Tag: photography

letter to a reader: “Don’t let your heart be troubled”

John 14:6When 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.

Footnotes:

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.

what to do when encountered rampant untruthfulness?

watch john 1:17Discussing 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!”

Matthew 23
Woe: 13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29
blind guide: 16, 17, 19, 24, 26
hypocrites, hypocrisy: 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29, 28
scribes: 2, 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29
Pharisees: 2, 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29
inside: 25, 26, 27, 28
outside, outward: 25, 26, 27, 28

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,
Footnotes:
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.

Leaving a sustainable legacy to successors

Romans 8:14
Romans 8:14 Children of God

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.

Footnotes:
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.

Watchman’s adventure: an impossible mission

John 7:3738This daughter took the bother to ask her father for more. She urged her husband to ask for the land from her father first. Then she went to see her father and asked for more. She asked for the springs of water. And she was given accordingly. This historical record reminds me of what the Lord Jesus told the disciples, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) In the same context, Jesus assured the disciples that the individual believer will do what Jesus did and even greater works because he will have the Holy Spirit dwelling in him forever. Jesus went on to reinforce this truth, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:16, 23)

Watchman’s notes:
My recent month-long experience has again proven this important truth. In a humanly impossible challenge I had no backup except the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit in me. When I looked at the “mountain” I cried out silently that it was impossible for me to move it. But I heard the calling. Just take one step at a time. Said the Lord. I was reminded to be faithful in the small things and then move on to the bigger things. Just speak to the mountain. I was told. At first I thought I would be there for seven days but I soon realized I had to add more days. In total I spent 25 days (with a short Easter break of 4 days) on the assignment.

No words can adequately describe the physical, mental and emotional “torment”. But the goal was worthy. In my utterly depressed moment I heard this word, “What you are doing to the least of My brother, you are doing to Me.” I learned that to the Lord, a life is more valuable than anything else. In this instance, to bring to physical and spiritual safety and care of an old Christian widow.
Looking back, I realize that because God is with me and in me the mission is completed within a miraculously short time. In His light, in His power and in His authority. In the name of Jesus. By the faith of the Son of God in me. By the power of the grace of God. All I did was daily aligning my action with His clearly expressed will and continued to put faith into action as led by the Holy Spirit and His word.

Was I equipped? I believe I was. Prior Easter I was led in my spirit to undertake 21 days of fasting (mainly Daniel fast) until April 13. When I had to embark on the mission I still had about five more days of fasting to do. Although I did not treat it as a legalistic ritual I continued to believe in the spiritual purpose and take light food and only one main meal a day throughout the mission (except for the four days of Easter break when I flew to another city to have a reunion with my loved ones).

The most important thing I have learned out of this experience is that God is love. His unfathomable love even for the least significant person in the eyes of human. For all who believe and become sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, and are baptized into Christ (put on Christ), there is “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)

The Land Given to Caleb (Joshua 15:13-19)
13 The Lord commanded Joshua to assign some of Judah’s territory to Caleb son of Jephunneh. So Caleb was given… 14 Caleb drove out the three groups of Anakites…
15 From there he went to fight against the people living in…16 Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the one who attacks and captures Kiriath-sepher.” 17 Othniel, the son of Caleb’s brother Kenaz, was the one who conquered it, so Acsah became Othniel’s wife.
18 When Acsah married Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she got down off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What’s the matter?”
19 She said, “Give me another gift. You have already given me land in the Negev; now please give me springs of water, too.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

Jesus Promises Living Water
John 7:37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”[a] 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given,[b] because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

Footnotes:
7:37-38 Or “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from the heart of anyone who believes in me.’”
7:39 Several early manuscripts read But as yet there was no Spirit. Still others read But as yet there was no Holy Spirit.

Hold Fast: Just Live by Faith

Romans 1:17 live by faithHebrews 10 New King James Version (NKJV)

Animal Sacrifices Insufficient

10 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Christ’s Death Fulfills God’s Will

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”[a]

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offeringsfor sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.”[b] He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Christ’s Death Perfects the Sanctified

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”[c] 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”[d] 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Hold Fast Your Confession

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Just Live by Faith

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[e] says the Lord.[f]And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”[g] 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me[h] in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.[i] 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 “For yet a little while,
And He[j] who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the[k] just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”[l]

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 10:7 Psalm 40:6–8
  2. Hebrews 10:9 NU-Text and M-Text omit O God.
  3. Hebrews 10:16 Jeremiah 31:33
  4. Hebrews 10:17 Jeremiah 31:34
  5. Hebrews 10:30 Deuteronomy 32:35
  6. Hebrews 10:30 NU-Text omits says the Lord.
  7. Hebrews 10:30 Deuteronomy 32:36
  8. Hebrews 10:34 NU-Text reads the prisoners instead of me in my chains.
  9. Hebrews 10:34 NU-Text omits in heaven.
  10. Hebrews 10:37 Or that which
  11. Hebrews 10:38 NU-Text reads My just one.
  12. Hebrews 10:38 Habakkuk 2:3, 4

watchman’s short message to an images-visitor (23rd, 24th March)

welcome roseDear honorable visitor: I note you have visited and/or downloaded 223 images from this blog during the last two days. Whist I am positive about visitors who take pain in viewing so many images and perhaps downloading them in a short span of two consecutive days, I would also like to know a bit about yourself and/or your purpose.

Being an imaginative yet analytical blogger/writer, I like to imagine that perhaps another group of people will be reached by the images, especially those with Bible verses. I am elated to imagine perhaps you have started a Christian website or Instagram or something like that to which you can upload the images and reach out to a wider audience than my usual crowd (only from countries about the number of United Nations). I would like to think that you may have come from a new people group and have undertaken the mission of taking the images back to them.

I also imagine that perhaps a young new believer on fire for God has stumbled upon my blog and discovered the stock of free images rich in Bible verses or Bible stories. I like to imagine that you have been led by the Holy Spirit to this rather serious old blog and have found exactly what you have been seeking…(please let me know what search term you have used to find this blog’s images)

How may I reach you? Or how shall you reach me? I believe by clicking like to one of my recent blogs will alert me to reach you.

Your blogger, AAAJ Watchman.

P/S: Please feel free to continue to visit and download all the images (About one image per blog. To date I have published 1447 blogs in this blog). The earlier images are not original. Those posted in recent years (like 2015, 2016, 2017) are mostly original. If you like to take pictures I would encourage you to take some pictures in your beautiful country and paste some Bible verses on them. They will surely look nice on your website. Because I have not learned drawing using the PC I have not been able to produce pictures of the Bible characters. There are limited choices in the internet data base. Perhaps you may consider drawing if you can draw. I would like to see them too if you like to share. Thank you.

BTW: The above rose picture is original. I took it in February 2016 in someone else’s garden.

Daily Word: what the word 111 means to Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippians 1:10

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

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

Higher Ground today!

AAAJ watchman

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

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third word for 2017: God’s grace (His unmerited favor)

May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit!
ephesians-316

For this reason because I preached that you are thus built up together, I, Paul, [am] the prisoner of Jesus the Christ for the sake and on behalf of you Gentiles—
2 Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace (His unmerited favor) that was entrusted to me [to dispense to you] for your benefit,
3 [And] that the mystery (secret) was made known to me and I was allowed to comprehend it by direct revelation, as I already briefly wrote you.
4 When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ.
5 [This mystery] was never disclosed to human beings in past generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles (consecrated messengers) and prophets by the [Holy] Spirit.
6 [It is this:] that the Gentiles are now to be fellow heirs [with the Jews], members of the same body and joint partakers [sharing] in the same divine promise in Christ through [their acceptance of] the glad tidings (the Gospel).
7 Of this [Gospel] I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s free grace (undeserved favor) which was bestowed on me by the exercise (the working in all its effectiveness) of His power.
8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints (God’s consecrated people), this grace (favor, privilege) was granted and graciously entrusted: to proclaim to the Gentiles the unending (boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless) riches of Christ [wealth which no human being could have searched out],
9 Also to enlighten all men and make plain to them what is the plan [regarding the Gentiles and providing for the salvation of all men] of the mystery kept hidden through the ages and concealed until now in [the mind of] God Who created all things by Christ Jesus.
10 [The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere.
11 This is in accordance with the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose which He has realized and carried into effect in [the person of] Christ Jesus our Lord,
12 In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).
13 So I ask you not to lose heart [not to faint or become despondent through fear] at what I am suffering in your behalf. [Rather glory in it] for it is an honor to you.
14 For this reason seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ], I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named [that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name].
16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—
21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
(Bible verses quoted from Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Ephesians 3: red letters added)

2017 Daily Word: the true meaning of names: life or death matters. Be named.

name-of-jesusA NEW NAME FOR EVERY BELIEVER
I pray you who come to this place understands the meaning of names today. This is the first word for this year, 2017. There is a meaning for you personally, just as there is a deep meaning for me too. I am a believer of Jesus Christ. So you are, or shall be. There is no other name but His name that can save and transform you from the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light. Hear today His message for you. Why do I mingle His name with each believer’s new name recorded (or to be recorded) in heaven? Because without believing to His name, you cannot be a believer. When you become a believer you are given a new name in heaven by the Holy Spirit who gives you the new birth, just as a parent does at the birth of their child. Jesus has said it clearly, you need to be born of the Spirit in order to belong to His name (God’s name). Your new name is spiritual. Without this new spiritual name you cannot enter His Kingdom which is here on earth and/or later the eternal life with God in heaven for that matter. Names means life or death. It does matter, my friend. Be named. This is my New Year’s wish for you.

Revelation 2:17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Revelation 3:12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

Revelation 21:12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

Revelation 21:14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Revelation 22:4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.

Revelation 19:12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.

Revelation 19:13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Revelation 19:16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Matthew 12:21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

Matthew 18:5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

Luke 10:20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

BELIEVER SHALL LIVE BY WHOSE NAME
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

Acts 3:16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Acts 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

GOD KNOWS HIS OWN PEOPLE BY NAME
Exodus 33:17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”
Exodus 28:11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall set them in settings of gold. Exodus 28:21 And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes. Exodus 28:29 “So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the Lord continually.

All Scriptures are quoted from New King James Version (NKJV)

New Year Prayer: I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light

ephesians-118Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Footnotes:
Ephesians 1:18 NU-Text and M-Text read hearts.

The above Bible verses are quoted from Ephesians 1:15-23 New King James Version (NKJV)
Below is the New Living Translation (NLT) version
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere,[a] 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[b] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[c]

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Footnotes:
1:15 Some manuscripts read your faithfulness to the Lord Jesus and to God’s people everywhere.
1:17 Or to give you the Spirit of wisdom.
1:18 Or called, and the rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his holy people.