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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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

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

open your eyes and look… – Jesus

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 John 4:

31Meanwhile, the talmidim (disciples)  were urging Yeshua (Jesus), “Rabbi, eat something.” 32But he answered, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” 33At this, the talmidim (disciples) asked one another, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34Yeshua (Jesus) said to them, “My food is to do what the one who sent me wants and to bring his work to completion. 35Don’t you have a saying, ‘Four more months and then the harvest’? Well, what I say to you is: open your eyes and look at the fields! They’re already ripe for harvest! 36The one who reaps receives his wages and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that the reaper and the sower may be glad together — 37for in this matter, the proverb, ‘One sows and another reaps,’ holds true. 38I sent you to reap what you haven’t worked for. Others have done the hard labor, and you have benefited from their work.”

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/jhn.4>

*words in parentheses are mine; English for Hebrew.

Humility is a result that comes from realizing that what each accomplishes rests upon the efforts of others and all that is done is the result of God’s work.  The call is given to ‘see.’  There is always work to be done; some work the soil, preparing for those who sow the seed, and those who harvest come after.  God gives the increase.

The kingdom  grows and benefits from the efforts of those who can see and hear the voice of God.  These efforts provide the ‘food’ of which Jesus spoke.  When one is engaged in a project and they are inspired to complete it; all else, even hunger, disappears until it is accomplished.  And the results satisfy more than any food or drink.

O that the church would catch this inspiration from Jesus!  The fields are ripe.  There is so little of real truth and worth today in this society that the hunger for God is increased.  Not a hunger for ‘church’ or even a brand of Christianity for what it has become in much of this world, but a hunger for the genuine Word of God, Jesus, come to give what is missing in today’s world.  He came to give genuine peace of spirit, genuine  love and compassion, genuine praise that is God-centered and not self-centered.

Pray – May my eyes and ears be opened to hear your voice, Lord, directing me to do what you want and bringing your work to completion.

Repent – I repent for the times I do what I want, thinking I am working for you.

Ask – Open my eyes so I can see the fields!  Open my eyes so I can see the harvest ready to reap.  May I be a part of the harvest team you are sending to reap what isn’t sown by us but by you.

Yes – How happy are those who observe Your instruction, who seek You wholeheartedly! Psalm 119:2

Source: John 4 and Psalms

Could it be that this is the Messiah?

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 John 4:

25The woman replied, “I know that Mashiach (Messiah)  is coming” (that is, “the one who has been anointed”). “When he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26Yeshua said to her, “I, the person speaking to you, am he.”

27Just then, his talmidim (disciples) arrived. They were amazed that he was talking with a woman; but none of them said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28So the woman left her water-jar, went back to the town and said to the people there, 29“Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done. Could it be that this is the Messiah?” 30They left the town and began coming toward him.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/jhn.4>

  • Words in parentheses are English for the Hebrew placed by this author

“Could it be that this is the Messiah?”  One piece of evidence was all she needed.  “He told me everything I’ve ever done.”  And with this alone, words of question and prophecy, the crowd came.  Drawn to one who might be the Messiah.

‘Everyone needs someone’ the song of the people states.  That community with others, with a special someone is sought by all born into existence.  Society offers lots of ‘special’ people, celebrities to fill that void.  But it isn’t close and personal.  Christ knows each one.  That is close and personal.

The Creator knows his creation.  When the creation turns to the Creator and accepts the possibility of a relationship, the connection completes and fills the emptiness.  This satisfies the longing for that ‘someone.’

The Messiah has come.  God accepts all who believe into relationship with Him.  For some it comes simply, as this woman demonstrates.  He knows me.  For others, more is required, where is the ‘sign’?  Those who believe can speak to the truth that he is…

Pray – Lord, I am so thankful to be one of Your chosen people, part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to You, God, that I may declare the praise of You who called me out of darkness into Your wonderful life.

Repent – Father God, I ask you to lead me when I am blinded by ways I have not known.  My faithful Father, You’ve warned me that when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom…Proverbs 11:2…feelings of inadequacy come on the heels of thinking I’m greater, wiser, superior in knowledge; they are arrows that penetrate because the shield is not in place; my trust has transferred from you to me and my accomplishments.  Fill my mind with assurance it was always You, never me…

Ask – Let not my heart be troubled, I believe in You and I believe you.  Lord I have heard the slander of many; at times there is terror on every side; I sometimes feel that others conspire against me and the enemy plots to take my (victorious) life.  But I trust my times are in Your hands; deliver me from my enemies (my thoughts) and from those who pursue me.  Let your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.

Yes – In all things I will give thanks.

Who? do you worship?..

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 John 4:

19“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet,” the woman replied. 20“Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that the place where one has to worship is in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem).” 21Yeshua (Jesus) said, “Lady, believe me, the time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). 22 You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews. 23But the time is coming — indeed, it’s here now — when the true worshippers will worship the Father spiritually and truly, for these are the kind of people the Father wants worshipping him. 24God is spirit; and worshippers must worship him spiritually and truly.”

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/jhn.4>

*words in parentheses are English for the Hebrew added by this author.

Do worshipers know who they are worshiping? Jesus tells this woman, “you people don’t know what you are worshiping.” The argument was between Jew and Samaritan and was over where to worship.  Jesus pointed to a greater difference; the Samaritan did not know what they were worshiping; the Jew knew who they worshiped and salvation would come through the Jews.  He then threw the argument over place away by prophesying the coming time when neither would worship in either place.  Then, all that is left is who to worship — God — in spirit and in truth.  Jesus was the gate to this change.

Worshipers worship a god.  Who that god is trumps anything else.  Worship is directed at the entity being worshiped.  If the worship is by music using lyrics, what is heard in the words?  If by prayer, again, words are telling.  If by actions, where’s the focus?

True worship, spiritual worship doesn’t need a specific time or place.  When that worship is God ward, it is true.  When it is directed and focused on the Lord it is spiritual.  God inhabits the praises of His people.  He must be the total focus of worship.  Then he visits; then he comes, when the praise is raised to him alone.

“God is spirit; and worshipers must worship him spiritually and truly.”  – Jesus

Pray – O Lord, may You always be the focus, the recipient of all my worship!

Repent – I’m sorry for the thing we’ve made it.  I’m bringing it back to you.  I will not be  silenced.

Ask – May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord.

Yes – You alone are worthy of all my praise and honor.  It isn’t about me; it’s about thee!

Source: John 4 and Psalms 19:15