Categories
Hebraic Roots: Israel and Jewish Culture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

James & John knew their Bible

It’s so important to know the Old Testament. In it is such rich supply of GOD’s Word to His people, both Jew and Gentile.

Value of the Old Testament

Apostles to Jesus: James and John knew their Bible, the Holy Word, the Scriptures back in their time — which is what we Gentiles call The Old Testament.

Jesus only referred to the Bible Scriptures of the Old Covenant or Old Testament. The new wasn’t written yet. Jesus was writing it on the hearts of those who were following Him at the time.

I discovered a text many others of you may know… But I didn’t know it. Although I’ve read the Old Testament in full, start to finish, at least 4 times (as well as the Pentateuch, Psalms and Proverbs numerous times, as well as the prophets repeatedly), I never recognised this until today:

Zechariah 4:11-14,

11 Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?” 12 And I further answered and said to him, “What are these two olive branches that drip into the receptacles of the two gold pipes from which the golden oil drains?”

13 Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?”

And I said, “No, my lord.

14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones, who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.”

The two anointed ones who are on either side of Jesus?!

I believe it is this scripture that James and John refer to in Mark 10:37,

“They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.””

It must be, surely! Unless of course it matters that one text says “stand” and the other says, “sit”. Whether these young men were wanting to be those anointed, or simply had the concept of being on either side, I suspect they were referring to the concept of being on either side as mentioned in the Zechariah text.

The brothers wanted a place next to Jesus in Heaven. They recognised Him as “the Lord of the whole earth” and wanted to be anointed to be next to Him.

Why seeing this matters

Kernels of truth hidden from view pop up all the time when reading the Old Testament. It is not just history and law. it is Truth that helps us, enables us, to know GOD better, to know Jesus better, and to be better guided by Holy Spirit to live the life laid out for us.

What does this text reveal?

It reveals these disciples knew their scriptures. It reveals these disciples recognised Jesus as Messiah. It reveals they were looking out for themselves and/or wanted to be close to Jesus in eternity. It helps to confirm,  especially for Jewish people, the validity of scripture.

We need to know all scripture

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16)

At the time when Jesus walked, the only scripture available was what was written already by those chosen by GOD. They are irreplaceable. Jesus didn’t come to replace but to confirm the Law. We need both Testaments to complete the scriptures.

Every blessing

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Slavery

I’m looking at the perspective of the Hebrew person who was rescued out of slavery in Egypt and trying to adapt to freedom.

I’m writing to scrutinise scripture rather than simply as a personal reflection, because we are living in a society combating prejudice against historic slavery but often with bias.

I’m writing, hoping to bring awareness to myself and to anyone reading, about how GOD’s perspective is from a completely different angle to ours and we need, I believe, to learn to look from His perspective in all matters.

I’m looking at Deuteronomy 6

The written record has just reiterated the 10 Commandments in Chapter 5. In Chapter 6 here is some of the language GOD uses to address those who will go into the Promised Land with Joshua after Moses has died…

“Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you… “ (v 3a)

“… when you have eaten and are full — then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall fear the LORD your GOD and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other people’s gods….” (v 12b-14a)

“You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your GOD, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.” (v 17)

GOD’s address

The language is conditional, bossy, abrupt, direct and without any subtly… because these “children” though descendants of their fathers who were in slavery, have not recovered and are not accustomed to freedom.

The instructions are clear, avoiding any doubt or confusion: the behaviour expected is a bit prescribed, because they have descended from slaves and are accustomed to strict instructions. It would seem that that is what they felt safe with so far…

What is important to note

Slavery is constrictive, and it forces boundaries. But boundaries in themselves are not necessarily bad. These Hebrew people will be going into the Promised Land where the cities will be taken from others and they will not need to build. The land will offer delicious food — it is the Land flowing with Milk and Honey. They will have absolute freedom, which they have never experienced before. 

Freedom is the ability to make decisions and choices without any inhibitions or barriers. GOD is offering boundaries as a means of protection to those who’ve not experienced freedom.

Freedom with Responsibility is what we all need

While we may prefer freedom, our downfall occurs when we have freedom and handle it badly, making dreadful mistakes. We can learn from any mistake but some mistakes are better not to make. GOD sets boundaries to protect us: To love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself.

Holy Spirit and Boundaries

When we are filled with and walk with and are in partnership with the Holy Spirit, there is total freedom because Holy Spirit within us is our safeguard from error. Ignoring Him brings unpleasant consequences and spiritual death. Walking with Him brings protection and life!

Slavery is horrible bondage. But absolute freedom is risky; a sense of responsibility can protect us from ourselves.

From Slavery to Freedom

Historically, although the Hebrews gained their freedom it took a long time for them to grow accustomed to walking in it. They needed GOD’s boundaries and they needed to be thankful. Instead they  often grumbled, doubted, complained, disobeyed. Today, let us enjoy the liberty and freedom we have without forgetting who GOD is and what He has done through Jesus for us.

Sometimes scripture is cited ‘we are slaves for Christ’… that is not so that we obey the Law. It is not so that we feel condemnation when we err. It is so that we can enjoy belonging to Him and utilise boundaries so that we can enjoy our GOD-given freedom with responsibility.

Every blessing,

Sarah

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

The Power of the Cross: ticket for LIFE

The Power of the Cross holds the ticket to Life

The power of the cross is that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have the opportunity for eternal life. How does this work?

Isaiah 49:6 says “‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant

To raise up the tribes of Jacob,

And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;

I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,

That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

In coming to earth, Jesus — GOD in the flesh — offers restoration between GOD and mankind. But how could His presence on earth make such a difference as to conquer death to mankind? What does “salvation” actually mean?

The LORD gave Jesus the commission to rescue the Jewish people, GOD’s elder son. But the commission of the Son, his suffering and his mission, was deemed to be too powerful and too huge a sacrifice to limit salvation only to the Hebrew people. 

GOD sent the son for ALL and faith in Jesus saves anyone who follows Him.

What Jesus did

Jesus was born without an earthly father, who is the source of our sinful nature. It is the sinful nature that separates us from GOD. So, with Holy Spirit as the father, Jesus was born without sin, unlike every other human being.

“I didn’t come to replace the Law but to fulfil it.” (Matthew 5:17)

GOD provides the Law in order to help mankind recognise their rebellious and sinful nature and to repent. Through sacrifice, mankind is able to repent and return to relationship with the Father. But while mankind demonstrates his inability to avoid sin, he is not able either to keep the Law. Therefore he needs something beyond the Law to save him.

Jesus offers reunion between the Law and the Father, between mankind and the Father, between Life and the source of Life. Faith in Him sets us free from our own sin through His sinlessness and His sacrifice. Jesus provides the “ticket” to eternal life.

Salvation enables freedom for the sinner, to reach the Father by His grace

Forgiveness, offered by the Father through faith in the Son, is the ticket to heaven after life on earth and freedom from oppression whilst on earth.

The first Adam sinned and gave up his immortality; the second Adam replaced sin and death with the opportunity for salvation and eternal life.

So, who is Jesus?

Jesus is the saviour for mankind: born of a virgin, He lived, taught, died, and in rising again brought victory over death. Jesus triumphed over sin and death. 

Faith in Him allows us to reap the benefit of resurrection. Faith in Jesus is the ticket to eternal life. The power of the cross is the resurrection power of a sinless substitute for our sin. 

Life is eternal for those who believe and follow Jesus. The power of the cross is the ticket to life!

“No one comes to the Father except through me”

Jesus said this not because He’s racist or egotistical but because no one else before or after, was sinless AND no one else before or after, defeated death. Those are the credentials Jesus has, and no one else. So like it or not, He’s the only Way to reunion with the Creator of the Universe, GOD the Father.

Shalom and God bless… may this explanation be useful to you and yours.

Categories
Watchman on Alert BLOG

Life-changing Power of Song

Here are two songs which speak very differently but each brings us closer to the LORD GOD, Yehovah and His wonderful son, Yeshua Jesus. One to convict us to surrender:

The other to remind us of His powerful love:

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Is GOD near or far? A look at faith v religious practice

Is GOD near or far?: Looking at Faith and Religion

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Many people believe in GOD but don’t know GOD intimately as those who are born again claim to experience Him. How can I know that? Because I’ve been in both camps — which I’d call the “before” and “after” camps: before being born again and after being born again

What’s the difference between born again and not born again? And why does it matter?

Firstly: What’s the difference between being born again or not born again? Biblical Christianity puts the Bible as the first reference point. Born again people generally do that. We base our lifestyle on whether or not it lines up with the Bible’s recommendations for a peaceful and fulfilled life. Although sometimes we fail in our walk, the Bible is our guideline, our plumb line, our reference point.

However, that isn’t a sufficient explanation because many adhere to the strict code or legalistic lifestyle of following the rules in the Bible, not because they have had a revival in their hearts but because they are religious about their commitment to ensuring society — or at least their family — tows the line!

Being born again is a realisation that ‘I want to follow Jesus and I cannot live the life I want to lead without him; and then it is a decision to commit my life to him, to surrender and start again, to look ahead and not behind, and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead me.’ And then there is baptism which is a public profession and experience of being immersed in water as Jesus was.

“What must we do” to be saved? some asked Peter in Acts 2:38. “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Observations

Let’s make no assumptions as to salvation of another person…. Only GOD sees our hearts.

To be born again means we’ve repented of our mistakes, and surrendered our lives to Jesus. This is what makes us “saved” according to John 3:16 (and other verses of course). But isn’t that also what we do in the Protestant Church when we get confirmed or in the Roman Catholic church when we go to confession?

An aside for a moment…

There is a specific trigger for this my writing this post: I mentioned to someone recently that I was sad that they were keeping GOD at arms length, although I was delighted they had faith in Him. The response was polite but the person did take exception to my comment.

I suppose it seemed as though I had made an assumption that I knew their relationship with GOD. So the other person was taken aback by my comment, which is quite right and a fair point… no one can know another’s relationship to GOD.

AND YET, there are certain markers. The most apparent one is, Do we put GOD first!? Is our relationship with Him the most important in our lives? With this question in mind, I continue on the main track once again…

How do we know we have a personal relationship with GOD?

  1. We need the Holy Spirit. He is the comforter whom Jesus ascended into heaven in order to send after him. He, like the father and the son, is GOD (John 14).
  2. Jesus said we must be “born again (John 3:16) – which is to have a personal encounter with the living GOD, based upon an experience or decision or both, where we willingly die to our old life and seek to start again, knowing GOD is listening. We can trust we are forgiven and are reborn, brand new and without sin.
  3. Paul wrote we must have faith in order to please GOD (Ephesians 2), and that we are saved by His grace. Faith, by definition is, “the substance of what we hope for”, it is evidence-based. James says faith without works is dead, so while works includes good deeds, it also includes a tangible hunger for GOD’s Word, the Bible (more below). Without faith it is impossible to please GOD (Hebrews 11:6). And – by the way – faith comes from GOD. It is a fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:22); we can’t drum it up. But we can ask for it!
  4. Do we have a desire and commitment to our relationship with GOD which is lasting and ongoing?…. I thought my friend was keeping GOD at arms length. Did I presume or did I sense or observe a lack of engagement? 
  5. Do you have a hunger for the Bible as GOD’s Word? In John 1:1 we read, “In the beginning was the Word….. and the was GOD and the Word became flesh…” That’s Jesus! Do you “Love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind…. (Jesus quoted Deuteronomy)? Good works without the Love of GOD first, is NOT Christianity, but simply good deeds. Are you a person wearing the label Christian? Does that mean you are going to heaven? Being a person who believes in Jesus is a necessary start, but that alone doesn’t mean one is going to heaven. According to Jesus’ own words, to some he will say, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23) You can’t whip up your faith. You can only follow; ask and it will be given, seek and you will find; knock and the door shall be opened to you. 
  6. Have you passion to know GOD? It can grow! I was ignorant but I was open… and then the Spirit of GOD began to convict me of my ignorance. I chose to listen. Through 3 different people in the space of 48 hours, I heard “My people are destroyed/perishing for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) and I realised I was one of those people!
  7. So much hinges on the Bible, our hunger for it, our growth from it. I started at the top of this post with Hebrews 4: “Word of GOD is living and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword” ….. “and discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  Our walk hinges on the Word of GOD, which is why Paul writes to Timothy and says, “study to show yourself approved…” A deep study of theology reveals how Jesus’ identity matters, that only as the son of GOD, only he could take our place on the cross, taking all our sin — everyone’s sin — and then how painfully he was abandoned as evidenced by his question to his Father, “why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15) The more we study, the more we can grow. And yet, even this is not what gets us into heaven.
  8. Is the Holy Spirit active and alive within us: convicting us of sin, prompting us to dig deeper. Do we allow the Holy Spirit to go to the heart of our matter, not only touching our minds? What leads us to heaven is to have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21). And it is through relationship with the Lamb of GOD, through the Holy Spirit, through our following him, that we are born again, saved for our place in heaven. Jesus said, “In my house are many mansions…” and “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2).


These are markers of our relationship with GOD. But of course, only GOD knows the heart.

On the structures of religion in Christianity

What about the ceremonies of religious denominations?

  1. What about confirmation then? And our promises and vows made to GOD at this time? Is this less than baptism? Zach 4:6 says, “Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the LORD of hosts.” At Jesus’ baptism it was then that the Spirit descended upon him like a dove.
  2. IF GOD is at the centre, then do we get to choose how we come to Him? Intimacy, unity, lap of Abba/Daddy comes through baptism: sign, obedience, step of commitment. Some people are committed born again believers and yet they are in a culture where they are confirmed rather than baptised. Does them make a  difference to GOD? All I know is that I was confirmed at 16, born again at 24 and was challenged at 31 to be baptised. GOD convicted me and I was baptised. It was only then, after my first 7 years as a Christian, that  I truly began to grow: hunger, read, pray, improve my human relationships. I believe I was saved from 24 and destined for heaven. But it was after 31 that I really, really began to grow and be useful to others — helping them to grow in the likeness of Jesus.

So, what’s the difference between GOD being near or far? 

Our relationship with GOD, which includes our hunger for His Word and our prayer life through the Spirit, is what makes the difference between a person of religion or faith and the person who is born again.

We can define our relationship with GOD as something that goes far beyond attending church, though developing fellowship with other believers is important.  

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

We surrender and we allow our minds to be renewed (not washed as in brain washed) seeing things from GOD’s perspective, beyond what we know and see in the here-and-now. And within us, we’ll notice that there is much more is going on as we develop our understanding of GOD’s Spirit within us.

Why bother with church?

And yes we attend church for fellowship, because iron sharpens iron, and being part of a family keeps us strong and supported. If we merely attend a religious act or ceremony, it may take us to church but does it help us or others to grow? To be with the people: our brothers and sisters in Christ, who also have a relationship with GOD is a wonderful opportunity to share His love, to discuss His word, and to grow in His likeness. When we are in fellowship, we have the opportunity to work as one body: hands, eyes, ears, hearts all working together to give us the ability to function fully. (1 Corinthians 12)

And finally, in our walk we look ahead not behind: “Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the upward call of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14) It is not our behaviour, our deeds, our successes or our failures that marks us for an intimate relationship with GOD… but it is our hearts — our yearning for Him and the growth of our spirit within us — which sets us apart for Him.

Conclusion about religious Christianity: Jesus tore into the religious pharisees because they were hypocrites many times in Matthew and of them he also said,

“Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) Religion alone does not cut it with Christ.

We cannot presume anyone’s level of intimacy or faith with GOD our heavenly Father. But we can encourage intimacy, sincerity, and if we meet with opposition, we can pray for that heart to be convicted and that mind to be renewed. If the spirit dwells within, alive — born again — and well, then the person will experience conviction. He or she will choose what to do with that, and they are encountering the living Creator of the Universe. When that occurs, GOD is at work and the “arms length” no longer applies.

Hallelujah!

Secondly: Why does it matter whether or not we are born again? 

It matters to GOD whether we are born again because Jesus said ‘unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of GOD’. So arms length or intimacy now is not only about how we experience GOD now, but also where we end up later…

Where are we at now?

Reader, Are you a long-term believer or one new to the faith? 

Solution: Read the Word. Spend time with GOD in prayer. You’ll find answers.

Reader, are you a person with faith who doesn’t know how to get closer to GOD or even whether or not you want to? 

Solution: Read the Word. Spend time with GOD in prayer. You’ll find answers.

Reader, are you a person who doesn’t believe? 

Solution: That’s okay, you can read the Word and even ask GOD if He’s there, in prayer. You’ll find answers.

Is GOD at arms length or intimate with you?

We are all equal as human beings. GOD offers us all the same opportunity. He meets us wherever we’re at and if we allow Him, He draws us to Him, from arms length to close. 

I pray you’ll be closer to Him today than you were yesterday. I pray that for myself too. 

Shalom — I ask for GOD’s peace for you, and GOD’s blessing too.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Watchman on Alert BLOG

Church or not church this week?

Early Sunday Morning

I was sitting on a Sunday morning, listening to Holy Spirit led music (Dappy Keys, your You Tube channel is great!)

I was reading the Bible and being still with GOD.

I was enjoying the peace after a weather storm. And I was reflecting on the peace that the LORD brings. 

Was I to interrupt that to go to church that morning? I could settle down and watch on line because our church does live streaming as well as in-person meetings. But then I’d miss the fellowship. Or I could just continue dwelling, abiding, with GOD.

Fellowship

John writes, “…. that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1John 1:3-4)

As we listen to preaching, and spend time together, and as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to the Father and His son Yeshua, as we are all gathered together in church, we share: we enjoy and we have joy!

But sometimes I just want to be still, be with the Father, and reflect upon His word on my own.

We are not called to a rigid gospel of behavioural dictates but we are called to a gospel of love, joy, peace. I can “do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and that includes choosing whether to go to church this time or to stay at home to abide with my Lord.

Factors to consider

Hebrews 10:24-26 says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

If we miss one week at church, are we forsaking the assembling together?

Jesus…. and Paul and all the other writers of the Gospel and New Covenant which we find in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, wrote to guide us, not to bind us.

If we proceed in our journey without fellowship, then we are subject to lots of pitfalls. We are to walk together, strengthened by each other, offering and willing to receive aid, support, love. But we are not yoked with “should”, “ought” and obligations. We who are in Christ are free, and we are not to fear. We are not to be bound… Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)

If we forsake meeting together, determined to walk on our own, then ultimately we are risking our faith. But if we fear condemnation or fear man’s attitude towards us, or if we reckon we must go else will lose our salvation, then we are going to church for the wrong reasons. Rather, if we prefer — once in a while — to be alone with the GOD of our salvation, then we are not doing wrong.

We are to love GOD and then love one another. Spending time alone with GOD is love. Spending time together is an act of love also.

Freedom of Choice

Church service once a week is the real issue. Why don’t we, as they did in Acts, meet daily, over food: breaking bread together? (Acts 2:42)

What I would really love is this: “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart” (Acts 2:46)

It isn’t practical in our world, but that’s what I would love. 

There is nothing I like more than to spend time with other believers over a meal (or even without a meal) discussing GOD’s Word and sharing love. Nothing.

As for church service, isn’t it wonderful to worship together, to listen to someone share his or her contemplations of the Word through a sermon, and to pray together? I love it!

Decision on this occasion

But this time, I stayed at home, because I felt the LORD’s prompting to do so. ‘Don’t go this week,’ I sensed Him saying to me; ‘just slow down, abide with me, and live.’

This is the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, our Messiah and Lord. This is life. Hallelujah!

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Watchman on Alert BLOG

Spiritual Worship and Warfare

Do we know what Spiritual Warfare is?

“Warfare is not what we think it is at all.” This is what my husband said as he lay ill in bed. We didn’t realise just how ill he was, and I may not know this side of heaven what the LORD was showing him, but the Father was revealing spiritual warfare to him in a new light.

Ps 47:7 GOD is LORD. 

When we stand tall in His name, we supersede Satan.

Here is a song which triggered the writing of this post: C0ver the S

“Everything….” Do it in Yeshua’s name….

Ephesians 5:20 says, “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

He intends that all we do be an act of thanksgiving… aka an act of worship.

Spiritual Warfare as He prepares His Bride

Preparing His bride may well be more about our leaving this earth with GOD having more control that Satan — both in us and through us — for this earth. Is it not true that a huge part of spiritual warfare is taking back control to Jesus from what Satan took in the Garden of Eden?

And can we not do this through our worship of Him even more perhaps than through our intense spiritual warfare prayers?

What is warfare really?

As we ponder, allowing this thought to resonate, what do you come up with for your spiritual walk with and worship of the LORD GOD?

ea

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Watchman on Alert BLOG

Living out of our Heart Motive

Making Decisions

Recently a friend of mine said that he wasn’t going to attend his mother’s funeral because there was so much infighting in the family over the matter, and from his point of view, considerable hypocrisy in the plan of the service. My friend is a born again believer, as was his mum; for him there is personal loss but also peace knowing with absolute confidence where his elderly mum now resides.

This friend has had some flack from family, but also from other believers who have said he must attend. It was not for him, however, a matter of social decorum or even of witness, but of his own reason or conviction to stay away.

Freedom to Choose

It seems to me that just as Jesus was told he ought to go to the passover feast to “show himself”, and he said he wasn’t going to go (John 7:2-9), this friend ought not to do what others say he “must” do but rather, what his conscience, his relationship with the Father, and with his mother, suggests.

Too often we are pulled here and there as to what to “do” but Jesus has taught us that we are to “be”.

Scripture about Motive

“Search me and know me, O God…” (Psalm 139:1, 23)

When we ask the LORD a direction or course of action to take, He will lead and guide us, revealing to us our motivation, so that we are free from “must” and “should” and instead may walk in our identity in Christ Jesus, Yeshua Messiah. The Holy Spirit convicts, and yes sometimes He uses people to do it. But more often He will lead us into all truth through the inner conviction and revelation and freedom He places in our own hearts. He sees us and reveals to us who we are in Him.

My friend was brave! 

My friend stood against criticism and other people’s “encouragement” to do what is right in man’s eyes. He surrendered to the LORD saying to Him, ‘I will attend if that is what you want me to do’ and the response came from two witnesses (myself and another) that he was free to make his choice.

Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.”  Conviction of a crime must come from two or more testimonies (Deuteronomy 17:6); so too can liberty. And so my friend was “set free” from condemnation by two witnesses who stood by him.

Our inner motivation

The LORD searches our hearts and so must we… not one another’s heart (as in the speck in our friend’s eye verses the log in our own, see Matthew 7:1-4)… 

Giving GOD our time and our stillness allows Him space to search us and communicate with us; it allows Him to speak to us and we to hear Him. He will reveal to us our innermost motivations, convict us when we need it, and set us free as well.

And then we may allow ourselves to walk in the freedom that Jesus died and rose again to give us. Knowing we are fully committed to Him and His leadership, we are free indeed.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ Watchman on Alert BLOG

Biological Warfare, End Times and being united as One Body

“How good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity…” (Psalm 133:1) How vital, life-giving, essential and valuable it is.

I don’t have statistics, but I’d hazard a guess that the church body of believers have not been as divided throughout the Church Age until now, as they are over the issue of vaccines and Covid-19. Yes, perhaps the Protestant Reformation was as divisive, or the Puritans v the established Protestant Church. But these divisions help to accent my point: We are not united as a body, and we need to be as an effective witness to the world in these monstrously chaotic times.

“What does it matter what you eat or what you put on…” Yes, our Father in heaven looks out for our welfare. But sadly, folks are drawing battle lines over whether or not to wear a mask, whether or not to take a vaccine. Some in each camp even insinuate that those in the other camp are losing their salvation! Some shout ‘the vaccine contains 666’!

GOD will surely give us clear insight

From my point of view, we are not all prophets. In very recent memory, many established prophets “got it wrong” about the US presidential election. So, it is far easier to prophecy or point a finger at someone and say, “GOD told me you should….” than it is to be accurate. I celebrate the gifts of the Holy Spirit and encourage others to express themselves. But in this current climate, I’d like to look at the fruit from the exercise of these gifts as regards issues surrounding the pandemic.

The fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, long-suffering, self control, against which there is no law… (Galatians 5:22-23). In the hostility aroused over the pandemic issues, I see little love, joy or peace…

We are known by our fruits. What sort of fruit is being grown through this wrangle over whether or not to vaccinate? The fruit I’m concerned about is not fruit at all but hard-heartedness. 

Let’s not be hard-hearted

Jesus said regarding divorce, Moses only allowed it because of their hardness of the heart. (Matthew 19:8) Of such hardness Jesus was grieved (Mark 3:5) and Paul wrote of it in Romans 2:5 “But in accordance with your hard and impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of GOD.”

Dear friends, to whom did Jesus refer when he spoke of self-righteousness and hardness of heart? The pharisees. Are we not in jeopardy of behaving as pharisees over this issue of the pandemic. Are we unequally yoking ourselves with unbelievers when we protest and rebel.*

Instead, I want to take us to a peaceful place, a place of rightness with others and with GOD as we say like Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

What may really be going on

One reason for protest against the actions and decisions of governments is triggered by a sense we are not being told the truth. That is quite possible… or at least not the entire truth.

Once we are in a place of harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ, I wish to raise a topic — risking to open a can of worms, seeking to raise an issue that runs to a deeper level than the issue of the pandemic or the vaccine, though inextricably linked to these issues. 

Another possibility or back story to the pandemic entered my own mind recently, as I took time out to relax. When I allowed my thoughts to rest, gradually, an idea came to me and took root: that we are in the midst of, not so much a pandemic, but of biological warfare.

This is pure speculation on my part, though born out of some contemplation after hearing a testimony of an American to some German medics about patent requests going back to 2003 for corona viruses and their vaccines: 

https://www.datascienceassn.org/content/dr-david-e-martin-testimony-july-9th-2021

My thinking trail

How did Anthony Fauci and others know to attempt to patent for corona viruses and their vaccines? How did they know so far in advance of SARS and Covid-19? (Fauci failed to secure the patents he sought at that time, take note.)

What if the virus is purely man-made and it’s release is not an accident? What if SARS was a deliberate attack during the GW Bush administration, against China? What if Covid-19 is a deliberate response? If we are engaged in biological warfare aka germ warfare, then is it no wonder we sense Western governments concealing something from us? It would be too undiplomatic politically, and too scary for citizens, to hear these truths, wouldn’t it?

And so, we just don’t know… what these viruses and vaccines are. And we perhaps don’t know the full story — Perhaps, if our governments know far more than they are telling us, maybe it is because telling us would be like putting petrol on a smouldering fire!

What if, I ponder, what if the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Thinking about Bill Gates, what if he’s actually trying to combat the Chinese and we, though caught in the cross-fire, are actually people he is trying to protect (contrary to what many think: that he’s one carrying the match!) What if?! We just don’t know.

In the big scheme of things

On the grand scale, we cannot know everything. Even Jesus didn’t know the date of his return, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36), so how can we possibly have the details of the Last Days, the machinations of Western and Foreign governments today, the intrigue and efforts of big pharma and big business? 

What is relevant to us

Though we don’t know the day or hour of Jesus’ return, and though we don’t know if his return is concurrent or consecutive with many other aspects of End Time prophecy, we do know more and more of his words of the End Times are coming to fruition.** In the big scheme of things, there is a remnant of followers of Jesus, a remnant in relation to the restoration of Israel with Yehovah GOD.

What we can do

We can draw close to GOD. We can be sure we are right with our Father, the Creator of the Universe. We can love Him and love one another has Jesus commanded (John 13:34) and dwell, abide, rest in Him.

We are citizens of earth and citizens of heaven, together. We can live together in love, joy and peace, that the world will know us by our love. 

As to wars and rumours of wars, whether they be biological or otherwise, these are not the end. Just as GOD forgives time and again (Matthew 18:21-22), we too must forgive our enemies and our friends. We do not war against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. (Ephesians 6:12) And so we do not look at man nor blame man, but we look to GOD and His son, our Saviour Jesus, and follow — by the power of the Holy Spirit — to the ends of the earth, even unto the end of this earth.

We prepare, prepare, prepare: we prepare ourselves through the study of GOD’s Word, we prepare our loved ones through the gospel message, we prepare the world through our love of one another, that Israel and the World might know us by our love, and Yeshua Jesus as reflected through that love.

Hallelujah! Jesus is alive, and so are we. Fear not! Jesus has overcome the World.

What to do with our nervous energy

Never before in my lifetime, and perhaps never in modern time, has society stood still as it did during the lockdowns around the world. What was beneficial in this time?

It has gaven us time to consider GOD. Have we done it? We who claim our Saviour and Messiah as Jesus/Yeshua, when we have had extra time to be with Yehovah GOD like never before, have we used this time and opportunity wisely?

We can dig into His person, His Word, His love, His embrace and His holiness. If we have not yet, we can do so now.

We can come close together (as things open up), sharing our time, our food, with one another as they did in Acts 4:32-35, “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.”

And we can love one another as he first loved us.

This my friends, I do believe, is the best way through the fiery times we are in and the fiery times ahead.

Again I say, Hallelujah! Jesus is alive, and so are we. Fear not! Jesus has overcome the World.

  • Some have said they attended protests as an opportunity to evangelise the gospel of Jesus, rather than to actually participate or endorse the protesting. Wonderful! 

** Ezekiel 39-44: the third temple – Is it true that the altar already exists as does the Levitical priesthood?

    Also: Hosea 14:2; Micah 7:18020; Joel 2:15-17

Categories
Reflections and Poetry Watchman on Alert BLOG

Highway Hallelujah (driving freedom)

Driving

at 60.

Windswept with windows 

wide 

open

Bocelli bellows beautifully

and I am

Alive.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry Watchman on Alert BLOG

Heart Attack: the first phase of Covid – p 3

The Life is in the Blood aka When the Music Fades

The First Phase of Covid – 19: part 3

News of the Angiogram

Looking back, I think Alan thought it might be the end of his life when he went to have the minor op called an angiogram, which was to look at his heart by inserting a camera. The doctors couldn’t figure out for a week why he wasn’t recovering from the Covid. Oxygen levels were fairly stable but he was exhausted. What was the cause?

Eventually, they decided to have another look at his heart.

Covid and heart attack – similar symptoms

Covid pneumonia produces chest pain and fatigue. So does heart attack. They’d done an EEG early in his hospitalisation which revealed a healthy heart. But after a week they decided to look again…

When Alan (and the consultant) told me he was to have an angiogram, Alan said, “Walk on water, Darling.” I thought he was referring to our talks months before about wanting to live in the Spirit 24/7 and of our frustration that it wasn’t forthcoming. I thought he was encouraging faithfulness. In fact, I think he was also warning me…I think he was telling me he thought he might to die — certainly he could die — and I needed to trust the LORD.

Result of the angiogram

Well, the angiogram revealed he’d been in heart attack condition for a week. They put two stents in an artery. After it all, Alan seemed to recover; the cardiologist told me he’d be released in two days as regards the cardiology issue, but perhaps a bit longer if the respiratory recovery was slower.

He was never released of course, and the weakened heart played a big role in that. 

Blinded by disease

Why did it take such a long time to look at Alan’s heart? Why, if he’d experienced a heart attack on the 1st of January, did it take until the 8th to have a closer look? Because Covid and heart attack “look” so similar. The disease is so new, and someone healthy like Alan simply didn’t flag up the heart issue beyond a cursory look after admission. I think the doctors felt badly for not spotting it, but who can blame them? They do the best they can with human eyes and science’s limited information.

Don’t look at the Storm

Of course Jordan and I were relieved. It was horrible Alan had experienced a heart attack, but he’d be home soon, they’d found the problem and he was recovering. Praise the LORD! Lots of people have heart attacks and recover. They change their lifestyle to cope, and that is generally a good thing. And of course we had the faith to believe anything is possible.


Alan’s independence and determination to come home

But although Alan got up every morning after the 8th and washed on his own, he was exhausted afterward. He was eating but sporadically. And he was so tired. 

Then came silence from him for three days and nights, and that really make me uncomfortable. Around this time I practiced prayer life more deeply. I looked at Jesus, no matter how distant and silent and remote I felt from Alan. Quietly, I drew in more and more others to pray.

There was optimism. I began to write an outline for a book we’d write together (though I didn’t have the opportunity to share this with Alan at the time). Prayer continued and I began to spread the net wider as Alan seemed “stuck” in his healing. I received tremendous encouragement from others who were drawn in to pray.

On Friday the 15th of January, Alan rang and we chatted a bit. Oh, I was deliriously delighted! He said he’d felt that he’d been in the belly of a whale, but knew the nurses were talking to me, so he didn’t worry that we weren’t communicating. He also said the LORD had told him He would take him “through the valley of the shadow of death”. Well, certainly he had been deathly ill. But he was getting better, at last…..

That night, two others, very much warriors in prayer, joined with me together over the phone to pray for Alan. It was a powerful time. We prayed in detail for healing, we praised GOD for the breakthrough. We hoped Alan would be home by the next Sabbath. Later, one of these two and another person who was praying in Hong Kong, sent songs about breath and breathing to forward to Alan; I did so. Over that night, the LORD also had me literally breathing for Alan — “the two become one flesh” took on whole new meaning for me that night!

Sunday 17th I was awoken in the night to pray. The LORD also led me to cast the net wider for prayer and an entire TV network was invited in. 

I noticed that Alan hadn’t been looking at his What’sApp. He didn’t feel strong enough to listen to the music he’d been sent, which was a concern for me. But I — and many others — prayed on, trusting the LORD for His healing of Alan.

I got a call that night, 17th of January at 10:30pm, from a consultant. Alan had collapsed and was in a bad way and would probably be taken to ICU.

Storm

The storm was crashing, but I deliberately and determinedly looked to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. 

I don’t remember what I said to our sixteen year old son after the hospital had rung that night, perhaps nothing at all; he was aware each time the hospital rang and never asked the report. We only talked about the matter of his dad being in hospital a little: sincerely and honestly, but rarely.

We went to bed soon after, and I even managed to sleep that night, which must have been a supernatural gift. 

I believed breakthrough was imminent.

* Photo courtesy of Revelation TV

Categories
Hebraic Roots: Israel and Jewish Culture

The Jewish people: the elder brother

Story of the Prodigal Son: 

Older brother is Israel, including all the Jews today.

Younger brother are the Gentiles who follow Yeshua.

From Luke 15

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [d]prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the [e]pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, [f]‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”

As I engage with the song below

I realise the weeping for Joy that the LORD has as this Jewess sings of her love; “the LORD GOD Almighty reigns”. For her, that LORD encompasses the Messiah and Ruach as well as the Father.

As we meditate on this truth, let us pray for more of His elder sons and daughters to come to him in the name of Yeshua. Hallelujah! 

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

Stress Coping Mechanisms

How many times do people say in a crisis, “Well, at least we have our health!”?

When our health is vulnerable, there is a great deal of stress. So, what Stress Coping Mechanisms can we use to overcome?

Walk on Water

We do not have the power to control our environment. Often we don’t have control over our circumstances. Storms in life will come and go, be they health storms or other situations. But when we focus on Jesus and allow ourselves to walk on water — as he did in all things — we get through the stress. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus — and sometimes that takes sheer determination — the author and finisher of our faith gets us through the storm.

Scripture

“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b) is just one of hundreds of scriptures that we can choose to digest when our stress level is high. Resting in the Word of GOD, either reading the Bible, listening to Scripture-based music, or listening to a recording of the Word, will feed the soul.

“The word of GOD is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The word strengthens us, convicts us, sharpens us, prepares us. Dwelling in the word allows us to draw near to the Lord. Remember, Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1)

I urge myself and all: take time in the word — more time. 

Unity in Prayer

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

The Body of Christ Jesus/Yeshua Messiah needs one another. When we are experiencing high degrees of stress, it may be tempting to complain or to hide — opposite reactions but quite typical responses to challenging times. To complain builds no one up and changes nothing; it is our flesh rising up. 

We need a new perspective; let’s take the mountain view. When we truly believe GOD is sovereign and loves us, we have nothing to complain about. It doesn’t mean things will always be rosy, but it does mean we recognise good things grow out of adversity and GOD doesn’t make mistakes. 

Sometimes we need others to support our prayers — to keep our arms lifted up like Moses had his arms upheld during battle. (Exodus 17:11) The Lord Jesus asked his friends to pray with him in Gethsemane. Prayer is something we all need and sometimes we need others to pray for us, when we cannot find the focus, peace, or words to pray. And of course the Holy Spirit gives us utterance whether or not we are lost for words. (Acts 2:4)

Asking for prayer support is important. Equally important is to be firmly rooted in knowing you are reliant upon the LORD and not on people. Sometimes the Lord allows trying circumstances simply to stretch and to grow us; sometimes He allows it so we will be drawn to come together with others.

“But He knows the way that I take; and when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

More fruit

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

We can know we need prayer when we are losing a hold on our love or joy or peace or…. When tempers flair, or try to, it us usually the flesh and not the spirit rising up. Yes, there is righteous anger, but more often than not, our anger is emotional turmoil welling up inside of us and exploding outward. When fear rises up, swapping it for the fear of the LORD is not only wisdom, but restorative too.

The Lord always offers good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11), and these gifts include the fruits of the spirit. When we are in a stressful situation, or a situation that is stressful for us, we ask, seek, knock, find: the Lord is waiting to encourage and to help us.

Knowing the end from the beginning

“I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Revelations 22:13)

In the end, Jesus wins! He has already won. We need to live in that truth as our reality all the time. When we do, the stress has nowhere to occupy.

As we dwell on the word and allow our minds to be renewed daily, we are restored. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Overcoming the flesh

Doubt, control, fear: these are all activities which like to live in the mind. But Jesus has overcome the flesh, the world and the devil. Faith in him means we do not have to doubt, control or fear anything or anyone. 

The flesh is in our will. The flesh is in our thoughts. The flesh is in our emotions. We shall not yield to the flesh any longer. Instead, we say as Jeremiah said, “Ah, LORD GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 31:17) Help us to surrender any remaining flesh to you.

We say, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God, for the pulling down of strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) Lord, deliver us by Your mighty hand.

And we declare, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men” that “to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift” and so we say thank you Lord, for our portion, our sufficient portion to overcome.

We stand on the promises of God. “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7) 

And we trust Him: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “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)

Meditate on these things, trust the Lord, and the stress will wash away.

Amen

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Spirit v Flesh

When all is said and done, the Spirit brings life and the flesh does not. 

We have a choice in this life as to how to be guided: spirit v flesh — which will we choose?

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Spiritual Walk

For those of us who know Jesus, every road we walk, every journey we take, is an opportunity to grow spiritually. As we surrender, so we grow into maturity and into freedom. It is so vital to embrace whatever comes our way, if we want to walk the Jesus Way.

There are no coincidences, no mistakes, and no surprises for GOD. He is sovereign and as we embrace that reality, we find great peace. Yes, we make mistakes, but Our God has room for our mistakes. It is better to walk in peace than to fuss about mistakes. 

Our mistakes are part of the roadmap — markers taking us closer to our destination: dwelling in the unity of the Spirit with our Saviour. As we yield to the Lord, surrendering our time, efforts and hearts, we grow closer to him and we become more like him.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)

Fleshly Walk

On the other hand, when we seek our own will, or fret or fear our circumstances, we feed into the flesh, where there is no real power or revelation. We might get what we think we want, but it will not be fulfilling.

“… those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed….” 2 Peter 2:10

Though we may be most capable, yet, His capabilities far outweigh our own.

Surrender, Pray, Praise

May I encourage us all, myself included, to walk the walk of faith, focusing on what the Word of GOD speaks into our situations, and yield not to the flesh. 

How do we do that? 

We take time: We stand still and see the salvation of our God (Exodus 14:13).  We wait upon the LORD to renew our strength. (Isaiah 40:31) We worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (Psalm 29:2). We trust and obey (Isaiah 50:10).


The fruit of the Spirit

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are evident,which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:16-26)

As we yield to the Lord, we see His provision and His wisdom. So, let us trust in Him and lean not on our own mental processes (Proverbs 3:5). 

Acknowledging Him enables us to walk by faith and see His salvation in all our circumstances. The outcome is as the LORD chooses, but when we rest in that throughout any situation, we have that peace of GOD which truly does pass all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

Hallelujah! The Lord reigns.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry Watchman on Alert BLOG

Healing GOD’s Way

Suggestions come thick and fast, earnest suggestions, encouragements, hopes, ambitions and spirit-filled replies. When someone is ill and prayer is called for, we ask for healing. It comes and I say, “Thank you,” and “Glory to GOD for that.” I’m also saying we need healing God’s way.

“Test all things; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Others words and mine

I am so grateful to every person who has written, texted or posted to me with a word about or for my husband’s overcoming of Covid-19. Like me, many have sought the Lord to ask His will and His way.

My husband is now well on the way to recovery. The worst is passed. May the best be yet to come. All glory to GOD!

The heart of this post is not to draw a conclusion as to how the recovery will be fully manifested. At this stage, my husband is on a long road to recovery, the recovery the Lord promised me the day before Alan went to hospital. I’ve no doubt he will recover. I have no doubt I heard the LORD… And just in case I might have doubted, He confirmed it 3 more ways since His initial message, “Alan will recover.”

So what about “what if’s”?

Doctors want the best for their patients, and work hard to attain it. And yet they are trained to be very adept at drawing the worst scenarios for family members. 

When you’re given a what if that contradicts the word from the Lord, reject it — but graciously. It may irk the doctors as you don’t acknowledge their concern. But your loyalty is not to them but to the patient. Overriding the word of a doctor dismisses the enemy in a heartbeat.

And if you’re given a word from a relative or friend that pushes a particular agenda, even if you hope for that agenda, stand firm on what the LORD has said. 

There have been times when intercession led to supernatural requests but a backlash came to bite my husband immediately thereafter. I’ve since prayed that issue through so it doesn’t happen again.

The Sovereign LORD is in charge 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:4-5)

Our LORD is outside time. He can work any way He wants to work. I give Him carte blanche — unrestricted access to Alan, to me, to my family’s health and healing. 

The Lord may choose to do a quick thing. It could confound and astound medics in a Western hospital if a critical patient suddenly stood up fully restored. Or it may build and deepen faith where a patient is quietly restored to full health when he was on the brink of death. The LORD knows the best way.

I do know this (which was shared recently by a dear prayerful friend):

“The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’” 

(Deuteronomy 33:27)

We aren’t to lag behind; yet let’s not rush ahead of the LORD either. 

I don’t know whether the healing process will be extraordinarily quick, or slow, or in line with the natural course of physical healing. I’m open and it would be great for my husband not to have to fight his way back in the physical to full health and strength. He has rescued Alan from sickness and will deliver him to health. But, I do know, and have learned, that healing will be done GOD’s way. And there is no better way.

Hallelujah!

Categories
Reflections and Poetry Watchman on Alert BLOG

Facing a Storm: self importance must go

I don’t matter

One of the first things I learned when in a knock down, drag out fight for the health and safety of someone I love was that I don’t matter. This battle is not about me. When facing a storm, self importance must go!

Others may say, “Take care of yourself” and that is a sensible safeguard to suggest. But I would be the first to say, if in serious air turbulence on a plane, the adult puts his own mask on before his child. Why? Because if you put it on the child and then you pass out, who is going to take care of the child?

So, yes, when we are engaged in a struggle, we must take care of our nutrition, welfare and safety. When Elijah confronted the other prophets, GOD reigned down. But then Elijah was confronted by Jezebel, he ran away, terrified. Why? In some measure because he was tired and hungry. So we must take care of our practical, physical needs when we are caring for others. 


But whether a battle for another soul is physical, spiritual or emotional, our needs are not important. Not really. And we must not look to pamper ourselves. This is not the time.

When I don’t matter, I don’t fear

Fear of man is one of the few things that can really stop a spirit-filled mature Believer from fulfilling his or her calling in Jesus. When the thoughts, opinions or feelings of others do not distract us from our battle, we can focus and persevere. We cannot take care of others outside the storm, when we are called to be inside it. Commit them to the LORD and trust them to Him.

LOVE is key, always. But fear is counter to love. It’s important we understand our motives, put our own concerns to the side, and do that which the LORD has called us to do.

Love is never rude

When we face a storm and others are a distraction, we must focus on the battle at hand. But love is never rude, or dismissive, or disrespectful of others.  Addressing the interruptions of others is important: we need discernment, wisdom and grace. We do not have to alter our course, but rather weigh up and balance the priority with the desires of others. The storm comes first. If there is room beyond that, what needs attention? 

Love does not have to cater to others, be it their needs or their expectations. So often we misperceive expectations anyway; we may think they are asking something of us when really they simply have our best at heart. Either way, it is alright to ignore that which is not priority, so long as we ignore it graciously, lovingly, respectfully. How do we do that? We don’t fret or negate our task. In our hearts, we care for others, though that cannot perhaps be expressed at this particular time.

Above all, trust our own motives

When we battle a storm, we are in crisis. We can trust the LORD and put everything into His hands, and yet, He is calling us to persevere. There is no need to second-guess ourselves when we are committed to doing the task the LORD has assigned us to.

When in a storm, we cannot live life as we normally live. The storm must be addressed. We trust Jesus in the storm and focus all of our attention on him. In doing so, we have not time or space to think about ourselves or in fact, think about others outside the storm. Instead, we carry on our responsibility and entrust others beyond our care to the LORD. Hopefully, they will accept our calling. Loving them will help. But fearing their disappointment does not honour them and is a distraction from the storm and from Jesus. When we have already relinquished our self importance we can trust our motives are pure: simply to overcome the storm, trusting Jesus throughout.

What really matters in a storm

What really matters in any storm is Jesus, because he overcomes the storm for us. Our focus on him diminishes the storm’s power. And if our storm concerns the welfare and safety of another who is defenceless, then we put all of our trust in the Lord for his or her rescue.

Storms do not come to harm us but to grow us. Knowing this get us through and enables us to be the hands and feet of Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, the prince of peace, and the light of the world. If we really trust him and believe he is the Son of GOD, then we will know, regardless of the storm, what really matters will overcome, to the glory of GOD the Father.

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) 

Abundant life comes through trusting the Lord through all storm and strife, not looking to the situation nor to ourselves. Jesus will overcome any storm, when we trust him and allow him to do that which he is able.

Psalm 91 for the storm

May angels guard and keep. May we stand in the gap for those who cannot speak. May the LORD Almighty give us long life.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,

Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.

Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,

10 

No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;

11 

For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.

12 

In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

13 

You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.

15 

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honour him.

16 

With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Every blessing, 

Sarah 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry Watchman on Alert BLOG

GOD is (a poem)

GOD is

We are a whiff, a puff of smoke

A breath

That only exists because of who

GOD is

GOD is mighty, harsh, intransigent and yet

GOD is merciful, gentle, kind

We are ants, a seed ungerminated

A thought

That only exists because of who

GOD is

GOD is creative, expressive, complete and yet

GOD is gently bending to earth

We are unstable, needy, greedy

A whim

That only exists because of who

GOD is

GOD is gracious, timely, wise and yet

GOD gives grace to the humble

We are that which GOD has created

So that we might become like Him

We only exist because of who

GOD is.

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture Supernatural & Prophetic

Praying for your Spouse

Psalm 88

1 O Lord, God of my salvation,

I have cried out day and night before You.

2 Let my prayer come before You;

Incline Your ear to my cry.

3 For my soul is full of troubles,

And my life draws near to the grave.

4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit;

I am like a man who has no strength,

5 Adrift among the dead,

Like the slain who lie in the grave,

Whom You remember no more,

And who are cut off from Your hand.

6 You have laid me in the lowest pit,

In darkness, in the depths.

7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,

And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah

8 You have put away my acquaintances far from me;

You have made me an abomination to them;

I am shut up, and I cannot get out;

9 My eye wastes away because of affliction.

Lord, I have called daily upon You;

I have stretched out my hands to You.

10 Will You work wonders for the dead?

Shall the dead arise and praise You? Selah

11 Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave?

Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?

12 Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?

And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But to You I have cried out, O Lord,

And in the morning my prayer comes before You.

14 Lord, why do You cast off my soul?

Why do You hide Your face from me?

15 I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;

I suffer Your terrors;

I am distraught.

16 Your fierce wrath has gone over me;

Your terrors have cut me off.

17 They came around me all day long like water;

They engulfed me altogether.

18 Loved one and friend You have put far from me,

And my acquaintances into darkness.

A wife’s prayer for her husband (or husband’s for a wife)

This morning as I continued my way through Psalms, I reached Psalm 88 and was struck at how apt it is to my personal storm (see Hold On).

My husband is in hospital at the moment. And this psalm as a prayer seemed apt for us both. Some lines echo for myself, others on his behalf.

Verses 1, 2 are my voice, telling GOD how I have felt through this time.

Verses 3 – 5 are a reflection of my husband’s position in hospital, vulnerable and very sick.

Verses 6-9a expands upon hubby’s position. He is unconscious – even his eyes cannot see.

Verses 9b – 13 echoes my cry to the LORD to be heard, for the situation to change, for GOD to act.

Verses 14-18 describe the faithfulness of my husband (15) but the consequences of GOD’s seeming silence.

After reading the Psalm in silence, and recognising the parallel to our lives at the moment, I read it again out loud. 

Then the LORD gave me the word: REVIVE. And that is the call and prayer for today: that my husband will revive now. 

“Now” does not mean immediately, although it can mean immediately. Now means it shall begin. Time is GOD’s by creation and mechanism. Yesterday, tomorrow and today are not restrictions for GOD. He manages all matters from His framework.

I know the LORD has heard me. Even the doctors testify of the repair in progress. I have given the time to the Father Yehovah GOD, and the time is in His hands.

Why I say this to you

I am not writing this to you for prayer support, although if the LORD prompts you to pray, that is wonderful. I am not writing this as a means of cathartic expression. I am writing this to you, who are married, so that you too might be led to apply a psalm to your situation. It may be Psalm 88 or another.

I am not restricting this to married people, for all of us have prayers for our loved ones. 

But I am also saying something specific about the prayers of married people. The two become one flesh is hugely significant; to overlook it is a lost miracle. For GOD has given us a way to pray for our spouses that, until recently, I overlooked. We can pray as one flesh: we can pray and take on the afflictions of our spouse in a supernatural way, if we have the GOD-given faith for it and the revelation. We do not become sick but we gain insight into the illness and ultimately, we can command it to go, In Jesus’ most wonderful name.

Blessings all as you meditate on Psalms and prayerfully consider this word I’ve shared.

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture Politics and Society today

America has fallen: doom but not gloom

America has fallen. It’s doom… but it’s not gloom.

At last, the beautiful and wonderful and Godly beacon of light to so many other nations, for truth and liberty, prosperity and democracy, and “in God we trust” is busted.

It has been falling for a long time. Some Believers have been steadfast for Jesus, but many, many Americans and the nature of American society has been turning, over a time span of decades, from purity and holiness intended by the founding fathers, to degradation, greed, lust and so much more evil.  Last night, as Americans stormed the Capital in Washington DC, as Senators and Governors debated inside about the fraudulent election and what — if anything — to do about it, America landed in muck! And it is unlikely ever to get out of it…. it is more like quicksand than dung or mud or any other filthy substance we can wash from.

I’m sorry. I have good news but that comes at the end of the article.

Jeremiah 14-16

I have been reading Jeremiah, chapters 14-16. Some dear sisters in the LORD have pointed this to me today, and I’ve picked up on it. 

The verses in Jeremiah which jump out at me this day are, 

14:11-12: Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Bu tI will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.”

To my view, this are a direct warning from God

14:21b: Remember, do not break Your covenant with us.

To my view, this a demonstration of the cries (or manipulations) of the Jewish prayers

15:19b: You shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, but you must not return to them.

To my view, here is an example of the directness of Yehovah and Jeremiah in discussion

16:10b-11: Why has the LORD pronounces all this great disaster against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?

My response: ‘Oh, the vanity of the Jewish response to God’s warning’

As you have a look at these three chapters in Jeremiah, I wonder if you’ll spot a pattern within these chapters which shows a bleak though relevant outcome in the Word. I did.

Back to America

America is in chaos. At this opportunity, I’m not going to preach sides. That’s not what this post is about. There was a president in office who was pro-life and pro-Israel. This gave huge encouragement to those in or supportive of those “camps” and tremendous consternation to those with opposing views. At the heart of the matter, many and most Christians thought of Donald Trump as a modern-day Cyrus, and one who certainly was beneficial to the causes of and perspective of Christians. It is primarily to you that I am writing…

How Trump “lost”

This doesn’t boil down to one issue. At best, it is complicated. And I even put “lost” in parenthesis to account for the debate over whether he won a huge majority and was cheated or he lost the vote. 

God is sovereign. Trump leaving office is not something God didn’t know about or expect; it isn’t something that the enemy slide by the Father. The loss also doesn’t mean that Trump was all the things the media and his opponents said he was: a liar, a cheat, disreputable, crooked. Nor does it mean Trump was not God’s choice in 2016. The loss also doesn’t mean that the American Constitution failed. If the result of the election is fraudulent, it isn’t something the Constitution couldn’t have handled. No, my thought is that Trump lost for one key reason…

Moses strikes the rock in anger

In Numbers 20:10-11 it states, And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock? Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.”

But the LORD was not pleased with Moses and Aaron. Verse 12 continues, Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe me, to hallow me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 21:12)

At the end of Deuteronomy, nearing the time of Moses’ death, the LORD leads Moses up Mount Nebo and shows him all the land and says, “…This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” (Deuteronomy 34:4).

Moses died in Moab, without entering the Promised Land.


Hold this truth and draw it into what I shall say about the end of President Trump’s time in office.

Why Trump lost

You will know, those who follow what I write about or what makes me “tick”, that my hubby and I have been building a ministry called Sabbath Rest Ministries. Now before you wonder at the strange digression from Trump v Biden, and the United States and its democratic structure, read on. Sabbath is totally relevant to GOD. Anyone who follows Yehovah and His son Yeshua/Jesus will be familiar with the 10 Commandments and the fulfilment of those by Jesus. Do you also know what is the Sabbath which Jesus upheld?

God’s Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. The Hebrews knew when the Sabbath was and historically, so do we. It is what we in English call Saturday. Sunday became “the Lord’s Day” by papal decree some time after Constantine declared Christianity to be the state religion of Rome. The Sunday worship originated from the Roman Catholics.

If you study scripture (another time I might highlight certain scriptural references), you will learn that the Sabbath is of critical importance to our God. It is the seal which He places upon His children. It is the day of rest which He created and stipulated. It is made for man, not man for it. It is the most detailed commandment which the LORD defines in scripture.

Exodus 20:8-11 says, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your email servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that sin them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

God has never changed the Sabbath, though man changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday — thereby separating Christianity from Jewish tradition. As it was done by what is the Roman Catholic Church, it is, perhaps, the last reform we must make before we have completely returned to the roots of Jesus and the early church.

There are many reasons why the LORD might have allowed Trump to lose power

My most pronounced thought as to why the LORD allowed Trump to be trumped in the election is that Trump endorsed the Pope’s bid for Sunday to be the day of rest for man. 

In 2019, the Pope visited the White House and President Trump was pleased to endorse a move to mandate Sunday as the day for family and rest in Texas.

Many will find other reasons, likely all from man’s point of view. I can think of several, all from my own thinking. But I reckon actually, that it is the importance of God’s Sabbath to God as expressed by His Forth Commandment which He wants hallowed, which caused GOD to remove favour from the President.

Selah Blessings and Shalom as you ponder this “food for thought”.

Jesus’ Return – 2 stages: Doom and Light

The Doom 

With a change in party and leadership in the White House from relative conservatism to liberalism, significant change including a continuance of moral decay is likely. Abortion will rise, rather than fall as it did during the Trump presidency. If it is accurate to say that the election was fraudulent and it remains unchecked, then democracy in America is likely to be contaminated forever. And as it has been said many times, where America goes, the world goes. So, if America is lost, then so too is the world.

These statements are debatable but I only mention them as a consequence of the change toward social democracy (as the Democrats claim to be) or cultural communism (as the Republicans suggest their opponents to be). This is not my main two-fold point, which is that the endorsement of Sunday lost Trump his leadership… and that the loss of the Sabbath must be restored.

The Light

Finally, although there is doom, there is no gloom, not when you let go of the world and everything in it, as we who purport to follow Jesus must do. If the world falls far enough, the Lord Jesus will catch his children, and the earth will be transformed: lost yet found, by the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World.

For it is said in Revelations 21:1-2a Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem…

Categories
Torah Portion Examined

What about Prophetic Dreams: sample the Torah Portion of Genesis 41

There has been a lot of dreaming and posting of dreams by current prophets. What about prophetic dreams? Can we rely upon them?

God reveals to Joseph, who in turn interprets dreams

This week’s Torah Portion includes Genesis 41: Pharaoh’s dreams and Joseph’s release from prison to interpret them.

It prompts me to consider the wealth of prophetic dreams that have been posted in recent months and weeks surrounding the November election in the United States.

When Joseph interpreted dreams, it yielded immediate fruit. It seemed the dreams came from GOD and GOD gave deliverance through the interpretation of them.

What about the prophecies today?

Are they of GOD? Do they bear godly fruit?

There has been such an abundance of the prophetic that I have deliberately not kept up. I gather there were numerous prophecies claiming victory for President Trump. These have been dampened by the facts. And now we wait, because nothing is yet concluded, irrespective of what the mainstream Trump-hating media might like to proclaim. Although they claim Trump’s claims of election fraud are baseless, so equally it can be said that the media’s proclamations of a Biden victory are premature at least, baseless they may prove to be, ironically.

So what do we make of the contemporary prophets? Is it too soon to tell? Are they false prophets? Have they been misguided? Are they cheats?

I would not wish to judge or assume these men and women are false. They may be in error, or time will reveal they are correct. Or perhaps GOD has allowed them to see the election outcome wrongly; remember Ahab listened to his 400 prophets who had been deliberately deceived rather than listen to Micah (2Kings 22).

So, what shall we do about the prophetic voice today?

Listen, take stalk, wait, and do not be disheartened. It is not the prophet we must follow and rely upon but GOD alone. So, each of us must ask our Father to share with us personally: What are you saying, LORD? What are you doing, LORD?

And then each of us listen to the still, small voice for himself.

In the meantime, Psalm 46 is a huge encouragement… “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble…” As we meditate on this Psalm, Yehovah Father GOD will reveal more of Himself to us.

(Thanks to Kelly Johnson for sourcing today’s image: My Sheep Hear My Voice)

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

Sabbath Rest and the 23rd Psalm

The concept of the Sabbath Rest and the 23rd Psalm have a lot in common. The following phrases refer to both:

Abide in Him.

He shall enter My rest.

On the seventh day He rested.

Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

These are Biblical phrases we are familiar with. But all together, what do they mean?

Today I examined the 23rd Psalm and my recent considerations about the Sabbath jumped out at me as I read it…

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake….”

We lack nothing when we abide with the Father: we shall not want.

We rest — in green pastures. In the resting, we are restored to full capacity.

All this leads us to the righteous path, and that is for the sake of His name (not ours).

Ah rest. When we abide, when we receive, when we STOP, we are in the rest for which He created us. For He created us for fellowship with Him (and for each other), so that we would be together in rest.

The curse of work came after the Fall and labour came as a result of sin. (Genesis 3) GOD created the world in six days, but not even that was work. Creativity is not work. Work interrupted rest, and continues to do so. But that was not GOD’s original intent. 

The Sabbath rest was made for man to escape from labour, from work. 

The Father blesses the Sabbath and those who receive it are blessed. 

The consequence of disobedience or walking our own way is to miss the rest GOD offers.

On the seventh day, He rested. He offers the Sabbath for man to rest likewise, because otherwise man’s labour would continue and he would miss the fullness of life which is offered to him by GOD.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; 

For You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…”

Even though we may face tough challenges, disappointments, tragedy and even physical death, we remain in rest when we remain in Him. He is our shield and our guide; in times of trouble He is our protector.

Sabbath rest is not just a day of the week to rest (though it is that). And it is not just the seventh day which GOD ordained. It is a state of mind and a state of being — in the company of and abiding with Father GOD.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

The LORD provides. While we must carry out our labours, for ‘he who does not work, does not eat’, and sound work is good for a sound mind, He does provide for those in need, and for those whom He has called according to His purposes.

As we rest in Him, we can know that He holds us in the palm of His hand. He cares for us, nurtures us, comforts us and keeps us in His perfect peace when our eyes are fixed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)

And so, let us abide in His word, abide in His rest, and abide in the hope set before us. 

To be in fellowship with Him — that is the reason for our being. And He promises that, through the rest He provides, when we come unto Him, He indeed is present for us, as our shepherd, our protector and our provider.

Amen and Amen, thank you LORD.

Categories
Torah Portion Examined

GOD’s Commitment to Israel (Torah Portion Hosea 13)

GOD’s Commitment to Israel: Torah Portion Hosea 13

God’s commitment to Israel is everlasting, even though he has extended that commitment beyond the Jewish people.

This week, the Torah Portion Hosea 13 in particular, has stuck with me.
The LORD says to the Jews, “Yet I am the LORD your GOD.” (Hosea 13:4)

Hosea 13:1-11

“When Ephraim spoke, trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended through Baal worship, he died. Now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves moulded images, idols of their silver, according to their skill; all of it is the work of craftsmen.

They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”

Therefore they shall be like the morning cloud and like the early dew that passes away, like chaff blown off from a threshing floor and like smoke from a chimney.

“Yet I am the LORD your GOD ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no GOD but Me; for there is no saviour besides Me. I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. 

“When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me.

“So I will be to them like a lion; like a leopard by the road I will lurk; I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage and devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them.

“O Israel, you are destroyed, but your help is Me. I will be your King, where is any other, that he may save you in all your cities? And your judges to whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’?
“I gave you a king in My anger, and took him away in My wrath….” 

Perhaps these verses grabbed my attention because I’ve been pondering lately GOD’s identity relative to other gods. Do you remember Paul spoke to the Athenians about their altar To The Unknown God and explained their unknown god was the Creator of the Universe, one not made by human hands? (Acts 17:23) Just this week I heard some new ideas about the Nephelim (giants – half angel half man; see Genesis 6:4) being behind much of the confusion, destruction and perversion arising across society in these days. I am aware that some people believe these Nephelim, who are the offspring of fallen angels called “sons of GOD” and the daughters of man, long ago were manifested as gods and given names in Greek such as Zeus, Apollo, Hermes and so on. There was nothing of this in the recent teaching, but rather sometimes, by association, GOD brings one idea (Yehovah GOD as the God of the Hebrews) to our minds in order for us to make connection with another idea (existence of other gods). So, I’ve been thinking about our Yehovah GOD in relation to other gods which man has idolised throughout history.

Any case, back to Hosea: 

In the context of Yehovah GOD declaring to the Hebrews that He is their GOD and they’d have none other (Hosea 13:4), and upon reflection of the Athenians and the fallen angels and Nephelim, I realise that whether a god has any power or not, different cultures have different gods. That the GOD of the Hebrews happened to be the actual GOD of the universe: all powerful, eternal, creator, is pretty awesome for them.

It really hits home to me, as a Gentile:

So, in Hosea 13, Yehovah GOD says the the Jews, “I AM” and He says it exclusively to them and they are to be exclusively His. 

Jesus (called Yeshua in Hebrew) tells his disciples not to go out to the Gentiles but only to those of the House of Israel (Matthew 11) and reiterates this to a Gentile woman who sought his help for her demon-possessed daughter when he says as recorded later in Matthew, “It is not good to take the children’s bread [ref to Jews] and throw it to little dogs [ref Gentiles]. And she said, “Yes, Lord, even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.” And then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith. Let it be as you desire.” (Matthew 15:26-28). 

After his resurrection, Yeshua Jesus commissions his disciples to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

Yes, the Gentiles have been grafted in (Romans 11), adopted, welcomed into the Kingdom of GOD by faith. How heinous this must have seemed to the Jewish people of the time who had been brought up on their exclusive access to GOD; and yet those Jewish people who followed Jesus’ Way gave way to him, in faith. 

It is my heart’s desire to share Yeshua Messiah with those Jewish people who  have found the truth in Jesus. And of those still seeking more truth, yes, they need to know the Gentile Jesus is their Jewish Messiah. The Gentiles were accepted by him and have been grafted in, not to replace the Jews, but because GOD loves Jew and Gentile and his son. GOD has not excluded, replaced or abandoned His chosen children. He is still their GOD. He is simply now also GOD for the Gentiles as well, for those who will accept Him. Yeshua is Messiah to the Jews and Saviour to rest of the World,

“… It is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)

Hallelujah and Amen.

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture Torah Portion Examined

Genesis Creation Story: Richness of the Truth offered by Creation Scripture

Genesis Creation Story

Genesis 1:1 to 6:8

In the Genesis Creation Story we find a richness, a wealth of power and truth, and through this an added empowerment to our everyday walk of faith.

“In the beginning GOD.”

I was reading this morning the first Torah Portion* for this Hebrew year which has just begun. Reading the Torah Portion puts the entire Pentateuch** to our eyes and mind in the space of a year. Gentiles reading alongside the Jewish people can gain much in re-reading the Book of the Law over and over again.

In my re-reading today I realised several keys:

  1. “Let the earth bring forth grass…” By about 1:11 I realised afresh: Oh, what a creative Creator He is. From out of nothing, sprang the earth: beginning with light, the heavens and eventually bio forms, life forms of grass, living creatures… and finally Mankind. He created life forms in order that they may beget life. Wow! Let us never take that for granted. Though the planets and solar systems existed before the earth itself, in some sense, life as we call it, did not. No bio life existed before GOD called it into being.
  2. Then along the way of reading chapter 1 of Genesis, I realised what a disaster we have made of the beauty of the world. I won’t dwell on that here.
  3. “And Adam said… She shall be called Woman” in Genesis 2:23 and I realised as he called all the animals so he called Woman. Does that mean he has superiority over her? Ouch!
  4. Eve probably didn’t hear GOD say not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but only that Adam had told her GOD had said that, which would explain why she over-stated saying, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” (3:3)
  5. The interminable struggle between good and evil, man and the devil, is synthesised in these words, “He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (3:15)
  6. Genesis does not share all the children borne of Eve, because there were many alive by the time Cain married (4:17), and this was easily accomplished since they all lived nearly 1000 years.
  7. Through Seth, men began to call upon the name of the LORD. This is important: i. Through Seth’s line came Noah. ii. the name of the LORD is important. This latter point will be made in future posts, just as I have referred to it before.
  8. GOD called human beings “Mankind” (5:2)… isn’t it remarkable how today, even this is being assaulted by those who wish to call us “humankind” or “people-kind” so as not to seem anti-feminine.
  9. Noah was the great grandson of Enoch, who never died but “walked with GOD; and he was not for GOD took him.” (5:23)
  10. “Sons of GOD” aka fallen angels (6:2) had sex with daughters of men and from these intercourses were mighty men descended. And there were “giants on the earth” (6:4). These offspring could well be the “gods” of ancient belief systems such as held in Greece, Rome for the West and others (I’m less familiar with) from the history of the East.

Contemplating Genesis Creation does not conflict with other religions or scientific belief. In fact, it enhances, explains from a Judea-Christian heritage how the earth and everything in it began, developed.

May I encourage you to read through the beginning of time to Noah. May I also encourage you to get a copy of the Torah Portions (free at: www.torahportions.org) and consider the Word of GOD deeply, richly and fully as you continue on your journey to knowing GOD more intimately.

Shalom and GOD Bless.

*Torah Portion: that part of the first five books of the Bible allocated per Sabbath Saturday. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible as written by Moses from GOD’s “dictation”.

** Pentateuch: the first five books of the Bible

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

Wisdom of GOD: Church needs to Change – Part 6

Making the best of the Lockdown

All over the world, churches, like so many other institutions, have had to close down and/or alter their way of working.

Jesus is rebuilding His church. Covid has given Believers the opportunity to take notice, heed His presence, and pray. The direction we take will determine the substance and style of the new church as it emerges from the compulsory pause it has experienced world wide in recent months.

We, the body of believers, need to be unified in heart and mind, resting in His presence. We developed this insight in previous posts, Church needs to Change: parts 4 and 5.

We also need GOD’s wisdom to move forward, so that through His blessed Holy Spirit guidance — not our assumptions, impatience, or presumption — the church of Jesus will prosper.

From 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 we read,

“But GOD has revealed them [the things which GOD has prepared for those who love Him] to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of GOD. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is within him? Even so, no one knows the things of GOD except the Spirit of GOD. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from GOD, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by GOD. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Jesus said he would build this church. Through the Spirit whom he sent to us, he shares with those who will receive, all those things GOD has prepared for us. Wisdom would suggest not to get ahead of Jesus’ lead.

In order to receive, we need to abide (John 14), rest in the presence of GOD through the His Spirit, and listen before we act.

In this way, we receive guidance, wisdom, strategy — all things needed to serve in a way that will create the Church of Jesus: not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit! (Zechariah 4)

He who waits upon the LORD will renew his strength (Isaiah 40). And not only strength, but also wisdom, direction and the plans of GOD can be given to us when we wait upon Him.

Why follow the Spirit?

Jesus said, “it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

In order for the church to be re-built, we need to do so under the direction of Jesus. It is his church, and through the Holy Spirit who came after him, he will equip us.

How do we follow the Spirit?

How do we learn the wisdom of the Holy Spirit? Through dreams, visions, promptings, words and scriptures. But if we do experience dreams or see visions, how can we discern they are of GOD? How can we depend upon the Holy Spirit to speak to us?

GOD promises to will speak to us when we wait upon Him. He spoke to Abraham. He spoke to Joseph. He spoke to Jesus and He will speak to us… And if we listen, trust and obey, we will be the vessels who advance the Kingdom of GOD, not through man’s church, but through the church of Jesus.

When we wait upon GOD, He will speak to us. He says He will and is not a liar. We test what we receive, by looking at the Word (nothing of the Spirit of GOD will contradict His Word), through sharing with others (it is known that GOD may share the same dream with more than oe person, for example), through stepping out in faith (with care, put into practise what you hear and watch what unfolds), for GOD will not ‘give us a serpent’ when we ask for a blessing (Luke 11:11).

The church needs to be given fresh vision and new life. This will come from Jesus. It doesn’t mean all that has gone before is wrong, but it does mean we’ve lost our way and spending time with the LORD will allow us to recalibrate and allow Jesus to initiate the way forward.

 

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

In His Presence examined: The Church needs to Change – Part 5

When I wait upon the LORD He renews my strength (Isaiah 40:31) . Hallelujah!

What about everything else that needs doing in life?

Following on in the Series “Church needs to Change”, I address the second point on the list, that of engaging with GOD’s presence.

I Corinthians 1:29 says, “that no flesh should glory in His presence”.

Basking in GOD’s presence is a glorious experience: a spirit to Spirit encounter as ours meets with His.

But is it for its own sake? As we spend time with the LORD and when He chooses to anoint us by His Holy Spirit, is it only to draw closer to Him? Is it not also to walk under His direction, to offer solace to others, or healing, or words of wisdom… as and when He may direct us?

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist asks, “Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.” Amen.

Our Walk is Revelation

Jesus loved both Mary and Martha, but it was Mary who sat at his feet, whom Jesus defended against Martha’s criticism that her sister did not help with the practical household duties (Luke 10:38-42).

I have been “sitting at Jesus’ feet” of late — or to say more accurately, I have been spending a lot of time reaching out for GOD’s presence, and receiving. But it has meant I’ve had little else on my agenda. Indeed, I didn’t even post a newsletter last week (as those who usually receive it will be aware). Am I being distracted? Or perhaps it is simply that the LORD has my full attention, at last.

It is difficult to navigate the matter of seeking GOD’s presence. Society is busy and offers plenty of duties and distractions. Covid-19 Lockdown across the world has offered GOD’s children time to spend with him. How have we spent that opportunity, or what, in this regard, can we do going forward?

Day Jobs, Family Ties, Responsibilities and Choices

Paul of Tarsus built tents for a living. He did receive some payment for his preaching and teaching, but by and large, he supported himself — he had a day job. He encourages all who can to work, to be self-respecting and self-sufficient, and in turn to support those who cannot work.

He has also written to us about family ties being a blessing, though singleness he sees as better, being without the distractions of spousal obligations (1 Corinthians 7:34-38).

We all have our responsibilities, yes, and we can make our own choices. There is, after all, “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1)

But…..

Luxury of the presence of the Holy Spirit

But my current thinking is, we cannot afford to ignore the opportunity of GOD’s presence in our lives. Spending time with the LORD and resting in His presence is a luxury; it is a luxury we must take. How else can we grow and walk continually “according to the Spirit”? How else can we become more like our shepherd, Jesus?

When I rest in His presence, I find my experience sometimes daunting, sometimes sleepy, sometimes like a wave (or waves) of His glory pouring over me. Sometimes I sense peace, other times I gain wisdom. Always it is a bit scary yet totally lovely. I do it for the sake of intimacy with Him, and then I seek to encourage others.

Baptism of Holy Spirit

We all must work out our own salvation “with fear and trembling,” as Paul writes (Philippians 2:12). But our journey needs to have encounters with GOD personally, sometimes through His word, but also through the intimacy of His Spirit.

Jesus prayed. He did nothing His Father did not direct him to do. He is our model.

Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26) And he said, “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me.” (John 15:26)

Jesus departed so that the Spirit might come to us. He told his disciples, “…if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

We need the active presence of the Holy Spirit in our day-to-day lives

Let us no longer engage in our journey without the Spirit of GOD… not only as He resides in us through the act of our salvation when we made our commitment to Him, but also through His repeated anointing, infilling and indwelling, to lead and guide us.

Questions remain

I am aware I’ve not answered my own question about how we use the anointing He brings. I believe it is all dependent upon Him. As He engages with us, He’ll let us know where we walk and when, how we proceed with others. Nothing is meant to be in our flesh, not by our will but by His.

I think we are to wait as long as we can, listening, abiding, allowing Him to fill us.

As for me, as I manage to live in His presence, then my next steps will be directed by Him. That too will no doubt be daunting, exciting, peaceful and enriching. For in His presence “is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

May we all drink deeply of Him, abide with Him, and grow in Him, Amen.