be holy because I am holy…

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 1Peter:

10The prophets, who prophesied about this gift of deliverance that was meant for you, pondered and inquired diligently about it. 11They were trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of the Messiah in them was referring in predicting the Messiah’s sufferings and the glorious things to follow. 12It was revealed to them that their service when they spoke about these things was not for their own benefit, but for yours. And these same things have now been proclaimed to you by those who communicated the Good News to you through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things!

13Therefore, get your minds ready for work, keep yourselves under control, and fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah is revealed. 14As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. 15On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; 16since the Tanakh (Old Testament)  says,

“You are to be holy because I am holy.”

 17Also, if you are addressing as Father the one who judges impartially according to each person’s actions, you should live out your temporary stay on earth in fear. 18You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed on to you did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold; 19on the contrary, it was the costly bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah, as of a lamb without defect or spot. 20God knew him before the founding of the universe, but revealed him in the acharit-hayamim (last days) for your sakes. 21Through him you trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory; so that your trust and hope are in God.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/1pe.1>

Words in parentheses placed by this author

The Christian way is not new, only new to those who just received recently the message of Christ.  This way is rooted in the beginning of time.  It has prevailed all attempts to destroy it; it has withstood the test of time.  It is not a passing fad or trend.

The Father created and nurtured, disciplined and provided for his creation.  The Good News is how that was done.  The coming of Christ, his suffering and sacrifice are what was necessary to cleanse the creation of the evil it had given way to.

This event and its implications for mankind were foretold to give encouragement to those who sought after the Father.  Today the message continues to be told for the same reason.

To those who receive the Good News, Peter answers the question, “How then shall we live?”  One, “get your minds ready for work,” is a mind-set;  it is set on spiritual matters rather than earthly.  Fill up on scripture, God’s words of love, direction and encouragement.  Two, “keep yourselves under control,” speaks to possessing less self-inspired living and demonstrating more  God-inspired living.  Thirdly, “fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Christ is revealed” tells where the focus is to be placed.  Next, “become holy yourselves in your entire way of life,” instructs the believer to be holy;  God is referenced when he says;

“You are to be holy because I am holy.” 

This last statement clinches that something is required of the believer.  But the believer is not abandoned; “trust in God, who raised him (Christ) from the dead and gave him glory; so that your trust and hope are in God.”

Pray – Father God, I praise you for what You do, for who You are.  I acknowledge Your majesty and greatness.  I look to You for help; no other can keep me as you do.

Repent – I am sorry for a generation who continues to turn from you to self.  I repent for those times I lived selfishly instead of selflessly.

Ask – Be the power that enables me to have a mindset for work in Your kingdom; that gives the ability to exercise control over selfish desires and actions; that gives me the breastplate of Your righteousness so that I may be holy as You are.

Yes – To you be all praise, honor and glory.

Source:   1 Peter and Leviticus 11, 19, 20

 

be full of joy …

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:

1From: Kefa (Peter), an emissary of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah

To: God’s chosen people, living as aliens in the Diaspora — in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bythinia — 2chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obeying Yeshua (Jesus)  the Messiah and for sprinkling with his blood:

Grace and shalom be yours in full measure.

3Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, who, in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah from the dead, to be born again to a living hope, 4to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for you in heaven. 5Meanwhile, through trusting, you are being protected by God’s power for a deliverance ready to be revealed at the Last Time. 6Rejoice in this, even though for a little while you may have to experience grief in various trials. 7Even gold is tested for genuineness by fire. The purpose of these trials is so that your trust’s genuineness, which is far more valuable than perishable gold, will be judged worthy of praise, glory and honor at the revealing of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.

8Without having seen him, you love him. Without seeing him now, but trusting in him, you continue to be full of joy that is glorious beyond words. 9And you are receiving what your trust is aiming at, namely, your deliverance.

From <https://www.bible.com/bible/1275/1pe.1>

Words in parentheses placed by this author.

“Born again to a living hope”  that is, Christ.

What is alive does not fade, spoil or decay.  The life received through faith in Christ, gained in his resurrection, is the hope he grants to always, eternally, be his chosen.  The rough times, testing times that come need not take the believer’s full focus.  They are a process of refining, as gold is.  The old is removed and the new remains.  In this, the believer can rejoice they are worthy to be refined!

The genuineness of the believer’s faith is revealed through the trials.  Therefore, rejoice in the tests, the down times, the stretching.  Rejoice because the very existence of the hard times speaks to the hope Christ gives.  The joy is in him, not in the trial, not in the pain, but in the Christ who will deliver.  So think of it as endurance or strength training.  It’s not easy, it calls for discipline, but the benefits are well-being and good health.  So too, the hard times bring spiritual strength and well-being; they should teach the believer how to lift their focus from themselves to God.  Not looking at the situation but looking forward to the deliverance, looking upward to the God who delivers.  “In all things give thanks” for this creates a strong army of believers who continue to stand for truth.

Pray – Praise be to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in keeping with his great mercy, has caused us, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to be born again to a living hope, to an inheritance that cannot decay, spoil or fade, kept safe for us in heaven.

Repent – I repent for those time I allowed hard, painful experiences to refocus my attention from You to me.

Ask – May my experience with grief be the test of fire to reveal my genuine faith in You, God.  May I be found faithful, full of faith for removing my focus from my experiences to You and what You do.

Yes – trusting in You brings a joy the unbeliever cannot know. It is an impossibility to be thankful during pain; unless one is refocused to thank You for the deliverance which will come.  Loving Christ, even though unseen, is joy.  1 Peter 41:1-9

Source: 1 Peter

contempt for Adonai bears fearful consequences…

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:

Then Datan   (Dathan) and Aviram (Abiram) came out and stood at the entrance to their tents with their wives, sons and little ones. 28Moshe (Moses)  said, “Here is how you will know that Adonai has sent me to do all these things and that I haven’t done them out of my own ambition: 29if these men die a natural death like other people, only sharing the fate common to all humanity, then Adonai has not sent me. 30But if Adonai does something new — if the ground opens up and swallows them with everything they own, and they go down alive to Sh’ol — then you will understand that these men have had contempt for Adonai.”

31The moment he finished speaking, the ground under them split apart — 32the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households, all the people who had sided with Korach  (Korah)and everything they owned. 33So they and everything they owned went down alive into Sh’ol, the earth closed over them and their existence in the community ceased. 34All Isra’el around them fled at their shrieks, shouting, “The earth might swallow us too!” 35Then fire came out from Adonai and destroyed the 250 men who had offered the incense.

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

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

korah

It is a fearful thing to disrespect God.  This fear is a mix of knowledge, awareness and respect for authority.  It is wisdom.

 The fear of Adonai is the beginning of knowledge,but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7

A knowledge of the capability, the consequences, an awareness of the danger that is potential and real, a respect for the nature of anything will give way to wisdom in how that entity is approached.

Working with raw glass is a prime example.  Raw glass when mishandled can cause deadly harm.  There is a wise, correct way to handle it.  There are precautions to take, safety gear to wear and safety measures to follow.  Those who do not use wisdom with what they have been taught and proceed with an attitude that they know better, are stronger or bigger than those who gave the instructions are often injured; some of them become drastically impaired if they live.

Knowledge of who God is and what He does was available to these men.  They were lacking in wisdom to use that knowledge and live wisely.  Fear of God is missing.  It is replaced with arrogance and confidence in self.  Lack of respect placed them in a position of peril.  Paul advises the believer to know God and live wisely.  (Ephesians 5:15) This event is recorded for the benefit of all who profess a belief in God, develop a relationship with Him through Christ, and take advantage of the grace offered.  Those in this event did none of the above.  They had knowledge but  self had risen above God and hindered their spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear.  They were deceived and it cost them.

The same is true today.  Those who are deceived are subject to God’s judgment.  It may not come in the form of the earth opening up and swallowing them but it does come in other ways.  There are plenty of testimonies available sharing that those whose eyes and ears were opened were able to be freed from the deception.

God is holy, will not be mocked or disrespected, but is also long-suffering and merciful.  It is great to be living in the days of grace, having knowledge of Jesus so abundantly available.

Pray – May we bring You praise.  May we speak as one whose eyes have been opened; as one who hears God’s words; who sees what Shaddai sees, who has fallen, yet has open eyes.  Numbers 24:3

Repent – I repent for those times I did not speak the words you gave, O God.  I repent for those who refuse to see or hear your words.

Ask – That spirit that confuses your people; that one who hinders your words from being heard or seen, may you destroy that one.  I will call on God and Adonai will save us.  He redeems us and gives us peace.  Psalms 55

Yes – I will praise you forever for what you have done, and I will put my hope in your name; for this is good in the presence of your faithful.  Psalm 52:1

Source:  Numbers 16, 24, Ephesians 5:15  and Psalms 52, 55,

 

What do you seek?”

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:

 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.  And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”  He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). One of the two who heard John [speak], and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).

What are you looking for?  And given a new name.  All humanity is born with an inner drive to seek something of meaning.  Christ asks “What are you looking for?”  Answers will vary depending on the situation or state of being.  Whatever the answer, the Lord can supply what is being sought.

It would be good to start at this place and ask – “What am I looking for?”  The place to find the answer is in Christ and His Word.  When this meeting takes place, do not be surprised if a new name is given.  An encounter with Christ that is accepting of Him will result in a new creation with a new name.  Give up the old nature, old conditions and accept Christ’s new nature, one that can deal with any conditions thrown their way.

Pray – The fulfillment of a total being was found in You, Lord.  Reconnected to the Creator brought peace and trust.

Repent – I repent for looking in all the wrong places for what I had in You.

Ask – Keep me from wandering in that direction again.

Yes – Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

Source: John and Psalms

I have seen and testified …

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:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! “This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’  “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”  And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.  “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  “And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

Eyewitness accounts passed along for the benefit of all who come after.   The Word in flesh, meant for sacrifice. The sacrifice that would atone for sin. There is a greater death than the death of this life.  The wages of sin is death; a death of separation from God for eternity.  Because Jesus came, God’s message to His creation has been carried world-wide, no longer confined to Israel.

Pray – I am so blessed for I am able to know you even from a distance in time and trust you as David did from a distance.  With David I can say “I am dying to know your salvation, my hope is in your word.

Repent – I repent for the moments of doubt that come with thoughts I have not taken captive and made obedient to You, Lord.

Ask – Teach me good judgment and knowledge, because I trust your Word.

Yes – You are good, and you do good; teach me your laws.  It is for my good that I have been humbled; it was so I could learn your laws.

Source: John and Psalms

Creating Community…

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 1:

The next day having decided to leave for  Galilee, Yeshua found Philip and said, “Follow me!”  Philip was from Beit – Tzadah (Bethsaida), the town where Andrew and Kefa (Peter) lived.  Philip found Natan’el (Nathaniel) and told him, “We’ve found the one that Moshe(Moses) wrote about in the Torah (Scripture), also the Prophets – it’s Yeshua Ben-Yosef from Natzaret! (Nazareth)  Natan’el answered him, “Natzaret? Can any good come from there?”  “Come and see,” Philip said to him.  Yeshua saw Natan’el coming toward him and remarked about him, “Here’s a true son of Isra’el – nothing false in him!”  Natan’el said to him, “How do you know me?”  Yeshua answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Natan’el said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Isra’el!”  Yeshua answered him, ” you believe all this just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?  You will see greater things than that!”  Then he said to him, “Yes indeed, I tell you that you will see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man!”

 

There was an intimacy, a brotherhood in place before Jesus called the men who would be discipled by him. Physical birth created a camaraderie and bond between them .  They possessed a simplicity of character and a living force of forward-looking and thinking.  Their reactions to Christ are childlike; his persona drew them to him.

Today’s fellowship communities could use some of this childlike approach to brotherhood, sisterhood.  This group of Jesus and his disciples have the commonality of birth but also possess personalities that are very different.  The same is true of communities today.  These characteristics could lead to an intimacy born of the shared knowledge of Christ, not of the sameness of individualistic personalities.  The shared goals of the Kingdom could take priority over personal agendas.  These men put Christ first, their families adjusted accordingly, their jobs took backseat.

Perhaps there is a lack of understanding of how much members of a community need each other’s support and encouragement.  Absence for whatever reason leaves holes in the fabric of the community.  The bonds are weak and any who are seeking the support and solace of community are soon disappointed.  Today’s groups are a restless people, with little to no genuine commitment to community fellowship. Perhaps the fault of falling away from community worship is not ‘looking at people’ but lack of communal support and care.

When the general, corporate focus shifts to Christ and his teachings, bonds begin to form and the groups become cohesive.  These men are in the initial stages of community development but the shared aspects of physical birth and Christ are already creating cohesiveness.  Worship of Christ and Him alone, will create this bond.  As the worshipers are drawn into collective worship of God, rather than who they are, unity can form and division will lessen. Members begin to lose themselves in Christ and come together under Him.  Their differences are minimized as their focus leaves self and moves to God.

Pray – Lord, You are the Most High God, Creator of all and all are created with one purpose; to love and worship you.

Repent – I’m sorry for the way we’ve made worship about who we are rather than about who You are. It’s all about You, o Lord!  I repent for the multitudes of times I am subtly drawn away from You to who I am.

Ask – Bring us back to the heart of worship and that is to join David and others in their worship of You, God.  I don’t want ‘just another love song,’ I want the opportunity to rise in worship of who You are. Not to us, Adonai, not to us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your grace and truth.

Yes – Praise, Adonai, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! For His grace has overwhelmed us, and Adonai’s truth continues forever.  You are my God, and I thank you.  Be exalted God, above heaven!  May Your glory be over all the earth.
Sources: Psalms and John.

Oneness…the Power of One

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, I, the prisoner united with the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called

Always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, and making every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit gives through the binding power of shalom.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as when you were called you were called to one hope.  And there is one Lord, one trust, one immersion, and one God, the Father of all, who rules over all, works through all and is in all.

One is powerful; one implies unity and strength.  One is constant; one is pure. Look at all the facets oneness possesses.

One has no division; one works together, may be many but having one purpose.  The cord composed of three or more strands is still one; it is combined to give strength.

Christ brought the peace of oneness.  One call, one hope, one Lord, one body, one Spirit, one trust, one immersion, one God all give purpose and strength.  All is the result of one love; the love of the Father for the creation, so lost, and their love in return.  The same love sent Christ and provided his peace for all.

Pray – We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord and Your banner over us is love.

Repent – I repent for those times I am so focused on me I forget I am part of something much greater.

Ask – Keep my focus on our oneness in You

Yes – O how good, how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to live together in harmony.