Who do you pay attention to…? listen to…?

Reflections from Jeremiah, Mark, Romans and 1 Corinthians:

[Jer 7:21-34 NLT] 21 This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves!

22 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them.

23 This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’

24 “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.

25 From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets–day in and day out.

26 But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful–even worse than their ancestors.

27 “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond

. 28 Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips.

29 Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’

30 “The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the LORD. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it.

31 They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!

32 So beware, for the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them.

33 The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away.

34 I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.

In Jeremiah we hear from God concerning his people.  I believe as God does not change, we can learn from this passage what pleases him and what doesn’t even for us today, for we are his people.  In one part he says: from verse 23 –

“Pay attention to what I say.  Then I will be your God, and you will be my people.  In everything live according to the way that I order you, so that things will go well with you.”  from CJB version.

He goes on to say they won’t /didn’t listen or pay attention.  My question from this is, “who are we listening to; what are we paying attention to?”  This calls for serious reflection and searching of the heart.  What is our source? News? Social Media? Friends? Co-workers? Instructors? or God?  Who do we spend the most time with?

This is a time of extreme need to know scripture; what God says…to pray; fight in the spiritual realm against the darkness that is taking over the land…How do we spend our time? energy?  That will show the truth to us of who we listen to.

God goes on to suggest we mourn for our lack of attention and what it has brought.  The actions of his people at that time brought disrespect, destruction, ruination.  In chapter 9 he speaks to the boaster; if you must boast let it be that you know and understand God…Can we boast in that?  The changes in our present society; even in the church say no…

Reading in Mark:

[Mar 12:28-34 NLT] 28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. 30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” 32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” 34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Yeshua brings us back to where we need to be; it is a restatement of what God has said in Jeremiah; we are to be centered on God with all our being.  Acknowledge who he is and what he requires.

“Sh’ma Yisra’el, Adonai Elohiemu, Adonai echad ( hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one), and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding, and with all your strength.’ …’You are to love your neighbor as yourself.” from CJB

In Romans:

[Rom 12:1-2 NLT] 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Paul clarifies or adds that we are the sacrifice God desires.  Our bodies, a living sacrifice (that includes physical self, spiritual self, our mind, will and emotions).  We are to give all to him.  Do you see a thread of instruction here? What does the Lord require of you, oh man? All of you.

In Corinthians 1:

[1Co 10:14-23 NLT] 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15 You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. 16 When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? 17 And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. 18 Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar? 19 What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? 20 No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. 21 You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. 22 What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is? 23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.

Paul reminds us that we are participating with Christ, in Christ.  With the participation comes responsibilities…  Again the questions:

Who are we listening to? Who are we paying attention to? How do we know? How does it manifest in our lives? Are we God’s people? Can the unbeliever tell? Can we tell?  What does God see?

 

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Go…make disciples…

Matthew  28:19,20. Therefore go and make people from all nations into disciples, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,  and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

A well-known scripture for most Christians? One that is used to mobilize believers and leaders to ‘win souls for Christ ‘.  But it appears some parts of the verses are ignored. Addressing that situation is a prophetic speaker in a recent blog…

I Went to Hell and was Stunned by What I Saw; JeremiahJohnson

In what he shared is the following:

“Because those that worked miracles, prophesied and cast out demons never preached the full gospel of Jesus Christ which is the message of repentance.  They were so in love with the gifts that I had given them that people became trophies and souvenirs to them. When my power would manifest in their ministries, they would tell people that I loved them, but never that they needed to repent for their sins. I tell you that a great deception will sweep over the signs and wonders movement in the earth. ”

What is the full gospel of Jesus Christ? What is the Good News? The disciples shared the message Jesus gave them.  It includes “how then shall we live…” Repentance and holiness go hand-in-hand with forgiveness, love and salvation. What is forgiven if not what is repented of and that by definition means change; no longer doing what has been forgiven…!

Should we take the warning given? The scripture referenced for the warning is also found in Matthew…the words of Jesus; “depart from me, I never knew you. ” Is part of the knowing obedience to His words, all of them?

 

Scripture from CJB version. Complete post by Jeremiah Johnson found on his Facebook page.

Encouraging or Hindering?

A recent post encouraged the reader to be their own cheerleader. The intent on inquiry was to encourage the reader, lift them up. This sounds good but on closer inspection it is a subtle way of turning the recipient away from the Lord and toward self.  Scripture does not tell us to boast of ourselves. In fact, it states the opposite. Psalm 34:2 I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. We receive the ability to love our neighbors when we become the new creature in Him. Jeremiah 9:24, But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone; that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord.  In Romans 15:18 we read,  Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me.  And finally in 1Corinthians 1:31 it states therefore as the Scriptures say, if you want to boast, boast only about the Lord. We should be careful to always direct each other toward Christ not self. Our present day society has a love affair with self going on. Church, don’t be guilty of joining that mentality. Rather have and seek the mind of Christ.

be like newborn babies…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From 1 Peter:

1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, of all deceit, hypocrisy and envy, and of all the ways there are of speaking against people; 2and be like newborn babies, thirsty for the pure milk of the Word; so that by it, you may grow up into deliverance. 3For you have tasted that Adonai is good.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/1pe.2>

9Taste, and see that Adonai is good.

How blessed are those who take refuge in him!

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/psa.34>

In the fellowship groupings of Christ there should be no malice, deceit, hypocrisy, or envy.  There should be none of the ways men use to speak against people.  It is more effective to speak, if it is necessary, about what is good; that would be teaching  practice in the opposing values of malice, deceit, hypocrisy and envy.  Social media give an accurate picture of the heart of society with an abundance of what should not be. There is ample evidence of backbiting, malice, deceit, hypocrisy and envy.

This darkness can be fought by the same means that assist the believer in the process of growing in the spirit.  Peter says be thirsty for the pure milk of the Word for by it the believer will grow up into deliverance from these destructive ways.  Initial reuniting with the God of creation from the sin bound life brings a taste of Him that is good.  He intends that the believer get more than just a taste.

Malice is the “desire to cause pain for the satisfaction of doing harm.”  It comes in many forms: cattiness, hatefulness, meanness, spite, abusiveness, cruelty.  The opposite of malice then, which one would expect to see demonstrated in fellowships of Christ are: devotion, love, amiability, civility, cordiality, friendliness, hospitality.  The extent to which malice shows up in the social mainstream demands its opposing values  be in full force in the fellowship of believers.

Deceit is the inclination or practice of misleading others through lies or trickery.  It too comes in many ways, more subversive because of their nature. It comes or shows up as cunning, foxiness, dishonesty, furtiveness.  The opposites for which the fellowship of believers should be known are: candor, directness, frankness, openness.  These may make the believer seem childish or naïve in a culture full of deceit that is practiced without judgment.

Hypocrisy is the pretending of having virtues, principles or beliefs that one in fact does not have.  It can show up as insincerity, piousness, dishonesty, self-righteousness.  This is a term often used too loosely with the intent to attack.   Its opposites are truthfulness, artlessness, naturalness, genuineness and sincerity.  When truth is presented in a world that is used to judgmental statements, it often attracts the attack that calls the bearer of truth,  one who practices hypocrisy.  This term was used by Jesus to call out the need for correction among those who claimed to know God but followed the teachings of men.

Peter calls the believer to be like newborn babes who taste the mother’s milk and want more.  The believer will grow into honesty, candor, openness, truthfulness, genuineness, without an agenda other than to seek the truth of the Word of God, “thirsty for the pure milk of the Word.”

“Taste and see” leads to a vulnerable state of being, as a newborn open to criticism, cunning, attempts to discredit. The believer, however, can identify the unseen source of these attempts is the enemy who would destroy this babe.  The infant is not defenseless; it has a Father who has given an arsenal of weapons to use against the attacks.  This infant can “grow up into deliverance” by the Word of God.

Taste and see that Adonai is good.  How blessed are those who take refuge in him. – Psalmist.

Pray – Those who seek Adonai lack nothing good.  It shows in their lifestyle.  It shows in their relationships.

Repent – I repent for those times I engaged in actions that could be called malicious or deceitful.

Ask – I have tasted and the Lord is good.  Teach me the fear of Adonai.  Keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceiving talk.

Yes – I will bless Adonai at all times; his praise will always be in my mouth.  Psalm 34

 

Source: 1 Peter and Psalms

obeying the truth…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From 1Peter:

22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, love each other deeply, with all your heart. 23You have been born again not from some seed that will decay, but from one that cannot decay, through the living Word of God that lasts forever. 24For

all humanity is like grass,

all its glory is like a wildflower —

the grass withers, and the flower falls off;

25but the Word of Adonai lasts forever.

Moreover, this Word is the Good News which has been proclaimed to you.

Leviticus 11:

 44For I am Adonai your God; therefore, consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy; and do not defile yourselves with any kind of swarming creature that moves along the ground. (Maftir) 45For I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.

Leviticus 19:

“Speak to the entire community of Isra’el; tell them, ‘You people are to be holy because I, Adonai your God, am holy.

Leviticus 20:

7Therefore consecrate yourselves — you people must be holy, because I am Adonai your God. (RY: vii, LY: vi) 8Observe my regulations, and obey them; I am Adonai, who sets you apart to be holy.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/lev.20>

Isaiah:

6A voice says, “Proclaim!”

And I answer, “What should I proclaim?”

“All humanity is merely grass,

all its kindness like wildflowers:

7the grass dries up, the flower fades,

when a wind from Adonai blows on it.

Surely the people are grass!

8The grass dries up, the flower fades;

but the word of our God will stand forever.”

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/isa.40>

Obedience to the truth purifies.  The truth must be known to be obeyed.  This truth is Christ.  Jesus said “obey my words” and the words he spoke were commands to love one another.  Deeply.

This is a call to holiness; the call begins with an imperative statement; consecrate yourself.  Separate from what is of the earth.  What is of the earth, all humanity, is doomed to fail, to cease being.

do not defile yourselves with any kind of swarming creature that moves along the ground. 

All humanity is merely grass,

8The grass dries up, the flower fades;

What is holy – of God – will last, will endure beyond time.

Part of this holiness, most likely a major portion, is love.  Jesus said “love your God and love your neighbor.”  This is a spiritual love that can love deeply without corrupting or causing pain.  It is a love that comes from the whole being; that would include: words spoken, actions, thoughts.

love each other deeply,

Jesus lived in this manner.  God loves in this manner.  This is not a gateway to leniency; this demands discipline.  Holy as God is holy.  This requires knowing who God is; with that comes knowledge of who the people of God are to be.

Pray – God, You are holy; You are love that is beyond full understanding; You are beyond what words can describe. Ephesians 3

Repent – I repent for casual attitudes when approaching you.  I revere you, adore you, bow down before you, You are worthy O God.

Ask –  Search our hearts, know us, open ears to Your voice and eyes to Your glory.  Psalms

Yes – Thank you for mercy and grace.  Thank you for forgiveness and redemption.

 

Source:  1Peter, Leviticus, Isaiah

be holy because I am holy…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From 1Peter:

10The prophets, who prophesied about this gift of deliverance that was meant for you, pondered and inquired diligently about it. 11They were trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of the Messiah in them was referring in predicting the Messiah’s sufferings and the glorious things to follow. 12It was revealed to them that their service when they spoke about these things was not for their own benefit, but for yours. And these same things have now been proclaimed to you by those who communicated the Good News to you through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things!

13Therefore, get your minds ready for work, keep yourselves under control, and fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah is revealed. 14As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. 15On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; 16since the Tanakh (Old Testament)  says,

“You are to be holy because I am holy.”

 17Also, if you are addressing as Father the one who judges impartially according to each person’s actions, you should live out your temporary stay on earth in fear. 18You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed on to you did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold; 19on the contrary, it was the costly bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah, as of a lamb without defect or spot. 20God knew him before the founding of the universe, but revealed him in the acharit-hayamim (last days) for your sakes. 21Through him you trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory; so that your trust and hope are in God.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/1pe.1>

Words in parentheses placed by this author

The Christian way is not new, only new to those who just received recently the message of Christ.  This way is rooted in the beginning of time.  It has prevailed all attempts to destroy it; it has withstood the test of time.  It is not a passing fad or trend.

The Father created and nurtured, disciplined and provided for his creation.  The Good News is how that was done.  The coming of Christ, his suffering and sacrifice are what was necessary to cleanse the creation of the evil it had given way to.

This event and its implications for mankind were foretold to give encouragement to those who sought after the Father.  Today the message continues to be told for the same reason.

To those who receive the Good News, Peter answers the question, “How then shall we live?”  One, “get your minds ready for work,” is a mind-set;  it is set on spiritual matters rather than earthly.  Fill up on scripture, God’s words of love, direction and encouragement.  Two, “keep yourselves under control,” speaks to possessing less self-inspired living and demonstrating more  God-inspired living.  Thirdly, “fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Christ is revealed” tells where the focus is to be placed.  Next, “become holy yourselves in your entire way of life,” instructs the believer to be holy;  God is referenced when he says;

“You are to be holy because I am holy.” 

This last statement clinches that something is required of the believer.  But the believer is not abandoned; “trust in God, who raised him (Christ) from the dead and gave him glory; so that your trust and hope are in God.”

Pray – Father God, I praise you for what You do, for who You are.  I acknowledge Your majesty and greatness.  I look to You for help; no other can keep me as you do.

Repent – I am sorry for a generation who continues to turn from you to self.  I repent for those times I lived selfishly instead of selflessly.

Ask – Be the power that enables me to have a mindset for work in Your kingdom; that gives the ability to exercise control over selfish desires and actions; that gives me the breastplate of Your righteousness so that I may be holy as You are.

Yes – To you be all praise, honor and glory.

Source:   1 Peter and Leviticus 11, 19, 20

 

be full of joy …

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From 1 Peter:

1From: Kefa (Peter), an emissary of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah

To: God’s chosen people, living as aliens in the Diaspora — in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bythinia — 2chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obeying Yeshua (Jesus)  the Messiah and for sprinkling with his blood:

Grace and shalom be yours in full measure.

3Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, who, in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope, 4to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for you in heaven. 5Meanwhile, through trusting, you are being protected by God’s power for a deliverance ready to be revealed at the Last Time. 6Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials. 7Even gold is tested for genuineness by fire. The purpose of these trials is so that your trust’s genuineness, which is far more valuable than perishable gold, will be judged worthy of praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.

8Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words. 9And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/1pe.1>

Words in parentheses placed by this author.

“Born again to a living hope”  that is, Christ.

What is alive does not fade, spoil or decay.  The life received through faith in Christ, gained in his resurrection, is the hope he grants to always, eternally, be his chosen.  The rough times, testing times that come need not take the believer’s full focus.  They are a process of refining, as gold is.  The old is removed and the new remains.  In this, the believer can rejoice they are worthy to be refined!

The genuineness of the believer’s faith is revealed through the trials.  Therefore, rejoice in the tests, the down times, the stretching.  Rejoice because the very existence of the hard times speaks to the hope Christ gives.  The joy is in him, not in the trial, not in the pain, but in the Christ who will deliver.  So think of it as endurance or strength training.  It’s not easy, it calls for discipline, but the benefits are well-being and good health.  So too, the hard times bring spiritual strength and well-being; they should teach the believer how to lift their focus from themselves to God.  Not looking at the situation but looking forward to the deliverance, looking upward to the God who delivers.  “In all things give thanks” for this creates a strong army of believers who continue to stand for truth.

Pray – Praise be to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to be born again to a living hope, to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for us in heaven.

Repent – I repent for those time I allowed hard, painful experiences to refocus my attention from You to me.

Ask – May my experience with grief be the test of fire to reveal my genuine faith in You, God.  May I be found faithful, full of faith for removing my focus from my experiences to You and what You do.

Yes – trusting in You brings a joy the unbeliever cannot know. It is an impossibility to be thankful during pain; unless one is refocused to thank You for the deliverance which will come.  Loving Christ, even though unseen, is joy.  1 Peter 41:1-9

Source: 1 Peter