A DICTIONARY FOR NAVIGATORS ON SPIRITUAL ROUGH WATERS 39: MORE WORDS FOR HARD TIMES

hard times contrastHard times are the number one concern to every individual, not to mention those with a family to feed. Hard times means a lack. Lack of sufficient resources. Lack of the usual stuff that we consider constituting physical, mental and emotional security and well being. Increasingly we hear of news of certain economic phenomena that gives us this sense of lack and the resultant loss. Loss of assurance. Loss of peace. Loss of comfort. Hard times means moving away from our comfort zone. Is there a way out? Today we read a word that points to a ray of light. A word of encouragement in hard times.

The word: LOOK. BEHOLD. Look. Jesus said, look.

If we can only see grim pictures, Jesus would not have urged His followers to look. The word “Look” is very pertinent today. Since Jesus Himself has urged us to look, we need to look. But what shall we look at which will counter hard times?

“Behold, a sower went out to sow.” (Matthew 13:3) This is what Jesus talks about when He meets the multitude. The people have come to see what good things He can give them. Free food. Free healing. Free deliverance. Even political and military positions and related material and social benefits. Sure. Jesus is fully capable of feeding thousands of hungry people without charging money. He does not even have to spend money to buy all those food. He just makes them appear out of thin air using fives loaves of ordinary bread and two normal fishes. Jesus is also fully capable of calling down heavenly armies to fight His just war and conquer the evil earthly kingdoms. He has the divine supernatural authority and power to as the Son of God to do what He wants if needed. 

But Jesus does not talk about His power and authority as the Son of God. He does demonstrate them in His healing and deliverance ministry and in His teaching of God’s words about the Kingdom of God. But in general He teaches something else. He talks about everyday living of the ordinary man who encounters hard times as shepherd, fisherman, farmer. He often addresses a common profession: farming. Sowing of seeds for crops. This is the generic profession for all of us today. He speaks of the chances of failure and success in getting a good crop. Some will fail. Some will succeed. Interestingly He does not talk about economic conditions like recessions. He only speaks of one criteria. The soil condition. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matthew 13:8) Jesus also links economic sowing of seeds with the spiritual sowing of God’s words:But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”” (Matthew 13:23)

Do we need to fear hard times then? The Bible has a classic example of a man who sowed in hard times. Abraham’s son, Isaac reaped harvests of hundred-fold when all others suffered famine. he became very rich because of his sowing in hard times.

This is how the Bible describes his success: (Genesis 26:1-6; 12-14)

There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

So Isaac dwelt in Gerar.

12-14 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. 13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; 14 for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him.

coming home to sound of birds: a haiku (and a prose)

20160205_115012 copy 2Morning sounds are sweet

chirping twittering chatting

birds and human meet ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 [Full Chapter]

It is good to praise the Lord
    and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
    and your faithfulness at night,
to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
    how profound your thoughts!  (Psalm 92:1-5)

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters 38: more words for hard times

time square hilton NYThis traveler continues this journey on spiritual rough waters with a positive word. Not smooth but it’s worth it.

F= FIRST

‘First’ is a word commonly associated with performance superiority. Where an individual considers a thing of positive value to him, he wants to be first, to gain an advantageous position, and it means acting before all others. In a competitive environment he wants to be the winning one when compared to others in the same arena. The competition may be real or imagined on the part of the person who is required to perform, often with a stated corporate goal (with his own personal agenda) within stated corporate parameters. In a modern competitive economy based on scarce and limited resources, there is no way anyone who wants a reasonable and sustainable living without being measured by parameters set for performance in a corporate society.

In summary, often we (earth dwellers) want to be first only when there is a competition for scarce resources. There is a finite limit no matter how advanced we may currently are in ‘creative’ technology and science. The resources of the earth are finite. Parameters set by human and enforced by those with authority and power can restrain mankind from harmful ‘excessive consumption’ within the known and predicted limits of time and space and power. Increasingly the ‘war’ to control resources will intensify in quantity and frequency.

Enough for the discussion of physical natural ‘doom’. How can Christians be hopeful for exemption from this inevitable natural constraint for all earth-bound mankind? For the spiritual (supernatural) Christian, the word ‘first’ could mean quite opposite in the spiritual dictionary. The focus makes a paradigm shift to a set of limitless parameters. Parameters not bound by scarcity of resources. Let us read some positive meanings of ‘first’:

First thing first: Whom we believe (limitless and preeminent -above all)

and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

[ The Last Enemy Destroyed ] But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,”

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
Christian’s strategy in a physical world:
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (physical and other things to meet all your needs) shall be added to you.

The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.

So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”
Matthew 20:26-28  Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Revelation 2:5

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

1 John 4:19

We love Him because He first loved us.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
Two role models who scored ‘first’ in faith in action:
[ Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord ] Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.

Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.

———————————–

Warning:
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

(to the church) Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

(revised 2-25-16) a door opens: a haiku

 

20160207_144250 copy

a door opens wide
while he is just walking by
pink and gold and light

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yet he gave a command to the skies above
    and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat,
    he gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Human beings ate the bread of angels;
    he sent them all the food they could eat.

(psalm 78:23-25)

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters 37: words for hard times

sea foams in sky

I decided to resume writing this unusual word dictionary for spiritual navigators. Today we look at some positive words to be used in hard times. Unlike many may think, these are not cliches. They are for the believers. Let’s ride this rough waters together! (Note: in summary, the following words are all neutral words which require your input to add value.)

A: Abundance. A very large quantity of something. This is a neutral word. If just gives you a measure of stuff. You need to fill in the blank or a substitute for the stuff. It matters what you fill into your life if you want an abundant life. Jesus actually promised His believers abundant life in goodness (richness and wellness in every aspect of the good life that God has originally designed for man). But many have not received. Two things are required: believe in Jesus. Be careful what you input into your life’s data base. Yes, today is our life’s PC/Mobile phone data base total cleansing and re-formatting day.

B: Behold.Similarly, behold is a neutral word. Its value and outcome depend on the content and object of your beholding. If you apply your vision on evil and enjoys watching it, you will be inputting into your soul evil which outcome will of course be evil. If you behold goodness (matters that please the good Lord) you will of course reap good. What you saw and what you input into your own soul (through the window of your soul –your eyes) is what you will reap.

C. Control. This is a bad word for those out of control. This is not necessarily a good word for those who are obsessed with control. It becomes a good word with the right input from the person who uses it. When used on one-self, it becomes a good word, self-control. This comes with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in a believer. The Holy Spirit in us is a Spirit of power, love (God’s kind), and self-control (or sound-mind). It becomes a bad word when the person (presumably a leader) uses it to Lord over others (in the Christian scenario). Jesus warned the disciples (and apostles) not to exercise their authorities this way.

D. Demand. This is neither a good nor a bad word. It depends on who you are and the contents of your demand. Demand is a strong word which is backed by some forms of authority. A superior may be in a position to demand his or her subordinate to complete an assignment within that person’s job description. On the  other hand, a superior may not be empowered to demand an unpaid voluntary worker the same way. The authority may ideally be imbued on or delegated to the person in charge but the ability to exercise that authority is another matter. It takes a lot of factors to exercise an demand effectively. In a Christian organization, one essential key is the true knowledge of God and His word and the practice of being led by the Holy Spirit. There is no short cut. In practice, those who know God and walk in His spiritual great light do not need to use the word ‘demand’ on one another. The assignment still gets done perfectly and on time according to God’s will. How marvelous!

E. Evangelize. This is the only word that says something substantial and of significant value. To preach the gospel. In the Greek New Testament, gospel is the translation of the Greek noun euangelion (occurring 76 times) “good news,” and the verb euangelizo (occurring 54 times), meaning “to bring or announce good news.”

Bible verses:1 Corinthians 15:1-8 New King James Version (NKJV) The Risen Christ, Faith’s Reality

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

rain in March

20150305 rain

a hundred days passed

the blessing poured on parched ground

the children laughing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Rain of blessing

11 “The Lord will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. 12 The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them.

(Deuteronomy 28)

traveler’s delight

20150302 sudden bloom 2

their blooms greet the light

plentiful in land of plight

traveler’s delight

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
    on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
    a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.

(Isaiah 11:9 The Message)

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” 35: the paradox of “picture’

paradox of pictureThe word ‘picture’ for a photograph is another word of paradox. When we first see it we would imagine a copy representing a real thing. Yet when we compare the physical with the image, we realize that the copy is not a copy.

How can that be? A ‘photographic picture’ may give the connotation of ‘copy’ or ‘duplicate’ or ‘print’ or ‘reflection’ or whatever you like to call it. But there are lots of variables. Assuming all other variables (including especially the qualities of the camera and the photographer) are perfect and stand at perfect constant, time still change everything. No moment ever stands still or remains the same as the moment just passed.

How shall we call a picture then? A mere print of a momentary impression by the camera and the camera man/woman. The word ‘impression’ may be a more apt substitute for the word ‘picture’. Impression implies the subjective input we infuse into each work of our individual human hand. Aside from the hardware (cameras, computers, mobile phones which double up as cameras, printers etc.), our technique, skills, and technical experiences, our thoughts, attitudes, feelings, emotions, moods, perspectives, values, judgements, morals, religions, beliefs, five senses, likes and dislikes, preferences, priorities, affiliations, social and peer sentiments, relationships, statuses and phases of life, financial means and stability, physiological and psychological factors…(just fill in whatever that influence you) are all subjective but pertinent variable factors that affect our input and output.

What is the use of a picture or impression to an onlooker then? Should a photographer simply keep all the photos in his or her own private albums? But at some points of life everyone wishes to share a bit. The good news is that you don’t have to keep everything in your closets. Why? Because many share subjective variable factors at certain phases of lives. Some can even identify and empathize with you for the impression you have displayed which has also spoken to them.

Hence, it is alright to use the word ‘picture’ to describe a photograph just as you may describe a drawing or a painting. For that matter, a photograph becomes an art because of your subjective input which gives a glimpse of your life that someone somewhere may identify and share.

~~~~~You may be surprised, we (human) are pictures/images too. We are created by God in His likeness, with all His honor and glory intended originally.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
[ From Adam to Noah ] This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.
When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
James 3:8-10 New International Version (NIV) but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 35: ‘Abide’

There are words which appear simple and yet are physically impossible to practice. The word ‘abide’ is such a word. I would take the following meanings for the purpose of this post: remain, continue, stay, dwell. When the word is used for a physical abode it is simple. But when we are required to carry out the phrase “abide in Me’ by God (who is Spirit) we may be stuck with the seemingly impossible.

ABIDE IS A POWERFUL KEY TO ANSWER OF PRAYERS

Here is the requirement and promise from God:

John 15:4-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing…  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[a] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

THE QUESTION

How to abide or dwell in a zone or realm which is unseen and spiritual?

THE ANSWER: BECOMING SPIRITUAL.

How to become spiritual? For the believers of the holy God, here are the Bible verse that give clear answers to this question.

BE BORN AGAIN AS A SPIRIT

We can be born as a spirit who can then communicate and connect to the unseen spiritual God.

GOD EEXPECTS US TO DO SO

God actually expects us to do so. It is a possibility. We can abide in God through His Spirit and His Word.

John 3:5-6

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

John 4:23-24

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

ALL WHO COME TO JESUS CAN RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

John 7:37-39 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;

THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD OF GOD BRING US INTO ABIDING IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM OF GOD

John 6:63

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.

John 14:17

the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 16:13

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

ACTION REQUIRED ON YOUR PART

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

abide in the Vine
abide in the Vine

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 33: ‘conform or transform’

  1. Conform takes human effort. The paradox of ‘conform’: Over recent history, the word ‘conform’ has been associated with ‘prohibitive’ words like, ‘bondage’, ‘oppressive’, ‘totalitarian’, ‘subservient’, and has become a unwelcomed negative behavioral word among the proclaimed ‘individualistic’ young people. Yet unknowingly, while rebelling against their parents’ or grandparents’ moral values, they practice conformation among their global peers in copying the patterns set by popular trends and icons at the period. The adults are just as paradoxical. Whilst claiming under grace (and thereby not under law) and rejecting the solid foundation of the eternally unchangeable moral value of the holy God in the Bible, they practice conformation to the worldly values that point to only one way, the way of eventual destruction (physical, mental and spiritual).
  2. Transform is a supernatural process. The refreshing empowerment of ‘transform’: God has actually given this key word to believers living a successful and wonderful abundant life. Unlike what many people think, and indeed what many human power system practitioners practice, God does not want conformation to dead letters.

Not all believers are equally wise or highly educated or trained and qualified in the world or having the same resources at disposal.

Therefore, when God issues a command He makes sure His believers can apply easily. Otherwise He would not be good and just.

When we are required to do something we need the following prerequisites:

  1. willingness;
  2. ability;
  3. capacity;
  4. all other circumstantial and environmental variables being favorable.

The average believers of Jesus know and are normally willing to please God by applying the Biblical principles in our lives. The problem is often we are stuck at the rest of the prerequisites. God of course knows this very well. He sees what we are and what we actually do (including our thoughts and our spoken words). He knows that when left on own, we cannot practice his words like what He commanded Joshua to do:

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

The answer is how does God do it? Empowering. He empowers us. How does He empower? Empowerment is a transforming process.

  1. He gives every believer His Spirit that gives birth to us as a new creation. A mark that we belong to Him. The spiritual power within to do the impossible that God expects of us.
  2. He gives every believer His words. The truth and spirit that set us free from the bondages and oppressions of sins from the enemy of God. The ingredients for everything we need to live the abundant godly life that Jesus has promised.
  3. He gives us every spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. All the richness of God for us to live as His glorious inheritance.
  4. He gives us the faith of God. The key to access the above. The faith to move mountains.
  5. He gives us the resources needed to live a godly life and partake His own holy divine nature.
  6. He gives us the divine life of Jesus Christ (as He is so are we in this world).
  7. He gives us eternal life with Him.

How do we take hold of them? Just believe and by faith take them. This whole list of good gifts are freely given by God to everyone who believes. The words of God are guarantees. The Holy Spirit enables them to come into physical existence in this realm. This changes the physical environment too. We receive God’s favor. It makes the key difference.

How does the word ‘transform’ work? It works with the Holy Spirit and the words of God. It works on our mind as we are being renewed by God’s words and the might of God (the Holy Spirit). The good news is God gives to all who believe and ask by faith. He has no favoritism.

Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

be transformed by the renewing of your mind

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 32: the pattern of ‘pattern’

When a word comes in the spirit, it comes with impact. Like this word, ‘pattern’. For a layman it may seem an ordinary word. For a professional it is not. If someone says, I don’t have a pattern, I just do free flow, the really creative artist will laugh. An artist is known by his or her pattern (Pablo Picasso had his picture drawing pattern. Robert Frost had his poetry writing pattern). Writers, doctors, lawyers, sportsmen, musicians, preachers, politicians, leaders, teachers, everyone with a profession too. Every man has a pattern in life. The world is made up of patterns. The ocean has pattern. Every navigator knows this. No one would dare venture into an unknown zone not knowing its pattern.

In daily life, you need pattern to love, to work, to study, to relax, to socialize, to relate, to connect, to communicate…

In making a dress you need pattern too. The pattern may not be written or drawn. You can have in your heart, memory, or vision. When you boil rice you need to know a cup of rice needs how many cups of water. The really good cooks have a rich storage of secret recipes in their mind,

The travelers like to look at patterns. The photographers like to capture of moments of patterns they see on their cameras. The writers take note of patterns and put them in words. The journalists report patterns. Patterns do not confine to hardware. Software too has patterns. Even moods and feelings and attitudes and perspectives have patterns.

every blogger has chosen a pattern for himself or herself. Whilst reading this blog, you read a pattern. What am I getting at? What is my point? My point (as a spiritual mindman) is as follow:

The spiritual realm has a pattern too. In fact the spiritual pattern governs the physical pattern we see with our physical eyes or detect with our five senses. What we see is often a copy or reflection of the unseen.

Here are some verses for meditation and prayers. Note the link between heaven (unseen) and earth (seen). Both exist and are real. But human need faith to see the unseen.

So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

2 Corinthians 4:18 [Full Chapter]  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Romans 12:2 [Full Chapter]  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
Matthew 18:18 [Full Chapter]  “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Genesis heavenandearth

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 29: the meaning of “meaning”

Today we come to one word, “mean”, and learn to appreciate its depth and width. when we say “I mean” we are telling others to understand what we mean. The word ‘mean’ has no value of its own. The person who uses it can intend one of the following: he really means what he says; or he doesn’t really mean it and he is trying to deceive the audience; or he means it but it is not the truth and he is also under deception; or he just says it to fill the space without meaning to say anything and/or deceive anyone.

To be true, the word ‘mean’ must be used together with the word ‘know’. If you do not know you cannot say anything and mean what you say. The problem is often we just say without really knowing. But there is One who knows what He says and means what He says. Not only that, He wants us to be like Him and know before we say. Here are some examples of Jesus, who always means what He says:

Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy [that is, readiness to help those in trouble] and not sacrifice and sacrificial victims. For I came not to call and invite [to repentance] the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God), but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).

And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless.

Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower:

The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel is the children of the evil one,
 
On the other hand, here is an example of Peter who did not mean what he said on the occasion when faced with possible danger of his own life:
Matthew 26:69-71Amplified Bible (AMP)

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and [a]one maid came up to him and said, You were also with Jesus the Galilean!

70 But he denied it [b]falsely before them all, saying, I do not know what you mean.

71 And when he had gone out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, This fellow was with Jesus the Nazarene!

It was sad and shameful for Peter whom other apostles looked to as their leader at that time. He did not know that he needed not to fear even when his physical world seemed crushing. However, he was transformed by the renewal of his mind after receiving the Holy Spirit who gave him the inner strength to tell the truth and mean what he said. He became the first apostle who witnessed for Jesus, preached openly and boldly after Jesus was raised to heaven and brought thousands to give their lives to Jesus. Peter eventually died for Jesus.peter denying Jesus

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 28: ‘thought’ is an action word

best thoughtsThe word ‘thought’ is often mistaken as a passive noun. It merely disguises itself like an innocent docile pet and waits for opportunity to be unleashed. Many have been snared by so called innocent thoughts. However, thought cannot operate on its own. Another word must join to it before it becomes functional.

Here is a famous example:
“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat, or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”*
The thoughts are common. They just laze around in your mind. But once you take it, it controls you. You will be driven by food and drink and your five senses (flesh or carnal mind).
“It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”**
Naturally preconditioned thoughts give the false security of the world that can be detected by the five senses. But life has proved that there is no security in nature.

Jesus has proven that the supernatural is where reality is and we receive security from the God who is Spirit. God the Creator God is above and not limited by the natural realm.
God formed us and all things. He is the unlimited sources of all supplies we need.

Conclusion: take thought on Him. Not on stuff.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”***
“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have needs of all these things “****
*Matthew 6:31
**John 6:63
***Hebrews11:3
****Matthew 6:32

Philippians 4:8 [Full Chapter]

[ Meditate on These Things ] Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 27 – power of “praise”

Recently this traveler discovered the power of another word, “PRAISE”. This is a word not generally taken seriously. It is often misused and even abused when the user does not mean what he says or say what he means.

In spiritual reality it is one of the most powerful words. It is not just for defensive purpose. It can be a piece of effective offensive weapon in itself. In the history of crucial national wars between kingdoms, the effective use of praise had won wars without even losing one soldier on the winning side.

The only requirement of using this amazing weapon is : praising the right target. In this dictionary the praise target is the Almighty God. What are the prerequisites to carry out this life and death task for a nation? Faith in action.

Here is  an amazing historical example from 2 Chronicles 20.

King Jehoshaphat of Judah ordered his priests to sing praises to God and God caused his enemy (armies from three nations) to be destroyed supernaturally. When Jehoshaphat asked his people to fast with him and seek God for help, God replied through a prophet, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you.” It was recorded that, “ And when he [the king] had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army  and were saying:

“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”

22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. ”  The enemy armies killed and destroyed each other. All that King Jehoshaphat of Judah and his people needed to do was to gather the spoils of valuables and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much!

Summary: Praise God (the rightful worthy object of praise). By faith. Witness the mighty works of God and give thanks.

power of praise
power of praise

– power of “confess”

Today we come to the powerful positive word: “confess”. Take note that this is a verb and not a noun. The word has often been associated with fear. No one wants to make public his or her deepest secret. The word “confess” intrudes. However, today we look at the positive side of this word which is in truth a key to opening the door to victory in life!

Here are some powerful and real life and death matters on positive confessions in the Bible:

Jesus ‘confesses’ good reports about believers to God in heaven, for recording purposes! (Praise God for such a system of positive record – the Book of life !)

Matthew 10:32[ Confess Christ Before Men ] “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:31-33 (in Context)

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Revelation 3:4-6 (in Context)

Apostle Peter ‘confesses’ correctly (as led by the Holy Spirit) and is commended instantly by Jesus:

Matthew 16:15-17

15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Confessing rightly with our mouths bring us to salvation!

Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  Romans 10:8-10 (in Context)

When one confesses, God is listening. Each individual confesses to the Almighty God.

Romans 14:10-12

10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.[a] 11 For it is written:

As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”[b]

12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.

When one confesses, one is giving glory to God. The name of Jesus is exalted. it has to come from the heart and not mere lip service. God knows. 

Philippians 2:10-12

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

One confesses to God for sins. Why? Because God wants to forgive you.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-10 (in Context)

I confesses who Jesus is, to me. Why? Because God wants to live in me.

1 John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:14-16 (in Context)

What shall I do, after confessing Who Jesus is to me? Hold fast to my confession.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-13 (in Context)

1 john 5-13

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-24 (in Context)

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 25 – the power of words

Here we are, at the cross road of life. We each know the place from which we have come. We do not know where we are going. We each must choose now. Indeed, the more we read the words of God, the more we realize how little we know God. How can we ever know our Creator? How can the clay ever know the Potter?

Potter leaves mark on the product of his hands. God our Creator leaves mark in us. We are created in His image. Even though we have fallen (since Adam) and come short of His glory, there are marks of God in some of us which are still discernible, the compassion, goodness and mercy of God. But we want to know Him more and be more like Him.

Here we are, at His manual again.

today we look at the power of God’s words.

A most power word in the Bible is: I. When the word ‘I’ is spoken by God. We read Leviticus 26 ( I encourage you to read the whole chapter yourself. You can read the Bible online if you do not have a hard copy.)

2 “I am the Lord.”

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you the seasonal rains. 

“I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear.

“I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest! 11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you.12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.13 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.” 

What an awesome God! He spoke all these on His own accord. He offered the best ever to His people. Because He is God, He means every word He speaks. They will all come to pass. His words had never failed. So the ‘I’ declared by God is really a most powerful word we have ever heard.God's power in us

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 24 – meaning of “return”

return to the Lord
return to the Lord

The word is “return”. It does not mean what you think it will mean. Why? When we use this word, we tend to mean we are going back to where we had been. In a physical journey it means going back to where we have first embarked or the port from which we first set sail.

But in a spiritual journey, the Bible, the word “return” when defined by God means “not going back to where you had been” but going away from it and go to where God has purposed you to be. The place and situation will no longer be the same as the one you had left previously. It is like going further in a journey of no return. For many, it is a journey to the unknown. All you have is the promises of God.

The place and situation the Lord wants you to “return” to are entirely new and far more superior and even ideal as God has designed and prepared them to be, just for you! Why? Because of the goodness of God. Here are some verses as examples:

Isaiah 30:15 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,

Isaiah 35:10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.

Jeremiah 3:22 Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings.” “Indeed we do come to You, For You are the Lord our God.

Jeremiah 24:7 Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.

Hosea 12:6 So you, by the help of your God, return; Observe mercy and justice, And wait on your God continually.

Joel 2:13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.

Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the Lord of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 23 – don’t worry

Today’s word is “worry”. This word is tied to a lot of negative words and consequences both physical and mental (and emotional). Whether it is spiritual or physical the word worry is not what anyone would like to be with. Why do people still worry? Let us look at the other words that accompany this word and find our answers.

first reason why we worry : a spirit of lack – fear of having not enough of basic materials like food, drink, clothing, mainly external things that make us feel comfortable and secure for survival in this world.

Bible verses: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ (Matthew 6:24-26; Matthew 6:27-29; Matthew 6:30-32)

second reason: a spirit of uncertainty. we tend to fear the uncertainty of things and events that might impact our surviving and comfortable living in this world. Some fear the uncertainty of the next world if any.

Bible verse “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:33-34

third reason: a spirit of control. We also tend to scrutinize others’ living and want to control their lives too. But the bigger problem of lack of control or rather lack of self control is in us and not in others. The Holy Spirit will give us self control.

Bible verse “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? Matthew 7:2-4

fourth reason: a spirit of fear of man (instead of God). Wrong focus. We tend to look at man as the final judge and authority that will have a final say on our fate on earth or beyond. Actually the deciding authority is in the spiritual realm, God has the final say. He will even lead you to say the right words with His power (the Holy Spirit)!

Bible verses: When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, Matthew 10:18-20; Mark 13:10-12; Luke 12:10-12

fifth reason: a spirit of smallness. we tend to fuss about small matters as if they are our only life issues. Jesus warned His disciples not to do that. We are created for the bigger matters, higher calling. so let us not be distracted by the small things in daily living.

Bible verse: And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? Luke 12:25-27

Conclusion: worrying accomplishes nothing. Apostle Paul has a better way for us when confronted with daily living big and small.

Bible verse: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:5-7

HeavenlyFatherfeeds
HeavenlyFatherfeeds

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 21 –spirit and mind

In God’s dictionary, the words spirit and mind are not friends. They can be enemies instead.

For example: God looks at the mind and the thoughts of the mind to evaluate a man’s worth. In Genesis, there is a record of what God thinks. God is Spirit. He views things from a spiritual viewpoint.

6:3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”

6:5 The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and He saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth.

Jesus has stated clearly how God wants worship to be. The only condition is worship must be done in spirit and truth. Why? Because God is Spirit. (John 4:23-24) How do men normally worship? In flesh (using mind, emotion and physical activities) which God does not want. He says His Spirit will not put up with mortal flesh!

Where God is, there is the Kingdom of God. How does one enter? Jesus has stated that flesh (body and mind) gives birth to flesh and cannot enter. Only those born of water and the Spirit can enter. (John 3:5)

Jesus declared, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John6:63)

In Romans 8, the Holy Spirit inspired apostle Paul to write and explain further about the fact that only those born of the Holy Spirit, thus having the Spirit of Christ, being spiritually mined, led by the Spirit, can please God. It is a life and death matter.

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 

God is Spirit
God is Spirit

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” chapter 20 – sound and mind

Sound and mind are two separate words, each having its own unique meaning. But sound does influence our thoughts. However, interestingly in English the two together “sound mind” means your mind is functional in the natural human society. The word sound takes on another meaning: rational; able to make reasonably acceptable decision; functional. All are relative to the human society as a functional entity for this world to continue its increasingly precarious existence on planet earth.

But there are deeper meaning on the spiritual realm. here are two references from the Bible. The Biblical sound mind is a spiritual mind, which functions perfectly.

In the following first case, Apostle Paul specified that Biblical sound mind means not regarding the things of God, including God’s people, according to our natural mind, but according to our spiritual mind. He also assured that we are not the mere physical natural man anymore. We have become a new creation (in the spiritual realm). So we can have a spiritual mind,  and do function more superior using this new mind.

2 Corinthians 5:12-14, 16-17 (NKJV) Be Reconciled to God : 12., …that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you…then all died;…16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

In the following second case, Apostle Paul elaborated further this sound mind. Take note that he associated sound mind with a number of crucial words and phrases: gift of God, spirit, power and love, not be ashamed of Jesus Christ, hold fast the pattern of sound words, in faith and love in Christ Jesus, and being kept by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

2 Timothy 1:6-9; 13-14 (NKJV): Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,…13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

The best mind ever is the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:15-16 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

psalm 119-105