Monday, November 20, 2017

Today's Passage - Matthew 27:1-10

River of Life Christian Church ︳www.rolcc.net/english

Matthew 27:1-10

 

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me." 

 

How sad was the ending of Judas! He saw Jesus convicted and he regretted. But it was already too late. He returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders, but they were unmoved. When devil Satan entices us to commit a sin, he will use all kinds of sweet talk to trick us into his wicked sins. However, after we commit a sin, and start feeling regret, devil shows no sympathy for us. Instead he will accuse us, just like the chief priest here.

 

We often live in a state of regret and then discover it too late. Many times, men who are husbands told me that their wives wanted a divorce but they had no idea why. After talking to them we found out that in the past, the husbands had spent too much time at work, had neglected family, wife, and children. When they found out that their wives are leaving them, they try to redeem themselves. But they were too late. When the career of Elvis Presley was at its height, he was surprised that his wife wanted a divorce because he spent every day in performances while neglected her. After his wife left him, Elvis' career started going downhill. He started doing drug and getting drunk. Then he wrote a song, "You are always in my mind", regretting his wife' leaving. He wanted things to be back the way they were. But it was all too late.

 

May God give us a keen heart. In every opportunity, let us grasp the blessings God gives us so that we will not live in a state of regret.  Judas regretted, so he went out and hung himself. That wrong decision brought a sad ending of his life. May God give us wisdom to walk with the Lord every day. Let us resist all temptations from the enemy and experience God's blessings!

   

Pray with Pastor Tong
   

Lord, may your Holy Spirit help us not to live in a state of regret. Let us experience your mercy and blessing whenever we turn back to you. May God help us to live our daily life for you.  I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!

   

  

     

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Today's Passage - Matthew 26:69-75

River of Life Christian Church ︳www.rolcc.net/english

Matthew 26:69-75

 

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!" After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

   

Remember that Peter once boasted, "Even if all fall away, I will not." Indeed, this is the most difficult part of being human: relying on ourselves too much, believing that we are the most dependable ones. Others may do this, or that, but I am the one with the principle. Others will fall, but I will never. The main reason is that we don't understand our weakness. That's why the Lord exercises us through sufferings, making us realize our weaknesses and shortcomings.

 

God often uses our circumstances to exercise us. Through our co-workers, we realize our lack of wisdom. Through our children, we saw our lack of patience. Similarly, God was exercising Peter, so that he could understand himself. How useless our natural lives are. Peter was a person with a very strong natural life. He thought he could rely on his bravery to win over this spiritual battle. But in fact, he discovered that men's bravery and calculation are no match to devil's authority. That's why three times he denied Jesus in front of maids, and servants. God used these to humble himself. I believe that from that moment on, he would never rely on his flesh to boast. After Peter denied the Lord three time, and start weeping bitterly, the mercy of God descended upon him. The Lord said, "a broken and contrite heart ... will not despise." In fact, not only didn't Lord despise him, in the days after, the Lord would also use him. In the Pentecostal, Peter bravely stood up amid his failures, became a witness of the Lord to the crowd. From that moment, he no longer relied on his flesh, but on the mighty power of the Spirit. He stood up again and again from his failures.

 

Have you ever denied the Lord in your life? Maybe you did not deny Him openly as Peter did. But many times, one would do that without realizing it: afraid of saying grace in front of people, afraid of claiming to be a Christian, or not letting others know that you are a Christian. May the Lord forgive our sins and save us from the bondage of keep relying on our flesh to live the life of a Christian. May God's Spirit release us, so that every day we can rely on the mighty power of the Holy Spirit to live a life of victory for the Lord.

 

Pray with Pastor Tong
   

Lord, May your spiritual light shine upon us,. Make us realize our weaknesses and shortcomings so that we no longer serve you with our natural personality and strength. Let us humble ourselves, seek your power and your will, so that we can live a life that pleases you.  I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!

   

  

     

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Today's Passage - Matthew 26:57-68

River of Life Christian Church ︳www.rolcc.net/english

Matthew 26:57-68

  

...The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'" Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God." "You have said so," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" "He is worthy of death"...

 

In this scripture passage, we can see the difference between the testimonies of people and God. When the priests and scribes brought Jesus to the Sanhedrin for trial, they were determined to condemn Him of any sin, so they made tremendous effort to find evidences to accuse Jesus with. Evidences should come up naturally and they don't need to be dressed up; these people, however, tried to find evidences to accuse Jesus. They could not find any real evidence, so they tried to find false evidence against Jesus but still couldn't find any.

 

From this incident, we can see the true nature of the holiness of Jesus. People wanted to falsely accuse Him, but couldn't find any evidence, so they had to make up false testimonies without any fact. Those who reject the truth are truly pathetic; they know what is true, but do not want to acknowledge it, so they must make up a bigger lie to cover their foolishness and ignorance. The High Priest asked Jesus whether He's the Son of the Almighty, and Jesus answer very clearly. He wasn't vague or ambiguous at all, instead He said "You have said so" and "you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The testimony of Jesus was sound and clear, and every word carries power, because this is a testimony of truth. Holy Spirit will also bear testimony for Jesus with His Power, which demonstrates that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. Anyone who accepts this testimony will receive eternal life; anyone who rejects this testimony will perish.

 

Brothers and sisters, are you willing to accept this testimony? Are you will be spread this testimony? May the Lord help us, even though we might be in all kinds of hardship or facing rejection and opposition from the world, let us follow the example of Christ to spread the true testimony and God's word, so that we can win back the hearts of people for Jesus Christ!

 

Pray with Pastor Tong
   

Lord, I thank you because you have set a great example for our life. Your true testimony has turned our lives around. May you help us to spread your true testimony in our daily life, so that many will be drawn to you. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!

   

 

     

Friday, November 17, 2017

Today's Passage - Matthew 26:57-68

River of Life Christian Church ︳www.rolcc.net/english

Matthew 26:57-68

  

...The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'" Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God." "You have said so," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" "He is worthy of death"...

 

In this scripture passage, we can see the difference between the testimonies of people and God. When the priests and scribes brought Jesus to the Sanhedrin for trial, they were determined to condemn Him of any sin, so they made tremendous effort to find evidences to accuse Jesus with. Evidences should come up naturally and they don't need to be dressed up; these people, however, tried to find evidences to accuse Jesus. They could not find any real evidence, so they tried to find false evidence against Jesus but still couldn't find any.

 

From this incident, we can see the true nature of the holiness of Jesus. People wanted to falsely accuse Him, but couldn't find any evidence, so they had to make up false testimonies without any fact. Those who reject the truth are truly pathetic; they know what is true, but do not want to acknowledge it, so they must make up a bigger lie to cover their foolishness and ignorance. The High Priest asked Jesus whether He's the Son of the Almighty, and Jesus answer very clearly. He wasn't vague or ambiguous at all, instead He said "You have said so" and "you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The testimony of Jesus was sound and clear, and every word carries power, because this is a testimony of truth. Holy Spirit will also bear testimony for Jesus with His Power, which demonstrates that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. Anyone who accepts this testimony will receive eternal life; anyone who rejects this testimony will perish.

 

Brothers and sisters, are you willing to accept this testimony? Are you will be spread this testimony? May the Lord help us, even though we might be in all kinds of hardship or facing rejection and opposition from the world, let us follow the example of Christ to spread the true testimony and God's word, so that we can win back the hearts of people for Jesus Christ!

 

Pray with Pastor Tong
   

Lord, I thank you because you have set a great example for our life. Your true testimony has turned our lives around. May you help us to spread your true testimony in our daily life, so that many will be drawn to you. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!

   

 

     

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Today's Passage - Matthew 26:47-56

River of Life Christian Church ︳www.rolcc.net/english

Matthew 26:47-56

 

...Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

 

After Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, He saw that the disciples were still sleeping, so He woke them up. Jesus got up from prayer, but disciples but up from sleeping. Jesus was filled with peace and assurance, that's why when He was faced with His capture and the subsequent trials by Pilate, He was speaking with authority and wisdom. The disciples who just woke up from sleep, however, were in complete disarray and eventually all fled. The outcome from praying and not praying is so drastically different!

 

After Jesus resurrected, the disciple prayed in the upper room for ten days to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. After they received the Holy Spirit, they were filled with wisdom and authority. The disciples in the four gospels were cowardly and sleepy; they wanted to be promoted to high positions and become rich, but they were afraid to suffer and die; they are no different from us! In the Book of Acts, however, they were not afraid of death and beating, they sang while they were imprisoned, and they preached the gospel, healed the sick, cast out demon with mighty power. The outcomes of praying and not praying were indeed striking! May God help us not to underestimate the power of prayer. Let us learn to pray and look upon God in our daily life!

 

Do you really want to understand God's will and be able to follow it? Just pray, and pray earnestly, pray eagerly, fast and pray, pray overnight, and God will surely not hide His will from you. It's not God who's confusing us, but ourselves. May God help us to learn to depend on God and seek God through prayer. Are you willing to begin now?

 

Pray with Pastor Tong
   

Lord, please forgive us because we can't keep watch with you for long. We pity our own weakness more than we consider your will. May the Lord give us more burden for prayer, so that we will raise our holy hand anytime and anyplace to cry out to you! I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!

 
     

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Today's Passage - Matthew 26:40-46

River of Life Christian Church ︳www.rolcc.net/english

Matthew 26:40-46

 

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.  Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

 

As we face our daily life, we must learn to pray. Prayer will give you spiritual wisdom and insight to overcome attacks from devil Satan. When Jesus was facing the path to the cross ahead of Him, He was filled with anxiety and sadness. That's why He brought the disciples to pray with Him because He was hoping the disciples could pray with Him in one accord. The more Jesus prayed, the more power and faith He had. The disciples were filled with anxiety and sadness as well, but they fell asleep. When Jesus spoke to them, they were so sleepy that they didn't know what to say. It was like when my daughter was young and couldn't wake up in the morning, she'd be changing clothes while still sleeping, and even after she got into car she'd still be sleeping.

 

How's your prayer life? We are like those disciples: Going to work is like fighting a battle, back at home we need to do house chores and take care of kids, and when everything's done our eyes are already sore. Many people pray before they go to sleep, but they conclude the prayer with amen next morning. We fall asleep as soon as we read the Bible or pray. We often comfort ourselves by saying "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." That's why the Lord told the disciples here to "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

 

We begin to stumble and fall as soon as we stop to pray. Deuteronomy 33:25 says that "your strength will equal your days." Your day must begin with prayer, and the day will be filled with presence of God. You'll have wisdom at work and have love and patience with family. If you day begins with helplessly busy schedule, then your day will be filled with complaints, frustration, stress and bad temper. May God help us to know how to rely on the Lord in our daily life, to experience His victory and abundance through prayer, and to fight a wonderful victory for the Lord!

 

Pray with Pastor Tong
   

Lord, we thank you because you have set an example of prayer for us. May the Lord remind us to learn to retrieve grace, strength and wisdom from you every day through prayer. Help us to keep our spirits awake so that we'll watch and pray with you until we have victory. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!

 
     

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Today's Passage - Matthew 26:36-39

River of Life Christian Church ︳www.rolcc.net/english

Matthew 26:36-39

 

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

  

When Jesus went to Garden of Gethsemane to pray, why was the Lord's heart so anxious? Was it because of the fact that He was going to face death, or because He had to face the cruelty of the cross? Actually, it was neither of them. The Lord's heart was anxious because He knew that when He was nailed on the cross, He had to bear all the sins of the world. In that very instant, the Father God whom Jesus loved will hid His face from Jesus.

 

The relationship within the Trinity is indeed very intimate and it won't be severed; however, when God's lamb Jesus Christ was nailed on the cross for the sins of mankind, He had to experience separation in His relationship with Father God. Later on, the Lord cried out on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." He had never experienced it all His life, and that's why He was "sorrow to the point of death." There was a struggle in His heart: According to His flesh, Jesus didn't want to go through such pain and suffer through separation from Father God; according to God's will, however, Jesus knew that He was sent to the world precisely for this purpose. That's why He said: "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

 

The Lord obeyed Father God and went on the path of the cross for our sake, and that is an action of love. Because of His obedience, the power of love was released, and this truth can also be helpful to us. We often feel that it's difficult for us to love our enemies; if we can love an enemy, then most likely it's not a real enemy, because how is it possible for us to love our real enemy? We think love is a feeling, so if we want to love we must first feeling something. Jesus, however, could love others because He obeyed the commandment of Father God. Therefore, love is not just a feeling; anyone who's willing to obey the will of Father God and pray blessings on an enemy is actually loving the enemy. When we are willing to obey God, the power of love from God will be released through action of obedience. Brothers and sisters, are you willing to learn the lesson of obedience starting today?

 

Pray with Pastor Tong
   

Lord, please give all the brothers and sisters an obedient heart so that they will pray for everyone around them. May you release your love from the throne and pour down on all the relationships that they have. I thank you and I pray in the victorious name of Jesus, amen!