Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Where was Jesus During the Wedding at Cana?

You know the story---there was a wedding at Cana and wine ran out. If you carefully study the passage, you'd see that Mary, Jesus and his disciples were somewhere near the servants when Mary urged Jesus about the shortage of wine. After Jesus told Mary, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come," we see Mary immediately talking with the servants. "Do whatever he tells you."

This means they stayed where the servants were. I'm sure we wouldn't find the servants sitting at one of the banquet tables reserved for guests, and definitely not at the presidential table. Where were the servants? Most probably in the kitchen, right? Or even in the "dirty" kitchen.

Here's another proof Jesus and his disciples and mother were in the kitchen. When Jesus was ready to turn water into wine, he told the servants to fill the six stone jars with water. Definitely, this scene could not be taking place in the main reception area where the guests were formally feasting. Neither does it say in Scriptures that Jesus left the reception area and went to the kitchen to talk with the servants. He was already there in the kitchen with the servants. See?

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Is this important? Oh, it's so important to me, and to those who value meekness and Jesus' teaching about not being self-centered. Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding but they stayed in the kitchen with the servants. Jesus was comfortable with the servants and with lowly people---especially with those who were not self-centered. He applied to himself his teaching about never occupying seats of honor lest you be asked to sit somewhere else and be humiliated. It's better to settle somewhere humble and be asked to occupy a seat of honor.

But in this story, no one asked Jesus to take a seat with the guests instead of being in the company of the servants in the kitchen. But it was no big deal. Jesus was happy to be in the kitchen.

Look anywhere in churches today and you'd see people who love to be honored and sit in seats of honor. They'd be offended if you didn't cite their titles, credentials and achievements during your introduction. They'd be offended if you didn't attach their titles to their names. One time, a high ranking minister was speaker in a church and he checked whether his name was correctly written on the program. He asked disappointed, "Pastor Bert Santos? Just 'Pastor' Bert Santos?" Then the program coordinator hurriedly edited it to "Reverend Doctor Bert Santos."

His real name isn't Bert Santos, of course.

We must give honor to whom honor is due, but if per chance you were not given the honor, would you insist on it? Well, remember how Jesus preferred staying with the servants in the kitchen than occupying a conspicuous seat of honor. Blessed are the meek, God will give them possession of the earth. Jesus was used to being insulted and intentionally given mocked honor. It never bothered him, even when he was crowned with thorns and mockingly hailed as king.

To me, meekness is so powerful. Genuinely anointed servants of God who are careful to always wear the tattered mantle of meekness have their armors beneath it shine more gloriously. I see it and praise the Lord for them. The next time you are invited to a great event but are made to stay in a dimly lit, inconspicuous corner, rejoice and take pride in your high station in the spirit. The meek shall inherit the earth.

Here's the Best Part!

Now, here's the best part. Jesus turned water into wine, and high quality wine at that! But where was he at the time? Did he show himself in public to claim the feat? Nope. He remained in the kitchen. Instead, he told the servants to take the wine sample to the host. And who did the host praise? The bridegroom. The host never knew where the miracle wine had come from, and neither did all the guests. Can you do that? Do a good deed but keep yourself anonymous?

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Importance of Ministry Look-Alike in God's Kingdom

This is a vital principle in God's Kingdom---your ministry should look very much like the ministries God approved in the bible. Or more aptly, the ministries he himself ordained. All these ministries had one Kingdom DNA and therefore the same characteristics. They all looked the same in spirit, though they had their distinguishing marks, which were also provided and designed by God.

When people were asking about John the baptizer's ministry, note what they said:
They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No." [John 1.21]
John's ministry looked very much like the ministries of the prophets of old, particularly Elijah's. In another instance, Jesus told his audience that if they were willing to believe it, John was the "Elijah to come," [Matthew 11.14]. There is no exemption---if you claim to be doing God's work, your ministry should have the Kingdom DNA of the ministries the prophets and the patriarchs did in the Old and New Testaments.

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Look at Jesus' ministry. How did people of his time see it?
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” [Matthew 16]
See the DNA lineage? Christ's ministry looked like John's ministry which looked like Elijah's ministry and the ministries of the prophets. They all bore the Kingdom imprint. If you're curios what the Kingdom imprint or DNA is, consider these points:

1. They were unique, even weird, ministries that were run with radical Kingdom principles.
2. They were unacceptable to the religious and worldly.
3. They were hated and persecuted.
4. They were not happy with the status quo as long as it didn't agree with God's Word and His present move.
5. They exposed anything not of God.
6. They were lowly and avoided the limelight, although God himself would put them there.
7. Nothing was by human effort.
8. They often went against men's traditions.
9. They never ran the rat race. They did only what God told them and waited patiently.
10. They were meek ministries.
11. They were strangers in this world. It was evident that they belonged to another kingdom.
12. They never cared about greatness in this world.
13. Everything they did was for God and his Kingdom alone. They never worked for religious organizations set up by men.
14. They recognized each other's ministries, acknowledging that they were all part of the one Kingdom of God.
15. They gave up everything. They lost their lives for God.

These ministries that God ordained in the bible all had the same character though they also had their special individual characteristics. For instance, Moses did a lot of signs and wonders while Isaiah mostly just prophesied and delivered God's judgments and warnings. Joseph and Daniel operated in dreams and interpretations while Nehemiah and Ezra did practical works. But they all possessed the 14 qualities above.

Sadly, a lot of church ministries today look more like business franchises or cause-oriented organizations run like corporations. They don't look one bit like the Acts church. They don't have apostles, for instance, and they'd laugh at you like you're an idiot if you say churches today should have apostles and prophets. But they have directors and chairmen and presidents and vice presidents, and consultants, and board of trustees. And they have denominations that act separately from each other and even sometimes harshly compete with each other.

And they love being called by their high-sounding titles.

I just wonder---if the apostle Paul suddenly appeared in our midst, would he recognize today's churches or would he see them as part of the Roman Empire?

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Here's Their Funny Idea about Christ's One Body. And They Never Found It Funny.

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See this powerful bible passage? "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." [Ephesians 4]. But here's how some church folks corrupt it.

They think the passage is meant for their church denomination. They really believe "one body" means their church denomination with all their members united as one. And sadly, a lot of church denominations today think like this---they think their denomination is the "one body" the bible talks about. When they hear about "one body in Christ," they think it applies to their church denomination.

If this were so, then there would be "bodies" of Jesus Christ, each denomination being "one body." And I wonder why no one among them stops to think about what they are claiming to be. Does anybody know what they're talking about? How can their denomination be the one body of Christ? And to think that these denominations are manned by leaders with master's or doctorate degrees and high titles.

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Let's say denominations were legitimate in God's eyes. Then each denomination should claim to be a part of the body, not the body itself. They each should say we are the "One Eye" or "One Hand" of the Body, or "One Toe." And this will agree with how Paul explained the body of Christ. Not all are hands or feet. One is a hand, another a foot, another an ear, another a mouth, and so on.

But no one wants to be a mere eye, ear, or mouth. They each claim to be the body. They insist that each of their denominations are the one body of Christ and their local churches are the the different parts. And they all sincerely believe this with all their hearts. I've never seen a church denomination consider other denominations when talking of the body. They just talk of their own denomination. And no one's stopping to think. Simply amazing how their minds work.

Now, imagine what that makes of Christ. With each of them claiming to be the body, there becomes not one body but bodies of Christ. And yet they all say there's only one Head, Jesus Christ. Can you picture that out? Bodies with only one head? That's a monster. That's what these denominations picture out Jesus.

No matter how spiritual a church denomination looks and no matter if it's glorious to see how their members worldwide unite as one denomination or "body of Christ," it still runs contrary to Jesus' prayer in John 17---that true believers be completely united in Him. And this means all believers in every church in the world, regardless of denomination or affiliation, should be "completely united." In fact, the genuine body of Christ has no denomination.

This is why I believe the true church of Jesus Christ---the true body of Christ---is yet to appear in these final days. Denominations are nothing, if not fakes, and are mere religious organizations invented by men. The true body of Christ (the glorious church) will appear when true believers finally give up (or demolish) their church denominations and unite together worldwide as the one family of God led by true church fathers---apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What Happens If You're Stuck with Earthly Teachings?

You must grow spiritually in Christ, no doubt. No growth means no life. No life means no part in Christ, whatsoever. And Jesus said the main reason why someone would have no life in him is because he refuses to eat Jesus' flesh.
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [John 6.53]
And what does it mean to "eat the flesh of the Son of Man"? The context is clear. It's about swallowing Jesus' radical teachings---like eating his flesh and drinking his blood. He taught them: "This bread is my flesh...whoever eats this bread lives forever." 

Then later he told them what it all meant: "Whoever eats me (or feeds on me) will live because of me." He even hinted on how he also "ate" the Father (he lived because of the Father). All this eating business proved too much for some of his disciples so they left him for good.

In other words, they were stuck to earthly teachings and could not comprehend anything higher. All they understood was what would benefit them in the flesh, what their human theologies and doctrines allowed them to understand. They liked Jesus because they ate bread and fish for free. But the moment Jesus took them higher and let them taste radical heavenly teachings, their minds were rattled. Their theology couldn't accept it. 

Once religious people see that something trashes their traditions, theologies, doctrines and familiar ways of doing things, they reject it.

You have to eat Jesus' flesh. It is a must---or else you have no life in you. And this means you have to leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity [Hebrews 6]---go on to the next level, to his radical teachings and way of life. And for sure, his radical teachings cannot be understood or accepted by those still on the level of earthly teachings.

Jesus' Earthly Teachings

A lot of spiritual things are just Jesus' earthly teachings. Being born-again was earthly teaching, and yet Nicodemus, Pharisee and teacher of Israel, seriously doubted about it. "How can this be?" he asked.
I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? [John 3]
Elementary teachings about Christ are "earthly." You need them as basics while transitioning from your earthly awareness to your heavenly awareness. According to Hebrews, this includes doctrines like the doctrine on repentance, faith in God, baptisms, resurrection, laying on of hands, and eternal judgment. 

All our church activities and programs and "ministries" are also under earthly teachings---or probably even way below it (probably under "mundane"). Anything that does not hurt the devil is useless. Remember, the reason why God transfers us to his Kingdom through the born-again experience in Christ is to get out of enemy territory and start fighting him to rescue other souls he keeps as prisoners. 

As new born babes, we are gradually introduced to God's Kingdom, and this is done by first introducing us to Christ's earthly teachings, like being born again and born of spirit which, according to Jesus, are about how to "see" and "enter" the Kingdom. 

These are all basics and earthly, and the book of Hebrews advises that we leave them after a while. We should NOT be dwelling or stuck on earthly teachings. A lot of church people are stuck in this trap (another deception of the enemy) and all their lives all they do is their church ministry, which is really nothing but how to grow their church denominations.

You MUST go on to maturity. And what is maturity in Christ?

Jesus' Heavenly Teachings

Maturity, according to Hebrews, is when we advance in character and life. It's all about life and character. Watch this:
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. [5.13-14].
It says, if you're immature or carnal or earthly, you are "not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness." But if you are mature, eating solid spiritual food (radical teachings of Jesus Christ), you are an expert of righteousness and are constantly training yourself on the use of righteousness. You have developed sharp spiritual discernment for distinguishing good from evil. 

In other words, you are a deadly spiritual combatant, able to see the devil even if he masquerades as an angel of light. And you easily see God and his angels, too. And this is all about having the mind, character and life of Jesus Christ in you---because you eat his flesh and drink his blood. You are acquainted with the heavenly things of Jesus.

And this is NOT an option. This is a MUST. If you do not eat his flesh, you have NO LIFE in you. It's that serious. 

I remember Paul when he was being nicely introduced by a girl in Thyatira [Acts 16.17]
She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved."
If you lacked sharp spiritual discernment, you'd probably thank the girl for the wonderful intro. Most people appreciate good introduction like that. Not Paul. He had sharp discernment to distinguish good from evil. He knew it was a demon talking through the girl. He rebuked the demon. That's Jesus' heavenly teaching---teaching you never hear in church today. 

It's your worst nightmare if you get stuck to religion (to earthly teaching), doing nothing all your church life except church activities and programs and "ministries" that are useless in the spiritual realms. Devils are not scared by your church attendance or activities or programs or wonderful choir singing or ministry titles and seminary degrees. 

Jesus' heavenly teachings enable you to live in heaven everyday while on earth. For instance, you may not be rich but you begin to possess all things. 
Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. [1 Corinthians 6.10]
You begin to command nature and objects and they obey you. You command spirits and they submit to you. You begin to understand what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3.21:
All things are yours...the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
No Life in You Means Heaven's Gate is Shut on Your Face

Finally, remember the 10 virgins? The 5 foolish ones brought lamps but not enough oil. Oil is the life of the lamp. And Jesus said life is when you eat his flesh and drink his blood. You can't stay eating baby food all your life. You have to stop doing that and start eating solid food, which is Jesus' flesh and blood. You have to go on to mature teachings, to Jesus' heavenly things, to radical teachings about Christ.

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Actually, all my e-books are the radical things I get from the Lord during my quiet times with him.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Only Rich Guy Jesus Approached

You seldom see Jesus approaching the rich in the Gospel. He took time to visit a dying servant (though he found her dead on his arrival) and personally visited Peter, James and John to invite them to be his disciples, but I don't remember him taking time to visit the rich or those in high positions.

In Luke, he said "Blessed are the poor" and in another instance he praised a poor widow who gave her last two small copper coins, while belittling the donations of the rich.

Except for one guy---Zacchaeus, I often wonder why Jesus stayed away from the rich. What did he see in Zacchaeus to invite himself to his house, even saying, "I must stay at your house today." Was it because Zacchaeus wanted to see him? But other rich people wanted to see him, too. Nicodemus wanted to see him, but Jesus never invited himself to his place.

I think it was Zacchaeus' death-defying tree-climb that prompted Jesus to want to stay at his place. Seriously. With his height, climbing trees was death-defying for Zacchaeus. Moreover, have you seen a wealthy man climb a tree for someone? I haven't. Can you imagine Bill Gates or Prince Charles joining the crowd and climbing a tree just to see me (or an ordinary fellow) pass by?

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Rich people would probably do it today for Jesus (if Jesus were here today). but back then when Jesus was a poor nobody? No way. I can't imagine them even standing among the crowd under the hot sun just to see a nobody like Jesus pass by.

Aside from discerning Zacchaeus' heart---that he was ready to repent and even lose most of his wealth for Jesus---the Lord saw how Zacchaeus waited with the crowd (he even "ran ahead" of it) and climbed up a tree just to see Him pass. I can imagine how Zacchaeus even waited a long time for Jesus to pass by. He didn't know exactly what time Jesus would pass by, so he had to wait.

Such excitement to see Jesus is rare among the rich, in fact even among church people. Church people are willing to join the crowd during worship in church on Sundays, even be active in church, but would they be excited and willing to run ahead of the crowd and climb up trees for Him?

Jesus looks for that in a person---the excitement to simply see him and the willingness to do anything (or lose anything) just to see him. With his height, Zacchaeus wouldn't stand a chance against the crowd. But this didn't stop him. He did the unthinkable---he did what the rich are never expected to do. He'd be cruelly criticized or rejected by his society for the indecent and ridiculous deed, and do all that just for this nobody named Jesus.

If Jesus sees this radical excitement and willingness in you, he'd call out your name and invite himself to stay at your place. There were thousands of "worshipers" who worshiped good in the temple in those days. But Jesus never invited himself to their homes. The era of worshiping with the crowd is old school and the kind of worship Jesus looks for is one that would get out of the crowd, run ahead of it, and "climb up trees"---or do something radical and detestable to religious people or the "decent" people of this world just for the simple goal of seeing Jesus.

The rich have a special place in Jesus' heart, too---if they are willing to be poor-in-spirit like Zacchaeus.

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Friday, June 2, 2017

6 Myths and Truths about Growing in Christ

Anyone who remembers Eliab? The prophet Samuel thought he was God's chosen because of his looks. You remember John Mark? He was taken to a missionary journey but had proved unreliable because he had deserted Paul and Barnabas. There are times we miss the traits and marks that God looks for in a servant and judge people with our flesh, so we pick the wrong people for the right ministries.

God told Samuel how He never looks at a person's appearance but his heart and John Mark later repented and wrote a version of the Gospel and proved helpful to Paul's ministry. How do we know who's a real help right now in ministry and who's not yet ready?

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How do you make sure you are really growing spiritually in Christ and how do you know you're not? Among the tragedies today in church is not knowing who's really growing and who's not. And many who are carnal or spiritually immature get the highest positions in church and direct those who are genuinely mature.

So, here are 6 truths and myths about growing in Christ.

Myth 1: People active in church are growing spiritually in Christ. Not always. In fact, those so active are often the ones who are immature, especially those who are in church almost 24/7, participate in all the activities and ministries, and seem to live in the church---in their busyness they lose time alone with God and they seldom seriously study the bible or devote enough time for it.

They may look good in church but often they lose it when they're elsewhere where they act and behave differently. Mostly, they do not help do house chores and make going to church an escape.

Truth 1: Activeness in church doesn't mean anything.Those who really grow in Christ study the Word of God seriously, have daily quiet times alone with God and live out the Word daily. They may not be so active in church (sometimes they just sit in the pews on Sundays and do nothing else) yet they live right in the eyes of God whether they are in church, in school. at home or anywhere they may be. They are the most useful servants of God. At their beckon and call, God sends his angels to assist their prayers.

Myth 2: Worship leaders and members of the worship team (and choir) are worshipers. Not always. Often, they worship good only when on stage to be seen by people, especially when they're on camera. Do they worship as good when in the privacy of their bedrooms? I doubt. I've seen members of worship teams not worshiping when it's not their turn to lead worship on stage. They talk with each other, text, just stand idle during worship or busy themselves with other things. Some do not sing at all but just wait for worship to finish, obviously bored.

Worse, some can even worship expressively on stage but live in sin off stage. I've heard about worship team members or church workers who are actually in sexual immorality (and personally knew some of them who did).

Truth 2: True worshipers worship God in spirit and in truth. They worship God first of all by being deep in his Word and actually living daily life according to it. And how they worship in church is the same way they worship God in the secrecy of their bedrooms.

Myth 3: Worship is singing and playing musical instruments. False. People always mistake good singers and instrument players as "worshipers." Worship is NOT singing or instrument playing. In the spirit, you may be singing for God and yet God does not see it as worship. Worse, a lot of people really worship themselves in church though they may think they are doing it for God.

Truth 3: Worship is how we offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. It has very little to do with singing and instrument playing. You can be singing out of tune and yet be a true worshiper of God. Many people do not know this, but meditating the Word of God is true worship. No one may be singing in church, but if everyone is meditating the Word seriously, it's actually worship time.

Myth 4: Sunday is the Lords Day. It sounds good but you won't find this idea in the bible. Nor is Saturday the "Sabbath" day. Don't think you've become "spiritual" or you are growing in Christ just because you go to church every Sunday.

Truth 4: Instead, ever since you got born again and surrendered your life to Jesus, God started owning your life. "You are not your own, you have been bought for a price" says the Word. Thus, all your days on earth are the "Lord's Day." You worship God daily. You rest in God each day as well. We devote ourselves to God not just once a week (and just 4 hours at that) but all day everyday. In fact, it's the reason why we "pray without ceasing" and "meditate the Word of God day and night." If you worship God just on Sundays or Saturdays, your spirit is starved.

Myth 5: You must give God your tithes and offering. A lot of Christians believe giving tithes and offering is part of Christian growth. In fact, just because they give their tithes, they think they have become good "givers." But if you really want to grow in Christ, you should get the true picture.

Truth 5: Since 1998, God had already showed me that not just 10 percent of our money but all of it belong to God. We probably give 10 percent to the pastor or apostle in church on Sundays, but the remaining 90 percent still belongs to him---because (as I have said) we are not our own, we have been bought for a price. Truth is, we own nothing.

Never treat your money and possessions as your own and then just give 10 percent to God and think the 90 percent belongs to you. You're getting it all wrong. If you want to really grow in Christ, all your money and possessions should belong to God. Anytime he requires them, you should be willing to release them. Always ask God what you should do with the 90 percent. It's his.

Myth 6: God loves you more than others if you have more money. I really find it ridiculous when people think they have more money because God finds them growing more in Christ than others are. The same when people see churches with more money and bigger buildings as growing more spiritually than other churches. Your riches has nothing to do with your spiritual standing. In fact, being richer than others doesn't mean anything.

Truth 6: God gives money to anyone, even crooks in politics, the corrupt and criminals. But God never gives the cross of Jesus just to anyone. He chooses who suffers (or drinks the cup) with Christ and sits with him on his right and left in his Kingdom. If you have more money, it only means you have the responsibility to share it with others who have none. Nothing more. Jesus didn't say blessed are the moneyed. He said blessed are the poor in spirit.

If you're looking for someone to assign an important ministry, make sure you know who the real servants in your church are---servants recognized by the King and His Kingdom.

For more radically life-changing insights, get our e-books!

GOD's Flesh: "And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" [Job 19.26-17]. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

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