Tag Archives: faithfulness

PRAYER OF JABEZ

10 Aug

Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Irwan Fransiskus, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 6 Aug 2017.

Prayer of Jabez

The prayer of Jabez teaches us how to depend on God and to call upon Him.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 – Jabez was more honourable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

Jabez’s mother gave birth to him in pain. She named her son “Jabez”, which means “pain.” Perhaps she led a painful life, so she decided to name her son “pain” literally. Jabez’s prayer is made up of four parts. First, Jabez asks God to bless him. Second, he asks God to enlarge his territory or increase his responsibility. Third, he prays that God will be with him and stay close. Lastly, Jabez asks that God keep him from harm so that he will be free from pain.

The Bible mentions that he was an honourable man because of his prayer.

1. Jabez asked God to bless him.
Jabez understood that the blessings of Abraham in Genesis 12:2 – ask the Lord to bless us to glorify Him. Jabez understood the purpose of God’s blessings. Jacob wrestled with an angel at the Jabbok river until he was blessed (Genesis 32:26).

Power, fame, wealth, beauty and health cannot satisfy us. We can learn from the life of famous people like Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Thierry Costa and Getulio Vargas. They did not find the meaning of life in their status, and these successful people ended up committing suicide.

2. Jabez prayed for God to enlarge his border so that God’s hands may be with Him.
Jabez understood the prayer of Moses in Exodus 33:15 “If Your presence do not go with us, do not bring us from here”.

If the Lord is with us, His favour is also with us. It is very important to stay close to God and rely on His continued support and guidance throughout our life.

3. Jabez asked God to keep Him from harm.
Jabez clearly knew and prayed specifically to the One who could protect him from evil and pain, 1 Chronicles 4:10 – Keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain. The Hebrew word for harm in this verse correlates with 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 – these are the examples of harm or “evil”.

How do we keep ourselves away from harm/evil? There are four examples of the word “harm/evil” in the Bible:

1. Idolatry – anything we love more than God is our idol.
It could be our hobby, our occupation or even the love of chasing money (Ecclesiastes 5:9-10, Ephesians 5:5).

2. Sexual immorality is a sin we must avoid.
We live in a world where society is experiencing moral degradation, where same sex marriage is legal in some countries. Genesis 49:2 records that Ruben slept with his stepmother (one of Jacob’s wives) and as a result Ruben was denied of his first-born birth right.

Lot and his daughters committed incest, and their two descendants from this relationship resulted in constant battles between the Israelites and the Moabites and Ammonites (Genesis 19:32).

3. Putting God to the test is to demand God to prove Himself to us in our own way.
Pastor Mark Wolford, from the US State of Virginia, was bitten by a rattle snake and was killed during a church service for putting God to test. He was well-known for handling dangerous snakes in a test of faith. We need to practise godly discernment by not doing dangerous acts to demonstrate God’s protection upon us. When we view God through our doubt and demand something of Him as a way of determining whether or not He can be trusted, we are in danger of testing God.

In the Bible, there are examples of both acceptable and unacceptable kinds of testing God. It is acceptable to “test” God concerning tithes and offerings (we give because we have faith in Him), for example, but unacceptable when the test is to demand something from God to prove Himself to us because we lack faith in Him.

4. Grumbling is a harmful attitude and it is evil in the sight of God. Proverbs 20:19 It is that faith-inspired action of obedience that God loves. As seen in the example of Israel’s journey out of Egypt, they developed a habit of grumbling.

How do we value the love of Christ in our life? God has given us everything, even His precious blood on the Cross (John 3:16). There is no greater love than the love of Christ. Jacqueline Kennedy’s love letter to the British Ambassador to the US, was sold in an auction for a price for USD$190,000. The Bible is God’s love letter to us, and is priceless. Our food is to do the will of God and to accomplish His work, John 4:34. Let us work out our salvation and work for food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27).

At the end of the prayer of Jabez, it is clear that God approved of this faithful prayer by granting it. It is also important to see that Jabez was passionate in his plea to God: "He cried out to the God of Israel." God wants to hear that we need Him through passionate prayer.

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CHALLENGES FOR EVANGELISM

6 Jul

The Summary of Sermon by Ps. Djohan Handojo at Bethany International Sevice on Sunday, 2 July 2017.

CHALLENGES FOR EVANGELISM

Pastor Djohan recently attended a conference at Wittenburg in Germany where the Reformation started by Martin Luther. 

The conference discussed how to bring the Gospel for every person and challenges in sharing it. The gospel brings freedom and transforms life. 

In sharing the gospel today, we faced several challenges :-

 1. Ideology 

People do not believe in God. 40% of the people in the Western world become atheist. They do not find God important in their lives.
2. Secularism  

People look into the world and there is less emphasis of God in the society. In South East Asia, many people still have strong faith in God. We still find Christian schools, many Church services in the malls and hotels.

3. Moral 

Today sexual disorder is considered normal and acceptable especially in the western world. The government in America and other western countries legalized the same-sex marriage. Even the schools are teaching it and educate the right to develop love and feelings beyond the gender which is gender disorientation.

(
James 1: 2-3) The world is constantly under temptation by the devil. Only the kingdom of God is unshakeable. 

We are dealing with self centeredness. People have the tendency to become self centered. Some of us struggle with sin but Jesus is waiting for us to come back when we have gone astray in the world. 
(2 Corinthians 5: 17-18) We are the new creation in Christ. It is important for us to walk in Christ every day. God will see us in a different way, God will see Christ who has redeemed us and see us as a new man or new woman in Christ.

When we are still living in the old self, the devil can attack us. When we live as a new man in Christ, the
devil cannot attack us. However, we can live a victorious life because God is in us.

(1 Corinthians 6 : 2 – 3)  For us as believers, one day, we will reign and rule with Jesus. We will judge the world and the fallen angels. 

Now, the Holy Spirit is in the world but one day the Holy Spirit will be taken away from the world. The world will turn into chaos.
(John 6:54- 55) Whoever eat of my flesh and drink of my blood remains in me, have the salvation and eternal life.

GIVE THANKS ALWAYS

17 Nov

GIVE THANKS ALWAYS

TODAY’S INSPIRATION

On Father’s Day event at an elementary school, the children were asked to write a story about their father. It was interesting to know when children began to tell you about their father in writing, they revealed what it is with a straight to the point language. They talked about how they were thankful and grateful for his kindness. Maybe for a father to the things they were doing, were ordinary matter as a form of an obligation. But if we as a father, reading what was written by our children, our hearts would have touched, moved the way they express kindness to their parents that their father is the best dad in the world. As a good father, after reading the child’s gratitude, we will definitely have a commitment to provide what is best for the children.

Similarly, with the heart of God who is our good Father. For actually, what God has given is something impossible to repay, and therefore there is only one way to please God is by giving thanks and gratitude in all things. At the moment we do that, I’m sure God’s feeling which is love, will be moved because it is exactly what we will do, make God and heaven to rejoice. When the heaven rejoices, then all of our necessities, God will provide even before it is spoken.

Therefore, make God’s heart be proud by giving thanks in all things and thankfulness in all circumstances. And when God smiles happily, it will open the doors of heaven and pour out blessing to you.

TODAY’S WORD: Psalm 107:1-9, NKJV

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, 3 And gathered out of the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south. 4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; They found no city to dwell in. 5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He delivered them out of their distresses. 7 And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city for a dwelling place. 8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.

TODAY’S VERSE TO REMEMBER:

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”  (Psalm 107:1)

TODAY’S ACTION:

Give thanks to God every day for He is good.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

There is power in saying thankfulness to God.

[Taken from Today’s Word by Ps Djohan Handojo and Team]

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Morning: Hebrews 12

Night: Ezekiel 5-7

CALL HIS NAME!

30 Oct

CALL HIS NAME!

TODAY’S INSPIRATION

When in trouble, when in his weakness, as there is no way, that’s most appropriate moment for us to experience the power of God working incredible, because human is no longer reliable. But at a time when there are two options that can be done:

  1. Running from reality. Humans are too selfish to raise their own strength and underestimated the power of God often do this when they are in trouble, when in weakness, when there are no roads. They will blame anything that can be blamed for self-justification. Because egoism they look for a shortcut to run away from reality.
  2. Humbling to come to Jesus and cry out to Him. It’s no easy to be able to come to God with a humble heart and sign of surrender to God on his knees. This step requires self-denial, self-discharge, which means we should be the dominant human spirit and our physical human beings should be increasingly lost. For only by the Holy Spirit, we will be able to kneel, bow down to worship and called out the name of Jesus.

Then the Lord to whom we called out His name will not stay silent, He will deliver us from the evil plans that come out from our mouths to glorify God’s name.

Will you call out His name called not only when distress? But also to continue to worship and praise God in all circumstances and He will deliver not only us but we defend like the apple of His eye alone will never let us be touched at all by the evil and influence.

TODAY’S WORD: Psalm 34:16-23, NKJV

16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all. 20 He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked, And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned. 22 The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

TODAY’S VERSE TO REMEMBER:

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

TODAY’S ACTION:

Cried out to God not to shout in a loud voice, for God’s ear is no less sharp to hear. Crying out can be done with the earnest prayer of faith in the Lord by directly surrender to Him then He will definitely give the best for us.

TODAY’S QUOTE:

God wants you to involve Him in every aspect of your life.

[Taken from Today’s Word by Ps Djohan Handojo and Team]

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Morning: 2 Timothy 4

Night: Jeremiah 20-21

THE BLESSINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES

29 Oct

Excerpt from the Sermon by Pastor Dr Vincent Leoh, Senior Pastor of Glad Tidings Assembly of God, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – Ministering at Bethany International Service, Sun, 25 Oct 2015. Summarised by Sister Stella Ho and Sister Susy.

THE BLESSINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES

We are living in ever changing circumstances. This year, 2015, is a year of multiplied miracles.  In order for us to experience miracles in our life, we need the Holy Spirit.  The life and ministry of Jesus Christ was filled by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus started His ministry after the Holy Spirit anointed Him.

The greatest miracle is from within when we are born again through the Holy Spirit.  Christian life is meant to be a supernatural life in the Holy Spirit.  Many important aspects of the Holy Spirit are found in the book of John.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:16-18).

John refered to the Holy Spirit as the “Paraclete” (A Greek word) – the blessings of the Holy Spirit.

“Parakletos” means somebody who is called alongside to be with the people of God.

A “paraclete” is one who comforts, cheers, encourages, strengthens and empowers.

What are the blessings of the Holy Spirit?

Blessings of the Holy Spirit

  1. The Blessing of His Person: Helper

Somebody who is exactly like Jesus, speaks of another of the same kind (allos).

“Parakletos” is not used anywhere else in the Bible, only in the book of John.  Therefore the Holy Spirit can be our Intercessor, Mediator, Counselor, Comforter Advocate and Friend.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever (John 14:16).

The Holy Spirit is God and He is a Person.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalms 46:1).

Talk to the Holy Spirit daily and proactively in order for Him to help us.  He is our helper and friend.  The Holy Spirit is your best friend.  Don’t Facebook your problems but “Face God” and let the Holy Spirit help us in our struggles and in every situation.

  1. The Blessing of His Presence: Indwelling

The Holy Spirit has come to dwell within us.  We will never be alone.  We can commune with the Holy Spirit within us.  Learn to connect with the Holy Spirit.

Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:17).

  1. The Blessing of His Purpose: Instruction

The Holy Spirit teaches us and guides us in God’s will.  A great deal of our ineffectiveness can be attributed to ignoring the Holy Spirit (Oswald Sander).  His guidance is so real and we will become effective Christians.  Ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for whatever decisions we make.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26).

  1. The Blessing of His Power: Impact

The Holy Spirit is our Source of Power. Life’s problems consume a lot of power.  It drains our energy, depletes our courage and we lose our patience.  The pressure of people around us gets us down and problems stir us up.  The power of the Holy Spirit will lift our spirit more than we can ever imagine.

“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here” (John14:28-31).

There are 44 things that the Holy Spirit can do for us – written by Bruce Edwards.

How do we receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit?

❖ Love Jesus (John 14:15): “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

❖ Obey Him (John14:21): Yield to the Holy Spirit and He will surely come.

❖ Seek Him (John 15:27): Desire for Him, wait upon Him.

❖ Depend on Him (John 14:17): Make the Holy Spirit not only the resident in our heart but the president of our life. The Holy Spirit directs our lives.

We cannot do without the Holy Spirit in this world.  The work of the Holy Spirit is vital to our faith individually and corporately.  Who do we go to when we face problems?  Do not forget the Trinity of God.  Do not settle for 2/3 of God (Father and Jesus only).  They are called Bi-tarians rather than Trinitarians.  We should not only know God and Jesus; we must also engage the Holy Spirit in our life.  Do we know the Holy Spirit, how familiar are we with the Holy Spirit?

Pray in the Spirit, honor the Holy Spirit and He will grant you the rewards of faith.  A person controlled by the Holy Spirit is unconquerable (Pastor Reinhard Bonnke).  We shall have the victory. Be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Psalm 23:5).

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FAITHFULNESS

22 Sep

Excerpt from the Sermon by Senior Pastor Djohan Handojo, Senior Pastor, Bethany International Service, Sunday, 13 September 2015. Summarised by Sister Stella and Susy.

We have a God who is faithful.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Faithfulness is one of the characteristics of God (1 Corinthians 1:9).

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  This is what we receive from the Lord because of His faithfulness. (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

In Greek, the word “faithful” is “pistos” – which means trustworthy, faithful, believing.  We have a faithful God, but what does He expect from us?

  1. MAKING JESUS OUR FIRST PRIORITY – A Dedicated Life

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).

You cannot serve God and money.  We worship whatever we put first in our life.   It can be a person, money, fame, pleasure, or anything else that we put before our God. If we give priority to things other than God, these things become our god. If we put God first, everything else shall be added unto us.  Make a deliberate effort to devote ourselves to God.  We need to get our priorities right.

Matthew 25:14-21: The Parable of the Talents. “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more. ’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

  1. MULTIPLYING OUR TALENTS -Servanthood

God is looking for faithful servants. The servant who received one talent hid the talent and did not make use of it. As a result: But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:26-30)

In Romans 12:6-8, God has entrusted us with talents and gifts according to the grace that is given to us. Serving God is not only at church.  First of all we need to serve God, followed by serving others and our community.

God wants us to multiply our talents and whatever He has entrusted us with. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness (Romans 12:6-8).

Our accountability is towards God and if we are faithful, God will entrust us with even more.  We need to be accountable with the gifts and talents that God has entrusted us with.  Do you want the Lord to commend us that we are His faithful servant?

  1. STEWARDSHIP – Be a Good Steward

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:10-13)

David is a good example of someone who understood God’s faithfulness.  David did not want to take revenge by killing Saul. David did not want to take matters into his own hands but instead he let God be the judge in that situation. The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed (1 Samuel 26:23).

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. If we are faithful to God, He will not just empower us but He will also protect us (Psalm 145:18).

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler (Psalms 91:4).

We see that in Genesis 32:10, Jacob’s faithfulness to God protected him.  Be faithful wherever God has placed us, be faithful to fulfill your calling in Christ.

In the 11th century, during the reign of King Henry III, a German monarch, wanted to give the rest of his life to serve in the monastery. The king wanted to serve God in the monastery but the priest told him to serve God in obedience by accepting his responsibilities as a king. That led to a transformation in the way he served as a king.

What is desired in a man is steadfast love (faithfulness), and a poor man is better than a liar (Proverbs 19:22).

Let us humble ourselves before the Lord and let us dedicate ourselves faithfully with what we have and what we are before the Lord that we may bring glory to Jesus.

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WHEN FEAR CREEPS IN

25 Nov

When Fear Creeps In by Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Read: Psalm 56

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in [God]. —Psalm 56:3

When my daughter exclaimed, “Mommy, a bug!” I looked where she was pointing and saw the largest spider I have ever encountered outside of a pet shop. Both the spider and I knew that he would not be allowed to stay in our house. And yet, as I faced him, I found I could not take one step closer to end the standoff. My pulse quickened. I swallowed and gave myself a pep-talk. Still, fear kept me frozen in place.

Fear is powerful; it can override logical thinking and produce irrational behavior. Thankfully, Christians don’t have to let fear of anything—people, situations, or even spiders—rule our actions. We can declare, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in [God]” (Ps. 56:3).

Taking this stand against fear is consistent with the Bible’s instruction to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Our own understanding may lead us to overestimate the object of our fear and underestimate God’s power. When we are afraid, we can depend on God’s understanding (Isa. 40:28) and trust in His love for us that “casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). The next time fear creeps into your life, don’t panic. God can be trusted in the darkness.

Into His hands I lay the fears that haunt me, the dread of future ills that may befall;
Into His hands I lay the doubts that taunt me, and rest securely, trusting Him for all. —Christiansen

Trusting God’s faithfulness dispels our fearfulness.

Taken from “Our Daily Bread” by RBC Ministries.