Tag: Scripture

What a season!

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What a season we are in! And I don’t mean winter.

question-mark-5470199_640human-5480043_640We are in a season of media frenzy and we have been for some time. Stories pop up on my phone constantly, and call for me to read them. Many inflame and upset my heart and my mind and bring confusion to my thoughts. So many issues seem unjust, unfair, just plain wrong. And they offer no solution.

My solution, is to be still to listen for God’s voice. I take a walk and lift my eyes to the mountains or to the sky. I watch the clouds, or the pine trees bending in the gentle wind. I watch the geese wintering here from Canada.

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I sit quietly and read scripture. Some I read out loud, looking for the truth of who I am, created by God; and who He is and His love for me and every individual He created in the world. And I let the truth wash over me.

praying-5406270_640From within the truth I look out onto the world with compassion and I pray for it: its leaders, its people, the issues that so perplex and confuse us because of the false news and misinformation being propagated.

I pray for the hearts of men and women and children to be turned to the Lord. And for God to speak to those in power who control governments, the media, the militaries, the corporations, the churches, synagogues and mosques, and the field of entertainment – and for those people to listen.

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For me, it has become a season of prayer.  And of listening more intently for God’s Voice.  He does speak.

And especially now, I’m listening.

Fall – a time for Reflection

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

For several years I met with like-minded friends and we studied Torah.  As Christians we hungered to understand the Bible more deeply, especially gaining insight into the Old Testament from a Hebrew frame of reference.

Open_Torah_scrollWe began to read and study the Jewish weekly sections of scripture known as parshas.  Just as some Christians have discovered the One Year Bible where in daily scripture readings you read the entire Bible in a year, practicing Jews read the Torah in one year in weekly scripture readings.

We also found several teachers on line who contributed to our enlightenment as we dove into looking up Hebrew words and cultural references. One particular teacher who calls himself The Rabbi’s Son prepares 5 lessons plus an introduction to each week’s parsha.  His lessons became the framework for many of our weekly discussion sessions. 

In addition, my Precept Ministry Bible Studies had taken me through a deeper understanding of the Feasts of Israel.

Today ends the 10 days of the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah – the New Year.  Rosh means head and hashana means year.  Instead of large parties and staying up till midnight, for practicing Jews it is a time of deep reflection.

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It begins with a trumpet sounding, a blast from the shofar to call us to examine our lives and see if there are broken relationships which need to be mended.  It also calls us to recognize and repent of any sin in our lives so we are right with God, to prepare for the 10th day, Yom Kippur.

In Hebrew yom means day and kippur means to cover or hide, to atone.  In English it is the Day of Atonement.  This is a most holy day in Judaism and Israel.  All business close.  It’s the one day when the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and then later, the Temple in Jerusalem to make the offering to atone for the sin of the nation and all Israelites. 

All their sin is forgiven and they start the new year with a clean slate.

For Christians and Messianic Jews, who are Jews who believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, there is a prophetic meaning in each of the Feasts or Holy Days.  The Feasts held in the Spring, we believe, have already been fulfilled by Jesus coming to earth.  He was the Passover Lamb sacrificed on the cross for the sin of the world.  He was the First Fruit, the first to be resurrected to eternal life. 

shofar-4518107_640The trumpet blown on Rosh Hashana is considered to be the “Last Trumpet.” Historically trumpets or blasts from the shofar, were used to announce that the people were to assemble into the presence of the Lord, or to sound the alarm for war or judgement.  In the New Testament, it is said Jesus will return with a trumpet blast to call believers to Himself and the earth will be gathered for judgement day. 

2020 has been quite a year.  Are you ready for a new start?  A clean slate?

Any time is a good time to come before the Lord in a time of reflection.  Ask Him to search you and know you and show you any sin that needs to be recognized, and ask for forgiveness.  For a guide in this area, click on my blog on confession called When Hearing is Blocked.

pomegranate-4611435_640During this time we eat apples and honey to signify our desire for a sweet new year.  We eat pomegranates as a way to say “may my good deeds multiply like the seeds of a pomegranate.” And round breads denoting the circular cycle of the year.

And speak a blessing: “May your name be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good New Year.”

I also pray, Father, help us make time to be silent to hear Your voice.  Let us hear with open ears and open spirits all You would say to us about this past year.  As we confess any sin You bring to mind, forgive us and turn out hearts back to You.

Father, educate and direct us in this new year.  Empower and enable us to act on all You show us to do or be.  Where we are weak, make us strong.  Where we are fearful, lead us to act boldly in faith.  Cover us with Your protection and let us walk in the truth of Your entire Word, empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Amen

I highly recommend www.precep.org for Bible study and www.biblicallifestylecenter.org/the-rabbis-son to study Torah

 

The Battle of Jericho

Is there a blessing you believe God wants to give you: one that you cannot achieve or get on your own? A “Jericho”?

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Though Joshua was unable to get it for himself, God delivered the blessing of the city of Jericho into Joshua’s hand when he was obedient to do what God asked him to do. Your obedience to God could bring the wall down so you too can “go up and take possession” of your blessing!

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At a prayer retreat I was directed to Joshua 6:1-20 for a quiet time of meditating on God’s Word. The directions were to read it through one time to understand the events and people, and then a second time to ask for God’s personal message.

As I read about the events of the conquest of Jericho, I believe the Lord was also speaking to me about my own life. Telling me there are things in my life that He wants to give me, blessings He wants me to have, that I have not been able to take possession of.

These are “Jerichos” in my life. And God was telling me He was ready to break down the walls keeping me from these blessings, if I would be obedient.

ring-179693_1920Think about your own life. Is there something God wants you to have, a blessing that you can’t make happen on your own? Is God wanting to bless your marriage and make it all it could be, all that He meant marriage to be? Is something standing in the way of the happiness and unity God wants to give you; something that you can’t remove on your own?

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Is there a child who has wandered away from God, and try as you might, there is a wall that stops your words and actions from getting through to them? Is there a broken relationship that God wants to mend and bless, but something stands in the way of reconciliation?

Is there a job, a goal, a ministry, something you feel God has shown you and is calling you to be a part of, but you have no idea how to make it happen? And there are obstacles that seem insurmountable in the way?

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Maybe there is something you have been praying for, and you believe God is saying “Yes,” but you don’t have the knowledge or skills yet.  And you can’t imagine how it will actually happen.

There are many ways God desires to bless our lives that come with challenges or obstacles that we are not capable of removing in our own strength. This is when we’re to call out to God, our Father, who can and will act on our behalf. He can and will move heaven and earth, for nothing is too difficult for Him.

So I ask again:  Do you have a Jericho?

*Read Joshua 6:1-20 twice. The first time, get a clear picture in your mind of what is happening in the passage. Before reading it a second time, ask God to speak to you, to teach you, to show you what He has for you in this passage. Is there a Jericho, a blessing, a gift He wants you to have? How do you need to be obedient, trusting Him to bring the obstacle down? Are you prepared to go straight up and take hold of it?

*If there is something He shows you, ask where you should walk. What can you walk around that is the equivalent of taking the ground that He is giving you? For me it was a nearby lake.  It might be a neighborhood, a house, a school.

*Make a decision to be obedient, and begin walking! Don’t put it off for long.

*While you walk in silence, pray. Ask God to speak to you during your walk. This is a time for communing with God, for listening, not just talking.

*Write down whatever He tells you. What God says is important. You don’t want to forget it.

*On the seventh day, it’s not about speed or personal accomplishment. It’s about spending time with God, and rejoicing in His power and His blessing. Revel in that when you give a shout!

*The wall has come down! Ask God how to go up and take your blessing. Follow through on what He has told you. Rejoice in your victory!

In the next post I will share about my Jericho walk and what I learned.

Live in the Light

Spring is coming!

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This is my favorite time of the year.  Maybe because the First day of Spring is my birthday!

But also because it brings me out of the cold and dark time of year and into the warmth and light.

Especially this year, I am ready to be delivered out of the darkness of this last year and into the light of new promise.

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Last year saw much illness: the diagnosis of an auto-immune disease that came with unkind medications and breast cancer, and my father’s last battle with lung disease and then his death.  It saw diminishing energy, fatigue, and discouragement over many losses.

God was good to give me some bright spots. Two sons’ weddings and a trip to Hawaii were very joyful.

But I am ready for life in the full sun.  Just as teachers and kids everywhere are enthusiastically counting the weeks till school is out, I am ready and eager for being done with cancer, and medication’s side effects.

2 Peter 1:4 tells me “I have given you very great and precious promises.” So, I am ready to draw my strength from God and those promises.

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The first thing that gives me strength is my identity in Christ.

 

Contrary to that little voice I sometimes hear reminding me how stupid I’ve been and how worthless I am, I know that in truth, I am a daughter of the King of the universe!

Among other things, Scripture tells me:

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.  Colossians 3:12

I am a daughter/son of light and not darkness.  I Thessalonians 5:5

I have been made righteous.  2 Corinthians 5:21

I am free forever from condemnation.  Romans 8:1

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Next I need to know His promises.

 

Some promises are for all Believers, so I can draw strength from knowing that:

I may approach God with boldness, freedom and confidence.   Ephesians 3:12

I have been given the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

I am God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do the work, which He has prepared in advance for me.  Ephesians 2:10

To know His personal promises to me, I need to be in His Word so I can hear Him speak them.  Sometimes a new meaning becomes evident in a scripture I haven’t noticed or understood before. Or maybe a familiar passage suddenly has a unique application to something in my life.  Sometimes I feel a conviction telling me to pay attention, that this is for me.

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And finally, I need to live and act as if I believe those promises.

So since I believe I am a daughter of the King, I need to think and behave that way.  Because I believe I have been given a spirit of power and love then I will act in love and be empowered when I come up against a challenge.

Knowing that I am God’s handiwork gives me confidence to step boldly into the light this Spring.  And like Paul, be ready to “take hold of that for which God has taken hold of me.”  Philippians 3:12

I pray that you too will be energized and empowered by the light that Spring brings.  And will live and walk in the light of your true identity from God and in His promises.

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Googling God part 3

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I believe God is speaking all the time. Are you willing to listen?

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When you have tuned into God’s frequency, (see last 2 posts) and invited the Holy Spirit to silence other noise and lead you into hearing Him; be prepared to be blown away!

I also believe when He says something, it’s important enough to write down.  First, so you don’t forget it.  Next, to check to be sure what you heard is really from God.

hand-453220_640How can you know if what you hear IS from God or some other voice?

When you believe you have heard from God regarding a situation in your life, or direction you should take, or a decision you have to make, put the answer to these 3 tests:

question-mark-40876__3401 – Does it agree with what God has already said in His Word?

question-mark-40876__3402 – Will it produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life and those around you?

question-mark-40876__3403 – Will it draw you closer to God in your relationship with Him?

 

You are looking for 3 yes answers to confirm what you have heard is from God.

If you hit a no, I would urge you to go back to God and ask again, making sure you have invited the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.

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Do you know what God already has said on the subject, and does it agree with what you think you are hearing?  God will not contradict Himself.

For instance, if you know that God has said “do not steal” then you can be sure that the voice telling you to steal what you need is not from God.

solution-2480514_640So, look in the Bible.  Again, God will never tell you something contrary to what He has already said in His Word.  You can use a Concordance – a list of words used in the Bible and where they are found.  There’s one in the back of many Bibles, or online.

If you need help, a Christian friend or pastor can help you find scripture dealing with your topic. Be sure you find what the Bible says, not just what you think it says.  For instance, “God helps those who help themselves” is NOT in the Bible.   Neither is “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

If there is nothing on your topic, or you are unsure, ask God to reveal the truth of your matter to you.

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it shall be given.”

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Is the anticipated result in the situation the Fruit of the Spirit?

 

James 3:14-17 tells us the wisdom of the flesh will produce envy, selfish ambition, disorder and every evil practice.  And that the wisdom from heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit.

Galatians 5:19-23 also outlines what is produced.  The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self-control.

solution-2480514_640You are looking for how it will affect your situation, the people around you, your relationships. Of course, you can’t predict the future, but you can usually be reasonably sure which way the outcome is leaning.

So, what will be produced by you following what you believe God is telling you to do?

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Will it draw you closer to God asks about the condition of your heart.

 

I believe EVERYTHING we do either benefits your relationship with God, or weakens it.

solution-2480514_640Ask yourself:  Does this benefit my relationship with God?

Will it help me become more like Jesus?

If the answer is No, pray for the strength to say “No” to whatever you have heard.  It is not from God.

Philippians 4:13 God has promised “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.”

If all 3 are “Yes” then commit your way to the Lord and thank Him for direction.

 

YIELD  sheet

Here’s a worksheet to get your thoughts down on paper and see how what you are hearing lines up with scripture, what it will produce, and how it will affect your relationship with God.

 

 

My concern

 

 

What I think God is telling me

 

 

What Scripture says

 

 

What will it produce

 

Will it benefit my walk with God?