Revelation

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
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

Choices

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?

Jesus in Skinny Jeans

The Rock—His work is perfect; all His ways are entirely just. A faithful God, without prejudice, He is righteous and true.—Deuteronomy 32:4

As I was meditating on what an awesome and glorious and holy God I serve, my heart became sad. Not because of Yahweh, but because of how much He is taken for granted, or worse yet, not even thought of at all. As I am willingly yielding areas of my life to the Most High God, I have become more and more aware of how much I have taken Him for granted…how much I have taken lightly the blood of the covenant. When I become aware of these areas, I confess and repent (1 John 1:9) and He forgives me. Praise Yahweh for the blood of Yeshua!!!

On this particular day, what had me saddened was (in the words of Voddie Baucham) the “sissified Jesus” that is being portrayed in much of “Christendom” today, at least in the American culture. I mean look at the “pictures” we have of Yeshua. Long flowing hair (usually blondish), short beard if any beard at all, blue eyes…you’ve all seen them. Now I wasn’t there, but I’m fairly certain that isn’t how He would have looked at all. And…are we supposed to make images of God?

Now, think of how He is being portrayed in churches across America. We’ve got Jesus in our back pockets…we can pull Him out when we need Him. He’s the “sugar daddy” in the sky…keeping us from all trouble and granting our every wish. He’s our BFF and the “big man” up there. He’s portrayed as the “if it feels right to you do it” Jesus. He’s seen as the, “I believe in you, but let me live how I want” Jesus…I can just do what I want and ask for forgiveness later Jesus. He’s the “you can come to me without repentance because how you live doesn’t really matter” Jesus.

But is that the God and Savior of the bible? Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.”

Revelation 19:11-16 is an awesome picture of the Jesus I serve. “Then I saw heaven opened and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on His head. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself. He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God the Almighty. And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” That’s the Jesus I serve, not some namby-pamby Jesus in skinny jeans. I serve the One who is holy and righteous, full of power and glory and can change lives and heal broken hearts…the One who was and is and is coming again to judge the world by the standard of His Word.

Will we even recognize Him when He comes again?

The Greatest Commandment

When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they came together. And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love Yahweh 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. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”—Matthew 22:34-40

I wonder why when the Pharisees were trying to test Yeshua, (because they were trying to prove He taught against Torah) and they asked Him which command in the law is the greatest He quoted from Torah…Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. And then I wonder why Yeshua would say that, if He came to abolish the Law…hmmm…using the Law to abolish the Law…is that even possible? And then, “All the Law and Prophets depend on these two commands.” So if we obey the Law…we fulfill these commandments and vice versa…if we obey these two commands…we fulfill the Law. Interesting…

Just some wonderings to think on…

Whatever…

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9

I’ve heard this verse many times. I can quote most of it, and I try to live this verse. It is amazing to me how much information our brains take in every day whether we are aware of it or not. The things we hear, the things we see…all get inside our brains consciously or subconsciously. We need to be very careful what we allow into our temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). What are we watching? What are we reading? What are we listening to?

I had an interesting exchange with someone recently. When the whole hubbub with Miley Cyrus twerking was going on, this person just had to see what the excitement was all about and watch the replays. “It’s only a couple of minutes,” she said. What I said to her was this, “Yes, but it’s two minutes of your life you can never get back. Is that how you want to spend your time?” Now, I’ve thought before about how I spend my time…but after I said that, I have really been thinking about it. Time is a gift…time is precious…how do I spend the time that I have been allotted? Granted, it’s not watching someone twerk…but there are definite areas in my life where I can be spending my time more wisely.

Paul exhorts us to focus on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable; in other words, things that reflect Yahweh and things that please Yahweh. How do we know if the things we are seeing, reading, and listening to are meeting these criteria? What standard should we be using to measure our activities? Obviously we need to start with the Word of Yahweh. We need to anchor ourselves in Him and His Word…know Him and His Word…meditate on His Word…Let His Word guide us in every area of our life.

Why is this so important? It’s just a little TV show here…a little music there? Well…as the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” What we take into our minds will eventually come out as words and actions. So, how do we represent our Savior? Do the things we see, read, and listen to line up with the Word of Yahweh? Does how we spend our time honor Him? Are we using the gift of time that we have been allotted to live intentionally, bring honor and glory to Yahweh, and not regret that we can’t get that moment in time back?

Remember: Whatever…is true…is honorable…is just…is pure…is holy…is commendable…dwell on these things.

A Tale of Two Houses

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’ Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”—Matthew 7:13-27

I was thinking about the houses built on sand and on rock the other day, so I looked it up. I noticed that it started with the word therefore, which I have been told to back up and see what it is there for. I found it quite interesting how the verses fit together. One thing that really stuck out to me as I was reading and meditating on His Word is this: “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock.” “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” It clearly shows that there should be action involved…James 1:22-25 comes to mind. “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror. For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but one who does good works—this person will be blessed in what he does.”  If we take on the name of Yeshua, we are called to act like it, by keeping His commands, and walking as He walked (1 John 2:3-6).

Then I began thinking about the storm…”the rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded the house.” Is that the “storms of life”? That’s what I always thought, but I began to dig a little deeper and was led to Isaiah 28:16-17, “Therefore the Lord God said: “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; the one who believes will be unshakable. And I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the mason’s level. Hail will sweep away the false refuge, and water will flood your hiding place.”” And also, Ezekiel 13:10-13, “Since they have led My people astray saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, for when someone builds a wall they plaster it with whitewash, therefore, tell those who plaster it that it will fall. Torrential rain will come, and I will send hailstones plunging down, and a windstorm will be released. Now when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, ‘Where is the coat of whitewash that you put on it?’ So this is what the Lord God says: I will release a windstorm in My wrath. Torrential rain will come in My anger, and hailstones will fall in destructive fury.” It sounds like the storm represents Yahweh’s judgment. And the person who hears and doesn’t act will not be able to stand in judgment; but the one who hears and acts on the Words of Yeshua will be able to withstand the time of judgment.

Now, about acting on the Words of Yeshua…”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”(John 1:1) “Yeshua is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God remains forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18) When I look outside, I see the earth is still here…actually I found in the Word where the heaven and earth do pass away…hint…it’s not until the end…Revelation 21:1.

Here’s the point…”His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.”—2 Peter 1:3-11

We have everything we need to pursue holiness. A paraphrase of something I read the other day…The cross is the beginning of our faith walk; not the place where we plant our chairs and remain until His return. Yeshua said, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) We must make Yeshua our Lord, not just our Savior. Are we allowing Him be Lord of our lives? There is action required. Which foundation are we building our houses on? Are we sand dwellers or Rock dwellers?