Worship in Sprit, Truth and Faith – 10-06-22

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” John 4:23 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Gospel of John chapter 4 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah

Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria.

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

The Whitened Harvest

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”

28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

The Savior of the World

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.

42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed [a]the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Welcome at Galilee

43 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. 45 So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they also had gone to the feast.

A Nobleman’s Son Healed

46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain [b]nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”

49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”

52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.

54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

Footnotes
a.John 4:42 NU omits the Christ
b.John 4:46 royal official

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Philippians 1:6- 

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

It was a nondescript day, in an unrememorable season, of a depressed year of my complacent life. If I was breathing or not – I do not even remember and at that time, I am sure I did not even care. Was I even alive? Truth be told I was dead and dried up – just dusty bones.
On my phone my blind eyes not even seeing and my thumb out of habit and not intention scrolled through a news feed of death, temptations, and distractions – when by accident it stopped on a preacher. And Italian from New Jersey who’s accent confirmed every stereo type. And what he said, I cannot remember. But it cut into my dried corpse. And it found a dried up and dormant seed.
His words, that sword turned into a river of life watered that seed.  At that moment all the thing I ever did were revealed, convicted, and I was so dry and thirsty, I lapped up the water in repentance – Grace, beautiful grace, began a work in me like nothing else I have ever experienced.  

Today John tells us of a Samaritan woman, who I imagine felt much like I did on that fateful day – which began as an ordinary dull day.

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 
“Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, 
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered and said to her, 
“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
16 Jesus said to her, 
“Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, 
“You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
21 Jesus said to her, 
“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, 
“I who speak to you am He.

Jesus had not told anyone He was the messiah until now. And it was a woman he told first – a hot mess of a woman too! Jesus met her doing her daily work. She did not go climb a mountain for get alone – she did not seek him – just in the middle of the routine, doldrums of the daily grind, He came and cut into her heart, found a seed and watered it.

When I had my experience – I said Lord, if I am going to worship you – it must be in truth – you must be who you say you are, signs and wonders must follow, and people must be healed, delivered and saved. Worship, communion, anointing, and power must flow no matter where.
And when this woman had her experience – the first thing she says is I will need to be able to worship you here in my life. You need to be real and who you say you are HERE not in the temple in Jerusalem where Samaritans are not able to go.
We both needed a REAL God where we were at and with the people we were surrounded by – not someplace else in some other form. And for both of us Jesus answers the same:
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Humbly repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand – and in our humility, he wants raw honesty. It is honesty that is worship, it is humility that is worship, and it is our spirit that communes with God in worship!

After my experience, I began telling people what God did for me. I was set on fire and could not resist taking any and every opportunity to speak about God. SO much so that people told me I would push everyone away by speaking of God nonstop. And I may have – but I drew many into the kingdom. And chances are that if we got together I would inevitable spend the whole time talking about God.
So it is NO surprise when this lovely lady did the same thing:

28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.”

Jesus not only saved her – she was commissioned as the first evangelist!

35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

The seeds had been planted in Samaria and they were ripe for harvest. In our world there are more seeds planted than there are waterers and more plants that are ready to be harvested and we have planters dropping seeds instead of harvesting. It is the fall – literally, and it is the harvest time,  for most of the world. We have the harvest rains – the latter rains. Stop throwing seed and… Lord, please open their eyes to see a world hungry for you!

I am not going line by line – so in a part that is not quoted Jesus refers to the work of God as his bread. John, the writer and a Jew, uses symbolism beautifully throughout all of his writings.  Water/Wine usually represent abundance, blessings, exceedingly abundant. And bread is provisions for needs and the basic work God has called us to.
For example, I get food from the food pantry – it is bread. I got a couple fancy pillows – it is water.
And just like every other Jewish symbol – we can also cross reference every time water/wine and bread are used in a symbolic way. This excludes when speaking of drinking too much wine and being a drunkard. In that case there is no symbolism.
You will see these symbols used often and I did not want to miss the chance to encourage you to go deeper when you see them used.

42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Many were saved that day, because of that woman’s faith – then Jesus stayed there for a couple more days and even more were saved.

Now, John is describing the land scape as it was, not in the year 90 when people say this was written, but as it was earlier when Jesus was with them. The landscape changed in the year 70 when the Romans troops came through and destroyed so much. John expects us to know the landscape and the area.

46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.”

What we should just know, because John’s reader just knew is that it would have taken that nobleman 6 to 9 hours to get to Jesus on the roads they traveled on then. Possibly more as it was all uphill. Although his son was “at the point of death” – so maybe he ran and it took less time.

Jesus asks him if he is just seeking signs and wonders (and not Jesus) and the man, not hearing the nonsense, and having already asked once, respond with a demand:
49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

I need you, Lord I need you. Every Hour I need you. My one defense – my healing God – Lord how I need you!
I cannot seem to get that song/prayer out of my mind. How desperately I need a healer, I need a savior, I need a provider – I am desperate for Him. And He does do all these thing. It is ok to come to Him for healing, as long as you are coming to Him and if the healing doesn’t come, you will stay and if the healing does come, you will stay believing, trusting, and loving Him.
Once Jesus knew the man’s heart he says:

50 Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way.”

The man believed.
Above the lady believed and ran to town to tell everyone. Here the man believes and it was about the 7th hour – if he hurried home or paid someone to take him by horse or by chariot, he’d be home by afternoon and able to see his healed son and sleep. But this nobleman believed so well, he took his time, stayed the night, walked home the next day – a downhill journey probable a 6 or 7 hour walk.

51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”
52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 
53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.”

I probably would have ran back to my baby, being worried until the healing manifested. But that is not faith – that is looking for a sign. Seeing is believing. This man rested in peace. Perfect peace. Took a leisurely stroll home. Too way too much time to walk a short distance.

Have you ever stopped to wonder about this? About why, and how this man would linger? Maybe he stuck around to listen to Jesus preach some?
When anxiety comes into our lives about provisions and we can hardly imagine an exceedingly abundant – when fear is whispering in our ear, we need to stand resolute and solid. This father believed and grace transformed him, he was overcome with peace and amazing faith.  This is the type of faith I have always longed for. I pray, believing and move on to the next things without worry of concern. I just pray I know when it is time to be the persistent widow and when it is time to be fervent.

But today in my life and situation, regardless of and temptation to be anxious – I choose peace. I choose to believe. And then I turn my focus to being honest, raw and opened to receive – and pour myself out in worship in spirit and in truth.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Salvation through Grace – 10-05-22

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Gospel of John chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The New Birth

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man [b]who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should [c]not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Footnotes
a.John 3:3 Or from above
b.
John 3:13 NU omits who is in heaven
c.
John 3:15 NU omits not perish but

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Philippians 1:6- 

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Today is the LAST day of the 10 days of Awe, The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. It is a time of humbling waiting on the Lord. And I have been waiting. Lord, I need you! It is traditional for the Jewish people to fast today – as the Lord commands this to be a day of repentance, humility and sacrifice.

The temple is no longer in Jerusalem, but deep inside of us. Our outer courts are our flesh, which must be poured out today and emptied – we must die to self, we must surrender our will to His will, we must give ourselves completely to Christ as He gave Himself for us. We are the sacrifice. Let your fast breaker be communion – and remember it is finished so that in and through us power can move for His Glory and His will. He has the right to tell His story through us any way He wishes.

Today is a day of abandoning the physical and walking in the spirit of humility, through repentance.

Today’s chapter is fitting for such a day. John’s love and sensitivity bring us to the very birth of our spirit man – reborn not of flesh. And then He shows us that we must decrease as Christ increases in us, which is the process of spiritual growth and maturity.

1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Regardless of the impression our Sunday school teachers gave us – ALL Pharisees are not bad. Nicodemus met Jesus and longed to really meet Him. Nicodemus recognized the anointing, the power of God, God’s love – yes, Nicodemus knew God and therefore knew Jesus was also with God.
As we are introduced to Him we see a mad who believes – but is not touched and transformed by grace. He has head knowledge and enough in his heart to believe – but he is not born again.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, 
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Being ‘born again’ is an act of transformation that happens when we receive the work of grace. Daily, at the top of my blog is a quick and easy prayer that can lead you to this powerful act of grace, where grace transforms you into something new. You still look and act like you – but inside you are changed and you know it. No one can take it from you. And if you permit grace to continue to work slowly you are changed inside and out.

Nicodemus still did not fully understand. He was not ready to receive. How do we receive grace, and more grace? Humble repentance of course! This is why a blog about grace cries out, daily, that we must humbly repent – the kingdom of God is at hand!

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

It is a funny thing about the modern church, at least in my experience firsthand. Most are right here next to Nicodemus – They want so badly to be saved and they want to understand – but pride and lack of full repentance keeps them from even completing the very first step – to become born again in spirit and made new inside. I have heard it taught that you do not have to have a change, or a feeling, or an experience when you become saved. And the longer I am in this the more I say – THAT IS A LIE!
I started out like that too, without an encounter with that transforming grace. And without it, I was still perishing. I was still alive in my pride to my wants, my needs, and distorted view. Then I gave up. I surrendered. I laid down and died, pouring myself out like a drink offering. I let go of my sins, addictions, and demons – renounced them, repented of them, and never looked back. That was when grace said, “I have been waiting to do this with you!” and I was changed!
A friend of mine says that the day he was saved he was heading out to get some pot and instead met a street preacher. He gave his heart to Jesus and he said for a week he felt higher than a kite, but without the cloudiness of being stoned – walking a few inches off the ground – he knew he was changed.
I have another friend who was saved as a child and said they felt a hug from Jesus. And because she was a child, there was not much to change – but she knew, that she knew, that she knew, that Jesus was real and had come to be with her.
And brothers and sisters, all over this world can tell you of their experience with grace and how something happened. With mine, it was not until much later that I can relate it to being born again – it was so much I was unable to process it at first. I just knew a fire came inside me and I have been on fire for Christ ever since.
Each one of us, it is different. But one thing is for sure – we can look back and say, I was born that day. Before that I was dead and lifeless and after I am alive and full of zeal! It was the day I began to live.

Jesus lovingly tries to explain it to Nicodemus, using Old Testament characters for a Pharisees to understand – Many of you are gentiles without Hebrew school lessons, so I gave you experiences gentiles had. We can see in Acts when other gentiles were saved, they too had that love filled grace transform them – then the Holy Spirit fill them!

 “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Love. We are reading the wisdom book called Songs of Solomon on the weekends (with our yearlong read through of the 5 wisdom books). The number one wise take away from that book is how much God loves us, and how we should respond. How Jesus is our beloved, and how we should yearn for Him as He yearns for us. How the Holy Spirit will drive us into the streets to fearlessly tell everyone of our love. It is a powerful explanation of Love and if read with grace and the Holy Spirit – can transform you further into a profound understanding of Love.

Once saved – once born again. We become babies in the spirit, babies in our understanding of Christian principles. We can have the Bible memorized, but as babies we cannot step deeper into the spirit and the fullness of Christ until we grow up a little. But many got caught up on a cycle of self-condemnation or are listening to the enemy’s lies.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

Between the accuser, the satan and his minions, condemning us, and our own guilt condemning us, to our brethren condemning us – I have seen entire churches stunted in growth, and mature Christians slide back into this trap.
We end up with an entire church of people who are not even children yet – Jesus said deliverance is for the children! The book of Hebrews, which we just studied and learned, says the immature, babes and children in Christ are the ones laying hand on and healing the sick and casting out demons. But our modern church thinks signs and wonders are for the mature.

How then will they comprehend the depth, the breadth and width of the fullness God has for us to receive?

But first Jesus declares and decrees a deep spiritual principle that even these babes can understand on a basic level. And those in the spirit and foresee and speak into as they war the good fight of faith.

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Let it be, Lord Jesus, according to your words! In the name of Jesus AMEN!
Yes, the truth about fat babies and fat children in the spirit is that they never grow because they are not seeking God and the light, because they are still harboring sin! Hard truth. But you can count on it. Every single person refusing to grow up has a sin.

The evil must be exposed, to come out of some. If you do not humble yourself in the sight of the Lord – He will humble you.

John, the author continues with this thought process as he next tells us of the time Jesus was baptizing people in water. (no, Jesus did not baptize, His disciples did that- you’ll see tomorrow) And John the Baptist disciples caught a case of pride and stunted spiritual growth – which was quickly exposed and taken care of.

22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.”

These two cousins were rocking the world!  John the Baptist literally down the street, preparing people’s hearts and Jesus following up with salvation! This is like the worship and thanksgiving, preparing your heart for a message. It is a beautiful thing working as God made it to work.
That is, until pride slipped in.

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

These same followers of John were there the day Jesus was baptized by John. DO you remember what happened that day?! The sky broke open and dove descended upon Jesus and a voice from the sky thundered and said: “This is my son!”
Hello! These disciples of John saw this and knew Jesus was the Son of God! Weeks, maybe months later they are jealous of Him?!
Now a days many are jealous of other people’s ministries, anointing’s and gifts – and here God Himself in the Flesh – The Christ, comes along and does your ministry BETTER than you! But the truth is each ministry IS God’s and He can raise you up or someone else us. It doesn’t matter which he raises. It does matter which is humble. As it is written:

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10 NKJV

Yes – He lifts up the humble! Except in John the Baptists case.

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John’s joy is full that the Messiah has come. But that means his ministry will fade away. But John fully understands his place in this and how some will reject the Lord. This is why he prepared the way.
But once Jesus comes to any of us we must decrease while Christ in us increases. In John’s world it was in his ministry and even his life in the physical and some of us will be called into it in the physical. But most of us are just being called to our own personal Day of Atonement – repentance, humility, and sacrifice.

31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.”

And we receive by being humble and empting ourselves of our flesh. Learning to walk in the spirit and dwell in the secret place – while still in this world, but not of it.

34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

In chapter one John the writer gives us a summary of the gospel in that Jesus is God come in the flesh to bring us eternal life. In chapter two he sums it up again and here, chapter three is how to get this eternal life, how to live in the spirit, and again a summary of the gospel message.

May God extend more grace t those of you fasting today. May God help you and bless you.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

The Temple – 10-04-22

“Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Gospel of John chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Water Turned to Wine

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.

Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and [a]manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers [b]doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house [c]has eaten Me up.”

18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this [d]to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

The Discerner of Hearts

23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

Footnotes
a.John 2:11 revealed
b.
John 2:14 Lit. sitting
c.
John 2:17 NU, M will eat
d.
John 2:22 NU, M omit to them

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Philippians 1:6- 

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

As far as anyone can tell, none of the gospels are written in chronological order. Mark is immediately everywhere and in his hurry breaks things down to pre-ministry, popular ministry and Passion Week. Matthew expands upon that format and groups together similar spoken lessons of Jesus. Luke expands upon Mark as well but groups according to types of miracles. John seems to be flowing in what is happening in the spirit regardless of what Jesus says or does. He is not focused on the earthly Jesus – but the part that happens in the spirit, long before it is manifested on earth.
We studied Matthew in January, Mark in April, and Luke in July – and having read all of them it is strange to pop open chapter 2 of John and see the cleansing of the temple so early in a gospel. It is however normal to see Jesus’s first miracle (water turned to wine) so early in the gospel.
John did not have chapters and verses when it was first written, and it feels like the first miracle is part of the calling of the disciples. John says He collects His disciples and then we go to this wedding and in the end of the wedding:

11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”

And His disciples believed. So Jesus calls them together and builds their faith.
Again, I say – it makes since to have this at the beginning of the gospel. Maybe it should have come first before all that Jesus being at creation and doing the creating, stuff. And all of the Light stuff that is so abstract to so many.

But if we are speaking of who He is in spirit as He manifests on earth – and we speak of why and who comes to prepare the way – it is very logical to speak of cleansing the temple right at the beginning.

John the Baptist, baptized in water for the remission of sins. He was cleaning the people, and later in the Bible (although we have already studied it) we learn we ARE the temple – and are to live clean and treat it with respect.

13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.”

I always say, when you read the word Temple in the Bible, pause and remember ALL the places the meaning of that word is. Starting in the Garden of Eden, when God walked with Adam. To the Lord being welcome in their homes for prayers and feast and blood on the door posts for the Angel of Death to Passover. To the tabernacles of Moses and Aaron, where the priest could come into His presence. To the Temple of Solomon, and then the temple after the Babylonian exile. Next Jesus as the temple. Then you and I became the temple – can God can walk with us inside ourselves like He walked with Adam in the garden. To the future temple of Ezekiel with the living waters and all nations coming to worship Him there.
Many like to think the temple stops with us – but there is the Ezekiel temple and we are a small part of a larger work God is doing.
It is important to understand and reverence the temple – yes, even ourselves. But adorn it and reverence it to keep it pure and holy! We forget that when we let ourselves get into the flesh about something we are permitting a mudslide of impurity into the holy of holies. And when we take grace for granted knowing we will be forgiven – we forget that the Holy Spirit, Jesus and God have feelings and we are hurting them. And if you want to know how they feel about us defiling ourselves?

15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 

In Romans when Paul is speaking about keeping ourselves pure and holy – he is also correcting the Romans on their sexual promiscuity. So we often only think of sexual sins defiling the temple. But sometimes we are offering service for the people of God, in ourselves (the temple), and have no idea that what we do is defiling. You see good ideas are not always God ideas.
It seemed like a good idea to let people buy a sacrifice there, because some people would not be able to bring one if they lived far away. But not all good ideas are God ideas.

17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

Zeal for you and I, His temple, eats Him up to. Jesus has a hunger for us, a zeal and jealousy, a burning desire for us – and needs us to be clean and holy in order to commune with us. And longs for us to return the burning love.

18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

What signs, asks the Jews who are literally standing there and seeing the healings and miracles of Jesus. Seeing is not believing. It reminds me of our modern day prophesy chasers – always looking for the next word the next thing. And if they cannot get what they want, they move on to the next prophet.
It reminds me of my son who is always looking for a sign that Jesus is real and sign after sign he is still self serving.
We do not need another sign – we need an experience with grace and that only happens when we give up and surrender. But that is NOT what Jesus says – He was here to save us all, not just those few in front of Him. You and I, we can tell our small audiences that the secret is to surrender – get humble and repent, daily. But Jesus needed the Pharisees to yell out “Crucify Him!” As He stood there blameless. Otherwise He wouldn’t have been able to sacrifice Himself for us.
And as a good as God is, Jesus did offer them a sign. If you ever wondered if there was forgiveness and repentance available to those Pharisees? The answer is that they had the sign – all they needed to do was the same thing we need to do: Get humble and repent – seek forgiveness.

19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.”

Jesus’s body as the temple is an often overlooked symbol. I often think of the temple as the place heaven and earth overlap and God and man can commune together. But maybe John understands it in a more clear light – the temple is not a place where two places overlap. Instead it is a who – where two other whos can overlap and become one. The other whos are God and Man. Which, when you think about it, is profound – as Jesus is the intercessor, the bridge, and the way.

22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.”

John concludes another section of writing with taking note of the belief of the disciples – and the calling to remembrance of these things.

23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”

John realized Jesus could discern the hearts of man. It is funny how mankind still lies to themselves about how well Jesus knows our hearts. We also lie to ourselves about our own condition, though, and believe our lie. So I guess if we are not honest with ourselves about the hot mess that we are, why would we be honest about the hot mess with Jesus? I have often prayed with people prayers of deliverance, which always much begin with humble repentance. And as I pray and walk them through the steps, almost every single one says “Lord you know my sins” as their prayer response to my prompt “confess each sin and ask forgiveness”.  We stand there crying out to God – “Deliver me from my foes!” We are desperate for a breakthrough and stand there looking at it, just out of reach and all we need to do is be honest with ourselves and God about our sins, confess them, repent of them, ask forgiveness of them and be free. But we cannot. We cannot be truthful and we cannot let go of them.
Jesus knew their hearts and left them in that state. Hopefully they had another opportunity.

40 years, or one generation, after these words were spoken by The Word, the temple which Jesus cleared out was destroyed by Rome. Modern Israel is ready to rebuild that temple, and if a day is like 1000 years to God, we are in the third day, having completed two and so, it is time for it to be raised again. And the heifers for sacrifice have arrived. The hearts of His children are turning back to Him! Hallelujah! Pay attention to the word temple (and all variations) while reading the Bible!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.

The Word of Light and Grace – 10-03-22

“And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:51 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Gospel of John chapter 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The Eternal Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [a]comprehend it.

John’s Witness: The True Light

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That[b] was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His [c]own, and His [d]own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [e]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The Word Becomes Flesh

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me [f]is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
16 [g]And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten [h]Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

A Voice in the Wilderness

19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’
as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, [i]is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
28 These things were done in [j]Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

The Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who [k]is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

The First Disciples

35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. 36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?”
They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?”
39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour).
40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the [l]Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of [m]Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, [n]A Stone).

Philip and Nathanael

43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!”
48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
49 Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter[o] you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Footnotes

  1. John 1:5 Or overcome
  2. John 1:9 Or That was the true Light which, coming into the world, gives light to every man.
  3. John 1:11 His own things or domain
  4. John 1:11 His own people
  5. John 1:12 authority
  6. John 1:15 ranks higher than I
  7. John 1:16 NU For
  8. John 1:18 NU God
  9. John 1:27 ranks higher than I
  10. John 1:28 NU, M Bethany
  11. John 1:30 ranks higher than I
  12. John 1:41 Lit. Anointed One
  13. John 1:42 NU John
  14. John 1:42 Gr. Petros, usually translated Peter
  15. John 1:51 NU omits hereafter

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Philippians 1:6- 

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

The Book of John was written by the ‘beloved disciple John’; who also write the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd books of John as well as the Book of Revelation.
As discussed before, the Gospel of Mark was written first and then Matthew and Luke. Matthew seemed to take Mark and fill in all the blanks while Luke took Mark and added other’s accounts and wrote it as and for a defense of Paul’s commission to be a missionary of Jesus Christ. John however broke the mold and seems more like a diary of personal experience and revelation than the other Gospels do.
John was the disciple who lived the longest. Most say and think that the Book of John was written around the same time as Revelations – the year 100 or so. I disagree. As we have also discussed in the year 70, an event as, if not more, traumatic than 911 was to our modern world, happened. It was the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem – which changed the geography of the world in the area in which the Gospel was written. In the Book of John, the city, terrain and even the temple are referenced in the tense of still existing while the events of Jesus were in the past tense. So this was not a diary and seemingly written before the year 70.
Also, the terminology for the Apostles, Christians and Church were not established until late in Paul’s ministry. (Paul died in 64/65.)  However, earlier terms, like disciples, were used in this book suggesting it was written much earlier.
With the journaling like quality of the book, I personally like to think it was begun right after Jesus ascended and John continued to work on it for 25 to 30 years – finally releasing it around 64 when Peter and Paul passed away as a means to encourage the church as well as to stand and bear witness to Jesus as the number of those who met Him in person were dwindling. Just my thought.

I favor reading the writings of John above the other writers of the New Testament, like Paul (who wrote the most books), Luke (who wrote the most words), Peter or James. The reason is that a significant portion of John’s mind is submerged in love – He seems to be walking with one foot permanently in the spirit world. His thoughts, revelations, and descriptions of things all seem touched by otherworldliness. John had a revelation of the Christ that no one else had while He was here and a deeper understanding after.

We will read this book and pull out a topic each day to discuss and we will not go line by line as there will be too much each day to do a full line by line study. But while reading and studying – let us ask for that kind of grace that brings more revelation and let us pray for the Holy Spirit to help us understand what is written – because John is writing to a mature believer and we should strive to be mature enough to grasp the deep things presented.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

John begins with a profound and deep revelation of Christ. This was revealed to him through grace and the Holy Spirit. Much was revealed while he walked with Christ and the rest was revealed through the Holy Spirit.
It is literally saying the Bible, aka the Word of God, is not just written under inspiration but it is Jesus Himself. When we are to watch our words – it is because Jesus Himself is in Word. And when the enemy tries to water down or add drops of poison into the scriptures – changing them ever so slightly – it is Jesus Himself the enemy is trying to corrupt.  This is why there is no redemption and forgiveness for the enemy.

There are many who believe John the disciple was also a disciple of John the Baptist. At the least, He was aware of John’s ministry before becoming a disciple of Jesus. John, the writer understood the spiritual dynamics and importance of John the Baptist.
We cannot see or understand what the full significance of this burly man, wearing animal skins and eating locust meant in the spirit. But many times we pray and do not understand in the physical, what is happening in the spirit.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”

I am sure John the Baptist’s significance is much more than bearing witness – as He prepared the way of the Lord. But John the Baptist, being ALSO Jesus’s cousin – but more over being taught by that grace we read about in Titus (the kind of grace that reveals the deeper things of the spirit) – He knew things about Jesus as the Word and Jesus as the Light that most people did not know. But John the author figured out and fell in love with.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”

Jesus came into the very world He created and we did not know our creator. What a shame.

11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”

Jesus came for the Jews and they chanted Crucify Him – John is giving away a lot about how this book ends. It is obvious it is not a diary type journal.

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

It was also written after Peter revealed how God was including the gentiles – as Paul also learned. So verse 13 – is about the inclusion of the gentiles in Jesus’s ministry. Gentiles were not in His immediate scope – but people were reached who would bring it to the gentile as well.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus as the Word – the Genesis 1:1 kind of ‘in the beginning God created the heavens and earth’ spoken word was the very flesh and bones that John the writer walked with and talked with and looked into his eyes and hugged.
And though many saw nothing but a man – John beheld His glory. Jesus, full of grace and truth. John was wise enough to ask for revelation. John knew how to walk in the spirit. Get into the spirit and walk there.

15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”
16  And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

John the writer is still speaking of John the Baptist’s witness and more importantly he speaks of how you and I can receive of Christ’s fullness, grace upon grace. John the writer has had a very real experience with grace and understands things most do not. He knows how grace flows in the spirit and understands the revelation that comes within that grace and how grace and come upon grace and grace for grace and the multiplication of grace.

Now back to John the Baptist:
19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”

And he answered, “No.”
22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
23 He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,” ’
as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”
28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.”

John moved the narrative from an abstract understanding of who Christ is in Spirit and Truth into the narrative of the Gospel Story – beginning with Joh the Baptist. This is a logical beginning point as this was the first anyone heard that the TIME WAS NOW for them to meet their savior.

I cannot help but give pause as so many around us do not see the hour we are in or recognize the signs of our times. For you and I the TIME IS NOW. The move of God happened and NOW we must live and move within that move. The Gospels record that move – that new thing He did and brought forth. And Jesus declared it finished – now you and I need to stand within that victory. We do not need a move – we need to live and use the power of the Move God already made.

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

I don’t know that John the Baptist used the symbolism and words that John the writer uses here. It is possible that the Baptizer used the word Lamb before the writer did – maybe that is where the writer got that revelation initially. Or maybe years after the event, when John was writing this and already had the revelation knowledge that Jesus was the Lamb, be put these words in John the Baptists mouth in the story because it fit and was a revelation both of these Johns understood.
The real question, I suppose, is who do you know Jesus to be? Do you know and recognize him as the Light? AS the Word? And as the Lamb?

30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

Although John the Baptist was Jesus’s cousin – John was older and went off into the wilderness to hear from God and was commissioned by God to baptize for the remission of sins.  John may or may not have known Jesus was the messiah – but when he saw the dove, He knew. He knew that he knew.

Jesus himself asked the disciples later in their relationship – who do they think He is. John is very clear that Jesus is Word and Light flowing in Grace. Do you know Jesus? How do you say He is?

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 10-02-22

am my beloved’s, And his desire is toward me.” Song of Solomon 7:10 NKJV

Jesus loves me – He is the groom and we are the bride. We MUST remember His desire is towards us. He loves and wants good things for us.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Song of Solomon chapter 7 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

Expressions of Praise

The Beloved

How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your thighs are like jewels,
The work of the hands of a skillful workman.
Your navel is a rounded goblet;
It lacks no [a]blended beverage.
Your waist is a heap of wheat
Set about with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower,
Your eyes like the pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
Which looks toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel,
And the hair of your head is like purple;
A king is held captive by your tresses.

How fair and how pleasant you are,
O love, with your delights!
This stature of yours is like a palm tree,
And your breasts like its clusters.
I said, “I will go up to the palm tree,
I will take hold of its branches.”
Let now your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
The fragrance of your [b]breath like apples,
And the roof of your mouth like the best wine.

The Shulamite

The wine goes down smoothly for my beloved,
[c]Moving gently the [d]lips of sleepers.
10 am my beloved’s,
And his desire is toward me.

11 Come, my beloved,
Let us go forth to the field;
Let us lodge in the villages.
12 Let us get up early to the vineyards;
Let us see if the vine has budded,
Whether the grape blossoms are open,
And the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes give off a fragrance,
And at our gates are pleasant fruits,
All manner, new and old,
Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.

Footnotes
aSong of Solomon 7:2 Lit. mixed or spiced drink
b
Song of Solomon 7:8 Lit. nose
c
Song of Solomon 7:9 Gliding over
d
Song of Solomon 7:9 LXX, Syr., Vg. lips and teeth.

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Philippians 1:6

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

WEEKEND READING – 10-01-22

My beloved has gone to his garden, To the beds of spices, To feed his flock in the gardens, And to gather lilies. am my beloved’s, And my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies. Song of Solomon 6:2-3 NKJV

My beloved has gone to prepare a place for me (John 14:3).
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” Revelation 19:7-9 NKJV
The reading today shows the love of the groom towards the bride who was prepared and ready – let us be a bride ready for our feast!

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Song of Solomon chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).  

I Am My Beloved’s

The Daughters of Jerusalem

Where has your beloved gone,
O fairest among women?
Where has your beloved turned aside,
That we may seek him with you?

The Shulamite

My beloved has gone to his garden,
To the beds of spices,
To feed his flock in the gardens,
And to gather lilies.
am my beloved’s,
And my beloved is mine.
He feeds his flock among the lilies.

Praise of the Shulamite’s Beauty

The Beloved

O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah,
Lovely as Jerusalem,
Awesome as an army with banners!
Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have [a]overcome me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
Going down from Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
Which have come up from the washing;
Every one bears twins,
And none is [b]barren among them.
Like a piece of pomegranate
Are your temples behind your veil.

There are sixty queens
And eighty concubines,
And virgins without number.
My dove, my perfect one,
Is the only one,
The only one of her mother,
The favorite of the one who bore her.
The daughters saw her
And called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines,
And they praised her.

10 Who is she who looks forth as the morning,
Fair as the moon,
Clear as the sun,
Awesome as an army with banners?

The Shulamite

11 I went down to the garden of nuts
To see the verdure of the valley,
To see whether the vine had budded
And the pomegranates had bloomed.
12 Before I was even aware,
My soul had made me
As the chariots of [c]my noble people.

The Beloved and His Friends

13 Return, return, O Shulamite;
Return, return, that we may look upon you!

The Shulamite

What would you see in the Shulamite—
As it were, the dance of [d]the two camps?

Footnotes
a.Song of Solomon 6:5 overwhelmed
b.
Song of Solomon 6:6 bereaved
c.
Song of Solomon 6:12 Heb. Ammi Nadib
d.
Song of Solomon 6:13 Heb. Mahanaim

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Today begins a new month and a new verse. As we are also entering a new year and are waiting for our breakthroughs, waiting for the promised land, waiting for the Lord to do what He said He was going to do in our lives – as we stand firm and stay the course, let us remember Philippians 1:6:

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Graces of the Heirs of Grace – 9-30-22

“that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Titus chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Graces of the Heirs of Grace

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

Avoid Dissension

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second [a]admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

Final Messages

12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing. 14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

Farewell

15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all. Amen.

Footnotes
a.Titus 3:10 warning

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Ephesians 1:7- 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Today we complete the book of Titus in its third chapter, which the New King James Version Bible, titles: Graces of the Heirs of Grace.  A blog about being transformed by grace absolutely LOVES this title and even adopted it for the title of this post!

If you learn nothing else from me please, first, learn this: Repent daily and be humble – the kingdom of God is literally at hand.
Second – please learn that GRACE is not a word of light, clean and easy meaning. Grace is raw and dirty – takes people completely apart and puts them back together in a new way as a new creature. Grace is actionable – transforming even a sinless man on a cross into our salvation! Grace transforms, reveals, causes faith, and is a tangible inheritance.  It comes in the power of the Holy Spirit. It works through Jesus’s obedience to conquer death and sin. And with our own measure, given to others we can cause a change in this world! The change that Grace makes happen when humans experience it. Grace does not touch trees or plants. It cannot transform my sweet puppy or any animal. Angels cannot even access grace. Only mankind has a measure of grace and can ask for more

To receive, maintain and live in the inherited grace we must remember:

1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.”

Easier said than done in our modern world with so many angry people.

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”

Nothing a little humility can’t fix – remembering where we came from. God forgets our sins, but you and I and the enemy do not forget. So we can turn around our sinful past to be the humility we stand on to defeat the enemy. Yes, we were sinners – because of that we can have compassion and extend grace to others.

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,”

When the manifestation of grace appeared through the work of the cross! – since grace was throughout the old testament as well as the new testament, this speaks of the center point and action of grace that rippled outward through time in all directions giving grace to those in need and those who ask.

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,”

Paul is quick to remind us – although we are told to do good works – it is not by works that we get to heaven. No one can “do” their way in. It is only through grace.  Grace is not a stand-alone thing – it is like a mixing bowl and grace is the spinning beaters that transforms individual things into one thing. Grace has faith, has mercy, has the washing of the blood and regeneration (there is that transformation! Blood can wash but combined into grace it regenerates!) and the renewing of the Holy Spirit! Its power comes from God through the Holy Spirit!

whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,”

And God mixes in an abundance of the Holy Spirit wrapped in grace and pours Him out into us to be filled to overflowing so we can share Him with others, through our Savior, Jesus Christ! So many great and wonderful things!

that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

And we become the heirs of grace through grace as the people of grace!

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”

And because grace changes us and compels us to be obedient, do good works, and glorify God by helping others – we profit ourselves and others. All because grace touched me and changed me and I will never be the same again.

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”

And the thing that destroys God’s grace in our lives? It is divisiveness. I have seen it over and over – people around me accusing and taking sides over things that have no side and over things that are not actually accusations. Just a bunch of confusion. And the end result is to try to rob me of my grace. So I offer grace to them. And remove myself. God’s grace is sufficient for me.

12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing. 14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.”

At the beginning I told you I was taught this was written in between First Timothy and Second. So why is Paul planning to winter in Nicopolis when he is in prison in Rome? Yes, we could be wrong about the date in which it was written. Also, the first letter to Timothy seems to have a sliver of hope that things were going to turn for the good – and it is believed that after he wrote first Timothy, Paul received news that his trial was finally going to be heard before Nero.  And Paul thought it would soon be over and could winter nearby in Nicopolis. Soon Paul figured out that Nero was an evil man and there was only one way this was going to go. And Paul wrote the second letter to Timothy, knowing it was probably his last.
Some say Paul was imprisoned in Rome more than once – although roman prisons were more like house arrests and Paul could have moved homes due to financial or other situations. Renting a home to be arrested in, could mean the owner sold it or evicted them. There is not a lot that is extremely clear without writings and letters that explain it.

15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.”

Tomorrow begins the fourth quarter of the year – and we begin every quarter with one of the 4 gospels so we keep the words and stories of Jesus fresh in our mind throughout the year. Tomorrow we being the book of John. It is a powerful text from the disciple of love – and the same man who wrote the book of revelation, and the books called First, Second and Third John. This will be the first of John’s writings we will be reading this year! Please make plans to join us for the study!

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Grace Teaches us Jesus – 9-29-22

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” Titus 2:11-13 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Titus chapter 2 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Qualities of a Sound Church

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,[a] sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of [b]you.

Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not [c]pilfering, but showing all good [d]fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Trained by Saving Grace

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

Footnotes
a.Titus 2:7 NU omits incorruptibility
b.
Titus 2:8 NU, M us
c.
Titus 2:10 thieving
d.
Titus 2:10 honesty

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Ephesians 1:7- 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

My heart is heavy today. So many evil things happenings and I am helpless. Not heavy like the spirit of heaviness – heavy and huge is the burden on my heart.
My situation this month was dire  and that doesn’t help – and I have faith to believe it God would once again provide. And then problem, after problem arose and I shrug and said, God you are really letting the cards be stacked against me. And more and more arose and I am in need of more – and God is silent and I am silent and the enemy is attempting an evil laugh. But I know My God will provide all my needs. So I focus on this blog. And I focus on saving the lost. And I focus on building faith in the body. And I focus on Giving Glory to God. Then I focus on my earring business and I made a plan and I am working the plan. I am staying the course although all of my earthly provisions have fallen through and the outcomes look dreadful. My GOD provides – not man. I am desperate for the provider – not the provisions. Hungry for God and I have peace.
Without fear, I slide to the next task and I look at the news and the state of world affairs and… and over the course of the last few days I am finding it all too overwhelming. I have been able to process world news and keep my peace for 3 years while other burn out and suddenly the weight is becoming too much. But not in the anxiety ridden way others are burning out. I have not lost my peace. But I see the prophecies being fulfilled and the burden of the Lord and the work to be done is too great – it is too big. I sob. And quite honestly I do not want to do and go through what is before me – Father take this cup from me. I already feel so small and insignificant under my lack and need – add to it the burden of souls in the midst of the devil’s circus. We cannot save the young women whose heads are being bashed in on camera in the Iranian protests. We cannot save those who were destroyed in the wake of the hurricane. And I wonder how long we can even continue to pretend things aren’t as bad as they are, and getting worse. And I feel like I did before 911 – like there is a great death coming. I pray to stop it, but I feel it still coming.
Before you rebuke me for speaking of negative things – remember we are to share each other’s burdens. So put your hand out and touch what is really happening in this world, today and feel its weight for a moment. Hang in here – there is always a resolve.
Today’s reading is on how are Christian’s supposed to behave – in a persecuted and corrupt place. But it doesn’t tell us how to handle the burden of it all.

1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

This chapter is often views as such a nice little chapter – no one comes to it with weight, usually. Yet, I cannot help it, today. I speak proper sound doctrine and if we are these things – we can feel this weight. Men, women likewise, be sober! As we are the Lord reveals. The structure is already in place for the one world government and we are already being manipulate by it. The structure is already in place for the mark of the beast and the US president signed the executive order permitting it and world unions are putting the last pieces in place and soon – we will not be able to buy or sell. The Lord prepared us for such a day. He reminds us over and over that the Silver is His and the Gold is His (Hag. 2:8). He also reminds us that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:10). He is our provider, when the provisions of Elisha’s brook run dry and the raven’s fly away. I worship and praise Him, because He has already made another way. BUT as I lay before Him in reverence, temperate in peace – I believe with ALL faith what is written and in love I will obey – but we are looking at some very hard times and my flesh cries out: I do not want to. I do not want to be the generation made for such a time as this! I have a friend who wants a child, another wants a husband, family and a house. They want to occupy until the Lord comes again… but with what is coming, Oh Lord, help us.  I am not anxious for a “what if” I am speaking only of biblical prophecy (not even the words that come through modern prophets).  

I see glimpses of the woes of trying to reach man in perilous times and my flesh just doesn’t want to be so hurt and inconvenienced. Like Jesus, I just cry before the Lord – Not my will, but your will be done. It is too big for me – but not too big for God. And so all that is left, once I stubbornly resolve to fulfill His call – is to ask HOW?

And back to today’s reading.

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”

Be reverent. Ok. I can do that. Don’t lie and slander – I can do that.
Not given to too much wine – has anyone else noticed that trend with wine and women? I, myself, used to drink the hard stuff. But my friends and family would give me wine themed gifts all the time. It is super acceptable. I have wine glasses for my birthday, the days I want to feel like a queen, and even one that fits an entire bottle! When I bought my house a friend bought me a giant hollow letter (from my last name) – I was to fill it with corks from all the bottles opened in my home. It hardly has any corks in it – but again, I used to drink the hard stuff and now I do not drink at all. I suppose it is time to remove these things from my house. They are packed away and I will never need them. But it is interesting that women and wine have that relationship – since way back in time.
So as I ask to know how to carry out my assignment and how to make it through these coming perilous times – putting away too much wine and then being a teacher of good things. That I know I can do! I come on here every day with something GOOD straight from the scriptures.  When told I cannot teach on a blog like this because men and women read it – I usually respond with the fat that God could raise up rocks to speak this if I was silenced. But here we see literal word for word translations telling me to teach something good! So I can do that.
Can you be sober minded with me and teach sound doctrine in love, faith and patience?
Women – take it a step further into verse 4. We might need to but my end times burdens aside and teach you something about the wild culture of Crete.  It was fashionable in Crete to be a party girl. Seriously. It come from a pagan worship practice. Young women, married or not became objects to worship and pursue (for sexual pleasures) as part of pagan practices. Women would then pretty themselves up and be lavished with gifts, worship, praises and would then end up hurting their husbands and children and break up homes and leave people and families broken.  The pagan men did not care if you were a Christian woman or a pagan woman – if they wanted to worship you, they would pursue you. And Christian women needed the extra encouragement to NOT get involved in it.
This pagan practice was more destructive than it already seems. Because once the family is destroyed women have no rights in a Roman City unless they are under their husband, father, or slave master. These women could not even procure for themselves provisions. Many sold themselves into slavery. The prettiest could come work as a priestess in the pagan temples (aka prostitute) – but once past their prime, they would be thrown out like trash.  Vanity.

So if Paul had to encourage the older women to support the younger and encourage the younger women not to run off and be worshiped. I guess He should tell the young men to also be sober and wise.

Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”

Live the example of Christ. Under persecution, surrounded by drunken liars – who were big aggressive mercenaries, with their young brides being tempted away – these young men were to fight by being Christ-like, full of integrity (the exact opposite of the liars they were surrounded by).
Reverence – each group is taught to be reverent. In a society where no one is reverent. Like our world where swearing is now acceptable in the work place and in meetings – where no one says “ma’am” or “sir” – besides if you do and pick the wrong one, the irreverence will escalate to dangerous levels.
But to survive we should be incorruptible n our doctrine. THIS IS NOT JUST FOR THE YOUNG MEN. It is given to them to steward onto the next generation. But we all must guard our doctrine and the scriptures to keep corrupted watered down, muddy water poison from infiltrating ourselves, our homes, our families, and our churches.
We should and can rise above and live in a way that our enemies cannot find fault against us.

Living as a Christian in the USA was easy for the last 100 years or so (as well as many places all over the world). And sleepy compromise was able to run untamed because it was a generation who was going to save it’s self through good works and good behavior. But when this was written behaving like this was so contrary to culture it was revolutionary! I do not believe the world is as liberal as the globalist say it is – but living like this is STILL revolutionary! The peer pressure to fit in with the world is HUGE.

The last group of people in the first century Cretan church was the slaves. And Paul wanted them to NOT rebel, but revolt in good behavior!

Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.”

After reading this it almost feels like we can change the world with behaving – living – like a Christian! And honestly, we can. Even without preaching, just living this out will bring others to us to ask – what is it and how can I have it?
Of course it requires submission, obedience, faith and most importantly a teacher who can also transform us!

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

Grace. I was told as a child that grace was just merely God favoring me when I did not deserve it. But God does not have favorites. Grace is a power and an action – AND a teacher. Sadly, many met and experienced Jesus while he was here on earth and walked away unchanged, like the high priests and scribes that delivered him to Pilot on that evil, fateful day. But on that tree, later that day, Jesus experienced grace which transformed Him into our sins, to die, to conquer death and sin, transforming him into the lamb, into life and resurrection!  
Grace knocked Paul off his donkey on the road to Damascus! Grace, bring teaching and revelation and transformed Paul forever! I was once saved, but then one fateful day grace entered my house and I had an experience with grace that has changed me forever! Some learn slowly to deny ungodliness and worldly lust – others are instantly transformed – both are the lessons and actions of grace. Grace, who is the only teacher that can also cause us to learn, build yearning for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior! Grace!!!  

14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, with the power of the Holy Spirit – please pour out more grace on me, to fulfill the calling on my life. Please pour more grace on these readers that they may be transformed and empowered to live this out in their daily lives. Please pour out more grace on our unsaved loved ones – that they may learn to deny ungodliness and be redeemed from every lawless deed! And please use us to reach that grace to others. Please Lord, make us all hungry for you and zealous for good works – not for our redemption, but for your glory and the furtherance of your kingdom. We humbly ask in the name of Jesus. – amen

15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

Speak grace. Encourage each other to behave upright. Rebuke those who are not, with the authority of Christ’s name, aka ALL AUTHORITY. However, let no man despise you.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

Do Our Works Deny God? – 9-28-22

“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” Titus 1:16 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Titus chapter 1 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Greeting

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

To Titus, a true son in our common faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and [a]the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

Qualified Elders

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of [b]dissipation or insubordination. For a [c]bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

The Elders’ Task

10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being [d]abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Footnotes
a.Titus 1:4 NU Christ Jesus
b.
Titus 1:6 debauchery, lit. incorrigibility
c.
Titus 1:7 Lit. overseer
d.
Titus 1:16 detestable

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Ephesians 1:7- 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

God’s plan, obedience and grace are three of the major take-a-ways of this short letter to Titus. It was written by the Apostle Paul and it is one of three pastoral letters (letters written to pastors/leaders – like the letters to Timothy, which we have already read this year). It is believed that Paul wrote to Titus after the first letter to Timothy and before the second letter. So in this letter we also have a mature and settled Paul, who knows his time is running short and his letters have changed focus from speaking to the church to passing the mantles off to the next generation of leaders – Timothy and Titus. It is believed to be the year 64 or 65 and is about 10 years into the reign of Nero – when his infamy, cruelty and debauchery had peaked and his world was caving in. Nero’s, 5 year long, demise created added persecution for the Christians as He blamed them for the fire and economic issues in Rome. Yep – as he sank his own ship, so to speak – He blamed the Christians and stood on that to get himself a few more years of power, which he ruined as well.

Titus was a Greek gentile and he was appointed to the church in Crete – which was logical, because he was familiar with the still very Greek culture. He is mentioned 13 times outside of the book of Titus! In 2 Corinthians 2:13, 7:6, 13, 14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18 (two times) – Gal 2:1, 3 – and 2 Tim 4:10.

The island of Crete had a unique set of issues. You see, they were also kind of infamous and notorious! So much so that the contemporary word in Paul’s time for “liar” was “kretizo’ meaning literally “to be a Cretan”.
Christianity and truth will be a struggle for these Zeus loving pagans, whose god lies and so do they.
Most of the men had served as mercenaries for hire and the cities were full of violence and sexual corruption. Of course the social issues and people who corrupt the gospel for political and social gain had crept into the church here and Titus was sent to straighten it all out.
It is believed that Paul wrote this letter to outline Titus’s task there, as a reminder and encouragement as well as a way for Titus to show them and say “See, Paul says so!” Paul wanted to ensure Titus was set in case Paul died and was unable to come visit and handle it himself. Paul was in Rome in prison. Remember prison in the city of Rome were different from the jails. At one point Paul makes light of it calling it light chains. Prisoners like Paul who were non-violent and waiting for years for a trial were kept under house arrest, chained to a guard. Paul could not go anywhere but people came and brought him food and supplies and Paul, being a tent maker may have even been permitted to take on small projects inside the home to sell. The government did not want to support him. So Paul wrote to many and held church services. He eventually had trouble and persecution with the locals and not being able to leave – many of Paul’s friend’s turned on him towards the end.

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

According to faith! Acknowledgment of the truth …  godliness! Hope and promise of eternal life – GOD cannot lie!! Paul shoots out of the starting gate with direct hits to the problem. Through the preaching of the WORD OF TRUTH, the kingdom of God and eternal life will be manifested in the people of Crete. Paul speaks LIFE. Paul does not complain about the problem and state all the bad things happening – Paul prophecies life and says it is a command of the Lord to bring truth and life to these people. God has a plan and no man will stand in God’s way. Not even the leaders of the many home churches in Crete.

To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.”

How should we pray for our many levels of church leadership? Just like Paul prays for Titus: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus! Our leaders need grace and mercy now as much as ever – as much as Timothy needed it and as much as Titus needed it.

Titus held a position much like Timothy did. They were set to organize and unify many house churches. Each house church had its own pastor/leader and in this chapter Paul calls them bishops, who lead home churches, the NKJV has subtitles which call them elders, and we (modern Christians) call Titus and Timothy, Pastors. . The titles we have today for the various positions came from these titles but were/are not the same. In my city there are many churches (different denominations) they each have leaders called priests, fathers or pastors. Timothy and Titus were the people who came in and managed ALL of them. Uniting them. Preventing different denominations from forming. Eventually, in direct opposition to the word of God they DID form. And the spirit of religion developed strongholds permanently destroying truth for some people.

The structure and prayers Paul taught kept that from happening for hundreds of years. In 313, the Roman Emperor Constantine I issued the Edict of Milan legalizing Christian worship and in 380 the government adopted the church and began to corrupt it and enforce the corruptions. If they stayed house churches and managed by a structure of elders, pastors and bishops according to Titus and Timothy, we would have much less variance in interpretation and fewer denominations flat out participating in idol worship and other sins within their churches. I doubt we will go back to that – but the future of the modern church is changing as more and more people are exiting denominations (which are clearing stated in the Bible as an abomination) and moving to a Kingdom mindset. We all do not have to agree on the things that are not heaven and hell. If my spirit bears witness to your spirit and we are flowing in the WORD of God in season. Then you are my brother and sister.
For example – in celebration of the Holy New Year on Sunday, I viewed 7 different services from men and women of various backgrounds and affiliations. (This is not normal for me, but being a holiday and being hungry, I turned on trusted friends and listened to their services.)  Half of them did not even know, or if they did they did not acknowledge, it was the New Year. Yet 6 of them all gave the same core message and similar points. Those 6 confirmed a couple posts I have already made and scheduled, as well as things I have been saying.  A friend of mine noticed that with the ones she watched a well. God is making it very easy to see those who are also in the same spirit. At one point in time it was a bit more clouded and definitely difficult as there were so few others also in the spirit.

Titus was tasked with finding spirit filled and lead men to replace the corrupt ones and repair the church in Crete.

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

It is good to go back and look at the chart I made when we were studying Timothy about the qualifications of the leadership and you will see that here in the lawless wild west – or in Crete – the qualification are I bit more detailed and direct. I reread these and thought about writing out the comparison – but the list in Timothy covers these, in more general terms.
Spend some time thinking about your own life and if you meet the qualifications. (Let me encourage you to not look at others, today. We are in the 10 days of Awe leading up to the Day of Atonement – it is a good time to reflect on yourself and repent of any of these areas are not meeting up to Gods expectations for you.) You do not need to be an elder, pastor or bishop to live a life that is self-controlled sober-minded, blameless, etc. We all represent the Kingdom of God and need to live up to it.
I saw men and women who do not know Jesus sharing and helping others in Florida prepare for the big storm more than I have seen Christians. I see churches posting their efforts to protect their own property and homes and not helping others. Maybe it is being done in private? But here is the thought – shouldn’t Christians stand out and rise above in times of need? Well, in every season, as well – don’t you think?

Paul’s underlying message here is to come out from among them. To be separate, not by leaving them or hiding away – but by ling among them differently. Being set apart as Holy – not looking like the world. The clash between the way the world lives and the way Christians live is still extremely prevalent. If we were the same, then there is no need for Jesus. Through these 3 chapters you will since a call to rise above and live a more holy life – while being relatable and able to reach others.

10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,”

First, are you (am I) insubordinate? I had a disagreement with my local pastor. I love him and my church so I sent him a message and stated why I disagreed. I kept it light hearted and did not quote chapter and verse and doctrinal commentaries on verses. Just I love you, I disagree with this and I will see you Sunday. Easy. Simple. But I did have to ask myself, was I being insubordinate. He and I sat down to discuss and I told him that if I am wrong, to lease correct me. I do not want to be out of line. We must never assume, because we read and pray daily that we can’t be out of line in an area. We must approach ourselves with the raw truth and in humility.
Am I an idle talker? Am I a deceiver? Are you? These issues are not isolated to the old island of Crete. The USA is full of fake news, I mean liars. And the globe is full of controlling manipulative liars. And it is more infectious than covid. SO after we examine ourselves we can then take a look around and identify others. But do not look around until you are sure your heart is clear. We cannot see clearly until we do – and we do not want to be false accusers.

And finally “of the circumcision” – Yes the spirit of religion from the Pharisees who killed Jesus, also spread to every church including the one on Crete. These Jewish believers came with the same old dance, dragging the believers into bondage under the law and then temple system to slowly regain control. In our modern church the spirit of religion shows up in traditions, in denominations and is pride. It is not always easy to spot, because it points to something that points to Jesus. The issue is that it does not point directly to Jesus when it could.
The hardest question I have asked myself is – do I have a spirit of religion, or behaviors that came from being influenced by it. It is not a question you can ask once and walk away, either. I asked it 3 or so years ago and through this time the Lord has permitted the tearing down of corrupted foundational walls in my life and rebuilt them proper. The influence of religion over relationship had touched many surprising areas of my life too! The way I dressed for church and perceived other’s apparel. The ways of corporate prayer. My relationship with money, provisions and stewardship. Obviously NOT all tradition is bad – we are told to take communion. It is therefore important to make communion a holy remembrance and intimate interaction without getting caught up in the ritual and tradition.
And then, again – after repenting from it in your own life (which has been a long process of revelations and removing and replacing with something real) we can then move onto recognizing it in others around us and asking God what we should do.

11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.”

Those who are dividing the church or leading them astray MUST be stopped. If you are a pastor or leader – be strong and obey the word of the Lord. No not let His judgment fall upon you for not rocking the boat. Be strong and do it. For those who do not have authority. Take these verses and go to your pastor(s) and let them know who you feel is being like that and pray for them and with them and obey their guidance. Also pray. God can give them laryngitis. God can make them mute. God can remove them. God can make them trip on their own words, exposing themselves. God can even transform them and cause them to repent and apologize and be restored to the body, and usually with a break from leadership. God wants us all to humble ourselves and be reconciled – that is the best case scenario and what we should first me praying for. But never limit God or put Him in a box – We pray the mouths are stopped.

12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 

“One of them, a prophet of their own” is sarcasm – Paul was referring to the Greek poet Epimenides who was believed to be Cretan and said “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” Paul sarcastically call him a prophet because it is true! There are stereotypes and broad stroking general statements made about certain people groups for a reason. Like often I say the modern church and I do not mean the remnant or the kingdom body of believers and I am usually referring to the lost, lukewarm, and sound asleep group that thinks they are ok and everything will be ok and they do not need to repent, get humble, or live the life the Bible calls us to live. They somehow think that is just for some who are called to it – not that they too are called to a personal relationship where you give all and Jesus gave all.

Anyway – this save vague general statement can easily substitute “Americans”.  Americans are liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons, have ice in their drinks, and clap at everything! See it works! You can fill in your nationality too I am sure – I mean, the world has become so evil, everywhere is corrupted.

13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,”

Many people do not like a stern word. You all are different. I know, because I am a straight shooter. I am more afraid of God than man. God says prepare His way and His people and if I just say, pray and things will get better – God will punish me for not wisely stewarding His words. The Bible says, be prepared for the worse, but have hope in Christ for the best! That is sound doctrine – makes you sound in faith – it extends His grace over you to transform you from afraid to empowered.
But once you read the word and you know the warning – warn others. Fear what God will do to you if you do not. Otherwise we will all be lost.

14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.”

Peter struggled with not knowing the difference between what the Torah said and the rabbinical laws (what man dictated). Peter was NOT well educated. And Jesus corrected Him and continued to correct him and teach him well into His ministry as an apostle. Peter was so filled with the spirit people laid their sick out on the street hoping Peter’s shadow would touch them and heal them. You see, we can start off with a foundation that is terrible. Like mine, taught wrong things and given some person’s version of Jesus and NOT the Christ of the Bible. Like Peter whose Torah was mixed up with man’s corruptible law. BUT we cannot stay there! Someone who taught me as a child did stay there and passed along corruption (my guess is it was many) but many also passed along truth. And through humility and letting God sort it all out – He cleaned it all up for me. And He can for you too.

15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”

To the pure- all is pure. Let us keep the verse in context. This is a shortened version of the larger answer with Titus was already familiar with. Paul gave him the short of it just to jog His memory. You and I remember it from Galatians and Corinthians when the same spirit of Jewish RELIGION tried to enslave the new gentile believers. We are speaking of meat offered to idols and gray area behaviors which are a sin to some and not to other. To avoid the appearance of evil, so you do not cause your brother or sister to sin. I mean, usually when the Bible says ALL, I will make you repeat it. But all is ALL only within the context of what we are speaking of.  For example a demon is not pure to the pure, a willful sin is not pure to the pure, and a curse or evil plan against you, will still be a cure or an evil plan against you, even if you are pure. This is in context of not falling back under man’s laws.

16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”

The word “they” here shows us that we MUST still remain in the context. Who are they? They are those people who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not for the sake of dishonest gain, liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons. They are impure. They profess God – but they deny Him in their actions and by being abominable and disobedient – this disqualifies them for leadership (aka every good work). Yes, besides leadership, how can they even win the lost and disciple them? How can they lay hands on the sick? How can they speak deliverance when they are in bondage? Soul winning, making disciples, laying hands on with signs and wonders following are the baby steps of this walk. If you cannot even do the baby steps – are you even saved?!

I asked myself that question. It was fear stopping me from laying hands on people and praying. If they are healed or not it is God’s problem and His job to do. My job is to step out in faith and just lay hands on people. Same with soul winning and making disciples. We need to just do it. Be obedient and see what the Lord does. Do we actually believe what we say we believe? Are we living it?   Do our fruits and our works prove that we are in a real relationship with The Living God.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

How to Rise to the Challenge – 9-27-22

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Hebrews chapter 13 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Concluding Moral Directions

13 Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”

Concluding Religious Directions

Remember those who [a]rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried [b]about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might [c]sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, [d]giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

17 Obey those who [e]rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Prayer Requested

18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Benediction, Final Exhortation, Farewell

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you [f]complete in every good work to do His will, working in [g]you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly.

24 Greet all those who [h]rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 13:7 lead
  2. Hebrews 13:9 NU, M away
  3. Hebrews 13:12 set apart
  4. Hebrews 13:15 Lit. confessing
  5. Hebrews 13:17 lead
  6. Hebrews 13:21 perfect
  7. Hebrews 13:21 NU, M us
  8. Hebrews 13:24 lead

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Ephesians 1:7- 

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

We’ll finish the book of Hebrews today and tomorrow we’ll begin the book of Titus.

Let us complete the book of Hebrews with our daily corporate repentance and humility, so we may better know Jesus, fall more in love with Him every day, and grow in our relationships with Him.
Dear God, I am sorry for being filled with any and all unrighteousness, and/or sexual immorality, and/or wickedness, and/or covetousness, and/or maliciousness, and/or envy, murder, and strife, and/or deceit and evil-mindedness, and/or being a whisperers and  backbiters, and/or haters of God, and/or violent, and/or proud and boasting, and/or inventors of evil things, and/or disobedient to parents, and/or undiscerning, and/or untrustworthy, and/or unloving, and/or unforgiving, and/or unmerciful, and/or for practicing such things are deserving of death. Please forgive me for those things I did even though I knew better. And please forgive me for those things You count as sin, that I am unaware of and have not learned yet – and open my eyes to see them as sins so I can stop participating in them. Please wash me with the Blood of Jesus. Cleanse me and help me turn from my evil ways. And send a fresh filling of your anointing to break the yokes and help me destroy the roots with a mindful effort and focus on You, and fall in love with You in a new and deeper way. I desire to lay down my life for You, Lord Jesus, as You sacrificed Yourself for me. Help me to die to self and pour myself out as an offering. Give me more grace to trust You and accept Your will for my life and not my will. In the name of Jesus we pray ~amen

This has been such a powerful study and I know I have been touched and changed! I am so glad we approached this study with reverence and humility. Especially as we complete this with the New Year and leading up to the Day of Atonement. I for one fell less lighthearted about the things of God and no longer feel I can be accused of not taking it seriously. Our salvation should have joy as well as seriousness and we must learn to balance it. But heavy reverence while learning about Jesus and God was good for the soul. The author teaches about Jesus in order to encourage Christians who were facing persecution and death.
I know many of us are not facing these things today. But I also know some of you are in country where you are. So for those of you who are, take heed and stand – accept the challenge to win the race.
And for those of us who are not fearing immediate jail, beating, or death – take heed. Those times can come upon us quickly. I believe they will. There are many people praying for more grace and I hope and pray for it as well. But no one in the Bible, who believed, was ever promised no trouble.
Today the author continues to encourage us to continue on the course, and to serve God till the end of our time on earth (then into eternity). You see the author doesn’t see death as an end – therefore death has lost its power to scare and becomes a joyous transition to Our Lord.

So how do we do it? How do we serve God in the face of persecution and threat of death? How to we handle our own emotions and fears and attacks of the enemy and the people the enemy uses and influences to hurt us?

1 Let brotherly love continue.”

First, we do it in love. We must prioritize loving one another, or we will be open to being influenced by the enemy to hurt our brothers and sisters in Christ. (Yes, Christians can be influenced by the enemy – Even Peter got it on him, when he begged Jesus not to suffer on the cross and Jesus had to tell the enemy’s influence on Peter to “Get behind me Satan”!  Of course Jesus said that in love. The point is we are susceptible to lies and influence when we step out from what the word of God tells us to do. – so when it says to continue, or to live in, brotherly love – we must live in love.) Love will win. Not the kind of polluted weird stuff the world is selling as love. No. But real Godly Love is required and wins. Because God is love.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”

Second, do not just feel love and be inside that feeling – show it and act upon it even to strangers. Why would we need to minister to Angels? Why would God expect our kindness to care for them. Well, they are warriors and servants of God who spend all their time being obedient. They are great tools for God to use to bless us. And sometimes he needs to know if He can. All who receive are NOT able to give. But ALL who give ARE able to receive. So to ensure you are ready to receive something, you are often asked to give something. Sometimes it is to an angel. Sometimes it is not.
Another area, look to the story of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah and the two angels who came to destroy the place. First they came to Lot and Lot saved them by inviting them in (Lot did not know they did not need saving.) And God used this to compel Lot to leave the city faster with His family before it was destroyed. There are a few more examples of entertaining angels unware in the Bible. It might make a fun study topic one day – today, let us move on.

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”

Listen this is not like a make believe zombie apocalypse where you team up with slower people let them get caught so you can survive. This is a no man left behind operation! This is a ‘we’re in this together’ operation. You carry the weaker brother. You grab onto their hands and hold onto them for dear life. If they did it to them, they might as well have done it to me, mindset.
You may say social injustice like wrongful imprisonments with unfair treatment doesn’t happen in our modern world. There are still living holocaust survivors who will differ with you. There are mothers and fathers and brothers and sister in jail, in the USA, held without trial and in isolation because they attended a prayer and rally at the capital of the USA on January 6th of last year. That rally had bad people who did bad things, yes. I have seen video footage and many of those doing the bad things are walking free while our Christian brothers and sisters languish behind bars. And you say this isn’t happening in our modern world?

Listen, I have to make a side note here: early in the persecution in Germany of the Jews, many said if they keep their mouths closed and don’t rock the boat – then Hitler would leave them alone – and most of them ended up in concentrations camps anyway. They (the evil plans of the enemy working in evil men and women) are coming for you the Christians – the “Christian Nationalist” here in America. If you are Christian or if you are a Nationalist or if you are a patriot or not – it doesn’t matter to them. If you come to church and are a lukewarm un-committed doubtful Christian, they are still coming for you. People are already in jail. They are coming for you. Trump still gets in their way – but they are still coming for us! So speak now, before they remove your voice. Act now, before they have you in chains. It is better to go down in a fight then it is to quietly comply your way into your own gas chamber.

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

The number one sin that trips up humans? It is hard to tell. The Bible speaks of mishandling money and fornications/adultery almost equally. I would say both are a lust problem. God wants us to succeed during the hard times and warns us of our own lusts destroying all that we work to achieve in Christ.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

The question is still the same: what do we do to survive the persecution? Delight in God, be content. I hear pastors say they have never seen a real believe struggle in a season of lack – but Paul spoke of seasons of lack and seasons of abundance and in all things he learned to be content and we must also.
God will never leave you or forsake you. Every step you make a company of warring angels are marching in time with you. The lord is MORE than our helpers. The spiritual battle is HIS! All we need to do is show up with our Armor on! What can man do to me?!
Granted – if you have anxiety or fear about persecution – NONE OF THIS IS HELPFUL. I get it. This is a hard book we are studying. God is still sovereign. He has a plan and He is still in control. To live is Christ – to die is gain. We have a heavenly home waiting for us as well. And though we are in no hurry to get there, we can have peace because it is there.

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.”

Remember? What the author is believed to mean is IN PRAYER we should remember to Pray for our rulers and leaders and those who speak the word of God to us. With our internet access we have MANY who we can let speak the word of God over us. Pray fervently for every last one of them. And I do not care which political leaning you have or what party in what country – and I do not care if your leader is good and godly or corrupt and evil – pray for them. NOT for their destruction – but for Godly wisdom, for God to move in their lives for God to be revealed to them and through them. That they must bless the lord and His people like Balaam who could only bless the Israelites. When we pray we must think about their conduct and outcomes – we want God to be glorified, we want government Policies that support and not oppose the Bible, and we want to live a peaceable life. It may seem impossible – but with God all things are possible and we must pray and let HIM handle it.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

And with all the internet preachers and teacher – Yes, I know I am one of them – we must be ALL THE MORE CAREFUL that the word of the Lord is coming to us clean. Jesus NEVER changes. And neither should the meaning of HIS word. Unfortunately, much has changed from original manuscripts to English where (here) I present it and some of you are reading through a translation ap. The opportunity for mud (impure scriptures) are HUGE! All we can do it our best to be clear – point out what is true and what is speculation and trust God to guard His words. Trust God that His Word will never return void. And you and I need to know the word, so we can discern when it is muddied and when it is pure. Eat the meat and spit out the bones so to speak.
Some mud is a distraction – it makes people preoccupied with it and gets them off of what God is doing. It may be a good idea – but not all good ideas are God ideas. Get into the spirit, walk in the spirit, flow in the spirit and join with others going the same way. Where every action is establish by the Word of God. Stick with the basics – the gospel. Christ died for us. Preach that, listen to that, and grow in that!

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”

Here is the balancing act to survive the persecution and constant info and berating by the media – we are in this world but we are not of it. We seek a heavenly city and have to live here, for now. While here, we should be in prayer and every prophet without fail was involved in politics and government. So we should be involved and actively fighting for our rights and peace. But knowing God is not interested in who is King on earth. He is only interested in the hearts of man. She He uses government to help shape the hearts of the people. We should live set apart, bearing His reproach, outside the camp – but we should also be prayerfully active and available for God to use to change the system according to His will.

15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Doing good and sharing are sacrifices and God wants to remind us as things get hard – make them as offerings and sacrificed to God. Do not forget to praise Him, even when it is bad. Do not forget to thank him, for even on our death bed, we have so much to thank Him for – like giving us eternal life through Jesus.
If it was going to be easy, we would not need the reminder. It won’t be easy. Actually it is not easy now!
This is why, even though it has low reach and small following – I maintain the Facebook and Instagram pages for this blog. On them, are daily reminders to memorize the word, to praise and thank Him, to not be afraid, and to point to Jesus. I hope and pray that those post can reach the people who need to hear that short message and God uses it to change them.
(I came back to God, recommitting myself to Him – fully! Because I saw a short message on Facebook from a ministry, shared by a Facebook friend, that God used to speak directly into that soft spot in my heart and allowed me to accept that small measure of grace. Once the grace touched that soft spot – it spread like a wild fire and completely transformed me. One day I was one way – the next day I was another.  A road to Damascus experience with grace. I hope and pray that the encouragement shared on those social media pages, sitting there available for God to use, get used and change people’s lives like mine was changed.)

17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Verse 17 is believed to be about submitting to your church leaders. This hits a little different in the year 2022. During 2020 many churches shut down and a surprising number never reopened, including a few megachurches. As the shaking is progressing – the line is being drawn and it is becoming clear inside the body of Christ who are the sheep and who are the goats. A surprisingly large number of people attend their local church for the community of it – but leave and go home to turn on their phones and computers and get fed at another church.  My heart breaks for the state of the modern church. Many are stuck in their denomination and literally, if you leave the denomination, they stop speaking to you. Yet will go watch internet preacher from other denominations because they are so hungry for food.
Pastors quote Paul saying he has to speak to the church like babies, because they have not matured – but then the pastor will not even preach the words from THAT book because it is too meaty – so the people starve. And go elsewhere. And the pastor sees them weekly and senses the aloofness and cannot invoke love – because they have check out already.
The question then becomes – who is your spiritual head? Stop playing games. If it is your local church, then pull together your community, whom you love and attend there in order to live your life out with them. Gather them for serious prayer and fasting for the church and for the pastor. Give the whole thing to God and continue in prayer for it until God either changes it for the good or God shuts it down. And get back under submission. And if you disagree and cannot submit – either you are in the wrong place or you are in the sin of pride. You must figure this out. Especially with the time in which we live in.

18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.”

Pray for me and for EVERYONE who reads this with you. Pray for each other. Pray for each other.
How should we pray? Pray this:

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Yes – pray for us.

Now the author wraps things up:

22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. 24 Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.”

Well, we now know that Timothy was NOT the author. We know Marcus was in Italy. There are other options of who could have written this, like Pricilla or Barnabas. But it is unclear is either of them were in Italy at this time.

25 Grace be with you all. Amen.”

Please join us tomorrow as we begin to study Titus.   

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Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!