No Longer Strangers…

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, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth–called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised–at that time had no Messiah.  You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el.  You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise.  Your were in this world without hope and without God.

Many times in scripture God instructs us to remember.  Who we were, where we were, who he is, what he does, his works on our behalf, consequences for actions from which he delivers us…

But now, you who were once far off have been brought near through the shedding of the Messiah’s blood.  For he himself is our shalom—he has made us both one and has broken down the commands which divided us by destroying in his own body the enmity occasioned by the Word of God, with its commands set forth in the form of ordinances.  He did this in order to create in union with himself from the two groups a single new humanity and thus make shalom, and in order to reconcile to God both in a single body by being executed on a stake as a criminal and thus in himself killing that enmity

Those far (gentile people) and those near(Jewish people) are brought together into one group through Christ.  Something only God could do.  This union brings peace between two groups who were at odds with one another.  This union is made possible in the commonality of Christ.  The commands are also changed from law to the actual new nature.  They are simply what is done as a new creature in Christ for both the Gentile and the Jew.

Also, when he came, he announced as Good News shalom to you far off and shalom to those nearby, news that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then, you are no longer foreigners and strangers.  On the contrary, you are  fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family.  You have been built on the foundation of the emissaries and the prophets, with the cornerstone being Yeshua Messiah himself.  In union with him the whole building is held together, and it is growing into a holy temple in union with the Lord. Yes, in union with Him, you yourselves are being built together into a spiritual dwelling-place for God!

No longer strangers to one another the two groups become one group built on a sure foundation.  Before one builds any structure, a firm foundation must be laid.  If not, the strong storm will do much damage, may even bring it down.  Builders today have codes to follow that have been proven to withstand the winds of nature.The fellowship of believers of Christ will stand through the attacks of the enemy if they are supported by a strong foundation.  This foundation is found in the teachings from God put forth by his faithful leaders and through Jesus Christ the cornerstone uniting two worlds into one.  The foundation construction and composition is found in God’s Word and in Christ the Living Word.

For the individual it is the support given by the belt of truth; a belt of truth found in God’s Word and a belt that supports the rest of the armor of God.  Each individual, then, can stand strong and when linked together with other believers can advance against the enemy both corporately and individually, providing additional strength for one another in the individual walk through life.

What does the believer possess?  What makes their life so rich?  They have the promises found in the Word that are truth, giving strength to the spirit in its battle with the natural, the flesh.  They possess unity where once there was division; resulting in peace rather than strife.  They possess the spiritual benefits found in this unity that permits them to grow in their spiritual walk with God.  They are no longer strangers or foreigners to one another but have a common ground in Christ and that is a strong foundation upon which to build the house of God.

Pray – We are built together, two worlds once separated now joined in Christ, to become a spiritual dwelling-place for God!

Repent – I repent for the times I look on others as different without accepting them as fellow believers in Christ causing a separation in my mind where You want unity.

Ask – Keep deceitful ways far from me, and favor me with your Word.  I choose the way of trust; I set Your rulings[before me].  I cling to Your instruction; Adonai, don’t let me be put to shame!

Yes – I will run the way of Your commands, for You have broadened my understanding.

Source:  Ephesians and Psalm 119

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Prayer…

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

Matthew 6:5-15

Matthew 6:5-15 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,

but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

Forgiveness is a big thing. This looks a lot like ‘do unto others…’ It encompasses provision and honor. God is love and is loved. He gave the first kiss and it was a kiss of life. Couples kiss and the life of a relationship is birthed…life happens. Mothers, parents kiss and life is nurtured in the young body. Forgiving one another springs out of loving one another.

 

That love springs initially from the Creator. When accepted by humanity, it bears proof of the Creator’s presence within His creation. That love then extends to all who come into contact with the believer. The honor and glory remain in the Father. Living is loving and loving is living…all that is said and done is said and done in love. It becomes an integral part of the created being. It is not possible to truly love another if that other is not forgiven. There remains a block to true worship; a hindrance to true communion with God and others. That unforgiveness within begins to grow into a root of bitterness that sprouts a weed rather than a tree. When forgiveness is extended, there is a release and a freedom to fully worship the Father and to truly love others.

 

In that place the following prayer can truthfully and powerfully be prayed:

I fall on my knees before you, Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its character and name. I pray that from the treasures of your glory you will empower us with inner strength by your Spirit, so that the Messiah may live in our hearts through our trusting, our faith. Also I pray that we will be rooted and founded in love, so that we, with all God’s people, will be given strength to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah’s love, yes, to know it, even though it is beyond all knowing, so that we will be filled with all the fullness of you, God.

 

Now, to you who by your power working in us is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine, to you be glory in our community and in the Messiah Yeshua from generation to generation forever. Amen

 

Taken from Ephesians 3:14-21 The Complete Jewish Bible; personalized.

praying[1]

If my people who are called by my name….pray. At this time there is a great need for the power of prayer to be released in the spiritual realm. There is great need for safety, provision, and a return to the Word of God, both the Scriptures and the Son, Jesus. Prayer is power…it is spiritual power that combats the spirits that intend evil for God’s creation. It is time for all God’s people to band together in prayer, releasing His power on earth. As it is in heaven…so shall it be on earth.

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Judgment and Promise

 

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.

Isaiah 66:15-24

 

 “For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

 For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.

 “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD.

 “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,

and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.

 And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.

 And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the LORD.

 “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain.

 From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.

 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

 

This is one place that verifies the existence of what we call ‘hell.’

“… “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”…”

It is not a desirable place to be.

This is one place where we read of the promise of a new heaven and a new earth; also of always being in His presence.

“… “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain...”

Let us be sure to be among the clean vessels,

“…bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.…”

washed in the blood of Jesus, coming always to worship in His presence.

This also concludes Isaiah; fitting ending would you say?

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Hand of judge or hand of love…

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.

Isaiah 191:10

  An oracle concerning Egypt.

Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud

and comes to Egypt;

 and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,

and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.

 And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians,

and they will fight, each against another

and each against his neighbor,

city against city, kingdom against kingdom;

 

  and the spirit of the Egyptians within them

will be emptied out,

and I will confound their counsel;

and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers,

and the mediums and the necromancers;

  and I will give over the Egyptians

 into the hand of a hard master,

and a fierce king will rule over them,

declares the Lord GOD of hosts.

  And the waters of the sea will be dried up,

and the river will be dry and parched,

 and its canals will become foul,

and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up,

reeds and rushes will rot away.

  There will be bare places by the Nile,

on the brink of the Nile,

and all that is sown by the Nile will be parched,

will be driven away, and will be no more.

 The fishermen will mourn and lament,

all who cast a hook in the Nile;

and they will languish

who spread nets on the water.

 The workers in combed flax will be in despair,

and the weavers of white cotton.

 Those who are the pillars of the land will be crushed,

and all who work for pay will be grieved.

This is a collapse of the economy that is built around a river that dries up.  The One who created the river is rejected and despised and the resulting judgment affects all.  We can learn from this.

“…For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us,…”

The same One who creates and judges also loves.  This same One gave a son to redeem back those who were deceived and turned away.  We know this One, the Lord God of all,  and His Son, Jesus Christ.  With this knowledge we receive that redemption and our lives are a contrast between righteous and unrighteous.  God has not changed, will not change.  He is who He is and does what He does.  We know that.  We also know with forgiveness through Christ, comes light that can transform a dark world.  Let us be that light and turn back the coming tide of judgment against all who reject and deny the One who created them.  Let us be active in prayer, in sharing what we know and receive.  Let us lead by example, in humility, in love as Christ led and leads.  Let us allow the Holy Spirit to do the work of the kingdom of God through us.

hand of love

We are warned over and over what denying God will bring.  Let us take heed, share the wisdom found in scripture, share the love found in Christ, share the redemption and remission of sins through Christ’s sacrifice, share the joy of life lived in Him.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Subtle influences…

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.

Ezra 10:6-15

 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles.  And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem,  and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles. 

 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain.  And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel.   Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”   Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said.   But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter.  Let our officials stand for the whole assembly. Let all in our cities who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every city, until the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us.”  Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them.

Permitting the subtle infiltration of that which is not of God, is in fact in opposition to his word, allowing it to enter our lives, our homes and our churches through innocent seeming means occurs more often than we would like to admit.  It is not presented as wrong to marry if the one marrying shares the same allegiance to God.  It is when other gods are introduced through the guise of love and tolerance.  It brought down Israel.  It does and will bring down our homes and churches.  Come out and be separate is all-inclusive, not just marriage.  We have allowed practices into our homes and churches that are opposed to our God.  Time to reflect… Time to search our hearts and lives… Time to examine our practices and thinking patterns…  Time to allow the Spirit of God to reveal to us that which must be removed…

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Godly correction…with love

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.

II Corinthians 7

 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

 Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one.  I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together.   I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.

   For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,  and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.  For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while.   As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.   For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.  So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. Therefore we are comforted.

And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true.  And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.

The love of God and love for fellow believers is evident.  Even though the matter discussed produced a grieving, that love was manifest.  That can be true even today.  Correction is sometimes needful to remind us of how that love should be seen in us.  But even in the correction, love of God and love for our neighbor can be manifest.  The actions and words of a believer differ from the actions and the words of an unbeliever.  That is God’s love shown to us all.  When we engage in public put-downs of fellow believers, we are not showing God’s love.  Paul did not publish a scathing report against those in the wrong on Facebook or to the news media.  Paul addressed the wrong where it was and that only.  His message of caution and concern was given to the body or bodies of believers the wrong affected.  We should take note of that.  There are those who today feel they must take it upon themselves to warn others of ‘false’ teachers and in their writings are seen seeds of envy and discord.  That is not of God.  If we feel someone is in error, we would do well to follow the examples set before us and address those individuals and the fellowships for which we are responsible.  It does not further the kingdom of God to hang perceived ‘dirty laundry’ out for the world to see.  It also does not demonstrate love for the fellow believer who may in fact be in error.  What are we doing?  Those of us who then pass along such comments and writings are joining with them in what they say and do.  We would do well to consider carefully who we join with.

Psalm 119,  “Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me …”. 

Take on personal responsibility for knowing the genuine.  Then the counterfeit is obvious.  We must all be found daily in the Word of God, not dependent upon others to teach us for they may teach us wrong.  Allow the Lord God and His Spirit to teach us.  Then we know we have truth.

Forgive…

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.

II Corinthians 2:17

For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you.  For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained?  And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all.  For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.  Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you.  For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough,  so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.  For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything.  Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ,  so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.  But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.   For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,  to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

Forgive – To grant pardon; to give up claim on account of; to cease to feel resentment against; to cancel an indebtedness

Can we forgive even if the offender is not sorry, has not repented?  Did Christ go to the cross even though abandoned by those closest to him?  Forgiving not only benefits the one who wronged, but also the one forgiving.  It releases all from the situation which caused the offense.  Our ability to forgive, which follows Christ’s example, is the fragrance that rises to God.  It is what separates us from the rest of mankind who calls for revenge.  Let’s be a fragrance to God and all who cross our paths.