Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Instead of judging others, judge yourself; instead of criticizing others, criticize yourself, because some people saw the mistakes of others, but cannot see their own. They quarrel for small faults, but they allow themselves to commit greater faults. The Lord raised this issue because all men are sinners, and are committing mistakes, so He requires humility. Then, He compares those who refused to accept their mistakes to dogs and swine. He said that whatever we want others to do to us, let's do that to others; this is the golden rule. Prayer is our means to obtain what we need from God. If we ask we shall receive, if we seek we shall find, if we knock the door will be opened. We need to work it out and not to be lazy, because narrow in the gate that leads to life, but wide is the gate that leads to destruction. Narrow is a symbol of hard-working, wide gate is a symbol of laziness and fruitlessness. So be careful because not everyone who call unto His name shall be acknowledged (v21). Lastly, there are trials in life to come, and if we obey His teaching, we can endure till the end, otherwise, we shall easily fall when dark time comes. God bless.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
As the Lord continue in His sermon, He warned people against hypocrisy and outward show in religious duties such as, alms giving, prayer, forgiveness, fasting, worldly treasure, attitude of the heart, purity of eyes, service for God, service with men, worry and trust in God. He said that we must be careful with these because the Pharisees and all men had put so much attention in worthless things. Do not worry about life; what shall we eat and drink, what shall we wear, where shall we stay? Because the unbelievers run after all these things, but our Father in heaven knows already all our needs. But we need a key in order to open the door: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." The promise of reward from God is reliable, but the hypocrites had promised rewards for themselves contrary to the reward God promises to those who do good. Our reward is not because we earned them, but because our Father gives abundantly to His children who serve Him.. God bless.
Monday, August 29, 2016
Sermon of the Mount is the Lord's rules in the kingdom of God. Jesus taught the people about the evils they should abhor, and what good things they should seek and abound in. He gives eight characters of a "blessed" person, which represent the principal virtues for a true Christian. We are the light of the world and salt of the earth when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior; to live our faith and seasoned it with knowledge and grace. If we confess that we are Christians yet allowed evil and disobedience against God's word, we are false and considered to be the least in God's eyes. Jesus encourages people not only to listen to the teachings of the Rabbi, or the preaching on Sundays, but let them examine themselves if they need to seek peace with God and fellow men. Consider the vows and promises we made in the past, fulfill them and let yes be yes. We need to pray always, even for our persecutors, because our aim in life is to press toward maturity and perfection in grace and holiness. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 7:00 AM
Saturday, August 27, 2016
After Jesus was declared to be the Son of God, He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The devil was wise and subtle, but his temptation can be resisted. Christ answered all the temptations with the words of God, "It is written," to set us an example that the word of God is our strength to win the battle. But the devil also used the word of God, but misquoted them in order to confuse Jesus. If we are ignorant of the Scripture and we go out of our way to do our duty, we forfeit the promise, and put ourselves out of God's protection. Jesus suffered for us so that His followers can be victorious in the midst of storms. When the gospel comes in us, light comes to direct our lives, so we can be part of God's eternal plan in this world. But expect that shall be tested and put in a test that we may prove to God that our lives are dedicated for Him.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:33 AM
Friday, August 26, 2016
The doctrine that John the Baptist preached was repentance (v2). It implies a total alteration in the mind, a change in our personal ways and affections. He demanded fruits of repentance (v7), because the change of mind produces a change of the way with good and constructive results. He immersed people in water to signify the cleansing of the heart and complete surrender to the will of God. When Jesus came to follow his instruction, he refused saying, "I need to be baptized by You" (v14). In return, Jesus told him that He would to it to fulfill all righteousness. Immediately, the Spirit of God descended to Jesus like a dove, and a voice came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved So, in whom I am well pleased" (v17). This shows that the Spirit of God in upon Jesus, and His calling to be the Savior of the world was ordained by God. The New Testament teaches that we can return to God only through Christ who was anointed by God to forgive sins and judge all things. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:48 AM
Thursday, August 25, 2016
From a distant land of the East, the wise men came to worship the newly born King of Judea, asking, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?" It was after a long and severe journey that they finally found the place, not without God’s guidance, His star (v3). The Jewish people were unaware of the birth of their King, neither the religious and secular leaders. Today, billions of people are still ignorant the this King who came not to condemn the world, but through Him the entire word might be saved. As Christ's followers our personal journey in God’s kingdom may be similar to the experience of these wise men from the east. Let us be wise and do not stop moving forward despite sufferings and disappointment, because in the end we will be with Him forever. God is with us, and His word is the guide unto our path. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 7:13 AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
After many years of waiting, the Messiah who descended from Abraham and David was born “to save His people from their sins” (v21). His name shall be called Jesus, a Savior. In saving His people from their sin, the salvation is from death and curse of the law. By the merit of His death, the redeemed are saved from miseries, wrath and eternal hell. Joseph obeyed God as the angel told him without dispute (v24). By applying the written word, we should be careful to take God’s direction in our lives too because this is the safest way to find the end. Let us learn from the story of the past, they are written for our own benefits even for the succeeding generations.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 3:25 AM
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
The prophet had declared both the first and second coming of the Savior. Those who do wickedly shall be be burned with flaming fire, but the faithful believers shall be covered by the Sun of Righteousness. Through Christ, all followers are justified and sanctified because the Son of God came not only to bring light to the dark world, but health and healing to a distempered society. We will grow like the calves of the stall (v2), as we increase in knowledge and spiritual strength. We shall be victorious in our battles and successful in our plans, not because of our own but God shall do it for us. Here is the preparation, God will turn the hearts of men and women to God, and the fathers to the sons and vice versa. None can expect to escape the curse of God if they shall deliberately disobey His words, nor to enjoy the happiness of His chosen and redeemed people. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 8:44 AM
Monday, August 22, 2016
The people of Israel were so excited to see the coming to their Messiah, God's ultimate Messenger. But the prophet said that when He appears, no one can endure and stand in His presence. He is like a refiner's fire, a launderer's soap that will purify the sons and Levi, and purge the sinfulness of the people (v2-3). When Christ appeared in the synagogues and temple, no religious leader could endure His teaching. By His gospel, He distinguishes the sincere and the phony, to purify and reform His people by His Spirit working in us. God is unchangeable, His plan and message cannot be changed by men, it will remain forever. One of the most important doctrine of the Bible is about tithes and offerings. Men may disagree and rejected this teaching, but because it is written here, so it must be done. If we will obey it, the Lord will cover our homes, our children, and our business from any attack by the enemies. Let us continue to be more faithful and obedient to His words, because He will come again for our final redemption. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:52 AM
Saturday, August 20, 2016
The religious leaders of Israel were not learning from their past. After captivity and the rebuilding of the new (second) temple, the priests returned to their old ways by doing injustices, accepting bribes, and ignoring God's law and covenant. "For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth... but they have departed from the way, causing many to stumble at the law" (v6-7). The duties of the ministers are to turn men from sin and evil, to preach sound doctrine, and live holy lives according to the Scripture. Corrupt practices are the fruit of corrupt principles, and if the priests and ministers are false to their God, they are not also true to their congregations and parishioners. In contempt of the marriage, the religious leaders put away the wives they had to make room for another one. God said that he hates divorce or putting away the spouse. Husbands and wives must live in the fear of God, that their children may become godly seed. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:19 AM
Friday, August 19, 2016
God has chosen and loved Israel out from the unmerited favor and mercy. And if we, Christians love the Lord, it is only because He has first loved us; and like Israel, we are prone to undervalue the mercies of God. The Israelites in time of Malachi offered sacrifices for the sake of religious obligation. They brought blind and defected animals which was contrary to the rules of the Mosaic Law, that firstborn and best only are to be offered. According to God's standard, this way is not only unacceptable but also evil. In order to be accepted, we must do it from a right principle and for a right end. Both physical and spiritual worship must establish, and should be a pure offering. In God's standard, even though we are defective and imperfect people, if there be a willing mind and heart, we shall be accepted. Let's serve the Lord with our best, so that people may be edified and God glorified. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 11:50 AM
Thursday, August 18, 2016
The last chapter of Zechariah is about the Day of the Lord, or the 2nd Coming. All nations shall be gathered to battle against Jerusalem, and the city shall be captured and ravished Then Jesus will descend from heaven at the Mount of Olives, with great impact to the earth that will cause strong earthquake, so that the mountain shall be split to two. Many houses and buildings shall collapse and people shall be killed. The enemies of Israel shall be judged with a plague, a kind of disease that no one can cure (v12). At the same time, a living water shall flow from Jerusalem, a symbol of God's grace and forgiveness to all mankind. People shall repent from their sins, acknowledge Him as the Savior of the world. Then the Lord shall require all men to come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, and anyone who will disobey the command to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacle shall be punished. This feast is the fulfillment that God is with us and His holiness is amongst His people forever. God bless.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
This book has many prophetic messages that was fulfilled in the earthly ministry of Christ. He exposed the unfruitful works of the religious leaders in His time. "Every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophecies" (v4). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees for claiming that they were chosen by God. About Judas, He called him 'friend' fulfilling what the prophet said: "What are these wounds between your arms? then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends" (v6). It is always well for us to recollect the wounds of our Savior, who had been betrayed by His own people. When Jesus was taken by the soldiers at the night He was betrayed, His disciples fled for fear of the authorities. "Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered" (v7). If we say we belong to the people of Christ, we shall be refined as gold, He will be our God, and the end of all our trials and sufferings will be praise and honor at the appearing of our Lord and Redeemer. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 7:22 AM
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
The prophet said that Jerusalem shall be a cup of trembling, a heavy stone to all the nations, and those who shall move or touch it shall injure themselves (v4). After the ascension of Christ, Jerusalem was a colony of various empires; Roman, Byzantine, Arabs, Crusaders, Egypt, Ottoman, and British, and they were all gone, but Jerusalem is still alive and getting stronger. God declares that He will defend this city and its inhabitants, and will destroy all nations that come against Jerusalem (v8-9). And in the last days, the Lord will pour on them the Spirit of grace and supplications, so that the people of the land may repent from their sins and acknowledge Him whom they pierced. They shall all mourn and believe that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, the Son of David who was crucified at the cross and the Savior of the world. God's forgiveness will be granted to all nations too, that the whole world may be one with Christ our Lord. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:35 AM
Monday, August 15, 2016
The shepherds of Israel were not feeding nor protecting their flock, instead slaughtering them and feel no guilt (v4). There was a general decay and misunderstanding of religion, and the leaders regarded it not. The Lord had taken two staffs; Beauty, denotes the privileges of the Jewish nation as covenant people of God, and Bonds, denotes the harmony and unity of the entire people with God (v7). But the shepherds and leaders chose to follow false gods and erroneous teachings, demanding even thirty pieces of silver as a wage (v13). Christ came into the world not to condemn the world, but to seek the lost, feed the wandering flock, shepherd the sheep, and build up His people. Jesus is the Good Shepherd whose attention should chiefly be directed to the poor, small voices and marginalized. God's intention to His people is to be attractive and united (Beauty and Bonds), that the surrounding people may believe that the Lord is indeed the God of this world.God bless.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
When the Lord said that He will bless the nation with clouds and rain, it means God will not only shower them with material blessings but also spiritual rain in the form of Holy Spirit, a sort of revival and national repentance. It can't happen by worshipping idols as what their forefathers did in the past, but by seeking God's holy word. God had promised that He will visit the land, protect them from their enemies, strengthen them with power, bring them back from their captivity, and redeemed them with increase in every aspect of life. God himself will be their strength and their song, so that they might be inspired and able to do the work of God. This all can be done because God is with them. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:07 PM
Friday, August 12, 2016
Judgments were proclaimed on the surrounding nations, while God's power and goodness are seen in special way. The King of Israel shall come to Jerusalem, with justice and salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey (v9). He shall speak peace to the nations, and His dominion shall be from sea to sea, without boundary and without end. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, but shall not be advanced by outward forces or carnal weapons. The King's message shall be heard in the entire world, and shall be received by the Gentile nations. Through His sacrifice, many prisoners of Satan shall be freed from the horrible pit of destruction. People shall turn to Him with faith, they shall put their trust in His name even in time of trials and sufferings. These prophecies were realized when Jesus Christ came to seek and saved the scattered sheep of God in the entire world. Indeed, the more we are engaged in the ministries and satisfied by His goodness, the more we shall admire the things that Christ did for us. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 8:27 AM
Thursday, August 11, 2016
The worst enemies of Judah and Jerusalem are the sins of the people. They are destructive and devastating to the entire land, to their culture, traditions and the law of God. But God would help them to take these sins away, so that no other enemies could hurt them. If Israel will maintain her good relationship with God, He shall never leave them nor forsake them even in time of troubles. The Lord shall dwell in the midst of Zion (v3), and the people, young and old shall live in peace (v4). The scattered Jews shall be brought back to the land from captivity, and their business shall be prosperous because the heavens shall give their dew (v12). Finally, the nation of Israel shall be a blessing to her surroundings, so that the Gentile nations shall, great and small, shall come and visit the land (v22). In our time, this prophecy has been fulfilled partially, but in God's fullness of time, will be fulfilled completely. Jesus Christ is the blessing to the entire world, and people from around the globe had been enlightened and saved because of Him, Who is the author and finisher of our faith. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 7:37 AM
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Fasting is good, however if the goal is not for God but for personal intent is unacceptable to Him. If we truly desire to know the will of God, we must consult His words and seek God's direction with fervent prayer (v7). Israel has to search the Scriptures of the former prophets so that they might understand the ground of God's punishment to their fathers. This is similar to our experience, that we must search the Bible and find out the reasons why we are experiencing some bad things in our lives. If we are sincere in our prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit will enlighten our hearts. The punishment of God to the Israelites is a warning for all younger generations and the Christians. The duties are not just offering sacrifices, but doing the right manner for peace and unity. God will always hear the cry of broken-hearted penitent, but to the impenitent, double-minded and stubborn, He will refuse. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 7:04 AM
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Zechariah saw in a vision four horses similar to the horses in Revelation; red horses signify war and bloodshed, black horses signify the evil consequence of war and desolations, white horses signify the comfort and peace, and mixed color horses signify prosperity, poverty and adversity. And the angels of God go forth as messengers of His justice and mercy. It shows that all the events that take place in our planet proceed from the wisdom of the Lord, which are formed from His perfect justice, truth, and goodness. Then the Lord instructed Zechariah to receive gifts from the returning captives from Babylon, and make a crown and put on the head of Joshua the high priest. Finally, he prophesied that a Branch shall expand and branch out God's plan who will build the temple, sit on the throne, and become a High Priest who is but the figure of one that is to come. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the promises written in the Old Testament. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 8:06 AM
Monday, August 8, 2016
The flying scroll which the prophet saw in a vision was a declaration of God's righteousness against the sins of the world. Sin is the ruin and disintegration of many houses, families and communities, because of unfaithfulness, dishonesty, and evil motives. (v4). No one can escape God's righteous judgment because sins rest in the souls of men, and only the blood of the Lamb could erase them. The second vision of the woman sitting inside the basket represents the sinful assembly of people and the nation of Israel. The basket shall be carried away to the land of Shinar or Babylon (v11), the place where the Jews had suffered for the many years. Eternal suffering will the end for all disobedient and self-righteous people in the final days. And this vision is the complete opposite for those who will embrace God's plan of salvation in Christ, who will be the Savior of the suffering world. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:32 AM
Saturday, August 6, 2016
While the Israelites were still building the second temple through the leadership of Zerubbabel, the angel of the Lord spoke to Zechariah and showed him two olive trees, one of each side of the candlestick (v2-3), from which oil flowed into the bowl without stop (v12). These two olive trees are the "two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth”(v14). Some interpreter said that they are those Jews and Gentiles who believe in the name of the Lord in all ages. The angel said that all human endeavors for God's work are "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit of the Lord" (v6). The vision assures that the work of the temple in their time, and all works in the future including the works of churches in present time should be brought by the Lord Himself without stop to a happy ending. The difficulty is represented as a great mountain, but they shall vanish because God is with us. Let us always speak and shout "God bless it, God bless it" so that the Lord will bless the works of our hand today and forever. God bess.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 7:24 AM
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Joshua stands at the presence of God, and He saw nothing but filthy clothes, guilt, corruption and discouragement. Men are liable to the justice of God and sins are hateful to the holiness of the Lord. When we stand up for God, we must expect to meet all the resistance Satan's subtleness and malice can throw. In our daily living, there are spiritual enemies warring against us, more dangerous than the neighboring nations of Israel. But Christ washes the believers from their sins by His own blood. He clothed them with the spotless robe of His righteousness, making them clean and approved before God. Like Joshua who was restored to honors and trust, and crowned him of the priestly garments, the Christians will be honored by Christ on the day of His return. It is the grace of God that cause the believers to be sanctified and enable them to walk in the newness of life. Whatever trials we pass through right now and whatever services we perform for God, our whole dependence must rest on Christ, the Branch of righteousness. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 10:50 PM
The vision of the prophet to measure Jerusalem is good for the city. It shall be a city without physical walls, but covered by "a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst" (v5). The Lord is the Wall and the Protector of His people and these wall shall never be broken through nor undermined, nor can it be assailed without danger to those who attack. "He that touches you, touches the apple of his eye" (v8). The city will be inhabited again, as He promised, and those who would engage to join them whatever it costs them shall be blessed and privileged. What Jesus did for His church is the evidence of God's care and affection to those who follow His message. Christ is sent to be the builder, measurer, and protector of God's people. Glorious times are foretold as a prophecy of our Lord's coming and kingdom. God is about to do something unexpected, and very surprising, and to plead his people's cause, which had long seemed neglected. May the Lord strengthen us and complete His work in us till the Day of the Lord's coming. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:22 AM
The Lord exhorted Zechariah to review what is past, and observe God's message to their forefathers. Repent, leave the old evil ways because they were unrighteous and rebellious. They are all dead and gone, the prophets are gone, the preachers are also, and where are they now? Soon, we will also go and leave this world. Pray that we will remain faithful till our last breath. Then the Lord opened his vision to see angel that protect not only the people of God, but the whole world as well (v11). The vision of horn that represents the enemies of Israel and Judah are everywhere. But the Lord showed him the craftsmen empowered by God to cut off the power of these horns. This message tells that if God has a plan, He raises up both men and angels together to accomplish it, and protect those employed in doing it. So don't be afraid to do the work of God, He is always with us. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:21 AM
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
The first temple built by Solomon (960 BC) was greater than the second temple built by the people of Haggai and Zerubbabel (516 BC) in material and physical aspect. Nevertheless, God declared that the glory of the second temple shall be greater than the first, and nations shall come to see the Desire of All Nations (v7-9), where they shall find peace in their hearts. When Christ appeared and visited the temple, John said, "We beheld His glory, full of grace and truth." Since then, the people of the world had yearned to see and visit the holy city because of Jesus, who is the Desire of all Nations. But separation from unclean thing is a requirement of God to be His people. Paul said, "Come out from them, touch no unclean thing, and be separate." Amidst their enemies, God will preserve Zerubbabel, the people of Judah, and even the Christians against their enemies. Christ is the ultimate Protector of His people who descended from Zerubabbel in his direct lineage. The Lord is the Sole builder of God's people, the temple of the Holy Spirit. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:49 AM
Monday, August 1, 2016
After the return from Babylonian captivity, the Lord spoke to the Israelites through Haggai to rebuilt the temple and reprove their neglect. The people have more time and money for worldly affairs, but when it comes to God's service, they were too busy. The Lord warned them that if they labor only for food and material things that perish, they are in danger of losing their labor. However, if they spend their time and wealth for the Lord, He will satisfy their souls materially and spiritually. Therefore, thus says the Lord, "Consider your ways!" In response, Zerubbabel, Joshua the priest, and the remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord, and returned to God in the way of duty. Everyone helped and worked on the house of the Lord according to his/her ability, and God met them in a way of grace and mercy. This should stir us up to be more diligent and persistent in our service to Jesus our Master. God bless.
Posted by Christian New Yorker at 6:47 AM
See and contrast the nature of humanity (v4), with the attributes of God (v5). "Her prophets are insolent, treacherous people; her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. (4) The LORD is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, but the unjust knows no shame." (5). Spiritual leaders and common people are the same in the eyes of God. No one is holy and righteous but God alone. So, He came from heaven to earth to influence human being to be like God in the Spirit of Christ.
Before the coming judgment, before the awe and terrible day of the Lord, before the light get turn to darkness, before we miss the grace that God offered to all men disappear, and before anything else; "Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’s anger" (v3). God bless.
"And it shall come to pass at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And punish the men Who are settled in complacency, Who say in their heart, ‘The LORD will not do good, Nor will He do evil" (v12). Be active, don't be complacent in doing God's works.
Israel will be judged and the entire nation will be carried away to Babylon. Habakkuk was so afraid at the anger of God, but he still believed that there is salvation in the name of the Lord. He declares that even though the fig tree may not blossom, nor the labor of the olive may fail, nor the field yields no food, nor the flock may be cut off from the fold, nevertheless, he will still rejoice in the Lord because God is his salvation.