Today 2024年5月13日 - 2024年5月17日

5月12日

What Others Think
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Gifts at Corinth
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sectarianism Is Sin
10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”[a]
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[b] foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Glory Only in the Lord
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

5月13日

How To Engage God’s Power

Acts 17:10-13
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.   NKJV
Have you ever met someone who says they know they need to get to church but they never show up? You see them struggling in life, however you know most of their pain is self-inflicted. What you put into life is what you are going to get out of life. It is even more true for spiritual things.
Yahweh is not a controller. Yahweh the Most High wants to give us a choice. He has given us a choice. With choice comes much responsibility. That is why Yahweh gave us the Word. He gave us the Word so that we can know the answers to life. Everything we need to know about life is in the Word. If you don’t know the Word (scriptures), you don’t know the power of God.
Mark 12:24
Jesus answered and said to them, "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God?
As newlyweds coming to live in Tokyo, we were so hungry for the things of God. We were going to church but the pastor didn’t seem to really understand the things of God. We left church with more questions than answers. We soon found a great Bible study group that was going on outside of the church. We would drive 2.5 hours each Saturday (one way!) to get to that Bible study on the South side of Tokyo because we were so hungry. We were not satisfied with some religious service on Sundays. If you are hungry, got will fill you up. He’ll connect you to a Spirit-filled church and fellowships.
You and I, the Children of God are not to be robots controlled someone else. We are God’s children with free wills. We have a choice to make decisions ourselves. We have to drive ourselves, and we need to have goals and objectives in life. If we have no vision for our lives, we will perish hopelessly.
The Bereans would take everything that was taught and make sure that it was right. They checked the teaching according to the scriptures. There was no way things were going to become like a cult because they knew the Word. I have noticed that the better I know the Word of God, the better I know the God of the Word. That’s right, if you want to know God, you need to know His Word. God and His Word are inseparable.
Build yourself spiritually by reading His Word every day. You will never be the same.

5月14日

Discerning The Situation

Acts 10:44-46
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. NKJV
Speaking in tongues, gifts of healing, prophecies, you see these gifts of the Holy Spirit working in the church today. I have met a few people that have said that these gifts of God are no longer. Usually, the people that hold this view are the ones who have not experienced these wonderful gifts. If you don’t have the gifts of the Holy Spirit don’t let it be that way.
The most common reason given to justify not having spiritual gifts is that, the gifts passed away with the early church apostles or leaders. It makes me wonder why God would give something to us, just to take it away less than one lifetime later. The Word says in Romans 11:29
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
This is clearly talking about the gifts and talents each one of us has. It is also talking about the spiritual gifts. God does not take away the gifts He has given us. When I sin, does that mean that God is going to take away my prayer language (gift of tongues)? Absolutely not! I would have lost that many years ago if that was the case because I have messed up. The gifts are there for you. Why? When you are in trouble, that is when you need them. When you start to feel sick, pray in the spirit! When things seem to be going down, praise Him that He is going to take you up! You will sense the Holy Spirit strengthening you as you do this.
Peter was directed by Yahweh to give the good news of Jesus to the non-Jews. He obeyed and Yahweh showed His condoning to the whole world. The power of the Holy Spirit not only fell on the Jews but also on everyone else (the so-called Gentiles). Peter was under a lot of pressure when he went back to the Jews. Most accepted what He did as they understood that Jews have no monopoly on Yahweh or Jesus. However, some rejected and created divisions due to this, even denying the power of God that confirmed the event through non-Jews being filled with the Holy Spirit and receiving the gift of tongues.
We have similar issues today, some people just don’t want to accept what God is doing. Other times there are whacky people doing strange things in God’s Name. It is our responsibility to check each situation. Things can start good and go bad or vice versa. We have to discern things by His Spirit and His wisdom, as this world is not always so easy to see the right and the wrong at first glance
A couple years back, there was a Canadian evangelist that amazing things were happening through. There were special meetings that started up in Florida at a church there. There was a lot of healing, salvation, and miracles happening in those nightly meetings as we watched via live feed. I really sensed God in the meetings, but somewhere along the way, you could sense pride rising up in this minister’s life. Something snapped and you could tell his pride was taking him out. In the end, he had an affair with one of the women at the meetings and left his wife and children. The whole event fell apart. Does that mean everything was wrong? From what we saw, the meetings started out good, that cannot be denied; however, everything ended in evil and chaos because the guy’s heart was not right and he chose himself and darkness over caring for others.
Next time someone gives you a Bible interpretation, do your part. Check it to the Word of God and with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit is your teacher. Just as the Holy Spirit guided Peter to minister to people he would have normally not even talked to. We need to listen as well. Peter followed God’s guidance and signs followed. Most importantly, Redemption was opened to all and condoned by God. He wants to guide us you as well. It is a daily thing.
If you stay tuned in to Yahweh, you will never go wrong.

5月15日

Mountains Out of Ant Hills

Matt 15:7-9
7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 "These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" NKJV
Every single human being, whether they are willing to admit it or not, knows that there is a God. They just know it because it is created in them. It is like a child. Every child knows that without their Father (and mother!) they would not exist. When they start to wonder about that, then they get the opportunity to choose Him or not. In all of us there is a void, and emptiness without knowing our heavenly Father. It can only be filled by becoming right with Yahweh through Jesus.
Many others try to use the various distractions of life as a way to try to satisfy that void. A huge distraction is religion. Just because someone says they are a ‘Christian’ does not mean you have to just believe them. Jesus says we should be judged by our fruit. Religion makes a big deal out of things. What seems to be a small issue is magnified into being something much bigger, or in some cases something completely different. Martin Luther severed ties with the Roman Church because they were allowing people to sell “forgiveness” and even “salvation”. Jesus already paid the ultimate price so that we don’t have to.
I have seen thousands of people come to Jesus in my life this far. It is awesome! What an exciting time! When people turn to Yahweh, the angels in heaven are rejoicing with us. It is greater than any miracle. However, believe it or not some people don’t want to make the choice. They don’t want to give up their addictions, their wrong lifestyles. We all have a conscience and know that we need God.
There are others that act as if they have changes, and like they know God. But as you get to know them you wonder if they really know God as they say. They are talk about God and tell people how they know Him through their ‘religion’ but they life shows dishonesty, selfishness, and very judgmental attitudes towards others. To me, religion is a negative word as it reminds me of the traditions of men. Jesus knew these types of people as well.
We all know Jesus for His love and His power, however we need to remember that the Lord hated hypocrisy and bigotry. He hates seeing people say one thing and do or think another. That is exactly what happens with religious folks. Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with the Creator of the world. He loved us first. Being a believer, being a Christian is ALL about love. That is love for God with everything you’ve got and love for others. When you love God, it is not hard to love others.
Luke 10:27-28
27 So he answered and said, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'"
28 And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live."

5月16日

Prayer & The Word For Your Minister

Acts 6:4
… but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." NKJV
If you want to see change in your church, the most important thing is that you get yourself there. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from being at church each Sunday. As a pastor, I can’t tell you how encouraging it is for a leader to see people in your church active and contributing to bringing people to Jesus, working on the worship team, planning and executing events, organizing the resources of the church, helping to start new outreaches for the church for the community. It is priceless and a major encouragement for the pastor.
In Japan, much like other countries, it is very easy for the pastor to get caught up in these various activities if there are no people to help him. However, we really need to support our pastors so that they can focus on getting into the Word and spending time in God’s presence. If they are not distracted by the various activities then they can focus on delivering an encouraging word to us each Sunday.
Distractions have always been an issue for believers, but the era we live in has got to be worse than ever. The more technology we have, the more accessible we all are. All the email, website visitors, counseling, helping of the poor, requests from visitors, mobile phone calls wherever you are… the list goes on and on for those in ministry. These things can easily fall into the lap of pastor. However, if we expect to have a good church, we have to allow our pastors to flourish and grow. They need time to feed themselves spiritually. This is especially true for pastors of small growing churches.
The issues were the same in the early church. If you read in Acts 6 you will see that there was growth and things were happening. These days, many people expect the government to take care of them. However, when you entrust yourself and family to unbelievers chances are you will regret it. Our churches are the social welfare of society. We are the ones that help people in time of need. We have to encourage them when they are down, and have the guts to tell them it is time to get up. If one of the committed members of a local church loses their job, the church can certainly help with food, ideas, and maybe a few funds to help get that believer into another job. However, when this becomes the main purpose of the church (like many dead churches in the world) then we have lost our focus. The focus of the church is to worship God and love your neighbor.
The overall purpose of the church is to go into all the world and preach the gospel of Jesus to every tongue and nation. The early church leaders realized that the social programs were taking away from the most important part. Why? Your physical condition is a direct connection to your spiritual condition. If you are strong spiritually, it is much easier to be strong physically. If you are weak spiritually, then it is easy to fall into sickness, sin, and in some cases even death.
Recently, I have seen the spiritual power in our church prayer meetings go up. The fundamental is that people are spending time with God themselves and spending time in the Word themselves. When we come together, the prayer meetings are more powerful because we are ready.
As you go about your week this week, make time with God each day. Talk to Him and listen to what He has to say. Remember that you don’t listen with your physical ears, you listen with your spirit. However, don’t just stop there. Get out your Bible and read the Word a bit each day. God speaks to His people through the Word so if you are not reading it, then it is doubtful that you will hear from God. If you don’t know what to read, see the Bible Reading plan at www.vwc.jp.
Pray regularly for your pastor and ministers. Pray for wisdom and direction as well as physical and spiritual strength. Support them not only with your tithes and offerings but more importantly support them with your heart. With your support and encouragement every week, you will notice powerful messages flowing from them back to you.

5月17日

Following Your Spirit

Acts 17:16
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. NKJV
We know from 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that humans are not just “body and soul” as some singers proclaim. We are spirit beings, that live in a body, and we have souls. We know that our soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions. The whole you is your spirit, soul, and body. We know from Hebrews 4:12 that our soul and spirit are inseparable. That is you. Our bodies are just a shell for us.
We know from John 4 that Jesus said God is a spirit. Makes sense! We are spirits and Genesis 1 tells us that we are made in His image. Human beings are just an amazing creation. Praise Yahweh!
Our weakness is that we can easily live our day to day lives based on what we thinking about but nothing spiritual. For example, most people tend to live each day based on what they think they should do. This is based 100% on our soul areas (mind, will, and emotions). I think I will get a new job, I think I need to get married, I think I need to change my hair color. If you look at it more closely, when we do this we are actually making decisions based on not only what we think, but also how we feel. Everyone has had a bad day, but most people decide they are going to have a bad day because that is what they were expecting. Basically, most people live very soulishly. They are guided by their thoughts and feelings. However, God has something better for us. God wants us to be led by His spirit. That is why Romans 8:14 says
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Yahweh wants us to be led by the spirit. In the New Testament, the word “spirit” is actually from the Greek word pneuma. Pneuma means a breath, wind, spirit. When Yahweh created Adam, He breathed life into the body. Yahweh basically pneuma-ed Adam to create us. The body without the spirit is dead. Pneuma is translated human spirit and for the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. When you see spirit capitalized (Spirit), that is where the English translators thought pneuma was referring to the Holy Spirit. I keep this in mind as I read the Word. Whenever I see spirit whether it is capitalized or not, I determine whether we are talking about the Holy Spirit or the human spirit based on the context of the paragraph.
Romans 8:14 is clearly talking about Spirit of God, however how does the Holy Spirit lead humans? He leads them by their spirits.
When Paul went to Greece, he was provoked. He saw the pantheon of gods and knew He needed to do something. Acts says he was provoked in His spirit. Like Paul, you and I need to learn how to be lead by our spirits. We need to learn how to follow the guiding and direction of the Holy Spirit. He wants to lead us but we need to listen to our spirits.
In 1983, God called me into the ministry. How did He do it? I was at a summer camp, my spirit was sensitive as I was in worship, hearing preaching, and focused on God intensively with all the other kids. One evening when the speaker asked for those who felt they were called into missions to raise their hands, I wanted to because I sensed a calling. At that time, the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and said “I will make you a minister and a missionary to the nations, but you will be a different type of missionary”. He also spoke to me that I would go to a state university first then do my Bible schooling.
As I look back at how He has directed me over the years, I see His amazing plan for me so much better. My biggest challenge over the years has been to block off the distractions and listen to His spirit. I am sure the same challenge exists for you. The key is making time to be with God and removing yourselves from the distractions of life.
One American Evangelist was famous as the counselor to many US presidents. There was a story of the President of the United States of America calling his home while he was having his prayer time. When his wife interrupted his prayer time to ask if he would take a meeting. He told her to tell the President that he was ‘in a meeting’ so he would call back later. That is great!
Our time with Yahweh should be so precious that we should let nothing distract us. As we spend time with Him, our spirits become in tune with Him and we can clearly hear His voice in our spirits. We have to realize that our spirit is our connection to the Almighty. It is awesome. Learn to listen with your ear. It will change you!

5月18日

These Things Shall Pass- Sorrow To Joy

Isaiah 61:3
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness, NKJV
Our Father God is the God of Victory, not defeat. He is the God of joy, not sorrow. He is the God of the breakthrough. As humans we are all emotional beings. I think most normal people like to be around others. If not, then God would have not made Eve for Adam. When we are around someone for a time and they become friends, it can be difficult to part ways. Especially if it is someone we see every day at our school or some other event.
When I was a kid, I would go work on a farm in Oregon during the summer from about June after school got out. It was very hard work, but an excellent experience. I am so thankful for my farmer brother-in-law (who married my oldest sister). He taught me the meaning of work, responsibility, and was a great positive influence on me as I was growing up as I had the opportunity to work on his farm. (To this day I am impressed with how his passion for Jesus has deepened. His family radiates Jesus to the people around him as they see the shine of the King in his eyes).
About mid-July, I would head back up north to Washington for the county fair. The fair was an event for the area where people would go to enjoy some park rides, see the latest and greatest crafts, hear a few music groups, see various vendors selling their wares, and see various types of animals. There was everything from cats to horses.
People would be showing their sheep, goats, cows, and various other animals to be judged for grooming, disposition, and overall appearance. My older brother-in-law and sister had been into horses. Those wonderful hay-burning beasts that eat a lot but don’t produce (no wool or milk as they are mostly used for transport) all that much. I had been influenced by my parents to raise goats that are very good for healthy milk, ice cream (delicious!) and yogurt.
I would spend 5 days in the barns at the country fair taking care of my animals and answering questions from the crowds of people that would walk through. Families with children, couples, and even reporters would be wandering through. I would get to know the other kids with animals and we would have a great time caring for the animals and getting acquainted with other people from the county. When those 5 days would end, I remember going home to a quiet summer time house and getting my animals back in their home barn. I felt so lonely and down after all that time around all those people. It was really tough for me.
I learned that the best thing to do was to keep myself busy and keep focused on Jesus to overcome these feelings. During that summer break, I discovered that if I just laid around the house, the loneliness would become worse. But if I went and fellowshipped with other kids at church, got up each morning and read the Word, and just kept moving then the feelings would pass.
Isaiah 61:3 says that God has joy for our sorrow, praise for heaviness, and that He has beauty for ashes. But the beginning of the verse talks about Mt. Zion. That means we have to get where He is, we have to get into His house, we need to get around His people. If you want to be strong you’ve got get around Yahweh and His people. That is why Hebrews 10:23-25 says,
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The feelings will pass. You’ve got to let go. If you are down, pick yourself up and get into His presence! Encourage someone, tell someone about Jesus, get together with other believers. What you do will come back to you.
He is amazing!
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