THEY FEARED THE WISE KING

“Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other. Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, “O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” But the other said, “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.” So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.” And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice” (1Kg 3:24-28)
Divine wisdom will establish you as a man (woman) of God! People will fear your God and gladly submit to you. This is true leadership; not thru manipulation or display of wealth. But by the power of the Holy Spirit! This is a wonderful story! Two women fighting over a baby. Try to imagine that! Solomon was faced with a major dilemma. His decision would affect not only these two mothers but the child as well. What if he made the wrong decision and gave the child to the wrong mother? How could he possibly know what to do? God gave Solomon the wisdom he had asked for and with this wisdom, Solomon did an amazing thing.
Imagine the tenseness of the moment. A newborn child laid before Solomon and he calls for a sword. Who in their right mind would bring a sword near a baby? Then he commanded one of his soldiers to cut the child in half and divide it between the two mothers. Why did Solomon do this? Was he out of his mind? He knew the women’s response would reveal the child’s identity. In the presence of life and death, all men drop their hypocrisy. Before the hour of death, men may deceive themselves and others. The power of ‘419’ works when death is not around. But once death looks you face to face, truth comes out. I am a doctor and I have seen this again and again. Dying people become honest and are ready to repent and change. This is the truth!
Solomon never intended to kill the child. He only wanted to see how the women would respond. He knew that there was no way the true mother would let her child be killed. Though giving up her son was painful, she was willing to do so if it meant saving his life. But the mother whose child had died responded differently. “Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.” Her insensitivity to the child’s well-being revealed that she was not the real mother.
As I consider this story about Solomon’s wisdom, I see something else that is very important. The wisdom he received from God gave him great confidence and courage. He needed that to be a king. He was a young man and inexperienced in the politics of the royal chambers. But he prayed for wisdom and God granted him that. It was wisdom that he used to rule as a king among men. Wisdom is not sold in the market. Wisdom comes from God!
What is the lesson for us? Pray that God will give you His wisdom so that you see all things thru His perspective. Then, you will never be intimidated by the strength of others. Human eyes and ears can easily deceive. No school on earth teaches you how to overcome all fears and obstacles. It has to be the Holy Spirit! Remember that wisdom is applied knowledge. You need to know the Word of God so that the Holy Spirit helps you to apply it in practical living! All efforts invested in the study of the Bible and prayer shall be rewarded with a higher level of authority, faith, confidence and courage! May it be so to you! In Jesus’ name! This is my prayer for you this morning!

This is one of the thrones of Pharaoh in ancient Egypt. This throne is more than 4000 years old. It was made of acacia wood covered with gold. I took this picture inside the Egypt Museum of History in Cairo.

Phaorah's throne at Cairo Museum

 

MY CUP RUNS OVER

“Like Joseph, in Christ, I declare that I am fruitful vine. My enemies have failed to destroy me. Their poisonous envy, criminal anger and wicked bitterness have failed to uproot me. My roots are too deep for them, holding to the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ, my Lord! I drink daily from the well of life. It is the secret of my ever-growing strength. No matter the seasons of life, during rain or drought, I continue to grow in knowledge and in grace. I never stop producing sweet fragrant blooms of joy and mature fruitful faith of the Holy Spirit. The branches of my influence run over the wall of limitation and oppression. My enemies surrounded me with their hatred. But by the power of the Holy Spirit, I overflow with wisdom and strength. Victory is mine! My children will be stronger than me. We shall bless nations!
According to the blueprint in heaven, I am a success story. Angels in training come closer to me to study the miracle change, from an earth crawling worm called ‘A nobody’ to a free colored butterfly of resurrection life. I serve the God called “Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Light shining in the darkness!” My boasting is not imitation. It is not a man invented song! It is grace speaking! I have been commanded to do it! For the glory of the King of kings! The Blessings of heaven above and of the deep of the earth are mine! The name Joseph means “Divine Multiplication”. The blessings of the breasts and the womb are mine. I am a mother in Zion! My children, natural and spiritual shall possess the gates of their enemies! When they open a door, no enemy can shut it. When they shut a door, none can push it open! The blessings of the everlasting hills are mine. The gold and the diamonds inside the hills, the riches stored in secret places, are hidden from the eyes of common man. But not from my eyes. That wealth is mine to find and use! I can never fail! hearing the trumpet of triumph, I can only move forward! From faith to faith I follow! From grace to grace I grow! I have done everything required! Therefore, I stand! This is my story! This is my song! In Jesus’ name! Amen!” (Gen 49:22-26)

SLL 32

THE CHARING CROSS

The geographical centre of London is called ‘The Charing Cross’. It is a major junction where six roads meet. From that junction you can find your way to any place in London. Originally, there was a humble stone cross there. In the 17th century, the Parliament gave an order for the humble cross to be destroyed and be replaced with a much more artistic monument befitting the great city of London. But the name ‘The Charing Cross’ could not be erased.
This is a true story: A little boy was once lost and a policeman, wiping away his tears, asked if he can take him home. The boy replied: ‘Oh, no, Sir! Take me to the cross and from there, I will find my way home!’
Like this boy, let this be our prayer: ‘Holy Spirit, take me to the Cross! Help me to see Christ Crucified and Resurrected!’ For that is the way home to God!
(In the picture: The Charing Cross junction in London, UK)

Charing Cross

P. U. S. H. (Pray Until Something Happens!)

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:1-8)

Some prayers are answered immediately. Some are answered after a long time. As a general rule, we have a tendency to think that God is too slow in responding to our requests. It takes spiritual maturity to trust God without complaining for the timing and the modality of answer to our prayer. The cross has done its deep work and the heart has been circumcised by Christ for the man to remain joyful and grateful under the burden of yet unanswered prayers. The danger is that we get impatient, restless, lazy or passive spiritually; become deceived about the value of prayer and decide to stop it. This is called spiritual ‘fainting’, a major hindrance to a successful prayer life. Once you chose to give up prayer, what is left is just wishful thinking that things may change one day. You lose the active faith to push forward and expect an answer to your request made long ago.
Let’s look at the word ‘to give up’. What does it mean? In Greek the word means to fail, to faint in the heart, to become weak and wicked, to harm yourself and others thru doubt and rebellion. The same word is defined to abandon an action because of despair of success. The man becomes a coward; he fails and betrays his destiny when he estimates that the miracle has become impossible even for God to perform. For example, he chooses to believe that the sickness is incurable, and God is not available or able to heal his body. He accepts and declares defeat without waiting for the final hour when God judges and rewards according to each man’s work. This spiritual fainting is worldly sorrow and a symbol of death. By choosing to stop prayer, a man abandons the desire to see a miraculous change in his circumstances and he aborts his dream. The choice to stop prayer is the silent but sure signal of backsliding. Selah! Prayer keeps faith burning! Faith keeps prayer burning!

We see that ‘to give up’ means to surrender to failure, to discontinue a good work or to resign. It is a matter of control. Like the man who commits suicide just to prove that he is in charge of his life. Spiritually speaking it means to deliberate chose to allow the enemy to take over your position of standing before the throne. You surrender your blessing of communion with God to another with no possibility of resuming it in the future. What a tragedy to stop the prayer of faith! What a great loss!
The opposite is to hold on, to abide, to dwell in the same place of waiting without interruptions. In other words, pray until something happens (‘PUSH’). It is a great dishonor to God to give up prayer because of circumstances that look contrary to the expected miracle. This is a great revelation! The devil does not care if we start a prayer request; he does not care if we join the line of waiting before the throne. But later he comes to persuade that we have waited too long and he offers himself to stand in our place. Satan is a thief and a fake ‘intercessor’. He desires to take over your place of blessings! Be careful! The pressure from the enemy will increase as you get closer to the moment when the prayer will be manifested in the natural realm. Then pray like the widow: ‘Lord – grant me justice against my adversary!’ Pray for the justice of your cause as you continue to give glory to God! Jesus is giving us a warning here not to be fools. Do not abandon the place of waiting which will eventually become the place of testimony, blessing and miracles!

Our Lord urges restless continued prayer! What then, is the position of the Church? That of a widow whose only weapon is incessant prayer. It is only by means of this intense concentration that faith will be preserved.

‘Dear Lord Jesus, please strengthen me today, by Your Spirit, to continue to pray, until I see results, or I see Your face…Amen!’

THE TESTIMONY OF BROTHER FRANCIS OF ASSISI

This is the story of a godly man named Francis. He was born in Assisi, a small city near Rome. His father was a rich business man. He had a store selling silk fabrics. Francis was handsome and spoiled. He loved beautiful clothes and parties. He has many friends. One day he became very sick and he almost died. He said that a voice told him to go and ‘repair My church’. He said it was Jesus who talked to him. He pledged to God that if he was healed, he will obey. God healed him. He went to a small church that was falling down. He sold his horse and his expensive clothes to raise money to repair the church. He made a vow to live a poor life and use all his wealth to serve God. This is how he got converted! His father dragged him to his house and beat him to forget his vow. He refused. His father then threw him on the streets and dis-inherited him as a son. He went to live in the church that he repaired. He dressed with a rough garment and lived by the mercy of others. Many people believed in his ministry and became his disciples. Francis’s humility was such that he never became a priest. Coming from someone whose order attracted thousands of people within its first ten years, this is humility indeed!
After renouncing his wealth, St. Francis founded one of the most famous religious orders, the Franciscans. The Franciscans lived an austere life of poverty in service to others following Jesus’s example, and preached the Gospel message all over Italy and other parts of Europe. He died at the age of 44, sick in his body but rejoicing in his spirit. After his death, he was made ‘a saint’ by the Pope. He is the Patron saint of Italy.
The Prayer of St. Francis is one of the best known and best loved prayers in the world today.
“Lord Jesus, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
In Jesus’ name! Amen!”
(This is a painting of Francis of Assis, done by Lodovico Cardi)

FRancis of Assisi

 

THE TESTIMONY OF LOUIS ZAMPERINI

This is a story of grace. It is about a man called Louis Zamperini (1917-2014). He was an angry criminal youth who grew up in Torrance, California. He loved sports. He was freed from the life of crime and poverty by his success in athletics. In 1936 he competed in the Olympic games, finishing 8th in the 5000 meters race. He was looking forward to the 1940 Games where he hoped to win the gold medal. Then, the II World War started and stopped those dreams. Soon, he was flying bomber planes over the Pacific Ocean. After many dangerous missions as a war pilot, his plane went down off the Marshall Islands in 1943. Adrift on a raft for seven weeks, Louis and two of his colleagues barely survived. When one of them died, Louis prayed and asked God for mercy, to rescue him, promising to serve Him is he got home alive. He did survive. He was rescued by the Japanese, who were the enemies. For two years he was tortured in a Japanese prison, subject to near starvation and savage brutality. But Louis was set free again, this time by the US troops. He returned home to California as a hero. The city airport was named after him, in his honor. Soon, he married the girl of his dreams. He received a lot of money as compensation. But he was haunted by the memory of his suffering in the Japan prison. He hated all the Japanese. He wasted all his money on get rich schemes. He drowned his pain with alcohol. His marriage was almost ruined. Bitterness was holding him captive. His freedom was only an illusion.
In 1949 a neighbor invited him to a Billy Graham crusade. Louis refused to attend. But his wife went and came back saying that she is now born again. She begged him to come the next day. He promised her to come just once. When Billy Graham preached that ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom 3:3) he got angry and ran away from the crusade. But he could not sleep. He became restless. The Holy Spirit convicted him of sin. He saw that all his achievements as an athlete or as a soldier cannot save him from hell. He could not buy peace of mind with money. At last, he humbled himself before God and surrendered his life to Christ. In 1950 he finally went back to Japan to face his former tormentors. Preaching at the very prison where he suffered so much, Louis told them that only Christ sets free from sin, emptiness, folly, anger, hatred and bitterness. He told them that because of Jesus who died on the Cross for him, he forgave all his enemies. Some of the Japanese officials believed and became saved.
Louis, his wife and their children became members of the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, California. He started a ministry for troubled youths, helping them to live good lives. Many found Christ thru his ministry. He told them that he could have died many times, but God kept him for His purpose. He lived a long blessed life. From sin to grace, torment to joy, anger to forgiveness, hatred to love, wasted talents to an abundant fruitful life, Jesus has set him free indeed! “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (Jn 8:36)
(In the pictures, you see Louis Zamperini, when he was young and when he was old)

Louis-zamperini

louis-zamperini-2

THE RISE AND FALL OF MEMPHIS (NOPH)

My husband and I, together with some brethren from the church, visited Egypt. It is a country that lives in ‘past glory’. Millions of people from all over the world come to see the pyramids and other things left behind for thousands of years. We hired a minivan and went to see the ruins of the ancient city called ‘Memphis’. We traveled about an hour outside Cairo, thru humble dusty villages irrigated from the River Nile. We finally arrived at Memphis. It is a big ‘open air museum’. Golden colored sand, dust and fallen stones littered the place. We saw the great pyramid of Saqqara, the oldest structure built by men on earth that still survives. We saw the temple they built to worship their idols. We took pictures on the ‘throne’ where Pharaoh stands during these sacrifices. We saw the statue of Ramses II lying down. We entered the temple where they buried their kings. To see all these historical ancient marvels, we paid just some few coins. Tourism is a big industry in Egypt.
This is some information about Memphis: The name ‘Memphis’ means ‘The good haven’. It was a city of ancient Egypt, situated on that western bank of the Nile, about nine miles south of Cairo and five from the great pyramids and the sphinx of Giza. In the Bible, it is mentioned by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Ezekiel, under the name of Noph. For a long time, Memphis (Noph) was a great and proud city. It seems that nobody could break it’s boast. But the city’s overthrow was distinctly predicted by the Word of God. The latest of these predictions was uttered nearly 600 years before Christ, and a half a century before the invasion of Egypt by Cambyses (525 BC). The Cambyses, engaged at the opposition they encountered at Memphis, committed many outrages upon the city and destroyed her idols. The city never recovered from that blow. The rise of the city of Alexandria hastened its decline. The caliph conquerors founded Fostat (present day Cairo) upon the opposite bank of the Nile, a few miles north of Memphis. They brought the stones and building materials from Memphis to build Cairo, their new capital (638 AD). At length so complete was the ruin of Memphis that for a long time its very site was lost, covered by the desert sand. Memphis, the so called ‘good heaven’ promised by its proud idols, vanished from the earth. Recent explorations have brought to light many of its antiquities. Looking at the fallen city of Memphis, we were reminded that on earth, nothing lasts forever. God always judges sin and especially, proud organized idolatry. The rise and fall of Memphis are another proof of that. According to the Bible, pride always ends in destruction. This is the Word of God concerning the city of Memphis, also called Noph. Give glory to the only Living God who alone knows the end from the beginning! Praise the Almighty God, the Judge of all the earth! Fear Jehovah, the Jealous God, who forbids the worship of idols! Jesus is Lord!
“Surely the princes of Zoan are fools; Pharaoh’s wise counselors give foolish counsel.
How do you say to Pharaoh, “I am the son of the wise; The son of ancient kings?”
Where are they? Where are your wise men?
Let them tell you now and let them know what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt.
The princes of Zoan have become fools; The princes of NOPH are deceived.
They have also deluded Egypt, those who are the mainstay of its tribes.
The Lord has mingled a perverse spirit in her midst.
And they have caused Egypt to err in all her work, As a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
Neither will there be any work for Egypt” (Is 19:11-15)
“Oh, you daughter dwelling in Egypt,
Prepare yourself to go into captivity!
For NOPH shall be waste and desolate, without inhabitant” (Jer 46:19)
“Thus says the Lord God:
“I will also destroy the idols,
And cause the images to cease from NOPH
There shall no longer be princes from the land of Egypt.
I will put fear in the land of Egypt” (Ez 30:13)

Ramses II 2

Saqqara 2

Saqqara_BW_1

RSL and SLL at Memphis Egypt