The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
“Behold your God…Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.
He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young…
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
…Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing…
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
( Scripture quoted in parts from Isaiah 40 New King James Version Bible)
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 . . . .
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.
I asked the Lord fresh words for this blog and perceived a verse: 1 Timothy 3:16 which talks about Godliness (Christlikeness) of/from Jesus. Both the apostles Paul and Peter told us to be godly. I quote below some related verses (red letters added by me). Note that godliness is associated with other characteristics: perfection (maturity in mind and character), virtue, integrity, righteousness, reverence, seriousness, faith, love, patience, gentleness of heart, contentment (inward sufficiency), knowledge, self-control, brotherly affection and Christian love.
Paul reminded Timothy that godliness requires training like he did physical exercises! It is not difficult, based on the assurance given by apostle Peter (2 Peter 1:1-4). Godliness promises great and abundant gain for this present life and the life to come! This is certainly good news!
Summary: Godliness is of divine nature. By the faith that God has given us in Jesus, through the divine power of the Holy Spirit, we get to know God and Jesus, and partake this godly nature.
1 Timothy 3:16 And great and important and weighty, we confess, is the hidden truth (the mystic secret) of godliness. He [God] was made visible in human flesh, justified and vindicated in the [Holy] Spirit, was seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, [and] taken up in glory.
The same passage 1 Timothy 3:16 from The Message Bible:
…This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough: He appeared in a human body, was proved right by the invisible Spirit, was seen by angels. He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples, believed in all over the world, taken up into heavenly glory.
Some passages on godliness from the New Testament:
Matthew 5:48 You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1 Timothy 2:2 For kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility, that [outwardly] we may pass a quiet and undisturbed life [and inwardly] a peaceable one in all godliness and reverence and seriousness in every way.
1 Timothy 4:7-8 But refuse and avoid irreverent legends (profane and impure and godless fictions, mere grandmothers’ tales) and silly myths, and express your disapproval of them. Train yourself toward godliness (piety), [keeping yourself spiritually fit]. For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.
1 Timothy 6:6 [And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.
1 Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee from all these things; aim at and pursue righteousness (right standing with God and true goodness), godliness (which is the loving fear of God and being Christlike), faith, love, steadfastness (patience), and gentleness of heart.
2 Peter 1:6-7 And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love.
2 Peter 1:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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…”
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.
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. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
Christ’s Death Fulfills God’s Will
5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings andsacrificesfor sin You had no pleasure. 7 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]
8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, andofferingsfor sin You did not desire, nor had pleasurein them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 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 “Thisisthe 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, AndHe[j]who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the[k]just shall live by faith; But ifanyonedraws 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.
Dear 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.