Were Not Ten Cleansed?

Dear Servants of Jesus-Christ;

May the peace, mercy and grace of God our Father, and of His Son Jesus-Christ, our Lord, be with you. Through God’s Spirit, I trust that I may exhort you to press on and continue to abound in good works, even when the beneficiaries of your good deeds do not express any gratitude toward God.

Luke 17 records such instance, where Jesus, in disappointment asked

Luke 17:17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?

Let’s take a look at the context.

Luke 17:11-19On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

The response of the nine lepers is, unfortunately, not uncommon of those who receive the mercy and grace of God. They rejoice greatly indeed at the grace they have received, for they see their burden lifted. But their joy does not translate into God receiving any glory. At times, it is the messenger of God who is at fault, as he or she may seek glory for himself. But in the case above, it is the recipient who is not rendering to God what is due to Him. To the servants, this may be discouraging.

We see that Jesus said“Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”. As the perfect messenger of God, Jesus never sought glory for Himself, but for His Father, and by the grace of God, such ingratitude did not deter Him to continue to abound in the good works His Father had commissioned Him to perform.

As we honor Christ by serving others, we should adopt the same attitude. We should share the grace of God freely, while we lament on the reality that many who will receive this grace will not return and glorify God. Their newfound freedom will not translate into a God-honoring life.

We see in verse 15 that the one who returned praised God with a loud voice!

Here is something the servants of the Lord may learn. For it is evident that the leper who returned – as well as the other nine – knew that it was GOD who had extended His mercy to Him through Jesus. We too, we must ensure that the recipients of our good deeds are fully aware that the it is GOD, not us, extending His grace on them.

Here goes the first key to not only protecting ourselves from sinning by robbing God of His glory, but also to giving the recipients everything they need to give God His glory.

But we should refrain – in our desire to see God glorified – from adopting the carrot-and-the-stick approach, whereby we first “force” the needy to hear “the gospel preached” before his or her physical need is met. At best, this often results in hypocrisy, for the recipient knows that unless he publicly praises God first, he will not be freed from his burden.

A servant seeks to please His Master. Many will not return and give God glory, but simply move on and enjoy the grace they have received. We should not be discouraged. We should move forward, ever abounding in good works, for just as we see our Master working, we too, should be working.

May the Lord continue to empower you for the work of His Kingdom.

In Jesus name. AMEN.

Drawing Inferences from Past Blessings

Dear friends;

May the grace, mercy and peace of God our Father, and of His Son, our Lord Jesus-Christ, be with you as you read these lines. Friends, the accounts of the people of Israel – how they repeatedly tempted God – soon after He had saved them from the Egyptians by partying the Red Sea, are recorded to teach us that we should guard our hearts from falling unto unbelief, by constantly drawing inferences from His past work in us.

Indeed, one of our greatest deficiencies is either the unwillingness or inability to draw inferences from – or said another way, to extrapolate – God’s blessings in our lives. We can recognize God’s blessing in a specific situation in our life, but we are either unwilling or unable to deepen our understanding of God and His Character. As a result, we are unable to see past that specific blessing or situation. We are either unwilling or unable to derive from that specific experience, that God will bless us again, again, and again.

We see this happening to Israel. The same people who witnessed the partying of the Red Sea, only 3 days after started to murmur against God because they could not find any water to drink. There God made another miracle by making the water of Marah sweet and then brought them in a place with 12 springs of water and 70 palm trees.

Exodus 15:22-25 [ISV] Then Moses led Israel from the Reed Sea and they went to the desert of Shur. They traveled into the desert for three days and did not find water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter…24 Then the people complained against Moses: “What are we to drink?” 25 Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which he threw into the water, and the water became sweet.

Soon after they started to complain about what they should eat, going as far as regretting having left Egypt! This is where God responded with another miracle where He first brought quails, and every morning, He brought Manna for them to eat [Exodus 16:4-35].

Exodus 16:2,3 [ISV] The whole congregation of the Israelis complained against Moses and Aaron in the desert. 3 The Israelis told them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt when we sat by the cooking pots, when we ate bread until we were filled—because you brought us to this desert to kill this entire congregation with hunger.”

We see here the failure of the Israelites to make inferences from each blessing of God. They could not – or were unwilling to – conclude that if God had saved them from the Egyptians, He not only could not, but also would not let them perish in the desert.

In the times when Jesus walked on the earth, we saw the same issue taking place, at multiples times. And Jesus rebuked his disciple for it, addressing this issue as a lack of faith…by failing to understand!

Matthew 16:8-10 [ISV]Knowing this, Jesus asked them, “You who have little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you don’t have any bread? 9 Don’t you understand yet? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the 5,000 and how many baskets you collected, 10 or the seven loaves for the 4,000 and how many baskets you collected?

We must do a better job at drawing inferences from God’s blessings. We should see them beyond their immediate context and see in them opportunities to better understand God’s ways. This is yet another mechanism by which our faith grows. When we face a new situation, regardless of whether we have faced something similar in the past or not, we should a better job at inferring that if God blessed us in the past, then He will do it again. We should not fall unto unbelief.

Reading how God responded to the Israelites back in Exodus, or how Jesus addressed His disciples in Matthew, it is clear that God knows that we are capable of such exercise for He is the one who has created us, as intelligent beings, and beings who can choose to hear Him, and therefore be strong in faith.

Do not be doubtful dear friend in the face of your calamity. Learn to draw inferences from God’s blessings! Be strong in faith.

In Jesus name. AMEN.

You Are Being Watched!

Dear friends;

I pray that the Grace of God, His peace and mercy are upon you as you read these words. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I would like to assure you that you are regularly being watched. You may not like this fact, but Christians especially should be very mindful of the fact that their lives are under a constant microscope. What you do is known, everything you say is recorded, and whatever you think is known!

THERE IS PLENTY OF EVIDENCE IN THE SCRIPTURE THAT TELL US THAT THIS IS TRUE

Luke 8:17There is nothing hidden that won’t be revealed, and there is nothing secret that won’t become known and come to light.
Matthew 12:36 – I tell you, on Judgment Day people will give an account for every thoughtless word they have uttered 

We are not being informed of this fact to drive us to paranoia, but to wisdom. Many a Christian live foolishly and suffer the consequences for being ignorant.   

Look at what Jesus said in the book of Revelation, and how many times He said it…

Revelation 2:2I know what you’ve been doing, your toil, and your endurance. I also know that you cannot tolerate evil people…
Revelation 2:9I know your suffering and your poverty—though you are rich…
Revelation 2:13I know where you live…
Revelation 2:19I know what you’ve been doing—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance—and that your last actions are greater than the first…
Revelation 3:1 I know what you’ve been doing. You are known for being alive, but you are dead…

Demons are also regularly watching you…

1 Peter 5:8,9Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the Devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him and be firm in the faith…

YOUR FAITH IS REGULARLY TESTED

Whether it is to make you slip in your walk of faith, or to make you realize where you are still weak so that you will take corrective measures, your faith is constantly under scrutiny. Every moment of your life is an occasion for the state of your faith to be manifested. The big tests and the small, all work to evaluate and strengthen your faith. The big attacks and the small, all work to destroy it.

But Sometimes, we have no one to blame but ourselves…

James 1:13,14When someone is tempted, he should not say, “I am being tempted by God,” because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. 14 Instead, each person is tempted by his own desire, being lured and trapped by it.
James 4:3 – You ask for something but do not get it because you ask for it for the wrong reason—for your own pleasure.

GOD IS PATIENT

God’s patience toward us makes a lot of sense and is critical in light of the fact that our lives are constantly evaluated. He does not want us to perish, therefore He gives us an opportunity to come back, or to simply come on the right track.

2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some people understand slowness, but is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to find room for repentance.

BUT GOD’S PATIENCE HAS SOME CLEAR LIMITS

While the scriptures are full of evidences of God’s enduring patience toward us, there are also ample evidence that this patience is not without limit. One will do well to recall how He sent the big flood in the days of Noah, or how He destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, or how He destroyed the people of Israel in the wilderness after He had saved them from Egypt. Lastly, one can read this clearest of statements from Jesus, a testimony of His patience reaching its limit.

Revelation 2:21,22 – But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and who teaches and leads my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refused to repent of her immorality.

GOD WILL SEND A POWERFUL DELUSION

We are informed in advance that God will send a powerful delusion to seal the fate of those who would have made light of His patience and not repented. It is a very powerful delusion because it is designed to separate the false believers from the true ones.

Distinguishing the true believers from false ones is a task best left in God’s hands. While we may have, with the Holy Spirit, the ability to distinguish between them, there are cases that even the most seasoned believers will not be able to discern. But here, God has engineered the most perfect solution. And His solution will absolutely separate the false from the true.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-11The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the power of Satan. He will use every kind of power, including miraculous signs, lying wonders, 10 and every type of evil to deceive those who are dying, those who refused to love the truth that would save them. 11 For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. 12 Then all who have not believed the truth but have taken pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.

Those among us who, rather than truly turning to God in repentance still have pleasure in what this life is so willing to offer will not be able to resist the deception that God will unleash on us. While the most clever among us can fool the rest of us about their faith, this deception will act as a precision device designed to extract the deepest and truest desires of their hearts and show that in fact, they still preferred this life rather than the life Jesus demanded.

Interestingly, looking at the immediate context of this passage, we can see that this delusion is associated with the great falling away in the Church, predicted in the scriptures (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

CONCLUSION

My friend, it is clear that God is patient toward us, but that He is also asking us to have a true change of heart. He is asking you and me to truly repent and follow Him. He does not want us somewhat dedicated to Him, or even 90% dedicated to Him, but 100% dedicated to Him. True, He is not talking about a perfect life for He knows that we are not capable, yet, of it. Nor is He asking all of us to be full-time missionaries and pastors. But He is talking about you making every effort possible, with the amazing power and help of the Holy Spirit, to live the most holy life you can possibly live, a life that honors His Son Jesus, who died for you. You are indeed being watched!

In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

The Foolishness of the Spirit

Dear friends;

Greetings from our God and Father, and from our Lord, Jesus, the Christ. This letter is an updated version of an article I originally posted in July 2013, pertaining to the foolishness of the acts and ways of the Spirit. Yet, it is according to the Spirit of God, that Christians are commanded to be led.

WHAT DOES NATURE TEACH US?

Romans 1:20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made…

I was at a zoo not too long ago where I took the picture of the tiger you see here. Thankfully, there was a “very” thick glass separating us. This tiger, like the crocodiles and the many other animals I saw that day has a strength that far exceeds mine. Without the glass separating us, I simply would not stand a chance in a physical combat (if there is even one to begin with). Yet I thought

Men were able to lock this tiger in a cage. Men also caged all the lions, the crocodiles, and even the elephants in that zoo. Some men (and women) did all this so that others can come and look at them“.

Then I thought, “what is it that we, human, have that allows us to dominate all these animals?” A mind of course! We can think, we can reason, they cannot.

Then I thought

“if only he could, I am sure this tiger would give up all its strength in a heartbeat just to get a piece of my mind”.

WHY? BECAUSE NO MATTER HOW STRONG HE IS, HIS POWER CANNOT BE COMPARED TO THE POWER OF MY MIND.

HOW MUCH MORE POWERFUL IS THE MIND COMPARED TO THE BODY?

Well, we can’t really tell because the mind and the body are on completely different scales, the mind being evidently on a far superior one. NO AMOUNT OF BODILY EXERCISE CAN DEVELOP A MIND. EITHER ONE HAS A MIND, OR ONE DOES NOT.

WELL, THINK OF THE SPIRIT! IT MUST AT LEAST THAT MUCH MORE SUPERIOR TO THE MIND

Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God is Spirit so His ways and thoughts are spiritual. The mind of a man is really what defines him (Proverbs 23:7), so his ways and thoughts are of his mind, his intellect. That is how he reasons. Here in Isaiah, we see that the ways of God, which are Spiritual are far superior to our ways, which are the ways of our mind.

Just like with bodily strength compared to the power of the mind, NO AMOUNT OF MIND EXERCISE WILL EVER DEVELOP A SPIRIT OR ATTAIN TO THE POWER THAT THE SPIRIT AFFORDS.

Now, as we will see with the two examples below, the ways of the spirit can be so different than the ways of the mind that actions that originate from the Spirit may appear downright foolish to the mind. That is how incapable the mind is in trying to understand the spirit.

ACTIONS OF THE SPIRIT

1 Corinthians 2:14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Understanding the context of this verse, a natural man is one who does not operate with the Spirit of God. To the best of my understanding, by “natural man”, 1 Corinthians 2:14 refers to anyone who does not have the Spirit. The natural man is one who operates solely from his mind (or worse, his body). God says that such a man “cannot” accept the things of Spirit because they are foolishness to him. He “cannot” even understand them! Wow, what is so special about the Spirit that even the smartest among us cannot understand his things?? It is just the same as the tiger who cannot explain by its brute strength, how he found himself caged by humans.

SPITTING ON DIRT TO HEAL BLINDNESS

John 9:6When He (Jesus) had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.

1) spitting on the ground, 2) making clay out of it, 3) applying that clay on someone’s eyes who is completely blind, and then 4) sending that person to go wash in some pool is hardly an acceptable recipe for healing blindness. This is an act of the Spirit. And for the mind, this is pure foolishness!

WALKING AND SHOUTING AS A MILITARY STRATEGY

Now the whole record of the battle of Jericho under the leadership of Joshua is a bit long (Joshua 6:1-27). But essentially, God instructs Joshua and his military officers to march around the city of Jericho for six days. And on the seventh day, they were supposed to march around the city seven times, blow the trumpet, and shout. The expected outcome? The wall of Jericho – a fortified city – was supposed to fall down flat! Well, Joshua and his men did it, and the wall did fall flat!

Joshua 6:20…the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.

This strategy continues to puzzle many a military pundit, simply because they are trying to explain by the brute strength of their intellect. But it was an act of the Spirit, not of the mind. And so are, the partying of the sea with Moses, Jesus walking on water, people being healed from Paul’s handkerchief, or Jesus feeding thousands of people starting with five fish and a piece of bread, and many more.

BUT PERHAPS THE MOST PUZZLING WAYS OF THE SPIRIT ARE FOUND WHEN CHRISTIANS ARE MIRACULOUSLY WILLING TO ENDURE BOTH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSES

2 Corinthians 6:2-10See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

To the rest of the world, suffering to this extent hardly makes any sense. We serve a God we cannot see, get instructions from Him to live selflessly, to suffer so other rejoice, and endure, sometime unto death, having a hope that our mind cannot grasp.

Ephesians 3:20…to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine

The most brilliant mind will still never understand the ways of the Spirit. As Christians, we are told to put on the mind of Christ, that is…to operate on a Spiritual level, not at the level of our mind.

Philippians 2:5…Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus

Then, and only then, can we effectively contribute our share in the great commission of reconciling people to God, of sharing the burden of our brothers and sisters, thereby honoring Christ.

Zechariah 4:6“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts…

It is futile for the tiger to think that he can accomplish with its physical strength what can only be accomplished with the mind. Likewise, it truly is futile for us to think that we can accomplish with the mind those things that can only be accomplished through the Spirit. We need the Spirit of God to accomplish the tasks God has given us. We need the spirit of God and we should dictate our own mind to subject itself to the immensely superior power of it! It is only then that we will see the acts of the Spirit. A mind that is subject to the spirit is a mind that acts upon the directives of the Spirit instead of its own directives. 

We may look very foolish at times to outsiders (Jesus certainly did when he spat on the ground), but Spiritually speaking, we would be moving mountains, raging blows to the Devil’s army, freeing those who are oppressed by it, with the freedom that only Christ can provide.

May His Name be praised. AMEN.

The Book of REVELATION

Dear friends, fellow Christians;

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus-Christ, and grace, mercy and peace from God the Father. I would like by God’s grace to bring your attention to the Book of Revelation, as far its main purpose. It is true that for most – if not all of us – Revelation is one difficult book. It is full of symbolism and the time dimension is used in ways that bind our minds. It speaks of a Dragon and Lake of fire, and a war of “Biblical” proportions. And it speaks of a pure river of Water of Life that is clear as crystal, of billions of angels, of a new heaven and a new earth, and of immortality.

And therefore, it attracts many, most of whom for the wrong reason. It has inspired countless movies, books, and stories. Promise to unveil the meanings of its many symbols and you are guaranteed to attract many.

But Revelation is no fairy tale. It is NOT addressed to everyone and its essential message is very clear.

WHAT IS THE BOOK OF REVELATION:

Revelation 1:1 [ISV] – This is the revelation of Jesus the Messiah, which God gave him to show his servants the things that must happen soon.

The Book of Revelation is a message that the Father gave to His Son, Jesus, to give to His Servants, regarding a number of things that are about to happen.

TO WHOM IS REVELATION ADDRESSED:

Revelation 1:3,4 – How blessed is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and obey what is written in it, for the time is near! 4 From John to the seven churches in Asia.

The Book of Revelation is a message from God TO THE CHURCHES. Hence, while anyone can read this Book, not everyone is blessed by it (some may actually be cursed from reading it), for it is 1) to the churches, and 2) one is blessed when one hear and obey what is written.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK:

As was said earlier, the purpose is to inform the churches about what is coming.

Revelation 1:1 [ISV] – This is the revelation of Jesus the Messiah, which God gave him to show his servants the things that must happen soon.

WHAT IS THE INTENT BEHIND THE PURPOSE:

Revelation 22:10-17 [ISV] – Then he told me, “Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy in this book, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does what is evil continue to do what is evil. Let the filthy person continue to be filthy. Let the righteous person continue to do what is right. And let the holy person continue to be holy.”
12 “See! I am coming soon! My reward is with me to repay everyone according to his behavior. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
14 “How blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are dogs, sorcerers, immoral people, murderers, idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give this testimony to you for the churches. I am the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
Let everyone who hears this say, “Come!”
Let everyone who is thirsty come!

Let anyone who wants the water of life take it as a gift!

The intent of the Book is to give God’s people all the information they need, by means of powerful encouragement to those who need it, but also very solemn warnings and rebukes to those who must have it, to get their acts together before the Lord Jesus comes back.

Revelation 22:14 – “How blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city!

It is a call to members of the CHURCHES to wash their robes so that we may be given access to the tree of life and be allowed into the presence of God, for God will be IN the city.

Revelation 22:3 – There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the lamb will be in the city.

WHAT THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS NOT:

The Book of Revelation is NOT a Book to convert the unbelievers! Not to say that unbelievers cannot be brought to repentance through it, God knows. But please note of the fact that it is ADDRESSED TO churches (Revelation 1:4 and 22:16), also described as THOSE WHO ALREADY HAVE A ROBE! (Revelation 22:14). And to them, the blessing is in WASHING THEIR ROBES (NOT wearing one, buying one, etc.).

Hence, it is a warning to repentance and obedience.

Brothers and sisters, think about it: God is speaking to us whom He count as His children. There is a reason he gives us such strong warnings. How long will we ignore His voice and make light of His invitation?

Revelation 22:17-19 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
Let everyone who hears this say, “Come!”
Let everyone who is thirsty come!
Let anyone who wants the water of life take it as a gift!

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy in this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will strike him with the plagues that are written in this book. 19 If anyone takes away any words from the book of this prophecy, God will take away his portion of the tree of life and the holy city that are described in this book.

Father, in the name of Jesus Your Holy Son, according to Your Own Grace, cause us to hear, understand and obey your voice and heed your warnings, that we may have right to your gift of life and eternity by your side. I pray not only for myself, but for my loved ones, for the readers, and all who call upon Jesus.

In the Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Do Not Lose the Good Ones

Dear friends;

By the grace of God, allow me to speak on a subject that has great relevance in the workplace, in your worship community and even in your personal life in general: Loosing the Good Ones.

You are most likely familiar with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is what the Angels of God said to Abraham as they were going there…

Genesis 18:20,21The Lord also said, “How great is the disapproval of Sodom and Gomorrah! Their sin is so very serious! 21 I’m going down to see whether they’ve acted according to the protests that have reached me. If not, I wish to know.”

God was prepared to destroy them for their sins, but look at what the Angels also said to Abraham when he asked whether God will still destroy it they found first 50 righteous people in there (verse 24). Then 45 righteous (verse 28). Then 40 righteous (verse 29). Then 30 righteous (verse 30). Then 20 righteous  (verse 31)…Then 10 righteous…(verse 32). Their response: He will not destroy it!

Genesis 18:32 – “For the sake of those ten I won’t destroy it.”

BUT the angels found less than ten! They only found ONE!…and once Sodom and Gomorrah lost that one, their fate was sealed.

In your workplace, you lose people: Employees, and coworkers. In your life, you lose people: Friends, acquaintances, mentors, etc.  At your church, you lose people: Leaders, brothers and sister.

BUT, DO NOT LOSE THE GOOD ONES! DO NOT LOSE THE GOD FEARING MEN AND WOMEN, FOR THE BLESSINGS OF GOD FOLLOW THEM!

As long as they are in your midst, their blessings cover you. But once they are removed, there is no hope for you, your team or your church community. The only thing that awaits you is a downhill trend (certainly spiritually and morally, and may be even physically, financially, intellectually and much more).

So friends…Do Not Lose the Good Ones.

In Jesus’ name.

AMEN.

Prayer as a Sign of Faith

Dear brothers and sisters;

May God’s grace, peace and mercy be with you in abundance, in the Lord Jesus. We have reported previously (read here)  that this form of salutation is no mere formality, but a prayer that God gives you strength not only to hold onto your faith, but also power to proclaim the Gospel. To pray constantly is God’s Will for us, and to constantly pray for things that are according to His Will is one of the most authentic testimony of the health of our Faith.

Put it bluntly, if you have a weak or non-existent prayer life, it is a sure sign that either you have little faith or no faith at all.

Consider indeed the parable recorded in Luke 18, where Jesus sought to teach us that we should always pray, and not give up.

Luke 18:1-8Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray all the time and never give up. 2 He said, “In a city there was a judge who didn’t fear God or respect people. 3 In that city there was also a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while the judge refused. But later, he told himself, ‘I don’t fear God or respect people, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice. Otherwise, she will keep coming and wear me out.’” 

6 Then the Lord added, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. 7 Won’t God grant his chosen people justice when they cry out to him day and night? Is he slow to help them? 8 I tell you, he will give them justice quickly.

Jesus illustrated constant prayer by speaking of a widow who kept bothering a judge to grant her justice against her adversary, although the judge kept ignoring her request. He then indicated that this judge, as unrighteous as he is, will eventually grant her request because of her persistence.

Then, as was often His custom, He invited us to consider how much more therefore God would answer the valid requests of His people who pray to Him daily.

But then He asked a question:

Luke 18:8…But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

What is the meaning of this question? What is the link between faith and prayer if not that constant prayer is the very proof that one still has faith, and has not given up?

JESUS ASKED:

WHEN I COME BACK, WILL I FIND FAITH…WILL I FIND PEOPLE WHO STILL PRAY CONSTANTLY? WILL I FIND PEOPLE WHO STILL BELIEVE THAT I HEAR THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS, AND DO ANSWER?

The widow in the parable could not have come back again and again to the judge is she was not intimately convinced that he could do, AND was the only person qualified to do something about her case.

Do our prayers carry the same conviction? Or do we begin to look for alternatives when we think that the answer is delayed? Do we now begin to think that someone else may be able to answer our request? Perhaps, as opposed to the widow, we may decide to take matters in our own hands, rather than returning again and again to the only one with the power and authority to render justice.

Our prayer life is a sure measure of the health of our faith. Men and women of strong faith always have a strong prayer life, and men and women of weak faith always have a weak prayer life.

Therefore, the Lord permitting, allow me to counsel you with these few words of wisdom: If you have weak prayer life, your faith is weak. Then, in those few occasions when you do pray, pray that God will give you more faith. For if your faith grows, so will your prayer life.

May the Lord Jesus be with you.

AMEN.

Is the Spirit of the Lord Upon You?

To the Servants in God’s Kingdom;

You, who see yourself as a member of God’s Kingdom. You who see yourself as enlisted in God’s army, a co-laborer of the Lord, is the Spirit of the Lord upon you? You know much, you are convinced of much, you speak much, you discuss much about doctrine and truth, but is the Spirit of the Lord upon you?

Luke 4:18,19“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
    he has anointed me to tell
        the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to announce release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to set oppressed people free,
19 and to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Listen to the reasons Jesus gave for God sending upon Him His Spirit. God sent His Spirit upon Him

Because He had anointed Him to proclaim the good news to the poor
Because He had sent Him to proclaim freedom to the captives
Because He had sent Him to give sight back to the blind
Because He had sent Him to deliver those that are broken in pieces
Because He had sent Him to announce that the acceptable time of God had arrived

Oh my friends, how are you, in your ministry, delivering and giving hope to those who have lost hope? How are you proclaiming the freedom that is found in Jesus to those who are mentally imprisoned? How are you opening the eyes of those who cannot see the light of the truth? How, my friend – you who see yourself as God’s servant – how are you proclaiming the good news? Do you see the fruits of your labor in the lives of others?

Do you recognize those who are poor in Spirit? In your ministry, you, servant of the Lord, are you wise as a serpent, yet innocent and pure as a dove?

Matthew 10:16 [ISV]  –…be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves

Or do you instead cause more harm than good? Do you crush the oppressed with the magnificence of the truth, or do you gently heal his wounds with it? Do you preach with your mouth, or with the Spirit? Do you crush the weak with the full weight of the truth, just because it is the truth?

John 16:12 [ISV] – I still have a lot to say to you, but you cannot bear it now.

Oh that the good news is a dreadful and destructive weapon in the hands of those who are not led by the Spirit. For they lack wisdom and discretion, being incapable of discerning the needs of the captives, the broken hearted and the blind.

The three friends of Job passionately and vehemently defended God, His majesty and sovereignty in the ears of Job. The verdict they receive from God was not what they expected

Job 42:7 – My anger is burning against you along with your two friends, since you haven’t spoken correctly about me, as did my servant Job.

Is the love of God reserved to those who are not yet believers, when we are trying to convert them? Do we turn then into monsters toward them once they become part of the fold, have received baptism, or did the sinner’s prayer? Where is our mercy, lovingkindness, patience and endurance toward our brethren, who, although they are now counted among us, are still struggling?

1 Thessalonians 2:7,8 [ISV] –… we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother tenderly caring for her own children. 8 We cared so deeply for you that we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but our very lives. That is how dear you were to us.

Many of us should ask ourselves this question: Is the Spirit of the Lord upon Me?

Be led by the Spirit, and not by yourself, and care for the brethren, for Jesus cares for you.

John 13:34 – I’m giving you a new commandment…JUST AS I LOVED YOU, you also should love one another. 

May the Lord be with you, to the glory of His Majesty, our Father in Heaven.

AMEN

BY THE SPIRIT, OR NOTHING

Friends;

May the Lord in His grace and mercy bless you abundantly in the name of His Son, Jesus-Christ, our Lord and Savior. As Children of God, we ought to understand our complete dependency on the Spirit of God, both for our own good, and to play our part, as intended, in the Body of the Christ.

The intent of this letter is simply to highlight how God wants us to be clear that outside of His Spirit, there is no nothing: There is No Body of Christ, there is No reconciliation, there is No power to work by His side, and there is No possibility to Love others like Jesus loved us.

THOSE WHO ARE PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST WERE ADDED THROUGH BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

There is one and only one way to become part of the body of Christ. GOD has to add you, and He does so by baptizing you with the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:13 – For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

EACH MEMBER OF THE BODY HAS BEEN GRANTED ABILITIES, BY THAT SAME SPIRIT, TO BE AN EFFECTIVE AND CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF THE BODY

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 – To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

Please note how distinctly devoid of natural (mental or physical) abilities this list is! Some of us are great speakers, some of us great singers, some of us great organizers, some of us great athletes, etc. And it is true that all of those abilities are ultimately granted by God, and can all be used to bless God’s people.

However, please note as well, that, just like the rain, God grants all those abilities to ANYONE! Believers AND unbelievers alike, God fearing people AND Devil worshippers!

But the abilities listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are in a different category. They are distinctly described as administered by the Spirit. And it is those gifts that are listed as given by the Spirit FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE BODY OF CHRIST.

Our churches are replete with people of various natural talents, and we are blessed when one member uses his or her talents for God’s service. But those talents should not be mistaken for the gifts of Spirit, which, ALONE, are the necessary gifts for the proper functioning of the body. These natural talents, however good, are ultimately, of the flesh.

1 Corinthians 15:50 – I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

“JESUS IS LORD” CAN ONLY BE SAID IN THE SPIRIT 

1 Corinthians 12:3…no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

One ought to pause and meditate on the statement above, for it makes it abundantly clear that saying “JESUS is LORD” is well beyond the realm of proclaiming with our mouth, printing it on a shirt, or having it as a bumper sticker.

Let us all meditate on this: ONLY IN THE SPIRIT CAN ONE SAY THAT JESUS IS LORD

We can sing it in the most eloquent way, but that does not mean it was in the Spirit. One may feel deeply emotional when singing or saying it, yet it does not necessarily mean it was in the spirit, and therefore, it does not count.

TRUE WORSHIP IS ONLY POSSIBLE IN THE SPIRIT

John 4:23,24 – But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and THOSE WHO WORSHIP HIM MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH.”

My friends, seek to better understand the Holy Spirit. We depend on Him for everything…from being born again, to being effective in ministry, to worshipping God. None of those is possible without the Spirit. Do not be blinded by natural abilities,  the elaborate stage of your worship service, or anything that is possible by natural abilities, for flesh and blood SHALL NOT INHERIT GOD’S KINGDOM.

In the Spirit, or nothing.

In Jesus’ Name.

AMEN