Correct in humility…

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

Reading from Zechariah 2:

Then I looked up and saw four horns.  I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these?” He answered, “These are the horns that scattered J’hudah, Isra’el and Yerushalayim.”

Next Adonai showed me four artisans.  I asked, “What are these coming to do?”  He said, “Those horns that scattered Y’hudah so completely that no one could even raise his head–well, these men have come to terrify them, to overthrow the nations that raised their horns against the land of Y’hudah to scatter it.”

Related image

Image from google images

There’s more to this chapter, but this portion spoke to me and I wish to share those thoughts.  The explanation in the study Bible states the horns are the nations who came against the Hebrews and defeated them, scattered them as judgment from God because the Hebrews turned from God to other gods.  The artisans are agents sent by God to defeat those nations and therefore allow God to rebuild his city, Yerushalayim. Other writers see the craftsmen as agents who also assist in the rebuilding of the Hebrew nation.

Reflections on this passage noted that those used by God to punish his people who have turned away from him are in turn destroyed for coming against his people in such a way.  It is fearful to be used by God to discipline another.  That same discipline may come back around on the one who was used.  Beware of pride which can falsely elevate one’s sense of being more than one actually is.  A key phrase in scripture is to “walk humbly with your God.”* It is tempting to become smug at another’s correction.  No arrogance will go unpunished.

[Proverbs 17:5 NKJV] 5 He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.  (emphasis mine)

Note also, those used here in this passage were not ‘believers’ but outside the family of Hebrews.  Judgment against God’s people, his ‘church’ may come from outside the family of believers; it will still carry the curse of God, ‘anyone who injures you injures the very pupil of my eye.’  Whether or not the judgment comes is not based upon belief.  God’s word does not return void, or empty, it does accomplish what it sets out to do.

When one is used by God to correct another it would be wise to remember to do so humbly; not in weakness but with the knowledge that the correction comes through them not from them; it comes from God…this might help those who often say to ‘correct with love,’ since our definitions of love have been corrupted.

*[Micah 6:8 NKJV] 8 He has shown you, O man, what [is] good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (emphasis mine)

Correction has an objective and that is to change direction or purpose; it also has an end goal and that is one of rebuilding something anew.  When one is going in the wrong direction, it is good to be redirected. It may protect from future harm; it may enable one to have an increase in purpose.  In this portion, the horns destroyed the old ways and paved the way for the craftsmen to rebuild.  Those giving correction and those receiving correction can more easily move through the process if they keep in mind the purposes of correction.

Any thoughts on this?

 

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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?

 

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

Armed, protected and ready…

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 Ephesians:

10Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength! 11Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. 12For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. 13So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. 14Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, 15and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. 16Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. 17And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; 18as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God’s people.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/eph.6>

What to do?  How does one do the Word?  Grow powerful in union with the Lord.  Direct thoughts and questions toward Christ first.  Then put on and take up God’s armor.  It’s another set of gifts!  This armor is specifically designed to combat those in the spiritual realm that are always ready to attack the believer.

First, fasten the belt of truth around your core.  Here is the support needed to stand upright.  Truth is that spoken in the Word and truth is Christ, ” I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me..”  Next, put on righteousness as a breastplate, protecting the inner core of the believer.  This is God’s righteousness, able to do more than protect and supported by the belt.  On the feet fasten the shoes of peace, a unique peace hard to explain but there none-the-less.  Shoes designed to grip and dig in on slippery slopes of spiritually designed accusations and lies meant to make the believer trip and fall.   Now take up the helmet, shield and sword.

The helmet protects the mind and gives access to all God has spoken and done. With the uniform  on, the rest of the weapons available can be picked up for use in battle.  The shield of faith or trust will deflect the arrows of accusation coming often in the form of thoughts or words spoken by another.  God’s Word trumps all others and faith in that Word can be used a shield.  Which will the believer listen to and trust; God or other?  The sword is the Word given as truth and able to put to flight or final rest the attacks that come.

Finally, activate it all in prayer, with prayer.  There’s a scripture for every thought or word coming from the liar; it can be found and prayed against the lie.  And the lie will die its death, defeated by truth.  Search the scriptures daily for those healing words, those defensive words, words of recovery and words to take on the offensive which will attack and defeat the lie.  They are all there to be used.

When prayer rises, God activates his power on our behalf wherever we ask it to be directed.  His power activated is able ” to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine. ” His words spoken in prayer will “accomplish what they are set to do; they will not return empty, void.”

Pray – Help me, Father, to begin each day putting on the uniform You’ve given; that which identifies me as Yours.  Upon rising, may I speak Your truth putting on the belt, may I recognize the breastplate you’ve given of righteousness and be encouraged to get up and move forward, protected.  May I remember the shoes of Your peace that will help me stand firm.  I want that helmet to protect my mind; help me fill my mind with Your Word to be used as needed. I will take up the shield of faith for my trust is in You alone and I will follow Christ’s example and use Your Word, the sword of truth to fight the enemy.

Repent – I repent for waiting so long to fill up on Your Word when it is so vital to my success as Your child and servant.

Ask – May my ways be steady in observing Your laws.  Then I will not be put to shame, since I fixed my sight on all Your ways.

Yes – Praise Adonai, all you nations!  Worship him, all you peoples!  For his grace has overcome us, and Adonai’s truth continues forever.

Source: Ephesians and Psalms 119

“he has stamped you as his” …

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 Ephesians:

Therefore stripping off falsehood, let everyone speak truth with his neighbor, because we are intimately related to each other as parts of a body.  Be angry, but don’t sin – don’t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger; otherwise you leave room for the Adversary.

The thief must stop stealing; instead he should make an honest living by his own efforts.  This way he will be able to share with those in need. 

Let no harmful language come from your mouth, only good words that are helpful in meeting the need, words that will benefit those who hear them.  Don’t cause grief to God’s Ruach HaKodesh, (Holy Spirit) for he has stamped you as his property until the day of final redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, violent assertiveness and slander, along with all spitefulness.  Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted; and forgive each other, just as in the Messiah God has also forgiven you.

 

Wow, a to-do list.  Those actions will naturally follow in one who loves. ” Love God,” ‘ love your neighbor” are two commands to wake with, go out and come in with, speak sitting down and getting up, place in the mind, heart,  doing of the hands and going of the feet.  Truth reigns in all that is said and done.  Jesus is truth and truth is found in Scripture.

Emotions belong to the individual, are felt but are not in the driver’s seat.  Therefore anger, the most destructive of emotions, must be dealt with, or the enemy has a toehold into the relationship and it quickly becomes a stronghold of bitterness driving believers apart.

Basic principles of good living follow with advice to work with one’s own hands and be able to assist others as a result.  Speaking only what will encourage and help others grow, showing kindness and forgiveness, all are actions that demonstrate a love for God and neighbor.  They are actions that are beneficial to the receiver and giver both.  The ‘stamp’ God places identifies who is his and can be seen by others.  It is seen by way of the actions, words and thoughts.

Pray – I pray for truth to be evident in my life.  I pray that Your stamp on me be obvious to others through my words and actions toward them.

Repent – I repent for using a sharp tongue to respond when it could have been a gentle tongue spoken with love.  I repent for the times I allow stress and fatigue to rule instead of Your love.

Ask – I lie prostrate in the dust; revive me, in keeping with Your word.  I told You of my ways and You answered me; teach me Your laws.  Make me understand the ways of Your precepts, and I will meditate on your wonders.

Yes – Father God, I praise You that the reason Jesus came was to destroy the work of the enemy.  I acknowledge that the one who keeps on sinning is from the enemy for they do not bear Your stamp.  You say no one who is born of God will continue to sin because Your seed has been planted in him.  I will make the right choices to demonstrate how much I love you and transfer that love to my neighbor as well.

Sources: Ephesians and Psalms

Praying Scripture…

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

Praying scripture puts the enemy to flight and rights the thinking process which, ripple effect, will go far to right actions, feelings and desires.

The breastplate of righteousness, God’s righteousness imputed to the believer, guards the heart.  Proverbs tells the believer to guard the heart for out of it flow the issues of life. Righteousness, defined right living, guards the heart.  This righteousness is God’s given to the believer through the salvation process.  Dressing in the armor daily involves putting on the belt of truth which helps to support the breastplate of righteousness.  God’s Word provides the information, the truth, that instructs in right living.  Right living decreases the points in the believer’s life that the enemy can target.

Truth and righteousness support and protect the core of the believer’s spiritual being.  Here is the strength to stand upright and move forward, not bowed over and brought down to a standstill.  The enemy’s arrows of accusation, thrusts of deception, blows of failure cannot penetrate the breastplate supported by truth.

God’s Word is truth; God’s Word states His Righteousness is given to those who receive it.  “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21.  It is a gift to the believer.  The believer becomes righteous, not on their own doing, it is the gift of God!  The believer can stand tall, supporting the breastplate with truth.  Put it on!

The lie of the enemy is that the believer cannot attain righteousness, they cannot be perfect as God is.  Therefore, why try?  Give up.  When the believer responds with the truth, they cannot but God has,  the lie often becomes a comparison with other believers; better than some, less than some.  Again the believer responds with truth that they are righteous because God is and He gave them His breastplate.  This is when the believer puts off their own concept of righteousness, their own sense of pride or defeat and takes on God’s righteousness, believing what God has said.  “Put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and … be renewed in the spirit of your minds, … and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Ephesians 4:22 – 24.  An action taken on by the believer.  Take off and put on are actions.

In prayer, ask for mercy, ask for change and stay connected.  Be aware and note when self rises up to try to resist attacks in the believer’s own strength. Pray to activate God’s power in combat.

Pray – True, I was born guilty; was a sinner from the moment my mother conceived me.  Still, You want truth in the inner person; so make me know wisdom in my inmost heart.

Repent – Lord, I repent for giving into my own feelings and acting on them.  I repent for laying aside Your righteousness continually attempting to be righteous in my own strength.

Ask – Sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear the sound of joy and gladness, so that the bones You crushed can rejoice.  Turn away Your face from my sins, and blot out my crimes.  Create in me a clean heart, God; renew in me a resolute spirit.

Yes – I will praise You forever for what You have done, and I will put my hope in Your name; for this is what is good in the presence of Your faithful.

 

Psalm 51 and 52