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
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

Holiness: Church needs to Change (Part 8)

Holiness is

The more dead to myself I am, the more filled I am with the Holy Spirit; the more surrendered I am, the more room there is for GOD to live in me; when the holiness of GOD is moving in and through me, the more holy is my life. Holiness is less of me and more of GOD.

1 Corinthians 3:17 says, “… the temple of GOD is holy, which temple you are.”

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The temple is holy. But what is holy other than GOD Himself?

As we walk near to GOD, through the Holy Spirit, with Jesus as our shepherd guide, we walk in holiness. But other than GOD-speak, what does that mean?

Holiness is Godliness, meaning GOD-likeness: purity, peace, power…. simply put, all that is GOD. We discover it, not through striving but through surrender.

In the context of Jesus’ Church

No opinion. No gossip, back-biting or envy. A stroll through Paul’s letters to Timothy shows us what the church must not be: not gossips (1 Timothy 5:13), not slanderers or lovers of self (2 Timothy 3:1-3), to site two examples.

Rather, we are to look in the mirror much more than we are to judge one another. Love is at the centre of all of our relationships and we celebrate for one another and mourn with each other. True intimacy is at the heart of Jesus’ church. Today, there are snapshots of this church but we have to mature a great deal to capture it entirely. We mature through surrender.

Back in March of this year, I posted about Holiness (https://laruspress.com/holiness/). At its heart is love, because at GOD’s heart is love. GOD is love. And perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). When we love perfectly, GOD is working in us perfectly, and we are perfectly Holy.

Jesus said, “… be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Perfection then is possible… through our surrender. Jesus did nothing other than what the Father asked him to do, said nothing other than what the Father led him to say. Jesus was perfect: a perfect servant, perfectly loving and perfectly holy. For those of us who take our walk with Jesus seriously, we too can become perfect: perfectly loving, perfectly holy, through our surrender to GOD.

Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19)

When we walk in the holiness of GOD, and meet together as the Body of Yeshua/Jesus as his church, then the church will be holy and fruitful. Hallelujah. GOD has made a way.

All to the glory of GOD

We who are in Christ Jesus are saved from sin, and therefore we have access to the purity of Jesus, as we surrender as he did, to the Father. All things are lawful now, however, not all things are helpful or edifying (1 Corinthians 10:23). And so our behaviour is dependent not upon law but upon love.

I’d like to encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 10 with the view to relating it back to holiness of the church. By the grace of GOD and through the sacrifice of Jesus, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in us, we are free.

But in that freedom, our action will not cause others to fall; will not act for self. Holiness points to Yehovah — our Father GOD. We are free and it is all for the glory of our Father, Creator of the Universe and Lover of Mankind. Our freedom points to GOD. Our holiness points to GOD. Our existence, our life, our church — everything now points to GOD.

This is all possible — not through our effort but by our surrender.

This is how Jesus’ church lives and breaths and ministers to a fallen world.

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