Build and Encourage Maturity

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:

Each one of us, however, has been given grace to be measured by the Messiah’s bounty.  This is why it says:

“After he went up into the heights, he led captivity captive, and he gave gifts to mankind. “

Now this phrase, “he went up,” what can it mean if not that he first went down into the lower parts, that is, the earth?  The one who went down is himself the one who also went up, far above all of heaven, in order to fill all things.  Furthermore, he gave some people as emissaries, some as prophets, some as proclaimers of the Good News, and some as shepherds and teachers.  Their task is to equip God’s people for the work of service that builds the body of the Messiah, until we all arrive at the unity implied by trusting and knowing the Son of God, at full manhood, at the standard of maturity set by the Messiah’s perfection.

Grace is given to do.  Each one receives an assignment to accomplish.  Those assignments are to benefit the whole body not just the individual.  They are given with gifts that enable us to fulfill the assigned tasks.  They are meant to “equip God’s people” for “work  of service;” actions that build up the body of believers with goals of unity and maturity.

It could be said that even as we work at maturing physically, we have work to do to mature spiritually. We provide food for growth from infancy to adulthood.  We provide instruction to enable youth to navigate the adult world and its requirements.  In the same way, believers are required to assist one another in their spiritual growth.

As we are obedient to our assigned tasks the members of the kingdom of God are able to encourage the maturing of its individual members.  Instructions are given in God’s Word.  Food is provided in God’s Word.  If there is a famine of hearing God’s Word, there will be a subsequent lack of maturity and weakness among the body of believers.

Pray – Deal generously with your servant; then I will live and observe your word.  Open my eyes, so that I will see…

Repent – I repent for the time I did not pick up my cross; did not fulfill my assignment as I should.

Ask – Teach me, Adonai, the way of your laws; keeping them will be its own reward for me.

Yes – Turn my eyes away from worthless things; with your ways give me life.

Source: Ephesians and Psalms

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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

Born to Praise…

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

Praised be Adonai, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, who in the Messiah has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven.  In the Messiah he chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in his presence.  He determined in advance that through Yeshua the Messiah we would be his sons—in keeping with his pleasure and purpose—so that we would bring him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace he gave us through the Beloved One. Ephesians

We are holy and without defect in His presence.  He said so; if we are one of Christ’s.  We are his children; sons and daughters; planned for!  He said so.  This is His purpose in our creation.  We bring Him praise. He gets the praise for the grace He has extended to us..

What can we do outside his grace?  Nothing.  What can we do in his grace?  Whatever He desires…

In union with him, through the shedding of his blood, we are set free–our sins are forgiven; this accords with the wealth of the grace he has lavished on us.  In all his wisdom and insight he has made known to us his secret plan, which by his own will he designed beforehand in connection with the Messiah and will put into effect when the time is ripe–his plan to place everything in heaven and on earth under the Messiah’s headship.

Also, in union with him we were given an inheritance, we who were picked in advance according to the purpose of the One who effects everything in keeping with the decision of his will, so that we who earlier had put our hope in the Messiah would bring him praise commensurate with his glory. Ephesians

We are in union with Christ; we are one.  We are set free of the penalty for sin.  We are given wisdom and insight into his plan for us.  We have an inheritance.  We have all this for one purpose–to bring him praise.

How can we allow the enemy to spread lies about us to us? Why would we believe the enemy? and not God?  It is imperative that we realize how blessed we are!  Let it sink in and take root.  Any thoughts that come to say we failed, we are inadequate, we cannot…any thoughts of this nature are lies from the enemy.  It is time to recognize who we are in Christ and call the lie what it is!!

Eve believed the lie and look at its consequences.  Christ’s coming changes all that.  We can because he did and God said so!

Pray- I am and doubly so because of Christ therefore I can praise You and will praise You for the change You bring in the second birth.  I will sing to You, Lord, for You are highly exalted.  The horse and its rider You have hurled into the sea!  You, Lord are my strength and my song; You have become my salvation.  You are my God and I will praise You.  You, Lord, are a warrior!The Lord is your name!

Repent – I repent for not praising You more.  God, You know how foolish I am; my guilt is not hidden from You.  Let those who put their hope in you, Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot, not be put to shame through me; let those who are seeking You, God of Isra’el, not be disgraced through me.

Ask – As for me, Adonai, let my prayer to You come at an acceptable time; in Your great grace, God, answer me with the truth of Your salvation.

Yes – Praise you, my God!  Let the sound of Your praise be heard; You have preserved my life and kept my feet from slipping.  For You, o God, tested me You refined me like silver.

Be exalted, God, above heaven!  May Your glory be over all the earth!

Sources:  Exodus 15:1-3; Psalm 69, 66:8-10; 57:5; Ephesians 1

Unity can…

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 3:1-7

When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem. Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.  They set the altar in its place, for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, burnt offerings morning and evening. And they kept the Feast of Booths, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required,  and after that the regular burnt offerings, the offerings at the new moon and at all the appointed feasts of the LORD, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the LORD. From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.  So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia.

God granted the people of Israel favor in the king’s consciousness and they received permission to return to their homeland to rebuild.  They were counted, recorded and then met “as one man” to worship and begin the rebuilding process.  We can ask for that same grace and favor today, wherever we are, so that we can have permission to rebuild the kingdom of God and meet as “one person” to worship our God freely.

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Encourage not judge…

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.

Romans 15:1-13

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,

that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”

And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Scripture is given for instruction.  We instruct to produce knowledge, growth and change.  Working from scripture we encourage and become one.  This unity is that we serve one God and him only.  Self is defeated and we become one in spirit.  Where there is unity there can be no division.  As seen before this, judging one another leads to division and therefore is anti-unity and anti-God.  The love of God and his mercy extended to all brings us together.  If God extends mercy, who are we to withhold it through judging?  Out of Israel came Christ who brings unity through his selfless act extending it outward to any who will receive.  We have knowledge of this from the study of scripture and personal experience with the Lord.  As we radiate his love, mercy and hope all those around receive the benefit of his warmth and light.

One world, one God, one rule…

Ezekiel 37:24-28

“David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” ’

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=37&t=nkjvp>

What can we learn of God?  He loves His people.  He will give them one king and one shepherd.  The shadow of unity is apparent.  He desires that they follow His laws and His decrees.  We can differentiate between God’s laws and man’s laws.  He wants His people to be in the place He gave them, forever.  He desires to live among them, loving them and being loved by them.  He would have a sanctuary among them, a place of peace, rest, and safety.  He wants them to know Him.  He wants to be their God and them to be His people.  He wants all to know that He is God.

When God speaks it is so.  We can so count on him and his word!  Jesus came from David’s lineage, son of God, to rule over his people in unity, love, and bringing peace and a new covenant.

“…David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd;…”

God’s word fulfilled.  Jesus quotes scripture and tells us that He is the good Shepherd, He knows His sheep and they know His voice.  Can we see the parallel?

“…John 10:14  I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine….”

The Spirit overrules the physical.  The Spirit has no limits. The physical is limited by time and space.  We exist in Christ, in spirit and so can soar over the confines of the physical.

“…John 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him….”

He has brought us to a place he gives.  He has provided a sanctuary within each of us and lives among us.  We have him in common providing a unity the world cannot sustain.  O how He loves you and me…

May this song minister to us this day:

click and listen or sing!

O How He Loves You and Me!

Song title: Oh How He Loves You and Me lyrics
by Kurt Kaiser

Oh, how He loves you and me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give;
Oh, how He loves you, Oh, how He loves me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.

Jesus to Calv’ry did go,
His love for mankind to show.
What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you, Oh, how He loves me,
Oh how He loves you and me.

Oh, how He loves you and me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.
He gave His life, what more could He give;
Oh, how He loves you, Oh, how He loves me,
Oh, how He loves you and me.

Song title: Oh How He Loves You and Me Chords
by Kurt Kaiser

Make us ONE

Ezekiel 37:15-23

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 16 “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’ 17 Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.

18 “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’— 19 say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” ’ 20 And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.

21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.

Pasted from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/tools/printerFriendly.cfm?b=Eze&c=37&v=1&t=NKJVP>

Unity, and not just for the sake of being ONE;  unity in God by His direction.

“… and they will be one in My hand.” ’…”

Restoration is promised and with it comes unification.

“… will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;…”

We too, have become a nation divided. As we see here, God is not pleased with division; He brings unification under His direction.  Jesus spoke often of unity, of being one with the father and of us, His believers and followers, also being in unity.

“…John 17:22  – And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:…”

Let us take note of this priority set by the Father, to be in unity .  We become one in Christ and Jesus said they will know us by our love.

“…John 17:23  “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me….”

John 13:35 – “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”…”

Unity implies love, a love relationship, if it is to stand strong.  Not a unity imposed by one group upon another, but a unity that evolves out of love of God.  Let us be ‘one in the spirit.’

taken from:  Rescue Me

Click on the picture to worship:  They’ll know we are Christians by our love  by Jar of Clay

Lyrics:

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love lyrics

We are one in the Spirit

We are one in the Lord

We are one in the Spirit

We are one in the Lord

And we pray that all unity

May one day be restored

And they’ll know we are Christians

By our love, By our love

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians

By our love

We will walk with each other

We will walk hand in hand

We will walk with each other

We will walk hand in hand

And together we’ll spread the news

That God is in our land

We will work with each other

We will work side by side

We will work with each other

We will work side by side

And we’ll guard each man’s dignity

And save each man’s pride

All praise to the Father

From whom all things come

And all praise to Christ Jesus His only son

And all praise to the Spirit

Who makes us one

Make us one, Lord!

Make us one, Lord!