Today’s Gospel A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. -John 13:34 Reflection This is the Lord Jesus’ requirement of us. We should love one another, be tolerant and patient, and help each other. In the past, I thought that loving brothers and sisters is helping them as much as I possibly can when they have difficulties in life. Not until I read some of God’s words did I understand that mutual love is not shown through external formalities to our brothers and sisters but through help in our spiritual lives. God says, “These relationships aren’t established on the flesh, but on the foundation of God’s love. There are almost no interactions based on the flesh, but in the spirit there is fellowship as well as love, comfort, and provision for one another. This is all done on the foundation of a heart that satisfies God. These relationships aren’t maintained by relying on a human philosophy of life, but they are formed very naturally through the burden for God. They don’t require human effort—they are practiced through the principles of the word of God.” From God’s words I realize that true love for brothers and sisters is from heart and established on the foundation of God’s love, we love brothers and sisters because we love God. This love is not expressed in the material assistance we provide but in the assistance and support in our spiritual lives. When brothers and sisters have difficulties in life and are negative and weak in spirit, we can help and support them voluntarily to let them feel God’s love and understand God’s will, so that they can obtain spiritual nourishment to be strong and regain faith in God. In real life, sometimes we will push the Lord’s words to the back of our minds. We often fixate our eyes on others’ flaws and shortcomings, and always compare our strengths to other people’s weaknesses. It is okay for us to get along with others for a few days. But after a long time, when we see others’ shortcomings, we come to feel disgusted, thinking that they are hard to get along with. As a result, we can’t get along well with most people. Just as when some brothers and sisters have done some ignorant things because they are weak, we generate resentment or complaint toward them, and don’t help them with a loving heart. Sometimes if their words hurt us, we will have a grudge against them and be stewing instead of practicing tolerance and patience; and so on. These are expressions of having no normal humanity. If we get along with others in this way, gradually we will hold secrets in our hearts, remain friendly in appearance but estranged at heart. As a consequence, we will have no normal interpersonal relationships. If a brother sins against us, we get angry at once and cannot tolerate him. At the time we need to come in front of God and pray to Him, “Oh, God! The brother’s words have hurt me, and they are too difficult to bear. I feel so annoyed that I neither want to talk to him nor want to forgive him. But I know that this is not in keeping with Your will. Please help and guide me to live by Your word, so that I can put down my grudge against him and live in front of You.” After our prayer, we ponder: How should I treat him to be after God’s heart? God says, “Whether you have truly renounced the flesh, depends on whether you are prejudiced toward your brothers and sisters, and on whether, if you are, you can push such prejudices aside. … you will not loathe them, despise them, make fun of them, or give them the cold shoulder. If you are able to be of service to them, you will commune with them….” When we carefully examine why we always hold biases against others, we will find the reason is that we are too arrogant. We only allow others to speak or do something beneficial to us, but if what they do affect our interests, we will develop prejudices toward them and can’t exercise patience and tolerance. When we practice according to God’s word, take the initiative to open up our own corruption to them, and communicate our own experience and knowledge, they will also recognize the truth that they should practice and enter into. As such, we all live in front of God depending on His word, and also become tolerant and patient for brothers and sisters. Then gradually we can love each other and be in normal relationships. » Read more in these articles: • How to Help and Support Brothers and Sisters in Christ: 3 Principles • How to Get On Well With New Partner • Three Principles for Serving God Harmoniously
The Bible prophesies that when the Lord comes again, there will be the sound of the trumpet in heaven and hearing it means meeting the Lord. But what does “the sound of the trumpet” in the biblical prophecy refer to?
Today’s Gospel Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many miracles. If we let Him thus alone, all men will believe on Him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. – John 11:47-48 Reflection At that time, the sermons the Lord Jesus preached and the miracles He performed shook up all of Judea, there were a lot of people spreading the Lord Jesus’ name and the facts of His work, and more and more people were following Him. The Pharisees knew clearly that the Lord Jesus’ work and words were full of authority and power; if He continued His work, then religious followers of Judaism would all reject them and follow Him; and finally the Judaism would be in paralysis and closed down. All these made them terrified and anxious. For the sake of protecting their own status and livelihood, they spared no effort in condemning, making up rumors, and framing the Lord Jesus. What’s worse, they even colluded with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross in the end. It is evident that the Pharisees’ belief in God was not for pursuing the truth, nor were their intentions of working and spending to do the will of God, and pursue loving and satisfying God. So they were unwilling to seek God’s work humbly even if they had seen the authority and power of the Lord Jesus’ work. The Lord Jesus prophesied that He will come again in the last days. So, who plays the role of the modern Pharisee? Watch the skit “A Warning From History – Church Skit” » Read more on our The Pharisees page, or click on the related articles below: • How Should Christians Prepare for the Day of the Lord? • Why the Pharisees Could Not Recognize the Lord Jesus Was the Messiah • Learn the Root of the Pharisees’ Resistance of the Lord Jesus in the Bible from 3 Aspects
Editor’s Notes: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The Lord Jesus taught us to be people who are pure of heart, because only such people can recognize God’s voice and follow God’s work. From the examples of a blind man and the Pharisees recorded in the Bible, Jack, a Christian, has deeply felt that being pure of heart is more important than being sighted! Jack, who had just returned from evangelizing London, arrived at the door of a coffee shop around the corner at 2 p.m. as usual. Perhaps because the owner of this coffee shop was a Christian, there were free copies of the Bible there for every Christian friend to read. For Jack, this place was of course his first choice, because the quiet environment there enabled him to have more closeness with the Lord. As soon as Jack walked in, a skillful barista saw him. This barista had known Jack for a long time, therefore he knew Jack’s habits—an espresso and a Bible would be quite enough. Jack walked to his usual table next to shelves of copies of the Bible. He gently took one from a shelf, then opened it, and began to read in earnest. He saw these verses, “And it came to pass, that as He was come near to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging: And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passes by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, You Son of David, have mercy on me. And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, You Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought to Him: and when he was come near, He asked him, Saying, What will you that I shall do to you? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said to him, Receive your sight: your faith has saved you. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God” (Luke 18:35–43). Jack carefully pray-read these verses, and thought to himself, “In order to make people confess and repent, the Lord Jesus did many miracles, such as curing the blind man who begged Him to do so. Before performing this miracle, the Lord said, ‘Your faith has saved you.’ The Lord Jesus observed the depths of people’s hearts, and could look upon anyone’s deeds and thoughts. Because of the blind man’s faith in the Lord Jesus and also because of the Lord’s great power, the blind man could see.” “Sir, it’s your espresso. Please enjoy it.” A waiter’s words interrupted Jack’s thoughts. Jack politely nodded his thanks. Then, lifting his coffee cup, he once again fell into deep thought: The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Yes! Only people who are pure of heart are able to recognize God’s voice, follow God, and gain God’s salvation. Though the blind man couldn’t see, his heart was not blind. Instead, he had a clear heart and believed in the Lord Jesus, so he gained the Lord’s mercy and grace. Jack took a sip of his coffee, tasting its bitter flavor. Then, he read another verse, “And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts He out devils” (Mark 3:22). After reading it, he remembered that when the Lord Jesus came to work, He healed lepers, made the crippled walk, used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people, and even raised the dead; moreover, His preaching had authority and power, and many people followed Him. However, though the religious leaders, Pharisees, chief priests, scribes of the time saw all of this, they didn’t accept the fact that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah; they simply did not seek or investigate whether what the Lord Jesus expressed was the truth, the way and the life, whether His expression was beneficial to them, or whether the Lord Jesus came from God. On the contrary, they stubbornly clung to their own conceptions, condemned the Lord Jesus, blasphemed against Him and said that He relied on Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons, to cast out demons. They tempted the Lord Jesus whenever they could, and even incited the Jewish people to reject Him. In the end, they conspired with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus, committing the most heinous of sins. Jack realized this, “Though these people’s eyes could see, their hearts were blind. They didn’t recognize that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah or that the Lord Jesus’ authority to perform miracles came from God. Their eyes were worse than the blind man’s eyes, because they resisted God though being sighted. No wonder the Lord Jesus said, ‘And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which said, By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive’ (Matthew 13:14).” After understanding this, Jack sighed with emotion, and thought, “Being pure of heart is really more important than being sighted! A blind man can be cured by the Lord, but if one’s heart is blind, then he can’t be cured. Seeking the true way does not depend on eyes, but rather hearts. Only when the eyes of our hearts are open and we have a sober and clear mind can we recognize God’s voice and know God’s work.” At the thought of this, Jack remembered what it says in the Bible, “Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). The Pharisees were blind and ignorant, and their…
Today’s Gospel And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. – John 9:39 Reflection The Bible recorded that on the Sabbath the Lord Jesus healed a man born blind. Though this man who was born blind couldn’t see with his physical eyes, his spiritual eyes were opened. From the miracles performed by the Lord Jesus on him, he recognized the Lord Jesus was not an ordinary person and that what He did came from God. Because he knew only God had such power and authority that could make the blind see light again, and because he had such knowledge, when the Lord Jesus asked him, “Do you believe on the Son of God?” He answered without hesitation, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped God. How about the Pharisees? They were not blind outwardly, but their spiritual eyes were blind when they faced with the Lord Jesus’ work. They saw clearly the Lord Jesus performed many signs and wonders, such as, letting the blind see and the lame walk, walking on the sea, feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, raising the dead, and so on. But they still didn’t find He was the Messiah who was to come. These Pharisees only judged the Lord’s identity from His appearance. They insisted that the Lord Jesus was an ordinary man who was the son of the poor carpenter Joseph. Therefore, when they personally saw the man born blind was healed, they didn’t see the being of the Lord Jesus’ divinity at all and they blindly condemned and denied that the Lord Jesus is of God. In the end, they joined hands with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross—provoked the disposition of God—and committed a heinous crime. Although they saw with their own eyes the miracles that the Lord Jesus performed, they were numb and slow in spirit. This is why they could not basically see that the power of the Lord Jesus was from God, and that the Lord Jesus was the Redeemer they had desperately yearned for so long. God’s words say: “Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not” (Isaiah 6:9). Now, most of the prophecies regarding the Lord’s return have been fulfilled. If we are as keen in spirit as the man born blind, from the miracles that the Lord Jesus had done on him, who recognized God’s identity, and that He is Christ, God Himself, then we won’t miss the chance to welcome the second coming of Jesus. » Most people also watch Christian Movie Clip: “What a Beautiful Voice” Clip: How Can We Be Sure the Lord Jesus Has Already Returned?
Today’s Gospel And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go. -John 11:43-44 Reflection The resurrection of Lazarus made me see that the Lord Jesus is the incarnation of God, because only God seizes the key to Hades. Only God has the final say about when we were born and when we will die. Only God Himself can do this miracle. One day, I read a passage from a gospel book: “When the Lord Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, He used one line: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ He said nothing aside from this—what do these words represent? They represent that God can accomplish anything through speaking, including resurrecting a dead man. When God created all things, when He created the world, He did so with words. He used spoken commands, words with authority, and just like that all things were created. It was accomplished like that. This single line spoken by the Lord Jesus was just like the words spoken by God when He created the heavens and earth and all things; it equally held the authority of God, the ability of the Creator. All things were formed and stood fast because of words from God’s mouth, and just the same, Lazarus walked out from his tomb because of the words from the Lord Jesus’ mouth. This was the authority of God, demonstrated and realized in His incarnate flesh. This type of authority and ability belonged to the Creator, and to the Son of man in whom the Creator was realized. This is the understanding taught to mankind by God bringing Lazarus back from the dead.” From this passage I know that God’s words have authority. Although the outward appearance of the Lord Jesus is ordinary and normal, the words from His mouth are truth, with power and ability, and can control people’s life and death, and can dominate the survival of all things. This is also God’s uniqueness, and none of the created or non-created beings may possess it. » You may be interested in reading more: • Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth • The Resurrection of Lazarus Proved 2 Aspects of God’s Essence
Today’s Gospel I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. – John 6:51 Reflection When it refers to the bread which came down from the heaven, we are sure to remember that God sent manna from heaven to feed the Israelites in the wilderness. However, this verse tells us that the Lord not only provide us with material needs, but also supply spiritual life. The Lord Jesus has expressed many words to supply us based on what we need when He did His work on earth. Thus “the living bread which came down from heaven” refers to the Lord’s words. God’s words are very important to us, because Jehovah God once said, “And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3). We shall not live by the material manna alone, and what we need more is the provision of God’s words. Actually, God didn’t only express His words to supply us in the past, in the last days, He will continue to speak and bestow us more words. The Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (Jhn 16:12-13). It is also recorded in Revelation 2:17, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna….” Only the truth that God bestows upon us in the last days can open up the mysteries which we don’t understand in the Bible. What’s more, it will provide us with needs of spiritual life, so that we can truly experience the true meaning of “man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.” » Click here to watch more: “Who Is He That Has Returned” Clip – Only God’s Word Can Give Man Life
Today’s Gospel For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world. – John 6:33 Reflection From the Lord’s words, we can see that the bread of God is His words—the bread which supplies us with life. God Himself is life. The life from God refers to His words. God bestows His words upon us so that we can gain the way of life from Him. However, many people pay no attention to pursuing the way of life to have spiritual growth. Instead, they pursue fleshly enjoyments. I remember the Lord Jesus’ another requirement of us, “Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed” (John 6:27). We all know that food can only satisfy the needs of the human body. No matter how much food we take, the emptiness in our spirits cannot be satisfied. But the words granted by God can bring us eternal life. This made us clear that it is crucial to read a lot of God’s words and practice according to His words. This is the only path for us to gain life. Just as God says, “The way of life is not something that can be possessed by just anyone, nor is it easily obtainable by all. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, there is no way of life without God Himself, and so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life.” » You may be interested in reading more on our Eternal Life page, or in the recommended articles below: • I Finally Know What Is Eternal Life and How to Get It • What Does Obtaining Eternal Life by Believing in the Son Mean? • Does the Bible Contain the Way of Eternal Life?
Why did the Lord praise Mary and say that she attained the greatest blessings of God? So what kind of people can attain eternal blessings of God?
Today’s Gospel Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed. – John 6:27 Reflection We all know the meat which endures to everlasting life represents the word of God. As long as we have the supply of God’s word, our spirits will be no longer thirsty and hungry, but full of strength. The meat which perishes refers to the food we eat to maintain the life of flesh. Countless facts show that what we will gain in the end is vanity if we just labor for the meat which perishes. Some people fight hard for their food, clothing, housing and transportation. As time goes by, they have worked hard for most of their lives, and finally satisfied their fleshly needs; However, they feel more and more empty in their spirits, and to an extent, they even more feel life is meaningless. If we pursue the meat which endures to everlasting life, our spirits will never be thirsty as God promised. With the nourishment of God’s word, we’re able to reverse the limp, weak and dark spiritual state. Pay attention to reading and practicing God’s word, seek God’s will in something against our will and obey God’s arrangements, we will be filled with faith in God, and won’t be passive or complain when we encounter difficulties. It’s clear that our lives are supported by God’s word. Pursuing the meat which endures to everlasting life is the most correct path for us. No wonder the Lord teaches us that “Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life.” » You may be interested in reading more: • What Is the Way of Eternal Life and How Can We Gain It? • What Is the Narrow Gate? How Can We Enter It and Gain Eternal Life in the Last Days? • Disclose the Mystery About the Bible: How to Gain Eternal Life
By Chen Xi It was six o’clock in the morning, I made a prayer with pure in heart to entrust my spiritual devotions’ time to God and yearned for His enlightenment. I opened the Bible on the table and read Job 1:6-11, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, and Satan came also among them. And Jehovah said to Satan, From where come you? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.” These scriptures record one of the few conversations between Satan and God. Here it is recorded clearly what God said and what Satan said. What we can see from these scriptures is that, God’s word is concise, not roundabout. He just asked Satan directly: “From where come you?” This word was simple, not vague, not illusory but real and practical and without obscured meaning; but how about Satan’s words? How did Satan, dominated by its cunning nature, answer to God? It said: “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” From this answer, we can see Satan didn’t answer the question from God? After Satan’s answer, no one knows that where it comes from. This shows that Satan is evil and cunning in nature. Satan thought that nobody would get its tracks, without knowing that God examines the depths of people’s hearts, God knows its evil and cunning nature thoroughly. From Satan’s answer, we can see that Satan never says anything directly but has its aims and schemes. This is the symptom of Satan, and is absolutely the natural expression of Satan’s disposition. Pondering over here, I couldn’t help thinking about: in real life, we often hear similar words like Satan’s and we can also speak such word out. Those who say these kinds of words have their deceitful and evil aims and intentions and what they want is to satisfy their personal profits. We’ll be confused and be fooled if we don’t discern these words. For example, now we are in the final era of the last days. The prophecies of the Lord Jesus’ return have already been fulfilled. All kinds of signs have shown God might have come back already and all smart virgins have started to find God’s footsteps. But some people spread everywhere that: “There will be false Christs who deceive people in the last days, so all those who say that the Lord has arrived are false.” “All of God’s word is in the Bible, departing from the Bible is heresy.” and so on. Many brothers and sisters are deceived by these words full of conspiracy without any discernment so that they dare not to investigate God’s work nor seek the footsteps of God’s work. Brothers and sisters, let’s have a think: If all those who say that the Lord has arrived are heresy, doesn’t that mean we can’t wait for His return forever? Aren’t they Satan’s lackeys by saying this? Their intention is obvious. They want to stop us from following God and being saved by God, and cast us into the hell. How vicious their hearts are! Besides, is departing from the Bible heresy? Was there the Old Testament when Jehovah created the world? Was there the New Testament when Jesus did the work of redemption? None. So what’s the root for this word “departing from the Bible is heresy”? The Holy Spirit has never testified it. So isn’t this word Satan’s lie and fallacy? Even though Satan is vicious, as long as we differentiate better, we can see through its tricks and we won’t get deceived. So being able to discern Satan’s words is extremely helpful for us to recognize God’s voice and find out God’s footsteps. Because wherever God works, there will be Satan’s disturbance. If we can discern Satan’s voice, we’ll find out the footsteps of God’s work. » You might be interested in: • 4 Principles for Wise Virgins to Recognize the Voice of God • How to Be Wise Virgins to Welcome Second Coming of Jesus • How to Hear the Voice of God – Two Key Principles
The Bible says, “Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.