The Power of Prayer!

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  In 2 Chronicles 7:14

“Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone…. And it came to pass on a certain night that the [d]angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. ” 2 Kings 19:19, 35

Quote from Billy Graham:

“Cover to cover, the Bible tells of people whose prayers were answered and who turned the tide of history as a result. Hezekiah prayed, and God spared his nation when the Assyrians attacked. (2 Kings 19).

Elijah prayed, and God sent fire to confound the false prophets and consume the offering on the waterlogged altar. (I Kings 18)

Elisha prayed, and the son of the Shunammite woman was raised from the dead. Jesus prayed, and Lazarus came forth from the tomb. (2 Kings 4)

Paul prayed and new churches were born. (Ephesians 6:18)

The early church prayed, and Peter was delivered from prison. (Acts 12:5)

We can change the course of events if we go to our knees in believing prayer.”

Quote from Billy Graham,”Wisdom for Each Day” Calendar, An Inspirational Dayspring, Daybrightener

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Rejoice! Christ is Risen!

From the Garden Tomb

Christ is risen, and Christ will come again! Thus, with these words, amidst the crazy things going on in the world, we followers of our Lord Jesus Christ have all the reasons to have hope and to rejoice!  

In Matthew 28, the Apostle Matthew wrote the account of the resurrection of Jesus:

Mary Magdalene and other women came to the tomb and found the tomb empty. An angel spoke to them and said, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” (Matthew 28:5-10)

Rejoice!

Rejoice! Rejoice, rejoice!

For the Lord is risen

He is risen indeed!

Death has no more dominion

Death and sin have lost its power

Because the Lord has overcome.

Rejoice!

People of God rejoice!

The battle has been won!

Christ has won the victor’s crown.

Rejoice for the Lord has overcome!

Rejoice for the Lord is risen,

He has risen indeed!

Rejoice for the battle has been won.

Rejoice!

For Christ is coming back soon!

Rejoice,

For the Lord will be here soon!

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The Empty and Resurrection Power

 He is not here, but is risen!

Luke 24:6

From the previous post, we shared the account of the execution and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

From the Gospel of Luke:

Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

Luke 23:50-56

Continuing with the story, the author of the Gospel Luke wrote:

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”

Even though these events of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ happened almost two thousand years ago, these are true accounts and still relevant to us. The story of Jesus, His life, death and resurrection happened in a real place in a real time.

About two years ago, in January 2020, the Lord blessed David and me to travel and visit the Holy Land. It was an awesome experience to be in the actual where all these events happened.

One of the Bible sites we visited in Jerusalem is a place called the Garden Tomb. This is another site many Christian groups believe to be the traditional site where Jesus was buried. Adjacent to the park is a hill that looks more like the description of Golgotha. In the Gospels, it says, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.”(John 19:17-18)

Golgotha, Jerusalem

Inside the park was a nicely landscaped garden of beautiful and colorful plants, flowers, and trees. I enjoyed the peaceful, serene atmosphere, and it was not too crowded. In another corner of the Garden was the Tomb which was cut from a rocky hill. Inside the tomb were two chambers with an iron fence between. The inner chamber is the main tomb in which the body of Jesus was laid to rest after He was crucified. The tomb was believed to be owned by Joseph of Arimathea.

The Garden Tomb, Jerusalem

Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid” (John 19:38-42).

As I entered the empty tomb, it was an awesome experience seeing and touching with my bare hands the rough and cold stone where my Lord Jesus was laid some two thousand years ago. I’m at a loss for words; it was truly an indescribable experience. It was a surreal moment to be right there at the spot where Christ arose from the dead – a foundation of my faith, the Christian faith, the empty tomb. As the apostle Paul says,

The Empty Tomb

“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”            (I Corinthians 15:17, 20)

For many years I have read the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but to see, touch, and feel the actual place where those events happened made my faith more real. I became more certain that those stories were not just fairy tales, legends, or myths. They were true accounts of the death and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. He died on the cross because of His great love for you and me. And when Jesus died, He did not stay on the cross. He did not stay in the tomb; Jesus rose again and is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father in heaven interceding for us.

Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

Again, the Apostle Paul said, But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Christ is risen, and Christ will come again! Thus, with these words, amidst the crazy things going on in the world, we followers of our Lord Jesus Christ have all the reasons to have hope and to rejoice! 

All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version, NKJV.

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Via Dolorosa (The Road to Suffering)

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Today, on Good Friday, we remember the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross as a sin offering for all people of the world.

A street on Jerusalem, part of the road to suffering.

Here is the account of the road to suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem which happened about 2000 years ago from the Gospel of Luke chapter 23

Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.

And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

Station of the Cross, Via Dolorosa.

There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”

The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”

38 And an inscription also was [i]written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:

THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Station 12- Jesus on the Cross

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”

40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” (Luke 23)

(Thank the Lord this is not the end of the story, to be continued)

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The King is coming, are you ready?

(The Triumphant Entry)

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Reading: Luke 19:28-40

v.38 Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

// “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

Jesus started His journey from Capernaum to Jerusalem. After 3 years of teaching, preaching, healing sick people, and other miraculous acts of kindness in different parts of Israel, He was ready to go to the city of Jerusalem. He made some stops along the way in different cities like Jericho and Samaria, ministering to the people. He healed some blind people in Jericho and touched the family of Zacchaeus (Luke 19). However, Jesus was still focused on His final destination, Jerusalem, even though He made some stops and detours. Just before heading to Jerusalem, Jesus told His disciples the events that would take place there, His death on the cross and resurrection (Luke 18:31-33). Jesus knew what would take place in Jerusalem, His suffering on the cross, but He was determined to fulfill the call of God in His life.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem with His disciples, He instructed them to get a certain colt that nobody had ridden (Luke 19:29-34).

The disciples brought Him a colt, and Jesus rode on it as he entered Jerusalem.

And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen,saying:

‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-38)

The followers of Jesus believed He was their long-awaited Messiah, the Savior. So, they praised and worshiped Him. Jesus also fulfilled the words of the Prophet Zechariah which were written several hundred years earlier:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,  A colt, the foal of a donkey.”  (Zechariah 9:9)

In ancient history, when a king was inaugurated as the ruler of a land, they rode a mule or a colt and were paraded around the city. When Solomon was proclaimed king in Israel after his father David, it was written:

“…Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and took him to Gihon….And they blew the horn, and all the people said,  “Long live King Solomon!” (I Kings 1:38-40)

In fulfilling the words of God through Zechariah, Jesus made it public that He was the Messiah, the Savior and coming King. With this gesture, He gave opportunity for the people of Israel, especially the religious leaders (Pharisees, Scribes, Priests, Elders, etc.), to recognize Him as their Messiah. Sad to say, some religious people did not recognize Jesus:

And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’”     (Luke 19:39)

However, some of His followers believed and praised Jesus as their Messiah, the promised King from the line of King David. They may not have fully understood its full meaning; some of them thought Jesus would be their king to overthrow the Romans and the puppet King Herod.

But the mission and purpose of Jesus from the beginning was to seek and save the lost, to deliver people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Conclusion:

Jesus was and is indeed the King of Israel, if only they would allow Him to reign in their hearts. Jesus is indeed the Savior, King, and Lord for all people of every nation. The King is coming. Are you ready?  Is Jesus King and Lord of your life?

If you open your heart to Him, He wants to be your Savior and Lord, too. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Someday Jesus will come again here on earth and establish His kingdom. Jesus will come again to bring final justice on earth. Jesus will come again to execute justice and vengeance for the oppressed.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war….

And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

(Revelation 19:11-16)

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, You are my King, the King of kings and Lord of lords! I praise and thank you for your words. Thank you that you came to seek and save the lost. Thank you that you are coming back to establish Your kingdom. Judge of the earth, ruler of all nations, please come. Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version (NKJV)

(https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+19%3A28-40&version=NKJV)

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

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Jesus prays for you!

Photo of a mural of Jesus praying in Gethsemane – Basilica of Agony, Jerusalem

Do you know that when you pray to Jesus, He also prays for you?

As a follower of Jesus, I pray to Him most of the time. I also ask others to pray for me. But today, in my study of Luke chapter 22, I learned that Jesus also prays for me. Here’s the story. For the past few months, I’ve been reading and studying the Gospel of Luke. My reading today was Luke 22:24-38. This is where Jesus is having the last supper with His disciples before the Passover Holiday. Passover is one of the most important religious holidays for the people of Israel as they commemorate the time when God freed them from Egyptian bondage. (See Exodus 12.)

During dinner, the disciples had a dispute about who was the greatest (Luke 22:24-27).  Jesus washed the disciples’ feet to show them that to be great means to serve (John 13:3-10). Since this was the last supper before the crucifixion of Jesus, He spent good quality time with His disciples. He loved them and encouraged them to be prepared for the time when He would not be with them physically. Jesus saved the last, but the best, teachings for His beloved disciples. The apostle John shares more details on the words of Jesus during that last supper in John 13-17.  Take note that these last teachings of Jesus were not given to the crowds but were reserved for His 12 disciples only. However, I believe these words are specifically for the followers of Jesus – both then and now – including us. Yes, you and me!

Then Jesus broke some bad news to Simon: “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22: 31)

Simon may have looked to the left, to the right, and at his back. Using my sanctified imagination, perhaps he said, “Me? Are you talking to me, Lord?”

“But he (Simon) said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33)

But then Jesus gave Simon some good news: “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22: 32)

Most of us know the rest of the story:

 Then He (Jesus) said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (v.34)

In this study, however, I’m not focusing on the failure and weakness of Peter. We all know that Peter denied Jesus – a big smashing failure! But again, my focus here is not on the humanity and failure of Peter, but on the love and care of Jesus for His followers.

Remember that Jesus assured and encouraged Peter: “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail…”

Jesus loved Peter, despite his weakness, and prayed for Him. But not just for Peter – Jesus prayed for all His followers. At the ‘last supper,’ the apostle John recorded these words, the prayer of Jesus for His disciples:  

-I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.  (John 17:9)

–  Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.  (John 17:11)

– I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  (John 17: 15)

-Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  (John 17:17)

Again, these prayers are for the followers of Jesus. He is praying for us! The writer of Hebrews also says:

“Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

And even the Holy Spirit prays for us! The apostle Paul said:

“Likewise, the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

Jude, another follower of Jesus, said:

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless. Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy…” (Jude 24)

Reflection:

I don’t know about you, but I’m very encouraged by these words.  Jesus is praying and always interceding for His followers.  Jesus is praying for me!  No matter what the adversary and the evil ones do against the followers of Jesus, He has already covered us, just like He did for Simon Peter.  No matter what happens, Jesus has hold of me, so there is no need for worry or fear.  While we often think that we only pray to Jesus, Jesus is praying for us – with the full backup of the Holy Spirit and the love of our Father God.

Prayer:

Oh Lord Jesus, thank you for Your words and truth. Thank you for praying for me, interceding for me, holding me tight, and keeping me from falling. I love you Lord! Thank you for this assurance, that You won’t allow me to be given over to the adversary. Thank You, Jesus, for keeping me in the palm of your hand.  Thank you for praying for me.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

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Victory in the Garden: A Holy Land Experience

The Garden of Gethsemane

A couple of years ago, in January 2020, God blessed David and me to travel and visit the Holy Land with a tour group.  Six of us from Alabama joined a larger group of people from different parts of the country for a 10-day trip.

We visited several well-known Biblical sites such as the Upper Room and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and Bethlehem which is the birthplace of Jesus. We also visited the Garden of Gethsemane, the Sea of Galilee, the Judean Wilderness, the Dead Sea, Jericho, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum, Nazareth, Jericho, and other places in the Holy Land. Bible stories came alive as we saw and experienced those places. For example, when we were driving across the Judean Wilderness, I saw mountains with huge rocks and caves. In the Old Testament, David spent many years hiding in the caves in the wilderness to protect himself from his enemies (I Samuel 22-23). When I saw the huge rocks and mountains in the Judean wilderness, I remember the verse that David wrote in the book of Psalms:

“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

While touring the area around the Sea of Galilee, I remembered the story in the Gospels where Jesus met His disciples, and the time He walked on the waters of this huge lake.

There is so much to share about this trip.  I hope to write a book about my experiences.

Another touching and significant experience from this Holy Land trip was the visit to the Garden of Gethsemane. The modern-day Garden of Gethsemane is managed by the “Church of All Nations” or the “Basilica of the Agony.” Many churches from different countries contributed to the preservation of the site and built a beautifully magnificent cathedral adjacent to the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Church of All Nations, Jerusalem

In the Bible, the Garden of Gethsemane is the place where Jesus spent a late night praying before His arrest. According to the Gospel of Matthew, “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” (Matthew 26:36)

The Garden of Gethsemane

As soon as we entered the Garden area and saw the rows of ancient Olive trees, I felt the strong presence of the Lord. It was an awesome experience! I was in tears. I almost felt the agony of the Lord Jesus when He wrestled and prayed, “God’s will, not my will be done…” It was also surprising to see some old olive trees, hundreds or even thousands of years old, still bearing fruit.

I often hear preaching and teaching that Christ won the victory over the enemy at the cross when He gave His life on Calvary. While at the Garden, I felt a sense of revelation that Jesus had actually won the battle, not at the cross, but in the Garden of Gethsemane. There in the garden, Jesus prayed a prayer of surrender. Jesus had an absolute surrender to His loving Father, trusting Him for the best outcome. It was a time of surrender to God’s perfect will for Him, and for the salvation of many. It was Jesus’ battle against human flesh and against Satan’s final temptation. He had overcome the battle with a complete surrender to the Father. Thus, the Father made Jesus the Triumphant Winner! It was a complete Victory in the Garden.

From the Gospel of Matthew:

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will…’”

“Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’” (Matthew 26:39, 42)

Whatever struggles and challenges you are going through in life, Jesus knows and understands. Like Jesus, as we surrender our lives and will to Father God, He will give you the victory!

When our team came back to our hotel at the end of that day, during my personal time with the Lord, the Holy Spirit gave me this poem, “Victory in the Garden:”

Victory In The Garden

There in the Garden

My Savior pled,

There in the Garden

My Savior knelt down and prayed,
“Father, not my will

But Your will be done”

There in the garden

My Lord surrendered

To His Father’s divine plan

Yet He had won

the Victor’s crown

There in the garden

My Savior wept

He cried bloody tears of surrender

There in the garden

My Savior won over sin and temptation

Death and evil no longer have dominion

There in the garden,

My Savior won Victor’s Crown.

(Matthew 26:36-45)

Other Bible Readings:  Mark 14:32-36; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1-11

All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version, NKJV.

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A Prayer of Hope

The Lord gave this message a year ago when I was struggling with the wickedness, corruption, and other evil things I see and hear in the world. May the Words of the Lord through Habakkuk encourage you also in this time of crisis and distress.

The Prayer of Habakkuk

The global pandemic, upheaval, and turmoil in the nations, people suffering for their faith, political and religious oppression, violence against innocent people, unrighteousness, godlessness, injustice, and other wicked deeds sometimes are overwhelming. One time I was praying to the Lord for His justice and righteousness. He reminded me of the prayer of a man in the Bible named, Habakkuk.

“O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”  And You will not save.
Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;  Therefore,  perverse judgment proceeds.

Habakkuk 1:2-4

Photo by Unsplash

Habakkuk was a man who lived during the kingdoms of Judah and Israel around 600 BCE. He wrote His prophecies before the Babylon invasion. God used Habakkuk to warn the people of Judah to repent and turned from their sinful ways.

“Habakkuk grappled with God’s economy of justice. He finds it inconceivable that God could use an evil pagan nation to judge His people. However, God uses a vision to convince Habakkuk that His ways are right.”[i]

Habakkuk was not the only one who had struggled with God’s justice. In the book of Psalms, the writer expressed his heart:

“Lord, how long will the wicked,
How long will the wicked triumph?

They utter speech, and speak insolent things;
All the workers of iniquity boast in themselves.
They break in pieces Your people, O Lord,
And afflict Your heritage.
They slay the widow and the stranger,
And murder the fatherless.
Yet they say, “The Lord does not see,
Nor does the God of Jacob understand.”  Psalm 94:3-7[ii]

Then the writer of Psalm remembered who God was:

“Understand, you senseless among the people;
And you fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, shall He not hear?
He who formed the eye, shall He not see?
He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct,” Psalm 94: 8-10

Going back to Habakkuk, God spoke to him.  

Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.

Habakkuk 1:5

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come, It will not tarry
.”
 Habakkuk 2:2-3

Then God spoke to Habakkuk about sure judgments for the wicked:

“Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house that he may set his nest on high that he may be delivered from the power of disaster…
Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establish a city by iniquity…and nations weary themselves in vain?…
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the water covers the sea.”

Habakkuk 2:9-17

God assured Habakkuk that He would surely bring justice. When Habakkuk heard the response of the Lord and realized the horrible devastation that will come to the wicked because of God’s justice, he asked God for mercy. Habakkuk even prayed for revival.

“O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

Then Habakkuk was at peace trusting that God will do what He said He will do – to bring judgment and justice to the wicked in His own time.

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17 -18

I also need to pray for God’s mercy to those who are involved in wickedness, corruption, deceit and unrighteousness – for God to have mercy on their souls. Surely God will bring justice to the wicked, but He is also merciful, waiting for them to repent.

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,      
Slow to anger and great in mercy.The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9

 A few months ago, we experienced a severe thunderstorm in our area here in the southeast. There was a heavy rain and very loud thunder and lightning. It was the fiercest lightning I have ever experienced in my life! I was trembling in fear and realized the awesome power of God!

 It reminded me of the experience of the people of Israel in the Old Testament when they received the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone.

Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off…” Exodus 20:18

The sharp, loud thunder and fierce lightnings were for me a demonstration of the awesome power of God! I felt as if God was saying to me, He is still sovereign and in control, and has the power to do whatever is right for Him to do. I felt like a worm, and was reminded that I’m not the judge, and should not fret about the wickedness and injustice I see in the world. The Lord God in heaven has all the power and might to bring about justice and righteousness in His own way and in His right time. My role is to intercede, do His will and pray earnestly for God’s will be done and His kingdom to come here on earth as it is in heaven.


[i] The Complete Jewish Study Bible

[ii] All Scriptures quotes are from the New King James Bible

Prayer: Dear Sovereign Lord, You are awesome and powerful! We praise and thank You for your mercy and grace. Send revival, in your wrath remember mercy.   

Post Script:

Currently, (March 2022) after a year the Lord gave this message; another major international crisis and conflict is going on in Eastern Europe.

If we are only looking at the news and what our naked eyes can see, it looks discouraging. It seems the bad guys are winning. But God is doing things beyond what we can see. He is changing hearts and He is saving souls. Many are turning to God in times of crisis and distress.

“For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

You may have heard the old expression, “Pay now or pay later.”

Well, the Bible says;

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:

As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God
.” Romans 14:10-11

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Words of Encouragement in Time of Crisis

A couple of weeks ago a friend and a dear sister in the Lord in Ukraine sent us a message to pray for them. She asked us to pray for them “not to hate their enemies”.   She also said they trust that God is still faithful.

At times I do not know what to say to encourage them, I sent her Bible verses. With our back-and-forth messages, I would like to share some of these encouragements;

Photo by Unsplash

February 10th, Psalm 29:10-11

The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
11 The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

February 21- Isaiah 41:10-12

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
12 You shall seek them and not find them—
Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.

February 22,

I sent her another encouragement from Psalm 46: 1-2, 10-11

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swel
ling. Selah

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

February 24th –

She sent another message that her family is on their way to “a safe place”.

I sent her a message and told her; “Be strong in the Lord, may the angel armies of the Lord be with you all”.

February 25th,

She sent me another message that her family (with 2 children) were driving 35 hours to a safe place…

I sent another encouragement from the Bible; This was David’s reading that day from Psalm 94:1-3, 14,22

O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs—
O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth!
 Rise up, O Judge of the earth;
Render punishment to the proud.
 Lord, how long will the wicked,
How long will the wicked triumph…

For the Lord will not cast off His people,
Nor will He forsake His inheritance….

But the Lord has been my defense,
And my God the rock of my refuge…

February 27 – I sent her another encouragement from Psalm 56:8-13

You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
 In God (I will praise His word),
In the Lord (I will praise His word),
 In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me? For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,

That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?

February 28th,

She sent me another message that they reached a city in the western part of the country. But they had to go to a safe shelter (bunker) one time when the siren went off. Then later, she and her family went back to the apartment when they felt safe.

February 27th

I sent her encouragement from Psalm 57:

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!
For my soul trusts in You;
And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.

March 1, 2022

She continues to do her job in encouraging her people through the media.

I sent her another message from Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

In closing, we joined the many people who are interceding and praying for the people of Ukraine. “Lord have mercy, may Your will be done, may Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven…

But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision.
 I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God is my defense. My God of mercy shall come to meet me; God shall let me see my desire on my enemies. Do not slay them, lest my people forget;  Scatter them by Your power, And bring them down,
O Lord our shield. (Psalm 59:8-11
)

  • All Scripture quotations are from New King James Version, NKJV, Bible Gateway


A Dark Night of the Soul

Reading: Psalm 42:5-11

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 NIV


Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

A few years ago, I had an experience that some call ‘a dark night of the soul.’

The doctor told me it was a case of mild clinical depression. A friend who is a professional counselor told me that depression and burnout are common with some Christian workers who have been in the ministry for a long time. She helped me understand some of the things I was going through. I had tried to follow the advice of the doctor and the counselor – supplements, a little sunshine, and physical exercise.  I also did the spiritual routine – prayed and read the Bible and went to church. Little by little I made some progress. However, I was still struggling to feel the presence of the Lord. In the past, when I prayed and spent time in worship, I felt almost tangibly the sweet presence of the Lord. I got concerned I had lost the feeling. I used to know where and what I was supposed to do (or life’s goals and purpose). I got concerned that I lost my way. I didn’t think I lost my faith. I knew God was there and I knew He still loved me. But why couldn’t I feel His presence? I felt that I had no hope and no future. I wanted to get out of depression, but the more I tried the more I felt like I was sinking. Even though I was feeling low, every day I looked at the words that I had posted on my bedroom wall then. The words I wrote on a piece of paper and posted on the wall were, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (NIV)
 

After a few months, while I was praying and worshipping, I felt God reminding me of His words, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Then, I sensed Him saying to me, “I am always near and here for you. Because you have allowed grief and sorrow to come between us, you could not feel nor see Me”.

Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

Since then, I have learned to live by faith and not by feelings. And, with God’s help, I am continually learning to trust God’s Words and rely on His steadfast love.

Reflection: I could always trust God’s word, that He loves me and is always with me no matter what I feel. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank You that Your love is always with me no matter what I feel.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

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The Return of the King!

King of Kings, Lord of Lords!

Reading: Luke 12:35-56

Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (v.40)

In Philippine history, when General Douglas MacArthur* told the people of the Philippines, “I shall return,” in 1944, after almost 3 years, he fulfilled his promise. He came and liberated the people of the Philippines from Japanese tyranny.

In the Bible, one time Jesus was talking to His followers, He said;

“Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning… (v.35)

He also told them earlier, not to worry about life’s concerns such as food, clothing, etc. He encouraged them instead, “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.” (v.31) Jesus was saying to His followers, if they pursue the will of God and His kingdom, then God will take care of their needs. And while serving Him and doing His will, be aware also that Jesus could come back anytime. Jesus told His followers, to be aware, watch, and wait for His return. “And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. “(v38)

“Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (v.40) What Jesus is talking about here is in the context of Jewish wedding customs. He said, “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately. “(v.35-36)

In Jewish custom and tradition, when a man and a woman are engaged to be married, the man prepares a house for the future bride. After he has done this preparation, which takes about a year, the groom gets his wedding party, friends, and family, and walks together in a procession to get the bride from her house. The bride’s family knows this will happen, but they do not know the day or hour. During those days, they did not have a telephone or social media to send messages. The groom gets ready and goes to the bride’s house. So, the bride had better be ready when he comes!

In Matthew 25, Jesus talked about the parable of the foolish and wise brides or virgins. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps “(Matthew 25: 1-13).

In Matthew 24:27-28, Jesus spoke to His disciples about His return and the ingathering of His followers: “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

Paul also says, “For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)

For the past 2000 years, followers of Jesus have been eagerly waiting for His return. Paul also said, “…in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:52)

This is our blessed hope, the return of our kings, the king of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

“Now, I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS
.

(Revelation 19:11, 16)

Peter also said, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9-10)

Conclusion/Reflection:

The Lord Jesus promised His followers 2000 years ago that He would return. If General MacArthur fulfilled his words, “I shall return!”, how much more reliable are the words of Jesus! The words of Jesus are trustworthy, reliable, and sure. What He says, He will do. Jesus will come back again. Moreover, being ready to meet the Lord is also personal. Anytime, anywhere, death can happen to anyone. The question is, “Am I ready to meet the Lord Jesus anytime?” “Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40)

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your promises. I believe You. I believe Your words, and I look forward to Your return. Holy Spirit help us, Your Church (Your followers), know how to get ready. Help me, Holy Spirit, to get my oil lamp trimmed and ready. Lord, how do I get ready? How do we get ready for Your return?

*https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/macarthur-returns

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayers:

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Fear God, fear nothing, fear no one!

Reading: Luke 12:4-12

Title: Fear God, Fear Nothing and No one!

Key verse: “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” (v.7)

Jesus continues to teach and exhort His disciples: And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has the power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (v.4-5)

God loves and takes care of His creation – animals, flowers, especially people. Jesus said to His followers, “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” (v.6-7)

Therefore, do not worry and fear to confess Jesus before people. Do not fear false accusations on account of Jesus’ name because the Holy Spirit will give power and strength in times of persecution. Jesus said, “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (v.11-12) The Holy Spirit gives wisdom about what to say. And the Holy Spirit gives power, strength, and courage to withstand against all kinds of threats and intimidation.

Reflection:

Therefore, Jesus is saying, do not fear people but fear God only. Do not worry about life because God sees everything, and God cares for those who choose to follow His Son, Jesus. God loves Jesus, and God loves those whom Jesus loves. So, we are secure in the arms of God as we follow Jesus, and we have the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no need to worry, no one to fear – fear God alone!

Prayer:

Dear Lord God, thank You for that because of Jesus, I am secure in your arms. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for your power, wisdom, and strength to follow Jesus – to fear nothing and no one, but God. In your powerful name, Jesus, I pray, amen!

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

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Looking forward!(2022)

Look forward to what lies ahead!

“...but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, .” Philippians 3: 14 NLT

” What are your thoughts as you look back over the last year? loss, tragedy, sorrow or happiness, joy, success, etc? …do you close the book on this year with regret, or with relief?

“No matter what your answer is, I hope you will pause and prayerfully ask yourself two important questions: First, how do you think God looks on this past year in your life? Did it bring you any closer to Him? Second, what lessons will you take from this year into next? What did God teach you?

“Don’t be bound by the past and its failures? But don’t forget is lessons either.” – by Billy Graham, “Wisdom for Each Day”

Happy New Year! New year, new blessings!

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in th
e wasteland. ” Isaiah 43:18 -19

The key of the house of David
I will lay on his shoulder;
So he shall open, and no one shall shut; ” Isaiah 22:22

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Thank You, Lord, for Christmas!

Long time ago, an angel of the Lord spoke

Behold the virgin shall be with child

And will bear a Son, and they shall

Call His name Immanuel God with us

Thank you, Lord, for Christmas

Long time ago, in the city of David

In a little town called Bethlehem

A Savior was born, who is Christ the Lord

Thank You, Lord, for Christmas

Thank You, Jesus, for coming

To save us from sins

Thank You, Jesus, for coming

As a Baby in a little manger

To save your people from sin

Thank You, Jesus, for coming

You are Immanuel, the God who is always with us

Thank You, Lord, for sending to us Your Son

For unto us a child is born

Unto us a Son is given

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to us

Our Wonderful Counselor, You are the Mighty God

You are the Everlasting Father

You are the Prince of Peace

Glory to God in the highest!

Thank You, Lord, for Christmas

Thank you, Jesus, for bringing us peace,

And goodwill to all people.

Thank You, Lord, for Christmas!

Someday Jesus will come back again, not as a Baby, but as the King of kings!

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He [e]had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in [f]fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a [g]sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19: 11-16

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An Expectant Heart, Christmas Advent

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. ” V. 25

Luke 2 :25

Reading: Luke 2:21-35

Baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1-7). Joseph and Mary were his earthly parents. The angels of God continued to guide and watch over the family. The angels also made an announcement to the shepherds in Bethlehem.  (v.11) The shepherds followed the words spoken to them by the angels, they went and visited Baby Jesus who was with his parents, Joseph and Mary. (v.15-16). When the shepherds saw Baby Jesus with their own eyes, they rejoiced, went out, and spread the good news to their community.  (v.17-18).

After 8 days, Baby Jesus was presented to the temple in Jerusalem to follow the custom and traditions. “They brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), Luke 2:22-24.

While in the temple, there was a man named Simeon. He was a devout and righteous man according to their Law. Basically, he followed all the commandments written in the Law of Moses.  Maybe not just obeying the rules and traditions, Simeon was considered devout and righteous, as he also believed and worshipped the Lord God from his heart.

Perhaps for many years, Simeon, prayed for the coming Messiah or Savior as told in their Scriptures. It says, he eagerly waited for the salvation of God (Jewish Bible). Not just believing or having faith, but he had hope. He also had anticipation and an expectant heart for the fulfillment of God’s words.

Simeon remembered that the Lord God was faithful in keeping His words. As God spoke to Abraham, Jacob, David, and other men of God, He fulfilled His words. So, Simeon had faith, hope, and an expectant heart to wait for God to fulfill His words.

During a period of challenges, perhaps one of the most difficult times in the history of Israel because of Roman rule, Simeon kept his faith. He had hope that one day Messiah will come. Some may have lost their faith and hope as some went their own way. Others became tax collectors and some were involved in prostitution, perhaps just to survive. Others focused on keeping the tradition, following rules and regulations like the religious leaders. Simeon like the others, (Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph) kept his eyes on the Lord God and His promises. Simeon kept his devotion and pursued righteousness even in the hardest of times. Simeon was filled by the Holy Spirit.

Not just a general promise in the Scriptures, Simeon had a personal promise revealed by the Holy Spirit.  “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” (v.26)

So, when Baby Jesus and his parents came to the temple for the baby dedication, Simeon knew right away, that Baby was the One!  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Simeon knew without a doubt that Baby Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promise to them, the people of Israel.

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9: 6

Thus, Simeon gave praise, thanksgiving, and adoration to the Lord God. (v. 29-32)

Reflection:

The Holy Bible is filled with the promises of God for Israel and for the followers of Jesus.  The Lord God is faithful, Sovereign and has the power to fulfill them as He already did to the people of Israel- to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, etc.  As followers of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, the words of God in the Bible also speak to us personally. God gives us personal promises too. Like Simeon, who was faithful, full of faith, and full of hope, he waited eagerly for God to fulfill His Words to Israel and to him personally.

For my eyes have seen Your salvation

 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,

 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,

And the glory of Your people Israel

Luke 2: 30-32

The Bible says we are made righteous because of Jesus. We can be faithful and be filled with hope and have expectant hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Questions for reflection:

1. Are you faithful in your devotion to Jesus?

2. Do you have an expectant heart to wait for the promise of Jesus that He will come again?

3. Are you eager to wait upon His promises.

4. Do you have personal promises from God that you are still waiting for His fulfillment?

Prayer: Holy Spirit please help me to be faithful, and hopeful, and to wait eagerly upon the promises of God. Lord Jesus may You come soon!

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Thankful

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!

For His mercy endures forever.

 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!

For His mercy endures forever

Psalm136 NKJV

“The Pilgrims fathers who landed at Plymouth to settle in what became the United States of America can teach us an important lesson about giving thanks.

During that first long winter, seven times as many as graves were made for the dead as homes were made for the living. Seed, imported from England, failed to grow, and a ship that was to bring food and relief, brought instead 35 more mouths to feed, but no provisions.  According to today’s standards, the Pilgrims had almost nothing, but they possessed a profound and heartfelt gratitude to God for His love and mercy

Gratitude is one of the greatest Christian virtues.” By Billy Graham

The First Thanksgiving

“Just over 50 colonists are believed to have attended, including 22 men, four married women—including Edward Winslow’s wife—and more than 25 children and teenagers. These were the lucky ones who had made it through a rough entry into the New World, including a harsh winter during which an epidemic of disease swept through the colony, felling nearly half the original group. Some 78 percent of the women who had arrived on the Mayflower had died during the first winter, a far higher percentage than for men or children. “For the English, [the first Thanksgiving] was also celebrating the fact that they had survived their first year here in New England,” Begley points out.”

https://www.history.com/news/first-thanksgiving-colonists-native-americans-men

 We thank the Lord for the first Pilgrims who endured a lot of challenges and hardships in pioneering a new country. They paved the way for many to come to this country to start a new life.  Some of them left Europe for religious freedom, to worship  the Almighty God in heaven.

According to Wikipedia”

“New England and Virginia colonists originally celebrated days of thanksgiving, thanking God for blessings such as harvests, ship landings, and military victories, or the end of a drought. The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621.  This feast lasted three days and was attended by 90 Wampanoag and 53 Pilgrims…  

Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by President George Washington a request by Congress…. until President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, calling on the American people to also, “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience .. fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation…”. Lincoln declared it for the last Thursday in November.”

“Now therefore, our God,

We thank You and praise Your glorious name.”

I Chronicles 29:13

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Friendship and love-relationship

Title: Friendship and a love-relationship

Reading: Luke 5:33-39

v.38 But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

Ephesians 4:23-24   and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:23-24)

Tired of religion? I remember when I was a small child, around six or seven years old, when I knew I did something wrong, like other children, I did not want my parents to know. So, I hid and did not tell them. One time, I accidentally broke a drinking glass and was afraid to tell my mother. I felt bad, so to punish myself, I took a handful of salt, laid it on the floor of the upper room in our old house, and knelt on it. I prayed and asked God to forgive me. Then growing up, in middle school, I learned I could go to church and confess to a priest. Later on, I learned from the Bible that, Jesus is the Way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but by Him. (John 14:6). So, when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I thought I found the right religion! However, the more I read the Bible, and the more I got to know God and His love, I realized, it is not really a religion. It is a relationship and not a religion. Jesus became my BFF, my best friend forever!

The people in Israel when Jesus was still on earth also got confused with tradition and religion. In the story in Luke chapter 5, some people asked Jesus why the disciples of John and the Pharisees fasted and prayed, while His disciples did not. (Luke 5:33). The people in Israel in those times watched and observed religious people. Some followed John and his teachings, perhaps some followed the Pharisees, and others listened and watched Jesus too. Perhaps some people wondered who to follow and emulate. While the Pharisees and scribes were experts in studying and practicing their tradition and law according to Moses, Jesus was introducing new ways of worshipping God. Jesus said, He did not come to change the law, but to change man-made traditions. (See Matthew 5:17-18).

“No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.” (Luke 5:36)

Jesus came to set people free from the burdens of old traditions and old ways of religion. Religion teaches rituals, practices, traditions, and a system of beliefs to come to God. But Jesus was introducing a new way to come to God, through relationship. “And He said to them, ‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?’” (v.34)

Jesus was saying that God the Father wants a relationship, not a religion. God wants a relationship with us like the relationship of a bridegroom and his bride – one based on love and intimacy. God desires a friendship between the bridegroom (Christ) and the friends of the bridegroom (us) which means hanging out, celebrating, eating together, and caring for one another. It’s not about following rules and regulations. It’s about a love relationship – grieving together when one is hurting, celebrating successes, talking about anything under the sun, etc.

It’s like our relationship with close friends. For example, I recall with fondness my relationship with friends in seminary and at church. After class or work, we spent time hanging out, just talking, sharing about life, etc. Another example is the relationship I had with friends when I was in the mission field. We worshipped and studied the Word together, shared concerns, and prayed together. After Sunday morning fellowship, we ate meals together, played games, watched movies, and just talked. That’s what Jesus wanted to introduce to the people of Israel and His followers. Jesus wants to be our friend. God and Jesus want relationship with His people and not religion. (v.37-38)

Jesus is giving “new wine” to refresh souls. He is life, sustains life, and wants to connect His people to the Source of life, God the Father. New wine and new life in Jesus are to know Father God, the Giver of life and source of eternal life.  New wineskins mean new ways of thinking, a new heart, and a new mindset – to get rid of old ways, old traditions, and old ways of thinking like those exhibited by the Pharisees and other religious people. The religious people cared more about keeping traditions and man-made rules and regulations than about a relationship. Jesus gives new wine – new ways of worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

Reflection:

It’s not about religion, nor denomination; it’s not about following rules and regulations; not a system of beliefs, rituals, and ceremonies, but a love relationship. We can come to Him anytime. He wants us to hang out with Him and talk with Him – not just perform a ritual of prayer. Talking or praying is sharing our concerns and burdens with Him, sharing our joys and triumphs (thanksgiving), sharing anything and everything in our hearts.

We need a fresh revelation of who God is – compassionate, loving, caring, and fun! God wants a love relationship with His children through Jesus. Know the Holy Spirit as our Teacher and Guide. Ask Him questions anytime about anything or share your deepest thoughts with Him. Talk to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Share your sorrows, pain, grief, and fears. Celebrate with God your successes and joys. It’s about friendship and a love relationship. Similar to a bride to her bridegroom, it’s about romance, love, intimacy, friendship, etc.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You desire a love relationship with us and not a religion. Help me, help us to have a new wineskin – a new spirit, a new heart, and new thinking to worship You in spirit and truth.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:


Other readings:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Romans 12:2 NKJV

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4: 23-24 NKJV

Behold He Prayeth !

from the Book “Behold He Prayeth” – by Joshua Stauffer

Reading: Acts 9:1-11

And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Acts 9:11

If the Lord would behold many people , what would He see? If the predominating thing in their lives were recorded, it simply would be “Behold, he sleepeth,”or “Behold, he readeth the newspaper,” or “Behold, he listeneth to the radio,” or “Behold she seweth,” or “Behold she cooketh.” But of the person who makes prayer the first, greatest, and most important business in life, God and heaven will take notice that, “Behold, he prayeth.” May this be said of us.

“Intercession is prayer, but all praying is not intercession. Intercession is one type of prayer. It is petitioning, or entreating in behalf of another or others…”

The ministry of intercession is one of the greatest ministries. Someone prayed for us to know God.

1.Pray for all men & those in authority

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”  I Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)

2.Pray for Israel

“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you…”  I Samuel 12:23 (NKJV)

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”  Romans 10:1 (NKJV)

“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.”  Romans 1:16 (NKJV)

“The Lord said to Abraham, ‘I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.’ (Genesis 12:1) This promise is true today…Christian people would court the favor of the Lord if they would pray for Israel that they might be saved. It was Paul’s policy to preach to the Jews first wherever he went. Nothing would be lost but much would be gained, if the policy “to the Jews first” were practiced by Christian people in their praying, preaching, and giving. J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission (OMF), made it his policy on the first day of each year to write out a check for the evangelization of the Jews. This would be a good practice for all Christians to follow, then they would be led to pray for them.”

3.Pray for all the saints/the church

“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

“The mistake many church people make is they put forth a great effort in getting sinners into church services, then when they get to church, they neglect them…and forget to pray for them.”

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The Lord’s Prayer

When Jesus was here on earth, He did many things.  He was very busy with ministry. He traveled often in Israel. He taught many people and healed people from illnesses. He also had power and authority over unclean spirits. Though He had a busy ministry schedule, He took time to pray and fellowship with His heavenly Father.  

 He (Jesus) Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Luke 5:16

Then one day, His Disciples said to Him, “Lord teach us how to pray.”  

So, He said to them, “When you pray, say

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Luke 11:1-4

The Lord’s prayer is not really a formula. I believe it is a model prayer, David and I pray this every day, not just by rote, but with faith and trust in Jesus that He hears our prayers.

And here is another guide we also use in prayer: We use the acronym ACTS, which makes it easy remember.

A- is adoration. Like what Jesus said, “Hallowed be Your name”. We praise God for He is merciful, all powerful, sovereign, loving, gracious, etc.

C- is confession. Again, from the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive others.” We can ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts if there ‘s any thing that is not pleasing to the Lord. And ask God for forgiveness. (See I John 1:9)

T- is thanksgiving. Thank God for 3 things; count your blessings.

S- is supplication – deliver us from the evil one.

For Supplication, some people use the 5-finger model.

The 5-finger-prayer

Thumb- friends & family

Pointer-Parents and Teachers

Middle-Leaders

Ring-weak and sick people

Pinky-self

Whichever prayer model you prefer, prayer is not a ceremony or a ritual. It is a personal relationship. Like with friends and others, prayer is talking, and taking time in fellowship with Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

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For the Bride of Christ

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;

(Ezekiel 36:26)

A couple of weeks ago, I took a special time with the Lord as the Jewish calendar of Ellul was closing and the head of the year was coming, Rosh Hashana (September 7th).  I asked Him what is His heart for the Church, the followers of Yeshua, the Bride of Christ. I felt the Lord said, “I will put a new spirit within you and will give you a new heart,” (Ezekiel 36:26). Then He also said, He is giving us new wine and new oil. He is also giving us fire of the Holy Ghost to burn the dross, blow away the chaff, burn old wineskin – which is old thinking, old habits, including old beliefs and tradition.

God is giving us new wineskins, to be vessels of silver and gold, (such as cup, oil lamps, etc). New wine is to refresh our souls so we can refresh others. He is giving new oil to anoint us, to give us power for new ministries He is calling us to. God is giving us new oil to be a light burning for Jesus in this dark world.

A few years ago, while praying, the Spirit of the Lord gave me a picture (vision) of earthen vessels or clay jars, of different sizes and shapes. Then I saw Jesus pouring wine into each clay jar. There were many in the room, but Jesus was waiting for those jars to be willing vessels for Him to pour His wine into. Right after that vision Lord gave me, I saw this miniature of Jesus pouring water and wine into a clay jar right in one of the cabinets in our church.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Back to my prayer during this recent Ellul month, the Spirit of the Lord continued to speak as HE impressed upon my heart this word;

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

God is giving us new wine and new oil for a harvest of souls. I heard some prophetic words about a harvest of a billion souls in this new decade (2020-2030) and as we enter a new era. I felt the Spirit of the Lord is saying for the harvest of souls, God needs new vessels (new wineskins) to be vessels for this new wine and new oil.

Then God says, “I do not change, I AM, I am gracious and merciful. I hate sin and do not tolerate sin. I’m calling my people to holiness – the church- you are set apart for me to be a light in this dark world. I’m pouring fresh wine, to new wineskins, new oil to new vessel of oil lamp, I’m sending fresh manna from my Word.”

To change old wineskin to new wineskin is to change old habits and old thinking. For me personally the Lord is dealing with me about these sins and wrong ways, such as procrastination, delayed obedience, not paying careful attention to the Holy Spirit’s leading and His Words, holding on to old grudges, resentments, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness, etc. 

A Dream

A few weeks ago, I had another dream: In my dream, I was in my room, then my late father came to the room. He went to a clothes drawer where I keep my undergarments. He pulled out old undergarments. As he pulled some old, tattered, gray-looking undergarments one by one, he looked at me and I saw in his eyes, as if telling me, “Why are you holding onto these?” Then he showed me the other part of the drawer, with new and clean undergarments.

In that dream, I felt our Heavenly Father was telling me to throw away the old garments and He is giving me new garments, which means throw away old mindsets, old thinking, old stuff in my heart that are not pleasing to Him. And He wants to give me new garments or new heart, new spirit. Undergarments also represents things hidden and not seen by men.

Then I read this quote from “Billy Graham’s Wisdom for Each Day” Daily calendar on September 2nd:

“To ask God to search out the darkest, most secret corners of our minds and hearts take courage… if we aren’t willing to do this? Then the sins we know about remain unconfessed, and our fellowship with God remains cold and distant. Perhaps more important, the hidden sins we may not even realize we have sins- like pride, suppressed anger, lack of love, jealousy, a secret yearning for recognition- remain firmly in place, manipulating us and eventually destroying us.”

New Garments

In the Old Testament, Zechariah had a vision of the high priest of Israel, Joshua who was being accused of Satan because of their sins.  But God defended Joshua from Satan. ((Zechariah 3:1-2).

Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.

 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”

So, they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.” (Zechariah 3:3-5)

Joshua was a high priest in Jerusalem was being accused by satan because of his sins and the sin of the people of Israel, but Lord God defended him. Zechariah 3:1

God forgave their sins as represented by the filthy garments, and gave him new and clean garments.

As God forgave the sin of Joshua and the people of Israel, He encouraged him.

Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘If you will walk in My ways,
And if you will keep My command,
Then you shall also judge My house,
And likewise have charge of My courts;
I will give you places to walk
Among these who stand here.

(Zechariah 3:6-7)

New Wineskins

Jesus said, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” Luke 5: 37-38 NKJV 

New Wine, new oil, new wineskins to be vessels of honor (silver cup, gold cup, an oil lamp, etc) for the harvest of souls.

To have a new wineskin is to consecrate our spirit anew afresh to the Lordship of Christ, get rid of all thoughts, old habits, old ways of thinking to brin a new wine, new oil, which is fresh power and anointing of God, a new revelation of who He is.

Prayer: Holy Spirit please search my heart, see if there is anything that is not pleasing to you. Dear Jesus please forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me, make me a new wineskin, give me a new heart, and fill me with your spirit.

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The Power of Words

This morning in my Bible reading, the Lord encouraged me once again from His Word. As we see and hear news of wickedness going on around the world, we pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith. We pray for God’s protection for the innocent, vulnerable, children, and women who are in volatile situations. We pray for courageous men and women who put their lives on the line to help these people in need. Though some people may fail, Almighty God does not fail. God loves all people.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

John 3:16

The Assured Judgment of the Wicked

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
Defend me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from the workers of iniquity,
And save me from bloodthirsty men.

For look, they lie in wait for my life;
The mighty gather against me,
Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord.
They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine.

Awake to help me, and behold!
You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Awake to punish all the nations;
Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah

At evening they return,
They growl like a dog,
And go all around the city.
Indeed, they belch with their mouth;
Swords are in their lips;
For they say, “Who hears?”

But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them;
You shall have all the nations in derision.
I will wait for You, O You his Strength;
For God is my defense.
10 My God of mercy shall come to meet me;
God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.

11 Do not slay them, lest my people forget;
Scatter them by Your power,
And bring them down,
O Lord our shield.
12 For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips,
Let them even be taken in their pride,
And for the cursing and lying which they speak.
13 Consume them in wrath, consume them,
That they may not be;
And let them know that God rules in Jacob
To the ends of the earth. Selah

14 And at evening they return,
They growl like a dog,
And go all around the city.
15 They wander up and down for food,
And howl if they are not satisfied.

16 But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.
17 To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense,
My God of mercy.”

-Psalm 59 NKJV Bible Gateway

Jesus has the Power to Heal and Forgive!

Title: Jesus has the power to heal and forgive!

Bible Reading: Mark Chapter 2

But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”

Jesus Christ- Mark 2:10

Other Refences: Isaiah 43:25; Isaiah 1:18; John 17:23,29

Jesus healed a paralytic who was brought by his friends. We do not know why the man was born with paralysis. In that time in Israel, the people had the belief that a person is sick because of sin. Jesus wanted to release the blessing of God’s forgiveness and healing to the paralyzed man.  “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’” (verse 5)

The religious leaders knew well their Scriptures, too.

“And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” (v7)

In the Old Testament God spoke through the prophet Isaiah. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

In the time past, the people of Israel knew that only the Lord God in heaven could forgive sins. There were men of God like the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel, and great leaders like Moses and David, and priests who prayed for them. However, ultimately only God (Yahweh) could forgive sins. When Jesus came to Israel, many people saw Him as a normal Jewish man. However, Jesus was also fully God. The Father God in heaven gave Him authority to forgive sin because Jesus was His manifestation here on earth. God sent Jesus so the people of the world would know who God in heaven is – so that they might know His love, His mercy, His kindness, and His forgiveness. Jesus showed and demonstrated to the paralytic the heart of God to forgive sins and to show compassion.

As the man was healed, he also received forgiveness of his sins which was the healing of his soul. God’s heart to heal is not just physical healing of bodies from infirmity, but to heal their souls and spirits. And to be set free from the power of evil, to be whole, healing of body, soul, and spirit. This is the power and authority Jesus has from the heavenly Father.

Reflection:

God gave Jesus authority to heal and forgive. Jesus still heals today. The healing Jesus offers is not just healing of the physical body, but the healing of soul and spirit, and the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to earth and forgiving me of my sins. Thank you for healing my body, soul, heart, and mind. Please help me to share your healing power and forgiveness with others, like the friends of the paralytic man who brought him to Jesus.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

All Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New King James

http://The Bible Gateway

peacewithgod.net

The Power of the Word

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The Power of the Word: Why the Bible is Relevant

As we see turmoil and chaos around, it is easy to be fearful and worry. The other morning I felt God encouraged me from His Words in the Bible. Just in time, these Words have strengthened my spirit.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

Psalm 46: 1-3

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. SelahPsalm 46

 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But deliverance is of the Lord.

Proverbs 21: 31

Bible Scriptures taken from New King James Version, NKJV

https://www.biblegateway.com

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Do not worry!

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

Photo by Philippe Donn from Pexels

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

by: Jesus- Matthew 6: 25-34 NKJV- The Bible Gateway

Prayer, Words and Angels

A Dream:

Early one morning in September 2020, I had a vivid dream:

My husband and I were in a small room inside a big building. I was not sure, but perhaps it was a hotel. I know the building had many rooms. We were inside huddled together in a corner, sort of hiding. In the dream, I saw our room door was shut, and we looked at the glass window to the hallway to make sure no one could see us. Then suddenly the door opened. A woman came in, with short hair, maybe in her late 60’s. She went straight across the room and stood next to the window to the outside world. It was a small window, and she opened it a little for us to see. As she pointed at the window to the outside world, we could see that the sky was dark and bleak. It was supposed to be daytime, perhaps afternoon, but we could see stormy clouds. Then she pointed to a white stone that looked like a chair or throne which appeared like a vision or an invisible movie screen picture on the wall. It was like a marble stone chair with bits of clay. We saw the picture, like watching a movie scene. Then she said to us, “That’s Jesus, on the throne. He is the rock.” And then the dream ended.  

After a couple of days or so, as I pondered and prayed about the dream, I felt that the Holy Spirit revealed to me a portion of the interpretation of the dream. The woman was an angel. The dark clouds outside, were the chaos and all the negative things happening in the world. (During that time in real life, there was chaos happening in the country such as the pandemic, protests, etc.) Then the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 91:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”  (Psalm 91:1-2 NKJV)

This is what I felt led me to the meaning of the dream. The room we were in was like a secret room.  There were other rooms in the building. The woman was an angel of God.

Despite all the bad things and chaos of those dark days, I was reminded that if Jesus is our Lord, He is our Rock. If Jesus is our Lord and Rock, then we stay in the secret place of the Lord, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  We are safe and secure in the secret place of the Lord.  He shall hide us in times of trouble under His mighty wings.

Angels

In the dream, as I mentioned, the woman who came to our room represents our angels whom the Lord God sends to guard and protect us in times of trouble. In the Bible we know that angels are also messengers and God’s ministering servants.

“Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word.” (Psalm 103:20 NKJV)

We read in the Bible where angels delivered messages to Abraham (Genesis 18), Gideon (Judges 6:11), the parents of Samson (Judges 13:3), and others. In the New Testament, Mary was visited by an angel (Luke 1: 26), as was Zacharias (Luke 1:11), and others.

Let us look at the story of Mary and Zacharias when angels appeared and spoke to them at separate times:

An angel spoke to Mary and said, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31 NKJV)

Mary’s final response was: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38 NKJV) Mary just agreed with the message of the angel as she believed in her heart that it was the will of God.

Let’s see the story of Zacharias when an angel told him that he and his wife would have a son, John the Baptist, also in Luke 1:

“Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John” (Luke 1:13 NKJV).

And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” Because of unbelief, the angel said to Zacharias:

“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” (Luke 1:20 NKJV)

The Power of Words

A few years ago, I read a book by Charles Capps with the title “Angels.”[i] According to Mr. Capps:

“Be careful what you say. Your Angels are listening! Don’t speak negative words before your angels.”

Capps explained further that angels are very much alive on earth. As they worked in the Old Testament and the New Testament times, they are still working now on behalf of God’s people.

According to Mr. Capps, one day the Spirit of God spoke to his spirit: 

“One reason the words you speak are so important is because the angels are listening to what you say… I designed them as ministering spirits. They stand beside you daily, listening to words that come out of your mouth. If your words are in line with my Words, then the angels go to work immediately, causing the things you speak to come to pass. But if you speak things contrary to My word, you won’t get an audience with angels. They won’t operate on those words. Words spoken contrary to My Words will bind the angels. They will back off, fold their hands, and bow their heads… You should speak in line with My Word in order for my will to come to pass in your life. Man was designed to speak truth, to speak his will.”

He went on to say how detrimental it is when people say things like, “Nothing ever works” or “I never get healed,” etc.

The Words of God are powerful and very important, as Jesus said to His disciples:

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 NKJV)

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7 NKJV)

Our words are important, too, as the Bible says:

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (
Proverbs 18:21 NKJV)

Of course, as Christians, we do not pray to angels, but to our Lord God. However, God sends His angels to minister, and to answer our petitions and requests. The angels get their instruction from God as they heed the voice of His words. (Psalm 103:20)

The apostle Paul warned:  

“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, … (Colossians 2:18); and “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8 NKJV)

About prayer and intercession, we pray in faith as Jesus said:

 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says…” (Mark 11:23 NKJV)

Notice Jesus said again, “believe that those things he says will be done…” The use of the words of our mouths is important. “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV)

As we pray in faith, we also must watch what we say. Sometimes, I catch myself after praying for some situation saying something like, “I’m not sure if God listens to such prayers…”

As Christians who are familiar with the Bible, we should try to be careful about saying negative words. However, with some of the negative things going on, it is sometimes easier to paint the worst scenario. As Christians, God gave us the gift of faith. Jesus said His followers are supposed to be the salt and light of the earth.

Derek Prince said, “Christians are responsible for the government they live under, if you would take less time to criticize (which is the use of our mouths), and more time to pray, you would have less to criticize.[ii]


[i] Capps, Charles,  “Angels”, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harrison House, 1984

[ii] IFA, Derek Prince, “Praying for Your Government”,  p.18, Intercessors for America, Derek Prince Ministries

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God loves you!

God loves you!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:16-17, NKJV

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9NIV)

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the [remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Jesus is coming back soon!

 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

Prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus as your Lord and Savior:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart to you. I commit and trust my life to Your Lordship. Please help me, Holy Spirit, to live the life God has planned for me.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

Christianity is not just a religion. It is a personal relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. God speaks to us through reading the Bible every day. (www.biblegateway.com)
  2. We speak to God through prayer in the name of Jesus.
  3. To hear good Bible teachings, look for a good Bible believing Christian church to be part of, or maybe look for online for now.

Thebiblegateway.com   peacewithgod.net

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Traveling on my Knees

This poem, “Traveling on my Knees” has inspired us, especially these days when we are not able to travel for our ministry. May this poem inspire you too.

Last night I took a journey
To a land across the seas;
I did not go by boat or plane,
I traveled on my knees.

I saw so many people there
In deepest depths of sin,
But Jesus told me I should go,
That there were souls to win.

But I said, “Jesus I cannot go
And work with such as these.”
He answered quickly, “Yes you can
By traveling on your knees.”

He said, “You pray; I’ll meet the need,
You call and I will hear;
Be concerned about lost souls,
Of those both far and near.”

And so I tried it, knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours of ease;
I felt the Lord right by my side
While traveling on my knees.

As I prayer on and saw souls saved
And twisted bodies healed,
And saw God’s workers’ strength renewed
While laboring on the field.

I said, “Yes, Lord I have a job,
My desire Thy will to please;
I can go and heed Thy call
By traveling on my knees.”

by: Sandra Goodwin Clopine

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The Call of Jesus

Sea of Galilee, Israel

Reading:  Mark Chapter 1

Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17)

Jesus began His public ministry in obedience to the will of God His Father. His obedience began when He stepped down from His heavenly home, stripped off Hs kingly robe, left eternity, came to earth, and became a helpless babe. Jesus chose to enter humanity and became like one of us – in human flesh, with human emotions. He became a child and then a teenager, subject to the authority of his earthly parents – Joseph and Mary.  Jesus followed the tradition and culture of His land, spoke the language of the Jews, and worked with His earthly father as a craftsman/carpenter. Maybe when He was little, He also played with His brothers and sisters.

Just before Jesus was known to the public as a prophet of God, John declared His coming:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.’” (Mark 1:3)

To follow the tradition of the priests’ purification, Jesus also came to John for baptism.

“It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And immediately, coming up [c]from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. 11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11)

After John baptized Jesus, John was put in prison, and just in time Jesus started His public ministry.

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [g]is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (V. 14-15)

Jesus began preaching and teaching the Words of God to the people of Israel. Jesus also knew His time on earth was limited, so as He proclaimed the Words of God, He also chose and called other men to come along and learn from Him.  He asked Simon, Andrew, and other men to follow Him. (v. 15)

17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (v.17)

Jesus knew those men and their hearts.  Even though they were ordinary men, their hearts were longing for the coming of the Messiah, or Savior.

 Why did Jesus not call the priests or the Pharisees? I don’t know, and I am not sure why.  The twelve disciples believed Jesus was their Savior, and they were not close-minded like the priests. The disciples learned from Jesus. They saw Him heal many sick people, cleanse lepers (v.40), and perform other signs and wonders. They had experienced the power and wonders of Jesus, especially the manifest, physical presence of God on earth.

What does it mean to be “fishers of men”? As fishermen catch fish for living, fishers of men catch people for the Kingdom of God. There are many people who are lost in the ocean of life. If no one catches them, they will drown in sin and die at the bottom of the ocean. They will perish forever in hell, away from the presence of our Creator God. (See Revelation 20: 12-15). Fishers of men are followers of Jesus who chose to do what Jesus did – preach the Good news of salvation and forgiveness of sins, to receive the love of God and to be part of His Kingdom.

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

Reflection:

Jesus is still calling men and women to follow Him. The call of Jesus is still the same to those who believe Him,“Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 

As the first disciples and followers of Jesus experienced His manifest power to heal the sick, deliver the oppressed from demons, and preach the Good news of salvation. Jesus still gives the same power to those who will follow Him to be fishers of men.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your call and invitation to follow You to be fishers of men. Help us, Your Church, the Christians, to follow Your call to be fishers of men, to preach and teach the Good News of Salvation, and to make disciples.

Your Reflection:

Your Prayer:

Bible verses from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3&version=NKJV

https://peacewithgod.net/

The Coming Power

The Holy Spirit, like Jesus, is Truth and Helper.

Reading: Acts 1:1-8

Key verse : “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5)

Other references: John 14:16, John 15:26

//Matthew 3:11& Luke 3:16- I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The Lord Jesus spent 3 full years with His disciples. He ate with them, traveled places with them and did ministry together. The disciples studied and learned from Him directly, as they listened to His teachings and preaching. They witnessed and saw miracles He did firsthand. Jesus trained them to be teachers of the Word of God, to be preachers, prophets, and evangelists. However, Jesus had to go back physically to His heavenly home to be with His Father. Jesus had fulfilled His mission and primary purpose when He gave His life as a sin offering for the world. Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the world (John 19), then rose after 3 days. He showed Himself to His disciples and others for 40 days. During this time, He gave them His last words and re-commissioned them. (Acts 1:1).  Jesus encouraged the disciples one more time (but not the last time).

For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5)

Jesus promised this to His disciples even before He died on the cross.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

Jesus had to go back to heaven, leaving the earth, but He did not abandon His followers, disciples, and friends.

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (v.18)

He already made plans for them, to send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. He speaks the Truth, which is the Word of God, to enlighten peoples’ minds and to convict of sin.

 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.  (John 15:26)

The Holy Spirit is also the Helper. Like Jesus, He helps in time of need. Like Jesus, He promised to stay with the disciples forever. As Jesus promised His disciples, I will not leave you orphans (John 14:18)

The Holy Spirit, like Jesus, is Truth and Helper. He continues to do the work of Jesus – to speak the truth of God’s words. The Holy Spirit is the Helper, our help in time of need, whatever the situation, whatever we need – healing of bodies, healing of emotions, healing of minds, providing for financial needs, giving guidance, protection, comfort, etc.

Reflection:

Jesus is back in heaven, but He is still with us, as His followers, through the Holy Spirit. He provides for us, meeting every need we could possibly imagine. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into Truth – to be our Teacher and Helper in times of need. The Holy Spirit abides or stay with us forever.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to us Your followers. Thank You Holy Spirit for helping me in time of need, and for guiding and teaching me the Truth of God and His words. Amen!

Part 2: The Holy Spirit gives power to do the works of Jesus!

Reading: Acts 1:8-26

Key verse: “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.” (Acts 1:8)

//Luke 24:49 – “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

One of the last things the Lord Jesus told His disciples before He returned to heaven was,

“For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (v.5);  And “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.” (v.8)

His disciples thought Jesus was talking about physical power.

“Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? (v.7).

The disciples knew and believed with all their hearts that Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah or Savior. However, their definition of Messiah was different from Jesus’ kingdom’s definition. Perhaps in the minds of the disciples and other people of Israel, they thought the Messiah or Savior was like Moses or David. Moses was their physical ruler who freed them from slavery in Egypt (See Exodus). Later, David led the people of Israel into battles and established his kingdom throughout Israel (See 2 Samuel). Perhaps, the disciples and other people were thinking, Jesus would do the same, delivering them from oppression and tyranny of the Roman rule. However, as the Word says in Isaiah 55:8

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.”

The mind of Christ and the plan of God was far greater than the thinking of men – temporary relief. Men like the people of Israel thought of physical deliverance from hardships, taxation, violence, and other physical oppressions. From the beginning, when Jesus was born on earth, God’s plan was to deliver people from the bondage of sin. 

For He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 NKJV)

The plan of God was not just a temporary relief from hardships and oppression, His plan of salvation was far greater than temporary earthly relief. His plan of salvation was eternal – to deliver people from sin.  God’s plan of salvation for the people of Israel is the same for everyone in the world. (John 3:16)

So, when Jesus told His disciples, “You will receive power…” (Acts 1:8), He meant the power to preach the Gospel, the power to heal sick people, to perform miracles, so people would believe in Jesus.  When Jesus was with His disciples on earth, He did the Father’s will – preaching salvation, teaching the people the words of God, healing the sick, and delivering people from demonic oppression. Jesus’s focus and mission were to set people free from sin, from hell and eternal condemnation. The same power Jesus received from the Father, He passed on to His disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit so they could be witnesses in all places starting in Jerusalem and then moving to other cities, other places, other countries, and to the ends of the earth.

Reflection:

The same power Jesus gave His disciples is available to all His followers even to this day – the power to preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God, heal the sick, deliver people from demonic oppression, set people free from sin, hell and eternal condemnation.  As followers of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit is made available to us all.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to us. Thank You Holy Spirit for coming. Please fill us with your power – Your spirit of strength and courage to be witnesses for our Lord Jesus to everyone, in every place you send us. 

Your Reflection:

_________________________________________________________________________

Your Prayer:

_________________________________________________________________________

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Celebrating 7 Years!

Celebrating 7 years of God’s love and faithfulness!

Last week, April 27, 2021 we celebrated our seven years wedding anniversary! We praise the Lord for His gift of love and marriage. We thank the Lord God for bringing us to serve Him together in reaching others with the love of Jesus through personal ministry and with Far East Broadcasting Company, (FEBC). Here are some highlights from our ministry and personal trips the past years.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Brasher Spring Camp meeting in Alabama where we first met in 2010
April 27, 2014 Wedding at Camp Sumatanga, Alabama
FEBC Bali, Indonesia 2015
Visited FEBC Bali, Indonesia in 2016
Celebrating 2- year wedding anniversary in Helen, GA 2016
Ministry trip in Jakarata, Indonesia 2017
Ministry trip to Seoul Korea, 2017
Mission Conference, (GIC) at FUMC Decatur, Alabama 2018
FEBC Shortwave, Philippines 2018
Phnom Penh, Cambodia 2019
David working on a piece of broadcast equipment in FEBC Cambodia, 2019
Western Wall, Israel trip 2020
Little River Canyon, Alabama
Celebrating 7 years in Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee April 2021

To know more about the ministry of David & Vicki

See https://thecreels.org/about-3/

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Jesus the living water!

Jordan River, Israel
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38 NKJV)
Reading: John 7
Power, popularity, prestige, position, food, fashion, success, wealth, passion, entertainment, etc. are the things with which people try to fill their lives. Here in the southeast, where we sometimes experience tornados and severe storms, people who have lost all their possessions often say, “We lost our homes and everything else, but we thank God we are still alive!”
One of the greatest kings who lived on earth was Solomon who had everything – power, wealth, women, etc. (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11) However, his cry was, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
But hear the words of Jesus: 
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38)
Once more, Jesus gave an opportunity to the people of Israel to know who He was. He wanted them to know that He is the source of life. He wanted to give them the river of living water. For Jesus is the wellspring of salvation. He is the source of life and the giver of eternal life. 
The offer of Jesus is still true today for everyone. Jesus wants to give us the river of living water because He is the source of life, the bread of life, and the living water.  Jesus offers His life to anyone. He alone can satisfy the hungry soul. He alone can fill the longing of hearts. Nothing else can fill the emptiness in a man’s soul. 
People in the world today try to pursue earthly dreams, success, worldly wealth, good life, and happiness. They try all kinds of things, relationships, and intimacy, but none can fill the void in one’s heart. Jesus alone can satisfy the soul, as He made a way for us to come to the Father, the giver and source of life.
All the striving for happiness, success, and fulfillment cannot be compared with the joy and satisfaction of a relationship with Jesus. In Jesus, there is peace, love, joy, hope, the forgiveness of sin, and eternal life. What Jesus offers and gives is not a temporary solution or a quick fix; He gives eternal redemption and salvation of the soul from sin and hell.
In Jesus, all our needs are met – physical, emotional, and spiritual. He is the Provider of food, shelter, etc. He is the Healer when we are sick. Jesus is the Comforter when we are lonely and sad. Jesus is strength when we are weak. Jesus is Hope when we do not know what tomorrow will bring. Jesus is love when we feel abandoned. Jesus is Wisdom when we need guidance and direction. Jesus is Refuge when we need protection. Jesus is the Good Shepherd when we have lost our way. Jesus is the Resurrection and the life in time of death. And Jesus wants to give us more.
Reflection:
The invitation of Jesus is for everyone to come to Him and be filled. He wants to give us the river of life, the river of living water. He desires to fill the longing of our soul and to satisfy our spirit. Jesus wants to give us eternal life – a life connected to God in eternity.
Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I praise You and bless You! Thank you for your offer to give us the river of living water, that we could live with you here on earth and in eternity with our God. Thank You that I can come to you for everything and anything I need in life and in the life to come. 

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Submission to the Father’s Love

Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Jerusalem)

Reading: Mark 14:10-66

Key verse: “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.’”  (v.36)

Mark 14: 36

Abba, means “Father.” Jesus called God His Father, meaning He has a personal and close relationship with God.  Jesus knew He could call on His Father anytime, especially in times of trouble and distress. “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.’” (v.34)

Jesus knew His Father, the Lord God, is all-powerful and all-knowing. “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You…’” (v.36). Jesus knew His Father could do anything. God created the heavens and the earth. He had all the power and resources. He could command His legions of angels to stop and intervene in His Son’s situation if He desired to. 

Jesus knew well that His Father is gracious and merciful. “Take this cup away from Me.”

Jesus knew His Father loved Him very much, and He could spare Him from suffering if He wished to do so. However, in all these circumstances, Jesus still submitted to the Father’s plan and will.

“…nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.

Jesus was humble and submissive to His Father’s will because He knew His Father’s plan of salvation for us all. Jesus was willing to suffer because He knew His Father’s heart was to save everyone from sin and hell. Jesus knew His Father loved Him, but God the Father also loved every person in the world, so He was willing to sacrifice His only Son.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Reflection:

Because of God’s great love for you and me, Jesus gave His life on the cross. Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father for the forgiveness of our sins and salvation of our souls, to give us eternal life.

 See: Philippians 2:5-11

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [b]robbery to be equal with God, but [c]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus thank you for your willingness to submit to the will of the Father. Holy Spirit please help me be willing to submit also to my Lord’s will and plan. Amen.

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TRUE STORY: Trial, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Jesus ChristJohn 8:32

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, – by Paul,  I Corinthians 15:3-4

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

TRIAL

So, then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”  Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!

Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”

 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.  Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”

Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”

Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. –

John 19


CRUCIFIXION
And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
 Therefore, the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.  So, when Jesus had received the sour wine,
He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.  Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So, there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby. – John 19

Resurrection:

 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. -Mark 16: 6-8

But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.- John20

Empty Tomb in the Garden Tomb, Jerusalem

The Apostles Commissioned

 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

 So, Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

From the Gospel of John Chapter 19, 20

Other References: Matthew 27 & 28, Mark 15, &16, Luke 23 & 24

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Victory in the Garden

Garden of Gethsemane

There in the Garden

My Savior plead,

There in the Garden

My Savior knelt down and prayed,
“Father, not my will

But Your will be done”

There in the garden

My Lord surrendered

To His Father’s plan

Yet He had won

The Victor’s crown

There in the garden

My Savior wept

He cried bloody tears of surrender

There in the garden

My Savior won over sin and temptation

Death and evil no more have dominion

There in the garden my Savior won the Victor’s Crown.

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Jesus the Coming King!

“Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10)     

Reading: Mark 11: 1-10 ((See also Psalm 118:25-26)

          

Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt (v.7). Many people laid their clothes on the road as a carpet for the entrance of Jesus, while others spread out green leafy branches. They shouted “Hosanna, please deliver us, blessed is He who comes in the name of Adonai.” (Mark 11:9 Jewish Bible).

The people of Israel recognized Jesus as their long-awaited Savior and Messiah. They recognized Jesus was sent by the Lord God when they said, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of God” (v.10). They also recognized Jesus was a descendant of David, the rightful heir to the throne of David when they said, “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David.” (v. 10)

The people of Israel were in a desperate situation because the tyranny of Roman rule was heavy upon them. They felt powerless and helpless. As life became harder for them with more taxes, less freedom, etc., they needed another Savior more than ever. Like King David, who saved them from their enemies, and like Moses who delivered them from slavery in Egypt, they wanted Jesus to deliver them too.

So, when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a colt, the people of Israel thought that their time of deliverance had come. Their hopes were up! They thought that was the best time to be free from the oppression of Roman rule. They thought God sent Jesus to deliver them. They cried and pleaded with Jesus, “Please deliver us!” However, God had a different plan. From the birth of Jesus, God’s plan and purpose was to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Yes, God wanted to deliver them from the oppression of their enemies. God still accomplished that plan. Later, after many years, Roman rule and power ceased. The purpose of Jesus’ coming to earth was to deliver and save people from their sins. It was sad that the people did not recognize their need for a Savior to deliver them from their sins because they did not recognize their own sinful nature. They did not recognize the condition of their hearts and souls, the sin in their lives such as pride, arrogance, hatred, lack of fear of God, etc.

Yes, many of them followed and obeyed the law and commandments of Moses, but their hearts were far from God. They were upset that a heathen nation was ruling them. The people of Israel did not recognize their Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ came to deliver them from sins.

So, Jesus came and taught them to turn away from sin and turn to the Lord God. As people were pre-occupied with how to survive the heavy oppression from Roman rule, Jesus taught them, “Do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25-33)

Reflection:

The people of Israel only wanted freedom from Roman rule so that their lives would be comfortable again. But God’s plan for salvation for all people was first deliverance from slavery to sin, salvation of souls to give us eternal life. God wants the hearts of people to turn to Him – to be free from sin. Then someday in the millennium and future eternity, Jesus will rule as King of kings, and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). Jesus will come back again to rule and reign with His followers. (Rev 20:6 and Rev 21:6-7)

“And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’” (Rev. 21-6-7) 

“Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,saying:

“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.” (Rev. 11:15-17)

Prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You came to seek and save me from my sins. Thank You for delivering me from the power of darkness and bringing me into your marvelous light. Thank You for rescuing me from slavery to sin. And thank you that you are coming back again to take me with you. Someday you will rule and reign here on earth as our Lord and King.

      

The Creels Spring 2021 Prayer Letter

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now…” (Philippians 1:2-5)

With these words, the Apostle Paul expressed his deep gratitude to the church at Philippi for their faithful support of his ongoing missionary efforts.  As we reflect upon the past 30 years of ministry with FEBC, these words also express our sentiments as we remember your faithful partnership in our radio/media ministry. We are greatly blessed by your prayers and financial support which enable us to continue providing engineering and technical support for our radio stations in Asia. Thank you for your partnership!

FEBC Cambodia Transmitter site

Since our last prayer letter, David has been busy assisting Family FM in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as they investigate the idea of replacing their guyed tower with a self-supporting tower. This is being considered to “free up” space at the transmitter site so that a new studio building can be constructed there to replace the old/crowded studio site in downtown Phnom Penh. So, David has been gathering data on antenna weights and wind loads so that a new self-supporting tower can be designed. Please pray for wisdom as David and fellow missionary Guy West work on this project proposal.

David has also been assisting Batjargal, board chair of  FEBC Mongolia, as he sets up a home recording studio in Sacramento, California. He will soon be translating the “Through the Bible” radio programs into the Mongolian language, so David has been assisting by ordering the needed equipment. Please pray that the new setup works well.

Jimri of FEBC Indonesia also recently contacted David to ask for advice on troubleshooting technical problems at Heartline Lampung and Respon Radio in Padang. Both stations are experiencing reduced power output, most likely due to antenna problems. Please pray for wisdom in solving these problems.

FEBC Indonesia Transmitter interface

At this point, I would like to share an urgent prayer request with you. As you may have seen in the international news, there was a recent coup d’état in Myanmar (Burma). FEBC has been operating in Myanmar since 1973. Broadcasts are in Burmese and 4 other ethnic languages. At present, our staff are safe, but in recent days pro-democracy protesters have been killed as the military has responded with violence. Please pray for a peaceful end to the conflict, a return to democracy, and the safety of church leaders and FEBC staff.

LISTENER RESPONSES

Maria from Indonesia writes, “I listened to Heartline Radio not long ago…and now I am an avid listener. At first, I was just tuning around on the shortwave dial, but then I found FEBC Indonesia with its spiritual broadcasts. I was staying…Since then I’ve never changed the radio dial. I always tune into Heartline Radio, from morning till late night. The program that I often hear is ‘Sharing and Prayer’ where the program host asks for prayer support for every listener…I currently have a lot of struggles, especially health. Almost every day I ask for the mercy of God, to lift the pain I was suffering. Praise God, thanks to the support of prayers from God’s servants at FEBC Indonesia, my disease has gradually started to heal, and I am getting through recovery again.”

A listener from Malawi shares, “I am very grateful for having received a radio which will help us understand what God says about Jesus Christ. Since many of us are illiterate, the radio will help us grow in our faith.”

Goomaral from Mongolia writes, “Thank you to all the team. Due to the pandemic, churches are closed. But with the online stream, we can listen to the sermon…and praise the Lord at our homes.”


Mrs. Khin Nim from Cambodia shares, “I was in a motorcycle accident and almost died…While in bed, my son brought me a radio. I started to listen to FEBC Cambodia, and the songs and many good programs brought comfort and healing to my heart. After listening for 4-months, I know the One who always cares for me and gives hope to the hopeless. I surrendered to Him as my God. He is Jesus Christ.”

Your partnership is enabling millions of listeners just like these to hear the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. On behalf of our listeners, we want to thank you for partnering with us as we proclaim Christ to the World by Media “Until All Have Heard.” 

May God bless you all!

David & Vicki Creel

For Support:

Far East Broadcasting Company

PO Box 1

La Mirada, CA  90637-0001

Account #1240

Website:  https://www.febc.org

Online Contributions:  https://www.febc.org/creel

Only If They Know

Only if they know You

Only if they know

How much you love them,

They will love you too

Only if they know your love

They too will be in awe of You.

Only if they know

That You gave Your all

Body, soul and all

Only if they know

That Your body was bruised for our transgression

Only if they know

You bore a crown of thorns

Only if they know

You carried the cross for our sins

Only if they know

Your hands and feet were nailed to the cross for our iniquities

Only if they know

Jesus only if they know

They too will be in awe

That You love them so true

Jesus if they know

How much you love them so

They too will love you so.

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Unchanging Love

Unchanging love

You are my unchanging love

You picked me up when I am down

You cheer me up when I am sad

You gave me love when I was feeling unworthy

You gave me hope when there was no hope

You are my unchanging love

In my ups and downs

You are the constant One

You never change

Nothing moves you

Nothing takes you by surprise

You are always there by my side

When I needed someone to care

Jesus You are my unchanging love

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“Persistent Prayer”

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Parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.  Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:1-8 (NKJV)

This is a parable of contrast not comparison!

Our heavenly Father is not like the unjust judge.

Parable of the Persistent Friend

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.  Luke 11:5-8 (NKJV)

This is another parable of contrast not comparison!

Our Heavenly Father is never reluctant to meet the needs of His children.

Jesus’ Admonition to Ask, Seek, and Knock

So, I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened.  Luke 11:9-10 (AMP)

The Father’s Desire to Give Good Gifts to His Children:

Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will [instead] give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will [instead] give him a snake?  If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.  Matthew 7:9-11 (AMP)
(This is the parallel passage to Luke 11:11-13)

* ASK AND KEEP ON ASKING!
* SEEK AND KEEP ON SEEKING!
* KNOCK AND KEEP ON KNOCKING!

What amazing answers to prayer have you seen due to persistence?

What seemingly “impossible” prayer requests can we bring to the Father today?

“…With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 9:26


“For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Luke 1:37


“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.  Is there anything too hard for me?”  Jeremiah 32:27

Bible passages from Amplified Version and New King James Version

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O Lord how long-The Prayer of Habakkuk

O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear?

The global pandemic, upheaval and turmoil in the nations, people suffering for their faith, religious persecution, violence against innocent people, unrighteousness, godlessness, injustice, and other wicked deeds remind me of the prayer of a man in the Bible named Habakkuk.

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
  Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted
Habakkuk 1:1-4 (NIV)

Habakkuk was a man who lived during the kingdoms of Judah and Israel around 600 BCE. He wrote his prophecies before the Babylon invasion. God used Habakkuk to warn the people of Judah (Jews) to repent and turned from their sinful ways.

Habakkuk grappled with God’s economy of justice. “He finds it inconceivable that God could use and evil pagan nation to judge His people. However, God uses a vision to convince Habakkuk that His ways are right” [1]


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I felt the burden of Habakkuk to have justice in the midst of wickedness.

Habakkuk was not the only one in the Bible who had struggles with God’s justice. In the book of Psalms, the writer expressed his heart:

How long, Lord, will the wicked,
    how long will the wicked be jubilant?  They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, Lord;  they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner;  they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.”
Psalm 94:3-7

Then God replied to Habakkuk in Chapter 2:2-3

“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come, It will not tarry
.”

Then God spoke to Habakkuk about sure judgments to the wicked:

“Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house…
Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establish a city by iniquity…
Habakkuk 2:9-15

And other woes, and judgments…

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the water covers the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14

“But the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20

Then, Habakkuk responded to the Lord in Chapter 3: 2

Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.

God assured Habakkuk that He would surely bring justice.  Just as  Habakkuk realized that justice needs to be tempered by mercy, I also need to pray for God’s mercy for those who are involved in wickedness, corruption, deceit, and unrighteousness – for God to have mercy on their souls.  Surely God will bring justice to the wicked, but He is also merciful, waiting for them to repent.

Back in Psalm 94 it says,

Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
    you fools, when will you become wise?
Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? Does he who formed the eye not see? He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct? Psalm 94: 8-10

When Habakkuk heard the response of the Lord God, he was at peace trusting that God will do what He was supposed to do – to bring judgment and justice to the wicked.

“Though the fig tree may not blossom
Nor fruit be on the vines… Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.”  Habakkuk 3:17-19

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A couple of weeks ago, we experienced a severe thunderstorm in our area. There was lots of heavy rain, very loud thundering, and the fiercest lightning I have ever experienced in my life! I was trembling in fear and realized the awesome power of God. It reminded me of the experience of the people of Israel in the Old Testament when they received the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone.

Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.  Exodus 20:18

The sharp, loud thunder and fierce lightning were for me a demonstration of the awesome power of God! I felt as if God was saying, He is still sovereign and in control, and has the power to do whatever is right for Him to do. I felt like a worm, and was reminded that I am not the judge, and should not fret about the wickedness and injustice I see in the world. The Lord God in heaven has all the power and might to bring about justice and righteousness in His own way and in His right time.

Prayer:

Sovereign Lord God, You are awesome and powerful! We praise and  thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help us wait upon your right timing to bring your righteousness and justice in the earth.

(1)Habakkuk; The Complete Jewish Study Bible,

(2)Scripture verses taken from Bible Gateway

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Not Fair!

Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Key Verse: v4 – “who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”

Title: Not fair!

“It’s not fair!” cried my heart when we received the results of a virus test.  “Why not me Lord, my husband does not deserve this. He is a good man, he prays a lot for sick people, for those who are grieving and for many who are in need.”  I thought my husband did not deserve this illness that has wreaked havoc in many countries of the world.  Many have suffered, lost their jobs, their livelihood, and their loved ones.  As I lamented and complained to the Lord that morning, my Bible reading happened to be in Hebrews.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. (Hebrews 5:7 NIV) 

After reading these verses, I realized that, yes, my husband did not deserve to suffer from this illness, but neither did Jesus deserved the punishment of death on the cross. Jesus was a perfect man, but He still suffered humiliation, affliction, and death on the cross. It was not fair either.  We may feel that we do not deserve bad things in life, but Jesus reminded us that,

“No one is good—except God alone.  (Luke 18:19 NIV)

With the unwanted diagnosis, the next few days were difficult for my husband and me.  However, we saw the hand of God at work, getting us through each day.  We are grateful that in our case, the symptoms were mild, and that God saw us through.  

Later on, when we heard of other friends who have experienced the same illness, we were able to pray for them and encourage them. We saw God has a purpose in every situation, whether good or bad, to cause all things to work together for good. (See Romans 8:28).  

Reflection: Trust God when things in life seem not fair. God has His purpose and reason in every situation.

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Christmas message

Merry Christmas, God loves you!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:16

Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

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

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16-17

(Jesus said) “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” Revelation 22:12

Prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus as your Lord and Savior:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart to you. I commit and trust my life to Your Lordship. Please help me, Holy Spirit, to live the life God has planned for me.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

Christianity is not just a religion. It is a personal relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God speaks to us through reading the Bible every day. (www.biblegateway.com)

  1. We speak to God through prayer in the name of Jesus.
  2. To hear good Bible teachings, look for a good Bible believing Christian church to be part of, or maybe look for online for now.

Thebiblegateway.com 

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JESUS HUMBLED HIMSELF & IDENTIFIES WITH US

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

Philippians 2:5-11(NKJV)

At this time of year, we often think about Jesus coming to earth in the form of a helpless baby, but do we really consider the implications of Jesus humbling himself by coming to earth?  Think about it.  Jesus left all the glory & splendor of heaven and the worshipping heavenly hosts to come and live among us.  He gave up His omnipresence to live in a human body confined by time, space, and geography.  He gave up the perfections of heaven to live in a body that was subject to hunger, pain, and discomfort.  I can imagine that, upon occasion, Jesus suffered the pain of hitting his thumb with a hammer or stubbing his toe on a rock.  When Jesus fed the five thousand, have we ever considered that Jesus himself was hungry?  When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, have we ever thought about how thirsty Jesus must have been?  And after a long day of ministering to the physical needs of hundreds of people, have we ever considered how tired Jesus must have been?  Or after seeing how the religious leaders of his day despised Him and His teachings, have we ever considered the degree to which Jesus felt the pain of being misunderstood and rejected?  And let us not forget the emotional pain that Jesus felt when his earthly father Joseph, his cousin John the Baptist, and his friend Lazarus died.

Dr. David Jeremiah recently did a teaching a series about the Nativity, has listed several reasons why Jesus came to live among us.  We often think about the obvious reasons – to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies and to save us from our sins.  But do we consider that He also came so that he could fully understand what it means to be human, to experience human emotions and to empathize with our weaknesses?  The writer of Hebrews brings out this point:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” 

Hebrews 4:14-16

I don’t know about you, but these verses bring me great comfort!  When I feel discouraged, I can remember that Jesus also felt that way from time-to-time.  When I feel alone, I can remember that there were times when Jesus also felt the pain of isolation.  When I am tempted, I can remember that Jesus also faced temptation, although of course He never yielded to those temptations.  Isn’t it comforting to know that whatever we are going through, we can bring those cares to the One who understands our struggles (I Peter 5:7), knowing that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  And there is nothing that can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).  Now that is truly Good News!

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Christmas 2020 Prayer Letter

Season’s Greetings, and Merry Christmas from the Creels! We hope that you and your family are doing well and enjoying this festive season. Even in this most unusual year, we have much for which to be grateful. At the top of our “gratitude list” is the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who gave of Himself so that we might enjoy abundant life here on earth and eternal life someday with Him in heaven. We are also grateful for your partnership as we proclaim “Christ to the World by Media” until all have heard the story of Jesus. For more thoughts on thanksgiving, please see our blog at thecreels.org.

to continue reading click on the link below

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Thankful

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him,  and  bless His name. Psalm 100:4

Each day during our prayer time we give thanks and praise to our Lord for the simple blessings of life. We thank the Lord for such blessings as clean water, electricity, a roof over our head, warm clothes, food, etc.

Clean water.  In many places around the world people must walk a mile or so to a stream or river just to get a bucket of water. When they get home, they must boil the water or filter it, and then store it in a safe place. So, we are thankful that we have clean water right in our home.

Electricity, internet, and modern technology. We thank the Lord for electricity that enables us to cook our meals conveniently. In some places, people must gather firewood or tree branches, cut them, and then make a fire to cook. A few years ago, Vicki served in a children’s home in South America. Every day the cook and a couple of volunteers would get up at 4:00 or 5:00 am to get some firewood. They would then place the firewood on three big stones to make a stove, then light the firewood to cook a meal. The previous day some young men had to gather wood and cut them into pieces for firewood. They only had 2 hours of electricity in the morning and evening using a generator. So, we thank the Lord for electricity that helps us cook and keeps our appliances, air conditioner  and heater running. With electricity and the internet, we can work from home and be connected to the world.

Clean air to breathe. In one of the countries we visited in Asia a couple of years ago, they had  very cold winters. During our visit, the temperature ranged from -15 to +25 F degrees! The power company for the city burned really dirty coal to supply electricity and heating to homes and buildings which produced a lot of air pollution. We learned to appreciate and thank the Lord for the clean air we breathe.

The beauty of nature.  Did you ever stop to think that God could have made the world very utilitarian? Instead, he created this world with beauty – beauty that reminds us of our Creator God. Take a few moments today to enjoy a beautiful sunset, a walk in the woods, or a look up into the night sky!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)

Religious and political freedom. In many parts of the world, Christians risk their lives just to attend a church fellowship. We thank the Lord for the freedom we still have in this country to practice religion and be part of a church.

We are also thankful that the Constitution provides citizens freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom to elect leaders, etc. And we are thankful for those men and women who fought for our country through the years to preserve those rights. In many parts of the world, people do not have political freedom and the opportunity to elect their leaders, something that we often take for granted.

Families and friends. We thank the Lord for the love and care of our extended families and  friends.  We are also thankful for the prayers and support of our ministry partners.

Spiritual heritage.  We are thankful to the Lord for the faithfulness of those who have “gone before” us, for those saints of God who walked faithfully with God through the years and provided us with a godly example and a spiritual heritage. History is full of men and women who lived out their faith, sometimes risking their very lives to preserve our spiritual heritage.  And of course in this Thanksgiving season, we remember the faith of our founding fathers in the United States who prayed earnestly for God’s blessing as this nation was formed.*

Spiritual blessings. We are especially thankful for the love and mercy of God, the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8), the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, the hope of eternal life, a home in heaven, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and other spiritual blessings. (See Ephesians 1:3-6). We are very thankful for the gift of salvation! There are still 3 billion people in the world who need to know the Gospel and the love of God.

The Written Word. We thank the Lord for the availability of the Bible in our language. In Bible history, some sacrificed their very lives to have the Bible translated into our language. Many people are still waiting to hear the Gospel in their native tongue.  Currently, at least 2,000 languages around the world are still waiting for a Bible translation project to start.

Each day, if we pause and look around, we have so much for which to be thankful – not just on Thanksgiving Day! We are grateful also for the gift of life – each day is a gift from God.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. (II Peter 1:3)

History of First Thanksgiving

“In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith…

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days…”

https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

*Mayflower Pilgrims – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayflower

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Only Jesus

Only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can do the impossible

Only Jesus can do what no human can do

Because only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can love the way He does

Only Jesus is the Savior

Only Jesus is the King of Kings

Only Jesus is the Lord of lords

Only Jesus is the Almighty God

Only Jesus is the God of love

Only Jesus is the God who came from above,

Only Jesus is the One who gave His life for us

Only Jesus can save our soul

Only Jesus can satisfy a hungry soul

Only Jesus can fill me up

Only Jesus is the bread of life.

Only Jesus can bring lasting peace

Only Jesus can give true happiness

Only Jesus can give eternal life and bliss,

Only Jesus!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6 (NKJV)

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

http://biblegateway.com

Remembering Jane, A Life well-lived

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27

We only live once, here is a short devotional story of a woman who had a life well-lived. The Bible says in Psalm 90:10,12- “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Scripture Reading: Psalm 92:12-15

“They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing…”  Psalm 92:14 NKJV

I met “Jane” a few years ago at my husband’s church, just before we were married. Jane looked small and fragile, but always had a radiant smile, a sweet disposition, and kind words. She made me feel comfortable and welcome even though I was a total stranger. On holidays and wedding anniversaries, she sent me and my husband greeting cards. When my husband was away on mission trips, Jane would often ask how I was doing. She would often encourage me with these words, “I am praying for you and your husband.” Every Sunday, before the worship service started, she prayed with our pastor and anointed her with oil.

On one occasion, Jane invited me and two other ladies to meet her at church to learn how to make hats using a loom. She was making the hats for cancer patients. She also knitted prayer shawls for others who were ill. Whenever she could, she would send me colorful yarns to make the knitted hats.

During those days, Jane and her husband were both struggling with some significant health issues. At the same time, she was also busy with her own children and grandchildren. Although I only got to know Jane in the last 3 years of her life, she was an inspiration to me and left a profound impression on my life – a wonderful example of faith, love, and prayer. I had clearly seen in her life what it meant to be a true follower of Christ. She faithfully demonstrated the love of Jesus Christ to her family, friends, and to all who met her. Her life has often reminded me of these words from Scripture, “They shall still bear fruit in old age, they shall be fresh and flourishing to declare that the Lord is upright;” (Psalm 92:14-15). I miss Jane’s smiling face, but I know she is now enjoying her heavenly reward with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, as we journey through life, help us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to reflect Your love and faithfulness to others for Your glory and praise.

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Autumn Prayer Letter

Welcome Autumn 2020

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2

Greetings from Alabama! As we come to the end of summer and begin to look forward to the beauty of cooler temperature of the autumn season, we hope and trust that you and your family are doing well.

to continue click below

The Coming Power

Acts 2: 1-47

Part 3 : The power of the Holy Spirit to change people

Key verse: Then Peter said to them, repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (v.38)

Acts 2:38 (NKJV)

It was the day of Pentecost (Festival of Harvest in Israel). The disciples of the Lord Jesus were gathered together in Jerusalem, as Jesus instructed them to wait there (Acts 1:4-8). About 120 followers of the Lord Jesus and eyewitnesses of His resurrection gathered together in the Upper Room. As they prayed and worship, the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them. Each of them received the gift of speaking in tongues, (Acts 2:3-4). At the same time, there were God-fearing Jews who were visiting Jerusalem from different nearby countries.  

“Everyone heard them speak  in his own language, they were amazed and marveled” (v.5)

The visiting Jews heard the local disciples speak their native languages. Then Peter got up and explained to the crowd what was going on. Peter explained to the people that it was a fulfillment of God’s word in the Book of Joel.

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17-18

And Peter further explained that Jesus is their Lord and Messiah (v.22-26). Peter through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit made connections of the Jesus and King David in the Scriptures (v. 25-28). “For David did not ascend into heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, til I make Your enemies Your footstool’. (v. 35) “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ”. V.36

The Holy Spirit’s touch and power came to the disciples of the Lord Jesus on the day of Pentecost. They spoke new languages or spoke in tongues and gave witness to Jesus’ power and resurrection. The disciples obeyed the instruction of the Lord Jesus to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

About fifty days prior to this event, the disciples were all bereaved and bewildered with the death of their Lord Jesus on the cross. They were frightened for their lives and were in hiding (John 20:19). Then when they saw Jesus alive and had risen from the dead, they rejoiced! Even when Jesus commanded them to go and make disciples, they were still uncertain. But when they waited for the promise of Jesus,  they all received the touch and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

Almost instantly they received the power-new courage, strength, and boldness. Peter also received wisdom and knowledge in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit gave Peter real strength and boldness. Before the day of the Pentecost, the zealousness and boldness of Peter were from his natural abilities and was limited. When Jesus was arrested and was in trial, Peter even denied Jesus. But when the power of the Holy Spirit came to Peter, he became a changed man. First Jesus restored Peter and their relationship . Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to redeem his denial of Jesus three times, (see John 21). Then through the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter became bold, courageous and full of wisdom. He was able to stand up and witness for Jesus in front of many people. He became anointed and powerful preacher for Jesus.  And that day, 3000 souls were added to the disciples!

Reflection:

Jesus changed Peter through the power of the Holy Spirit as well as the other disciples. As a followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit can change us too. Through the power of the Holy Spirit He can empower us to be strong, courageous and bold witnesses for Jesus, of His love and saving grace.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I praise You for sending Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, like Peter, please fill us with your spirit of wisdom, courage, strength and boldness to be Your witnesses.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

For part 1 and part 2 see attach files:

https://thecreels.org/2020/08/29/coming-power/ for part 2

https://thecreels.org/2020/08/15/the-coming-power/ part 1

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