Sunday, August 27, 2006


From Our Daily Bread, published by RBC Ministries:

August 26, 2006


READ: Psalm 51

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise. —Psalm 51:17

In the agony of Psalm 51, David seems to contradict himself. He exclaims, “You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering” (v.16). Then, two verses later, he says, “You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering” (v.19). Does God want our sacrifices or not?

Sacrifices resemble the flowers a husband gives to his wife after a heated argument. The wife doesn’t need the flowers. They are valuable to her only if they accurately represent her husband’s feelings. If she thinks they are merely a ritual and do not symbolize his regret, the flowers make the divide between them worse.

God didn’t need the animals offered to Him in sacrifice. Hebrews says, “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (10:4). These sacrifices pointed to the once-for-all payment Jesus would make with His own blood when He died for our sins.

What mattered was the attitude of those making the sacrifices. If the offerings were without repentance, the ritual was a mockery. That’s why David wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). —Haddon W. Robinson

Repentance is sorrow for the deed, not for getting caught.

Men Look On The Outward Appearance

1 Samuel16:7 (Amplified) But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

I'm in the midst of reading a book titled Today's Embrace by Linda Lee Chaikin. It's the third book in her series, East Of The Sun. The setting is in England and South Africa in the early 1900's, during the time of the diamond & gold mines and English interests in Rhodesia. There's lots of history here, which always appeals to me. Of course, this is fiction and deals with people's lives as history unfolds. In the story there is a missionary, Dr. Jakob van Buren, who is committed to bringing the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the African tribesmen who are enslaved to the spirits of darkness. I was impressed by the following portion, as Jakob preaches to the Englishmen.

A thought flashed through her mind. She remembered what Dr. Jakob van Buren had said when she'd attended his Sunday service once. Dr. Jakob had been invited to speak at Government House, and his message had not gone over well with those present. Uncle Julien had looked as though he wanted to toss him in the river while the crocodiles were feeding. And Peter had sat straight in his chair with an expression as leaden as the statues in the British Museum.

"Most people," his voice had boomed, with a ragged Boer accent, "prefer their sin clothed with the latest style of sophistication. Pride puts on a pretty face and sits in the theater enjoying a symphony, and we say, 'Oh, these are the good people of the civilized West.' Oh, the raw sin of the naked savage with his doctrines of demons offends our finer natures--as well it should--and so we missionaries come with torches of light, which is God's Word. A Word that reveals His Son Jesus Christ. For we are darkness in and of ourselves. We have no light apart from Him."

"Witchcraft unearths the rotting corpse called sin, and we sophisticates are offended! It is well we should be. But are we equally offended with our own sin? We are all sinners before a holy God, whether that sin is raw, and dark, and openly evil--or hidden behind silks and perfumes, lordly titles, and ambitious national goals for Her Majesty. And the sin of hypocrisy was firmly denounced when our Lord was on earth, but He had words of mercy for the woman taken in adultery!"

"Ah yes. It took the willing death of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sin. Christ is the door to God, and that door is open wide for all to enter. If you come through that door, you will find that the Father of all creation has made you a new creature in Christ. That new spiritual birth is yours through faith in Jesus Christ."

Arcilla shuddered. Oh! How Uncle Julien was offended! His face had been flushed with high blood pressure.

She hadn't liked Dr. Jakob's bluntness, either. Imagine, comparing her little sins to the spooky brutality of witchcraft with bones, gizzards, and snakeskins!

Reading this reminded me of how often I fall into the trap of comparing myself to others around me and thinking that I'm actually doing okay because their sins are so much more obvious and plentiful than mine. What stinking self-righteousness! Pride in self is one of the worst sins that there is! Who am I that I should compare myself to some other person and think I am better than that person? There is only ONE that I should compare myself to and when I do, I will always fall short because He alone is the perfect, sinless Lamb of God. I need to remember to measure myself by Him and no other, lest I be like the Pharisee in the story Yeshua told...

Luke 18:9-14 (Amplified) He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves and were confident that they were righteous [that they were upright and in right standing with God] and scorned and made nothing of all the rest of men: Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men--extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers--or even like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain. But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am! I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.

You might think that the temptation is only to compare oneself with those who are outside the Church. That's what the fine, upstanding Englishmen were doing, according to Dr. Jakob in the book I'm reading. And we all tend to do the same: "Yep, I would never kill someone like that wicked person did"; "You wouldn't see me frequenting those strip joints!"; "That guy who molested those little girls deserves to be drawn & quartered! what kind of pervert would do that, anyway? you'd never find me doing anything like that!"; "Those women down on the Strip deserve everything they get. If they're going to sell themselves, they should expect to get beat up or end up with AIDS. You'd never see me doing something like that!" I could go on, but you get the idea. Maybe we wouldn't ever be guilty of these particular sins, but I guarantee you that each of us is loaded down with a burden of our own sin that is just as nasty and ugly to God as any of these are. Just because we can hide our sins under the cloak of being a good Christian doesn't mean that God doesn't see them and weep over them.

We all make comparisons all the time, even with our fellow believers: "I can't believe that John has beer in his frig! You'd never find that in my frig!"; "The Jones' haven't been in church for 3 Sundays in a row. You don't see me missing church like that!"; "I just saw Susan & Bob go into the theater to watch that Harry Potter movie; no way would you get me to go see that!"; "That Ann Smith! She thinks she's so much better than the rest of us because she dresses so modestly all the time. Well, I could tell her a thing or two about real modesty!"; and on and on the list goes. And all the while we are comparing ourselves to these other believers, we fail to see our own self-righteousness and pride, our own besetting sins, that separate us from intimate fellowship with Father God.

Father, today help me to keep my eyes focused on You, to measure myself by Yeshua my Messiah and none other. Help me to guard my heart and my thoughts, to take every thought captive to the obedience of the Messiah, and to walk in Your Spirit, not the spirit of criticism and judgmentalism. Help me to be mindful to be a blessing, to build up and encourage the body of believers, being mindful of those who are weaker in the faith, and to not be arrogant towards anyone. Help me to show Your compassion to those who are still held captive by the darkness of sin, remembering that it's only by Your mercy that I am no longer in the same captivity. Thank You for Your steadfast love and mercies, in the name of Yeshua my Messiah, Amen!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Believe In Me

One of the Christian ministries that I have so greatly appreciated over the years is that of David Wilkerson and World Challenge. I have saved nearly every ministry teaching I've received from him over the years and have quite a collection now as it goes back over 20 years. The latest message from Mr Wilkerson is titled Forgive Me, Lord, For Making You Weep. I'd like to share a couple excerpts from that message and give some thoughts of my own with it.

The scene takes place in Luke 19 as Yeshua enters Jerusalem, in what we've called the "triumphal entry." Then you have the part where He stops, looks out over Jerusalem and weeps (Luke 19:41).

The concept of a weeping God is despicable to the minds of the wicked: "God crying? Why would anyone want a diety that shows weakness?"

Yet weeping is exactly what Jesus did here. The reason for his tears? It was the people's blatant unbelief.

Yet the same issue of unbelief remains today: How does Jesus feel about all the hardness and venom directed toward him in these times? There is a worldwide attitude of rebellion and blasphemy that says, We will not be put under any of God's rule."

Without question, our Lord is a God who feels. And I have to wonder: how can Jesus not be wounded by the great unbelief taking place throughout the world today?

Think of the unbelief of the disciples in the boat with Jesus, as it began to flood from the roiling waves. How wounded Jesus must have been as they aimed these accusing, unbelieving words at him: "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (Mark 4:38)

It is the unbelief of multitudes of apathetic churchgoing believers that wounds our Lord. How it must pain him to see his people praising him, testifying of his goodness and power, preaching moving sermons on faith--yet God knows it's only lip service. In times of crisis, many of these same people fall away from their faith, thinking God doesn't care.

Yet even these aren't the people who wound Jesus the most deeply. His deepest hurts are inflicted by his closest, most intimate friends.

Yet at Bethany, Jesus had an even more intimate circle. This one was made up of Martha, Mary, and their brother, Lazarus.

This encounter wasn't so much about Lazarus' own death as it was about Christ's own death. Think about it: when the time came for Jesus to face the cross, how would his followers ever believe he could be raised up? There was only one way they would believe it. And that was for Jesus--there, in Bethany, with his beloved friends--to enter the most hopeless situation and work his purposes in the face of the humanly impossible.

I'm convinced Jesus would not have entrusted this experience to anyone outside his inner circle. Such things were reserved for those who were intimate with him, who didn't think as the world thinks. You see, it is only in such friends--people who know Christ's heart and trust him fully--that he can produce a faith which can't be shaken.

The fact is, Jesus knew all the future hardships that would take place in these dear ones' lives. He knew every illness and tragedy they would face. He also knew the destruction that was to come upon Jerusalem. And he wanted to see in them now a faith that would believe in his care no matter what calamity they faced. He knew this was the only thing that could get them through what was to come.

When Jesus finally arrived, Martha's first words to him were, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." These words may sound full of faith on Martha's part. But when Jesus responded, "Thy brother shall rise again," Martha's answer was revealing: "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." In other words: "It's all over for now, Jesus. You're too late."

Jesus replied: "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" (John 11:21-22, 23-24, 25-26).

Christ was telling her, in other words, "No, Martha, I am the resurrection and the life. Believe in me, and you'll never die." Again, he wasn't just talking about Lazarus, but about his own death and resurrection. To him, Lazarus' raising was already a settled matter: "Martha, don't you believe I can go even into the grave and do the impossible for you and Mary, all of your days?"

At that point, Martha "went her way" (John 11:28). And that's what most of us do in such situations. We don't settle the issue with Jesus, seeking him in faith, "Oh, Lord, help my unbelief." Instead, we simply walk away, back to our doubts and fears. And that wounds the Lord. Evidently, Martha didn't understand that Jesus wanted more from her than faith for just this one crisis. Christ wanted her to stop all her unbelieving tendencies, and to begin a lifelong trust in him that would see her through every trial.

Now I must ask you: are thngs any different today? Who in this world believes Jesus is God of the impossible? When the Son of man looks on the earth, does he find faith?

So dear saint: are you in the middle of an overwhelming trial right now? Have you prayed, wept and pleaded for help, yet things look hopeless? Maybe your situation has gone beyond all human possibility, and you're thinking, "It's too late."

I tell you, you have been entrusted with your crisis. God could have moved in at any time, but this is his opportunity to produce in you an unwavering faith that you need. He's looking for trust in him not just for what you're facing now, but for every impossible problem from now until you go home to be with him. Make no mistake: he rejoices over you. Yet he also loves you enough to build a faith in you that will see you through it all.

I have a button pinned to my purse, like one of those lapel campaign buttons you're probably seeing sprout up this time of the year. I got it a long time ago at a Harvest concert. It's blue, with the Christian fish emblem on it and the words "I Believe." Friday morning at work a co-worker stopped to remark on how she liked that pin, that it was simple and to the point, which is exactly why I have it on my purse as a small, quiet witness of my faith in the Messiah. The message from David Wilkerson showed up on my desk that same day, challenging me to examine myself, whether I truly DO believe Him or not.

Then yesterday at Sabbath fellowship, the Holy Spirit hit me with one of those "lightbulb" moments. He reminded me of that scripture:

Romans 4:3 (Amplified) For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God). [Gen. 15:6.]

Oh yes, Abraham believed in God! When God told Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, Abraham never hesitated. He called for Isaac, a couple of servants, collected some wood and his knife, and off they went to the mountain where the sacrifice was to take place. Then when Isaac and Abraham climbed the mountain, leaving the servants behind, and Isaac asked him where the lamb was for the sacrifice, Abraham replied, "God Himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering." There was no hesitation, no doubting, no fear, just simple trust in God's loving provision, accompanied by trusting obedience as he put one foot in front of the other. I think he could have taught Martha a thing or two. I know he can teach me a thing or two about believing on the LORD, walking in trusting obedience.

I've heard the story countless times, but yesterday it was as if it settled deep into my heart in a new and vibrant way. I want to believe like Abraham did. I want a faith that will not hesitate or waver or doubt, regardless of the odds stacked against me. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (Job 13:15). It's a fresh challenge to me to really believe, to really take the LORD at His Word, to live in all ways as the believer that I say I am.

LORD, I believe; help Thou my unbelief!

Justified--By Faith Or Works?

Today's devotional from the Days of Praise devotional published by the Institute for Creation Research was really good, so I am copying it here. May it bless you as it has me.

Justified--By Faith Or Works?

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

Some have argued that James contradicts Paul at this point, since James emphasized that both Abraham and Rahab, among others, were justified by works (James 2:21, 25). In fact, this seeming conflict between Paul and James has often been cited as one of the "contradictions" of the Bible.

There is no contradiction, however. Neither Abraham nor Rahab could have been justified by the "works of the law," and James never said they were. Abraham lived before God even gave the law to Moses, and Rahab lived in a pagan culture which knew nothing about it. Furthermore, James himself knew that no one could really be saved by the law, for he said that "whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).

Actually, both Abraham and Rahab were "justified"--which means "seen as righteous"--by faith in God and His provision of salvation (note James 2:23; Hebrews 11:31). The righteousness of Christ, who did keep perfectly the law of God, is imputed to believers by faith (Romans 4:3-5). God sees him or her as "in Christ," and so they are justified (recognized as righteous) solely through faith.

However, other men cannot see our faith, and therefore we must be justified in the sight of men by our works. True saving faith inevitably will manifest itself in works of righteousness. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ... For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8, 10).
--Henry M Morris

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Wanna Be FAT

The following devotional is excerpted from an article from the Institute of Creation Research on stewardship. The article is titled Carrying Your Weight. Here it is:

Carrying Your Weight

"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee" (Genesis 12:1).

When God called Abram to leave his home and go to Canaan, He knew every detail of Abram's journey. Abram, of course, did not. He didn't even know where Canaan was (Hebrews 11:8), let alone understand how God would make of him "a great nation." And yet, he packed up everything and began the journey. Hebrews tells us that Abram followed the Lord "by faith," not by sight. Through his faith, a new nation was born. Through his faith, the great King was born--the eternal King that would redeem the world.

Abram did not complete his journey without problems. Occasionally, he tried to operate God's plan by his own "sight." Rather than be steward of God's promised plan, he attempted to implement plans of his own. However, God's gracious patience with His "Friend" (James 2:23) resulted in Abram's enduring faith, and the fulfillment of God's promises.

Flexible, Adaptable, and Teachable (FAT)

God's accounting of Abram's life demonstrates to us that Abram was unusually FAT. In humility, Abram adjusted his own life--his own way of thinking--in order to fulfill God's directives. But from Abram's perspective, that obedience required him to flex with radical course changes on his journey, learn new ways of living, and adapt to very new surroundings.

As the pace of the world quickens every day, we cometimes feel like we are being left behind. But God is sovereign and in control. He never changes (Hebrews 13:8). And what He leads us into will result in blessings to us and to all those we obediently influence for His Kingdom.

Slaves: To Sin Or To Righteousness

Romans 6:16-22 (Amplified) Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? 17 But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. 18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action). 19 I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death. 22 But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.

We are all slaves, but slaves to what? Are we slaves to sin, which leads to death, or slaves to righteousness, which leads to eternal life?

God has created all of us with a will to choose. We can choose to disobey Him and walk in our own ways, doing what seems right in our own eyes, thinking all the time that we are "free," yet in reality being slaves of sin and headed for death.

Proverbs 14:12 (Amplified) There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. (Also Proverbs 16:25)

We can also choose to walk in obedience to Him, living by His rules, submitting our hearts and wills to Him, trusting Him to lead us in paths of righteousness that lead to life, and giving Him the place of Master in our hearts & lives. Everything we do speaks of who is on the throne of our heart and to whom we are yielding: whether self and sin or Yeshua and righteousness. We cannot serve both at the same time; it's either one or the other.

Today may my heart ackowledge Yeshua the Messiah as my Master, my LORD, my King and my God and may I walk in all of His ways with all of my heart! Amen.

Torah and the Hammer

This past spring a brother in the LORD whose teachings and Torah commentaries I valued highly was killed in a car accident. This teaching was the last ministry letter that I received from him. From the desk of Rick Taylor, who lived in Wellsville, NY:

Shalom Mishpochah (Family);

The following is a study that I prepared in response to a need. For many in the church system, Torah is no more than a school master, and its purpose ends in salvation. This is a study to answer that argument. I hope it can be used well.

Blessings, Rick

Torah and the Hammer

Over the past several weeks I have asked a simple question, and these are a sampling of the question and answers I have received.

The Question:

What is a hammer?


1. Something to pound nails.
2. You hit stuff with it.
3. A tool you use to drive nails.
4. A tool you pound nails with to build houses.

Simple question and simple answers. These answers would fit the pictures of a hammer below:

a ballpeen hammer (pictures not available) a sledge hammer

These two hammers are used exclusively for hitting something (whether it is pound nails, shaping metal, or breaking concrete).

Many Christians define Torah in a similar manner. When you ask them what Torah is and what is its purpose, they respond:

The Torah is God’s Law, and it is a school master to bring us to Christ. It says this in Galatians 3:23 – 4:7

3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Part of the reason for this simple answer is because we have learned through the past 1700 plus years to disregard Torah as something Jewish, and relegate it to having only one purpose.

Back to the hammers for a moment. After I asked the simple question of what is a hammer, and I had my simple responses, I asked the same question again, but adding a description which is pictured below:

a claw hammer

I was not surprised to find out that everyone was familiar with a “claw hammer” and when asked about the claw, told me that it was for pulling nails, fixing mistakes, separating two pieces of wood, and one enterprising young man told me it was a bottle opener. Now it seems that a hammer has some different uses, besides hitting and being a paper weight.

The same is true of the Torah, but before we examine some of the different purposes of Torah, we will go back to the Schoolmaster model, and examine it.

It is easy to say that Torah is a schoolmaster, but now that we are saved we don’t need a schoolmaster, and then dismiss Torah. This belies the whole illustration that Paul made.

In Galatians 3:23 we read, “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” What does this mean? The simple, and incorrect answer says, “Before Jesus Christ came there was the Law, but when Jesus Christ came, He brought faith, and so there is no need for Law.” This simplistic answer implies two errors: 1) There were two forms of salvation, obeying the Law and faith in Jesus Christ, the latter counseled out the former. 2) Faith did not come until Jesus Christ.

Biblical Responses:

Faith is as old as man’s relationship with God, since the days of Adam. Consider Hebrews 11:4 – 26 (We could easily finish the chapter).

11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. 8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. 23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”

These people all had faith unto salvation. In fact, of Moses we see clearly that he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater than the riches of Egypt. Moses had faith in Christ? What we don’t seem to understand is that the teaching of Messiah (which is what Christ means) has been going on since Genesis 3:15.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

In Romans 4:1 – 5 we read:

“4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

You would be surprised that many people think that Abraham’s faith and his imputation of righteousness came when he offered Isaac up on the altar. Maybe you are one of them? However this is a misconception. In Genesis 15:1 – 6 we read:

15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

Abraham (while still called Abram) believed that God could and would give him a child, even though he was too old to father one, and that this child would be the beginning of a race which would number as the stars of heaven. This simple, but deep belief in God is the faith that God used to credit righteousness unto Abraham. The demonstration of that faith came later, and was Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice, believing that God could and would raise him from the dead.

Salvation has always been by faith, and nothing else. It was never by keeping the Law. The only difference is that before Jesus showed up on the world’s stage, the believers looked forward to Him, as did Moses. After Jesus showed up, lived, died, was buried, rose again, and ascended into heaven, the believers look back to Him and what He did on the cross.

Now we will examine the role of a school master. The school master was generally a slave brought in by the father to train his son. In the more wealthy homes, this school master would have been Greek. He would teach the sons everything about etiquette, deportment, and how to conduct the father’s business. The son would often be treated as a slave, would be beaten if he refused to learn, and saw the hardships of the slaves. When the son had learned all of the lessons, and had reached an appropriate age, then the father would have an adoption (also called son-setting) ceremony during which he would publicly identify his son, take off his robe and place it on his son – along with a ring, declare his son to be his heir, and entrust the keeping of his business unto his son. The school master would then become an aid and advisor. This was generally a Roman practice, but the Hebrews also did similar things (and in essence we see this happening at the baptism of Messiah – the Holy Spirit in the form of the dove acting as the robe, and the Father speaking from heaven, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well leased.”) Paul is writing to the Galatians, a people under subjection to Roman rule and who had embraced Roman customs.

Now that we understand the model, we see that Torah is being used as a School master in several ways: 1) It is to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. This is salvation (because God knows who shall be their heirs, He is not ignorant, nor surprised). When we are under law, then we are subject to the penalties of the law which is death, both physical, eternal, and the second death – the lake of fire. However, when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, then we are no longer under law – and will not face the penalty of eternal death and the lake of fire.

When faith comes, then we are no longer under the school master or under Law, but this does not negate the Law. As children of God the Torah continues to instruct us how to live. We have not even learned the lessons of Torah in this day and age, because we have foolishly regulated them as something only Jewish, and not for us. Therefore we have unruly children (even as adults) in our churches and families. The home of believers are too often battle zones because we have neglected the Torah, and replaced it with an anemic grace not of God, but of convenience. God has a savage grace which deals with sin, and does not overlook or condone it. In Hebrews 12:5 – 14.

12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

I am afraid that in recent years we have largely failed to bring many sons into the family, but have instead filled the churches with bastards, who claim the name, but live like the devil.

By faith in Jesus Christ, we are made the children of God, and there is no difference between Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for we are all one in Christ Jesus. The word “Greek” which is used in Galatians 3:28 is not synonymous with gentile. Gentile in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word ethnos, and like its Hebraic counterpart goyim, means “people, nations, gentiles and heathens” and can accurately be translated as “the heathen people of the gentile nations.” To call oneself a gentile Christian is an oxymoron, because you are saying you are a heathen Christian. The word “Greek” on the other hand, is translated from the Greek word hellen, and is used in reference to those Jews who had forsaken the practices of Jews (largely beginning with Alexander the Great’s conquering the known world, and Antiochus Epiphanes later destruction of the Jews and desecration of the Temple). In this group would also fall any of the descendents of the northern tribes who had been carried away by the Assyrians in 722 B.C., and assimilated into the cultures and peoples of the world, which were now largely under Grecian influence, even though Roman was the ruler. Thus we have the birth of the Greco-Roman mindset, which still governs most Christianity.

No one can use the excuse, I am a Greek, a slave or a woman, as an excuse for not being obedient, for in Messiah we are all one, we are all the same. (This is also not speaking of male and female roles in the home or the assembly, but is relegated to simply showing our relationship in Messiah, and our joint responsibility.

In Galatians 4:3 we see an interesting statement, and Paul changes the use of his pronouns here, to include himself: “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.” This is not speaking of Torah. Torah is not an element of this world, and verses 8 – 11, are also not speaking of Torah.

“4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

The Torah of God is not a weak and beggarly element. We need to remember that the Galatians are not, and have not been practicing Jews. They were assimilated into the Roman Empire, and lived as Romans, and according to the Roman beliefs and practices, observing the Roman gods, holidays, and times. It was to these things that the Galatians returned to: Sungod day worship, the Western calendar and observances. This is not speaking of the glorious times and observances set forth by Yahweh Elohim, creator of the universe, and who did this creation through Yeshua haMashiach / Jesus Christ, before He ever took the form of a man and walked this earth. We dare not mock His Torah by calling it a weak and beggarly element, yet we have done so, and forsaken it just as did the Galatians.

We were so afraid of the Judaizers, those who came in and claimed that circumcision was necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1, Galatians 5:1-12), that we threw away God’s Torah, and made it of no consequence. Now that we are in the last days, and that Yeshua / Jesus is calling us unto obedience because the time is short, we rebel again, and try to claim that willful obedience to the law of God as a demonstration of faith and love is an attempt to earn salvation. It is not; instead it is refusing to remain a child and learning to live like a man of God, ready to be about the Father’s business. We can live according to Torah, because we are the sons of God, and because we have the enabling of the Holy Spirit, which cries Abba (Daddy) Father. We seek to honor Him in the way He desires, and in the way which we have ignored Him for 1700 years.

Now we need to examine some other aspects of Torah. First we will go to I John 3:4, where we read: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” The phrase, “transgression of the law” is translated from the Greek word anomia, which means “to violate the Law, whether through ignorance or willful disobedience.” What Law is this speaking of? It is speaking of God’s Law, Torah. Therefore we see that the New Testament teaches that violate Torah, whether we violate it through ignorance or willful disobedience, is sin. This is the biblical definition of sin. Now let’s turn to Romans 6:1, 2.

6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

What is the definition of sin according to the New Testament? Sin is the violation of Torah, whether through ignorance or willful disobedience. Now let’s use that definition in these verses.

“6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we that are dead to the violation of God’s Torah, whether through ignorance or willful disobedience, live any longer therein?”

When we read these verse using God’s definition of sin, then it puts a little different spin on it doesn’t it? So why do we keep excusing our sin, our violation of Torah? To be sure that we are saved by grace, and keeping Torah doesn’t save us, and we know that where sin abounds, grace much more abounds, but this doesn’t justify our living in sin / violation of Torah. To help us understand this more, we are going to read Romans 6:1 – 23 using God’s definition of sin.

“6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience. 7 For he that is dead is freed from the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of the violation of God’s Torah, whether in ignorance or willful disobedience, is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Now, unless God is a liar, He expects us to live according to Torah as the mark of our being redeemed. It does not save us, and we cannot be saved by keeping Torah, but it is the mark of our salvation and obedience. When those who are rebellious to God claim that God said that no man can keep the Law, so why should they be in bondage to the Torah. First we see that they have never understood Romans chapter 6. Second, this claim is made from an improper understanding of James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James is speaking of keeping the law as a means of obtaining salvation, and it is true that if we hope to obtain salvation by keeping Torah, yet offend in one point, we are guilty, just as if we had violated every commandment in the Torah. We cannot keep the Torah for salvation, and we are not supposed to endeavor to do so. On the other hand we are told all through Scripture that we are to keep the Torah out of obedience as the people of God. It is God’s constitution for His kingdom.

Now consider, suppose I was born in Iran, this is a good choice, because as sinners we were enemies of God, and Iran is the enemy of the US. Now, as an adult I wish to move to the US and become a citizen. I come here and say that I am tired of living in bondage to the despotic rulers of Iran, and want to live in the freedom of the US. First, if the customs officials are on their toes, they will be suspicious of me. However, they take me at my word, enroll me in classes to learn about the US, its customs, its constitution, and its government, and train me for a job, and even find the job for me. On that final day I stand with my class, give my oath of allegiance to the United States of America and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I am a citizen, I am free. Now does this mean I can forget all about the U.S. Constitution, the state constitutions, the city, town and village ordinances, the traffic laws, etc. Not at all, it means that I have sworn to uphold them, and for me to come in, pretend to sware, and in reality plot against the US, would make me a traitor. Yet this is what we have done with God when we dismiss His Torah, and we have become (howbeit generally in ignorance) traitors to the kingdom of God.

For many, the words I have just written are taken as a personal affront, and they are more concerned with their own self image than they are with becoming truly obedient unto God. Others however, even though this is a new concept to them, will pause and begin to seek God, and learn for themselves whether this is so. I hope that you, the reader, are part of this second group. We have just touched the surface of the many facets of Torah and its relevance, but because I am only trying to provoke you into thinking outside of the box, and not answer every question in this booklet (as if I could), I have left much unsaid.

There will be many who will try to twist Paul’s words, and claim that he taught against Torah. Peter warned us of this in II Peter3:13 – 18.

“3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

Paul, in all of his epistles upholds Torah, not as a means of salvation, but rather of obedience. As we read in Romans 3:28 – 31.

“3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

Before we close, I want to share one more concept with you that verse 31, above, alludes to. As believers we have long misunderstood the concept of faith, and in some circles exchanged true faith for occultism. One of the greatest passages on faith is Hebrews 11, and we see faith described in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” For too long we have made this an excuse to practice witchcraft. We have claimed that by our spoken words we have the power of God to create, and some false teachers such as Kenneth Copeland, have even claimed we are gods. They claim the evidence of our faith is speaking something that was not into existence. This is the same thing we practiced in witchcraft, and it is not faith but rather an attempt at the manipulation of God or natural forces.

The true evidence of things not seen is our obedience. We see this in James 2:14 – 26.

2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

We see from these verses that true faith requires an outward expression. If there is no outward expression, then we can judge that the faith is not true. True faith will always be demonstrated. We see this in the cases of Abraham and Rahab.

By faith Abraham believed God concerning the birth and destiny of Isaac. The evidence of this faith, is when Abraham moved to sacrifice Isaac, believing that God would raise him from the dead. God honored this demonstration of faith by providing ram caught in the bush by its horns.

Rahab the prostitute had heard of Israel and their God, so when the spies came into Jericho, she hid them at risk to her own live. Why? Because she believed, had faith in the God of Israel. Therefore when the Israelites attacked Jericho, Rahab brought her family into her house, dropped a red cord out of her window, and waited while the city fell around her. She was saved, brought into the congregation of Israel, and became an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

Both Abraham and Rahab had faith, and their faith was made evident by their actions. The same is true for each of us. If we truly have faith, then it will be made manifest by our actions, and know that we have become aware of God’s Torah, we also will demonstrate our faith by learning to keep Torah. As Jesus, God in the flesh, said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). If Jesus is truly God, and if God changes not (Malachi 3:6), and Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), then His commandments are Torah. If we love Him, knowing what we know now, we will keep Torah.

Torah is more than just a School master. Torah is more than just a hammer.

Selah (Think about it)


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Be Do-ers Of The Word

James 1:22-25 (Amplified) But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like. But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).

Today's Bible reading, following the weekly Parasha readings, is Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25, with additional readings in Isaiah 49:14-51:3 and Hebrews 12:1-29. I think Deuteronomy is my favorite Torah book. Last week's Parasha reading from Deut 3:23-7:11 was one of the best sections of all, but the reading for this week hits right up there, too!

The theme that seems to reiterate throughout this passage of Scripture is "love Me, keep My commandments." And that reminds me of the very words of Yeshua Who said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)" It also reminds me of the verses from James at the top of this post. All of these verses remind me that the pathway of obedience is the pathway of blessing.

So how do I be a "do-er of the Word?" Okay, so I keep the Biblical Sabbath and set it aside as a day to honor, to rest from my labors, and to focus on my Father God & His Word. That's easy enough. But what about walking in honesty and integrity in all of my business dealings? That might prove a little harder, especially if it's going to cost me money. For instance, a person buys a used car from a private owner. Here in Wisconsin the purchaser is then obligated to declare the purchase price to the state and pay sales tax on that purchase. What often happens in these private sales, however, is that the purchaser pays one amount but reports a much smaller amount to the state in order to pay less tax. So let's say that I bought a car from you for $850, which would mean paying $46.42 to the state in sales tax, but instead of declaring the purchase price as $850 I lower it to $250, which means I pay the state only $13.20. I justify my actions by saying that I already pay plenty of taxes to the state, but nevertheless, I have not been honest and have, in fact, "stolen" money from the state that I was obligated to pay. Is this what Yeshua would have done? I think not. To be a do-er of the Word, I must be honest even in situations like this.

Romans 12:17 (Amplified) Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone. [Prov. 20:22.]

How about when it comes to forgiving those who have hurt me? A friend of mine shared a daily devotional with me from Joni Earickson Tada, in which Joni addresses this matter of forgiveness. Here it is:

"When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened." — Jonah 3:10

God has this thing about showing compassion on whomever He wants. Sometimes we don’t like that. The nerve of God to save that child abuser, to reach out to that rapist on death row, to show compassion to that drug pusher!

If you’ve ever felt the stab of resentment when God wipes the slate clean for somebody whom you would rather he wiped off the face of the earth, then guess what? Jonah felt the same way. God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah to preach the gospel; so he packed his suitcase — and took the train in the opposite direction. He despised those drug-pushing, idol- worshiping, fornicating Ninevites.

After ships, storms, seas, and whales, God gave Jonah another chance to rid himself of the resentment. So Jonah climbed up on his soapbox in the middle of the town square and preached that the Ninevites were about to get their just desserts. “Forty more days and Ninevah will be destroyed.” Never had Jonah had such joy in preaching fire and brimstone.

But what happens? The Ninevites repent — and God forgives them. That really makes Jonah mad. He says to the Lord, “Isn’t that just like you?” God responds, “Have you any right to be angry, Jonah?” Those words stung.

And they sting today when we hear of serial killers who come to Christ or death-bed conversions of tyrants. But God will have compassion on whomever He wishes. We’re all too like the laborers in Matthew 20:12 who complained, “‘These men who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’” If God wants to give a full day’s wages to the worker hired at the eleventh hour, then what of it?

God wants to make a difference in someone’s life, including yours. Don’t let your resentment stand in your way.
* * * *
Lord, please keep me from anger and resentment when I see You blessing someone else. Help me to realize I’m hindering Your work in my life.

Joni and Friends

If I lost a loved one, a child or grandchild, to a brutal murder, could I be a do-er of the Word and forgive that murderer? My forgiveness would not depend on the murderer deserving to be forgiven or on the murderer's asking to be forgiven; it would only depend on God's commandment to "forgive, as I have forgiven you" and that I will be forgiven as I forgive others. Then later, if I heard that the murderer repented of his sins and became a born again child of God, would I rejoice or would I be angry that he was "getting off so easy?"

I think being a do-er of the Word ties in with Yeshua's command that if we want to be His disciples, we must take up our cross and follow Him. And how can I be a do-er of His Word if I don't take the time to read and study it so that I know how to be a do-er of it?

Even though I have been on this journey of faith for over 30 years, I find that there are still plenty of ways in which I am not a do-er of the Word, areas of my life that I need to submit to the LORD and learn to walk in HIS ways, not my own. He continues teaching me by His Spirit as I read and study and seek to apply His Word to my daily life. And so I cherish His Words to me from Deuteronomy today:

Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (Amplified) And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but [reverently] to fear the Lord your God, [that is] to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being, To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?

Deuteronomy 11:1 (Amplified) THEREFORE YOU shall love the Lord your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His precepts, and His commandments always.

And so shall I strive to be a do-er of the Word.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Reconnecting With A Favorite Website

Over the weekend I took the time to look up the Whole Bible Christian website again. I found this website over a year ago and really appreciated Bruce Bertram's articles. This time I found lots of new great stuff and decided to join the forum there, too. So head's up: come join the forum if you are seeking to follow Yeshua by obeying ALL of the Bible. Even if you aren't interested in the forum, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the website and read the many great articles you'll find posted there, including the Christian myths. This is NOT a Christian Church-bashing website, but a place that acknowledges that the believer cannot live on the New Testament alone, but needs the whole Word of God, from Genesis 1:1 through Revelations 22:21. The articles you'll find here explain how the follower of Yeshua can walk in obedience to all of His Word even though you aren't Jewish and don't plan on becoming a Jew. Check it out!