VIDEO God With Me, “God Is the Power of My Life”

Jul 12, 2016

In September, 2003, because of believing in Almighty God, she was arrested by the CCP government during a house meeting. In order to force here to sell out the brothers and sisters and betray God, the evil cops tortured her inhumanly for a whole week: beating her brutally, “swinging” her, forcing her to squat in a horse stance, handcuffing and shackling her, humiliating her…. For seven days and six nights, she didn’t eat or drink or sleep. Along with being tortured and maltreated by the evil cops, she was almost paralyzed. … However, God’s life word lead her to see through satan’s schemes time after time, and kept giving her faith and strength so that she stood testimony tenaciously and defeated satan the devil!

Although she experienced the cruel persecution of the CCP devils, she got the priceless treasures of her life—the wealth of life bestowed by God. She saw God’s wonderful deeds and that God rules over all things, tasted the authority and power of God’s word, and even more felt the infinity and immensity of God’s life force! At the same time, she saw through the devilish substance of the CCP and had true discernment of justice and evil, which even more stirred up her resolution to pursue to love God and know God!

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Multiplied Generosity

See that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7

Cheryl was in for a surprise as she pulled up to deliver her next pizza. Expecting to arrive at a home, she instead found herself outside a church. Cheryl confusedly carried the pepperoni pizza inside, where she was met by the pastor.

“Is it fair to say life hasn’t been easy for you?” the pastor asked her. Cheryl agreed it hadn’t. With that, he brought out two offering plates that church members had filled with money. The pastor then poured over $750 into Cheryl’s delivery bag as a tip! Unbeknownst to Cheryl, the pastor had asked the pizza shop to send their most financially strapped driver over. Cheryl was stunned. She could now pay some bills.

See that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7

When the first Christians in Jerusalem faced poverty, it was a church that rushed to their aid. Though in need themselves, the Macedonian Christians gave sacrificially, considering it a privilege to do so (2 Cor. 8:1–4). Paul cited their generosity as an example for the Corinthians, and us, to follow. When we use our plenty to supply another’s need, we reflect Jesus, who gave away His riches to meet our own spiritual poverty (v. 9).

Cheryl told all her customers about the church’s kindness that day, and, following its example, donated the rest of the day’s tips to others in need. An act of generosity multiplied. And Christ was glorified.

Lord, You meet our needs in surprising ways sometimes. Use us to do that for others as well.

 

Our generosity meets needs and glorifies Jesus.

By Sheridan Voysey 

INSIGHT

The believers in Jerusalem were suffering because of a severe famine (see Acts 11:28–29), and the Macedonians—though needy themselves—responded with generous financial aid (2 Cor. 8:1–5). The Corinthians had enthusiastically offered help, but they were slack in carrying it out (8:10–11; 9:1–3). Paul reminded them that God had blessed them abundantly so that they could be generous and share that abundance (8:14–15; 9:8–11). He challenged them to honor their promise completely (8:6–12; 9:5) and quotes Psalm 112:9 to encourage their generous giving (2 Cor. 9:9).

How might God be leading you to show generosity today?

Sim Kay Tee

God’s Answers to Prayer

Matthew 7:7-11

Too often, believers view God as a great cosmic Santa Claus: We think of our prayers not as petitions but as demands. Then, if God does not grant our request, we’re thrown into a faith crisis, believing He no longer answers us. The real problem, however, is that we misunderstand the Lord’s three answers to prayer:

1. Yes. We love this response! There is nothing more exhilarating or faith-inspiring than to watch the Lord move mountains to provide what we once considered impossible.

2. No. Here is where the problems begin for us. But we must accept the fact that God says no to some of our requests. This is certainly not because He’s greedy or uncaring—on the contrary, He is generous, loving, and concerned about His children.

Matthew 7:11 does not say God will give “everything to those who ask Him,” does it? No, it says that the heavenly Father will give what is good to those who ask. Quite often, giving “what is good” means that He doesn’t agree to things He knows are wrong for us.

3. Wait. This answer can be even harder than a flat-out no. Yet some things that are good and godly may still be wrong for us today. Remember, God is eternal; He sees all time at the same time. If He regards tomorrow’s blessing as a curse today, He’ll withhold it for a season until we’re ready to receive it.

Friend, do not be misled if God’s response isn’t what you expected—or wanted—to hear. Instead, praise the Lord for answering our requests the way He knows they should be answered!

Love In The Old Testament

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

Many people have mistakenly rejected or neglected the Old Testament on the basis that it speaks about a vindictive God of judgment in contrast to the New Testament God of love manifest in Jesus Christ. This perspective, however, is completely wrong.

One day a lawyer asked Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40).

Both of these commandments were recorded, of course, in the Old Testament. The first one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is perhaps the most revered of all passages to the Jews: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” The second great commandment is the one in our text for the day. This law is buried deep in the Pentateuch, in the unlikely heart of the book of Leviticus. In the New Testament it is even called “the royal law” (James 2:8).

Thus, the great underlying theme of the Old Testament is love—love for God and love for others—and this truth is stressed by Christ Himself in the New Testament. Even greater is God’s eternal love that was ours from before the world and that will never end. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). HMM

Cursed be the man that trusteth in man

2 Chronicles 16:1-14

2 Chronicles 16:1

For he was vexed that on account of the peace and prosperity of Judah, and its attachment to the true God, so many of his subjects removed into the territory of Asa.

2 Chronicles 16:2-6

What a proof is this that the best believers may fall into unbelief, and trust for awhile in an arm of flesh. Asa was for awhile relieved from fear by turning to Syria for help, and therefore no doubt he thought himself right, but we greatly err if we estimate the correctness of our actions by their result. The Lord was angry with Asa, and as a chastisement his life was a troubled one front that day forward. He took the temple gold to bribe a heathen king to break his treaties, but his great fault was that he trusted in man rather than in God.

2 Chronicles 16:9

This was faithful dealing, and ought to have touched the conscience of the pious king, but he was in a bad condition of soul, and did not receive the rebuke as a gracious man should have done.

2 Chronicles 16:10

His reliance upon an arm of flesh had apparently led to good results, and hence the king resented the prophet’s warning. He became irritated, and the old nature in him came sadly into prominence. Though hitherto a just monarch, he at this time acted like a tyrant. We must not judge any man by his solitary actions, but by the general tenor of his life; Asa was, after all, one of the best of the kings of Judah.

2 Chronicles 16:12

As a child of God he could not be left unchastened for such sins, and the gout in his feet became a heavy rod with which the Lord smote him. It was sad to see him at this time, repeating his folly of reliance upon the creature instead of the Creator. We may call in the physician, but we must not forget our God, or the most skilful doctor will do us no good.

2 Chronicles 16:13, 14

The people knew how to value a good king. His memory was very fragrant among them. May our names also “smell sweet and blossom from the dust.”

 

Present Your Bodies a Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1

When Mary’s days of purification were finished after the miraculous birth of Jesus, Luke 2:22 tells us that Mary and Joseph brought their son to Jerusalem to dedicate Him to the Lord. It says, “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.”

Mary and Joseph came to Jerusalem with the express purpose “to present” the young Jesus to God. To make such a journey to Jerusalem required finances to pay for the journey itself and to purchase the turtledoves and pigeons that would be offered to God at the time they presented Jesus. This was no casual, accidental, haphazard, unplanned event. Presenting Jesus to the Lord in the temple was a serious occasion, as it was for all males in Israel. Such an event was planned in advance and done with great reverence toward God. Thus, it was a very hallowed, consecrated, holy moment as Joseph and Mary approached the Temple at the time set for Jesus’ dedication.

Luke 2:22 says that Joseph and Mary came “… to present him to the Lord.” The word “present” comes from the Greek word paristimi, which is a compound of the words para and istimi. The prefix para means alongside, and the word istimi means to place. When these two words are compounded together, the new word means to place beside; to place at one’s disposal; to surrender; to offer, as to offer a sacrifice to God; or to present, as to present a special offering to God. This word undoubtedly communicates the fact that Mary and Joseph were coming to the Temple on this day to intentionally place their newborn son into God’s close care. They were dedicating and entrusting Him into God’s protection. They were surrendering Him to God’s supervision and making a pledge that this new baby boy was God’s possession and that God could therefore use Him however He wished.

This Greek word paristimi (“present”) is precisely the same word that Paul used in Romans 12:1, when he wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” The fact that Paul used this same word sheds some very important light on Romans 12:1.

First, we know that Paul was very earnest when he wrote Romans 12:1 because he began by solemnly telling them, “I beseech you….” The word “beseech” comes from the Greek word parakaleo.

As noted in other Sparkling Gems, the word parakaleo is a Greek compound of the words para and kaleo. The word para means alongside, and the word kaleo means to call or to beckon. When these two words are compounded together, the new word pictures one who comes alongside someone else, as close as he can get, and then begins to passionately call out, plead, beckon, beg, and beseech that other person to do something on his behalf.

In many places, the word parakaleo is used to depict a person who is earnestly praying. Therefore, the word parakaleo is also a word that can depict a person who is sincerely expressing his heart to God in prayer. In light of this fact, one Greek scholar says that it is almost as if the apostle Paul dropped to his knees in this verse and began to prayerfully plead for his Roman readers to hear his petition. His heartfelt request was that they would present their bodies a living sacrifice to God.

It must be noted that the word parakaleo also described what military commanders did before they sent their troops into battle. After summoning the troops together, their commander would beseech or exhort them as he warned them of the realities of warfare. The commander would describe in detail what they were going to face in their battle; then he’d urge them to keep on fighting bravely until the victory was won. All of this is included in the word parakaleo.

This is very significant in the context of Romans 12:1. Paul was urging believers to dedicate their bodies to God. However, Paul knew that when a believer makes the decision to dedicate his body to God, the carnal nature may respond by going to war against the spirit. The flesh just doesn’t want to submit to the law of God or to do what God wishes. So when Paul besought his readers to yield their bodies to God, he was also warning them that such an action might stir up a battle in the flesh.

The carnal nature has long been the driving force for what is done with the body; therefore, it will most likely rebel when it is told to submit to God’s control. This is why anyone who decides to present and dedicate his body to God must be ready and willing to fight the battle with the flesh until victory is achieved.

As mentioned earlier, Paul uses the Greek word paristimi when he says we are to “present” our bodies as a living sacrifice. This is exactly the same word used in Luke 2:22 to depict that moment when Jesus’ parents presented baby Jesus to God in the Temple at Jerusalem. Just as Jesus’ dedication was no casual, accidental, haphazard, unplanned event, now Paul is telling us that the presentation of our bodies to God is a serious occurrence in our lives. This is no light affair, but one that should be done in a very hallowed, consecrated, and serious manner. It is a crucial, historical moment in our lives when we intentionally place ourselves in God’s close care. We surrender ourselves and all that we are to God’s supervision, making a solemn pledge that we are His and that He can therefore use us in whatever way He wishes.

You may wrongly assume that because you are a believer, this act of surrender has already occurred. But just because you are a believer does not mean that you have completely surrendered your body to God. If becoming a believer automatically caused this act of surrender to take place, Paul wouldn’t have found it necessary to earnestly urge the Roman believers to do it.

Notice that we are to present ourselves as a “living sacrifice.” In the Old Testament, an animal sacrifice would be offered upon the altar. Because the animal was dead, it could only be presented to the Lord once as a sacrificial offering.

But in the New Testament, we are urged to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. This implies that we must live in a continual state of surrender and consecration. Our commitment may begin with a momentous, “once-and-for-all” decision, but it must be followed with a daily decision to keep on surrendering ourselves to the Lord. Thus, we must see every day of our lives as another day—another opportunity—to yield our lives to God.

Each new day necessitates new surrender and consecration. What you surrendered to God yesterday is already old. Today is a new day and demands a new and higher level of consecration.

Therefore, as you awake each morning, train yourself to begin your day with a prayer of consecration in which you solemnly and in holy reverence present yourself and all that you are to God’s purposes. Don’t assume that because you did it yesterday, you don’t need to do it today. What you did yesterday remains in yesterday’s sphere. Each new day beckons you to take a step closer to the Lord and to make a commitment more serious than the one you made before.

Have you willfully, deliberately, and intentionally presented your body to God? Just as Jesus’ parents brought Him to the Temple to present Him to the Lord, God is asking you to reverently come into His Presence to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to be used for His purposes. If you haven’t ever taken this step of faith, are you ready to take it now? The carnal nature may declare war when you make the decision to surrender completely to the Lord, so be prepared to deal with the flesh. Just determine that you will not stop until the victory has been won!

Today is the day to surrender yourself into the hands of God. Don’t wait until tomorrow—and don’t depend on what you did yesterday. This is a new day, and God is calling you to surrender yourself anew. So don’t let ANYTHING hold you back from taking this step of faith right now!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, today I am surrendering myself as a living sacrifice to be used in whatever way You choose. I know You are beckoning me to come higher and closer than ever before, so right now I approach You with great reverence and surrender myself more fully to You. With all my heart I vow to give You my soul, my emotions, my spirit, my body, and everything else that I am and that I possess. I want to live for You and to serve You for the rest of my life. Starting today, I yield to You completely. When You speak, I will do exactly what You tell me to do.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am surrendered to the purposes of God. I daily consecrate myself to God—to do what He wants and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. My flesh may try to wage war against this consecration, but I take authority over my flesh and I tell it what to do. My body does not control me. Instead, I control it, using it as my instrument to do whatever God asks me to do. Every day when I awake, I renew my consecration and personal commitment to serve God with all my heart. I am His completely, and I will obey whatever His Spirit prompts me to do.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Has there been a moment in your life when you seriously consecrated yourself more fully to God’s purposes? When was that moment? How did this deeper commitment affect your life?
  2. Do you daily consecrate yourself to the Lord? If the answer is no, how long has it been since you dropped to your knees and reverently surrendered your life, your mind, your emotions, your talents, your money, your family, your job, your friends, your plans, and all that you are to the Lord?
  3. Would God say that you live your life like a “living sacrifice”?

 

Can We Really Have It Both Ways?

So, this middle-aged man comes to Christ. By this time in his life, he has obtained the perks and privileges of wealth and success which have become the very source of his security, ease, and status: “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wallThey have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklacealways carefree, they increase in wealth.” (Proverbs 18:11; Psalm 73:3b-6,12b) (See Proverbs 10:15; Job 31:24, 25; Psalm 49:6-9; 62:10 ; Ecclesiastes 7:12)

 

From time to time he has had to compromise his integrity to get where he is. Discretely, of course. That is, he’s “played the game.” Now and then he may have actually taken advantage of a few folks. As James puts it: “Listen, you rich peopleYour wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corrodedYou have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against youYou have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence… ” (James 5:1-5 – selected ) (See Deuteronomy 32:15; Nehemiah 9:25, 26; Job 20:15-29; Psalm 49:6-20)

 

And now, he has decided to follow Christ. But he faces a dilemma: “Can he truly follow Jesus and sustain his current lifestyle without continuing the very compromises it took to obtain the wealth and status in the first place?” Perhaps that is why Jesus made this comment after the rich young man walked out on Him: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24b) (See John 5:44)

 

You see, our middle-aged friend wants both the benefits of salvation and the privileges of wealth. In other words, he desires the best of both worlds. But can he in fact have it both ways?

 

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) (See Joshua 24:15)

 

In many parts of the world, obtaining and sustaining wealth is close to unattainable without compromising one’s integrity. The jarring fact is that liars, the greedy, and swindlers will not enter heaven: “Do not be deceived: Neitherthieves nor the greedynor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of GodAll liarswill be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 selected; Revelation 21:8b)

 

So tell me, are you radically committed to uncompromising integrity in conducting your business affairs? If you find that juggling a gold plated life style runs counter to living a life of purity and holiness, are you prepared to walk away from the former in order to sustain the latter? You and I may want to consider:

 

Without holiness no one will see the LordWhat good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Hebrews 12:14b; Matthew 16:26)

 

 

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