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

Blinded by self…

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 Numbers 16

15Moshe (Moses) was very angry and said to Adonai, “Don’t accept their grain offering! I haven’t taken one donkey from them, I’ve done nothing wrong to any of them.” 16Moshe (Moses) said to Korach (Korah), “You and your group, be there before Adonai tomorrow — you, they and Aharon (Aaron). 17Each of you take his fire pan and put incense in it; every one of you, bring before Adonai his fire pan, 250 fire pans, you too, and Aharon (Aaron) — each one his fire pan.”

18Each man took his fire pan, put fire in it, laid incense on it and stood at the entrance to the tent of meeting with Moshe  (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron). 19Korach  (Korah) assembled all the group who were against them at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to the whole assembly.

(iii) 20Adonai said to Moshe  (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron), 21“Separate yourselves from this assembly; I’m going to destroy them right now!” 22They fell on their faces and said, “Oh God, God of the spirits of all humankind, if one person sins, are you going to be angry with the entire assembly?” 23Adonai answered Moshe  (Moses), 24“Tell the assembly to move away from the homes of Korach  (Korah), Datan  (Dathan) and Aviram   (Abiram).” 25Moshe  (Moses) got up and went to Datan and Aviram, and the leaders of Isra’el followed him. 26There he said to the assembly, “Leave the tents of these wicked men! Don’t touch anything that belongs to them, or you may be swept away in all their sins.” 27So they moved away from all around the area where Korach (Korah), Datan  (Dathan) and Aviram   (Abiram) lived.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/num.16>

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

Moses expressed his anger at being unjustly accused to God. But when God said he would destroy all the people, Moses went down on his face once more to plead for them.   A man of God subjected to false accusations and attacked for his position expresses anger but only to God.  A humble man as well, he pleads for their redemption.

The taking of the fire and fire pans was a test.  These men were not dedicated to the task so in following through and doing so they were breaking established order set by God.  It was a defiant act of disobedience and disrespect.  They had to consider the previous events recorded in Leviticus 10:1-2 where two were consumed by fire when they inappropriately handled the incense. These are men who daily served in the tabernacle of God; they knew the possible consequences. When these failed to exercise caution and obedience to God, they demonstrated the true nature of their hearts.  Moses knows what is coming and warns the rest of the assembly to step away from the leaders of the rebellion.

It is a fearful thing to come against God’s commands.  There is no respect for Him, no honor when the self rises above his commands.  The ambition and arrogance of these men will be the cause for the judgment about to fall upon them from a holy God.  Their pride, self-importance and jealousy blinded them.  They could not spiritually discern God’s calling on Moses and Aaron.  It was to be their downfall.

The take-away is for all believers to consider God’s commands as supreme.  One cannot defy a holy God with disrespect without also incurring the consequences.  Grace is available today to those who repent; but consequences will come.  The age of grace does not change who God is and what God does.  It provides for humankind’s redemption and shows mercy to a repentant heart.  This is not a call to legalism but to spiritual discernment.  The quest for self blinds the seeker.  They are vulnerable to deception which leads to separation from God.  It is vital to a healthy, overcoming life to be seekers of Christ and disciples of who he is and what he does.

Pray – O God, you are my God and I will ever praise you.  It isn’t about who I am but who you are.

Repent – I repent for the direction many take leading away from you in a search for self.  Please be merciful with them.

Ask – May we always lift you up: “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” – Jesus. You, Lord, Your will is our desire.

Yes – Bless, Adonai, my soul!  Adonai my God, you are very great!  Psalm 104:1

Source: Numbers, Leviticus, and Psalm 104

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.

sent ahead…

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 3:

25A discussion arose between some of Yochanan’s (John) talmidim (disciple) and a Judean about ceremonial washing; 26and they came to Yochanan  (John) and said to him, “Rabbi, you know the man who was with you on the other side of the Yarden,(Jordan) the one you spoke about? Well, here he is, immersing; and everyone is going to him!” 27Yochanan answered, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from Heaven. 28You yourselves can confirm that I did not say I was the Messiah, but that I have been sent ahead of him. 29The bridegroom is the one who has the bride; but the bridegroom’s friend, who stands and listens to him, is overjoyed at the sound of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine is now complete. 30He must become more important, while I become less important.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/jhn.3>

*words in parentheses are English translation for the Hebrew, placed by this author

John reminds those questioning the growth of Jesus’ ministry that he came to prepare the way for the Messiah and that Jesus will increase while John decreases.  John gives a reference key to assessing if someone is righteous or not, “No one can receive anything (speaking of spiritual gifts) unless it has been given to him from Heaven.”

Sometimes the believer is “sent ahead” and is the one preparing the soil for the seed that follows.  And there may be another to harvest the fruit.  Key is faithfulness to what has been given to each to do for the kingdom.

Pray – Adonai directs a person’s steps, and he delights in his way.  He may stumble, but he won’t fall headlong for Adonai holds him by the hand.

Repent – I repent for times I take my hand from yours to strike out on my own.

Ask – As I place my hand in yours, guide me and grant increase in the efforts for the futhering of your kingdom.  I will trust in the Lord.

Yes – and do good; settle in the land, and feed on faithfulness.  I will delight myself in the Lord, and he will give my heart’s desire.

Source: John 3 and Psalms 37:23-24; 3-4

Prepare the soil of the soul…

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 3:

22After this, Yeshua (Jesus) and his talmidim (disciples) went out into the countryside of Y’hudah,(Judah) where he stayed awhile with them and immersed people. 23Yochanan too was immersing at Einayim,(Aenon) near Shalem (Salim), because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to be immersed. 24(This was before Yochanan’s (John)imprisonment.)

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/jhn.3>

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

Preparing the soil of the soul and hearts of the people.

Turning the dirt,                                        man-hoeing-vegetable-garden-soil-organic-farm-preparing-ground-new-sowing-season-69612774

taking out the stones,

digging deep

to ready the heart and mind for the seed of heaven.

The harvest comes later and what a harvest it was and still is.  Souls continue to be prepared to receive, continue to receive, continue to bear fruit and it begins again, generation to generation.  All glory to God.

Pray – I acknowledge for some the soil is very rocky; for others more pliable.  Some have weeds and thorns to pull; others are a field of grass.  May I ever be faithful to whatever the job is; pulling weeds, picking up stones or digging deep.

Repent – I repent for missed opportunities to be active for your kingdom.

Ask – Adonai, I have heard the report about you, Adonai.  I am awed by your deeds, bring your work to life in our own age, make it known in our own time; but in anger, remember compassion.

Yes – I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  Elohim Adonai is my strength!  He makes me swift and sure-footed as a deer and enables me to stride over my high places.  – Habbakuk

 

Source:  John and Habbakuk; image from Dreamstine: https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-video-footage-man-hoeing-vegetable-garden-soil-organic-farm-preparing-ground-new-sowing-season-video69612641

 

just as the Messiah loved…

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:

25As for husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah loved the Messianic Community, indeed, gave himself up on its behalf, 26in order to set it apart for God, making it clean through immersion in the mikveh, so to speak, 27in order to present the Messianic Community to himself as a bride to be proud of, without a spot, wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without defect. 28This is how husbands ought to love their wives — like their own bodies; for the man who loves his wife is loving himself. 29Why, no one ever hated his own flesh! On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Messianic Community, 30because we are parts of his Body. 31“Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and remain with his wife, and the two will become one.” 32There is profound truth hidden here, which I say concerns the Messiah and the Messianic Community. 33However, the text also applies to each of you individually: let each man love his wife as he does himself, and see that the wife respects her husband.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/eph.5>

Take a lesson from Christ’s example.  When we love as he loves, so much discord, misunderstanding, hurt, and pain is avoided.  The believing world should not be guilty of the same distrust, fighting and selfish motivation as is seen in the unbelieving world.  The contrast between the two worlds should be so obvious it draws unbelievers to the warmth and light of the believer’s world.

That warmth and light is the result of receiving from the Creator the same.  On a cold, dark night most love to move close to a bright, warm fire; not to be burnt but to be comforted. Are we comforting or burning one another?  Submission comes gladly, willingly to a comforting, warm place.  Are we living and acting in such a way others outside our personal circles are drawn to us?  Are we radiating the fire of the Spirit in love?

The enemy places thoughts that grow, thoughts of rebellion and strife, thoughts of accusation and suspicion.  Prowling like a lion to disturb the peace and set God’s people fighting one another, sometimes over words that are often just misunderstood.  Know the enemy, be aware of the efforts to divide.  As it is that often words are what tear apart families and spouses, so also they work at destroying God’s kingdom on earth.  The armor of God is given to us to deflect and put out those burning arrows.  Knowledge of truth around the waist and God’s righteousness guarding the heart and lungs keeps the core protected and supported.  Feet shod with peace that gives stability and a helmet to protect the mind complete the ‘uniform’ put on by the believer.  Weapons to protect and advance; the shield and sword, faith and God’s Word taken up by the believer.

just as the Messiah loved …Can we treat one another in this way?

Pray – God, be gracious to us and bless us.  May Your face shine toward us.

Repent – There have been times I’ve been guilty of not submitting, willingly to You.  Forgive me.  I am so blessed by Your forgiveness.

Ask – Grant me the strength to grasp the height, breadth, depth and length of Your love.  Help me to know it, even though it is beyond all knowing, so that I may be filled with the fullness of You God and others may be warmed and comforted at Your fire.

Yes – Let my lips speak praise, because You teach me Your ways; let my tongue sing of Your promise because all Your commands are righteous.  Thank you.