelation too!
A letter from Paul to the church (Christians) in Roman
(Note the positive way Paul shares his thoughts and exhortation with christians treating them as his his good friends)
Romans 15 New King James Version (NKJV)
Bearing Others’ Burdens
15 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves…5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God…
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, 16 that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God,…
24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. 25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints…
29 But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
30 Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,…32 that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you…
In Chapter 16 Paul further displays through his positive commendations, his detailed knowledge of and close relationship with a whole list of Christians in Rome. When later he arrived at Rome as a Roman prisoner, they came out to greet him and supported him spiritually and physically as only good friends would dare to do.
Acts 27-28 (excerpts quoted) described how Paul interacted with others while he was under the custody of the Roman officials. We also read how God had provided for him protections and supplies through various people, believers and non-believers.
27:7 When we had sailed slowly many days, and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, the wind not permitting us to proceed,…
9 Now when much time had been spent, and sailing was now dangerous…Paul advised them, 10 saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” 11 Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.
20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up.
21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.”
…30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, …31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the skiff and let it fall off.
33 And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. 34 Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.” 35 And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. 36 Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves. 37 And in all we were two hundred and seventy-six persons on the ship.
39 When it was day, they did not recognize the land; but they observed a bay with a beach, onto which they planned to run the ship if possible. 41 But striking a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; …but the stern was being broken up by the violence of the waves.
42 And the soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim away and escape. 43 But the centurion, wanting to save Paul, kept them from their purpose, …And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
28:7 In that region there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island, whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days. 8 And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him. 9 So when this was done, the rest of those on the island who had diseases also came and were healed. 10 They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed, they provided such things as were necessary.
11 After three months we sailed…14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. 15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
16 Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him…
30 Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
What shall Christians do with the Old Testament, especially the prophets? May we quote them? There seems such a lot of negative words spoken by them which may offend today’s generation?
Let us read what Paul taught his disciple, young Timothy, a Spirit-filled Christian pastor/teacher in charge of a number of churches.
“You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” （2 Timothy 3:15-16)
Briefly I summarize below the keys Paul charged Timothy, and all Christians.
1. Paul spoke of the Holy Scriptures, which include both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Scriptures gave Timothy wisdom to receive salvation by believing in Christ Jesus.
2. Paul also elaborated further. He declared that “all Scripture is inspired by God”. Here he does not differentiate between Old Testament and New Testament. In Paul’s days they had only the Old Testament and letters written by the apostles themselves to the churches. He was referring to the Old Testament mainly.
3. Paul declared that “All Scripture is inspired by God.” There is no dispute about the divine authority of the Scripture, Old (before Christ), and New (during and after Christ).
3. Paul taught that Scripture is relevant to Timothy, the New Testament Christian.
4. Paul taught Timothy the relevance of Scripture: “useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
5. All these are in present tenses. The power of the Scripture to change lives is alive today.
6. What does Old Testament do today when quoted? The same effect as declared above.
7. Were Old Testament verses quoted after Jesus ascended into heaven? Yes. In the first sermon given by Peter after he and 119 disciples were baptized by the Holy Spirit, Peter quoted the Old Testament profusely (Acts 2:14-40). “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” (Acts 2:41)
Here is a list for those interested to read more.
Old Testament texts from the prophets quoted in the New Testament:
Isa 1:9 Rom 9:29
Isa 6:9-10 Matt 13:14-15, Mark 4:12, Acts 28:26-27
Isa 6:9 Luke 8:10
Isa 6:10 Joh 12:40
Isa 7:14 Matt, 1:23
Isa 8:12-13 1 Pet 3:14-15
Isa 8:17-18 Heb 2:13
Isa 9:1-2 Matt 4:15-16
Isa 11:10 Rom 15:12
Isa 13:10 Matt 24:29, Mark 13:24-25
Isa 34:4 Luke 21:26
Isa 22:13 1 Co 15:32
Isa 25:8 1 Co 15:54, Rev 7:17
Isa 26:19 Matt 11:5
Isa 35:5-6 Luke 7:22
Isa 26:20 Heb 10:37-38
Isa 28:11-12 1 Co 14:21
Isa 29:13 Matt 15:8-9, Mark 1:3, Joh 1:23
Isa 40:6-8 1 Pet 1:24-25
Isa 40:13 Rom 11:34, 1 Co 2:16
Isa 42:1-4 Matt 12:18-21
Isa 45:23 Rom 14:11
Isa 49:6 Acts 13:47
Isa 49:8 2 Co 6:2
Isa 52:5 Rom 2:24
Isa 52:7 Rom 10:15
Isa 52:11 2 Co 6:17
Isa 52:15 Rom 15:21
Isa 53:1 Joh 12:38, Rom 8:17
Isa 53:7-8 Acts 8:32-33
Isa 53:9 1 Pet 2:23
Isa 53:12 Luke 22:37
Isa 54:1 Gal 4:27
Isa 54:13 Joh 6:45
Isa 55:3 Acts 13:34
Isa 55:10 2 Co 9:10
Isa 56:7 Matt 21:13
Jer 7:11 Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46
Isa 59:7-8 Rom 3:15-17
Isa 59:20-21 Rom 11:26-27
Isa 61:1-2 Luke 4:18-19
Isa 62:11 Matt 21:5
Isa 64:3 1 Co 2:9
Isa 65:1-2 Rom10:10-21
Isa 65:17 2 Pet 3:13
Isa 66:1-2 Acts 7:49-50
Jer 5:21 Mark 8:18
Jer 9:23 1 Co 1:31, 2 Co 10:17
Jer31:15 Matt 2:18
Jer 31:31-34 Heb 8:8-12
Ezk 11:20 Rev 21:7
Ezk 37:5, 10 Rev 11:11
Dan 3:6 Matt13:42, 50
Dan 7:13 Matt 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26,14:62, Luke 21:27,22:69
Dan 9:27 Matt 24:15
Dan 11:31 Mark 13:14
Hos 2:1, 3 Rom 9:25-28
Hos 6:6 Matt 9:13, Matt 12:7
Hos 10:8 Luke 23:30, Rev 6:16
Hos 11:1 Matt 2:15
Hos 13:14 1 Co 15:55
Joel 3:1-5 Acts 2:17-21, Rom 10:13
Amos 5:25-27 Acts 7:42-43
Amos 9:11-12 Acts 15:16-17
Jonah 2:17 Matt 12:40
Mic 5:2 Matt 2:6
Mic 7:6 Matt 10:35-36
Hab2:3-4 Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11
Hab 1:5 Acts 13:41
Hag 2:6, 21 Heb 12:26
Zac 8:16 Eph 4:25
Zech 9:9 Joh 12:15
Zac 11:12-13 Matt 27:9-10
Zac 12:10 Joh 19:37
Zac 13:7 Matt 26:31, Mark 14:27
Mal 1:2-3 Rom 9:13
Mal 3:1 Matt 11:10, Mark 1:2,Luke 7:27
Mal 4:5-6 Matt 17:10-11
Habakkuk 2:3-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
4 “Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Today we learn all about freedom. Jesus says that if we know the truth, the truth will set us free.
He also says that He is the Way, the Truth, and The Life.
Reading the passage below (Excerpted from John 8. Please read the whole chapter), we note that people just cannot understand Him. They are contented with the assurance or security they think they have from their genealogy and tradition.
But Jesus talks about the spiritual reality, indeed, the real authority and source of security and assurance, God Himself.
Jesus declares that to know God, the Father, and the One Whom God sent (Jesus) is eternal life.
The key is to KNOW God through Jesus in an intimate way like in a family.
We are called the children of God. Why? God wants a family relationship. He created family. We are His family. That is why Jesus has taught us to call God, ABBA. Father. The Holy Spirit in us enables us to call God ABBA Father. This is the true freedom. Free to live as the children of the holy God. Free to live the super-abundant life as citizens in the Kingdom of God, with the power of the Holy Spirit, authority of Jesus’ name, and all the benefits Jesus has given to His believers through the cross. By grace we become entitled and through faith we receive.
Jesus, the Light of the World, He came to give light to everyone.
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
He came to witness for God who sent Him. Those who see Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son, they actually see God.
(Jesus declares), “I am one witness, and my Father who sent me is the other.”
Seeing is not enough. Knowing Jesus is a must. Knowing Him means knowing God. This is the key to eternal life and freedom from the bondage of sins that bring death.
Jesus answered, “Since you don’t know who I am, you don’t know who my Father is. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
How will people know who Jesus really is? After His death on the cross and His resurrection. By His Holy Spirit we shall know the truth. The Holy Spirit came after Jesus ascended to heaven and sit at the right hand of God.
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he.”
Only those who believe in Jesus and remain faithful to His teachings (which will be explained by the Holy Spirit) will know the truth and receive the freedom Jesus has given.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,”
People who continue not to believe in Jesus remain slaves to sin. Slaves are not heirs. They have no share in the Kingdom (family) of God.
“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever, So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
Children imitate parents. God’s children imitate God. This is clearly evident. When we are born again by God’s Spirit, our genealogy changes. We become heirs of God, co-heir with Jesus.
“Our father is Abraham!” they declared. “No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example…, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. No, you are imitating your real father.”They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me.
Why some people cannot understand Jesus? Jesus explains: 1. They are not God’s children. 2. They love to do what the devil does.
(Jesus told them), “Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!
Reality check 1 for all Christians: Children of God love to listen to God’s words.
(Jesus told them), “Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
Reality check 2 for all Christians: God’s children honor God. in honoring Jesus, we honor God.
The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?” “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
Reality check 3: Those who know God will obey Him. Jesus does that. God gives honor to those who honor Him.
Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him…”
When Jesus prepared Himself to leave this world, He spoke to His disciples,
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c] From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, obey[d] my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,[e] who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.[f] 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?”
23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. 28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.
30 “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, 31 but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.
14:2a Or There are many rooms in my Father’s house.
14:2b Or If this were not so, I would have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you. Some manuscripts read If this were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you.
14:7 Some manuscripts read If you have really known me, you will know who my Father is.
14:15 Other manuscripts read you will obey; still others read you should obey.
14:16 Or Comforter, or Encourager, or Counselor. Greek reads Paraclete; also in 14:26.
14:17 Some manuscripts read and is in you.
watch Discussing and advising my young nephew of the current ongoing untruthfulness in the reporting and editorial realm which was once so highly regarded by the civilized world, because he asks why I no longer read or watch or listen to most main-stream news-media, I realize how limited and yet how wide a man has in terms of choices of news/information due to technology. I tell him I subscribe to and read only technical, financial, scientific discovery, medical breakthrough etc. kind of info-news these days. No mainline generalists’ ‘intellectual’ dissertation. They have nothing for us. I told this eager young man who is of the generation as yet unspoiled and on whom we hope to raise leaders of a better future. Why? He asks. I reply, “Those men are trying to be God or judges. They are not.” My generation is sick and tired of those who smear and slander just to get a higher readership/viewership or advertisement rating. I advise the young man to caution his peers not to click or visit any web sites unless they are sure there are specific verifiable positive information there. Don’t ever add a click or a view to encourage more untruths to be churned out. I advise him that if all Christians in this world start being careful and discerning in what we choose to view or click, the impact of drop in viewership would be so significant that many would hesitate and think twice before they pen/type future communication. The good news is that they can come and join us and be aligned with the God of grace and truth.
In my prayer I ask the Lord what to say today and I am again led to read and quote Matthew 23. Do read. Pray and ask the Lord what He is saying to each individual. For the young Christians, Pharisees and scribes were the intellectual elites who were academically qualified and proficient in their field of study. They spent considerable amount of time reading and writing. They were the society’s leading voice. They exercised authority commenting and judging practically all subjects that impacted the lives of the Jewish people in Jesus’ time. Because of their ability to study, read and write, they commanded respect and honor from the ordinary people in their nation. And they in turn took control of politics and everything else.
In sum, Jesus says this of them, “You say, but you do not do!”
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe,[a] that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ,[b] and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.[c]
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies[d] the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells[e] in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.[f] 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
a. Matthew 23:3 NU-Text omits to observe.
b. Matthew 23:8 NU-Text omits the Christ.
c. Matthew 23:14 NU-Text omits this verse.
d. Matthew 23:17 NU-Text reads sanctified.
e. Matthew 23:21 M-Text reads dwelt.
f. Matthew 23:25 M-Text reads unrighteousness.
Many great Christian leaders, churches, missions and Christian organizations started off well but declined and fell away after some years. In some cases the founders could not leave behind a sustainable legacy to their successors. Sadly in many cases there were not even one credible successor. This is not new. King Solomon was one such tragic example. Today we read some of the accounts of his achievements in the world and his spiritual failures which actually caused the downfall of his kingdom. In sum, Solomon, unlike his father David, was a man of flesh and not a man of the Spirit. I pray that today’s national leaders in all realms understand this truth -you need to walk by the Spirit and not by flesh for leaving a sustainable and godly legacy to your successors. Like Paul, he had to raise godly successors like Timothy and many others to carry on after his martyrdom.
1 Kings 9-11 New Living Translation (NLT) (Please read all three chapters)
The Lord’s Response to Solomon
A SPIRITUAL CONDITION/COVENANT FOR SOLOMON AND HIS DESCENDANTS TO KEEP
9:1 So Solomon finished building the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do. 2 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had done before at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him,
“I have heard your prayer and your petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
4 “As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 5 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
6 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, 7 then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. 8 And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will gasp in horror. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’
9 “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’”
10 It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace…19…He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.
A HIDDEN SEED OF EVIL WAS PLANTED
24 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her…
QUEEN OF SHEBA’S REMINDER TO SOLOMON
10:9 Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”
HERE IS THE REASON OF SOLOMON’S EVENTUAL DOWNFALL
11:1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. 2 The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. 3 He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord.
4 In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech,[y] the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done.
7 On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem,[z] he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.
9 The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. 11 So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. 12 But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. 13 And even so, I will not take away the entire kingdom; I will let him be king of one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, my chosen city.”
HOW TO LIVE A VICTORIOUS LIFE AND LEAVE A SUSTAINABLE LEGACY?
Romans 8 New Living Translation (NLT)
Life in the Spirit
8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power[a] of the life-giving Spirit has freed you[b] from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.[c] So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life[d] because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,[e] 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,[f] you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children[g] of God.
8:2a Greek the law; also in 8:2b.
8:2b Some manuscripts read me.
8:3c Greek our flesh; similarly in 8:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12.
8:10d Or your spirit is alive.
8:12e Greek brothers; also in 8:29.
8:13f Greek deeds of the body.
8:14g Greek sons; also in 8:19.