Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Love Your Enemies

Matthew 5:43-48 NKJV(click here to read the entire chapter)
Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26 NIV

Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, repay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it. 1 Peter 3:9 NLT

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 NLT

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

Lord Jesus Christ said to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us (Mathew 5:43-44). Jesus would not say that if it was not the best thing to do.

I have few points to share more about this to convince those who will happen to react just like I reacted when I first heard about what Jesus said, that we need to love our enemies. I was like what? You mean I have to forgive him and her, and on top of that do good when he or she was the one who did me wrong? It took me a while for it to sink into my brain and heart. Thanks be to God, with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). So what are these points?

First, the one who is serious affected by it is you. You are talking about resentment and sometimes for a long time, its torturing. In order for you to avoid to repay evil for evil (1 Peter 3:9), you have to do something to shake the resentment away from your system. And instead of going to take alcohol or drugs, and do other strange things that are suggested by people out there, or do like me what I used to do, to take a nap, the best ways to deal with it are to pray for them, and basically do good to them. When you pray for those who hate you, spitefully use you, and persecute you, it will reduce the anger, the agony, and the temptation to get even with revenge, and eventually you will be able to love them and do good to them. When you pray, you give God a chance to help you deal with the person or situation. When you pray, you will be able to yield to The Holy Spirit and do the things of the Spirit, which one of them is to walk in love. Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples? “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:40; Luke 22:40).” He knew He was going to be arrested; He knew His disciples were not going to take it very well, so they needed to pray so that when temptation comes instead of them yielding to the flesh and fight back, they would actually yield to The Spirit, and hence the scriptures could be fulfilled(Matthew 26:54). And guess what? When Jesus came back to check up on them, He found them sleeping (Matthew 26:43; Luke 22:45).  One of them actually ended up yielding to temptation, and cut off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest (Luke 22:49; Matthew 26:50). And since Jesus always practiced what He preached, He healed the man’s ear (Luke 22:51). Do you know what Jesus said afterwards? “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52 NIV)”. In other words, what goes around, comes around!

Second, and humanly speaking; who knows what the future holds except God (Ecclesiastes 8:7)? The person you call your enemy today may be the very person that God may use to help you somehow in your future. I mean life take turns; life has seasons for each person. Honestly, we really do not know what life has in store for us. Thanks be to Jesus especially for those of us Christians who live by faith and not sight, because no matter what is happening in our lives, no matter what situation we are in, we believe God not only gives second chance, but third, fourth, fifth, and on; therefore, better things and days are yet to come. This season may be worse for us, but next season things may turn around. God's mercy and grace is awesome! One important thing to know though is that, whether you are Christian or not, If God wants to help you, He will use people, so somehow we need each other. Sometimes God will close all doors and open just one that will work for you. Sometimes to make things to turn around for us, He may want to use the very so called enemy you hate to ask for help to help you. And He will make it so obvious that at the time of need there will be no other options. And if there is another alternative, If you try to use it instead of the one God wants to use, it won’t work or succeed. I am speaking from experience. I have been somewhere in my life that I needed help with something, but the only person who could help me at the time was the very person that I refused to ask for help. First, was because at the time I was somehow still angry with the whole situation, and my ego would not let me do it; so yes, I ended up yielding to the flesh, which was not good. Second, I perceived the person would have said no anyway, because we had issues. I tried to look for other way around but did not succeed. So I let the opportunity passed me. But, if I would have been good to this person earlier, regardless who was the bad or good guy, I wouldn’t have been in such a position of debating if this person will help me or not. Who knows may be she or he would have said yes in spite of our past issues? Who knows where I would have been today if that opportunity never passed me? And I knew God was trying to teach me something. Thank God, I have been able to let it go, and I am willing to change and grow.

Third and last point, with love you can conquer anything (1 Corinthians 13; 1 Peter 4:8). Love is the very same weapon God used to conquer the world (John 3:16; Matthew 5:45). Humanly speaking, I think God figured out the only way He can win the souls of men is by loving them. There are no other better ways out there. This question may be out of the topic, but have you noticed that Jesus used the term neighbor here as the people who love you (Matthew 5:43)? And He agreed that it’s easy to love those who love you (Matthew 5:46-47). We all know one of the fruits of The Holy Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22-25). We also know God is the Spirit, and He is love, He has love, and He wouldn’t produce a fruit of it if He didn’t have it, because mango tree cannot produce an orange fruit. So for God to love His enemies it should come natural to Him, and for us we kind of struggle because the human flesh is sinful (Galatians 5:16-21), so if yield to the flesh, do not expect to walk in love. And if you want God to use in your life, you have to prepare to love those who will not love you back. He is not going to send you all the time in your life the lovely loving people. Sometimes God will send the people who could use the extra love you have received from Him for you to give to others. He will send people who are waiting for someone to show them what love really is, and actually if there is a God out there who really cares for them.

What a better candidate for God to choose to write about this? The struggler! No one likes to be mistreated. I mean it’s no secret; I am kind of struggling when it comes to forgiving and loving my enemies. I have messed up a lot in this area, and I wish I could turn back the clock, but I can’t. All I can do is like what Apostle Paul did – “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).” But sometimes I wonder where would I have been if I knew what I know now in my early age especially in those situations that have impacted my life so much to bring me where I am today. Honestly I am still messing up now, here and there, but I have decided to do it struggling than not to do it all. Thank God I have The Holy Spirit to help me. I have to say I am a little bit better than I used to be. And I believe as the years go, as long as God is with me, I will be much better with forgiving and loving my enemies.

Matthew 26:36-56 NKJV(click here to read the entire chapter)
The Prayer in the Garden

36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

39 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.”

40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 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.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.

44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”


Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane

47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” 49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.

50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?”

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.


Luke 22:39-53 NIV(click here to read the entire chapter)
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him. 40 On reaching the place, He said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. 44 And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45 When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

 
Jesus Arrested

47 While He was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss Him, 48 but Jesus asked Him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And He touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for Him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on Me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”


Galatians 5:16-26 NKJV(click here to read the entire chapter)Walking in the Spirit

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


1 Corinthians 13 NKJV
The Greatest Gift

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

TRUE GOSPEL


Friday, November 21, 2014

VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE - VIP

No amount of money in this world
Or the highest level of education
And other designated worldly titles
One could ever have or achieved
Listed on this world VIPs’ list
Can compare to the worth
Of those who are born of GOD
Those who are in CHRIST JESUS
Whom He suffered and died for
Because of His love for this world
He gave them supernatural VIP status
Down on this earth and in heaven above

- Poem by Helen Majaga


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

He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John 1:11-12 NIV

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

LORD, Please Help Me Forgive!

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 NKJV

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25 NIV

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Matthew 18:21-35


21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”


Like the golden rule says, “do to others what you would like others to do to you (Matthew 7:12).” So if you want to be forgiven by others you will also need to learn to forgive others. You can’t be expecting to be forgiven all the time or whenever you have done some people wrong, while you are not forgiving other people who have done you wrong.

In this life there are some things you will never be able to control the way you would like too. People hear and perceive things differently. You may think you have said something nice to them, but actually you ended up insulting them. You cannot make everyone like or love you, or cater to you, or say things that will always complementing you. It does not work that way, not in this world, maybe in Heaven.

Remember the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Heavenly Father, forgive my sins as I have forgiven those who have sinned against me (Luke 11:4).” Or what Jesus also said, "when you stand praying; forgive those who have done you wrong (Mark 11:25)”. Remember also what Jesus told Peter after he asked Him how many times he should forgive a person; “not seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21).”

In this world, we need to learn how to forgive; there is no way to escape it. First, it’s for our own good, because the things we do while in anger or pain sometimes lead us to places that we never really wanted to be in the first place. Second, it’s what God desires for us to do. One of God’s desires for us is to love each other and walk in love. We are not perfect, so if we have to live in this imperfect world, we need to learn to forgive each other. If God says to do it, then it’s achievable. We can forgive each other.

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those who are really struggling in this area. Have you ever had one of those critical moments where you actually asked God, “why me? Lord, please tell me who do I need to forgive so that I can get out of this torment (Matthew 18:35).” Some of the stones and punches that are being thrown to us in this life many times are very painful. I guess they are supposed to teach us something, but I think few of them are just attacks from the enemy that are not really necessary. One of the things that satan likes to do is to steal joy from God’s people. So basically satan will use anyone or any situation to discourage or upset us, and one of his intentions is to steal joy away from us so that he could hinder our walk with The Lord Jesus Christ. But thank God we already know his tricks, and we have The Holy Spirit in our lives to help us overcome our daily temptations (Luke 11:4) of getting even with revenge or walking like victims and wimps (Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:37). After all, the real enemy is satan and not the people he uses to discourage us (Ephesians 6:10-13).

So how do we learn to forgive and let go? I would like to think forgiving other people should come automatically for those who are in Christ Jesus. This is true only when we are walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh (Romans 8:1; Galatians 5:16-26). Most of the times we still have to yield to the Holy Spirit convictions and promptings when He convinces us that we need to forgive ourselves, or that person, and another person. He is not going to force us to do it. The Holy Spirit will soften our hearts and help us see things the way God sees it, and then we need to heed and respond well to it. Sometimes The Holy Spirit will personally remove the grudge and resentment away from us. It’s something you must experience yourself. It happened to me more than a few times in my life. I really knew and felt The Holy Spirit was removing all the grudge and resentment away from my heart. I felt His presence so full in me; I was filled with His peace, love, and joy, and my heart felt so good. It’s the most precious moment you can ever experience. And each time I never really wanted that feeling and experience to ever go away. It happened always when I really let go of myself and everything else around me, and just pray and worship Him. Few times it happened in my worse moments, when I was seriously broken and I have cried to my last painful cry, and then suddenly I felt His presence in me removing all the grudge, and then I automatically stopped crying.

There are other ways to learn to forgive others that I have heard some people advise others to do. For instance; one of the advice is, “just do not focus on the negative and instead focus on the positive and what God can do through you.” Another one is, “just let go and let God.” Also, “just ignore it and the people who have hurt you; try to avoid them and detach yourself from them.” Though all of these advices may actually work, but I still think The Holy Spirit way and help is the best way on this. The Holy Spirit will not only help you to forgive, but can also help to bring you together with that person that even if you tried yourself to befriend with the person you wouldn’t be able to succeed. When The Holy Spirit helps you to forgive someone, you really end up forgiving that someone. And sometimes you will also go an extra mile depending on what The Holy Spirit will direct you. Because The Holy Spirit would also want to use you to show His love to that person and reveal Jesus through you.

It sounds very simple, but it really isn’t especially for those people who have very sensitive hearts and are easily offended. And I am not saying you cannot forgive others if you decide to do it by yourself. If God said to forgive, it means you can do it on your own, but I think you can do it better with the help of The Spirit of God Himself. So if you are struggling in this area of forgiving others, just pray to God, and He will help you. Forgiveness is an ongoing process that feels like it will never end. And trust me, there will be times in your life, you will need His help.

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

Teaching about Prayer
Luke 11:1-13NLT


1Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of His disciples came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may Your Name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come soon.
3 Give us each day the food we need,
4 and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.”

5 Then, teaching them more about prayer, He used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

9 “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”


Living by the Spirit’s Power
Galatians 5:16-26 NLT


16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.


The Whole Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10-20 NLT


10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him, as I should.