Friday, October 21, 2016

Does man have free will?

Does man have free will? Or could it be as Ravi Zacharias once said: “The question is wrong.” I’m not a trained theologian. God’s soveignty, His predestination, have since Calvin’s time (and perhaps before? I really don’t have degree!) have been framed in a versus relationship against Arminius’s “position” that human responsibility is key. Can we say that God does have a will? Yes. Can we say that man is made in God’s image and likeness? Yes. Therefore man has a will. A will is “part” of God Three in One, maybe they have three wills in one will! The problem is not having a will. They and we have one. The problem for man is that in his/her willfulness they find them selves in opposition to God’s will. All men and women have wills. The question is, is it not: “The will I (we, you, They) have, is it free?” Adonai, God, gave the person this order: "You may freely eat from every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die." (Genesis 2:16-17 CJB) ‘You may FREELY eat…” Choose any fruit, choose the fruit of every tree except that one tree. If you eat the fruit of that one tree (of the knowledge of good and evil) you will die. We often call this a commandment. We also call it a covenant. Does it also read as a prophecy? God did not say “IF” you eat of it...”, He said “IN THE DAY THAT you eat of it...”
God who knows all things and the end from the beginning KNEW they would eat. Why did God not run to stop them from doing so? Ephesians 3:10 is on the way! God gives what was surely an amazing variety of foods from which Adam could choose. God also says: “You are not to choose that fruit. If you do you will die.” It is so clear that man was not created to know evil. He was created to know God. I’m not sure the forbidden fruit was essentially any different from all the other fruits except for the fact that God singled it out as he did. Was it the fruit that killed Adam? Or was it Adam’s choice to eat it that caused him to die. It was more the choice than the fruit, for he he not chosen to eat he would not have died.
This is connected to the law of sowing and reaping. It is lesson #1. We humans all have wills. Our will is the metaphysical organ of choice, yes? No? When I look out on the world I see that apart from God men are slaves. We have to choose to eat from some tree every day, and do often three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are slaves to our physical appetites in that we must choose to satisfy them or we will starve to death. If we fast from food and never eat again, we will die. If we will to fast long, we will to die. If we choose to fast, we choose to die. A preacher once said: “it is so simple it takes a theologian to confuse it.” We have wills. We make choices every day. But do we have FREE will? For that we must know what freedom is! If I am not free, what am I? I am a captive, or a prisoner or a slave. So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32 AMP) So Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted him, "If you obey what I say, then you are really my talmidim [disciples, students], you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32 CJB) Some things we remember for many years. I remember from close to 40 years ago as a babe in Christ hearing that human will power will fail you. I didn’t really know all what that meant. Now I am beginning to see the thing more and more. We are born with what has been called the Adamic nature, the old man, and the flesh. Simply put we are born in flesh and blood under the sentence of death! We are dying and our will to live cannot change that from happening.The following passage has MUCH to say to us.
For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Spirit, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live. All who are led by God's Spirit are God's sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, "Abba!" (that is, "Dear Father!"). The Spirit himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God; and if we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Messiah — provided we are suffering with him in order also to be glorified with him. I don't think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed; for the creation was made subject to frustration — not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God's children will have. We know that until now, the whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth; and not only it, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons — that is, to have our whole bodies redeemed and set free. It was in this hope that we were saved. But if we see what we hope for, it isn't hope — after all, who hopes for what he already sees? (Romans 8:13-24 CJB)
There is something in the Arminian position that smells a bit rotted. It is the will of man. What? Bear with me. We are born in the Adamic nature. Our nature is fallen, our world is fallen. And Jesus was sent to save us from hell. In this year 2016 we are watching another presidential election. A word we hear over and over regarding our government is this: CORRUPTION. In the church we have heard and it is written in the Bible; “ALL have sinned…” May I give a rendering? “All have acted corruptly…”
We are made in God’s image and likeness and yet that image and likeness have been subjected to corruption. Therefore can we conclude that our wills are corrupted? I think we can. If they were not, every choice we make would be 100% perfect, flawless. We would see the will of heaven done in earth with out any human failure. I am often just dismayed by my personal failures, they are MANY, but I don’t want to describe them to you. Let me just say that a tangled web is weaved by deceit, and the lie of satan is directed straight at my will, to cause it to continue to choose corruption, to act corruptly. And I have done that.
We are warned not to love the lie. Those who do love it perish. I don’t know what exactly to say of Adam. Did he love the lie? Or of Eve, did she love the lie? The great accusation against Hillary Clinton is that she is a liar. May God forgive us all. At some point we have chosen the lie, yes? No?
The serpent said to the woman, "It is not true that you will surely die;” (Genesis 3:4 CJB)
I think that is the very heart of the lie which is that we can do what God says we are not to do without the consequence God attaches to those acts! When Eve saw the goodness of the fruit she was not seeing the consequence God attached to eating it. Adam, what shall we say? It is said he knew the consequence and ate anyway. We wonder did Adam eat simply because he feared being separated from Eve? I wonder what change in Eve he might have seen after she ate?
It is very sobering to me to read these words: To Adam he said, "Because you listened to what your wife said and ate from the tree about which I gave you the order, 'You are not to eat from it,' the ground cursed on your account; you will work hard to eat from it as long as you live. (Genesis 3:17 CJB)
What did Eve say? Having eaten, her eyes were opened and she knew evil, yes? no?
Adonai, God, said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever — " therefore Adonai, God, sent him out of the garden of `Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of `Eden the k'ruvim [Cherubims] and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24 CJB)
Choice. We have choice. We make choices. Are we “free” to make them, right or wrong. Or are we PERMITTED to make them? Human history unfolds under the influence of our choices. Your history and mine unfold under the influence of our choices. Arminius emphasized human responsibility; Calvin the Sovereignty of God. Both operate in the world and in the church. There is still the opportunity to do evil on earth. For us humans to be correct in our responsibility to God places limitations on our choices. Adam failed to recognize the goodness of God’s limiting his choice. Only one tree was forbidden! But what a much longer list of things are now forbidden, what a long list of limitations on human choice have flowed out of the eating of one piece of fruit! Bob Mumford says there are 25 works of the flesh found in the New Testament; he calls them a gang of ugly facts. That is a longer list than the Ten Commandments. Because of one ugly act in Eden 25 ugly weeds sprang up in the flesh of every man. They are the inheritance of one man’s sin. Our entire personality including our will is corrupted. Our perception of freedom is corrupted. Paul said that we see as through a dark glass even after we are become the Messiah’s friends. For that reason I think the question of our “free” will versus God’s sovereignty (His able authority to plan beforehand all His will) is an argument springing out of lack of freedom, a lack caused by corruption.
Bob Mumford gives a wonderfully simple definition of freedom: It is the ability to stop and to start. He points out many can start talking, fewer can stop. Or eating or drugging. God’s desire is the we stop sinning! “Go and sin no more...” If we go and sin no more the result must be the will of God! Sin destroys freedom. It is so very simple, the will of God in heaven Abba desires to be done on earth consists of (at least this) one great thing, that we stop sinning! Help us Lord for this is our path to safety. When men sin they put themselves in peril. READ Psalm 107 !!!
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Yesterday our Pastor spoke on the will of God for us. He took us to 1Thessalonians Ch. 5 and spoke on being thankful in everything and rejoicing always. Those were two “components” of God’s will for us.
1Thessalonians 5:12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Lord Jesus forgive us if in our confusion, or in ignorance, or even in our willfulness all our sins. We are weak and in some degree, corruption interferes with our attempt to understand, Your will, and do Your will.. The plan was and is Yours, and the outcome is Yours. All souls are Yours. Help us be content with what we have and what we know. If we covet, let us covet the intimacy of Your Spirit and Your LOVE for us, and covet the overcoming power to live in You. Jesus, You are the WORD. Abba God, You are LOVE! THANK YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE, A GOOD GOOD FATHER AND A POWERFUL SAVIOR. Amen, AMEN!
So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32 AMP)
So Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted him, "If you obey what I say, then you are really my talmidim [disciples, students], you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32 CJB)

Friday, September 23, 2016



Proverbs 6:16-19 KJVR  These six things doth the LORD hate [
H8130]: yea, seven are an abomination [H8441] unto him:  (17)  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  (18)  A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  (19)  A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Proverbs 6:16-19 CJB  There are six things Adonai [the Lord] hates, seven which he detests:  (17)  a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,  (18)  a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil,  (19)  a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers.

A primitive root; to hate (personally): - enemy, foe, (be) hate (-ful, -r), odious, X utterly.

תּעבה    תּועבה
tô‛êbah  tô‛êbah
to-ay-baw', to-ay-baw'
Feminine active participle of H8581; properly something disgusting (morally), that is, (as noun) an abhorrence; especially idolatry or (concretely) an idol: - abominable (custom, thing), abomination.

Christians are accused of being haters, of Muslims, and other religious peoples, atheists, gays and I suppose even black people. We Christians say of the matter that we hate sin, but not the sinner. Now listen up: find me a Christian who does not hate his or her OWN sin and I will have to ask “Are they really Christian?” True Christians hate their own sins.

What is hate? Hate is the absence of love. As cold is the absence of heat and darkness is the absence of light, so hate is the absence of love. God IS love. That is true altogether. Yet we know:

Psalm 7:11 KJVR  God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalm 7:11-17 CJB  God is a righteous judge, a God whose anger is present every day.  (12)  If a person will not repent, he sharpens his sword. He has bent his bow, made it ready;  (13)  he has also prepared for him weapons of death, his arrows, which he has made into burning shafts.  (14)  Look how the wicked is pregnant with evil; he conceives trouble, gives birth to lies.  (15)  He makes a pit, digs it deep, and falls into the hole he made.  (16)  His mischief will return onto his own head, his violence will recoil onto his own skull.  (17)  I thank the Lord for his righteousness and sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.


John 3:16-17 KJVR  …God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  (17)  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:16-17 CJB  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed.  (17)  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through him, the world might be saved.

We know by John 3:16-17 that God does love those who sin. If not He would not ever have sent Jesus His Son to save anyone, for ALL have sinned, see Romans 3:10-18. But God is able to save us from the literal hell we deserve for our sins. The salvation we have through our God given faith by His grace given to us is a miracle so large we cannot comprehend well how large it is. Paul prays for us:

Ephesians 3:16-21 CJB  I pray that from the treasures of his glory he will empower you with inner strength by his Spirit,  (17)  so that the Messiah may live in your hearts through your trusting. Also I pray that you will be rooted and founded in love,  (18)  so that you, with all God's people, will be given strength to grasp the breadth, length, height and depth of the Messiah's [Christ’s] love,  (19)  yes, to know it, even though it is beyond all knowing, so that you will be filled with all the fullness of God.  (20)  Now to him who by his power working in us is able to do far beyond anything we can ask or imagine,  (21)  to him be glory in the Messianic Community [the church] and in the Messiah Yeshua [Christ Jesus] from generation to generation forever. Amen.

God has two commands which we all must heed: 1) That we change our minds and hearts and trust God in Christ to save us from hell (and for heaven), and 2) that we learn to love each other as He loves us. I believe that 99% of God’s will for us we will do when we learn and do love one another as Jesus loves us. We see well how He loves us in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and even in the Old Testament! If we say we have faith in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation we MUST and WILL show the evidence of this by obeying these two commands. We will not change effectively until we begin to be somewhat angry when we find ourselves sinning. If my sins do not trouble me I am comfortable doing them. That is a perilous place to live. Yet strangely it seems that love in our human lives must be discovered in the midst of things we do and others do that make God angry EVERY DAY !!! We will learn not hate people, even not to hate ourselves,, but we will also become angry because of the wickedness people do, even that which we may do. And for that we are instructed:

Ephesians 4:26-27 KJVR  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  (27)  Neither give place to the devil.
Ephesians 4:26-27 CJB  Be angry, but don't sin — don't let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger;  (27)  otherwise you leave room for the Adversary.

Jesus said:

“…the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Matthew 22:36-40 KJVR  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  (37)  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  (38)  This is the first and great commandment.  (39)  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  (40)  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

This second greatest commandment is found only once (am I wrong?) in the Old Testament at Leviticus 19:18. There is much for us to hear in the 3 verses preceding verse 18:

Leviticus 19:15-18 KJVR  Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.  (16)  Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbor: I am the LORD.  (17)  Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him.  (18)  Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:15-18 CJB  " 'Do not be unjust in judging — show neither partiality to the poor nor deference to the mighty, but with justice judge your neighbor.  (16)  " 'Do not go around spreading slander among your people, but also don't stand idly by when your neighbor's life is at stake; I am Adonai.  (17)  " 'Do not hate your brother in your heart, but rebuke your neighbor frankly, so that you won't carry sin because of him.  (18)  Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am Adonai [the Lord].

Ephesians 4:32  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted; and forgive each other, just as in the Messiah [Christ] God has also forgiven you.

Bob Mumford said the easiest way to get in trouble with God is not to forgive as He forgives us. If this seems too basic, consider that all of the racial tension and violence of our day could end if everyone of every color forgave every one of any other color. And it would be very wise for us all to forgive those of the same color we ourselves are. Forgiving others might well be called a part (significant) of “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,” see Romans 8:2. We need to be taught EVERYTHING. As the law of Moses was a school master to lead the Children of Israel to Christ, so the Holy Spirit and Christ’s anointing lead us as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  

John 14:16-17 KJVR  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;  (17)  Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. Joh 14:26 KJVR  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 16:7-11 KJVR  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  (8)  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  (9)  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  (10)  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  (11)  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

1John 2:27-29 KJVR  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.  (28)  And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.  (29)  If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Jeremiah 31:33-34 KJVR  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (34)  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

I hope this is not seen as bragging, but some years ago I decided I must make (receive) God, in particular the Holy Spirit as my first and last Teacher. I do read the words of men but believe the Holy Spirit knows better than any on earth today.

It is true that Jesus forgave the world 2,000 years ago dying and rising from the dead. It is true Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It is said God lives outside of time as we know time. He inhabits eternity.

Isaiah 57:15 KJVR  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

I’m not saying the following is accurate; weigh this one with God as your teacher: God’s for give - ness for our sins was something planned for us before time began. God had given us
for giveness  before He made the world. We were a fore hand given eternal life by God the lamb slain before the foundation of the world! That is, I think, before He made Adam, before He made the universe and before He made the angels He gave His only and uniquely begotten Son Jesus in Love, (God is Love) for us so that we would live forever with Him, Father, Son and Spirit.

I began this article quoting Proverbs:

Proverbs 6:16-19 KJVR  These six things doth the LORD hate [H8130]: yea, seven are an abomination [H8441] unto him:  (17)  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  (18)  A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  (19)  A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Proverbs 6:16-19 CJB  There are six things Adonai [the Lord] hates, seven which he detests:  (17)  a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,  (18)  a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil,  (19)  a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers.

  1. a haughty look
  2. a lying tongue
  3. hands that shed innocent blood
  4. a heart that plots wicked schemes
  5. feet swift in running to do evil
  6. a false witness who lies with every breath
  7. him who sows strife among brothers

Has God forgiven the sin of the world? Surely He has. Of those sins the seven above He hates. ALL sins are evil, yet God HATES these seven enough to have it written about in His Book in a very precise way. It must be that He wants to draw our attention to them. Paul writes to us that we should examine our lives.   
1Co 11:28-31 CJB  So let a person examine himself first, and then he may eat of the bread and drink from the cup;  (29)  for a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.  (30)  This is why many among you are weak and sick, and some have died!  (31)  If we would examine ourselves, we would not come under judgment.

Am I haughty (proud, arrogant)? Am I a liar? Do I shed innocent blood (think about that one and Matthew 5:21-22)? Do I plan to do evil deeds? Do I run quickly to do the evil I plan? Do I say lies under oath (swear to falsehoods, even in court)? Do I stir up trouble in my own home or church?

A very wise and sober believer once said to me: “I’m not saying you are under the Old Covenant but God is not kidding around.

Christians, do we need to take God and His Book more seriously? I think we do. I do. Those who call Christians haters, do they believe The ONE True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who really does hate sin? In the times we live in we need to be equipped when we are challenged and able to then share the Truth and Gospel with those who actually hate us. They hate us in their ignorance. Let us not be ignorant or found hating them with knowledge.

2Timothy 2:23-26 KJVR  But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do engender strifes.  (24)  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  (25)  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;  (26)  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

1Peter 3:8-18 CJB  Finally, all of you, be one in mind and feeling; love as brothers; and be compassionate and humble-minded,  (9)  not repaying evil with evil or insult with insult, but, on the contrary, with blessing. For it is to this that you have been called, so that you may receive a blessing.  (10)  For "Whoever wants to love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit,  (11)  turn from evil and do good, seek peace and chase after it.  (12)  For Adonai [the Lord] keeps his eyes on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of Adonai [the Lord] is against those who do evil things."  (13)  For who will hurt you if you become zealots for what is good?  (14)  But even if you do suffer for being righteous, you are blessed! Moreover, don't fear what they fear or be disturbed,  (15)  but treat the Messiah [Christ] as holy, as Lord in your hearts; while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you — yet with humility and fear,  (16)  keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behavior flowing from your union with the Messiah [Christ] may be put to shame.  (17)  For if God has in fact willed that you should suffer, it is better that you suffer for doing what is good than for doing what is evil.  (18)  For the Messiah [Christ] himself died for sins, once and for all, a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God.

For other things God hates see :
Deuteronomy 12:31; Deuteronomy 16:22; Psalm 11:5; Isaiah 1:14; Isaiah 1:14;  and Jeremiah 44:4.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ecce Homo

Ecce Homo

A man to be known
From above came unto His own.
They were expecting someone else....

They wanted freedom from other men,
He would free them from themselves.

In a prison of tradition
And in chains of vanity
Two worlds asundered could not comprehend
This One who walked on water
This One who would not sin.

He burst upon their scene
And everything changed for them.
In three short years so many healed.
In three short years so many offended
And tested and failed to see.

By His works He wooed them.
Sure they were impressed and blessed.
Yet great currents swirled.
Was He? Was He not?
“If He is,” some said, “OUR THING will END!”

And so a nation gone astray
In the grip of an empire’s sway
Which had made them bitter (and also had made them rich)
Was not moved from the status quo,
The comfort zone so deep so old some cold.

What man today can take it in?
A man like me who NEVER SINNED?
A man like me miracles?
A man like me… well not really…
A man like me they crucified.

Have times changed?
Are we different now?
Do I have what I need?
Can I climb every mountain?
Any mountain? Seriously???

People and I need the Lord.

Friday, August 19, 2016

More Keeping it REAL

Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise and skillful person glory and boast in his wisdom and skill; let not the mighty and powerful person glory and boast in his strength and power; let not the person who is rich [in physical gratification and earthly wealth] glory and boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] riches; But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness [mercy and grace], judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord. [I Cor. 1:31; II Cor. 10:17.] (Jeremiah 9:23-24 AMP

Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? (John 18:23 KJVR

"Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers [scribes] and P'rushim [Pharisees]! You pay your tithes of mint, dill and cumin; but you have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah [Books of Moses]— justice, mercy, trust. These are the things you should have attended to — without neglecting the others! (Matthew 23:23 CJB)

Just then, some people came to tell Yeshua [Jesus] about the men from the Galil [Galilee] whom Pilate had slaughtered even while they were slaughtering animals for sacrifice. His answer to them was, "Do you think that just because they died so horribly, these folks from the Galil were worse sinners than all the others from the Galil? No, I tell you. Rather, unless you turn to God from your sins, you will all die as they did! "Or what about those eighteen people who died when the tower at Shiloach [Silaom] fell on them? Do you think they were worse offenders than all the other people living in Yerushalayim [Jerusalem]? No, I tell you. Rather, unless you turn from your sins, you will all die similarly." (Luke 13:1-5 CJB)

We don’t have the moral authority Jesus has in and of our selves. Jesus spoke the 100% unADULTerated truth. We are ADULTS. James addressed the church as adulterers and adulteresses (See James Ch. 4). We live and move and have our being in the Messiah, yet we often make bad choices. John the Baptist came as a PROPHET of the ALMIGHTY saying “Repent ye for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” How easily we who are not prophets or prophesying quote him to our neighbor as a condemnation of their sins. My need is that I repent. My PRAYER is that you repent. And if God directs me to prophesy, that will be to speak HIS word, not MY word.

Jesus came also saying: “Repent ye for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Another translation reads: "Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!" I fear we too often think of repentance as simply ceasing from sin. And we all ought to go and sin no more. But what then? How then shall we live? We must turn to God and be taught by God.

If I drink no more beer or wine, if I refrain from fornication, if I stop cheating on my tax return, if I stop berating my wife and children… what then?

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the wrath and indignation [of God against disobedience] that is coming? Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]; And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham for our forefather; for I tell you, God is able to raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones! And already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.  (Matthew 3:7-12 AMPLIFIED)

I think it is very difficult for most people who are churched to avoid becoming hypocrites. Or is it simply that hypocrisy is found in the dark recesses of every human heart? Don’t we all find ourselves guilty of the very thing we condemn in our neighbor? I don’t suggest we indulge in self flagellation, but we do need to examine our souls.

So let a person examine himself first, and then he may eat of the bread and drink from the cup; for a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. This is why many among you are weak and sick, and some have died! If we would examine ourselves, we would not come under judgment. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined, so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (1Corinthians 11:28-32 CJB)

This is a very powerful life we have entered into, very valuable, precious and very different than the world. It is the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of our CREATOR. I believe our SELF confidence to be a major obstacle to our becoming mature in love. At the least we need to own our sins. We might do well to list them and pray for godly sorrow if we have none.

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, passing judgment; for when you judge someone else, you are passing judgment against yourself; since you who are judging do the same things he does. We know that God's judgment lands impartially on those who do such things; do you think that you, a mere man passing judgment on others who do such things, yet doing them yourself, will escape the judgment of God? Or perhaps you despise the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience; because you don't realize that God's kindness is intended to lead you to turn from your sins. But by your stubbornness, by your unrepentant heart, you are storing up anger for yourself on the Day of Anger, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed; for he will pay back each one according to his deeds. To those who seek glory, honor and immortality by perseverance in doing good, he will pay back eternal life. But to those who are self-seeking, who disobey the truth and obey evil, he will pay back wrath and anger. Yes, he will pay back misery and anguish to every human being who does evil, to the Jew first, then to the Gentile; but glory and honor and shalom to everyone who keeps doing what is good, to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:1-11 CJB)

James defined true religion:

External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world. (James 1:27 AMPLIFIED)

We walk around on facebook’s synagogues and sreetcorners and shout “Repent” while 90 percent of those who need to repent see little of us and hear little in us that would show what true repentance looks like.

Thus, whenever you give to the poor, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets like to do, that they may be recognized and honored and praised by men. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already. (Matthew 6:2 AMPLIFIED)

 Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already. (Matthew 6:5 AMPLIFIED)

Words, words and more words and much of the church denies God can send a prophet today. We all become circumcisers wanting everyone to have the same religious scars we have. I am as guilty as anyone I accuse! We must be wise and give GOD the glory.

What is our sin? We become Christ’s and almost immediately presume to have His very own moral authority over the church and the world! We make John 3:16 becomes a merit badge rather than the unmerited gift of God. John 3:17 show that we needed and need saving, but we go about joyfully implying condemnation.

The preaching of repentance by us as spiritual novices is unwise. We leave ourselves open to pride which is satan’s sin. Spiritual pride has been likened to the fine dust in a flour mill which seeps and settles in every crack and cranny. We need to guard our hearts. They are more wicked and deceitful than we know. But God will reveal our heart to us. I fear it will be painful. Why? Because we are called of God to pick up our cross everyday and walk with Jesus and be crucified with Him. Paul  wrote “I am crucified with Christ…” (Galatians 2:20) He also wrote “I die daily.” (1Co 15:31) Should we shun the pain?

And indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted, (2Timothy 3:12 CJB)

All who are led by God's Spirit are God's sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, "Abba!" (that is, "Dear Father!"). The Spirit himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God; and if we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Messiah — provided we are suffering with him in order also to be glorified with him. I don't think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. (Romans 8:14-18 CJB)

 The joy of our salvation is that we know the Truth and He is making us free. We are free from satan’s destiny. We are free from the deceit of sin and the power of sin. We are free to be taught by the Holy Spirit. We are free to learn what Love really is!

"I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch which is part of me but fails to bear fruit, he cuts off; and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it may bear more fruit. Right now, because of the word which I have spoken to you, you are pruned. Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can't put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can't bear fruit apart from me. "I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can't do a thing. Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up. "If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you. This is how my Father is glorified — in your bearing much fruit; this is how you will prove to be my talmidim. "Just as my Father has loved me, I too have loved you; so stay in my love. If you keep my commands, you will stay in my love — just as I have kept my Father's commands and stay in his love. I have said this to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy be complete. "This is my command: that you keep on loving each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave doesn't know what his master is about; but I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, I chose you; and I have commissioned you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that whatever you ask from the Father in my name he may give you. This is what I command you: keep loving each other! (John 15:1-17 CJB)

Don't owe anyone anything — except to love one another; for whoever loves his fellow human being has fulfilled Torah. For the commandments, "Don't commit adultery," "Don't murder," "Don't steal," "Don't covet," and any others are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does not do harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fullness of Torah. (Romans 13:8-10 CJB)

We cannot avoid it. Loving God requires that we love others. I am to love my neighbor as myself. Do I love myself? Can I love myself and not know what love really is? Love is three persons: God is Love. All the witness of human history shows every man a liar and God true. There is a place for self effacement. We need to admit not just that we look with lust, but that lust has touched us, and is found in us. We need to admit that our sins are not love, they are perversions.

My prayer is that those who are preaching holiness and obedience be or become holy and obedient. If they are or do, it will be from God’s heavenly Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. As I read Romans Chapter 8 I’m impressed that I need to be sure I’m in the Messiah and the Holy Spirit and they me. Having that assurance, my identity is no longer one lost in sin, but IS one saved by grace and set apart for good works. I am set free to lovingly serve God and others, not to earn heaven, but simply to participate in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. “…Thy Kingdom come in earth as it is in heaven.

Many of us have had difficult lives before the Messiah rescued us condemnation. We were steeped in sins. 

And it is perfectly evident what the old nature does. It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency; involvement with the occult and with drugs; in feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue and envy; in drunkenness, orgies and things like these. I warn you now as I have warned you before: those who do such things will have no share in the Kingdom of God! (Galatians 5:19-21 CJB)

There are six things Adonai hates, seven which he detests: a haughty look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet swift in running to do evil, a false witness who lies with every breath, and him who sows strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19 CJB)

We do NEED TO REPENT! But what does repentance look like? Can you show me? Jesus was so pure that He offended most every sinners. Those deeply stained in sin were in fact trained to sin. Their thoughts dwell on sin. Good, healthy, holy and LOVEly thoughts are foreign to them. To love someone else as Jesus loves is objectionable and even offensive to them. Why? Because it is a sacrificial love and will cost them something. I write from my own experience.

One might think “If Jesus were such a good man, why did they kill him anyways?” He was not what His people expected. They wanted a King to relieve them from Roman oppression. Jesus came to relieve them from the condemnation of their own sins.

Thank God some sinners did repent, THAT IS: they returned to God in the Messiah Jesus, confessing and forsaking their sins. It truly does not help our standing before God to confess my sin with my mouth and still cherish my sin in my heart. For many people that is a problem, and one that God alone can solve. It is sometimes a matter of demonic oppression. We do need to remember that satan deceived Eve, and Adam’s choice to transgress caused every human being’s nature to be corrupted. We are corrupted by satan’s evil nature. But God’s plan was not that we should remain forever corrupt. He sent the Messiah to deliver us out of the corrupt world system and heal us of its corruptions. Jesus was sent to save us, not to condemn us.

One Shabbat [Sabbath] during that time, Yeshua [Jesus] was walking through some wheat fields. His talmidim [disciples] were hungry, so they began picking heads of grain and eating them. On seeing this, the P'rushim [Pharisees] said to him, "Look! Your talmidim are violating Shabbat!" But he said to them, "Haven't you ever read what David did when he and those with him were hungry? He entered the House of God and ate the Bread of the Presence!" — which was prohibited, both to him and to his companions; — it is permitted only to the cohanim [priests]. "Or haven't you read in the Torah [Law] that on Shabbat the cohanim profane Shabbat and yet are blameless? I tell you, there is in this place something greater than the Temple! If you knew what 'I want compassion rather than animal-sacrifice' meant, you would not condemn the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat!" (Matthew 12:1-8 CJB)

To call out Repent is essentially to call men and women into God’s presence. It is to call them to the Sabbath, that is into the rest, the peace, into the shalom of heaven’s Kingdom. We can’t be at peace if we are practicing sin.

John the Baptist and Jesus did NOT call people to the Temple; they did not call them to Mt. Sinai. The Law of Moses had only magnified sin, and it had not produced righteousness in the heart. We never see Jesus making a sin offering in the Temple. He KEPT the law by never sinning. If we want to be like Jesus it will mean repentance. Repentance is simply returning to God. Our greatest error is not staying close to Him. We like sheep go astray. And it is I fear a more troublesome matter than that picture of a sheep far from the shepherd, for our thoughts can be far away while we sing on Sunday morning. Let us seek His shalom which passes even our understanding.

If we are gentiles, let us not be offended by those who practice Jewish traditions. If we are Jews let us not require gentiles to live under the Mosaic code. God is able to write His law on our hearts. We are saved by the mercy and grace of God’s forgiveness and we are perfected by His chastening and love. What we need do is to love and pray one for others. Jesus stands interceding for us before our Father! We are secure! Have I drifted from God? Have I run down to Joppa to board a ship? I must RETURN to God and stay close by Him.

Isaiah 26

1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
    he sets up salvation
    as walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
    that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
For he has humbled
    the inhabitants of the height,
    the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
    casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
    the feet of the poor,
    the steps of the needy.”

Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.. (ESV)

Philippians 1:9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. (The Message MSG)

Galatians 5: 1 Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. 2-3 I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law. 4-6 I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. (The Message MSG)

If we turn away from our sins toward God we will find Him to be love. Many are saying love is not the goal, but holiness is the goal. I fear holiness absent love will end in hypocrisy.

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1John 2:5-6 KJVR)

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. (1John 4:11-19 KJVR)

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Romans 10:4 KJVR)

For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him. (Romans 10:4 AMP)

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: (1Timothy 1:5 KJVR)

Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith. (1Timothy 1:5 AMPLIFIED)

 Is it a stretch to say this? The teaching of God’s Bible is that in Jesus alone we find God’s will: that in The Messiah who IS holy love AND TRUTH we are enabled by trusting God enabled to exit the adversaries grip and enter into life. Jesus IS THE WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE. His mission is to bring us to God His and our Father.

Peace [shalom] I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (John 14:27-28 KJVR)

Isn’t the real difficulty that I (you?) are more interested in how other men judge me than how God judges me? I can usually make myself presentable before men, but before God I can have no secrets. Abraham was a humble man; he obediently followed God before the Ten Commandments were given.  Moses was the most humble man alive in his time, yet he had fled Egypt after murdering a man. When God appeared to him and commissioned him as Israel’s deliverer Moses wanted God to give the job to someone “more qualified.” I learned recently that shyness is not humility, it is pride in hiding; we don’t want our pride to be offended so we hold back. Moses was made humble as he obeyed God. And it appears this transformation was well under way before the Ten Commandments were given. 

Help us Lord to be HUMBLE. It truly will require we obey You. Pride cannot love You, it cannot obey You, it cannot serve You… or any other. Satan IS pride. He cannot love any except himself and in that he is seen to be the acme of evil, the most perverse being of all. Without You, without Your redemption we remain in satan’s domain. With Yoy we are free to live in Your freedom! We are free from sin and free for righteousness. I believe and trust You to help me change my mind and my actions as I examine my soul in the light of your Word. You O God of heaven CAN BE KNOWN in Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent. (John 17:3 AMPLIFIED)

Dear friends, don't trust every spirit. On the contrary, test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Here is how you recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges that Yeshua the Messiah came as a human being is from God, and every spirit which does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God — in fact, this is the spirit of the Anti-Messiah. You have heard that he is coming. Well, he's here now, in the world already!

 You, children, are from God and have overcome the false prophets, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore, they speak from the world's viewpoint; and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God doesn't listen to us. This is how we distinguish the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error.

Beloved friends, let us love one another; because love is from God; and everyone who loves has God as his Father and knows God. Those who do not love, do not know God; because God is love. Here is how God showed his love among us: God sent his only Son into the world, so that through him we might have life. Here is what love is: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the kapparah for our sins. Beloved friends, if this is how God loved us, we likewise ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains united with us, and our love for him has been brought to its goal in us. Here is how we know that we remain united with him and he with us: he has given to us from his own Spirit.

Moreover, we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as Deliverer of the world. If someone acknowledges that Yeshua is the Son of God, God remains united with him, and he with God. Also we have come to know and trust the love that God has for us. God is love; and those who remain in this love remain united with God, and God remains united with them. Here is how love has been brought to maturity with us: as the Messiah is, so are we in the world. This gives us confidence for the Day of Judgment.

There is no fear in love. On the contrary, love that has achieved its goal gets rid of fear, because fear has to do with punishment; the person who keeps fearing has not been brought to maturity in regard to love. We ourselves love now because he loved us first. If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if a person does not love his brother, whom he has seen, then he cannot love God, whom he has not seen. Yes, this is the command we have from him: whoever loves God must love his brother too. (1Jonn 4:1-21 CJB)