Today’s Gospel Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. – Matthew 6:34 Reflection This is God’s exhortation to us. We often worry about our basic necessities, children’s prospects and providing for the elderly… The reason for these is that we have no understanding of God’s ruling over all things and have no confidence to entrust everything to Him. The Bible said, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.” Actually, God knows clearly our difficulties and necessities. He has prepared for us everything. Before He created mankind, God had created all things that mankind needs. But we don’t put our trust in God, we worry a lot about unknown future. Then how should we truly cast away worry and entrust difficulties to God. Share a paragraph of God’s words: “When confronting real-life problems, how should you know and understand God’s authority and His sovereignty? When you do not know how to understand, handle, and experience these problems, what attitude should you adopt to show your intention, your desire, and your reality of submitting to God’s sovereignty and arrangements? First you must learn to wait; then you must learn to seek; then you must learn to submit. ‘Waiting’ means waiting for the time of God, awaiting the people, events, and things that He has arranged for you, waiting for His will to gradually reveal itself to you. ‘Seeking’ means observing and understanding God’s thoughtful intentions for you through the people, events, and things that He has laid out, understanding the truth through them, understanding what humans must accomplish and the ways they must keep, understanding what results God means to achieve in humans and what accomplishments He means to attain in them. ‘Submitting,’ of course, refers to accepting the people, events, and things that God has orchestrated, accepting His sovereignty and, through it, coming to know how the Creator dictates man’s fate, how He supplies man with His life, how He works the truth into man. All things under God’s arrangements and sovereignty obey natural laws, and if you resolve to let God arrange and dictate everything for you, you should learn to wait, you should learn to seek, you should learn to submit. This is the attitude that every person who wants to submit to God’s authority must take, the basic quality that every person who wants to accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements must possess. To hold such an attitude, to possess such a quality, you must work harder; and only thus can you enter into the true reality.” O God! I’ve seen clearly my faith is too immature when the truth is revealed. I cannot entrust everything to You but arrange for myself. May You guide me to experience more Your work so that I can see Your deeds more and learn to truly rely on You, and entrust everything to You. Amen! If you have any difficulties in faith or life, don’t hesitate to chat with us via Live Chat. We’re glad to pray for you and share the Lord’s love with you. » You may be interested in reading more: • 4 Essential Steps to Truly Believe in God • How to Keep Faith in God During Trials • God’s Timing Is Perfect—A Christian’s Experience of Job Hunting • I Understand God’s Plan for My Life by Seeking God in Adversity
Today’s Gospel For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. — Matthew 12:8 Reflection When I read Jesus’ these words, I only knew that observing the Sabbath was God’s requirement of man during the Old Testament age, but when Jesus came, He brought the Age of Grace and made new requirement of man. As long as we follow Him, we don’t need to keep the Sabbath because the Lord Jesus has freed mankind from the constraints of the law. As we all know, God’s word is the truth, and is not as simple as its literal meaning. What else has the Lord Jesus conveyed to us in His these words? God says, “The sentence ‘the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day’ tells people that God’s everything is immaterial, and although God can provide all of your material needs, once all of your material needs have been met, can the satisfaction from these things replace your pursuit of truth? That is clearly not possible! God’s disposition and what He has and is that we have fellowshiped about are both the truth. It cannot be measured with the heavy price of material objects nor can its value be quantified with money, because it is not a material object, and it supplies the needs of each and every person’s heart. For every person, the value of these intangible truths should be greater than the value of any material things you think are nice, right? This statement is something you need to linger over. The key point of what I’ve said is that what God has and is and God’s everything are the most important things for every single person and they cannot be replaced by any material object. I’ll give you an example: When you’re hungry, you need food. This food can be relatively good or relatively lacking, but as long as you have your fill, that unpleasant feeling of being hungry will no longer be there—it will be gone. You can sit there in peace, and your body will be at rest. People’s hunger can be resolved with food, but when you’re following God and feel that you have no understanding of Him, how can you resolve the emptiness in your heart? Can it be resolved with food? Or when you’re following God and don’t understand His will, what can you use to make up for that hunger in your heart? In the process of your experience of salvation through God, while pursuing a change in your disposition, if you don’t understand His will or don’t know what the truth is, if you don’t understand God’s disposition, don’t you feel very uneasy? Don’t you feel a strong hunger and thirst in your heart? Don’t these feelings prevent you from feeling peace in your heart? So how can you make up for that hunger in your heart—is there a way to resolve it? Some people go shopping, some find their friends to confide in, some people sleep their fill, others read more of God’s words, or they work harder and expend more effort to fulfill their duties. Can these things resolve your actual difficulties? All of you fully understand these kinds of practices. When you feel powerless, when you feel a strong desire to gain enlightenment from God to allow you to know the reality of truth and His will, what do you need most? What you need isn’t a full meal, and it’s not a few kind words. More than that, it’s not the transient comfort and satisfaction of the flesh—what you need is for God to directly, clearly tell you what you should do and how you should do it, to clearly tell you what the truth is. After you’ve understood this, even if it’s just a tiny bit, don’t you feel more satisfied in your heart than if you had eaten a good meal? When your heart is satisfied, doesn’t your heart, your whole person, gain true peace?” God’s words tell us the practical meaning of the sentence “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” No matter how much of the material things we have, including money, fame and fortune, and status, they cannot satisfy our spiritual needs. Only if we understand God’s will and requirements, know the value of the truth, invite God into our heart, submit to His orchestrations and arrangements in all things without individual choice, no longer strive or scheme for ourselves, and can entrust everything to Him, obey, fear, and love God, can we have true peace in our spirits. » You may be interested in reading more: • Why Was the Lord Jesus’ Work Met With So Much Hindrance? • How Can You Make Your Belief in God Be Approved by Him? • The Lord Jesus Is Standing at the Door and How Can We Welcome Him?
Today’s Gospel Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. – Matthew 16:6 Reflection In what context did the Lord Jesus speak the words? It is written in the Bible, “Which when Jesus perceived, he said to them, O you of little faith, why reason you among yourselves, because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? How is it that you do not understand that I spoke it not to you concerning bread, that you should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:8-12). The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the high-level people in the church at that time, but why did the Lord Jesus teach His disciples to beware of them? When the Lord Jesus was working, He performed many miracles. The Pharisees and Sadducees, seeing many people follow the Lord Jesus, wished to still keep their positions and jobs. Therefore, they continuously fabricated lots of rumors against Him and slandered and condemned Him. However, the foolish Jewish people, after hearing the rumors, had no discernment and couldn’t maintain a firm stance. They followed the Pharisees and the Sadducees to deny and judge Him. Under that background, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6). The Jewish people, because of being deceived by the rumors of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, followed them to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, becoming those who resisted and condemned God. In the end, the entire nation suffered the destruction. The disciples of the Lord Jesus recognized that He was the coming Messiah from His work and words; they saw through the Pharisees and the Sadducees’ tricks of making rumors, and followed the Lord Jesus steadfastly. Faced with rumors, their two different attitudes determined their different fate. We should learn lessons from this so that we won’t miss out on the second coming of Jesus because of rumors when meeting His appearance and work. » You may be interested in reading more: • Beware of the Pharisees’ Leaven on the Path to the Heavenly Kingdom • Will the Lord First Give Revelation to Pastors Upon His Second Coming? • Learn the Root of the Pharisees’ Resistance of the Lord Jesus in the Bible from 3 Aspects » Most people also watch Christian Crosstalk “Last Days’ Pharisees”: Who Blocks Christians From Welcoming Lord Jesus’ Return
Today’s Gospel If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? – Matthew 7:11 Reflection As a parent, if we have something good, we’ll first think of our children and give it to them. This is parental love for children. We man love our children like this, doesn’t God’s love for us mankind surpass parental love? What God gives is the best. As long as we pray to God, He’ll answer our needs. But sometimes when we pray to God, He doesn’t satisfy our desires. For example, we pray to God every day, asking Him to keep us, so that we can live a peaceful and smooth life. However, when things we encounter don’t go according to our desires, we’ll doubt God, and always think that those bad things shouldn’t happen to us. Why is this? In fact, there are God’s good intentions behind the things that we believe are not good in our eyes. This is beyond our imagination. Take me as an example. I went to sign a contract some time ago. This contract had something to do with our company’s benefits in the second half. But I was stuck in a traffic jam for an accident on my way there, and therefore I missed the time to sign the contract. At that moment, I couldn’t help complaining against God because I thought I had prayed and entrusted this matter to Him, and the result shouldn’t be like that. Only later did I know: The company with which I was going to sign the contract was a shell corporation. It was fraud. Not long after, it was sealed up. And because of the traffic jam, I was not cheated. Only then did I realize: It was God who orchestrated the traffic jam to stop me from being deceived so that our company avoided loss. But I was too blind to know that it was God’s love for me, and I even complained against God. It seemed to be a bad thing, but there was God’s love behind it. It was God’s protection for me. God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). A passage of God’s words says, “If you believe in the dominion of God, then you must believe that the things that happen every day, be they good or bad, don’t happen accidentally. It is not that someone doesn’t get on with you or opposes you on purpose; it is actually all arranged and orchestrated by God.” God’s thoughts are higher than ours and beyond our imagination. May we come first before God to seek and obey Him in everything that happens around us, no matter whether or not it is in line with our desires, whether it is good or bad in our eyes. Believe that there is God’s good intentions in everything and it is God’s love for us. » You may be interested in reading more: • Rainbow Covenant: Know God’s Love and Selflessness • Why Isn’t Suffering Such a Bad Thing? Here Is God’s Will • How to Overcome Trials and Tribulations in Life » Further reading on Commentaries on Matthew page.
Today’s Gospel Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. – Matthew 18:21-22 Reflection I’ve read this verse many times, but what I could learn is that God asks us to forgive others. The passage of God’s words shared below tells us the more profound meaning of this verse. God says, “When the Lord Jesus said this, what was in His heart? Was He really thinking of seventy times seven? He wasn’t. Is there a number of times God will forgive man? There are many people who are very interested in the “number of times” mentioned, who really want to understand the origin and the meaning of this number. They want to understand why this number came out of the Lord Jesus’ mouth; they believe that there is a deeper implication to this number. In fact, this was just God’s expression in humanity. Any implication or meaning must be taken along with the Lord Jesus’ requirements for mankind. When God had not become flesh, people did not understand much of what He said because it came out of complete divinity. The perspective and context of what He said was invisible and unreachable to mankind; it was expressed from a spiritual realm that people could not see. For people who lived in the flesh, they could not pass through the spiritual realm. But after God became flesh, He spoke to mankind from the perspective of humanity, and He came out of and surpassed the scope of the spiritual realm. He could express His divine disposition, will, and attitude, through things humans could imagine and things they saw and encountered in their lives, and using methods that humans could accept, in a language they could understand, and knowledge they could grasp, to allow mankind to understand and to know God, to comprehend His intention and His required standards within the scope of their capacity, to the degree that they were able. This was the method and principle of God’s work in humanity. Even though God’s ways and His principles of working in the flesh were mostly achieved by or through humanity, it truly did achieve results that could not be achieved by working directly in divinity. God’s work in humanity was more concrete, authentic, and targeted, the methods were much more flexible, and in form it surpassed the Age of Law.” From God’s words I got to know that God not only teaches us to forgive others but also tells us the way of God’s salvation of man in this verse. God becomes flesh to work among man for the sake of man’s better understanding of His requirements and will. When the Lord Jesus was working, He gave a lot of sermons and expressed many truths. This method of work was more vivid and realistic than the previous work done by the Spirit, and was more beneficial for man. Then will the Lord work in the flesh when He comes in the last days? » You may be interested in reading more: • How I Let Go of My Resentment Against My Close Friend • How to Live in Harmony With a Stroppy Roommate • 4 Tips for Christians to Get Along With People and Build a Good Relationship
Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Reflection To enter the kingdom of heaven is every Christian’s wish, but what conditions must be fulfilled in order to enter the kingdom of heaven? Many people think that as long as they hold on to the name of the Lord, labor and sacrifice for the Lord, they can be brought into the kingdom of heaven. I thought so, but later I read a passage online: “Many believers in the Lord believe the same thing that you do: ‘As long as I work hard and bear the cross for the Lord, exhibit some good behaviors and bear witness well, I will be qualified to wait for the Lord’s return and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven.’ Humans see this as perfectly reasonable, but is that what God’s will is? Do His words bear that out? If not, then this thinking on the part of man certainly comes out of human notions and imagination. Thinking back to when the Pharisees would frequently explain the scriptures to people in the synagogues, they appeared to strictly adhere to the laws, the rules, and the commandments, and in others’ eyes they were very pious and were upstanding in their behavior. But why did they madly resist and condemn the Lord Jesus and even nail Him to the cross? This proves that people may work hard for the Lord and be well-behaved on the outside but it does not mean that they obey and love God in their hearts. Outward piety does not represent a heart that magnifies and reveres God. People may frequently explain the Bible to others, but that doesn’t mean that they are able to put the Lord’s words into practice or to follow God’s way.” Until then did I realize that my opinion was based on Paul’s words rather than Jesus Christ’s. Jesus Christ never said that one could enter the kingdom of heaven by working hard. Instead, He said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Implementing the heavenly father’s will is implementing God’s words, God’s commandments and God’s instructions. God says, “You can devote your heart and body and all of your genuine love to God, place them before Him, be completely obedient toward Him, and be absolutely considerate to His will. Not for the flesh, not for family, and not for your personal desires, but for the interests of God’s household. In everything you can take God’s word as the principle, as the foundation. That way, your intentions and your perspectives will all be in the right place, and you will be someone who gains God’s praise before Him. Those who God likes are people who are absolute toward Him, people who are devoted to Him and none other.” Want to learn more gospel news about the arrival of God’s kingdom? You’re welcome to connect with us via Live Chat. » You may be interested in reading more: • Can Believers Absolved of Sins Enter the Kingdom of Heaven • What Kinds of People Can Enter Heavenly Kingdom? • Can We Enter Heavenly Kingdom After Being Justified by Faith? » Most people also watch Christian Movie: “Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit” Clip: Can the Saved Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Today’s Gospel For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. – Matthew 3:3 Reflection John the Baptist was prepared by God before the Lord Jesus began to work. He preached in the wilderness and baptized people in the Jordan as doing his duty to pave the way for the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus. It had a substantive difference from God’s own work. God’s word says: “John did only the work of the beginning; more of the new work was done by Jesus. John did new work as well, but he was not the one who ushered in a new age. … Though John also said, ‘Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ and preached too the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, his work was not in-depth and constituted merely a beginning. In contrast, Jesus ushered in a new age and brought the old to an end, but He also fulfilled the law of the Old Testament. The work He did was greater than that of John, and He came to redeem all mankind—He did that stage of work. John simply prepared the way. Though his work was great, his words many, and those disciples who followed him numerous, his work did no more than bring to man a new beginning. Never did man receive from him life, the way, or deeper truths, and neither did they gain through him an understanding of the will of God. John was a great prophet (Elijah) who pioneered new ground for Jesus’ work and prepared the chosen; he was the forerunner for the Age of Grace. Such matters cannot be discerned simply by observing their normal human appearances. Especially, John also did quite great work; moreover, he was born by the promise of the Holy Spirit, and his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit. As such, distinguishing between their respective identities can be done only through their work, for a man’s outward appearance is not telling of his substance, and man is unable to ascertain the true testimony of the Holy Spirit. The work done by John and that done by Jesus were not alike and of different natures. It is this that should determine whether or not he is God. The work of Jesus was to begin, continue, conclude, and accomplish. Each of these steps was carried out by Jesus, whereas the work of John was no more than that of a beginning. In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, then went on to baptize man, heal sickness, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age. He preached to man and spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven in all places. This was the same with John, with 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. Such work could never be carried out by John. And so, it was Jesus who did the work of God Himself, and it is He who is God Himself and directly represents God.” God’s word reveals the mystery which every Christian should equip and enter. » You may be interested in reading more: • How Does One Distinguish Between the Work of God and the Work of Man? • Why Must God Incarnate Himself to Work and Save Man • What Exactly Is the Incarnation?
Today’s Gospel And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him. – Matthew 4:22 Reflection Mentioned in the verse, “left”, we know that at that time Peter was fishing but got nothing. When the Lord Jesus asked them to fish again, they saw miraculous signs and got a good catch. At the same time the Lord Jesus called them to follow Him to be his disciples. Then they dropped the fishing boat, left their nets and leave their father and followed the Lord Jesus. It reminds me a sentence in the Bible, “whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). The Lord Jesus asks us to love Him more than the worldly pursuits, so what should we do to become people who love God? Should we treat God’s commission as the most important? God’s words say, “Are you aware of the burden you shoulder, your commission, and your responsibility? Where is your historic sense of mission? How will you serve as a good master for the next age? Do you have a great sense of masterhood? How would you explain the master of all things? Is it really the master of all living creatures and all substance in the world? What plans do you have for the progress of the next step of work? How many people are waiting for you to be their shepherd? Is your task a heavy one? They are poor, pitiable, blind, and at a loss, wailing in the darkness, ‘Where is the way?’… Have you ever thought how grieved and anxious God’s heart is? How can He bear to see the innocent mankind He created with His own hands suffering such torment? After all, mankind are the unfortunates that have been poisoned. Though they have survived to this day, who would have thought that they have long been poisoned by the evil one? Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Out of your love for God, are you not willing to strive to save those who have survived? Are you not willing to use all your effort to repay the God who loves mankind like His own flesh and blood? How do you interpret being used by God to live your extraordinary life? Do you really have the resolution and confidence to live out a meaningful life of a pious, God-serving person?” From this we can see God’s eager desire to save mankind. God’s work needs people’s cooperation. When God’s calling comes upon us, we’ll be faced with choices. If we choose to put our own interests first, then who will spread God’s gospel? This is worth our consideration. » You may be interested in reading more: • Are You Truly Follow Jesus Christ? • During a Spiritual Battle, I Relied on God to Overcome My Family’s Interference • A Young Christian’s Experience of Spreading the Gospel of the Lord’s Return to His Father • Blessed Are Those Who Truly Believe in and Follow God—Reflection on John 20:29
Today’s Gospel Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. – Matthew 5:6 Reflection The teaching of the Lord Jesus reminded me of the prophecy mentioned in Revelation that “I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.” All those who seek the truth, hunger and thirst for righteousness will receive the provision of living water of life and be sated in their spirit when they come before God. It’s necessary for man to have an active seeking heart. Just as God’s words say, “God directs His word to all people. If you are willing to read it, He will enlighten you, but if you are not, He will not. God enlightens those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and those who seek Him. … God has spoken much, so you should do your utmost to eat and drink of His word. Without realizing it, you will come to understand and the Holy Spirit will enlighten you. When the Holy Spirit enlightens man, it is often without man’s awareness. He enlightens and guides you when you thirst and seek. The principle by which the Holy Spirit works is centered on the word of God of which you eat and drink.” “If someone always feels like he can’t eat or drink enough of God’s word, if he always seeks it and hungers and thirsts for it, the Holy Spirit will always do work upon him. The more someone yearns, the more practical things can come out of his fellowship. The more intensely someone seeks the truth, the more quickly his life grows, giving him rich experience and making him a wealthy man in the house of God.” From God’s words we can see, God treasures and enlightens those who long for and seek the truth. Meanwhile, this is a must practice for us seeking the appearance of God. For example, during the age when the Lord Jesus did His work, the scribes and Pharisees who abided by the Bible and were unwilling to seek the work and words of the Lord Jesus missed the chance to accept the provision of the Lord Jesus’ words. While those who thirsted for the work and words of the Lord Jesus received the provision of the living water of life and obtained the guidance of the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a huge practical example. In the Bible God prophesied many times that the Lord Jesus has words for us during His second coming in the last days. And whether we could gain these words or not needs our active seeking, for the Lord Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” Though many people are afraid of being deceived by false Christs and antichrists in the last days, God will surely lead us to find His work and words if we are willing to seek. » You may be interested in reading more on our Christian Testimonies page about Return to God, or in the articles below: • My Lord, I’ve Finally Found You • A Catholic’s Testimony of Returning to God: Once I Was in the Wilderness, Now I Bathe in the Spring of Life • Blessed Are Those Who Have Not Seen and yet Believe – Reflection on John 20:29 » Recommended: Church Skit “The Lord Is Knocking”: Welcome the Return of the Lord
Today’s Gospel Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. -Matthew 5:11 Reflection Instances of Christians being persecuted were and still are very common. The Lord Jesus said, “If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.” When the Lord Jesus came to work, the Pharisees resisted and condemned Him on the basis of His appearance and work that didn’t conform to their notions. Even though they knew that the Lord Jesus’ words had truth and authority, they refused to accept them for they were not in line with the words of the Bible, and they tempted Him and tried to find fault with Him. Meanwhile, to protect their positions and livelihoods, they not only restricted believers from following the Lord Jesus, but wantonly maligned and slandered the Lord Jesus. In the end, they nailed Him to the cross. This exposed their truth-hating and God-hating nature and substance. Just because of this, they also hated those pursuing the truth and seeking the light, thus many apostles and missionaries who followed the Lord Jesus were persecuted. What’s even worse, Christians suffered even greater persecution in China, where the atheistic party is in power and has been seriously persecuting religious belief. However, God’s wisdom is exercised based upon Satan’s schemes; He uses these environments to perfect us. God’s words say, “Perhaps you all remember these words: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ In the past, you have all heard this saying, yet none understood the true meaning of the words. Today, you know well the real significance they hold. These words are what God will accomplish in the last days. And they will be accomplished upon those cruelly afflicted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, so in this land, those who believe in God are subjected to humiliation and persecution. That is why these words will become reality in you group of people. As the work is carried out in a land that opposes God, all of His work is met with inordinate hindrance, and many of His words cannot be accomplished in good time; hence, people are refined because of the words of God. This too is an element of suffering. It is greatly arduous for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon, but it is through such difficulty that God does a stage of His work to make manifest His wisdom and wondrous deeds. God takes this opportunity to make this group of people complete.” From God’s words we can see that the suffering we have undergone because of believing in God is commemorated by God. Through these environments, He tempers our faith, allowing us to gain the truth as our life, stand witness for Him, and overcome Satan’s temptation and attack, so as to be qualified for His promises and blessings. » Read more on our Persecution Testimonies page, or click on the related articles below: • When Forced by the CCP Police to Choose Between Her Belief in God and Her Son’s Future … • A Young Christian’s Story: How I Grew Under Persecution and Tribulations » Most people also watch Christian Movie: “Faith in God 2 – After the Church Falls” – The True Story of Chinese Christians
ByBy Li Zhong, Italy “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). What does it mean to be the pure in heart? Why should we be the pure in heart? What should we do to be counted as people who are pure in heart? These questions are all very important to us, because only by being the pure in heart can we welcome the Lord’s return, see Him and hear His voice in the last days, and thus have the opportunity to be saved by Him. Today, let’s study the Bible together, and see during the period of the Lord Jesus’ work, which people accepted the Lord Jesus with a pure heart and which people lost the salvation of the Lord because they didn’t have a pure heart. At that time, the Lord Jesus preached in all places to spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and performed a lot of miracles. However, the Pharisees could not comprehend what the Lord Jesus had done, nor did they think that was God’s deeds. They believed that the Lord Jesus couldn’t possibly be the Messiah because, be it the Lord Jesus’ name, His appearance, His parentage or what He had done, none of them conformed to the record about the Messiah in the Old Testament. They not only didn’t accept the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus, but also deceived the Jewish people into judging and blaspheming the Lord Jesus together with them. However, there were two kinds of people who treated the coming of the Lord Jesus differently when they heard the rumors and slanders. First of all, let’s take a look at the first kind of people. In John 10, it is said that on the Sabbath day the Lord Jesus cured a blind person in the temple and testified that He Himself was the good Shepherd, the Son of God, and that His authority came from God. But because of listening to the rumors from the Pharisees, some Jewish people stoned the Lord Jesus and said: “He has a devil, and is mad; why hear you him?” (John 10:20). “These are not the words of him that has a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” (John 10:21). “For a good work we stone you not; but for blasphemy; and because that you, being a man, make yourself God” (John 10:33). Here we can see that the Jewish people did not take the Lord’s words and work seriously. They did not ponder whether there was truth in the Lord Jesus’ preaching, whether His preaching was beneficial and edifying to them, or whether His authority of performing miracles came from God. On the contrary, they followed the Pharisees blindly, condemning, judging, and blaspheming the Lord Jesus, and even stoning Him. Finally, the Jewish people followed the religious leaders in nailing the Messiah, whom they had been bitterly waiting for, to the cross. What they had done gravely offended God’s righteous disposition, which led to Israel being subjected to destruction and losing the opportunity of following the Lord forever. This is the lamentable end of those who did not carefully investigate the work and words of the Lord Jesus with a pure heart. Then let’s see the second kind of people, who possessed a pure heart. Take Peter and John as examples. While the Lord Jesus preached and did His work, they heard the slanders and blasphemies from the religious leaders and Pharisees, and saw their attacks and temptations to the Lord Jesus. Yet they didn’t follow them or condemn the Lord Jesus blindly. Rather, they practically investigated the Lord’s work through listening to His preaching and watching the miracles performed by Him. After following the Lord Jesus for a period of time, they came to have some true knowledge of the Lord Jesus and then firmly believed that what the Lord Jesus had said and done was indeed from God, and couldn’t be achieved by any man. Therefore, even though the religious leaders and Pharisees resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, they weren’t deceived by the rumors from them, but still persisted in following the Lord with pure hearts, for they only followed and listened to God while believing in God. One of the Lord Jesus’ disciples Simon Peter said: “Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69). From this we can see that Peter had a sober and clear mind, so through the Lord Jesus’ actions and behaviors, he recognized that His identity was God Himself, and that He is the truth, the way and the life, and is the Messiah, whom they had been waiting for a long time. Finally, Peter was praised and blessed by the Lord Jesus. From these two different results caused by different choices, we can see that those without pure hearts will suffer misfortune while those with pure hearts will be blessed. So having a pure heart is really very important for us to welcome the return of God. Having a pure heart means that we can discriminate between right and wrong among different views, and don’t listen to or obey others foolishly; we don’t randomly measure God’s work and words, but can personally investigate God’s work. Only in this way can we avoid making the great fault of forsaking the Messiah while waiting for Him, and have the opportunity to see God and hear God’s voice. 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). It has been already more than two thousand years since the Pharisees deceived the believers into nailing the Lord to the cross. The record of this fact in the Bible gives us an admonishment: In dealing with the return…
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…