Tag: pictures with Bible verses

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.

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: POWER

Hebrews 1:3
Hebrews 1:3 Bible verse

I am reminded that some younger readers may not be acquainted with teachings on the Holy Spirit. And it is difficult to explain stuff which cannot be seen and or felt by the senses. So today’s word is “Power”. Why? Because as the millennial generation you are familiar with this word through the many media you engage in daily. What is power in the Bible? Where is it from? How can you have it? What is the power for? Here are some Bible verse for you to meditate on.

JESUS (THE SON OF GOD) HAD THE POWER (WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIM)
Luke 4:14 [ Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry ] Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out

Luke 4:36 Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

Luke 6:19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.

Matthew 10:1 [ The Twelve Apostles ] And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

CHRIST IS THE POWER; THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER; GOD’S WORD IS POWER
1 Corinthians 1:18 [ Christ the Power and Wisdom of God ] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Romans 1:16 [ The Just Live by Faith ] For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE POWER; THE APOSTLES WHO HAD THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THEM DEMONSTRATED THE POWER
Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 4:19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power.

1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

THE POWER OF CHRIST COMES THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO US

Romans 15:13 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.

1 Corinthians 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

GOD HAS GIVEN US THIS SAME SUPERNATURAL POWER TO LIVE CHRIST LIKE LIFE ON EARTH

John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

1 Corinthians 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.

2 Corinthians 4:7 [ Cast Down but Unconquered ] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

2 Corinthians 6:7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

2 Corinthians 13:4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.

Ephesians 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

Ephesians 1:21 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.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,

Ephesians 6:10 [ The Whole Armor of God ] Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL WILL MANIFEST THE POWER THROUGH SIGNS AND WONDERS
Romans 15:19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

Acts 5:12 [ Continuing Power in the Church ] And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.

EVERYONE CAN SEE THIS POWER OF GOD IN CREATION
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

GOD GIVES POWER TO MAKE WEALTH AND POWER TO ENJOY IT
Deuteronomy 8:18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Ecclesiastes 5:19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God.

a letter to princes and princesses of God: the dangers of last days (2222)

2 Timothy 2:22
2 Timothy 2:22 Bible verse

Having had long discourses with young friends and relatives lately, I realize how close the last days are and how unaware our young people are of the dangerous times. Subconsciously they have been alerted by their spirit and they desperately need help with seemingly no help in sight for them in their own world, mainly virtual and unreal. Even in the real world of their own home and neighborhood the grown-ups seem living in another distant world which they cannot reach. Indeed these lonely youth daily surf the internet to find answers to the many questions they are encountering in futility. What can a spiritual watchman do in this vast virtual space of emptiness? What do we have to fill the void? Today I am led to read Apostle Paul’s letters to young Timothy. Timothy was an exemplary godly youth in his time well brought up by his godly grandmother and mother. Yet, Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to write to him and alert him of the requirement to pursue godliness and holiness. Why? Because Paul knew the end times will come and even godly men will fall. What is Paul’s answer to this great danger? Here is my quote of his timeless letter to my young friends.

Dear young friends, princes and princesses of God:
I am writing with an urgency compelled by the love of God. I pray you read what my friend Paul has written. His timeless letter has helped many young people in his time and throughout the history of mankind for nearly two thousands years. Believe me, I was a young person once .

“Difficult Times Will Come”
3 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Let us all be vessels for honor!
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God [which He has laid] stands [sure and unshaken despite attacks], bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord stand apart from wickedness and withdraw from wrongdoing.”

20 Now in a large house there are not only [a]vessels and objects of gold and silver, but also vessels and objects of wood and of earthenware, and some are for honorable (noble, good) use and some for dishonorable (ignoble, common). 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable—disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

2:22 Run away from youthful lusts—pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those [believers] who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
(2 Timothy 2:19-22)

In summary: Let us run away from the bad, and run towards the good! It means running away in both our thoughts and in physical actions. We do not act unless we have been there in our thoughts. Guard our thoughts. Don’t let our thoughts go to places we should not go. Keep our thoughts pure by reading the pure words from God together with our godly friends. Bombard our ears with good songs based on the words of God from godly singers. Pray in tongue without ceasing just as the Apostle Paul taught us.*

Love from your dear friend,
Watchman J
3/21/2017

* I will write about the impact of music and tongue on our mind in another letter.

Footnotes:
2 Timothy 2:20 Like Rom 9:20-23, the analogy here has its roots in OT poetry (e.g. Ps 31:12; Prov 26:23) and prophecy (e.g. Is 45:9; Jer 18:2-6). Paul speaks of believers and unbelievers in Rom 9, but here he seems to be describing God’s household or family, in which all the vessels (containers, utensils) represent believers. While the objects in Rom 9:21 do not change, the vessels here are capable of changing their status and the use to which God puts them by keeping themselves from sinful behavior and influences (v 21).

Bible verses are quoted from Amplified Bible (AMP)

Daily Word: Isaiah 5417 verbal accuser silenced and rendered ineffectual

isaiah-5417-copyToday’s word is from Isaiah 54:17 no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. The scenario is not new. Jesus had many accusers in His time on earth. So were the apostles. For example, Paul. Take note that the accuser uses words, spoken or written. Their accusations were based on their own personal (political) agenda and in the case of Jesus and the apostles (and later the believers of Jesus Christ) they were not true. For those who read the Bible to the end you will have noticed A RECORD OF AN ACCUSER of the brethren in the Book of Revelation. Jesus called the accuser the FATHER OF LIES. Those who lie and give false witness in courts/similar official places (of governing authority) are termed children of the father of lies. In the Old Testament Book of Exodus 20:16 recorded the original commandment of God against lying/giving false accusation about others, “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.”
In the New Testament Book of Revelation 22:15 Jesus names those (including everyone who loves and practices falsehood) who will not be allowed to enter into God’s presence (New heaven and new earth).

(The Bible verses are quoted from New Living Translation unless otherwise specified)
THE ACCUSER OF CHRISTIANS Revelation 12:10
10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
has been thrown down to earth
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night.

THE GROUP WHO WILL BE EXCLUDED FROM GOD’S PRESENCE
Revelation 22:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Outside are the dogs [the godless, the impure, those of low moral character] and the sorcerers [with their intoxicating drugs, and magic arts], and the immoral persons [the perverted, the molesters, and the adulterers], and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying (deception, cheating).

GOD’S PROMSE OF A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR HIS PEOPLE
Isaiah 54:9-17
9 “Just as I swore in the time of Noah
that I would never again let a flood cover the earth,
so now I swear
that I will never again be angry and punish you.
10 For the mountains may move
and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
11 “O storm-battered city,
troubled and desolate!
I will rebuild you with precious jewels
and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your towers of sparkling rubies,
your gates of shining gems,
and your walls of precious stones.
13 I will teach all your children,
and they will enjoy great peace.
14 You will be secure under a government that is just and fair.
Your enemies will stay far away.
You will live in peace,
and terror will not come near.
15 If any nation comes to fight you,
it is not because I sent them.
Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.
16 “I have created the blacksmith
who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction.
And I have created the armies that destroy.
17 But in that coming day
no weapon turned against you will succeed.
You will silence every voice
raised up to accuse you.
These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord;
their vindication will come from me.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
New Living Translation (NLT)

A NEW BEGINNING FOR EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES IN JESUS
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)
For the love of Christ controls and compels us, because we have concluded this, that One died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake.

16 So from now on we regard no one from a human point of view [according to worldly standards and values]. Though we have known Christ from a human point of view, now we no longer know Him in this way. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 18 But all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ [making us acceptable to Him] and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [so that by our example we might bring others to Him], 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting people’s sins against them [but canceling them]. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation [that is, restoration to favor with God].

20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us; we [as Christ’s representatives] plead with you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God. 21 He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].

Daily Word: Matthew 2017

1-corinthians-212
picture with Bible verses: 1 Corinthians 2:12

Today we read what happened to Jesus. Because Jesus said that the same will happen to His followers (disciples). Matthew recorded many teachings of Jesus which depicted everyday lives. They are timeless. Human heart and nature have not changed. Matthew 20:1-17 tells us the scene in the marketplace (employment agency) on one ordinary day. An employer (God) employs workers at different intervals and pays each one the same wage he has committed. But those who think that they deserve more just because they have been in employment longer become angry and indignant. They try to incite a revolt against the employer. But the employer tells them off. He is honoring his part of the employment agreement. But these protestors/revolters are not. They have forgotten or conveniently ignored the agreement. Why?

Jesus gave the reason why in His life.
13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

Jesus Again Predicts His Death
17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. 18 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man[b] will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. 19 Then they will hand him over to the Romans[c] to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

Jesus told the parable to show how jealousy and greed cannot be concealed and can ruin a person. His adversaries are driven by greed and are insanely jealous of Him. They (the religious and political leaders) have been there a long time. They have institutionalized themselves as the only authoritative governing voice for the nation (social, cultural, education, economic, religious and political). Jesus is not one of them. So how dare He now take the lead in all fields of the nation, with countless more followers from the grassroots than them (over their whole lifetime) in a mere short three years?

While Jesus is following God’s will, doing all the good deeds feeding the poor, genuinely caring loving those upon whom the society looks down, healing the sick, setting the captives/oppressed free, his adversaries are plotting to kill him.

Pilate the Roman Governor knows the motive of the adversaries of Jesus. Matthew 27:18 For Pilate knew that it was because of jealousy that the chief priests and elders had handed Jesus over to him.

The point for Christian intercessors of knowing or revising the above is to pray more effectively. Now we are reminded of the motive of the adversary of God, how shall we pray? I am led to read Mark chapter one and sixteen right now as I ask the Lord.
Here are the  verses that should spur us into the right course and action:

Mark 1:3 This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.[a] It began 2 just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
3 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”

14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

16:15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

In summary: Press on in the supernatural journey and run faithfully and consistently as we are led by the Spirit of Christ as ordained by the Almighty and not be distracted by the petty ways of man (motivated by personal agenda and not aligned with God’s plan).
1 Corinthians 2:12  And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

a word of encouragement 2 Kings 6:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

a word for those angry with God
Genesis 4:4-7New Living Translation (NLT)

4 Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? 7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

Daily Word: think carefully and focus on promise of good in rebuilding (Haggai 1818)

haggai-218God always speaks before a thing happens. What He has spoken always comes to pass.God makes it come to pass to show that the message is from God. What shall the hearers do? Just believe and go forward. All the great men of God in history accomplished great exploits following this simple key. Today we read from Haggai 2 this prophetic verse: “Think about this eighteenth day of December, the day when the foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid. Think carefully. I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you.” (2:18-19)

This is spoken by God to a group of people who were uncertain about their future after starting to rebuild the Temple of God. They inherited a system of ruin (political, social, economic and religious) as a result of years of corruption, neglect, self-seeking among the rulers and administrators in all significant fields of life. They were also facing political and religious enemies all round bent on causing disruptions and distractions to prevent their nation rebuilding efforts.

Who are in this group of brave rebuilders whom God is addressing right now? The group of remnants who have sacrificially left their own comparatively safe and comfortable zone/homes in foreign land and returned to Jerusalem to rebuild. They have responded to a common calling: to rebuild their nation. In today’s language, they left their own personal agenda and responded to God’s agenda.

God also speaks to the anointed leader loud and clear. In the case of this prophetic passage from prophet Haggai, the leader is a prince, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, whom God calls, “My servant.”

Haggai 2:23 “But when this happens, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, I will honor you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant. I will make you like a signet ring on my finger, says the Lord, for I have chosen you. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”

Daily Word:Matthew 4111 power to make the adversary go away!

matthew-44Today’s key issue: how to make your adversary go away and leave you alone? There are many petty hassles that are trying their best to distract you from the really important issues like nation or church building. Daily hassles are stressors and their intention is to drive you to the point of being dysfunctional. Today the watchman is led in the spirit to give this following 100% effective strategy. It has worked perfectly when Jesus initiated it and it is still working effectively today. The arch-enemy the devil tried to pester Jesus when Jesus started his ministry. But Jesus was well prepared as the Son of God. What happened in the end? “Then the devil went away, and the angels came and took care of Jesus.”

My notes are in brackets in italics.

Matthew 4:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

(There are times of tiredness as you assume your new office of great responsibilities. And that is the time to be alert against the wiles of the enemy. The more important your job is the higher rank devil will be assigned to tempt you.)

3 During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

(Of course, the first trick is to make you eat unnecessarily and not at the right time and proportion. Many important people failed and fell because they made their belly/PHYSICAL PART their god. They suffer from a fear of lack. lack of physical comfort, popularity, security, esteem and friendship from others etc.)

4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”

(WHAT DID JESUS SAY? THE SPIRITUAL IS MORE IMPORTANT AND POTENT THAN THE PHYSICAL! WHERE DOES HIS SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE COME FROM? THE WORD OF GOD.)

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,
‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]”

(the devil then tried this seemingly equally spiritual and ‘godly’ temptation. He challenged Jesus in the matter of faith. “If you really have faith in God, you jump to your death!”)

7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]” (WHAT DID JESUS SAY? HOW DARE YOU CHALLENGE GOD!” JESUS IS INDEED THE SON OF GOD AND HE DOESN’T HAVE TO PROVE HIS CREDENTIAL.)

8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

(lastly, the devil tried a seemingly fail-proof offer, power and wealth, fame and fortune.)

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’[e]”

(JESUS FINALLY COMMANDED THE DEVIL TO GET OUT OF HIS SIGHT. IT WORKED! THE DEVIL HAD TO OBEY. WHY? BECAUSE JESUS IS TRULY THE SON OF GOD AND HE KNOWS HOW TO USE HIS AUTHORITY AGAINS HIS ENEMY.)

11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

Footnotes:

4:3 Greek the tempter.
4:4 Deut 8:3.
4:6 Ps 91:11-12.
4:7 Deut 6:16.
4:10 Deut 6:13.

GOD’S WORD FOR TODAY’S CHRISTIANS
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.[a]
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.[b]”
Footnotes:
6:17 Isa 52:11; Ezek 20:34 (Greek version).
6:18 2 Sam 7:14.

WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD.WE HAVE THE SAME AUTHORITY AND POWER JESUS HAS TO COMMAND THE ADVERSARY TO LEAVE.
Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Daily Word:Ecclesiastes 111 Send your grain across the seas, profits will flow back

ecclesiastes-111All about Christian (and Jewish) economics and finance today. In another word, how to persistently and sustainably prosper the Bible way?
Advice from the richest man in history. Ecclesiastes 11 New Living Translation (NLT) Investment and disbursement
11:1 Send your grain across the seas,
and in time, profits will flow back to you.
2 But divide your investments among many places,
for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.
3 When clouds are heavy, the rains come down.
Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.
4 Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
5 Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

6 Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.

Isaiah 28:23-29 Listen to me;
listen, and pay close attention.
24 Does a farmer always plow and never sow?
Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting?
25 Does he not finally plant his seeds—
black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat—
each in its proper way,
and each in its proper place?
26 The farmer knows just what to do,
for God has given him understanding.
27 A heavy sledge is never used to thresh black cumin;
rather, it is beaten with a light stick.
A threshing wheel is never rolled on cumin;
instead, it is beaten lightly with a flail.
28 Grain for bread is easily crushed,
so he doesn’t keep on pounding it.
He threshes it under the wheels of a cart,
but he doesn’t pulverize it.
29 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is a wonderful teacher,
and he gives the farmer great wisdom.

Daily Word: what has Mark 11:11 and Nehemiah 2:11 have in common? “Investigate, verify and act according to plan.”

nehemiah-218Jesus did something that Nehemiah did around 444BC. After He entered into Jerusalem, He inspected and verified first the actual condition of the Temple. Prior to this action, as recorded in Mark 11:9, 10 in acclaiming Jesus with the words of Ps. 118:25, 26, the people were publicly acknowledging Him as their Messiah. Hosanna, meaning “Save now” came to be a customary shout of praise like…but Jesus was not at all concerned with attending any celebration party after the brief interval at the gate, or seeking a personal glory through the people in Jerusalem who appeared to exalt him to the highest political position they could give to a fellow country man. Instead, He continued with His plan and carried it out quietly and effectively. The newly appointed Governor Nehemiah did the same thing. On arrival at Jerusalem, instead of attending a lavish inauguration party, he went out on his own in the quiet of the night and carried out his first hand investigation and proceeded with his plan without wavering. Nehemiah succeeded in re-building the wall of Jerusalem in 52 short days! Jesus completed His mission within the immediate holy passion week. Both were man of focused thoughts and action. No diversions or distractions ever succeeded in preventing them to finish their race and achieve their one utmost important goal.

Mark 11:11 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

11 And He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around at everything, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve, since it was already late.

Nehemiah 2:11-20 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Inspecting the Walls
11 I came to Jerusalem, and after I was there for three days, 12 I got up during the night along with a few men. But I did not tell anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me except the animal I was riding. 13 By night I went out by the Valley Gate toward Jackal Spring and the Dung Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, where there was not enough room for my animal to pass with me; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and returned to the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, but as yet I had not told the Jews, the kohanim, the nobles, the officials or the rest of the workers.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in: Jerusalem is desolate and its gates have been burnt. Come! Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a disgrace.”

18 Then I told them how the good hand of my God was on me and the words that the king had said to me. Then they replied, “Let us begin building!” So they prepared themselves for this good work.

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. They said, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?”

20 I responded to them saying, “The God of heaven will bring us success. We His servants will arise and build. But you have no part, right, or historical claim in Jerusalem.”

Jesus focused on God’s mission and plan (the big picture)
John 12:28 Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”

John 12:49 I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.

Daily Word: what 13 means today to Reform a nation (and transform man)

galatians-615He resembled Ezra in his fiery zeal, in his active spirit of enterprise, and in the piety of his life: but he was of a bluffer and a fiercer mood; he had less patience with transgressors; he was a man of action rather than a man of thought, and more inclined to use force than persuasion. His practical sagacity and high courage were very markedly shown in the arrangement with which he carried through the rebuilding of the wall and balked the cunning plans of the ‘adversaries.’ The piety of his heart, his deeply religious spirit and constant sense of communion with and absolute dependence upon God, are strikingly exhibited, first in the long prayer recorded in ch. 1:5-11 , and secondly and most remarkably in what have been called his ‘interjectional prayers’, those short but moving addresses to Almighty God which occur so frequently in his writings,”* (Who is this man? Nehemiah, the comforter-deliverer)

Nehemiah’s Various Reforms in chapter 13 (Bible book: Nehemiah in NLT)
13:1 On that same day, as the Book of Moses was being read to the people, the passage was found that said no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be permitted to enter the assembly of God.[a] 2 For they had not provided the Israelites with food and water in the wilderness. Instead, they hired Balaam to curse them, though our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 When this passage of the Law was read, all those of foreign descent were immediately excluded from the assembly.

4 Before this had happened, Eliashib the priest, who had been appointed as supervisor of the storerooms of the Temple of our God and who was also a relative of Tobiah, 5 had converted a large storage room and placed it at Tobiah’s disposal. The room had previously been used for storing the grain offerings, the frankincense, various articles for the Temple, and the tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil (which were prescribed for the Levites, the singers, and the gatekeepers), as well as the offerings for the priests.

6 I was not in Jerusalem at that time, for I had returned to King Artaxerxes of Babylon in the thirty-second year of his reign,[b] though I later asked his permission to return. 7 When I arrived back in Jerusalem, I learned about Eliashib’s evil deed in providing Tobiah with a room in the courtyards of the Temple of God. 8 I became very upset and threw all of Tobiah’s belongings out of the room. 9 Then I demanded that the rooms be purified, and I brought back the articles for God’s Temple, the grain offerings, and the frankincense.

10 I also discovered that the Levites had not been given their prescribed portions of food, so they and the singers who were to conduct the worship services had all returned to work their fields. 11 I immediately confronted the leaders and demanded, “Why has the Temple of God been neglected?” Then I called all the Levites back again and restored them to their proper duties. 12 And once more all the people of Judah began bringing their tithes of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the Temple storerooms.

13 I assigned supervisors for the storerooms: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah, one of the Levites. And I appointed Hanan son of Zaccur and grandson of Mattaniah as their assistant. These men had an excellent reputation, and it was their job to make honest distributions to their fellow Levites.

14 Remember this good deed, O my God, and do not forget all that I have faithfully done for the Temple of my God and its services.

15 In those days I saw men of Judah treading out their winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in grain, loading it on donkeys, and bringing their wine, grapes, figs, and all sorts of produce to Jerusalem to sell on the Sabbath. So I rebuked them for selling their produce on that day. 16 Some men from Tyre, who lived in Jerusalem, were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise. They were selling it on the Sabbath to the people of Judah—and in Jerusalem at that!

17 So I confronted the nobles of Judah. “Why are you profaning the Sabbath in this evil way?” I asked. 18 “Wasn’t it just this sort of thing that your ancestors did that caused our God to bring all this trouble upon us and our city? Now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by permitting the Sabbath to be desecrated in this way!”

19 Then I commanded that the gates of Jerusalem should be shut as darkness fell every Friday evening,[c] not to be opened until the Sabbath ended. I sent some of my own servants to guard the gates so that no merchandise could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 The merchants and tradesmen with a variety of wares camped outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I spoke sharply to them and said, “What are you doing out here, camping around the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you!” And that was the last time they came on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and to guard the gates in order to preserve the holiness of the Sabbath.

Remember this good deed also, O my God! Have compassion on me according to your great and unfailing love.

23 About the same time I realized that some of the men of Judah had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. 24 Furthermore, half their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. 25 So I confronted them and called down curses on them. I beat some of them and pulled out their hair. I made them swear in the name of God that they would not let their children intermarry with the pagan people of the land.

26 “Wasn’t this exactly what led King Solomon of Israel into sin?” I demanded. “There was no king from any nation who could compare to him, and God loved him and made him king over all Israel. But even he was led into sin by his foreign wives. 27 How could you even think of committing this sinful deed and acting unfaithfully toward God by marrying foreign women?”

28 One of the sons of Joiada son of Eliashib the high priest had married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite, so I banished him from my presence.

29 Remember them, O my God, for they have defiled the priesthood and the solemn vows of the priests and Levites.

30 So I purged out everything foreign and assigned tasks to the priests and Levites, making certain that each knew his work. 31 I also made sure that the supply of wood for the altar and the first portions of the harvest were brought at the proper times.

Remember this in my favor, O my God.

Footnotes:

13:1 See Deut 23:3-6.
13:6 King Artaxerxes of Persia is here identified as the king of Babylon because Persia had conquered the Babylonian Empire. The thirty-second year of Artaxerxes was 433 B.c.
13:19 Hebrew on the day before the Sabbath.

What Transformation really means to an individual as well as a nation

Hosea 2:15 I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Galatians 6:15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation.

*Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary