Praying for the Mid-east conflicts

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.

Psalm 1 How  blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, don’t stand in the way of those who practice evil, don’t sit where scoffers sit!  Instead, their delight is in Adonai’s commands.  They meditate day and night on His word, not the word of humanity.  They are like trees that are planted by streams— they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither, and everything they do succeeds. This is our promise and we ask it for the believers in the Mid- east at this time. Not so the wicked, who are like chaff that is driven by the wind.  For this reason the wicked won’t stand up to the judgment, nor will those who practice evil stand at the gathering of the righteous.  For Adonai watches over the way of the righteous,  whose righteousness is in Christ Jesus, but the way of the one who practices evil is doomed. And do by your Word, Lord, we stand against the actions of the practicers of evil in the Mid-east today.  We call on your Spirit to do Your Will in that place; releasing the captives, protecting the innocent and avenging the oppressed.

the pain of the innocent

the pain of the innocent

Matthew 4:4,7,10,17 and 20 “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of Adonai.”  “Do not put Adonai your God to the test.” “Worship Adonai your God, and serve only him.”  “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of God is near!” “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 5:3,4 “How blessed are the poor in spirit! for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  How blessed are those who mourn! for they will be comforted.   Words to meditate upon.  Words to keep when rising up, going down, at home, in the way, on the hand, on the forehead, on the doorway…immersed completely in his word.  These words can be applied to the events all around us that are contrary to God’s word in prayer and His power will be released as we continue to pray.  As Aaron and Hur held up the hands of Moses and the battle was to the people of God so let us raise the plight of believers and the innocent before the throne. The battle is not only physical, but also spiritual.  Let us not be weary to pray and the victory will be the Lord’s.   If you’ve been to the cross… See you at the throne…

 throne-of-god[1]

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To whom do we belong?…

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.

I Corinthians 6:12-20

  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”  But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Verse 12 – our freedom is never a reason to hinder another’s walk with the Lord.  If we find ourselves in a place where we are leading, looked up to, discipling, in any way responsible to encourage and edify others in Christ then we are to temper our freedom with the building of the kingdom of God.  Our life is outwardly focused on Christ and others, not inwardly focused on ourselves.  This is what makes us stand out from the rest of mankind; this is a type of caring, concern for one another and love that is not seen in the world of the unbeliever.

To whom do we belong?  With acceptance of the teachings of Christ, with acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ comes a joining to Christ and the beginning of a relationship not unlike the relationship between two in love.  Acceptance of Christ’s teachings means turning from others much like when entering a marriage contract one turns from all others, promising to be true to the one loved.  So now our view of ownership of our own bodies and self changes.  We do not belong to our self; we belong to God.  We do not do as we want; we do as he wants.  We do not live by our flesh; we live by our spirit joined with Him.  This shows up in our actions, speech and thought.  We now would not do anything that brings harm either to another or ourselves.  For now we live in love and caring, one for another.  Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who do we judge?…and when?…

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.

I Corinthians 5:1-21

 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,  you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

“…God judges those outside….” How many of us when reading this passage skipped this part and went straight to purging the evil one…?  That is what we hear from among Christian brethren,  a clamor to purge the evil from the land meaning of course the heathen, not anyone in our number.  (yes, that was meant to be sarcastic)  The question is: at what point did the Christian world begin to judge those outside the fellowship?  There is much accusation of Christian believers sharing in this guilt.  Paul holds  a believing fellowship to high standards citing the spread of anti-God actions to others in the fellowship is much like yeast that will cause the whole loaf to rise.  But it stops there.  This holding one another to the standards set forth in the Word does not extend beyond the fellowship for that is the jurisdiction of God.  The Holy Spirit convicts and judges those outside a believing fellowship.  We are not set up as God’s policemen.  We are to protect and build up one another, however.  We do not adopt the standards of the world around us; when this is done the salt has lost its flavor.  We are to encourage one another in love and when those among us cannot rise to the standards set in the Scripture(note: not set by members of the fellowship) then and only then are we to “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Do not be rebellious…

Ezekiel 2:2-10

Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me. And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.  For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’  As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.

“And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house.  You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.

Eight times the rebellious nature of this people is mentioned.  It is pretty sure they were rebellious and hard to speak to and it is established also that they might or might not listen.  All of that said, the prophet is to speak to the words of God to them anyway.  Note also he is not to be concerned with whether or not they listen; he is to be concerned with whether or not he speaks to them.  He is cautioned not to join them in their rebellious nature.

“Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house;

He is not operating under his own strength.  He could not even rise from the ground without the Spirit’s assistance.  A message here is to know that we rely not on our own strength to do the will of God, we rely on His strength.  The work of the Word of God is done by the Spirit of God.

“Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet;”

When we seek the Lord and find him; when we hear his voice, or He comes to us, we are to share what we are given regardless of whether or not it is received by our listeners or readers.  It is not for us to impose what we hear upon others, only to share it, and to do so without fear and without finding ourselves in a place of rebellion.  It is good to remember again, we do not do the work of the Spirit, we are agents of the Spirit.  Be found faithful; share.  The content of the sharing may be joy or sorrow or it may bring joy or sorrow.  The message may have come through our own joy or sorrow, no matter, the message given to us here is to be faithful to share.

 “…hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”…”

Who do we honor?…

I’ve been walking through Matthew in a study of the words of Christ.  It has been a stroll, reading, praying and listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit within to bring understanding as promised.  It has been done intentionally without research.  I will be returning to points that need further explanation later, perhaps in the light of culture during Jesus’ time,  to research and delve deeper into what is said.  For now it has been a delightful stroll. 

Matthew 23:1-14

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,

The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.  And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’

Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.

And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father.

And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.

The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

 Pasted from <http://nlt.scripturetext.com/matthew/23.htm>

Who do we honor?  Who do we give names of respect?  Who do we look to for direction, teaching, guiding?

We emulate Him, but do not take His place.  We follow His example, become His hands, feet, mouth, but never take His position, His name.

We teach, we guide and build up, but never become the source.  We are trained, equipped to continue His work through our study of His Word, prayer, the wise counsel of others who follow Him with His help, His example always before us.  But He receives the glory, it is all done in His name, , His strength, His power, not ours.

We provide leadership, under His direction – we provide instruction, under His administration – we stand beside one another, giving what is needed when it is needed, provision and guidance, but He is our source of provision.

Three points of service to one another; Rabbi – leadership, Teacher – instruction and understanding, Father – provider and guide.  He is who He says He is, and we are who He says we are.

Put it into action!!!!

  Put it into action!!!  God’s Word does not belong on a shelf, but should be active in our life.  Can others see God’s Word active in your life?  Do they see the imprint of the Master?

Mk. 12:28-34 

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?” 29 Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; 30 so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ 31 And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” 32 The religion scholar said, “A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate – that God is one and there is no other. 33 And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!” 34 When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, “You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.” After that, no one else dared ask a question.- taken from the Message 

Why on the border?  What did he need to enter the kingdom? Is his interest only in the discussion as a discussion?  Not intending to assimilate it into his being and become it?  This is what we often do with stimulating discussions.  We walk away saying, Wow that was good!!! Then take no action on it, give it no further thought, sometimes can’t even remember what we talked about later.  We treat God’s Word that way sometimes.  We need to ask forgiveness and begin exercising/practicing immediately, before it is forgotten.

I challenge you to put into action what you receive from the Word today. I challenge you to write down what you intend to do and later check back to record what you have done.  Give yourself a timeline.

But the fruit of the Spirit is…

Notice the word, fruit, one fruit and the verb, is, singular. One fruit with several attributes; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Like the facets of a diamond.  Jesus says ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24) Like Elijah, we are to pray.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed fervently. (James 5:17)  Let that sink in, he had a nature like ours.  When you read his life’s contributions, they make him sound anything but someone who had a nature like ours.  That is the result of prayer, asking, and the possessing of the fruit of the Spirit.

Fruit matures slowly, it is a process.  It receives sustenance for growth, change and maturity.  We should be in the Word for sustenance (the Bread of Life), and we should exhibit growth, change and maturity.  Not of our own doing, it is the work of the Spirit in us and it takes faithfulness on our part and time.  Note also the word in.  Not of or about but in, a picture of indwelling, feeding, nourishing, developing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Fruit of the Spirit is love…there are definite similarities here.  Possessing the fruit of the Spirit will ensure possessing love or filled with God’s Spirit encourages the growth of the fruit, through the constant flow of God’s love as it becomes our love. 

The fruit is then given to provide food, nourishment, pleasure, growth, change, maturity.  Each fruit is complete and mature with the potential to birth new trees rooted in God’s Word and a cycle of life continues…

Are you a part of this cycle of life/love?