March 2011


Lately a friend was sharing with me, he visited a church and in the trip, the sermon speaker was rebuking the congregation for leaving their bibles in the church and not bringing their own bibles to church.

My friend was saying, these messages are unedifying to the truth seekers who are sitting in the congregation hearing, and he was saying, such message should be disseminated subtly and on a personal basis, because it will give the truth seekers a “bad impression” of the church.

That was when I was wondering to myself “Is there a good time for a bad news?” My friend seems to suggest that there are. So these questions keeps popping up in my mind, hence i decided to look into the bible to see if there are indeed a good time for bad news.

What is a purpose of a Sermon or Prophesy?

In the modern day churches, we have people speaking sermons, in my church, when preparing sermons, we pray for Gods guidance in the preparation of sermons, when we begin our sermons in the name of Jesus, we are speaking on Gods behalf, to teach the words of God from the bible to the congregation.

In the old testament, God raise prophets among the Israelites (IE: Prophet Samuel, Ezekiel, Isaiah” . May of us will have imagine that to be a prophet means that you have to prophesy about the future, this is a very big misconception, lets us look at the definition of the word “Prophesy”

According to Miriam Webster, prophesy carries more meaning than predicting the future. it can also mean “to speak as if divinely inspired ” and “to give instruction in religious matters”

Therefore, a modern sermon is in fact a prophesy, and that makes all sermon speaker a prophet. And the purpose of a sermon is not just to evangelise to the non believers, it also serves to give instructions to the congregation,

Since the Old Testament to New Testament Gods inspires People to speak for various purpose.
1. To teach his laws and statutes (Deut 5:1)
2. To Edify and Encourage the congregation (Ezra 5:1 )
3. To reveal a persons sin and to urge him to repent (2 Sam 12:1-15)
4. To rebuke the rebellious people (Jer 2:1-3,Eze 2:1-5)
5. To declare Gods judgement and to urge him to repent (Jer 36:1-3)
6. To declare God’s blessing to the people and to teach (Matt 5)
7. To turn the people back to God and to have their sins forgiven (Acts 2:14-38)
8. To predict the future (EG : Ezekiel, Daniel, John )

In fact as I am writing this I can think of more and more examples, but one thing for certain, the speaker must be inspired by the holy spirit and is willing to present Gods message to the people. From the list here, we can also see that sometimes Gods message do contains bad news, and the purpose of sermon speaks goes beyond evangelism. It plays a important part to guide and to rebuke and to encourage the believers to walk closer to God.

Therefore, it is a wrong concept to think that all sermons must be aimed to be only for evangelical purpose. In fact sermon speaking plays a huge part in nurturing the members spirituality and helping them grow in the understanding of the scriptures, it will be even better if the members would learn to practise the word and not be just listener of the word, and only by allowing the word of God to cleanse you

Therefore, it is actually proper and good to have sermons that rebuke the congregation for the wrong that they have done. Fair minded truth seekers will understand that no Christians are perfect and they will also learn from the rebuke. If the church were to only preach evangelistic type of sermons, it will be able to bring in a lot of new believers, yet will not be able to nurture them and present them as perfect before Christ.(Col 1:27-28) Faith could only be established by allowing the members to hear the words of God (Rom 10:17)

When Gods Message Contains Bad News

From the above passage, we can safely conclude that there are sermons in which we are proclaiming Good news, and blessings, those are sermons easily accepted by everyone. It is never too difficult to perform Gods work when it comes to that. But sometimes we also have to preach warning, repentance and rebuke to the congregation. This is the “bad news” I am referring to in this article.

Yet sometimes in the church pulpit we see many self righteous speakers who turn the pulpit to an artillery post and barrage the audience with accusations and rebuke without mercy. Sometimes when listening to their sermon, one cant help but remember the scene with Aargon (in Lord Of The Rings) speaking in Quenya ( the Elvish Language ) “A Eruchîn, ú-dano i faelas a hyn an uben tanatha le faelas!” (Show them no mercy! For you shall receive none!)

I believe that because Christ love her church just like husband loving his wife, he will often use the word of God to cleanse her (Eph 5:25-26). Throughout the times, the bible has recorded many ways in which the prophets as well as the apostles shared their “bad news”

Through Writing of Scrolls And Reading Them Aloud In The Gatherings.

As we recall in reading of Jeremiah 36, God instructed Jeremiah to write his words onto a scroll and to read them aloud to Judah when they come to the temple to worship. It is quite a irony that God did not choose a “better” time to declare his bad news, they were declared at the time of temple worship (In the new testament, church service time). Therefore, it would be wrong to say that the Church must only preach against the bad habits of the people (like leaving their scriptures in the church and not taking it back with them) privately. In fact I feel that a fair minded observer will understand that the church speaks the truth, and they will not sugar coat the bitter medicine just to make themselves appear good and righteous before the people.

Many a times, our actions speak louder than words, sometimes i wonder how would the truth seeker feels if they saw the weakness of the church and yet no one had the courage to speak against it. So.. what type of testimony is that?

In fact, in the new testament, we see that the apostles does the same with their letters addressed to the Christian churches. Paul indeed preach and admonish the Corinthians very directly in the book of first Corinthians, and they openly rebuke the Galatians for abandoning the scriptures. How do you think these letters are disseminated into the church? There are not photocopiers and mass printing, could it be possible that they employ thousands of scribe to transcribe the letter, and pass them to every church member? What if the members are illiterate?

I have reasons to believe that when the church gathered together, the letters were read out to the congregation, just like how Jeremiah handle his scroll. Therefore God did not choose a better time to talk about it. I am sure as God added numbers to them daily, there are truth seekers sitting among the congregation, I think the question of whether this will cast a bad impression on the truth seeker never crossed the minds of the apostles.

Other Interesting Ways Of Propagating The Bad News

Do you know that sometimes in order to propagate the bad news, God made his servants do very difficult task. I will just list some of them for curiosity sake

1. Ezekiel : God told Ezekiel the prophet to demonstrate how Jerusalem will be siege by using clay tablets and lying on the left and right 40 days each (80 days in total ) He made him bake barley cakes using human waste and eat it (Eze 4)

2. Ezekiel : God asked Ezekiel to shave his hair to prophesy divide into 3, use the sword to cut 1/3, scatter 1/3 to the wind, burn the other 1/3 (Eze 5)

3. Ezekiel : had to prepare his belongings, carry it around from point A to Point B in the day and from B back to A as if he is in captivity (Eze 12:1-15)

4. Hosea: God told him to take a prostitute as a wife, and name his children to prophesy (Hosea 1)

5. Agabus: Took Paul’s belt, tie himself with it and prophesy (Acts 21:10-11)

Sometimes I wonder what will we do if God wants us to do something like that just to preach his words. And sometimes it makes me wonder why are these people so obedient to God although it is something that will bring them physical suffering.

Love: The Prime Motivation

These kind of reminded me of the hymn “teaching the truth with love” that I shared on my blog sometime ago. When God wants his servants to preach the bad news, it is not to ask them to speak in a self righteous manner and to launch volleys after volleys of artillery barrage onto the congregation. One of my favourite quote from the hymn is

“Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how we are to share
With our Master’s words of confidence, directly, do we dare?
Should we water down the message, should we tell them only parts?
Will they see Him in our message, will they see Him in our heart?”

It is very important that sermons speaker to speak the truth, and with open rebuke if it is necessary. But at the same time, it is also necessary for us to remind ourselves, we are all fellow servants in the house of God and we are all working toward a good faith grounded in the scriptures. In fact, when sharing the bad news, they face dangers, perils, anger from the listeners. Jeremiah was captured and thrown into prison for speaking. Elijah had to flee from Queen Jezebel when his life was threatened. Indeed to preach the bad news often brings sadness, pain and even tears to the workers of God. But nonetheless let us continue to preach the truth of God boldly.

One final principle I would like to share comes from the term same hymn
“While holding pure motives
And showing that we care
Are we teaching the truth in love?”

This is just like Apostle Paul’s message to the members in Philippi

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Paul (Php 2:3-4)

No one in church likes to be rebuke, or reprimanded. But as speakers who are tasked by God to preach the bad news, let us not do it with self righteous or conceit. Let us esteem others better than ourselves, looking out for the interest of the congregation. Helping to build up the body of Christ.

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So far we have 3 articles written regarding the warriors of David

Part 1: Talks about why we should learn from the warriors of David
Part 2: Talks about the historical setting as well as Davids way of leading the nation
Part 3: Talks about the common traits in the warriors of David

Now we would be studying the characters one by one. I will be listing the warriors not in their usual ranking, but rather by the similar deeds they have done.

1. A Note About The Groups Of Three

Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohitite is in a group of 3 (1 Chron 11:12)
Abishai the brother of Joab is in another group of 3 (1 Chron 11:20)

Apparently, the bible only mention of one warrior from the group of 3 to talk about their deeds. Nonetheless, we can see how important it is to have companions of faith and coworkers. Let us learn to emulate the courage and faith as well as their willingness to support each other in battle.

2. Warriors Who Are Unmoved Even When Fighting A Multitude Of Foes

Josheb-Basshebeth (AKA Adino the Eznite) 2 Sam 23:8: Killed 800 man at one time
Jashobeam: 1 Chron 11:11 : Lift his spear against 300, killing all at one time
Abishai : 1 Chron 11:20 :Lift his spear against 300, killing all at one time

Note: There are some who thinks Jashobeam and Josheb are the same person, but over here i decided to separate them. just in case if they are not the same. Even if they are the same, i think it will be fair to say that he participated in 2 battles, one he killed 800 while he killed 300 in another battle. I live in a place where roll call sheets in the army contains many names that are similar in spelling so its possible that they are different warriors. 🙂

These warriors are unafraid even when they are facing a massive number of foes. Alot of times, we are able to hold on to our courage when we fight 1 to 1. Some of us may be able to stand 1 against 3, or even against 10, but what about 300? There are times we may lose our courage, we may run away. But yet these warriors stood firm and continue fighting and they prevailed against their large number of foes, they believe that God will help them and they will be able to prevail in the end.

Likewise, as the modern warriors of Christ, we ought to emulate this courage, we should never be afraid of facing a huge number of enemies, but rather we should only be afraid of the times where God is not with us. If God is fighting by our side, we will be victorious no matter how many stands against us.

This is particularly true when we are talking about teaching the truth. There are many other churches who do not follow the bible faithfully, and they stand as the majority. Can we still be able to persist following Gods commands in the bible? Or do we willingly put aside Gods instructions so as to remain friendly with the rest? Do we cast aside doctrines so that all the churches could stand “united” in not following Gods commands?

We like to say majority wins, especially in a the modern democratic world. We often say “lets not just believe in everything that is spoken” and “lets try to prove it by asking the opinion of others”. But have we ever wondered that in a situation where many people decide to take a false teaching as truth, even a false teaching would be accepted as the truth in no time. Sometimes we reason among ourselves “If it is not true, why is the majority believing in it? Could it be that the truth is at their side?”

In face of that many would not be able to stand by the truth. Truth is not relative but rather, it is only founded only in the words of Jesus. We should only use the saying of Jesus as the basis for the truth. Therefore one should judge if the church is teaching the truth by comparing it against the scripture. For we do not follow the teaching of man or the ancient tradition of the church, we must always follow the command of Jesus in the bible.

I remember I once wrote about Pontius Pilate, sometimes we are like him in many ways, Pilate is not without reasons and justice, he knows that Jesus was innocent. He tried to declare Jesus innocence many times, even though many wanted Jesus crucified. But why then did he cave in in the end?

Luke the physician gave a very insightful explanation in the gospel according to Luke

“Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”
But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.” – Luke (Lk 23:22-23)

Pilate was unable to maintain his justice because he was unable to withstand the voices of the Jews and the Chief Priest.

Let us learn to be like Jashobeam and Abishai, relying on God at all times. Unmoved even when facing a massive number of foes. Let us learn to stand by the truth, relying on God to be victorious over them

3. Warriors Who Fought While Others Are Retreating

Eleazar the son of Dodo, The Ahohite (2 Sam 23:9-10) : Attacked a Philistines While The Army Of Israel Retreated
Eleazar (1 Chron 11:13-14)Defended a barely field against the attacking Philistines, while the people fled
Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite (2 Sam 23:11-12) Defended a lentil field against the invading Philistine, while the people fled.

Note: Because Barley is different from Lentils, I will tend to think the first 2 incidents might be the same, though it can also mean that its 3 separate battles.

Eleazar was brave enough to attack the enemies while his companions are fleeing the battle. In another occasion he stationed himself in the barley field. The record of Eleazar in 2 Samuel 23 tells us something about his persistence.

“He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword.” 2 Sam 23:10.

Ironically he singlehandedly attacked them and fought with such fierceness and his hands were stuck with the sword. The sword of the modern Christian soldier is none other than the word of God. Just like what the author of Hebrews said

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4:12.

Therefore, we have to remember, our battle against the forces of evil, we need to meditate and ponder over the word of God, only by knowing it better, can we use it to break the strongholds of the devil. and fight in the war. God does not win with numbers, he requires faithful soldiers who is not afraid of how numerous the enemies are, and he also require them to hold on to their sword, even if they feel weary fighting. Only then will God bring on the victory. Therefore let us learn from the persistence of Eleazer and to hold fast to the word of God, just like how the sword was stuck in his hand. .

In the stories of Eleazer as well as Shammah, there were defending a ground full of lentils and barley. In those battles, their companions lost courage and fled. Yet they station themselves in the middle of the field, defending against the torrents of invaders. They did not flee although the majority have fled. As David is establishing his kingdom, he needed mighty men like them who would hold their line even if everyone is retreating.

We all know how hard it is to start a empire, but at the same time, history has proven that the main difficulty encountered, lies in the fact that there are many problems to overcome. Many plans that will not stay on course. Similarly as Christians are establishing the kingdom of God, they will face problems from time to time. We can choose not to face the problems, we can choose to flee from it. But we all know that in order to be successful, we must face up to the problems, we will have to solve our problems one by one, and only by so doing will the kingdom of God be established. When David was establishing his kingdom, he faced many difficulties. In the battle of Eleazer and Shammah, they needed the field very badly, losing a field equates to losing a supply of food. Losing food supply will mean that the armies of God will have to fight without provisions.

But at the point when they are trying to defend it, they see their companions fleeing the battle field. But these mighty man of David choose to stand ground, defend the field. They know that God will help, and truly through the gallantry of these warriors, God was able to bring about a victory.

The church needs warriors such as these, indeed we can see that the church now faces many problems. There are even more problems to come, there are also many brethren who have chosen to leave the church whenever they encounter a problem. Yet at the same time, we see members who faithfully carry out their work, relying on God to help them, they managed to solve many of the problems one after the other. They choose to stand by Gods field and defend it. These are people that God is pleased with, and are desperately needed in church.

Indeed the field here can refer to the church of God, and the seeds are liken to the work of God. Therefore as courages soldiers of Christ, let us defend the field of God.

May God help us. to strengthen our faith, and to give us the courage to trust God in the face of many opposition. Let us learn to hold on ground, especially in the truth, and to defend the truth to make sure that no invaders could change the truth. Let us learn to rely on God to stand ground, and with his help, overcome all obstacles and to establish this kingdom of God together with Jesus.

Let us recall that quote from Oprah from Part 1

Oprah : ” I reconciled it because I was able to open my mind about the absolute indescribable hugeness of that which we called God . I took God out of the box because I grew up in a baptist church and there were rules, belief systems and doctrines and I happen to be sitting in church in my late 20s and I was going to this church where you have to get there 8 o clock in the morning where you couldn’t get a seat and a very charismatic minister and everybody was just into the sermon and this great minister was preaching about how Great God was and how omniscient and omnipresent and God is everything and then he said “And The Lord Thy God Is a Jealous God and I was caught up in the rapture of that moment until he said Jealous. and something struck me, I was like about 27-28, I was thinking God is awe, God omnipresent and God is . and God is also jealous? .. God is jealous of me? and something about that didn’t feel right in my spirit because I believe that God is love and that God is in all things and so thats when the search for something more than doctrine started to stir within me.”

What are rules, belief systems and doctrines in Church?

In that interview, Oprah claimed that she came from the baptist church and there were many rules, belief systems and doctrines in the church. Personally I am not sure what she meant by “belief system” but I am well aware of rules and doctrines within the church. Therefore I will define “belief system” as a set of rules + doctrines combined together.

Regarding rules

As a Christian myself i know that there are Christianity had many rules. One of such rules I know are the 10 commandments, which i see many churches who emphasised so much on the love of God and made it sound like God will forgive you even if you worship another God, commit adultery, or covert your neighbours wife.

Sometimes we ask ourselves, why did God give Christian rules? Lets ask ourselves, do we confine babies within the walls of the baby cot to prevent to baby from getting hurt or to restrict their freedom? Rules in Christianity were set by God because God is a just God. Alot of times it is meant to teach the believers what is right and wrong and to instruct us to lead a righteous life (Rom 7:7). It teaches us good values such as not to harm our bodies through drugs and smoking.

Yes, indeed we are free do do what we please, but lets take a moment and ponder over these extracts of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” – Paul (1 Cor 6:12)
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” – Paul (1 Cor 6:19)
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” – Paul (1 Cor 3: 16-17)

There are some who claimed that after the sacrifice of Jesus is made, there is no need to observe the commandments of God, and anyone who advocate the keeping of the 10 commandments are “returning to the law” and teaching “justification by works” let us read again what Jesus said about keeping the commandments

“Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus (Matt 5:19-20)

So ask yourself, if rules are there to teach things that are helpful, and beneficial, why then do we call that a bad rule? Do we need to go through other gems of wisdom to gather new rules for ourselves in our life? So whats the difference between drawing rules from the church or drawing rules from your gems of wisdom from world religious traditions, mythology and practises compared to following Gods law in the bible?

Regarding Doctrines of Salvation

To me, the doctrines are salvation teaches man the most important thing in life. It deals with difficult questions such as “What must I do to be saved?”. “How can I have my sins forgiven and be reconciled with God?”. These are important issues that cannot be ignored.

As all of us are familiar with the gospel story, all man had sin, and the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) and all man has to die once and to face judgement (Heb 9:37). So the doctrines of salvation highlight Gods requirements for man to be saved. Yes, the grace is given freely, but even if it is given freely, it is not given to you like “an offer that you cannot refuse”. In the modern era, many Christians who expound on the love of God and tend to present Gods love as a very loop-sided kind of love . They teach that God is willing to forgive all wrongs that you have done, irregardless of how you sin. Gods grace is so bountiful that he can still forgive everything. Which often leads to many Christians thinking that they can go about sinning and indulging in the flesh without any fear as the all loving God will forgive everything they have done.

Yet there are many verses that we do not consider many other verses in the bible

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” – Paul ( Rom 6:1-2)

“For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” – Author of Hebrews (Heb 10:26)

“If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.” – John (1 John 5:16-17)

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” – Paul (1 Cor 6:9-11)

Can you imagine what will happen if we stopped talking about the doctrines of salvation? A Sinner will not be able to be reconciled with God, their sins will not be forgiven and he will not be able to face the impending judgement, and he will have lost his heavenly inheritance and will have followed Christ in vain. Yet there are many Christians who called people who believe in the doctrines as “Doctrinally Obsessed” and is also a handiwork of the demon. The less critical ones will complain that the doctrine of salvation is rigid, and they love quoting exceptions to disprove it. (EG of classic exceptions are : The thief on the cross”, ” A person too sick to be baptised” “Guys who had no legs”)

They will tend to ask “why are the doctrines of salvation so rigid?” There are churches who claimed you must be baptised for remission of sins, take the holy communion and some even expound on foot-washing. Why cant we just believe in God and thats it? Actually this questions could be answered with the following real life example

There is a boy who was swimming in the ocean, he suffered from cramp and is about to sink into the water. He called out for help, and someone threw a life buoy into the sea. Yet the boy did not want to hold on to the life buoy, because he feels, that it is not necessary to do so in order to be saved from drowning. The doctrines of Salvation is Gods solution to a problem that cannot be solved by man. God gave specific instructions and commanded his believers to do so in order to have their sins forgiven.

With regards to justification by faith or by works. In the past, there is really no distinction between following God’s instruction and having faith in God. If you believe the words of Jesus and the apostles that you would need to be baptised for the remission of sin (, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:38) you will just proceed to do it with no question asked. Your actions proves that you fully believe in the words of God.

The doctrines of salvation are the basis of Salvation through Christ, and it is build upon the teaching of the apostles and the old testament prophets. Christians dutifully recorded them onto the scriptures so as to point people the right way of salvation. It requires both faith and obedience in order for it to have a full effect. And the ultimate effect of doctrines is for the remission of sins, and achieve salvation.

In fact the early apostles are very worried that the doctrines will one day be twisted, they defended the doctrines at all cost, lets look at some of their comments about it.

“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” – Elder John (AKA Apostle Full of Love) (2 John 9-11)

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” – Paul (Gal 1:6-9)

However, Christian should move beyond these elementary instructions and go deeper into the scriptures in their journey of faith, besides understanding and following the instructions, Christians must strive to improve their faith at all times. Just like what the Author of Hebrews said.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement. And this we will do if God permits.” (Heb 6: 1-3)

Here the Author Of Hebrews is not saying they are not important, but rather Christians needs to go beyond these elementary principles and go deeper into understanding of God.

Doctrines are an essential part of Salvation, let us look on it lightly, let us learn to be obedient to it and work our our salvation with fear and trembling.

A Word Of Caution

As we have talked about rules and doctrines, I would like to give the readers a word of Caution, the rules and doctrines that I talked about refers mainly to instruction left by Jesus and are based on the scriptures. As we know, there is a great deception in the end times and there are many false prophets and false teachers, who wanted to pervert the gospel of Christ by going beyond the scriptures. Out of their good will, they made for themselves many man-made rules which make people feel pious but are not according to the words of God. Just as its written in our new testament.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” – Paul (2 Tim 3:1-7)

“Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations- “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using-according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” – Paul (Col 2:20-23)

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. ” -Jesus (Matt 24:23-25)

In order to understand the doctrines and the rules that are important, one should always use the scriptures as reference. Let us learn from the Bereans to search the scripture daily to examine if the scriptures taught is in accordance to Gods word.

“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”- Luke (Acts 17:11)

Finally I would like to conclude with this instruction from Paul to Timothy.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” -Paul (2 Tim 3:16)

I heard a this song from my old song connections, and i find the tune very nice. So i started to look for the lyrics of this song. It was written by Don McLean and the real title of the song is “Vincent” it is a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh, and many of the his artwork is represented in the song. He is regarded as one of history’s greatest painters and an important contributor to the foundations of modern art.

Incidentally, Van Gogh was suffering from mental disorder frequently all the days of his life. Finally, he died by a shooting himself with a revolver.

according to Wikipedia
“27 July 1890, aged 37, he walked into a field and shot himself in the chest with a revolver. He survived the impact and managed to walk back to the Ravoux Inn. He died there two days later. Theo rushed to be at his side. Theo reported his brother’s last words as “La tristesse durera toujours” (the sadness will last forever).”

Hmm as I was reading up on him suddenly this demotivating poster i saw kind of really make alot of sense

“Creativity: Helps artists die young, miserable, and penniless- so their art can have meaning to the old, satisfied, and obscenely rich.”

This is especially true because after his death, everyone liked Vincents artwork. And as I was about it, it makes me wonder what is the value of life.

Sometimes people of the world take pride in “power and authority” , “money” and fame. And people thinks that it is what they leave behind as a legacy that brings value in their life. But how many people remember the great work that they have accomplished?

In the bible, there was a very wise king known as King Solomon, he had all the power , authority, money and fame. This is what the bible describes King Solomon in 1 Kings 10:14-29. This is a summary of it

1. Power
a. 1400 Chariots, 12 000 Horsemen

2. Riches
a. 666 talents of gold yearly
b. A throne made of Wood overlaid with Gold
c. Fleets to Tarshish (Spain) bringing in exotic goods

3. Fame
a. The whole world sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom
b. Bring him gifts every year when they visited him

Yet a fine man like Solomon claimed this as “Vanities of Vanities” as he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes in his old age. He called this “grasping after the wind” and emptiness.

Indeed, when you give your youth and strength to the world, when you bring in profits and everything that the world wanted. They are often willing to give you all the applause, and adoration. But when you are old and worn out, with nothing to give the world, they will put you aside and find new heroes to hero worship.

Of course this doesn’t mean that Christians should not work hard to perfect what they are doing. But rather, it teaches Christians not to love the world and not to put everything that we have to the world.

So.. how can man have an eternal value? Let us look at what Elder John said

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” – Apostle John (1 John 2:15-17)

Let us asked ourselves, where are great empires in the world? Where is Alexander the Great? Julius Caesar? Where is Qin Shi Huang who built the great wall of china? Where is the great Emperor Constantine who build Hagia Sophia? Where is Pharaoh Khufu who built the great Pyramids?

Man often like to glorify himself, just like what King Nebuchadnezzar said “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” Yet it is at that time God reduced his glory to one of an animal.

So, as you look at the lives of famous people like Van Gogh, let us once again ponder over the value of life. Let us learn to work hard, but never lose our direction, that our ultimate value lies in that heavenly city, where we will dwell together with God forever. That surpasses all human achievements. There are times in our lives that we suffer afflictions for that believe, and just like all famous people, our physical body ages, and one day we will also die. But as we are going through this process let us remind ourselves of what is to come. Just as what Paul mention here

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 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.” – Paul ( 2 Cor 4:16-18)

but nonetheless lets read this lyric together.

Title: Vincent (AKA Starry Starry Night)
Artist Don McLean

Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer’s day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they’ll listen now.

Starry, starry night.
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they did not know how.
Perhaps they’ll listen now.

For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one
As beautiful as you.

Starry, starry night.
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless head on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget.
Like the strangers that you’ve met,
The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
The silver thorn of bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free.
They would not listen, they’re not listening still.
Perhaps they never will…

A few days ago, a friend passed me a “sermon” spoken by a smart alec pastor from a mega church and how he wanted to present himself as a sophisticated scholarly person who have deep research into ancient Chinese beliefs.

Personally, I did a similar research years ago to try to understand how did the name “上帝” was used to denote God. But in his presentation, I found a few very historically inaccurate comment. Especially about Kangxi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty, although the pastor claimed that Kangxi was a “Christian convert” history records specially that Kang Xi revoked his Edict of Toleration which recognised the Catholic Church and also allow Christians to openly practise their faith.

He also claimed that Qin Shi Huang was moved by the Holy Spirit to change ancient Chinese words, which I think its really “speculative” view that can never be proven. Ironically Qin Shi Huang took the title of “始皇帝”. and Taking the name 皇帝 he took the title he equates himself as God.. Which officially destroyed the religious system of worshipping 上帝 in ancient china.

Personally I find that it is very hard to prove that the ancient 上帝 is indeed YHYH. Its really unconvincing to just base the findings on ancient Chinese 甲骨文 (Oracle Bone Script) , so instead of wasting time to prove it, let us concentrate on saving souls for the Lord instead. Especially when the end times is near.

Nonetheless, his sermon mentioned about the fact that Adam was alive when Methuselah was born. It kinda got my interest as a few questions pops up at my mind.

1. How many years was creation to the flood?
2. When Enoch was preaching about Gods judgement, was Adam still alive?
3. Were any of the “ancestors” of Noah killed in the flood?

Hence, the answer of these questions lies in the most boring chapter in Genesis. Gen 5. Most people like to skip the chapter as it only mention of how long people live and when did they die? However, if we were to read it closely, there are actually very important teachings to be learnt.

The Descendants of Cain verses the Descendants of Seth

Comparing Gen 5 to Gen 4, we can see a very big contrast in the family of Cain verses the Family of Seth. As we know, Cain represented the ungodly people (“daughters of men” in Gen 6:2) while the family of Seth represent the people who still followed God (“sons of God” in Gen 6:2)

The family of Cain lead very interesting but violent lives. Enoch built the first cities for humans to dwell in. Lamech was the first man who practise polygamy, Lamech is also violent, as he killed a young man for hurting him. (Gen 4:23). Jubal was a musician and “the father of secular music” (Gen 4:21) . Tubal Cain was the first blacksmith in the world (Gen 4:22).

While the family of Seth, just lived, have kids, and died. Theres nothing spoken about achievements. So Christians have to choose a life to lead, do we want to lead it like the family of Cain or the family of Abel? Of course, I am not saying that Christians cannot be musicians, weapon makers and vocations, but the difference is whether we followed God’s instruction. Remember God wanted the people to scatter and populate earth, (Gen 1:28)

Enoch

Enoch is one interesting character in the list that is worth mentioning, Enoch has the shortest life, but the most interesting one among his ancestors. Enoch had a son named Methuselah. Methuselah names carries a interesting meaning “After my death, disaster will strike”

Enoch is aware of the judgement of God on mankind, Jude mentioned in his Epistle

“Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgement on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” – Enoch (Jude 14-15)

It was because of Enoch’s faith, he walked with God even more than his Ancestors. The Author Of Hebrews confirmed that Enoch did not die, but was taken up to heaven (Heb 11:5)

The pastor who spoke that sermon was correct to say that Adam was still alive when Methuselah was alive, therefore, i will think that they will not know what is dying yet (Besides unnatural death such as that one of Abel).

It is also interesting to note that Adam was the only ancestor who did not see Enoch taken up to heaven. Adam died around 57 years before Enoch was taken up to heaven. That means the generations at that time could compare natural death to Gods salvation on the spot. Perhaps thats why God gave Enoch such a short life.

Methuselah

Methuselah is the person with the longest life in the Old Testament. And we mentioned the meaning of his name earlier. Note that his death correspond exactly to the date of the flood. God used Methuselah to warn the generations before him that God will judge the people for their sins. And note that God gave the warning 687 years after his creation, while giving them 969 years to repent.

I wonder how many people heeded Gods warning? According to the story of Noah, only 8 responded.

Sometimes we asked why is God so cruel, but yet over here you see God gave the ample time to heed is warning. So, if the people refuse to listen, can we now blame God for executing his judgement?

Adam to Noah

People who had read from Christian bookstores often will have known that I have borrowed this title from one of the books.. not that I equate Oprah to Confucius.. just that I think its pretty catchy as a title.

Indeed, I guess there are so many articles persecuting and attacking Oprah Winfrey that I do not think that its any useful to comment on them. Personally I was watching this “live debate” from Bill Keller from Live Prayer with Oprah Winfrey on youtube. Personally i have a feeling that the clip wasn’t really a real debate, but extracts taken from the Oprah show. Personally I am not really a fan of Tele-Evangelists as i find them trapped in many controversies which usually paints Christianity in a bad light.

As I said, this is not a “bash Oprah Winfrey” type of post, and personally I am not interested to bash anyone. To me, satan work has always been dedicated in blinding and misleading the world, misleading a influential person like Oprah is just one of the typical day in satan’s life.

Nonetheless I find some of Oprah’s comments are also the common misconceptions that non Christians have about Christianity and its worthwhile to discuss on them. Below was an extract from her show.

Oprah : ” I reconciled it because I was able to open my mind about the absolute indescribable hugeness of that which we called God . I took God out of the box because I grew up in a baptist church and there were rules, belief systems and doctrines and I happen to be sitting in church in my late 20s and I was going to this church where you have to get there 8 o clock in the morning where you couldn’t get a seat and a very charismatic minister and everybody was just into the sermon and this great minister was preaching about how Great God was and how omniscient and omnipresent and God is everything and then he said “And The Lord Thy God Is a Jealous God and I was caught up in the rapture of that moment until he said Jealous. and something struck me, I was like about 27-28, I was thinking God is awe, God omnipresent and God is . and God is also jealous? .. God is jealous of me? and something about that didn’t feel right in my spirit because I believe that God is love and that God is in all things and so thats when the search for something more than doctrine started to stir within me.”

Whats the real meaning of a Jealous God?

The term, jealous God is used in the Torah very often as well as in the book of Joshua, let us take a look at a few examples.

“For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” – YHWH (Ex 20:5)

“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” – Moses (Deut 4:24)

“You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.” – Joshua (Jos 24:19)

I did a search on the word “Jealous” and found them used in Ex 34:14, Deut 5:9, Deut 7:15, Deut 32:16 as well.

So God himself said it, Moses and Joshua describe God as a Jealous God. But we would need to ask ourselves whats the meaning of “Jealous” ? was God jealous of us in he way Oprah describe it to be?

For the extreme skeptics, I will provide the URL to my favourite English Dictionary, the Miriam Webster dictionary to do a search on the word jealous on their own.

But the extract of the dictionary reads

Definition of JEALOUS
1 a : intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness
 
 b : disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness

2 : hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage

3 : vigilant in guarding a possession

The modern man tend to use definition number 2 as the one and only definition of Jealous. and I know that it the most common usage of the word “Jealous” in todays world. Especially so as we live in a era where love grow cold and we cannot rejoice with those who rejoice. We tend to compare our benefits and there are people who are so jealous that they wanted the rest not to have the same benefits that they hold. (AKA Crab Mentality)

How many of us would have imagined jealous also carries the meaning that one is intolerant to unfaithfulness? In fact I say that when God, Moses and Joshua used the definition in 1 and it is well understood by the translators when they translated the original Hebrew word as “Jealous”. In fact they were trying to emphasise that God is intolerant of unfaithfulness.

Why should God be intolerant to idols and other ways of “spirituality”?

Well, some people may accuse Christian God as a “proud God ” who is intolerant to other religions and other gods, many would believe that there are many ways to achieve spirituality. They called this “the new spirituality” and it means that it is individuals who decides how to attain that “absolute indescribable hugeness of that which we called God”. But lets hear what did this God has to say to his people when they abandoned him to chase after other gods. Note that many of the new age spirituality often refers to ancient religious traditions (such as baal worship, egyptology, greek and roman mythology) as gems which one could string together to form a necklace that defines their own spirituality.

“For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.” – YHWH (Jer 2:13)

If fact YHWH makes a even bolder claim through Prophet Isaiah

“Bel bows down, Nebo stoops;
Their idols were on the beasts and on the cattle.
Your carriages were heavily loaded,
A burden to the weary beast.
They stoop, they bow down together;
They could not deliver the burden,
But have themselves gone into captivity.
“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.
“To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal
And compare Me, that we should be alike?
They lavish gold out of the bag,
And weigh silver on the scales;
They hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god;
They prostrate themselves, yes, they worship.
They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it
And set it in its place, and it stands;
From its place it shall not move.
Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer
Nor save him out of his trouble.
“Remember this, and show yourselves men;
Recall to mind, O you transgressors.
Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,” – YHWH (Is 46:1-9)

It is not that God was too narrow minded to accept that there are many ways toward spirituality, but the problems is, this God claims that besides him there is no other God, and it’s up to you to believe him or not. So God doesn’t like his people to be doubled minded and be unfaithful. God has never demanded anyone to follow him just because he claimed to be the only True God. In fact, God demonstrated this “jealousy” many times by telling the people to follow other gods if they feel that he is not the only true God. He has spoken through his prophets many times

“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua (Jos 24:14-15)

“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” – Elijah (1 Kings 18:21)

Ironically in the time of Prophet Elijah, King Ahab is often trapped between Baal Worship and Worship of YHWH. It can be seen in how he named his children
1. Joram (AKA Jehoram) 2 Kings 8:16: Meaning “Jehovah is exalted”
2. Ahaziah 1 kings 22:40 : Meaning “Held By Jehovah”

It is hard to imagine a Baal worshipper who followed Jehovah. In Ahab’s world, blessings can come from Jehovah as well as Baal, while his wife Jezebel thinks that only Baal could give blessings. Prophet Elijah claimed that “Yahweh is My God” (thats the meaning of his name) . The people of Israel was trapped between that 2 opinions and were undecided on who to follow. It is noted that although Ahab worshipped baal and asherah yet he had some form of fear to Jehovah. That can be seen when God sent Elijah to rebuke him (Regarding Naboth’s vineyard), he repented before God ,although he treated Elijah with contempt. (1 King 21:17-28)

Ahab is a typical person who invoked the jealousy of God, and you can see its not because God not jealous of Baal because he is unwilling to share Ahab with him, but rather, God cannot tolerate his unfaithfulness.

The new age believers claimed that there are many ways to attain spirituality, perhaps that is true, but please understand that attaining spirituality is very different from attaining salvation. Just like what Jesus and his apostles said

“”I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – Jesus (Jn 14:6)

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Peter (Acts 4:12)

So my friends, will we now invoke Gods jealously by chasing after new age religion? Remember God is a jealous God, he will rather you follow him fully or betray him fully. Do not waver in your opinion, if you think there are other ways to achieve salvation, do not cling on to this God yet pursue after this new spirituality. Follow your heart, just like what these new age teachers teaches. Believe that God is a jealous God, but not because he is jealous of you worshipping some other gods that are not real and will not lead to salvation. He just cannot tolerate your unfaithfulness, he will rather you to be with him or against him.

I do not know about all of you, but as for me I will repeat what Joshua said “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”

So far we have 2 articles written regarding the warriors of David

Part 1: Talks about why we should learn from the warriors of David
Part 2: Talks about the historical setting as well as Davids way of leading the nation

Today we would be talking about the common qualities that are present in the warriors of David. These are qualities that is required of modern Christians.

Summary of common qualities of the Warriors of David

1. They Followed David Not Out Of Personal Ambition But In Accordance To Gods Will

They believed in Gods word, and they are aware that God has anointed David to be the king of Israel. In the past some of them may have supported King Saul, but they are willing to correct their ways, put aside their ambitions and to put their trust in God. They followed Gods will to help David to established his kingdom. Christians being soldiers of Christ today, should follow the same faith like these warriors

2. They Believed God will grant David The Ultimate Victory

Although the situation looks very bad, and it appears as if David is not going to win easily, the warriors continue to stick by David.. believing that Gods will will be accomplished. They are willing to endure all hardships with David even when the situation seems dire for David.

Now let us look at these point in details.

1. They Followed David Not Out Of Personal Ambition But In Accordance To Gods Will

Lets take a look at how the 1 Chron 11 describes these warriors.

“Now these were the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.” (1 Chron 11:10)

Here it indicated that the warriors joined themselves with David according to the word of the Lord. These warriors are very different from the warriors you read about in the Romance of 3 Kingdom.. or even the great generals like Hannibal and Julius Caesar. In our modern era, people join in to political organisation because they wanted a political change, or they believe in the leaders ability to run the country.

While at the same time people may align themselves with specific rulers and kings because there are opportunities for gaining fame and to have political influence.

But such is not the motivation of the warriors of David. They were well aware that God has rejected Saul as king and have anointed David as the next king of Israel.

These people joined David while he was at Ziklag and was still a fugitive from King Saul (1 chron 12:1)

Most of them did not join David because they wanted riches and fame. Although there are exceptions among Davids warriors. For example s Joab. the brother of Abishai (1 chron 11:20) and Asahel(1 chron 11:26). Joab is a general in Davids Army and David was pretty unhappy with many of things he did. But David wasn’t able to judge him then because of his influence in the army. David left an instruction to King Solomon to judge Joab before he died.

But besides Joab, most of the other warriors followed David because he was the anointed of God. their loyalty is toward God. In one of the studies we will see that some of these mighty man who lived passed David stood by King Solomon when they knew that he was appointed by God to be the next king of Israel

If we were to recall from Part 2, we will remember that when Saul died, the people were still unwilling to accept David to be king, so they appointed Ishbosheth the son of Saul as king over all Israel. At that time, the people has not obeyed God and choose leaders for themselves to lead them. This was against Gods will, and the irony was that they are the majority.

Only the tribe of Judah and these warriors supported David. and these warriors are willing to put aside their little differences and ambitions to follow the will of God to establish David as the king of Israel. Serving David with their skills of war.

Applying these to our lives

Although it is true that in our service to God, we may come across people who did not serve God with a pure intent, indeed the church of God can be an interesting power battlefield if abused. But we must constantly remind ourselves, that if we were to serve God because of our own desires, Gods kingdom will still be established and we will have no part in it. In order to be a good soldier of Christ, we will need to have the right faith. Just like these warriors who followed David because they understand the will of God.

If we serve God out of impure intents, many problems will arise within the church and it brings sorrows and worries many. Over here, we can see that although King Saul died in the battle of Gilboa, his political influence still remains. This is when people with selfish ambitions takes advantage of this situation to gain power among the kingdom of Israel. This same situation may happen in church as well, and such people often creates disunity within the church.

So what is the best way to remain united within the church? The people must be know the will of God and to understand that God has given everyone specific gifts to help establish the kingdom of God , Just like what Paul said

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” – Paul (Eph 4:11-13)

Taking the examples of the Warriors of David who helped David in accordance to the word of God. Let us learn to establish the kingdom of God, not our own little fiefdom. Let us remind ourselves that that God has given us different abilities not for us to compare or compete, but rather to compliement each other. Let us be matured soldiers of Christ and not like children. Let us take responsibilities in the house of God, to do our part to establish the body of Christ. Children will not know how to do this, only grown ups will. Only they can bear responsibilities like these warriors. Let us learn to Emulate them,.

2. They Believed God will grant David The Ultimate Victory

Let us read the declaration of one of these warriors Amasai

We are yours, O David;
We are on your side, O son of Jesse!
Peace, peace to you,
And peace to your helpers!
For your God helps you.” -Amasai

Amasai and his men used to serve the house of Saul, but they now believe that David will be victorious because God will help him. Although right now they are surrounded by their enemies. King Saul is still powerful, yet they have the faith that since David is anointed by God, God will help him to overcome his enemies and be victorious. These warriors joined David at Ziklag when he is still a fugitive. They can see that King Saul has disobeyed God and so they have stopped supporting King Saul, and band themselves with the fugitive David.

To many people in the modern world, that is a very foolish move, David is on the run and with not much troops with him. It will be dangerous to help him, they may lose their lives anytime. Yet the saw the other side of the deal. David is the anointed king by Gods will, and they now tell David, “We are your helpers, for your God helps you” Hence David made them his captains. In 1 Chron 12:21-22 They helped David against raiders and more and more started to join David, until it became a great army, like the army of God.

Over time more and more people joined in to David, they are not afraid of the current predicament that they are in.. They choose to stand where God stands, no matter how many enemies were lined up against them. can we be as brave as them?

“Now these were the numbers of the divisions that were equipped for war, and came to David at Hebron to turn over the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD:” (1 Chron 12:23)

Here you can see that the warriors are brave ad courageous, but their courage is not build upon their own strength but rather based upon the word of God. Human courage are limited, only courage that is built on faith toward God can last.

Applying these to our lives

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right” – Abraham Lincoln

Does the army of God still have the same understanding like the warriors of David? Do we still believe that the Kingdom of Christ will ultimately be established? Although its true that there are many problems within the church, much more compared to other organisations on earth. There are even obstructions from the devil, there are times we feel disadvantaged, can we now pluck up the same courage as the warriors of David? Telling ourselves that God will eventually give us the victory?

Without such a thought, we can never persist to preach, in our walk of faith, we can see many who gave up their battle for Gods kingdom, as well as many who continue to persist and in the end, with Gods help, victory came.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[ have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – Jesus (John 16:33)

Jesus knew the anxiety and fear in the disciples, but he assured them that he had overcome the world. At that time, the disciples cannot understand it, they cannot see what is coming on their way, that many will no longer follow Jesus, theres even one of them that will betray Jesus. People are ready to capture the Lord, and there will be no miracles from Jesus from then on. They are in a disadvantaged situation yet Jesus told them that in him they will have peace.

When Jesus resurrected, and the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost, these disciples became courageous, Peter bearing witness with the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2), he testify that Jesus is the Christ, if there was no resurrection, how could the holy spirit descended? On that day 3000 Jews believed and were baptised, the church was established, at the same time, the Sanhedrin and the Jewish counsel started to persecute them, they are whipped and tortured, yet they continue to preach Jesus, to establish churches, people are added to them daily.

Isn’t this a beautiful parallel to how the armies of David grew? Christ has indeed overcome the world, hence we must also be strengthened with he same courage to establish the kingdom of God, Jesus will aid us through the holy spirit.. and this kingdom is very different from the world kingdom.

Where is the great Greek empire by Alexander? Where is the Roman Empire? Yet the kingdom of Jesus is still established throughout the world, this is the clear indication that this is the kingdom of God. We must take part in this work. Especially when we see the end times approaching, all the more we should take up this commission, to accomplish the work of Christ. We will face with many opposition, and satan’s work will grow stronger, but we must believe that god will help us, we must persist in this faith, we will be victorious, God will help us, this is the church of God, Gods kingdom and God will help his children establish it.

Paul is armed with that same idea, in 2 Tim 2:1-3 he encourages Timothy his son

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” – Paul

At that time Timothy had grown weak, he saw the situation turn from bad to worst. Paul is now captured and imprison, there are many problems in the church. Many had left the faith, some no longer believed. There are many heresy, people were indulging in the flesh, they are tired of listening to him, what can he do?

Yet Paul is tells him to be strong, but how can he be strong? What do we place our trust in?

Is it in big miracles that God has healed us? Is it in special graces received from God? Is it in visions and Revelations? Do we need to have them in order to be strong? What can we do if there are no visions, no miracles, yet problems remained unsolved, and persist? We need to follow Paul’s Instruction in verse 3, “must endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ ” When Paul says being strong in the grace, he isn’t refering to having constant visions and seeing miracles, these are all temporary and will be change, its regarding being strong int he salvation of the Lord Jesus, believing in his resurrection, believing the Christ will ultimately save us.. We believe that Jesus will call us on the last day to resurrection. This is real and trustworthy.. Can we continue to preach it until it is all accomplished?

Why must we do this? Paul explains in 2 Tim 2:8

“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel” – Paul

do we still believe that Jesus is the seed of David? Do we still believe in the salvation and resurrection of Christ? Whats the basis for our faith? Its in the prophecy of God, that Jesus is the seed of David, spoken off by the prophets of the old. History confirmed that Jesus is indeed the descendant of David, History confirmed that Gods prophecies are true. Jesus indeed rise from the dead, It is an historical fact that he was nailed and buried, his tomb was sealed, guarded by Roman soldiers. Angels appeared at the tomb, the soldiers grew frightened and ran away, the stone of the tomb was rolled away, and Jesus body was missing, only the grave clothes are left.

What actually happened? He was resurrected, he appeared to many people, his disciples, family, and unbelievers, James was one of them, initially he did not believe, later on he became one of the pillars in church.

This is the testimony of the scripture, historical facts to prove, and the Holy Spirit given as evidence, this are all in accordance to the gospel, true and trustworthy. If we were to think about it, we will regain our faith, thats why Paul’s tells us to constantly remind ourselves, readjust our faith. Is our faith according to the bible? Is it still in the truth? Is this church really the church of God. If we consider it and we still believe, we will have a faith that will persist to the end. Although many do not believe, but we still believe, that Christ will come again, and this kingdom of God will ultimately be established. This is God’s work, and God will let it come and complete it. He is coming soon, are we able to answer to God when he comes? We should constantly have these in our mind, then we will not be afraid and discouraged. WE should only be afraid of losing this faith.

Let us constantly remind ourselves of this saying

This is a faithful saying:

For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him,
He also will deny us.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.” – Paul (2 Tim 2:11-13)

This saying will help us remain strong in the grace of Jesus, they are faithful, Let us continue to remind ourselves of this faith. So that we can continue to fight as soldiers of Christ. to Encourage others as well as ourselves. Let us be faithful like the warriors of David