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

become themselves nothings?…

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

Jeremiah 2:

1The word of Adonai came to me: 2“Go and shout in the ears of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) that this is what Adonai says:

‘I remember your devotion when you were young;

how, as a bride, you loved me;

how you followed me through the desert,

through a land not sown.

3“‘Isra’el is set aside for Adonai,

the firstfruits of his harvest;

all who devour him will incur guilt;

evil will befall them,” says Adonai.

4Hear the word of Adonai, house of Ya‘akov

and all families in the house of Isra’el;

5here is what Adonai says:

“What did your ancestors find wrong with me

to make them go so far away from me,

to make them go after nothings

and become themselves nothings?

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

Have we acted in such a way God would ask us this question?  The picture is of a bride so in love with her husband she leaves what is familiar to wander in a barren, wild place following him.  Why?  She was devoted to Him.

This nation followed hard after God, founded laws and education on His word, were not ashamed to pray and invite Him into their business and lives.  Now, there is plenty, this is a rich nation, and it begins to leave God bit by bit, denying and rejecting Him to follow after nothings and is slowing becoming a nothing.

God’s love for his people is so strong he curses any who would harm them.  He protects what is his. He provides for what is his.  He also disciplines those who are His.

Pray – In you, Adonai, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.  In your righteousness, rescue me; and help me to escape.  Turn your ear toward me, and deliver. Me.   Psalm 71:1-2

Repent – I repent for my nation.  I repent for their turning from you. Have mercy, O God and open their ears and eyes to see you, to return to you.  Help me do my part.

Ask – God, summon your strength.  Use your strength, God, as you did for us before. Psalm 68:29

Yes – Sing to God, kingdoms of the earth.  Sing praises to Adonai, to him who rides on the most ancient heavens.  Listen! As he utters His voice, a mighty voice.  Acknowledge  that  strength belongs to God. Psalms 68:33-34

Source: Jeremiah and Psalms

speak the words of God…

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 Jeremiah:

11The word of Adonai came to me, asking, “Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah), what do you see?” I answered, “I see a branch from an almond tree . 12Then Adonai said to me, “You have seen well, because I am watching to fulfill my word.”

13A second time the word of Adonai came to me, asking, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a caldron tilted away from the north, over a fire fanned by the wind.” 14Then Adonai said to me, “From the north calamity will boil over onto everyone living in the land, 15because I will summon all the families in the kingdoms of the north,” says Adonai,

“and they will come and sit, each one, on his throne

at the entrance to the gates of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem),

opposite its walls, all the way around,

and opposite all the cities of Y’hudah (Judah).

16I will pronounce my judgments against them

for all their wickedness in abandoning me,

offering incense to other gods

and worshipping what their own hands made.

17“But you, dress for action; stand up and tell them

(* Put on the whole armor of God… note by author)

everything I order you to say.

When you confront them, don’t break down;

or I will break you down in front of them!

18For today, you see, I have made you into

a fortified city, a pillar of iron,

a wall of bronze against the whole land —

against the kings of Y’hudah (Judah), against its princes,

against its cohanim (priests) and the people of the land.

19They will fight against you,

but they will not overcome you,

for I am with you,” says Adonai,

“to rescue you.”

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

*English translation for Hebrew are in parentheses placed there by this author

It is a hard thing to be told to speak the words of God “against the kings of Y’hudah,” symbols of religious and secular leaders; “against its princes, against its cohanim (priests) and the people of the land.” It is a hard thing to be told to speak the words of God to a people who do not want to hear truth but only what tickles their ears.  Harder yet is to also be told that what is said will not be received and more, will cause a fight against the speaker.  This calls for confidence that God has indeed spoken and given the commands.  God does not leave the speaker defenseless; he states, “they will not overcome you, for I am with you, to rescue you.

Those who speak out against what  does not agree with scripture can be confident in God’s protection, care and peace.  When God says “speak” and those faithful to hear him speak; even if it challenges what ‘the people‘ think is right; God is there to protect, to rescue from the attack that is sure to come.

Pray –  In God I praise his word – in Adonai – I praise his word – in God I trust; I have no fear; what can mere humans do to me?  Psalms 56:11-12

Repent – I repent for “wandering.” You have kept count of my wanderings; store my tears in your water skin – aren’t they already recorded in your book?  Psalm 56:9

Ask – Show me favor, God, show me favor; for in you I have taken refuge.  Yes, I will find refuge in the shadow of your wings until the storms have passed. Psalm 57:2

Yes – I call to God, the Most High, to God, who is accomplishing his purpose for me.  Be exalted, God, above heaven!  May your glory be over all the earth!  Psalm 57:3 and 6

Source: Jeremiah and Psalms

I have put my words in your mouth…

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 Jeremiah:

1These are the words of Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) the son of Hilkiyahu (Hilkiah), one of the cohanim living in ‘Anatot (Anathoth), in the territory of Binyamin (Benjamin). 2The word of Adonai came to him during the days of Yoshiyahu (Josiah) the son of Amon, king of Y’hudah (Judah), in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3It also came during the days of Y’hoyakim (Jehoiakim) the son of Yoshiyahu (Josiah), king of Y’hudah (Judah), continuing until the eleventh year of Tzidkiyahu (Zedekiah) the son of Yoshiyahu (Josiah), king of Y’hudah (Judah), right up until the time Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) was carried away captive, in the fifth month.

4Here is the word of Adonai that came to me:

5“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you;

before you were born, I separated you for myself.

I have appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

6I said, “Oh, Adonai Elohim, I don’t even know how to speak! I’m just a child!” 7But Adonai said to me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m just a child.’

“For you will go to whomever I send you,

and you will speak whatever I order you.

8Do not be afraid of them,

for I am with you, says Adonai,

to rescue you.”

9Then Adonai put out his hand and touched my mouth, and Adonai said to me,

“There! I have put my words in your mouth.

10Today I have placed you over nations and kingdoms

to uproot and to tear down,

to destroy and to demolish,

to build and to plant.”

 

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

*English names for Hebrews are in parentheses placed there by this author

The believer is a chosen one, separated from the unbeliever.  God knows his own and before they were formed he had purpose for them.  Jesus was an example of this to the world.  Jeremiah was also prior to Jesus.  They were chosen, separated from the rest and had a given purpose.

God’s touch gives the ability to speak the words He, God, speaks.  Jesus stated that he spoke the words of His Father. 

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. John 14:10

The believer today has the words of the Father.

God says ‘speak my words.’ He says his words will prevail over those of the nations and kingdoms.  He says his words will ‘uproot and tear down, destroy and demolish, build and plant.‘  God’s words accomplish what they set out to do.  His people, his chosen, those who are faithful to Him, speak His words.  Any who deny the words of God are denying the One who gave them.

Note God’s words are multifaceted.  They ‘uproot and tear down.’  They find what is evil, anti-God and take out what is as simple as thoughts that come unbidden to hinder God’s work, or what may be hidden in the words of others directed at the believer and intended by the enemy to find a toehold of offense to build into a stronghold of bitterness. It is stated that the words of God do more.

The Words of God ‘destroy and demolish.‘  This can be an ideology that has potential to lead God’s people astray from His Word.  It may be humanism vs. God-centered thinking.  The believer has an arsenal of God’s words that confront and confuse the intents of the enemy.  Psalm 55

Confuse, Adonai, confound their speech!

Speaking the words of God doesn’t stop with eliminating the enemy and its tools.

God’s words ‘build and plant.’  Building and planting bring visions of new life.  When the old thoughts, ideas, idol-worship are removed they are replaced with new thoughts, ideas that are biblically based and the worship of God.  The believer bears the responsibility of ‘filling up’ with God’s words.  God has supplied the believer with the written word, the Bible.  God will, through the Holy Spirit,  bring them to the believer’s remembrance, quicken the written word to the believer and inform their spirit of what to say.  Many times God says, “Don’t worry about what to say, I will fill your mouth with my words.” There is a well of words to draw from.

Pray – My soul waits in silence for God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and salvation, my stronghold; I won’t be greatly moved.  Psalm 62:1-2

Repent – I repent for my busyness that prevented me from waiting to hear from you.  I repent for the busyness of your people, my people and fellow believers.

Ask – I ask you to open eyes and ears to see and hear what you say.  Please let it not be so that you will once again have to say, “when I called, no one answered; when I spoke, they did not hear.”  Isaiah 66:4b

Yes – “Hear the word of Adonai, you who tremble at his word…” Isaiah 66  O, God, you are my God; I will seek you eagerly.  My heart thirsts for you, my body longs for you in a land parched and exhausted, where no water can be found, I used to contemplate you in the sanctuary, seeing your power and glory, for your grace is better than life. My lips will worship you.  Yes, I will bless you as long as I live:  In your name I will lift up my hands.  I am as satisfied as with rich food; my mouth praises you with joy on my lips when I remember you on my bed and meditate on you in the night watches.  Psalm 63

Source:  Jeremiah, Psalms, Isaiah