Today’s Gospel For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. – Luke 17:24 Reflection This verse shows us that the Lord will return in the last days as the Son of man, just like lightning. Here lightning refers to the great light and the true light, and also refers to the words of God. That is to say, the utterances of the returned Lord of the last days come forth just like flashing lightning. That indicates that the work God does when He comes again will be done very quickly. We all know that in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus did the work of sowing. In the last days, when He comes again, He will do the work of reaping, that is, the work of ending the age, which can be finished within a short time instead of lasting two thousand years like the work of sowing in the Age of Grace. So it is called flashing lightning. Thus, we should be cautious. In the last days when God is about to end the age, if we want to welcome the second coming of the Lord and be raptured into the heavenly kingdom, the key is to seek the utterances of the returned Jesus, that is, the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches. Only then can we follow God’s footsteps and return to God. » You may be interested in reading more on our The Gospel of Jesus Christ page, or in the articles below: • How Will Jesus Christ’s Return Happen? • When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth • Where Will Jesus Christ Appear? What Is the Meaning of God’s Choice of Location for His Work of the Last Days?
Today’s Gospel Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein. – Luke 18:17 Reflection After reading this verse, maybe you will ask what the “little child” refers to. In a word, it refers to the likeness of an honest man. Only honest person can love God truly, make no requests or demands of God, and have no rebellion or resistance against Him. Because the essence of God is faithful, He loves the honest. How can we be honest? I will share 4 tips with you: First, give our heart to God, practice the truth in all things and accept His observation and examination; Second, have true communion with God, speak the words within our heart to Him, and keep a normal relationship with Him; Third, ensure that there are no lies in our words, or in our thoughts, be artless and open with wisdom, and have normal interpersonal relationships with others; Fourth, do things in a principled way and in conformity with the truth, be just and honorable, make our words fit the reality and become an upstanding person. Prayer O God! I’m willing to give my heart to You in the following days, accept Your observation in everything and do my best to be a simple, honest person to comfort Your heart. » More about the practice of being honest, please click here: • Being Honest in Recycling Receives God’s Blessings • Applying for Jobs Honestly, I’ve Seen God’s Blessings • The Secret to Improving Interpersonal Relationships—Be an Honest Person » Most people also watch Christian Movie: “The People of the Heavenly Kingdom” – An Inspirational True Story
Today’s Gospel And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted. – Luke 18:13–14 Reflection Prayer is a means by which Christians commune with God. Only if we pray to God with heart and with honesty can we gain His guidance and establish a normal relationship with Him. From the prayer of this tax collector we can see that, though he only prayed with one sentence, he was called righteous by God because he prayed from his heart. In fact, prayer doesn’t depend on how long we pray or how pretty sounding our words are, but depends on whether we can pray honestly. Praying with insincerity is unacceptable to God. I remembered God’s words, “When praying, you must have a heart that is quiet before God, and you must have a sincere heart. You are truly communing and praying with God—you must not deceive God using nice-sounding words. Prayer should center upon that which God wishes to accomplish right now. Ask God to grant you greater enlightenment and illumination, bring your actual states and your troubles into His presence when you pray, including the resolution that you made before God. Prayer is not about following procedure; it is about seeking God with a sincere heart. Ask that God protect your heart, so that your heart may often be quiet before Him; that in the environment in which He has placed you, you would know yourself, despise yourself, and forsake yourself, thus allowing you to have a proper relationship with God and truly become someone who loves God” (“Concerning the Practice of Prayer”). God’s words tell us how to pray. We should first be quiet before God and tell Him what is in our hearts rather than deceive Him with nice-sounding words, falsehoods or empty words. Prayer is centered around the things we meet or actual difficulties in our lives. Prayer is not the following of procedure, but the seeking of the truth and the ways of practice using our true hearts. Thus, we can gain the Holy Spirit’s work and have a deeper understanding of ourselves, and better understand God’s intention in saving man. If we practice and enter according to God’s requirements, God will guide us to go forward every step of the way. » Read more on our Bible Study Topics page, or click on the related articles below: • 4 Ways to Become as a Little Child • 5 Key Elements of being the Poor in Spirit • How to Humble Yourself and Be Blessed in Welcoming the Lord’s Return
Today’s Gospel He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. – Luke 16:10 Reflection This verse shows us that if we can satisfy God on small matters, we can satisfy God when it comes to large matters. If we can practice the truth in small matters, then even if we cannot overcome some big problems, as long as we truly pray and rely on God, He will protect us so that we can stand firm. Many times, we deal with the small matters according to our own will and are good at forgiving ourselves. We believe that we don’t need to care about these small matters because God doesn’t care, and that it’s enough when we stand witness in serious circumstances, and thus we miss the opportunities to satisfy God again and again. However, when the serious circumstances come upon us and touch upon our interests, it’s impossible for us to stand witness. Let’s share a passage of God’s words, “Everything that happens to people is when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Nothing major has happened to you at the moment, and you do not bear great testimony, but every detail of your daily life relates to the testimony to God. If you can win the admiration of your brothers and sisters, your family members, and everyone around you; if, one day, the unbelievers come, and admire all that you do, and see that all that God does is wonderful, then you will have borne testimony. Although you have no insight and your caliber is poor, through God’s perfection of you, you are able to satisfy Him and be mindful of His will. Others will see what great work He has done in people of the poorest caliber. People come to know God, and become overcomers before Satan and loyal to God to an extent. So none will have more backbone than this group of people. This will be the greatest testimony. Although you are incapable of doing great work, you are able to satisfy God. Others can’t put aside their conceptions, but you can; others can’t bear testimony to God during their actual experiences, but you can use your actual stature and actions to repay God’s love and bear resounding testimony to Him. Only this counts as actually loving God. If you are incapable of this, then you do not bear testimony among your family members, among your brothers and sisters, or before the people of the world. If you can’t bear testimony before Satan, Satan will laugh at you, it will treat you as a joke, as a plaything, it will often make a fool of you, and drive you insane. In the future, great trials may befall you—but today, if you love God with a true heart, and if regardless of how great the trials ahead, irrespective of what happens to you, you are able to stand firm in your testimony, and able to satisfy God, then your heart will be comforted, and you will be unafraid no matter how great the trials you encounter in the future. You can’t see what will happen in the future; you can only satisfy God during today’s circumstances. You are incapable of doing any great work, and should focus on satisfying God by experiencing His words in real life, and bearing strong and resounding testimony that brings shame upon Satan. Although your flesh will remain unsatisfied and have suffered, you will have satisfied God and brought shame upon Satan. If you always practice in this way, God will open up a path before you. When, one day, a great trial comes, others will fall down, but you will still be able to stand firm: Because of the price you have paid, God will protect you so you can stand firm and not fall down. If, ordinarily, you are able to put the truth into practice and satisfy God with a heart that truly loves Him, then God will surely protect you during future trials. Though you are foolish and of little stature and poor caliber, God will not discriminate against you. It depends on whether your motivations are right. Today, you are able to satisfy God, in which you are attentive to the smallest detail, you satisfy God in all things, you have a heart that truly loves God, you give your true heart to God, and although there are some things that you can’t understand, you can come before God to rectify your motivations, and seek God’s will, and you do everything needed to satisfy God. Perhaps, your brothers and sisters will abandon you, but your heart will be satisfying God, and you will not covet the pleasures of the flesh. If you always practice in this way, you will be protected when great trials come upon you” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God”). Prayer O God! May You give me confidence. No matter on great or small things I meet with, I’m willing to practice according to Your will and be a person who can satisfy Your will. Amen! » Read more on our Faith & Life page, or click on the related articles below: • Putting Her Pride Aside, She Gained … • Christian Experience at Work: I Never Lose Anything by Being an Honest Person • How She Resists Temptation When She Bumps Into Her First Boyfriend Again
Today’s Gospel A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45 Reflection This verse points out some principles of discerning good from evil. We can discern whether a person is good or wicked from the intentions and motivations of his words and persistent performance because what he says and does is actually what he thinks. A good man has good will, conscience, and sense. If he who pursues the truth does something that goes against human morality or does something evil, he will feel guilty and accused, and people around him can see that he feels guilty and repentant. However, a wicked person only has evil thoughts in his mind. No matter how great evil a wicked person commits, they think that it’s a skill, an ability. They think it proves that their methods are superior, that they’ve achieved their goal, and that they’re better than others. That’s why they don’t have remorse, and worse still, don’t loathe themselves. They’re even pleased with themselves, think that they are more capable than others, and look down on others. Such people are wicked people. When they do evil, wicked people don’t have remorse or have a guilty conscience. They just like evil. They think that’s the way humans ought to be, that such behavior is normal. So people can’t see their repentance and changes. Just as God says, “People who genuinely believe in God are those who are willing to put God’s word into practice and are willing to practice the truth. People who can genuinely stand witness for God are also those who are willing to put His word into practice and can genuinely stand on the side of the truth. People who resort to trickery and injustice all lack the truth, and they all bring shame to God. Those who engage in disputes in the church are Satan’s lackeys, and are the embodiment of Satan. Such people are so malicious. Those who have no discernment and are incapable of standing on the side of the truth all harbor evil intentions and tarnish the truth. These people are even more quintessential representatives of Satan; they are beyond redemption, and are of course objects for elimination” (“A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth”). When we can distinguish between a good person and a wicked person, we should treat different people with corresponding principles. If good people who pursue truth have committed a transgression or exhibited any corruption, we should assist them with love and must not suppress, exclude, or define them as hopeless ones, even though they have prejudices or make some judgment about us. As for wicked people, after we have distinguished them, we must abandon them, draw a line between us and them, and not follow them in doing evil. As believers in God, what path we walk, what kind of people we follow, who we really obey, and whom we stand with—all of these are matters of principles. Only by entering the truth and learning how to discern all kinds of people can we shun evil. » You may be interested in reading more: • The Pastor’s ‘Good’ Intentions (Church Skit) • Learn the Root of the Pharisees’ Resistance of the Lord Jesus in the Bible from 3 Aspects • Christian Crosstalk “An Antichrist in the Church” – Be Careful! Don’t Be Deceived by Pharisees » Further reading on Commentaries on Luke page.
Today’s Gospel John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the lace of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. – Luke 3:16 Reflection John the Baptist was the one who paved the way for the Lord. He baptized people of that time and preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. He only baptized them with water, but he couldn’t do the work Jesus was going to do. Only the Lord Jesus could do the work of redeeming mankind through crucifixion. I saw such a passage in a spiritual book, “The work done by John and that done by Jesus were not alike as well as of different natures. It is from this that one determines whether or not he is God. The work of Jesus was to initiate, to continue, to conclude, and to bring to fruition. He carried out each of these steps, whereas the work of John was no more than making a beginning. In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, and then went on to baptize man, heal the sick, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age. He also went about in every place, preaching to man and spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. In this regard He and John were alike, the difference being that Jesus ushered in a new age and brought the Age of Grace to man. From His mouth came the word on what man should practice and the way that man should follow in the Age of Grace, and in the end, He finished the work of redemption. John could never have carried out this work. And so it was Jesus who did the work of God Himself, and it is He who is God Himself, and who directly represents God” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)”). It can be seen that to distinguish God’s work from man’s work, the key is to see whether it can bring to us the way of life rather than how long one has worked. » Baptism is an important ceremony, representing that we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior. The Lord Jesus is Christ, but why was He also baptized? What is the significance of His baptism? » Read more on our Knowing Jesus Christ page, or click on the related articles below: • What Is the Meaning of the Lord Jesus Being Tempted? • God Is Almighty, but Why Did Jesus Redeem Us by Crucifixion • How Did God Show His Love to Us Through the Lord Jesus’ Words?
Today’s Gospel For with God nothing shall be impossible. – Luke 1:37 Reflection It is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, when the angel told Mary that she would bring forth a son and should call His name Jesus. Mary said to the angel that she didn’t marry and how this could happen. The angel answered her: “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” From this verse, we know that there is power and authority in God’s words. Just as the Bible recorded that in the beginning, God used words to create the heavens and earth and all things and prepare the environments that we depend upon for survival. During Noah’s time, God said He would destroy the world with a flood. In the end all things that breathe were dead. Only Noah and the seven members of his family survived the destruction, as well as the varieties of living creatures in the ark. In addition, when Abraham was a hundred years old, God promised to give him a son. At that time, Sarah laughed within herself, and Abraham didn’t believe that, but in the end God’s promise was accomplished, and God gave them a son, Isaac. Another example is: God predicted that the Virgin Mary would bring forth a son, the coming Messiah. Later, God became flesh and did the work of redeeming all mankind. … There are still many similar things recorded in the Bible. From these facts, we can see that God is faithful and He will accomplish what He says. Many times, we all have such experience: When we are weak, God’s words can strengthen our faith and give us the way to practice. One day in my devotional, I saw these words, “The heavens and earth and all things are established and made complete by the words of My mouth and with Me anything can be accomplished” (“Chapter 60” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning). “Any and all things, whether living or dead, will shift, change, renew, and disappear in accordance with God’s thoughts” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). When we experience God’s words, we will find that His words can solve all our problems. » Read more on our Knowing God page about God’s Authority, or in the recommended articles below: • Only God, Who Has the Identity of the Creator, Possesses the Unique Authority • The Creator’s Authority Is Not Constrained by Time, Space, or Geography, and the Creator’s Authority Is Inestimable • The Unique Manner and Characteristics of the Creator’s Utterances Are a Symbol of the Unique Identity and Authority of the Creator
From the outside, it seems that the temple was burnt down by the Roman troops 2000 years ago, but there is a deeper cause behind destruction of the temple.