Today 2023年2月27日 - 2023年3月03日


Making Right Choices

Deut 30:19-20
19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; NKJV
Being a minister is not a job for the faint-hearted. You get a chance to see all sorts of things. As a minister your job is to encourage people, teach the Word of God, and show people how to live the victory the Jesus won for us when He came back from the dead on resurrection day (also known as Easter).
To me, Resurrection day is the most important holiday of the year because if Jesus did not come back from the dead, then there is no point of being a Christian. Jesus did rise from the dead, and we’ve got unbiased historical evidence (a Jewish historian of the time, Josephus is one of many sources) to prove how the world changed through this little group of believers which now numbers in the millions of committed believers world-wide.
However, when you are in ministry helping out at your church, you really see that life is all about choices (definitely help your pastors as they need your support). God has given us all a life to make choices. What we are going to do with it? In Deuteronomy, we see Moses making it very clear. He asked people to make a choice, follow your own way and be cursed or follow God’s way, be blessed and be blessing. Once you know about God you really have to choose whether you are going to serve God or are you going to serve yourself.
Most churches have so many people coming and going. It breaks my heart to see these people that come occasionally to church and wonder why God is not doing more in their lives. They wonder why their children rebel. They wonder why they have marital problems. They think God is not faithful because they are financially struggling. People, we need to find a good church and be there every Sunday. It is the father’s responsibility to make sure to get his wife and kids to church. If the wife will not come, then the husband needs to be there every week showing his children that he is putting God first.
If you practice with champions, you are more likely to be a champion. Our church is very strong on faith. We are also strong on giving as God wants us to be good stewards with our resources. Countless times I have had people come to church asking why God is not blessing them. One question usually mutes their question immediately, “Are you regularly tithing to your home church?” The answer has always been “No” or “I do when I can”.
People are wondering why they are not blessed financially or in their job. The answer is clear, they chose not to give their first fruits to God and so He cannot bless them. In fact, when we don’t tithe, Malachi 3:8-10 says we are actually robbing God. Tithing is a choice, and actually what you do every day is your choice.
We make a major choice when we choose a certain job, a certain spouse, a certain place to live.. Most of the things that happen to us each day are because of the choices we have made. We also have to make choices each day, “I feel an itch in my throat”, will I fight it or just accept it? My boss has treated me harshly, will I try to get even or do more by praying for his or her salvation? I am very upset about what my spouse said to me, will I shout back or pray that God make that person to be more sensitive to my feelings?
Life is about making the right choices. Most of our troubles are caused by making the wrong choices. However, when you believe God and are committed to Him each day, you will start to see Him working in your life if you let Him. He will give you wisdom if you ask Him. But you have to choose who you are going to serve.
Tired of making wrong choices? We all have done it. Draw closer to God and He will help you make the right decisions and live a full and abundant life.


Just A Sinner?
2 Cor 5:20-21
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NKJV
One of the things a new believer should avoid is getting around Cultural Christians. Getting around folks that seem to know about God will mess a new Christian up more than anything. Cultural Christians are usually so tied up in traditions that God has no room to move in their lives or churches. They are lacking in the power and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we as believers see and God uses to bless people and draw unbelievers.
As a new believer, the best thing you can do is get around Committed Christians who are so filled with the Holy Spirit that you can sense His presence wherever you go. People are getting saved around them, people are getting healed around them, their faith is living and active so miracles are happening because they know God’s heart and are sensitive to Him. Whether you are a new believer or a believer that is hungry for more of Him, get yourself around believers of strong faith.
In Japan, we have some well-meaning folks who get a bull-horn type speaker and a music player of some sort and play a very monotone sounding ‘salvation’ type message in central shopping areas or anywhere people might gather on a busy weekend. They attach bull-horns to their car or to a pole and play a message that always seems to tell people that they are sinners and Jesus died for them. It seems the message ends there and whenever I hear them I hear sinner or ‘tsumibito’, in Japanese. I noticed they don’t look so happy and no effort is made to interact with the people around them.
As a human, pretty much every one of us knows we are a imperfect and we need to know we are sinners. It is important that we know that we will not be with God if we don’t know Jesus and have not confessed Him as our Messiah. However, the message that the Japanese pick up from these apparently Cultural Christians on the street is just, sinner, sinner, sinner. I’ve noticed that Cultural Christians seem to always be talking about being sinners. They have not made it past the cross. When you believe, you are more than an ‘old sinner saved by grace’. In 1 Peter 2:9, we are called a chosen generation a royal priesthood, a holy nation, however I love 2 Corinthians 5:21, which says we have become the righteousness of God.
We were sinners but when we accept the work of what Jesus the Messiah did for us, we become different before God. Jesus’s blood washes us clean from every sin and makes us the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. This is only the beginning. Get your Bible and go through and find out who you are in Jesus. If you don’t know who you are, how will you know what you can do? I love the Epistles (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians), but the New Testament is filled with treasures telling who you are in Jesus and what you can do. Hallelujah! Find out who you are in Jesus, and you will be amazed!


Becoming An Ambassador Of The Most High
2 Cor 5:20-21
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. NKJV
We are not just saved and going to heaven when we become a part of God’s Kingdom, we become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus not because of us, but because of Him. We have to realize as believers, we are here on the earth for a time. God wants us blessed and God wants us to have all we need but it does not end there. He wants people to see us and see our example of how His family lives. 2 Corinthians 5:20 does a great job of framing how God has commissioned or set us up. We are His ambassadors.
What is an ambassador and what does he or she do? An ambassador represents his country or kingdom in another land. He works from an embassy that is exempt from the rules of the host land and meets with the representatives of the country he lives in to represent the interests of his home country. He also encourages his fellow countrymen living in that country. He does live in the country, but he does not live like the people of that country. He lives as a citizen of his country in the host country.
If he lives in a country living in poverty, does an ambassador live in poverty as well? Absolutely not! He lives like he would live in his own country. He likely has a large ambassador’s residence; he probably has some hired help to cook for his family. His children are educated in schools that teach in his native language. He has access to what is going on in His home country and regularly consults the leader of his home country. Eventually, the ambassador is called back to his home country and another ambassador is sent.
When you think of it, when Corinthians tells us we are ambassadors for the Kingdom that describes exactly what you and I are here to do. We are here for a time of about 120 years at the longest. We are to preach the good news of Jesus the Messiah, we are to live here not as our home but as a representative of the most high God. We are to encourage other believers through our churches, our Bible studies, and our fellowship with each other. We are not to live like the world lives. We are to live blessed with all of our needs met, our bodies healthy, and our minds renewed (Romans 12:2). When the world looks and sees that whatever we set our hand to (whatever we do) prospers, they will truly see that we are His representatives on this earth. We are his ambassadors.
The challenge is this. Ambassadors are commissioned by their leader, but unless they go (act) on that commission then they’ll just be stuck in the same place. You are called as an ambassador for Jesus. You have to accept that and act on that. Accept your commission now, and act, live, and prosper as His ambassador; but most importantly, preach Jesus to the lost and dying world around you.


Set Your Expectations Right - Your Part Of It

Matt 9:21-22
21 For she said to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well." 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour. NKJV
Your faith has made you well. Many people are looking for a way to blame God for their issues. They think, just because He has left the authority of the earth to us for a time that it will always be this way. We have to realize, if we want to have faith working in our lives, we have to have faith. A woman with a serious need for medical attention came to Jesus looking for healing. She had set her expectations that if she just touched his clothing she would be healed.
She braved the crowds, but actually by Jewish religious law of the time a bleeding woman should not be in public. This was considered ‘unclean’ and she would have to pay the price if caught. She would have likely been stoned if she had not been healed. However, she had set her heart on being healed. More importantly, she set her heart on the Healer.
Many Christians, including myself as a young believer, think that God just allows whatever happens to us to happen. I accepted whatever happened to me as God’s will and when I screwed up, rather than confessing my sin (1 John 1:9) and being done with it, I thought I had to pay the price. I would think whatever bad thing that came along was God’s will and have to accept it. Where did I get this thinking?
When you think that everything that is happening around you is God’s will, then you are opening yourself up to be beat up by the enemy. They want to steal what is ours, and if they can’t steal they want to destroy, and if they can’t kill or destroy it, then they want to kill us or whatever gets in their way. God is so much greater and the enemy is helpless when we realize that we can and must live by faith. In Hebrews 10:38, we see clearly
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him."
There are two forces in the world. There is faith and there is fear. Both faith and fear are a belief that something you cannot see is going to happen. The sick woman set her expectation that she would be made well if she just touched the Messiah’s garment. When she acted in faith, she was healed. The story didn’t actually start with her. Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ house to heal his daughter. Jairus’ faith was there, but his expectation was different from the woman. We are all at different levels of faith. I want mine to be strong faith.
If you read on, you’ll see Jesus found more faith when two blind men came to him wanting to be healed. When they said they believed they would be healed Jesus replied, "According to your faith let it be to you." If you don’t set your expectations right, the world will do it for you. You don’t want what the world has.
Set your expectations by your faith. Great things will happen in your life.


Making Your Prayers Count

Isa 54:17
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,"
Says the Lord. NKJV
One of the awesome things about serving God is He loves His children. If we are praying (Romans 8:26-28) in the Spirit, you can be assured that His angels are covering you. It is a battle to live in this world. Our enemy wants to take us out so that we cannot bring people into God’s Kingdom, lay hands on the sick and watch them recover, and pray the prayer of faith that pulls the power of God into people’s lives.
Praying is one thing, but what you pray is really important. If you pray Proverbs 30:8 which says “…Give me neither poverty nor riches,” then that is exactly what you will get. Believe in faith for nothing, and nothing is what you will get. Look at things in the context of the Word and you will see that Proverbs 30:2 and you will find this is the prayer of Agur who described himself as stupid. I definitely don’t want to pray stupid prayers over myself and neither should you.
Isaiah was an amazing guy. God spoke through him and moved through him. There are some great prayers in the book of Isaiah to pray. Pretty much every day I pray and confess over myself, my family, my church family, and my business, ‘No weapon formed against me will prosper’. I speak good things over those in my life.
What does this weapon mean to you? No sickness will be able to stick to me. No depression will grab on to me. No doubt or unbelief will get its hold on me. No spiritual attack will make it against me. No attack or physical harm will come to me. No matter what, my prayer and my confession is that only good things will happen to me, my family, my church family, and my business.
Don’t settle for what you’ve got. God allows what you allow. It all comes down to what you are praying. As a believer, you should be praying protection on yourself and your family. When you do that, you would be amazed to find out what didn’t happen because of your prayers; the accidents that never happened, the attacks that were foiled, and the diseases that couldn’t take root. From today, start praying prayers that count. When you pray God’s Word, you’ve got the promise that His word never returns void (Isaiah 55:11).


Your Choice, Your Action

Deut 30:19-20
19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; NKJV
As a minister, sometimes it is frustrating to see people who are spiritually dead. They come to church once in a while, are non-committal on helping bring the Kingdom to people and they usually come across with the appearance of being a believer. They know how to talk like a Christian and many times look down on believers that may be struggling even though they have their own issues to deal with. These are religious people. I wonder why they come to church if they are not going to be red-hot passionate for God. The answer is they are going to church as they feel they have to go to church because it is their tradition.
Being a believer is not just something you do casually. If you have accepted the Messiah and the work He did for you, you have got to be committed. If you are an athlete, you cannot just haphazardly practice for the games. You need to be there every day at the practices. You need to run the drills to keep your speed and endurance up. If you are committed in your practice, you will prove yourself as a true athlete in that sports area.
I started wrestling when I was very young. I started because my father was the state Champion from Oregon. He wanted me to be a wrestler as well. At 5 years old, he started taking me to kids wrestling on Saturdays. I remember not liking it too much as we had to do pull-ups and run and ‘train’ for things I didn’t quite understand. Years later, when I got to high school I was able to flow quite well in the sport due to the early practice. I actually wrestled better and had a natural sense for wrestling because my father had exposed me to the sport from a young age.
When I joined the wrestling team in Junior High School, that is when the real training began. I wrestled for hours after school each day. I was a wrestler all through High School. I was practicing the flow of the moves to take my opponent down or control them. After practice I remember running the halls of my high school because it was warm and I could sweat more. By the time I hit the showers I was drenched with sweat and had a great work out. I chose to compete. On top of that, in the summer, I went to wrestling camps to learn the latest moves and techniques to be a better wrestler. I was fully committed to learning the sport and did well at the sport due to those hours and hours of committment. If I would have been half-way dedicated to wrestling, I would have never won a match.
It is even more important to be committed as a believer. Just because you got saved doesn’t mean that you can be wishy-washy. You have to be serious. If you are not serious, God is not going to take you serious. In fact, God hates religious people and uncommitted folks because they are a lot of talk but never any action. We’ve got to be HOT for Jesus! God said in Revelation 3:16,
…then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.
When a minister meets these types of uncommitted people it is sad to them as the choice is not theirs but each person’s own. You wish you could make the right choices for people, but they have to decide that there relationship with God is more important than anything else. They have to decide they are going to put their faith to action.
If you want to follow Jesus fully, you have to be committed. Be a part of helping grow your church. Be there every time the doors are open. Be at the prayer meetings, help with the worship team, volunteer for outreach, give the church leadership team ideas on how to reach more people. Help where you have strengths. If you are not a musician then help with the kids church, plan events, do something to put your faith into action at your church. Most importantly, tell people you know about Jesus and what He has done for you and keep telling them. Don’t leave this world without making an impact for Jesus. The choice is yours. We make the choice and we put the action to our choices.


Sin Comes To Church

Matt 18:15-17
15 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. NKJV
God is love. There is absolutely no doubt about that. He is pure, untainted love, and our compassion as believers comes from that base of His love. We are called to this world to love this world. People need to know about Jesus, that He loves them, He died so they could live. The whole way Yahweh made us right before Him through the sacrifice of His son is awesome. God is love, and by the sacrifice of His one and only Son, we are redeemed if we turn from our wrong ways. We are saved by His grace.
What is grace? Grace is when someone does something for you that you do not deserve. Jesus died for you and I even though we did not deserve it. His blood covers over the imperfections we have and makes us right before God. Even as a believer, when you fail, you can know that God will forgive you when you decide you will turn from those ways. You’ve got that promise in 1 John 1:8,9.
There are some people that come to church that do not want to listen to what God has to say. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, but He does not condemn. These people will ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit and continue in their sin.
As the family of God, we want to encourage people. We want to build them up. Sometimes we need to talk to people about their sin. Why? Sin has the potential to pollute the local church. The enemy uses it with the end intention of destroying that church and discouraging the people. When you see sin in your church and unwillingness to repent, you need to pray about it and bring it up to the leadership of your church. Then the leaders of the church should prayerfully go to the person in sin and confront them regarding their sin. These sins can be all sorts of things, but many times it is sexual (ex. Sex outside of marriage, homosexual activity).
If we want our churches to go deeper with God, we have to deal with sin. If we know about it, and the leadership allows it to go uncorrected, it is not only bad for the individual but it can also hurt the church. Sin can occur with anyone in the church and we all have to protect our hearts.
My wife and I served 3 years at a local church. We volunteered 50 hours for two years in a row on the leadership board, we gave a lot physically, spiritually and financially. My wife translated for foreign speakers and taught a class after church that was filled to capacity each Sunday after church. We were putting are all into our church. In our third year, we were shocked to find out that the pastor was cheating. He was not reporting all the income into the church and was ‘cooking the books’ as they say in accounting (reporting false numbers about the church’s finances). Cheating is a sin. As the pastor or leaders we have even more responsibility to do the right thing. Of course, if this sin in the church was a member we could have worked with them. We talked to the pastor and tried to understand if there was something we could not see. There was not. When the pastor refused to correct the problem, repent, and turn from this sin, we decided we had no other choice but to leave. A church in sin will not see the presence of God.
A huge thing that I saw about the Brownsville Revival was that sense of purity and holiness. Witches came into the meetings and could not work their magic and curse the meetings. Many of them came to Jesus. Lesbian couples came in and the Holy Spirit convicted and they knew that their relationships were wrong and dissolved their relationships of sin. Gang-leaders, drug-dealers and prostitutes came in and were changed in the awesome presence of God there in those meetings.
The Holy Spirit will move in our meetings as we seek God first. We must deal with sin and make sure that we are right with God. There is no sin in God’s presence so we have to be diligent to keep it out of our lives. Has the Holy Spirit spoken to you about some sin in your life? Deal with it now. Stop it, confess it and cut off its influence in you live now. If there is sin in your church, talk to the pastoral team. A pastor with a heart after God knows he has to deal with it.
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