What’s New

Solomon was the wisest man ever, by God’s divine gift. After a thorough investigation using scientific methods He said, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” ( Ecclesiastes 1:9) He understood that every generation is the same as the one before. Though styles, preferences, methods, and locations change the substance of human endeavor and society remain the same. Among men there are captains, criminals, courageous, cowards, righteous and wicked. This has gone on among each generation for thousands of years. A great deception and pride today is that modern man is different than our ancestors. Cars, planes, computers, conveniences, do not make us better or different in any significant element of our character or being.

There was one new event many years after Solomon. This event was prophesied by the Hebrew prophets. The coming of the Messiah was the unique event in all human history because of what He came to accomplish, “by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Ephesians 2:15-16) The Messiah created one new humanity. A new covenant between God and man; a new relationship, and a new humanity no longer separated by ethnicity. The one new man that Yeshua created, is different from all other generations before or since. What is this difference? How is it fundamentally different in character and being?

“The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:26-27) God indwelling His Children, such that they have the full riches of complete understanding through Yeshua Messiah in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:2-3) “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13) Every Believer is united to God and the members of His family. In that union every gift, message, ability, insight and endowment from God is realized. That is what’s new and it is new for each person born again through faith in Yeshua Messiah.

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Your Journey

You started with nothing, but pride, neediness, and a yearning for love, though you didn’t even know what or who it was. Nevertheless, you heard of Him and had enough sense to know there is a Creator God; even a child can see this world is greater than happenstance. It takes college training, degrees, studying the myths and fictions of renowned scholars to deny the obvious, that everything came from nothing at the command of the Creator. Within your inner being you understood there is Good and Evil. When all hope in the world’s promise of wealth, happiness and love proved to be need, unhappiness and rejection, you were ready to give up your struggle. In that moment, He found you and revealed His first word to you, “live”. Though you died to self, you began to live as a new creation. It was in surrender and acceptance of God’s ways and means, upon His terms, that your future now depends. The enemy of mankind has been defeated and today is the day of salvation. The old has passed away, all things are new.

This is the ultimate contrast, light and dark, life and death, sweet and bitter, smooth and course, hot and cold. This contrast does not include good and evil, nor God and satan, because only God is good, He has no rival; there is no yin and yang in equally opposed balance. The one thing life had taught you was your unworthiness, you knew well your bad deeds and no amount of good deeds could wipe away the bad. But a way was opened by Yeshua, Messiah (Jesus’ Hebrew name), His life for ours, our sins for His righteousness, our debt and death sentence for Freedom purchased by His blood. This is the best deal of all time; it seems too good to be true. Only believing and trusting Yeshua is required. It is understood in the heart, rather than the mind. It is granted and fulfilled by love, the thing for which we have longed and searched. It is a love relationship that has brought us to God and made us the objects of His affection.

Love is eternal, not subject to time limits. God has poured His love into our hearts, by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 5:5) There is no hate or rejection or injustice that can prevail over God’s overflowing river of love. (Rom. 8:38-39) When the enemy has tricked, defeated, and bound you in chains, you still have a deliverer – Yeshua. His is the greatest name in Heaven and earth, the only name with saving power. His destiny is still before you, Believer, He has not brought you this far to abandon you. Take heart and restore hope in God for He is greater than your heart. (1 John 3:20) “As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you.” (Psalm 87:7) Your journey is filled with praise, worship and Thanksgiving.

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Spiritual Warmup

I’m preparing for a new breakthrough in Spirit led prayer. Since the natural comes before the spiritual, (1 Cor. 15:46), some natural warm up might be appropriate. We might greet, then stretch, move about, brief minor calisthenics of the body. Work out any stiffness, get flexible, prepare for action. Then, for stretching of the mind we might start recalling scriptures, whatever we can remember, speaking it out, as best we can recall, e.g., “Rid yourself of all malice…be sober minded… remember that we are His workmanship created In Christ… it is He who made us…we are His sheep and the people of His pasture….”. Do not worry about getting it perfect, this is exercise.

Critical in preparation is to wait upon the Lord, be silent before Him. Wait until the uncomfortableness of waiting comes and is dispersed. When we are silent purposefully, there may be a flood within the mind. Time may be necessary to clear out and acquire the mind of Messiah, not an empty mind. When this begins to happen, a central focus on Him and His greatness, Goodness, Love, etc. will lead to entering his gates with Thanksgiving and then, His courts with praise. If worship breaks out do not restrain it. There is time for everything. There is no better place to be.

In the silence of waiting, prepare your mind for action. (1 Pet. 1:13 ESV) The enemy may suggest things like past offenses, things that have been left undone, all sorts of distractions. Do not fall for this; if you recall an offense, forgive it; if you remember work that needs to be done, write a note and drop it; if you are reminded of sin, confess it, let love be your aim and Yeshua the bulls eye. There is no place for fear, where His love abounds. Fear can arise in doubting whether the words we think or say are right or wrong. Fear can cause us to not say what the Spirit gives. Fear can also cause use to pray from our mind, rather than wait on the Spirit.

Speak the welcome invitation to Holy Spirit, confess His indwelling presence. Ask for His leading. Acknowledge the Supremacy of Almighty God. Wait on Holy Spirit. Begin to pray, silently and out loud, as He leads. Be flexible and alert to move with the Spirit in any direction, joy, the word, intercession, supplication, spiritual warfare, repentance deliverance. It is for freedom that Messiah set us free. Desire spiritual gifts, especially to prophesy, do not quench the Spirit. Get humble enough to be thought a fool and willing to do it anyway, just as willing to silently wait – pride resists the Spirit. None of the above means anything unless the Holy Spirit shows up. In His presence, be willing to assume a physical posture appropriate for His Presence. I can’t tell you what that is, but you are in control of your body, submit it to Him. Once I took my shoes off because that is what Moses was instructed to do on Holy ground. Do you have faith enough to receive the Kingdom, as a humble child? Could natural movement, posture, sounds, expression, proceed Spiritual breakthrough or enlightenment?

None of this is necessary or required for prayer. Nor is it a guarantee to effective prayer. Effective prayer is founded in faith and relationship, your relationship with God and those for whom you are praying. All I’ve said has a basis in scripture or experience, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22) We spend a lot of time, energy, and resources on our personal pursuits, what of Spiritual endeavor? How much enthusiasm, thoughtful consideration, preparation and training are applied for spiritual pursuit?

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The Right Order

Most of us find satisfaction in order, some find it compelling, but an early lesson for every child is putting their toys away in their proper orderly place. God also respects order and shows us His orderly design. When we understand His order of things we see his purpose which is contrary to that of the world and human rationalization. The first order was established in days, such that creation itself was put in order. In God’s law the feasts were set in order just as the ten Commandments have the greatest commands first. (Matt. 22:38) In the law the first born male has a priority, consecrated to the Lord. God defines order, “This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6, also see Rev. 22:13)

Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name) explained order in the Kingdom of God, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16) In accounting terms this order is called “Last In First Out” (LIFO) and is used when goods like coal are ordered in a pile with the first at the bottom and the last on top to be removed first. Everything God does is perfect in design, order and purpose. “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:9-11) In this truth we see the Jews, God’s chosen people through Abraham, are the elder sons of His Kingdom and have a priority in order, but not from favoritism. When those from the nations are born again as sons of God, they join the Jewish Believers as children and joint heirs of God. (Rom. 2:29) Just as the Messiah came first to the Jews, and the first Believers were Messianic Jews, the Jews will be last in His redemption when He returns to earth and saves all Israel. (Rom. 11:25-26)

So, we can see God’s order, which is also in the Congregation of Believers. “And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.” (1 Cor. 12:28) When things are out of order they are broken or dysfunctional. God’s order is not like the World were the rich and powerful rule over the poor and weak. The world is opposed to God, His ways, and purposes. His order is for everyone’s good, rather than a hierarchy of pride and privilege. “Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44) Thus, the Congregation of Believers first receive God’s attention. “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17) Let’s get our houses in order – His order.

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Come Spirit, Come

What I know, I know is a person, but only see in part. He alone can reveal and demonstrate Himself. He alone can play the strings of the harp that is my heart. He alone can release harmony, melody, the sounds of heaven ringing from within my soul. He is my highest desire, that for which I most deeply yearn and strive to find. I get lost in the mechanics, side tracked, because a taste or glimpse in three seconds overwhelms my senses and fills my substance, such that I can receive no more, but He would give infinitely more than I could ask or imagine.

Why must I wait? Why must I endure the dryness within of my own soul? With Him there are flowing rivers of life, which I will never forget, bubbling up, washing and soothing, removing the bitterness and filth of my wandering. I remember clearly His presence, all the times of refreshing and sweet fellowship. Oh my soul why are you so troubled within? He is here. He will never leave or forsake His beloved children.

He is waiting for me. He yearns to have fellowship with me. I am just an infant, stretching arms in course random reach, unable to focus my grasp, kicking and twisting in spiritual exercise, but unable to lay hold of that which is right before me. The world tells me to “Stop, lay still, nothing is out there,” with jeers and mocking following. I will keep stretching and kicking until I find dexterity and aim in my spiritual exercises. I will grab hold and pull His goodness to my lips. I will grow in strength and crawl toward Him…He takes me in His arms and I find rest for my soul.

This is my search for the Spirit. Though He dwells within my heart, I want more of Him. I will open my mouth and speak though I don’t know the meaning of the words, but they are a cry and prayer to Him, who speaks with wordless groans deeper than any words. (Rom.8:26)
Yeshua explained, “But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” (Matthew 21:15-16; Ps. 8:2) I will listen and heed His voice within, the images He animates upon the screen of my consciousness. His word is ingrained there and He aliveness it, for His purposes. I will share what I hear, see and feel with others as He leads and in my best attempts to walk in His footsteps. It is not for me to convince, compel, or prove, but to follow and shout “Hosanna to the Son of David”. My mental rationalization and reasoning are not usually required by the Spirit and are most often opposed to His intent. When I can’t hear His voice, I will not keep raising the volume button, but will put the earphones back in my ear.

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Thinking and Speaking Right

Walking along the beach looking at shells considering whether any are of interest, colorful, whole, vacant of its host, it occurred to me our lives are not like shells washed upon the shore at the end. Unless I had no faith, considered all life meaningless happenstance, or thought I was the biggest, most rare, and beautiful shell of all. No, all Believers are Children of God and destined for eternal life.

Thinking and speaking right is perhaps the most important and impossible thing to do consistently. For most, speaking right is easier, because they learn to be quiet and more deliberate with words. For me, thinking is practically involuntary, unless I have concentrated on a particular subject, problem, activity or person. This is evidenced by encyclopedias, library catalogs, and search engines that list our various interests.

Scripture instructs, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace….And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you….For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:5-6,11,14-16) This is the transcendent life in relationship with Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name).

Yeshua was fully human, yet filled with the Spirit and constantly obedient to the Father’s leading in thinking, speaking and acting. (John 5:19) My prayer for you and me is to walk more closely and frequently in the Spirit’s leading. It’s not a religious thing, weird or crazy, but more like a friendship. Lord, let us follow your example knowing we can do nothing by ourselves, but join you in what we see you doing. Help us to have your mind and speak your words.

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Prayer Maturity

It is wisdom to look both ways when crossing the street, and folly not to. In the same way we should exercise maturity in prayer, not as to pray or not to pray, but recognizing the full range of God’s will and highest good. One minister preached against praying for supernatural healing because he believed it raised unrealistic hope in people and caused them to hold a grudge against God when their prayers were not answered. His faith for healing was in medical science, such that if God wanted people healed He would do it through doctors and medicine. His judge and ours is God alone.

As we approach the end times, I believe we will see more of what was experienced in the first century, specifically, demonic activity and persecution of Christian’s for their faith. This is rising in our day, and it calls for wisdom and faith, that goes beyond mere petition and selfish immaturity that yields disappointment. Scripture teaches that the Spirit is our lead. (Rom. 8: 5-16, 26-28; 1 Cor. 2:13-16) We also know that our true eternal life is in heaven with God. If we are worldly minded, we may pray according to the limits of our reasoning or what we think is best in various circumstances. In the Spirit our faith is the only limit, as God is unlimited in ability and goodness. Times ahead will test our faith and maturity. Believers in the First Century willingly gave their lives into God’s hands and were martyred by the Romans. As a consequence, the entire Roman state adopted Christianity.

God is our faithful deliverer and He delivers from and through death whether from old age or martyrdom. The Holy Spirit leads us in prayer, not necessarily through reason. When Bestie Ten Boom prayed and received prophetic insight of what was yet to come, she saw herself with Corrie, her sister. It all came true with great specificity for Corrie, but Betsie saw it from Heaven. We don’t always know what is best, but we pray His word and know that God’s best is ultimately in His presence. God gives supernatural endurance and strength in the midst of extreme suffering, consider Paul’s testimony (2 Tim. 3:11) and that of Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, tortured for 15 years by Communists, but supernaturally sustained. With maturity we understand that enduring faith is the victory, rather than a comfortable life. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.” (Psalm 116:15) If God cares when a swallow dies, He gives great attention to the destiny and welfare of His own Children. We must believe and know that God is good all the time, especially in the eternal realm of His presence.

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Like Jesus

The chosen disciples of Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name) were to become like the teacher. Scripture says it is enough for the student to be like the teacher. (Matt. 10:25) Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live in the presence of the Lord? We have the gospels which provide some insight, but they are focused on the Lord, Yeshua, rather than the disciples. Many times the disciples questioned Yeshua, sometimes they probably regretted it, more than once they were rebuked for their comments. Yeshua was perfect in every way, but also fully human. What would it be like to be so near God in human flesh?

I believe John figured it out best and he was the one that seemed to be closest to Yeshua. John was fixated on love. He referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. It seems the Lord loved Peter quite well, particularly by calling him specifically and restoring him after his denial. Undoubtedly, Yeshua loved each disciple not at the disciples request or preference, but in love’s perfection. Did John recognize his love was inadequate toward Yeshua, but Yeshua’s love toward him perfect? The confirmation of Yeshua’s love for John was that He gave the care of Mary, his mother, into John’s hands. (John 19:26-27) God is love; John got it and found his place near Yeshua’s heart.

We all are called to different places and ministry, but love is the center where Yeshua waits our return to Him. “When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus we’ll sing and shout the victory.” Before that celebration we will encounter Love and understand fully, as we are fully known, His love poured into our hearts and that love met in the face of Yeshua the lover of our soul. “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15:54) It was love that overcame and obtained the victory. Then we will see clearly that He conformed us into His likeness. (Rom. 8:29)

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Providence

Providence is God’s guidance or care over creation. The English word providence is derived from the Latin term providentia, which primarily means foresight or foreknowledge but also forethought and providence in the religious sense; thus, Cicero used the phrase the “providence of the gods”. The Bible illustrates God’s providence over nature and mankind. Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name) said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7) God is Sovereign over nature, caring for a small sparrow’s life, as well as, the particulars of each highly loved human. Even secular unbelievers recognize providence in nature, the interconnected design within nature that provides for every species and creature. Human history is filled with the guidance and care of God as documented by historians. In particular, the Bible is a detailed account of God’s care for Israel. Of course, God is unseen and faithless people are blind, denying His influence and even documented prophecy and subsequent fulfillment in reality.

The story of Esther is filled with evidence of God’s care and foreknowledge. When Esther was selected to be Queen, just as her people were being marked for destruction. (Esther 4:7-14) When the King could not sleep and discovered that Mordecai had disclosed a plot to kill the King and nothing had been done to reward him. Just as the evil Haman was constructing gallows upon which to kill Mordecai. (Esther 6:1-4) We see that Mordecai trusted in Providence, even as he was advising Esther, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) There are too many stories and intricacies to recount or list, but the lives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and the prophets all depict God’s providence.

The consequences of Providence are as important as its existence. Yeshua taught His followers to trust and rely upon God saying, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?…If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matt. 6:25-26, 30-32) Soloman observed, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-13)

Can you see God’s providence in your life? Perhaps you prepared for a career, but could you have made it happen as it did? Can you see guidance and care in and among your family? Have your ever been at the end of your rope and been delivered? Can you see how the grace of God has been extended to you, even in and through difficulty? Just as all creation thrives and lives, Providence has us in His hands.

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The Returning King

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of the earth.” (Revelation 19:11-16)

When Yeshua, (Jesus’ Hebrew name) returns as Commander of Heaven’s army, He will fight against the nations opposed to Israel. He is returning to save all Israel, as He is and was their Messiah. We must never forget that our Messiah Yeshua, is an Israeli and our acceptance of Him as Lord of Lord’s is an acceptance of Israel. “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:11,12,19-21)

We don’t become Jews, nor follow the Jewish laws, which were unable to save Israel, but we are accepted into God’s family which began with Abraham, father all who have faith in the one true God. Most importantly we are joint heirs with Lord, Yeshua and the entire family of God – Israel and the nations one in Messiah.

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