The Gift of Life
1. Life is a precious gift from God because it’s His breath in us that makes us living beings. Human life is precious, so we need to cherish, love, and honor people above money, fame, or position. And when God adds another life to our families or our church, we must receive them with joy and thanksgiving.
2. God has not only given us life, He also sustains the life in us by providing for us, protecting, healing, and delivering us from anything that can destroy our lives. He keeps us among the living and does not allow our feet to be moved (Ps.66:9). Each day that we are alive is a gift from God and we need to bless, praise and give Him thanks while we have breath (v.😎.
3. God does not only want us to live, He wants us to live forever in His presence. So He gave His Son Jesus Christ as a gift to us to pay the penalty for our sins which had separated us from God (Rom.6:23). When we accept Christ, we experience the gift of abundant life on earth (John 10:10) and eternal life in heaven (John 3:16).
4. Because we have life, we also have hope (Eccl.9:4). God’s power that keeps us among the living is also able to fulfill the hope we have in Christ. Many times we go through trials, fire, sickness, afflictions, and problems that threaten to destroy us. God allows them and even other people to walk over our heads, but when we keep our hope in Christ alive, He will bring us to the place of rich fulfillment (Ps.66:10-12). Don’t lose hope because the battle is tough, because the sickness has persisted for long, because you’re overwhelmed by your troubles. Your hope for healing, deliverance, victory and success will surely be fulfilled if you don’t give up. Though the year is about end, keep your hope in God for 2020 to the end. For the coming year, every hope for yourself, your marriage, your children, your career, studies, and ministry will be fulfilled. You’ll never be ashamed for putting your hope in God (Rom.5:5). Shalom!
Unlocking God’s Blessings As Good Stewards
God always wants to bless His children. So, when we do things that lock up the blessings, God shows us the way through His Word so that we can repent and receive the blessings.
Today, God wants us to unlock our blessings by being good stewards. A steward is someone who manages or cares for another person’s property. As God’s children, He has entrusted the care of His house to us. These include: the facilities, resources, and the atmosphere for our worship experience. He expects us to make the church a place that brings Him pleasure and glory (Hag.1:8).
But like the people in the passage, we sometimes neglect God’s house and just focus on our own (Hag.1:2, 9). That neglect locks up our blessings, and our focus on ourselves does not yield any fulfillment.
So, God warns us through His Word to repent (Hag.1:7). God’s presence is with us to empower us to develop an affection and devotion to His house (v.13). David had that concern for God’s house (2Sam.7:1-2), and gave his treasure to build God’s house, motivating the leaders and the people to do the same (1Chron.29:3-7). The result was that they were filled with joy (v.9).
We will experience that same joy when we obey the Lord, rising up to care and provide for God’s house (Hag.1:12-15). Our joy is activated when every blessing locked up is released (v.9-11):
1. Little becomes much. Our little efforts produce abundance.
2. The dew of heaven falls on us, causing us to flourish and become fruitful.
3. Rain from heaven releases an experience of physical (grain), emotional (wine), and spiritual (oil) prosperity.
4. Our families, marriages, children, businesses, projects, studies, and the work of our hands are all blessed.
May God unlock His blessings and pour them on us as we love and care for His house through giving our time, energy, money and treasures to build a place for His glory. Shalom!
Positive Influence Produces Maximum Impact
2 Chronicles 34:1-8
We thank God for the blessing of children, and for the privilege of positively influencing them to make maximum impact in this world. The impact they make is not reserved for a distant future, because God’s plan for their lives does not have any age limits. Josiah became king of Judah at 8 years (David and Jeremiah were teenagers when God chose them as king and prophet respectively).
King Josiah made a strong impact on the nation of Judah because he had people who positively influenced him to seek the Lord when he was 16 years (v.3). These influencers included Hilkiah the high priest, Shaphan the scribe, prophets Jeremiah (son of Hilkiah) and Zephaniah, as well as his great grandfathers David and Hezekiah. Though Josiah grew up at a time Judah was ungodly and corrupt, these prophets, priests, and teachers helped him seek the Lord, know God’s Word, and commit himself to obedience to the Word.
As a result of the positive influence, he was empowered to
1. Lead the destruction of idolatry and corruption in the nation (v.3-7).
2. Rebuild the house of God as a center of worship for the nation (v.😎.
3. Lead the people to commit to God’s Word and renew their covenant relationship with God (v.29-32).
4. Pursue justice and righteous judgment for the poor and needy (Jer.22:15-16).
Indeed, Josiah stood out among all the kings of Israel in his commitment to God (2Kings 23:25).
As parents, family members, pastors and teachers, we all need to positively influence our children and youth to empower them to destroy the vices of idolatry, immorality, ignorance, poverty, racism and tribalism, repair what is broken in the church and the society, and turn people’s hearts toward God and build a covenant relationship with Him. May God bless our youth and children’s teachers and all of us as families and church members to help our children fulfill their divine destiny and make maximum impact in the church and the world. Shalom!
Mighty Men of God!
We thank God for our Men’s ministry. As we celebrate our men today, we can learn and apply a few lessons from David’s mighty men in our lives and ministry.
These mighty men were strong, bold, and courageous. They were strengthened through their devotion to God and His Word (v.10), just like their master David. We need to be spiritually strong in order to impact the church and our community. We develop spiritual strength by building up our faith through studying and obeying God’s Word, prayer, worship, praise, and strong fellowship with each other, all with the help of the Holy Spirit. The spiritual strength then overflows into our body and souls and releases the physical, emotional, and mental strength to do mighty exploits for the Lord (Dan.11:32).
By that strength, these mighty men were able to:
1. Take personal responsibility to fight against the enemies of Israel (v.11). Strong men engage in spiritual warfare through which God gives victories to the church.
2. Stand and face the enemy when others flee (v.12-14). Strong men boldly take up challenges or tasks that others run away from. That’s the only way God’s work gets done.
3. Risk their lives to serve and please God and their king (v.16-19). Strong men are able to put their own interests aside and even their lives on the line to achieve success and victory for the church.
4. Win a name for themselves by their exploits (v.20, 24). Strong men don’t achieve fame through selfish and deceptive means, but by genuine and courageous actions that impact the lives of others.
David’s mighty men were instrumental in his successes and victories as king. The success and growth of our church and God’s Kingdom will depend on strong and mighty men, women, youth and children who know God and are devoted to Him. May God’s power rest on you as you stand up to be counted among the mighty. You’re blessed to be a blessing. Shalom!
Women: Laborers Together With God!
Luke 8:1-3, 1Cor.3:9
This week, our focus is on the Women’s Ministry. Throughout the Bible, women featured prominently in Kingdom work. Luke 8:1-3 and Mark 15:41 tell us of women who followed Christ and the apostles and supported them with their substance and other resources. However, the role of the women was not limited to providing support to the ministry. Women were also engaged in ministry because they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-29; Acts 2:17-18).
Women like Miriam (Ex.15:20-21), Huldah (2Chron.34:22), Anna (Luke 2:36-38), and Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:9) were all prophetess. Additionally, Miriam led praises, and Anna was a prayer warrior who served God day and night with fasting and prayer. In Acts 12:12 the church prayed for Peter in the house of Mary mother of John Mark. Many women like Phoebe, Priscilla, Julia, and others (Rom.16:1-15) also served with Paul in various churches. Women like Dorcas cared for the poor in the church (Acts 9:36). Women were responsible for training the younger ones to be godly wives and mothers (Titus 2:3-5).
Women thus occupy a very important place in the ministry of the church. It is necessary for our women to come together and learn from each other, pray for and encourage one another, and give of their best to the church, knowing that their labor in the Lord is never in vain.
1. Shiphrah and Puah, midwives to the Hebrew women who protected the male babies were blessed by God (Ex.1:17, 20-21).
2. When Esther led a time of fasting and prayer, God used her to deliver the Jews.
3. Because of her good deeds, Dorcas was raised back to life when she died.
4. Through the evangelistic ministry of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well, the people in her town believed in Jesus (John 4).
5. When Hannah showed concern for God’s house and gave her only son, Samuel to the Lord’s work, God blessed her with five more children (1Sam.2:21).
As we devote ourselves to God’s church as co-laborers with Him, may He bless our marriages, families, children, businesses, studies, careers and ministries. May He heal, deliver, protect, and prosper us to continue to make a difference in the church. Shalom!
Come Before Him With Worship
Worship is an act of honor, praise, and reverence with which we come before the presence of God. God created everything for His worship, because worship points to who God is and His mighty works. There are three levels of worship to God:
1. *Angels:* God created angels and the heavenly hosts who worship Him day and night (Rev.4:8-11; Ps.89:5-6).
2. *All Creation:* Everything God created: sun, moon, stars, animals, birds, etc, all worship the one who brought them into existence and sustains them (Ps.89:8-12, 148:1-10).
3. *The Redeemed:* The joyful sound is that Jesus saves (Ps.89:15). Those who are saved, worship God for His love, might, faithfulness, righteousness, and justice (v.5, 7-8, 14-18). Their lifestyle is an expression of worship to God (Ps.89:7). They worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24), as they’re filled with God’s Word (Col.3:16).
When we worship God, we receive lots of benefits:
1. The longing of our souls to worship God is satisfied (Ps.63:1-5).
2. Worship keeps our focus on God, instead of our problems (Is.26:3).
3. Worship prepares us for prayer. Worship magnifies God above our storms and releases the Holy Spirit, who helps us to pray (Rom.8:26-27).
4. Worship draws us closer to God and builds our relationship with God (James 2:23).
5. Worship brings victory (2Chron.20:15-20).
6. Worship breaks chains, opens doors, and brings deliverance (Acts 16:25-26).
7. Worship releases rain from heaven on us to revive, nourish, and make us fruitful.
May God release all these benefits into your life as you continually come before Him in worship. Blessings!
The Power of God’s Word
Building and Completing God’s Temple
Completed For God’s Glory
Our Season of Divine Completion:
As Soon As Zion Travailed …
The Set Time Has Come!
“Then God Said…”
They Sang A New Song: From Promise to Fulfillment
You Can Experience Your New Beginning Now!
New Wine, New Wineskin: Don’t Miss Your Miracle!
A New Beginning, A New Song!
Perfected By Obedience
The Pleasure of the Lord: Our Restoration.
Our Season of Divine Turnaround
The Blood of Jesus Has Set Me Free!
It’s Impossible For God To Lie!
We all started this year with high hopes for ourselves, families, careers, ministries, and our church. Then came COVID-19. We stopped in-person gatherings, many lost their jobs and some good opportunities, some had setbacks in their health, marriages, children, businesses, studies, etc. To many people, the first half of 2020 did not end well, but that’s not the end of the year, or our lives. That’s why the writer of Hebrews encourages us not to allow our faith to be slowed down by what we see or are going through, but to be diligent in our hope to the end (Heb.6:11-12).
This is because if our hope and faith is in God and His promises, we can be assured that God will perform His Word, because it is impossible for God to lie! He is not a man to lie or go back on His Word (Num.23:12).
For example, God promised Abraham descendants. Although for 24 years, the promise of a child had not been fulfilled, Abraham kept his faith and hope in God because he believed God was able to perform His promise (Rom.4:18-21). When Isaac was born, God tested Abraham’s faith, asking him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering to Him (Gen.22:1-2). Abraham obeyed, but before he could kill Isaac, God provided a ram for the sacrifice (v.13). Not only that, God swore by Himself that He would bless him, multiply His descendants, cause them to overcome their enemies, and be a blessing to the whole world – fulfilled in Christ (v.17-18). When God swears, it ends all dispute (Heb.6:16).
So both God’s Word and His confirmation by an oath, assure us that God will never lie to us (v.17-18).
No matter what we see or go through, God’s promises will be fulfilled in the end. Because of this fact, we can:
1. Hold fast our faith and hope in God’s Word as an anchor to keep us from drifting away from God as we go through life’s storms (v.19).
2. Consider how our High Priest, Christ, suffered for us so that God’s Word could be fulfilled in us. Christ’s finished work should strengthen us to stand firm (v.20).
3. Remove every stone of doubt, fear, anxiety, worry or sin. Then Christ will speak to your dead situation and bring it back to life. You’ll see the glory of God (John 11:39-40).
Instead of your shame you’ll have double honor (Isa.61:7). God will never lie to you. He’s faithful and has the power to perform what He has spoken concerning you, your spouse, your children, the church, and everything you care for. Blessings!
A Father’s Legacy
Every father makes the best efforts to leave an inheritance or legacy for his children. On his 85th birthday, Caleb received the land of Hebron as an inheritance for himself and his descendants (Josh.14:13-14). However, Caleb’s life testifies that he left more than land for his children. He left a legacy of having the spirit of God in him and wholly following God with all his heart (Num.14:24; Josh.14:8, 14).
We may leave houses, lands, money, and businesses for our children. But, without God in their lives, these things will not profit them. Our children can gain the whole world and lose their souls (Mat.16:26), if we don’t lead them by example to follow God fully.
From Caleb’s life, we can learn the following virtues he left as a legacy for his descendants:
1. Faith in God’s Word and promises. As one of the 12 leaders who went to spy out the Promised Land, Caleb walked by faith in God’s promise, and not by the sight of fortified cities and giants (Num.13:27-30). His faith guaranteed him an inheritance in the Promised Land. Faith casts out fear.
2. Encouraged the people to trust in God because He is able to fulfill His promise (Num.14:8).
3. Discouraged the people from rebelling against God (v.9). God equates the sin of rebellion with witchcraft (1Sam.15:23).
4. Loyalty to God’s servants. Caleb was loyal to both Moses and Joshua and submitted himself to their leadership as unto God (Josh.14:8,12).
5. Aimed for the highest, even though it was difficult to attain. Caleb asked for the mountain where the giants lived. By God’s power, he drove them out and took the land according to God’s promise (Josh 14:12, 15:13-14). Do not take the easy path.
6. Caleb enjoyed benefits for following God fully. According to Psalm 103:2-5, these include forgiveness, healing, deliverance, long life and renewed strength. At 85 years old, Caleb was as strong as he was at 40 (Josh. 14:10-11).
7. Caleb was generous. Believing that he was blessed to be a blessing, Caleb generously gave his daughter and her husband springs of water, a very important resource in those days, which he could have kept for himself (Josh.15:9).
May the Holy Spirit empower us to follow God fully, and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. May you continue to enjoy the benefits of walking by faith in God’s promises, and may He bring you into your promised land by His power, in spite of the giants you face. Blessings!
Holy Spirit: Gifted For Maximum Impact
1 Samuel 10:5-11
We continue to celebrate the Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to help us live the victorious Christian life. Today, our focus is on the gifts the Holy Spirit gives us to impact many lives for Christ.
Samuel anointed Saul as king, setting him apart as the commander of God’s people (v.1). Samuel told Saul that when he comes to the hill of God, the Spirit of God would come upon him and he would prophesy (v.5-6). When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, He gives us supernatural abilities or spiritual gifts to confirm His presence in us. These gifts include apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph.4:11), word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophesy, discernment, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12:8-10). Other gifts are indicated in Rom.12:6-8 and 1 Peter 4:10-11. We shall study these gifts in detail at our Friday evening teaching service.
I would like to share three things that happen to us when the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts.
1. *Another man* : Though Saul was not a prophet, Samuel told Saul that when he starts prophesying, he would be turned into another man (v.6). No matter our profession or line of work such as businessmen, doctors, nurses, engineers, teachers, etc., the gifts of the Holy Spirit would turn us into people with new abilities as pastors, teachers, prophets, evangelists, miracle workers, etc.
2. *Another heart:* Along with the spiritual gifts, God gives us a new heart with which we can successfully operate the gifts. It’s a new heart of humility for receiving a supernatural gift freely from God, a heart of serving others with our gifts with dedication and commitment, and a heart that seeks to glorify God in all things (1Pet.4:11).
3. *Empowered to fulfill God’s purposes* : God’s purpose for giving us spiritual gifts is to profit the body of Christ and impact the world (1Cor 12:7) by:
a. Equipping the saints to do ministry (Eph.4:12),
b. Building up the church in faith and unity (Eph.4:12-13),
c. Helping people grow in spiritual maturity and becoming more like Christ (Eph.4:13-14), and
d. Bringing growth into the church as we all use our gifts to strengthen, encourage, comfort, and love each other (Eph.4:15-16).
As we demonstrate these gifts, those who knew us formerly will now see us as God’s children who have been completely transformed by His power, as He did for Saul (1Sam.10:11). Such a transformation is God’s way of revealing Himself to unbelievers.
May the Holy Spirit anoint and empower us to discover the spiritual gifts He has deposited in us, develop these gifts, and deploy or use them for maximum impact in the church and the world. God has richly blessed you to be a blessing to many. Shalom!
Holy Spirit: The Power of God’s Presence
In the Great Commission, Jesus gave us two important foundations for our success:
1. His authority – v.18
We are to make disciples by the authority of the gospel, the finished work of Christ on the cross. Baptize believers in the authority of the Trinity, since all three Persons were involved in fulfilling God’s salvation plan. By His authority teach believers to obey His commands.
2. His presence – v.20
His presence would provide the power to fulfill the tasks above, just as God assured Moses in Exodus 33:14.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised that God would baptize them with the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of His presence (Acts 1:4-5). He will be WITH them and IN them (John 14:16-17), and give them power to be His witnesses all over the world (Acts 1:8).
I would like to share 5 things the Holy Spirit’s presence in us empowers us to do.
1. Power to receive dreams and visions from God (Acts 2:17). Without a vision we perish (Prov.29:18), so God baptizes us with His Spirit to release His visions and dreams, and the power to fulfill them.
2. Leadership and Guidance. The Holy Spirit leads and guides us as God’s children (Rom.8:14), with the truth of God’s Word (John 16:13), and the voice of God (Isaiah 30:21), and on the path that leads to a successful end (Psalm 23:1-3).
3. Power to overcome fear. Serving God comes with persecutions, threats, intimidations, and satanic attacks. But God’s presence through the Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome fear (Ps.23:4, Ps.27:1). The Holy Spirit assures us that He in us is greater than anything that comes against us (1John 4:4).
4. The joy of the Lord. Our joy in the Lord gives us the strength to persevere in ministry (Neh.8:10). We can only find that joy in God’s presence (Ps.16:11), not in the things happening around us.
5. A new name. When God’s presence is in us, we have a new name: the Lord is there (Jehovah Shammah – Ezekiel 48:35). When we are saturated by God’s presence, He is there in our lives, our families, and our church to help us, anoint us, protect us, defend us, comfort us, counsel us, encourage us, and provide for us, no matter what we may be going through or what our needs are. He is with us today, and will be with us tomorrow because He’s already there.
The devil and his demons also take notice that God is there with us (Job 1:10) and they tremble at His presence (Matt.8:29). They cannot touch us, break us, nor harm us, because the One who conquered their master (Col.2:15) and destroyed his works (1John 3:8) is with us and in us.
May God pour out His Holy Spirit afresh on us, and saturate us with His presence. May God’s presence release His healing, protection, favor, provision, guidance, joy, and strength to overcome and make maximum impact. We are more than conquerors through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Blessings!