As I have been digging in the word and pressing into Yahweh I am just so amazed by Him and His promises to us. I have always shied away from the book of Revelation, because there is so much that I don’t understand there…but my husband and I decided to tackle the book in our daily reading together. What an amazing book! Don’t get me wrong, there is still much in the book that I don’t understand, but one thing keeps jumping out at me…it is a book about good versus evil…it is about those who keep the commands of Yahweh and the faith in Yeshua versus those that don’t. Check out these verses:

“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”—Revelation 12:17

“Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”—Revelation 14:12

“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”—Revelation 22:14

Wow…and if that isn’t enough…look at Revelation 11:19, “Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.” Hmmm…what is in the ark of His covenant? …His commands…the very thing we will be judged by…

We each have a choice to make. There is no in-between. “Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him. But if Baal, follow him.”—1 Kings 18:21 We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Choose this day whom you will serve… (Joshua 24:15). Look at the warning to the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-16: “Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea: “The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation says: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.” We cannot be lukewarm…we must be on fire and zealous for our King…and not the way we want or the way the traditions of man tell us…it must be His way…Yahweh is holy and just…the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. He alone is worthy!

Here’s the thing…we don’t obey God to be saved, we obey Him because we are saved. Obedience to Him and His commands is the manifestation of His grace in our lives. It is the evidence of our faith. 1 John 5:2-3 says, “This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden.” Yahweh wants us to keep His commands out of love for who He is and what He has done for us…because He alone is worthy!

When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity.—Ecclesiastes 12:13

Fruit Producers and Inspectors

Crabapples (Photo credit: camknows)

As I was making crabapple jelly a while ago, I began to ponder fruit in the Bible and some recent occurrences in my own life. So naturally the first verses I thought of were in Galatians 5:19-26,

“I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Wow! What power-packed verses. If we walk by the (Holy) Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of our flesh…we will walk in the ways of the Most High God…we will not be under the law…because when we are walking in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control, there is no law. We must crucify our flesh, allow Yahweh to circumcise our hearts, and strive to walk in a manner worthy of our Savior. He has given us everything we need to for life and godliness…are we using what He has given us?

We are known by our fruits. Which fruit are we producing…fruit of the flesh or fruit of the Spirit? Are we provoking one another or are we being peacemakers? Are we hating one another or are we loving one another? Are we gossiping and tearing each other down or are we encouraging and building one another up? What is coming out of our mouths, because out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). Whose fruit are we inspecting? Are we examining our own hearts, or are we caught up in judging others? We ARE known by our fruits.

“How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. The wicked are not like this; instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.”—Psalm 1

What’s Grace Got To Do With It?

“Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” –Hebrews 4:16

What is grace anyway? Grace is Yahweh’s unmerited favor. It is Him withholding judgment (mercy) and extending blessings even though we don’t deserve it. It is His work for our good, even though we don’t deserve it. Grace flows out of Yahweh’s love. He is love and everything He does for us is by His grace.

Why do we need grace? Oh wait…it’s because we sin…which is not following the Law of God…which makes the need grace…which is needed because we sin…which is not following the Law of God…which makes the need for grace…which…Well, you get the picture.

In all seriousness, I have been meditating on grace…a lot…and I have come to the conclusion that grace has EVERYTHING to do with it. Not that I didn’t already know that, but what really brought it home for me was when I began studying the whole word of Yahweh and seeing His grace from the beginning.

You see, even Adam and Eve received grace from Yahweh. As a matter of fact, they were created in a state of grace by Yahweh. They walked with Him and talked with Him face to face, lived in paradise with Him, rested on the Sabbath with Him, had access to the Tree of Life…before they sinned. And Yahweh chose to create them with a free will…He gave them choices…to live His way or their own way…and they chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They sinned…they acted against God’s command…and because they chose to disobey Yahweh, they received His judgment. They were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and cut off from the Tree of Life. But Yahweh was still a God of Love and Grace…He foretold of the coming Savior…Yeshua…and the way back to eternal life (Genesis 3:15).

And He continued to extend grace to those who sought Him…Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Gideon, David, Hezekiah, Esther…and the list goes on and on. Read the great faith chapter, Hebrews 11. All of these and more received grace and mercy from Yahweh. What did all these heroes of the faith have in common? They sought Yahweh. They loved Yahweh with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength. They obeyed Yahweh.

And this grace is available to all today who truly seek the Most High God, who accept the atoning blood sacrifice of Yeshua, the Messiah. We NEED the grace of Yahweh…for our salvation and eternal life…for our daily walking out our salvation…for daily strength to obey Him…for becoming all that He has called us to be.

Grace has EVERYTHING to do with it!

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of or Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. –2 Peter 3:18

Putting to death

Walk in His Ways

So then brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  Romans 8:12-17 NASB (emphasis mine)

….“by the Spirit you are putting…

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Have you ever stopped to think about happiness, love, and forgiveness? These are all great attributes, characteristics…qualities to have. And they are all commands in the Word of Yahweh. And……they are all choices, just like every command that Yahweh gives us.

That’s what I want to talk about in this post: the choice to forgive, the choice to love, and the choice to be happy. In a world where we have so little control, isn’t it comforting to know that we have choices for these wonderful things? What do I mean we have so little control? Well, when I finally woke up to the fact that there is only one aspect of my life that I have control over, it changed my whole outlook. You see, none of us has any control whatsoever about the circumstances around us, what someone else says to us, what someone else does to us…the only control we have is the choice of how we will respond to those events, words, and actions. Yes, we control our response.

Happiness is a command…and choice. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always!” When the storms of life arise and our circumstances are not what we think they should be, we can choose to be swallowed by despair and self-pity or we can choose to rejoice in the Lord because as believers, we know He has our best interest at heart. Romans 5:3-5 says, “And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” The choice is ours.

Love is a command…and a choice. Matthew 22:37-39 reiterates the commands of old, “He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” We are commanded to love God, and love our neighbor. We have a choice to love God by following His commandments (John 14:15, John 14:21, 2 John 2:6), or we can make the choice to say we love Him by following the traditions and commandments of men, or we can choose not to love Him at all. The choice is ours to make. We also make the choice to walk in love with our fellow man and walk in the fruit of the spirit or we can choose to walk in fruit of the flesh towards each other. In each of these areas, we have choices: one is biblical and honors the Most High God and leads to life; the other choice is contrary to scripture and dishonors the Most High God and leads to death. The choice is ours.

Forgiveness is a command…and a choice. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” We have choices to make. We can make a conscious choice to forgive one another and move on, or we can choose to hang onto an offense and risk having a root of bitterness spring up harming ourselves. The choice is ours.

“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. Give to everyone who asks you, and from one who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. Be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.—Luke 6:27-38

Let’s make the choice today and every day to love one another, forgive one another, and rejoice always in all circumstances.

Mirror, Mirror

English: : A mirror, reflecting a vase. Españo... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you look in the mirror,

what do you see?

Do you see your reflection,

or do you see me?

Do you see the faults of others,

that you can’t let be?

Or do you see a glimpse

of how eternity will be?

When you look in the mirror,

do you see your own faults?

Or do you look to find others’

imperfections, for yourself to exalt?

When you look in the mirror,

do you see a speck or a log?

Are you examining yourself,

or others with eyes all agog?

Do you not yet realize

oh friend of mine,

that no human is perfect

we’ve all crossed that line?

We all fall far short,

of the One who is right.

Until we put on

His robes so bright.

So let’s be humble and gentle,

bearing with each other in love.

Pursuing peace and holiness

that comes from above.

Helping one another

with arms open wide.

In His divine love

each one should abide.

When you look in the mirror,

what do you see?

When you look in the mirror,

do you see Me?