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)

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