In Genesis 14, we find that Abraham, on his way back from the battle, was exhausted, and possibly proud as well of the fact that with just 318 servants he went and destroyed the many armies of so many kings. He was also in danger of collecting all that wealth that he had accumulated through winning this battle. In those days if you won a battle all the gold and silver of the enemy’s was yours. At that time God sent a servant of His to Abraham. Isn’t it wonderful to see that? An unknown man named Melchizedek, who was living out there in the desert, was in touch with God. (Gen. 14:18) The reason why Melchizedek is important is because in Psalm 110:4, Jesus is called a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. And in Hebrews 7 that is confirmed. The only place in Scripture where Melchizedek comes is in Gen. 14:18–20 – three verses, that’s all. Melchizedek appears, fulfils his ministry and disappears. And God said to his Son, “You are a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Not a priest after the order of Levi – the old covenant priesthood. How did this man Melchizedek, who appears in only three verses in the Bible become so important? It is good for us to know the reason.
I like to rest in Your Presence.
I like to sail then across the infinite ocean of silence,
and with my eyes wide shut to see
what is unseeable and unrecognizable.
Far behind me all the noise of this world dies
and I am floating on silence,
hearing it speak loudly to my heart.
I like so to cross alone the skies of my dreams.
It is quiet all around and always so beautiful.
In every nook of my thoughts I find traces of Your love.
You outrun me at all times and tirelessly prepare the table
for a lonesome wanderer.
I like to reach the places where
silence, clothed in heavenly music,
not ceasing to be silence, though,
becomes also the perfection of the Word.
that only You can do
what is unachievable,
what is impossible and unimaginable.
Yes, I know
that what escapes the senses
can only be known in You –
O my Christ.
translated by Ewa Samotyj-Hess
My Gospel is about the Living, True and Only God.
My Gospel is a cry for the truth of the Cross, the truth of Jesus Christ, who died for my and your sins.
My Gospel is the painful story of the Cross on Calvary, covered with the Savior’s innocent blood.
My Gospel is about Love, which accepted death so we could live forever.
My Gospel is a testimony to the victory of life over death, of holiness over sin and of glory over downfall.
My Gospel is the truth about the Spirit, who comes and gives new life; who comes and kindles the heart with the desire for Jesus; who brings the desire for everlasting glory and holiness.
My Gospel is about life which, even if in tears, is happy, and about love which is joyous, radiant and endlessly hopeful.
My Gospel is the light in the dark world of hypocrisy, foolishness and death – it is the everlasting life and everlasting reconciliation with the Lord of love.
translated by Ewa Samotyj-Hess
Becoming more spiritually-minded in the New Year
A balanced Christian life is one that looks in three directions:
1. Upward – in worship and devotion to God and to the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Inward – as a result of seeing the glory of Christ, discovering unChristlike areas in one’s life and repenting of them.
3. Outward – seeking to fulfil God’s will on earth, by being a blessing to others.
The Upward Look
God has called us first of all to be His worshipers – to hunger and thirst after Him. A spiritually-minded person worships God. His one desire is God alone. He does not desire anything or anyone other than God – in earth or in heaven (See Psalm.73:25). Money and earthly honour do not attract him. As the deer pants after the water brooks, he longs after God. He longs for God more than a man dying of thirst longs for water. He longs for fellowship with God more than for any earthly comfort or ease. He also longs to hear God speak to him daily.
We see a phrase in the Gospel of Mathew that does not occur anywhere else – “the Kingdom of Heaven.” It occurs 31 times in this gospel. Since the Holy Spirit inspired this book, there must have been a reason why He used this phrase so often here. John the Baptist came preaching, saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”(Matthew 3:2). After his time, Jesus preached exactly the same message in Matthew 4:17. When He began the Sermon on the Mount, the very first words He said were, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). So we see an emphasis on “Heaven” right from the beginning of the New Testament. “Heaven” is mentioned 17 times in the Sermon on the Mount alone.
Satan is the author of fear. Jesus was as much against fear as He was against sin. Many times He told people, “Don’t be afraid” (Fear not), just like He said, “Don’t sin.” Jesus was against people living fear as much as He was against people living in sin. Because we trust in the Lord, we need never be afraid. If we accidentally slip up and become afraid or anxious about something, we must get out of it immediately, confess our fear to God and trust Him to take care of us.
Satan attacks the work of God in many ways. But God answers the prayers of His children. Jesus once said that certain demons could be cast out only by prayer and fasting. That means that if we don’t fast and pray, some demons will remain where they are entrenched and will hinder the work of God. God has made His work on earth dependent on us – the Body of Christ. This is a great privilege but also a great responsibility. The Lord has promised us that the powers of darkness will not prevail against His church.
Life becomes wonderful when we see that God has a purpose – a glorious purpose – in everything He permits to come into our lives. When He says ‘No’ to our prayers, that too is an answer that comes from a heart of perfect love.
“I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity – to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). One reason why God has permitted this world to be an uncomfortable place to live in – with disease and sickness and poisonous snakes etc., – is so that people may turn to Him in their distress – so that He might bless them. God uses even the evil (that Satan causes), to work for the furtherance of His purposes. When we meet the ransomed in eternity, and hear their stories, we will discover more fully how God used snake-bites, financial difficulties, cancers etc., to turn people away from sin to become His children. We will also hear how God used suffering to sanctify His children so that they might partake of His nature. In that day, we will thank God for many things that we could not understand here on earth. But the man of faith does not have to wait until that day. He believes in God’s wisdom and love right now – and so he has already begun to give thanks for everything. The ultimate purpose in all of God’s dealings with us is that we might partake of His nature. God works all things together for our good – the good being that we might be conformed to the likeness of His Son.
In the three parables in Luke chapter 15, we see pictures of four types of backsliders- a lost sheep, a lost younger son, a lost elder son and a lost coin – and also of the Triune God.
The lost sheep is a picture of a believer who went astray accidentally or through carelessness. The shepherd is a picture of Jesus, the Son of God. The prodigal son is a picture of a believer who went away in rebellion against God and the church. The father is a picture of God the Father. He does not go seeking for such a one as in the first case. He waits until the son reaches the level of the pigs and comes back on his own. The older son is a picture of those who are lost in legalism and self-righteousness and pride.
There are three main reasons why Elisha was anointed:
1. Thirst: The first reason why God anointed Elisha was he thirsted for it and coveted it more than anything else in the world. In 2 Kings 2:1-10, we read how Elijah tested him on this point. He first told Elisha to stay on at Gilgal, while he himself moved on. But Elisha refused to leave Elijah. Then Elijah led him 15 miles west to Bethel, and then 12 miles back to Jericho and then a further 5 miles east to Jordan, testing Elisha’s persistence and earnestness at each stage. Finally, Elijah asked him if there was any one request he could grant him before he left. And Elisha said, I want only one thing. That is why I have been following you all this time. That is why I wouldn’t leave you, even when you tried to shake me off. I want a double portion of your spirit. Elisha longed for the anointing with all his heart. He wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less. And he got what he asked for.
Be more ready to bless the others than judge them: Isaiah 61:1-2 is a prophetic reference to Jesus being anointed with the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel of deliverance to others. This is the passage of Scripture that Jesus turned to when He preached His first sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth. Notice that Jesus stopped with proclaiming “the favourable year of the Lord” and did not proclaim “the day of vengeance of God” for that day had not yet come (compare v.2 with Luke. 4:19). Notice also the proportion of God’s favour in relation to His judgment. It is a whole year of favour as opposed to just a single day of judgment. That is a proportion of 365:1 in favour of grace. God is trying to show us here that He would much rather show us favour than judge us. Our attitude to others should also be the same. We should be 365 times more ready to bless others and to be gracious to them than to judge them. God has come to take away all heaviness from our lives and to replace it with a spirit of praise (v.3). Verse 10 speaks of God clothing us with the righteousness of Christ and making us the bride of Christ. What a blessed way to live.