|Today||2023年11月27日 - 2023年12月01日|
I Will Never Leave You; No Fear
|6|| Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. NKJV|
It was the largest earthquake I had ever felt. I had been living in the island nation of Japan for over 20 years. As I came round the corner to my office I saw people running out of a soba (noodles) shop. Then I felt it jolt. It was a massive shaking. I briskly walked to the middle of the street and pulled out my camera phone to record it. Oncoming cars didn’t feel the shaking at first but from the other side of the street, office ladies came running out of a larger building holding hands as they started crying.
For some reason, I had no fear. I wasn’t afraid. I knew I should stay in the middle of the street as falling glass from older buildings’ breaking windows would be dangerous, but I had no fear. I knew I am consistently praying the protection of God’s angels around myself and my family. This was the largest earthquake Tokyo had experienced since I started my life there with my wife and some said it was the most powerful in 100 years. This is my home.
Then the nuclear issues came as huge tsunami waves cause by the earthquake pounded on power generation plants taking out exterior emergency power generators for cooling the facilities in case of emergencies. With nuclear melt-down concerns, fear began to take hold of people as they lined up to buy gasoline, then cleaned out the stores of bottled water, and continued to buy up all the necessities of milk, bread and other items. We didn’t queue up anywhere. We were not afraid. My church, my business, my friends, and everything was in Japan and I knew God put us there for a reason.
Within a couple months everything was back to relative “normalcy” in the country. Of course, after experiencing a nation’s greatest natural disasters (crippling earthquake, massive tsunami wave, and nuclear melt-down) things had changed but nothing bad happened to my family or church family because we had been praying for them.
In 2 Timothy 1:7 we see that you don’t have to be fearful living in the world. Even if the earth is shaking under your feet and everything is burning up around you. Psalm 91:7 says,
|7|| A thousand may fall at your side,|
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you. NKJV
Psalm 91 is a chapter you should know because it talks about how God protects His people when they are connected to Him. If you know how God will protect you and your family when you are praying, then you won’t be fearful. However, the other thing 2 Timothy talks about is the laying on of hands.
We consistently have Holy Spirit-baptized believers praying for people who aren’t baptized in the Spirit at our church. You do that by the laying on of hands. That makes a difference. You need the Holy Spirit to protect, direct, and reveal the things of God to you in your daily lives. When you are baptized in the Spirit, you are definitely not going to be fearful. Why? Because you know He is never going to leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5-6 says,
For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 So we may boldly say:
"The LORD is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?" NKJV
God’s promise to protect and keep you is not something new. There are scriptures all over the Bible that you can use to confess His protection over you. Deuteronomy 31:6 says,
|6|| Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." NKJV|
And it doesn’t end there. Just look up “I will never leave you” in a good Bible concordance and you will find a treasure trove of God confirming how He wants to protect you (Deut 31:6, Josh 1:5, 1 Sam 12:22, 1 Chron 28:20, Psalm 37:25, 28 ,Isa 41:10,17 to name a few).
Just remember God cares for His people. You see that He does throughout the Old and New Testaments. But you have to give Him your concerns, whether it is fear or something else. 1 Peter 5:7 talks about
|7|| casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. NKJV|
Have you spend time with Him today? If you have, you will find there is no fear here. Stir up the gift. Hallelujah!
Annual Bible Reading Plan at www.vwc.jp
What To Do First
|15|| However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. NKJV|
Have you ever felt tired as you prepare for work? You get towards the end of each week and if you are working hard, by Friday you are definitely ready for the weekend. The most challenging work I have ever done was working on a farm. In the Summer, there were no weekends. We worked all the time. I remember working 17 hour days as we had to keep the crops watered as well as work on harvesting things. For people who work on a farm, I have great respect for these folks. That is real work.
Even working with the enterprise (business ventures) in a large city around the earth, you find yourself working very hard. The business manager, exerts a lot of energy to sell their products, manage their team of people, maximize their systems to support the business, and network with various business professionals. It is easy to get so busy and by Friday you are feeling it.
The Messiah Jesus was ministering to many people. The Word says he went about doing good, preaching the Kingdom, healing thousands, feeding thousands multiple times, and teaching the scriptures. We know that He taught with such authority that people had never seen before, they knew there was something different about Him. We must remember that King Jesus came into the earth as a human to show us that is possible to live and anointed and victorious life even as a human being. What an amazing example He is to us! We are to live like Him.
With all the demand Jesus still demonstrated that even in all the busyness, we are to run to the Father every day and get into His presence. From Luke 5:16, we get the impression that not only did He spend time fellowshipping with the Father, He would often completely retract Himself from society to be able to go off and spend time with the Father.
Although, I need to pray more every day, I really look forward to our time in God’s presence on Saturday mornings at our church. As a praying church, you can really make a difference. If we are not praying, then we cannot expect anything to happen. If the Messiah went off to energize Himself in the presence of God, who are we to think that we don’t have to do the same thing? Read through these various eyewitness accounts of the lifestyle of our Messiah.
|23|| And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. NKJV|
|35|| Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. NKJV|
|46|| And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. NKJV|
|12|| Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. NKJV|
|15|| Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. NKJV|
After reading this, aren’t you inspired? Jesus did powerful signs and wonders. When He taught the Word He had learned it was backed up with signs and wonders because He was spending time in God’s presence.
What are we to do first every day? Let me inspire you.
As you head to work today, praise Him for the great job you have. Not so great? Praise Him anyhow and ask Him for promotion in what you are doing. Thank Him for His goodness, thank Him for His peace. Make time to get away from it all, pray in the AM before you leave for work, go to a meeting room, or a park nearby the office and turn on some good worship music, praise Him, thank Him, and then just pour out your heart to Him. He will give you the wisdom you need for today.
Jesus is Lord!
Revelation 10, 11
Filling Up The Emptiness
|11|| Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. NKJV|
Some days you just wake up and feel like you have no sense of direction. You feel empty, like you are missing something. Like you need something, but you are not sure what it is.
Now that you are a follower of Jesus and The Way, you know that substance abuse, physical relationships, and other actions of the sort are just actions of ‘the flesh’. These things are only a temporary fix that does not last a day, if even that long.
The strength, and the weakness, of human beings is that we are emotional. We can go up or go down based on our emotions. We have a choice. We can either live on the emotional mountain tops, or we can allow the situation, the weather, the people around us, to bring us down to the emotional valleys as well.
When you turn to Jesus, you are saved but you have to change. Beyond a shadow of a doubt we are connected to the Kingdom of God. However, for a long as we live on the earth, we need to work towards completing ourselves. Romans 12:2 tells us to renew our minds, our way of thinking. In 2 Corinthians 13:11, we believers are encouraged to ‘become complete’. RHow are we to become complete?
Completeness is something we get through a combination of things. Marrying a spouse that encourages us to go deeper with Jesus, cheerfully sowing our tithe into the church each month, setting aside time each day to soak in God’s Word and His presence, telling people about what Jesus is doing for you and leading them to King Jesus, praying for friends and watching them recover... these are all things that lead towards our spiritual completion. That completion is not based on one thing that happened in the past. It is based on what we are doing now.
God wants you to be complete and full. It is interesting that when you look at other versions, they translate this completeness as ‘perfection’.
|2|| Cor 13:11|
For the rest, brethren, rejoice; be perfected; be encouraged; be of one mind; be at peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Darby Translation
When you feel empty, there are two things you should be doing. The first thing to do is to get into your prayer closet (the place you pray) and begin to just thank Him for His goodness. Read through your list of answered prayers and just thank Him for bringing them to pass. When there is emptiness, fill it up with the power and presence of Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, when we feel empty most people tend to start to focus on themselves. There lies the problem. When you feel empty forget about yourself! Start to focus on others.
|18|| If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. NKJV|
|5|| Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV|
When you start to feel empty, start to pour yourself into others. Encourage them, pray for them, drop them a quick line to let them know you are praying for them. People are not going to always like us (especially if they are denying to drawing of the Holy Spirit). But we are to do our best to get along with other believers (and unbelievers).
Don’t focus your emotions on yourself. Focus your emotions on others. When you care for others in your church family, you can watch and see that emptiness that you once had will flee.
A Name Like No Other
|1|| Cor 12:3|
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. NKJV
He had just been carried out by some of the Japanese pastors and a couple of the Americans that were on a short term missions trip to Japan. He was screaming as if he was in pain. The Brazilian Japanese guy was in trouble. During the powerful worship at the ski lodge in Nagano, he had freaked out. The power and the presence of God was so strong that something on him couldn’t stand to be there.
Once out of the main meeting room they took him to a side room. Due to the language differences I had just gone along to help with the communications. Little did I know I would be dealing with the demonic. What had happened was the guy who was carried out was dealing with demons. He had been abused by his uncle back in San Paolo and unforgiveness had come in. Besides that demon of unforgiveness there were others. We dealt with those demons and they had to go in the Name of Jesus. You see, when you give the enemy a foothold through lust, jealously, violence, homosexual activity, drugs and other things, they try to come in and control you.
In that little room in Nagano with the Americans who couldn’t speak Japanese, and the Japanese pastors that didn’t know what to do, somehow I ended up in the spiritual drivers seat. I knew that you don’t glorify demons, you deal with them and get rid of them. You don’t have to study how they are organized, their names or anything else. Just get rid of them. That name I learned that when I used the Name of Jesus, these demons could do nothing but submit. They had to listen to me because I represented the King and that had to obey. It took some time but we got 4 types of demons off this guy and he left that weekend free from bondages that the enemy had used to entangle him for years.
As I was dealing with the situation 1 Cor 12:3 came to mind. Those demons have sworn their allegiance to hell. That could not say “Jesus is my Lord”. As the guy was laying on the floor I quickly learned to determine what was demon and what was his personality I could see it with the Name of Jesus. I could do this because I knew the Word in that area.
We use the Name of Jesus and it is easy to sometimes forget what we are engaging. We are engaging the most powerful Name in the universe that moves the host of heaven. There is a lot behind that. It is like one of those dog whistles that when you blow you don’t notice too much. With your ear, it doesn’t seem to have sound. However, the dogs around you start howling because to them the whistle’s sound is loud and clear. When I use the Name of Jesus, I am seeing more and more of the power and authority I see behind it. You must use the Name of Jesus, and you must make sure you know what spirits you are dealing with it. The best way to test is to see what people (and the spirit behind them) says about Jesus the Messiah. Is He their Lord or not? That is what it all comes down to.
|2|| By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. NKJV|
Know Him today. Don’t just go about your business accepting whatever happens. Become sensitive to the spiritual around you. Bind and loose spirits in Jesus’ Name.
Pigs & Pearls
|22|| If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come! NKJV|
In Kent Washington I started my second year of middle school at a brand new school. It was wonderful; new building, new teachers, new band instruments, new sports equipment. Everything was new. Praise God for smart parents who moved nearby so we could go to this new facility.
I started to study German as my first language and in one year I was able to do pretty well with the tough native German teacher instructing our class. The classmates in that class had been with me in elementary school as well as for the first year in the older middle school across town. Even as a kid, I was talking about Jesus. They knew were I stood, but I was a bit naive.
Talking to one girl in the class, she made some negative comments about God and my Jesus. Silly me, I told her, “Well, we’re not to cast our pearls before the swine” foolishly quoting Matthew 7:6. I just couldn’t believe some kid could even say something like that about my heavenly Father so I said exactly what I thought. Even as a 14 year-old girl she got flaming mad at me. It was a bit harsh of a statement from me, and not something I recommend you quote to people about them. But as we get older, we have to realize time is limited.
Did Jesus chase people around telling them to repent? Nope. He sowed the seeds of truth in people by what He said and let those words grow in them. If they responded he would act in kind. However, if not He was led by the spirit regarding how much further time He spent with them. You and I also need to be led because frankly you can waste time with people who are completely not open to the Way if you aren’t sensitive to the Spirit. First Cor 16:22 is pretty harsh sounding as well. It says that these folks are accursed. If you think about it, they really are. If you hear the powerful Word of God, the pearl of great price, and deny it you are condemning yourself to be eternally separated from God. That is as clear as crystal. Matthew 25:41 says it plainly.
|41|| "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: NKJV|
Hell and separation from God was not made for humans but it was made for satan and those other fallen angels with him. We’ve got to remember that. The Good News of the Way to God is going out to all people. They must chose.
|8|| in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV|
Time is running short. We must tell people about Jesus. You can’t talk about His coming too much. What can we do? I like how Matthew 25 continues on.
|42|| for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' NKJV|
Do you want to do something for Jesus and the Kingdom today? Do something for someone else.
Busting The False Gospel
|6|| I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, NKJV|
Church of Jesus Christ, Christian... You see these names thrown around as if they are some brand or club of the month with some people. Jesus has come. We know that Jesus is the Way. There is no other truth.
It is said every good lie has got to have a bit of truth in it. The Word is truth (John 17:17). Therefore people try to copy the basics on the Messiah His Word, then run in a different direction. Just because someone says they are a Christian or calls their church something with “Jesus Christ” in the name, does not necessarily mean they are followers of Jesus and the Way. So how can you tell a cult with a counterfeit Jesus from the real Jesus our Messiah? Here are a few things to keep in mind-
-Central figure- A cult usually has some central figure that is the foundation of that group. He or she claims glorify from the people following them. The use the Bible to a limited extent to prove their points.
-Everyone else is wrong- A cult will undoubtedly say that everyone else is wrong. We are the true way. You are not allowed to attend any other churches. All other people who profess to be Christians are not going to make it is their usual teaching.
-Questions are discouraged- You must not ask questions, you must believe things the way they are even if they might seem unbelievable in reality, history, or experience.
-Contrary to the Word- Actions are taught, and encouraged, that go against what is written in the Word of God. Doctrines are built on single scriptures that are unrelated.
-Resource Thief- Giving is not a free-will action, it becomes a duty. You must give to any other places. Just to the leader.
All these things are wrong. There are many other false things to watch for, but you must choose to follow Jesus not some human leader. Don’t fall for a different gospel. People who preach something other than the Word of God are cursed. Galatians 1:8 says,
|8|| But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. NKJV|
So what is the problem with these people? These preaches of a false Jesus, a false gospel. Romans 10:3
|3|| For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. NKJV|
Whatever church you go to, your pastor and leadership team must be submitted to King Jesus first and foremost. If they love Jesus, they are going to be submitted to you and all the members of that church family. They are not going to do things to take advantage of their church family. Jesus gave preference to His friends and all of us should be doing the same as well.
Don’t fall for a false Gospel. Seek Jesus more than anything. If your church leaders preach something that sounds strange, check it to the Word and make sure it is accurate. If it isn’t then that church may be in the danger zone.
If you have friends going to a questionable church, pray for them. Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth about that church to the people there. With your prayer, watch the situation change at the mighty Name of Jesus!
Put Up, Forgive And Encourage
|13|| bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. NKJV|
If you have ever worked in a country that has small church sizes you are probably going to see a bit of protectionism. Why? Well a spiritually healthy believer knows that if you aren’t giving then you can’t expect anything to come back to you. They are tithers because these committed believers know that whatever they have they will leave when they depart from this earth. Therefore some pastors and church leaders see church members as ‘income’. They become less reliant on God as their provider and more concerned about keeping their church members.
Church is not about huge buildings, church membership, or how many people come to your church. Church is the body, or the family of Christ Jesus on the earth.. the family of God. It isn’t about rituals or traditions (although we are commanded to baptize and take communion) but it is all about love and forgiveness. Committed Christian believers are the most loving and forgiving people on the face of the earth. We have to forgive and we are commanded to love. Why? God loved us first even though we didn’t deserve it.
It is easy to hold grudges because of what someone has done to you in the past. Some people that we see coming into our churches that have issues with their health, can many times connect that to unforgiveness which is blocking their walking in the divine health that God has for them. God wants to take good care of His children. But just as an earthly father, we can go off and get out from under His blessings and even protection by sin. Unforgiveness will separate you from God. That is why every Sunday in God’s house we need to just love on people. Galatians 6:2,3 says,
|2|| Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. NKJV|
When you see someone is a bit quieter than usual someday, then maybe you need to go to them and encourage them. Offer to pray with them and pray a Biblical prayer of victory and encouragement over them. You may need to agree with them for divine wisdom (James 1:5). When someone starts talking their personal trouble with me, that’s when I start to pray with them.
After offering to pray, I let them accept or reject the prayer (because it is not always profitable to pray over people who are filled with doubt and unbelief). Other times, you can sense such a strong gift of faith on you that you can see that your faith will carry others. After praying, that person is usually so encouraged because your faith-filled prayer has just built them up. You didn’t pray agreeing with the troubled situation, you prayed believing God for the power to overcome the situation. James calls it, the prayer of faith. James 5:15 says,
|15|| And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. NKJV|
The prayer of faith will not only heal the sick. The prayer of faith over tithes and offerings will bring financial break throughs. The prayer of faith will encourage the unbeliever. The prayer of faith will take you from the valley to the mountain tops. When you think about it, the prayer of faith is praying what you expect, not what you have. The prayer of faith will even meet the needs of the church so the pastor can focus on what he is supposed to do, build people up in Christ Jesus.
Be an encourager today. When you get up, ask God to position you to bless someone. When you sow seeds of goods, that goodness will come back to you. God will provide when you act in faith.
Annual Bible Reading Plan at www.vwc.jp