BREAKING: Jewish Nation-State Bill Becomes Law

An ancient mosaic depicting the 12 tribes of Israel

The final draft of the Jewish Nation-State Basic Law was approved Wednesday by an 8 to 7 committee vote after government officials and Knesset members wrangled over key details in the text.  The bill then went to a final vote very early Thursday morning (Israeli time) and passed it’s second and third readings in the full Knesset with a vote of 62 to 55.  The third reading is final and because of this successful vote, the bill now becomes law.  As an Israeli Basic Law, it has constitutional weight and supersedes regular statutory legislation.

In my estimation, July 19, 2018 will go down in history as one of the most significant dates in Israel’s prophetic history—right up there with May 14, 1948 and June 7, 1967.  1948 was the restoration of the nation-state itself, 1967 the restoration of the nation’s capital, and 2018 the restoration of the nation’s biblical identity.

The Knesset’s final vote on the Nation-State Basic Law very early on July 19, 2018
Arab MKs tore copies of the new Basic Law in protest after the conclusion of the vote and there has been a firestorm of negative media targeting Israel because of the bill.  Western and Arab media alike are falsely accusing Israel of becoming a “fascist” apartheid state.  No doubt Israel’s enemies will see the bill’s passage as an excuse for further attacks.

Thousands have gathered in Tel Aviv to protest the legislation:

I’ve been following the progression of this law through the Knesset since March, recognizing that if it were to pass this year it would undoubtedly make 2018 as prophetically significant as 1948 and 1967.  Well, it passed.  It happened.  And it happened 70 years since the nation was established—the length of a biblical generation according to Psalm 90:10.  Israel’s biblical and Jewish identity has now been restored, along with its prophetic purpose to in-gather the exiles and possess the Holy Land.  Even more amazing, it was exactly one year ago this week that Israel temporarily regained control of the Temple Mount and Jewish prayers were first offered openly on the ancient Temple platform.

The new Jewish Nation-State Basic Law makes official that:
  • The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people only (as God’s covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stipulates); from 1948 to 2018 it was the land of both Jews and Arabs
  • The Israelites’ ancient language, Hebrew, is now the official language of the land
  • The biblical calendar is now the official calendar of Israel
  • Keeping the biblical Sabbath is now a nationwide requirement
  • The biblical festivals and holidays are now officially recognized by the state and must be kept nationwide
  • The Israeli government must work to complete ingathering the exiles—a prophetic term pertaining to the end of the age when the dispersed Israelites would return to the land; furthermore, the law makes official Israel’s connection to the Diaspora
  • Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel
  • Jewish settlement of the Holy Land is now a “national value” and will be officially encouraged by the government—further bringing Israel back on track for God’s prophetic program of the Israelites possessing the land
  • The state shall act in official capacity to preserve the Jewish religion around the world
  • The Star of David is the official flag, the Second Temple’s Menorah is the official state symbol, and Hatikvah, a poem which formalizes the Israelites’ prophetic desire to return to Zion, is the official national anthem
  • Interestingly, it seems that the bill changes the official name of Israel from the “State of Israel” to just “Israel”
1948: THE NATION OF ISRAEL REBORN →
 
1967: JERUSALEM RETAKEN →
 
2018: THE LAND’S BIBLICAL IDENTITY RESTORED

A major dispensational change is now imminent when God will return His focus to the restoration of Israel:

When they finished, James spoke up. ‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘listen to me.  Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles.  The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

‘After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things—
things known from long ago.’

– – –

The final text of the new law is as follows:

Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People

1 — Basic principles 

A. The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.

B. The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.

C. The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.

2 — The symbols of the state 

A. The name of the state is “Israel.”

B. The state flag is white with two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.

C. The state emblem is a seven-branched menorah with olive leaves on both sides and the word “Israel” beneath it.

D. The state anthem is “Hatikvah.”

E. Details regarding state symbols will be determined by the law.

3 — The capital of the state 

Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.

4 — Language 

A. The state’s language is Hebrew.

B. The Arabic language has a special status in the state; Regulating the use of Arabic in state institutions or by them will be set in law.

C. This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.

5 — Ingathering of the exiles 

The state will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles.

6 — Connection to the Jewish people 

A. The state will strive to ensure the safety of the members of the Jewish people in trouble or in captivity due to the fact of their Jewishness or their citizenship.

B. The state shall act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people.

C. The state shall act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious heritage of the Jewish people among Jews in the Diaspora.

7 — Jewish settlement 

A. The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.

8 — Official calendar 

The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the Gregorian calendar will be used as an official calendar. Use of the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar will be determined by law.

9 — Independence Day and memorial days 

A. Independence Day is the official national holiday of the state.

B. Memorial Day for the Fallen in Israel’s Wars and Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day are official memorial days of the State.

10 — Days of rest and sabbath 

The Sabbath and the festivals of Israel are the established days of rest in the state; Non-Jews have a right to maintain days of rest on their Sabbaths and festivals; Details of this issue will be determined by law.

11 — Immutability 

This Basic Law shall not be amended, unless by another Basic Law passed by a majority of Knesset members.

It’s All About Faith

Have you ever had a sin that you just couldn’t quit?  I have.  A couple of them actually.  Jesus changed a lot overnight, but there were some things I continued to struggle with.  I was talking to my friend, and I was contemplating out loud why God hasn’t removed a particular one.  “Ask Him” they advised.

I was confused… I began to explain how I have grieved this sin, have pled with God to remove it, but for some reason I can’t seem to stop stumbling back into it.  “I don’t think you really have asked” they replied.  Say What?!  I have asked for so long every day to take this sin from me.

So I went to the Lord and asked Him to show me where I am not understanding  how to ask.  And I prayed and prayed and prayed some more.  I dug into the word and asked that He show me the truth, so that I could understand why I continue to commit this sin, in light of how I know it doesn’t please Him… why I can’t let it go.

As Jesus would have it, by honestly seeking His wisdom on the matter through His word, I realized my friend was right.  I was asking God to remove it, but not to truly wanting Him to give me the strength to release it.  I wanted God to supernaturally make it just go away the way He did in other areas.  I didn’t want to lean on Him and flee from evil.  I simply wasn’t willing to trust Him to help.  Because if I am honest I really didn’t want Him to in those hidden places of my heart.

So, in light of that I prayed a little differently, by praying His word of truth over the matter.

  1. I confessed my lack of trust Psalm 40:4
  2. I asked God to give me a deeper hunger for his word Hebrews 4:12
  3. I repented of my willful blindness to His truth about anything I haven’t wanted to hear John 12:40
  4. I recommitted all details of my life big and small to God Proverbs 16:3

1 John 5:14-15
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

I posted 1 John 5:14-15 everywhere.  The bathroom, my office, my car, the wall next to my side of the bed, etc, so that I could meditate and grow in faith, until the Holy Spirit let it take root.

Praise God for His wisdom and help when we sincerely ask.

 

 

 

“Commandments of Jesus “

The Commandments of Jesus must not be confused with the “Ten Commandments” in the Old Testament.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” (John 14:15, KJV).

As you study these commandments (orders) of Jesus it will become evident that God is not only the God of Grace, He is also the God of expectations. You will also see that obeying the Commandments of Jesus will bring rewards beyond measure.

For example, “Ye must be born again” (Jn 3:7), is considered to be one of the Commandments of Jesus. Those who obey receive Eternal Life!

The Old Testament Commandments beautifully teach what God considers to be sin, but they require perfection, and no person has ever been perfect (good enough), so it can only bring condemnation.

However, Jesus, being the “Son of God” and therefore perfect, could and did live up to the requirements of the Old Testament Law, and by doing so was qualified to die in the place of all who would accept Him as their Savior.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1). Jesus paid it all!

“The Greatest Commandment”

Jesus was asked: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” (Matt 22:36-40, Amp).

“The Golden Rule”

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets,” ((Matt 7:12 NIV).

Although these Commandments of Jesus are not in numerical order as are the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, most Bible Scholars agree that they are most assuredly the Commandments of Jesus.


The Commandments of Jesus
From the Four Gospels

1. “When you stand praying, forgive”

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins.” (Mark 11:25-26 NIV)

2. “You must be born again”

“You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.” (John 3:7 KJV)

3. “Remain in Me and I will remain in you”

When you ask Jesus into your heart and He becomes your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit lives in you, and you in Him. Here Jesus uses a grapevine to compare our relationship with Him. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” ( John 15:4 NIV)

4. “Let your light shine before men”

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. ” In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven,” (Matt 5:14;16 NIV).

5. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary”

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.” (Matt 5:25 NIV)

6. “Get rid of whatever causes you to sin”

“If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matt 5:29-30 NIV)

7. “Do Not Swear at All”

“But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matt 5: 34-37, KJV)

8. “Do Not Resist an Evil Person”

(Turning the other cheek.)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,” (Matt 5:38-39 NIV).

9. “Giving More than is Demanded”

(Going the extra mile)

“And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you,” (Matt 5:40-42 NIV).

10. “Love Your Enemies”

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” (Matt 5:43-45 NIV).

11. “Give to Please God, Not to be Seen”

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven,” (Matt 6:1 NIV).

12. “Pray Privately, Not to be Seen by Men”

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words,”
(Matt 6:5-7 NIV)

13. “This, then, is how you should pray”

“This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins,” (Matt 6:9-15 NIV).

14. “Fast Without Fanfare”

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full,” (Matt 6:16 NIV).

15. “Do not Store up Treasures on Earth”

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,”
(Matt 6:19-21 NIV).

16. “Do not Worry about Your Needs”

“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 important than food, and the body more important 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?” (Matt 6:25-26 NIV). Commandments of Jesus

17. “Do not Worry about Tomorrow”

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” (Matt 6:34 NIV).

18. “Place God First”

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matt 6:33 NIV).

19. “Do not Judge”

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,”
(Matt 7:1-2 NIV).

20. “Guard what is Sacred”

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces,”
(Matt 7:6 NIV).

21. “Ask, Seek, and Knock”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,”
(Matt 7:7 NIV).

22. “Care for Those in Distress”

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me,”
(Matt 25:34-36 NIV).

23. “Enter Through the Narrow Gate”

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,”
(Matt 7:13-14 NIV).

24. “Watch out for false prophets”

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves,” (Matt 7:15 NIV).

25. “Exercise Spiritual Power”

“He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness,” (Matt 10:1 NIV).

“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give,” (Matt 10:8 NIV).”

26. “Do not Despise Childlike Believers”

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven,” (Matt 18:10 NIV). Commandments of Jesus

27. “Do not Exalt Yourself”

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” (Matt 23:8-12 NIV).

28. “Settle Disputes Between Believers in this Manner…”

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector,”
(Matt 18:15-17 NIV).

29. “Do not Oppose Other Christian Groups”

“Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us,” (Mark 9:38-40 NIV).

30. “Have Complete Faith in God”

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,” (Mark 11:22-24 NIV).

31. “Do as the Good Samaritan Did”

“The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise,”
(Luke 10:30-37 NIV).

32. “Love One Another”

(This commandment of Jesus summarizes all the others.)

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you,” (John 15:12 KJV).

33. “Do this in Remembrance of Me”

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'”
“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you,'” (Luke 22:19-20 NIV).

34. “You Should also Wash One Another’s Feet”

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet,”
(John 13:14 NIV).

35. “Be Merciful”

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful,”
(Luke 6:36 NIV).

36. “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations, Baptizing Them”

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,”
(Matt 28:19-20 NIV).

37. “Obey What I Command”

“If you love me, you will obey what I command,”
(John 14:15 NIV).

38. “You Must be Ready”

“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him,”
(Luke 12:40 NIV). Commandments of Jesus

Little Lessons

I have a family member, I will call them Thorn (since they are an ongoing thorn in my side).  I love them deeply, but they are like a very course sandpaper to me at times. As the people we love most often are. Our biggest challenge is our communication styles.  Thorn and I have a language style that is so different, we can sometimes fight even when we are on the same page, because we simply can’t understand what the other is saying.  It’s not intentional by either of us.  It is simply a different thought processes that try as we might, can easily become confusing and frustrating.

As I have been fasting and praying for the Lord to break me, to spring forth ever more fruits of the Spirit in me, Thorn has become more confrontational and reactive to me.  It always goes this way.  Whenever I seek more of God, He responds with more refining.

I went to my “closet” and prayed for Father to reveal what I should do to walk in His way through this situation.

I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. Psalm 57:2 

As Jesus would have it, He compelled me not to go back and try to fix the problem. Instead He urged in the Spirit to go clean our kitchen chairs.  I didn’t understand why this would be His response. I want to fix this frustration, and want Him to help me right it.  Instead, of gaining understanding of what to say or do, I felt convicted to simply go clean chairs.

I must confess, I really wanted God to correct thorn and right what was wronged on my behalf. Oh wretched man that I am.

After a time of wrestling with God, with begrudging hands I got a bowl of soapy water and a rag.  I sat down and began to wipe the 1st chair.  But that wasn’t quite right, He further instructed me to get a scrubbing brush and cotton swabs. To sit and really focus on each detail of the chair, to inspect for any spots that needed extra attention, check the screws, inspect for hidden dirty spots underneath, which no one sees.  Further, do it not for the sake of cleanness, but for the sake of doing it well in the sight of my Father.

 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

As I began the tedious task the Holy Spirit suddenly grew in me a desire to give 100% to this chore, realizing I was doing it for His eyes only.  As I really leaned in to it, I lost sight of my anger, my hurt, my ego.  And I began to pray that God would give me a kinder spirit, that He would remove the confusion in our midst.  I began to think loving thoughts about thorn, I began to understand that this fighting affects them too. It became more and more as I cleaned and prayed, not about getting thorn to see it my way, but rather how am I reflecting Jesus in the situation. How am I trusting Him to direct my heart in the midst of battle, rather than trying to do it in my flesh?

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 

 

I went on to clean all 6 chairs, slowly and with care.  By the time I finished, I no longer cared about the subject we were fighting about. I was instead reflecting on the many times I have been unjustly angry at God.  Or willfully disobeyed.  Yet He has had infinite compassion on my shortcomings, and graciously forgives me when I stumble.  In light of that, I had compassion for thorn and I repented of my selfish motives.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 

Even though thorn still had hostility when I finished cleaning those chairs, I had none.  I approached thorn humbly even though it felt like I was trying to hug a cactus, there was so much hostility.  I looked past the anger and kept my heart focused on leaning into Jesus.  I was able to react in love and respect, till thorn began to relax and gave up trying to revive the fight.  There wasn’t a resolution, just a cease fire.  But still, I walked away feeling at peace and was able to receive more of the love of Jesus in the midst of it.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Does this mean that there won’t be more conflict with thorn or that I will now be perfect in my responses?  Oh how I wish that were true. However, Conflict and hardship is how I learn to lean into Jesus. Trials no matter how big or small are a refinement to me.

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3:13

He is my good good Father, who corrects and reproves. He gives me more faith, the more I trust Him and accept His instruct, both through His word and in the Spirit.  Even when I don’t always initially understand it.

Who knew a simple task of chair cleaning would bring about such profound understanding.  Jesus … that’s who.

 

A Call to Anguish – David Wilkerson

Romans 9:2-4 (KJV)

2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Resist Temptation

Our enemy knows our weaknesses as humans and will seek to exploit them to make us fall. Even at our best, we are weak and need God’s strength.

God has given us armor and weapons, but their power comes from God.

2 Corinthians 10:4 says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” In God we have divine power to destroy strongholds, fight battles, and gain victory.

Cry out to Him to fight for you and with you. You can’t do it on your own. Rely on God, put on your armor, pick up your sword, and fight.

Prepare For Battle

Dear Heavenly Father, today we put on the full armor to guard our lives against attack. We put on the belt of truth to protect against lies and deception. We put on the breastplate of righteousness to protect our hearts from the temptations we battle. We put the gospel of peace on our feet, so we’re ready to take your light wherever you send us this day. We choose to walk in the peace and freedom of your Spirit and not be overcome with fear and anxious thoughts. We take up your shield of faith that will extinguish all the darts and threats hurled our way by the enemy. We believe in your power to protect us and choose to trust in you. We put on the helmet of salvation, which covers our minds and thoughts, reminding us we are children of the day, forgiven, set free, saved by the grace of Christ Jesus. We take up the sword of the Spirit, your very Word, the one offensive weapon given to us for battle, which has the power to demolish strongholds, alive, active, and sharper than any double-edged sword.

In the mighty name of Jesus – Amen

Be Thankful

Psalm 100

1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations

Do Not Worry

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34

It is a pity that this passage (Matthew 6:25-34) is often read on its own in church, isolated from what has gone before. Then the significance of the introductory “Therefore I tell you” is missed. So we must begin by relating this “therefore,” this conclusion of Jesus, to the teaching which has led up to it. He calls us to thought before he calls us to action. He invites us to look clearly and coolly at the alternatives before us and to weigh them up carefully. We want to accumulate treasure? Then which of the two possibilities is the more durable? We wish to be free and purposive in our movements? Then what must our eyes be like to facilitate this? We wish to serve the best master? Then we must consider which is the more worthy of our devotion.

Only when we have grasped with our minds the comparative durability of the two treasures (corruptible and incorruptible), the comparative usefulness of the two eye conditions (light and darkness) and the comparative worth of the two masters (God and mammon), are we ready to make our choice. And only when we have made our choice–for heavenly treasure, for light, for God—”therefore I tell you” this is how you must go on to behave: “do not be anxious about your life…nor about your body…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (25, 33).

In In Other words, our basic choice of which of the two masters we intend to serve will radically affect our attitude to both. We shall not be anxious about the one (for we have rejected it), but concentrate our mind and energy on the other (for we have chosen him); we shall refuse to become engrossed in our own concerns, but instead “seek first” the concerns of God.

–John Stott, Christian Counter Culture: The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, p. 159-160

A Gentle Witness


We as followers of Christ can be tolerant of people of diverse religious beliefs without compromising our Christian convictions.

When the Apostle Paul came to Athens, he was distressed by the idolatry he saw. Yet he spoke respectfully to this pagan audience, even affirming the words of some of their poets. He didn’t denounce his hearers, nor criticize their beliefs, but began by declaring truths they would not find offensive. He spoke of God’s greatness as our Creator. He said that God is actively involved with mankind so that people might seek Him and find Him.

Paul didn’t compromise the truth. He showed the folly of worshiping idols and boldly declared that God commanded people everywhere to repent. He further stated that God had appointed a Man to judge the world and proved this by raising Him from the dead.

In global society we will come in contact with more and more people of different religious beliefs and practices. Our witness will be most effective when we avoid quarrels and arguments, and share our faith with respect, kindness, and gentleness. The Holy Spirit will bring conviction and enlightenment as people see the truth lived out in us.

Meekness

Pautes, or praotes, denotes “meekness.”
In its use in Scripture … it consists not in a person’s “outward behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an in wrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word tapeinophrosune [humility], and follows directly upon it, Eph 4:2; Col 3:12 … it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him …”
The meaning of prautes “is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity to a greater or less extent, whereas prautes does nothing of the kind … It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.
The word praus, “meekness,” means “power under control.” Praus was used by the Greeks for a war horse that was trained to obey instantly and absolutely, no matter how great the confusion of battle. The Lipizzaner stallions are a modern rendition of the ancient Greek warhorse. Some of the stunts these horses do—such as the capriole, where the horse leaps straight up in the air and kicks his hind legs back—were actually used by the Greeks in training their horses for battle.
When the Greeks could take a horse, with the phenomenal inherent power that can propel a thousand-pound animal at speeds over 35 miles an hour, and bring that magnificent animal under the total control of just a touch—maybe just leg pressure or knee pressure—and have that horse do exactly what they wanted, then they called that horse praus.
When we talk about the meekness of Jesus Christ, what do we mean? We are talking about the Creator of the universe, who measures the universe with the span of His hand, walking around among members of the human race, allowing people to abuse Him, to afflict Him, and ultimately to put Him on the cross. That is what the word praus means. It means that He could have snuffed out the universe with the snap of His fingers, but He had His power under control.
(See “meekness” or “gentleness” as applied to the Lord Jesus Christ: Mat 11:29, Mat 21:5; 2Co 10:1; as applied to believers: Mat 5:5; 1Co 4:21; 2Co 10:1; Gal 5:23, Gal 6:1; Col 3:12; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:25; Tit 3:2; Jam 1:21, Jam 3:13; 1Pe 3:4, 1Pe 3:15.)

http://www.basictraining.org/print.php?nid=216

Holy Spirit

There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord
There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
No thing can compare
You’re our living hope
Your presence, Lord
I’ve tasted and seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone
Your presence, Lord
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Your presence, Lord
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Songwriters: Katie Torwalt / Bryan Andrew Wilson

Scoffers

There is no reason to be surprised that people scoff at the gospel. In 2 Peter 3:1-9 Peter says that in the last days “scoffers will come.” Peter diagnoses this scoffing as a clear indication that people are following their own evil desires. They want to create God in their image. They want to believe

  • There is no absolute standard
  • They can do whatever they want (and can get away with)
  • There is no ultimate accountability.

If these people accept the fact that Jesus is Lord and someday will return in Judgment, they would have to rethink the way they live their entire lives. They are unwilling to do so.


Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.2 Peter 3:3-4

“They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways. ‘Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, And what would we gain if we entreat Him?’ Job 21:14-15

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Proverbs 26:4.


The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14


If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22


And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15

Abba Father, Our heart is grieving for those we love, which are lost! Their souls are in the hands of the enemy and they don’t know it! Father, please use us to shine the light of truth to them, even when they scoff! Lord, we wish they could see what we see, to know what we know! Give us the words to speak to them! Give us peace of mind to withstand this chaos and be Your servant to the lost. In Jesus precious name Amen

Forgive Yourself

Forgiving Yourself – A Belief System

Forgiving yourself is essential. There is a tendency in all of us to hold ourselves more accountable than we do others. Perhaps you have been one who can justify forgiving others, even for a heinous offense, yet you find no justification for forgiving yourself for an equal or lesser offense. Perhaps you believe that forgiving yourself is not even a consideration because you think you must hold yourself in a state of constant remembrance, lest you forget. Perhaps you believe there is a price, some form of life-long penance that you must pay.

Forgiving Yourself – The Divine Example
Forgiving yourself is not specifically addressed in the Bible, but there are principles regarding forgiveness that should be applied. For example, when God forgives us, it states that He remembers our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34). This does not mean that our all-knowing Father God forgets, but rather, because He forgives us, He chooses not to bring up our sin in a negative way. Peter said, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). Applying “no partiality” to the issues of forgiveness, God does not choose to forgive one person and not another. He forgives everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. Applying His “no partiality” standards to ourselves, it is just as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive others.

Forgiving yourself is not about forgetting. It is about not bringing the offense up to yourself in negative ways. Forgiving yourself is simply letting go of what you are holding against yourself so that you can move on with God. If God has moved on, shouldn’t we do the same? Philippians 4:9 states that we are to put into practice those things that we have learned from God and from His Word. To continue to rehearse in our thoughts the events of our transgression, opposes Philippians 4:8 which tells us to dwell on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.

Forgiving Yourself – Personal Action
Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The energy it takes to harbor anger, hatred, and resentment towards yourself is exhaustive. Every bit of energy we give to negative activities and dwelling on regrets, robs us of the energy we need to become the person God wants us to be.

Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual. Forgiving ourselves does not let us off the hook, it does not justify what we have done, and it is not a sign of weakness. Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength, and it gives us the opportunity to become an overcomer rather than remaining a victim of our own scorn.

If you do not forgive yourself of past sins, it is a form of pride. Whenever we enact a different set of rules, a higher set of standards for ourself over others, that is pride. When we can find it within ourself to forgive others, but not ourselves, we are saying that we are less capable of making a poor decision than others. We are somehow more intuitive, wiser, more insightful, more careful than others, and therefore, we are without excuse and should not forgive ourselves. When we reject the forgiveness extended to us by God and others, when we refuse to forgive ourselves, what we are doing is setting ourselves above others and that is pride! Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Unforgiveness of oneself will bring self-destruction, a haughty spirit, and a fall. Christian forgiveness will bring peace.

Forgiving Yourself – Helping Others and Yourself
Forgiving yourself is also important for those in your sphere of influence. It is a well-known fact that hurting people hurt others. The longer you avoid forgiving yourself, the longer you allow yourself to harbor the feelings that you deserve to suffer for what you did, the more explosive you will become and, therefore, the more apt you are to hurt others.

The reality is that you cannot change what has happened. You cannot restore lives to where they were before the event. However, you can make a difference in the lives of others. You can give back some of what you have taken away by finding a different place to invest your time and compassion. Forgive yourself and let the healing begin!

Forgiving yourself will change the direction of your life. Consider the following prayer. Read quietly through the following declaration and then read it aloud. Or perhaps you would like to use your own words. Whichever you do, give voice to it. You need to hear yourself forgive yourself! There is great power in the spoken word!

Dear Heavenly Father, I understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness and there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing. I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the vows I have made to never forgive myself. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself–to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself. I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing. God, help me to NEVER again retain unforgiveness of myself or others. Thank you for loving me and for Your grace to move forward with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

https://www.allaboutgod.com/forgiving-yourself.htm

TRUST GOD FIRST

Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You
Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praisein God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Father, sometimes it does feel that you have left us in the battle. We know that you are with us, but so are our feelings of aloneness. The Enemy seems to be taking ground. We know you are at work, but help us trust you in the midst of our questions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sowing Seeds

Luke 8:4-8

The Parable of the Sower

4 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.”When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”