Awake! – Part 22 – Becoming Aware ~ Sacrifice

August 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm (WSGD Newes) (, , , )

The question frames the answer. I read that somewhere. In fact the question that Michael had just quieted the group with seemed to come from the same source. I pressed the recesses of my mind to try to remember where I had read it. 

“It’s easy to get distracted and hard to know the difference between digging for answers and distraction.” Michael spoke into the silence. 

There was a slight shift in the air of the room. Focus and clarity fought for the space. 

Clareese spoke up. “Could you repeat the question.” 

“Is there a difference between living your sacrifice and dying it? Is one more final than the other?” Michael repeated the dynamic duo. 

Again the group retreated into their own revere. Some looking up as if to see their brains disecting the words. Some with eyes closed,  as in prayer but more conversation with the only One who could give such answers to such questions. 

There was a book, a series, I had read. Yes, The Staff and the Sword, that was it! I suddenly had the urge to re-read it. Those statements – not framed as questions in the book – had been the central theme in the last book.  It had stuck out to me as I read it,  I remembered. I had underlined the themed statements. They had swirled around my head for weeks after I’d read it. I remembered scriptures that immediately came to mind, like a promise kept, during the course of my ponderings. I smiled. 

Carl, a gentle man with the physical strength of an ox sat forward in his chair. The legs scraped the floor at the movement. Collective heads turned his direction. 

“I don’t think a great number of people know what sacrifice is. In context to some scripture it seems clear, in others it seems controversial. I mean if Yeshua’s sacrifice was once and for all, how does that apply to us?  I can’t remember the exact reference but the Scripture that says, ‘offer your bodies as a living sacrifice’ – this one feels like it’s missing some key element to it. Then we are told to live to God and die to ourselves. So based on that I’d say there is no difference to living my sacrifice and dying it as they are one in the same in this context. Yet, these questions are to me a different world. I sense that what’s being pried open here is something all together different.” Carl sat back in his chair. A spiritual sweat was forming on the man’s brow. It made me think, as here was a man who could likely bench-press three of us sitting here without breaking a sweat. Carl was deeper than most gave him credit for; TV shows always gave guys like him a “big heart/no brain” image. I shook my head as once again I am struck by how God focuses on the heart. Work that out and the brain will fire on more cylinders than most race cars at the Indy. It was true, these questions made the heart go where the brain could only follow it, not the other way around. 

Michael was the kind of leader who always let comments or questions sink in before he would say something. I liked that, I strove to emulate his example. ‘Silence is space for God‘ he would say, ‘both to work in all those in the room and the one who had just spoken’. The room fairly cackled with it. 

Michael began reading from Romans 11 and ended up on Romans 12:1, the Scripture about offering your body as a living sacrifice. Everyone wrote the reference down, but Michael continued all the way to the end of chapter 12. Again the room was quiet for a time before he spoke into the fullness of Carl’s comment and the Word. The pages of his Bible flipped back and forth in the lull.

“I’m going to have to study more here but I’m thinking perhaps the ‘body’ being referred here is the body of Yeshua. The church as a whole, not just individual people.  Though I think it can be applied individually, the context prior to chapter 12 verse 1 and after are all in context of the Roman church; aka: the Body –  he was addressing. It never stood out to me before quite like that. Thank you Carl for saying what you did, I tend to agree with you and think perhaps the missing link is interpretation.” His focus returned down towards his Bible. 

The whole group joined him. Reading and pondering. I was more than a little struck by the new perspective. I can’t count how many times I had heard this scripture quoted, mostly in context of health and fitness/moral related issues and among sports activities. How often Lord have I relied on other people’s context to interpret Your Word? Sacrifice here took on a totally different light from this angle. A collective view of sacrifice rather than individual required more pondering, no doubt. 

Sharon, Carl’s wife, spoke up. 

“A living and dying sacrifice taken from this view is almost surreal! I will admit that when I go to church I don’t see anything that represents sacrifice as I’ve understood it. There’s a part of me that’s almost angry at the thought. Why, I’m not real sure.  Some sense of injustice plays in my mind with it. In Hebrews chapter 11 verse 4, it speaks of both living and dying.”

The shuffle of pages being turned filled a gap before she went on. 

By trusting Abel offered a greater sacrifice than Cain; because of this he was attested as righteous, with God giving him this testimony on the ground of his gifts. Through having trusted, he still continues to speak, even though he is dead. Then I’m reminded of Psalms 51:16-17.”

Again the air filled with the wind of pages turning. 

For You don’t want sacrifices, or I would give them; You don’t take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; God, You won’t spurn a broken, chastened heart. Here it speaks personally, My sacrifice to God, is what Davis says. Here again I see both the living and dying of sacrifice working together.” Sharon looked around the room. An invitation to converse with her shone in her eyes. Indeed her spirit invited communion. It was one of her gifts I’ve often noted. 

“As to the last question; is one more final than the other? I’d say yes and no. Yes, in that if our living sacrifice is not there, the dying can’t exist either. No, because they are both equally important because of the need for each other to exist. As far as the definition of sacrifice, I agree with Carl it needs to be better clarified. In terms of salvation Yeshua’s sacrifice is once and for all, in this case both for the living and the dying – even the dead! Yet just as He said if we do as He did our sacrifice will resemble His. Giving up our way of thinking, deducing, judging and deciding in favor of God’s. This is a sacrifice that occurs within me everyday all day long. This is a living thing, the living testimony. Yet in the working of this I do die to myself every time. Often I think people think of martyrdom; the ultimate end of one’s breathing here on earth where another kills you because you believe. Which is just as applicable here, but it goes deeper than just that simple act alone. No one could get to such a place without having done the living and dying everyday. It shows up in Abel’s sacrificial offering, he gave from the worship of God in the living of his faith, it was a great reminder that his living testimony is still testifying today! What’s more final than that? In most the Scriptures read tonight and that came to mind for me sacrifice is almost inextricably linked to the Temple or church, meaning the Body of Christ as a whole. I will be studying this more this week.” I thought more aloud than intended to speak out. The nodding of heads was encouraging. Yet I still craved more time to let the Spirit lead me deeper. Yeshua – the sacrificial Lamb – it was a title He is, there was more here, I just knew it. 

Michael’s voice interrupted my introspection.

“Let us invite the Spirit to close this out. Our time is up tonight. I’ll leave the questions open ended and we will pick up next week on them. I’m curious to share and see what God shows us all as we study and learn at His feet this week. Bob, will you, dear Brother, use the great gift God has given you and pray us into the rest of this night?”

Heads bowed, newly awakened parts of our souls joined with Bob. Excitement and joy flowed from our hearts, joining the Kingdom of heaven. The need for such a place to come together and learn, had brought us all here. Everyone of us at one time or another had shared that it felt like the “churches” that formed just after Yeshua ascended with the promise of His return and the warning to be prepared, ready and watching. We came together in a plead to God that we be renewed and awakened with the sense that times were closing in and we all felt we needed ‘more’. What an answer to prayer this group was! Not of religious people learning religion, but of God’s children learning of Him!

✡ Grace and peace to you in the great Name of Yeshua the Messiah, may His Name be manifest in us all, each day! ✡

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Awake! ~ Word for Today

August 8, 2017 at 11:12 am (Thoughts to Ponder, WSGD Newes) ()

✡ May the grace and peace of Our Guardian be with you! ✡

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Adonai’s Word for Today

August 3, 2017 at 11:43 am (Remodeling the Mind, Thoughts to Ponder, WSGD Newes) (, , )

✡ Grace and peace to you in the Name of Yeshua the Messiah ✡

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AWAKE – Parable

July 27, 2017 at 4:03 am (WSGD Newes)

Jared sat by the side of the road, the words ‘I told you so…’ fairly oozing out of each of his pores. He’d set out to do what the men’s group suggested and voted on as the action to be placed on the lesson they hoped to learn. The topic was how technology ruled us instead of the other way around. So, in order to find out how entrenched each was in the technological abyss, a plan was set forth. 

Each man was to take a minimum of a three day trip, no cell phones allowed, no aids of industry. Clothes, food with a cooler that only held ice as its method of cooling, their Bible – the actual physical book, a note book for notes to record how they saw themselves responding to the lack of comforts and technology, and aids to suit the chosen destination of each man. 

Jared was one of the ones that insisted he could live without his phone and creature comforts. Yet he was also ready with arguments for the lack of wisdom of no cell phone. “In case something happens…” It seemed fine enough to only use it in an emergency. The vote was against him and Brian. 8 to 2. So here he was with a flat tire on the side of a very isolated road, three hours into his trip. Sweat began to trickle down him like weeping rocks in a steady rain. Here was the very situation he had argued and what he needed most was a phone! He was so caught up in feeling frustrated he’d left his phone at home, his mind was unable to track with solutions – problem solving. The solution he was obsessed with was the one he couldn’t use. Two hours had crept by, noone had raised a dust cloud on the road. He sat waiting for someone else with a phone. 

Of course the plan had be implemented with safe guards – each person was given a partner with which they gave all the details of their trip and a set time for checking in. If they failed to check in within 12 hours of the set time, a search party would be sent, authorities would be notified, and every effort would be made by the group to find the missing member. They had all taken a first aid survival class prior to the first persons trip. Everyone had learned much and been grateful for the back up. 

Jared knew how to change a flat tire. His stubbornness at the moment was blinding him to his ability to move on. Finally 3 hours and 34 minutes later, a still small voice finally broke through. 

” The jack and tire are right there, son.” 

So with reluctance and half his attention still searching for the vehicle to come along with that phone, he began to change his flat tire. 45 minutes later, he was able to resume his trip. It was alarming how tempted he found himself to go home and grab his phone and then resume the trip. 

“Trust Me, son, you won’t need it.” 

“Hmrpmh! I’ve already seen evidence that may not be true!” Jared thought. Pride kept him going to his initial destination. He could just see himself as the only one who gave in. It wasn’t a picture he relished. An hour later, well after dark he reached his spot. He had to use his head lights to illuminate where he set his tent up. A niggling feeling kept creeping up on him that this was “cheating”. The moon was full, and given time his eyes would have adjusted just fine to set up without head lights. He was tired and cranky, so he compromised. He nibbled on an energy bar, one of three allowed as to resist the temptation to not cook a meal, aka: be lazy – again depending on modern conveniences instead of taking full responsibility to see to one’s needs. (With God’s help of course). 

He looked at his watch, 11:23pm glowed from his 1980’s watch. No digital devices were allowed. As part of the test, each night was to be wrapped up by reading of the Word and prayer. He prayed, pouted about the lack of cell phone, and went to bed. The Word could wait til morning. 

The next morning Jared emerged from his tent to a beautiful sunrise. The dew was thick, the air clean and the thought of a hike wiggled it’s way into his thoughts. His stomach also growled, the energy from the bar last night expelling itself in protest.The eggs and biscuits he brought sounded wonderful. The wet kindling mocked. Jared kicked himself immediately for not buying a bundle of that wood at the gas station. Then he kicked himself again for realizing that modern conveniences tended to be the first thing he missed. 

He grabbed an apple and his Bible and sat down to wait for the sun to dry the ground. It had been years since he actually read from a non-digitized form of the Bible. A fact he had refused to share with the group. It was surprising how hard it was to focus at first. Yet, Obadiah began to draw him in. Relief flooded his heart. He prayed for an hour and began to gather kindling as he prayed. An hour and a half later, he sat at the fire satisfied by his eggs and biscuits and reveling in nature. He thanked God for giving him this time. 

The day drew to a close with a tally of about 30 laments of all forms of modern tech, his cell phone repeatedly among them. Every time he wanted to take a picture he thought first of his phone. He  followed the protocol of noting the shift inside as he prayed for God to paint the picture instead in his soul. Yet kept the small argument of disappointment that he would not be able to share the scenery with his family and friends. After a dinner of corn bread and fish he sat around the fire, praising God aloud. A shooting star streaked green and red in a wide arc, taking his breath away. The nights reading was not neglected this time, and Jared snuggled down under the stars and found himself asleep well after the fire had went out. He didn’t bother to look at his watch, he just dumped water on the coals and slipped into the tent. The sounds of cicadas and owls fading the day into dreams. 

Day 2 dawned with a patter of rain. The smell of pine mingling with heavens shower-gift made Jared smile. He rose to find his bag of clothes had sat against the tent wall and was soaked. The smile of moments ago fading into a sigh and a prayer that it wouldn’t rain all day. It did. Damp, and near to death of boredom didn’t bring cheer as the rain faded around 4:17pm. The hope of a fire to warm him was gone. He thought to dry his clothes in the car with the heat on, and quickly dismissed the idea. With bitter taste in his mouth of his lack of ability to problem solve without the aid of modern tech soured his canned beans and grapes for dinner. He could hardly remember what he read in the Word that day. His thoughts consistently drawn to the desire for the rain to stop. His notes were loaded with complaint and lament. His ego now eroded as if the rain had poured down inside him all day, not just on the tent. He prayed and doused the fire as he did. This time making sure some wood came to sleep inside the tent with him in case the rain returned. Thanking God for giving him the foresight this time. Owls hooted and his eye lids drooped, sleep came. 

Day 3, final day. Jared was scheduled to be checked in with Paul by 4pm. It was the kind of day that tempted you to call in stuck or broke down. Soft breezes, steady warmth from the sun, deer and critters played around him. Not even breaking down his tent distracted. The food tasted fresher than he’d remembered in years. The sky screamed a blue he’d almost forgotten existed. Time flew and he knew if he didn’t leave soon he’d miss his deadline. Yet again he longed for his phone to call in late and stay another day. His eyes rolling, the tech bug bit again. All manner of motives brought him back to that idol, and he was sickened by it. To say his perspective had changed was an understatement. Though the trip had proved he could indeed live without creature comforts and rough it, physically. Mentally he realized he didn’t go a day without it invading his thoughts and it was sobering. He had no doubt the lesson would continue long after these mountains faded into the distance and the city came demanding his attention at mock speed. He prayed God would continue what He had started here in this trip and slowly remove the idol of technology from his heart. He determined he would no longer read his Bible digitally. He would thank God for every modern convenience from now on. He would practice problem solving without using technology. He would put to practice the lessons learned for the last three days and not stop. He admitted to God his helplessness to do so without Him and placed the sacrifice of his heart on the alter of God’s acceptance. 

That very last thing he noticed was that much of the Word He had read these last three days were being woven into action inside his heart. He remembered what he read, he remembered what Yeshua spoke to him in the moments back and forth between incidents and events, prayer and meditation. 

And he knew, pictures or not, what he would share about this trip would paint a far more lasting picture than 1000 photos on his phone. 

So, he sat there for two hours more, watching the sun set, knowing he’d still be checked in well before the twelve hour crisis line. For the first time, he actually resented the thought of using his cell phone. He was awake, as he’d not been in a long time…and he was not in hurry to sleep. 

✡ May the grace and the peace of Yeshua the Messiah be found alive and active in your hearts. May His presence alone, be all the comfort and security you need! ✡

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Awake! – Part 21/b – Timing is Everything

July 21, 2017 at 1:36 am (WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , )

How do you think you did on the test? Did you hear from Adonai? Was His voice painting the final analysis? If so, the test was passed. 

We live in a world right now, where there’s the “Truthers”, “fake news”, conspiracy theorist, real reporters, paid actors, and the list goes on. Amy Grant once wrote a song; “Ya gotta know, who to, and not to, listen to”. I remember it was one of my faves. I was in 7th grade when it came out. 

It’s not so much why God placed inside me this calling card, as how and when. From the time as far back as I can remember, He has sent one thing after another to confirm He speaks directly to His children! The whole Word of God confirms it, but no book does quite like John. As you read, underline every time God spoke/speaks and His initiation to communicate. Your Bible will quickly be full of underlining! Then count how many times the phrase “I speak only what God/My Father tells me to say – do only what He tells me to do” 

I was raised in the non denominational Christian church. With few exceptions, every single one of them taught that God doesn’t speak directly to His People! Years later I understood it is pure deceitful fear that has been behind this in the church. What did the enemy say in the garden?

“Did God really say….?” 

That same enemy is still planting that same seed in the garden of God’s Vineyard. Hence the drowsiness encompassing His sheep. For today, this time, the buck must absolutely stop at what He says for our bearings to be correct where He has us, how and when. There are two ways we can stand firm in this:

  1. His Word, the Bible
  2. His Voice

That’s it. There is too much deception, too many people thinking they have the answers, too many people who think they can not be deceived, too many people afraid to hear from the Truth! (Remember…He’s a person, God – Yeshua/Jesus). 

Here are two quotes from God, from the book of Jeremiah. The entire 51st chapter is crucial to our lives today. 

Jeremiah 51:39; 57

When they are hot with desire, I will prepare them a drink, I will make them so drunk they will have convulsions, sleep forever and NEVER wake up, says Adonai. 

I will intoxicated her leaders and sages, her governors, deputies and warriors. They will sleep forever and NEVER wake up. Says the King, whose Name is Adonai-Tzva’ot. (Lord of Angel Armies)  

Let’s face it, when God spoke, quite often, it was plain just hard to hear. Not hard as in too low in frequency, but hard as in difficult to accept. I believe the disciples themselves can be quoted as saying that very thing about Yeshua’s teaching. Yet, let those verses sink in, time is going to run out, come to an end. Time ran out for Pharaoh, Goliath, Samson, Jericho, Sodom and Gomorrah, Haman, Pilate and the “church” in Yeshua’s time. The list goes on. Those in Israel at the time of Jeremiah 52, indeed were put to sleep and Never Woke up. It’s so important to never think we have some “spiritual nodoze” that makes us immune to falling asleep – aka: being deceived. Read in the Book of John how Yeshua emphasises hearing Him, listening to Him and staying in union with Him. And not being decieved! 

Now is not the time to be afraid of people’s reactions to us, either quoting the Word of God or telling them what He says to tell them! 

And now is definitively not the time to be afraid to hear Him! For we can “take this to the bank”, if we do not, right now, hear Him over every other voice shouting at us from every direction, we will fall asleep and waking up will not be a pleasant experience. 

How are the many ways the enemy is saying “Did God really…?” to you right now? Let me rephrase his wording as can disguise the same phrase. 

Why am I here? What am I doing? When will I be given a mission or ministry? Where do I matter?

The key to knowing why these questions are from the pit of hell instead of “nice soul searching Christian thinking” is because the emphasis is on the one letter word in each question. I. Nothing is accidental, God is behind everything about our lives. Where we are, how we are effecting others, and He may not choose to show us exactly how impactful He is in us, right now. 

Are you bearing fruit to bring Him glory? Or hiding behind leaves that reveal no fruit can be found? Hiding is about us, bearing fruit will always hallmark that we are about Him! I have yet to meet anyone truly doing the work of the Kingdom that can see exactly how and when God is using them at all times. Or even most the time. People who brag about how God is using them are not liars, but I guarantee they are blind in some very important spots. 

When King David thought he had it all together, was settling down into the kingdom God had given him. He took a walk on a roof and became a murderer and adulterer in the space of about 5 seconds. Remember, it starts in the heart, the mind, where only God can interrupt one efficiently and effectively. 

Remember, Peter was warned exactly how he’d deny Yeshua, and he still did it. It wasn’t the power of suggestion, it was prophesy. Yeshua’s timing in exactly when and how He warned Peter and then made the cock crow that third time was to His glory not Peter’s. It did indeed produce fruit for the Kingdom of God. Yet Peter will likely tell you he had not a clue how. David too. Every one of us gets stuck on ourselves at least a dozen times a day. It’s hard not to trip over something that stays with you everywhere you go. 

Remember, it’s not why, God parted the Red Sea, it’s how and when. Timing! It’s not why, Yeshua walked on water, healed the sick, lame and blind, raised the dead and died and rose again, it’s how and when! The why is obvious, God wanted to do it, it got done. God wants the evil to end, but not the lives of His created precious children. The end will get done, and every chance will be exhausted to bring His children into His Kingdom. Both are happening, right now, at the same time! 

Are you awake? Can you hear Him telling you? Remember Yeshua’s Words, let them ring in your ears…

He who has ears, let him hear…”  

If the only way to hear God is in reading His Word, He would have said “He who has eyes, let them read.” God would not have sent prophets or Yeshua to speak. The Torah, would have been enough, Yeshua would not have been needed. I could go on and on…but I pray you get the “picture”. The Word of God is anointed, alive and active. Just like it says. Yet relationship with God, is personal, talking, walking, living, responding, and knowing.   

If anything less than relationship was what God is after, He would have gave us a book, like a dead school book of rules and called it a day. Pun intended. 

If God’s timing is everything, and He didn’t say; “Lisa go to your neighbor and invite her to dinner.”  in the Bible, how then could I obey? I can verify in the Word, that the Voice I heard was God’s, but the Bible still won’t personally reach down on my block with the specific people He placed in my path and tell me what to do and say that applies to their life for His glory. It will confirm and reinforce the Living God whose Voice goes out from everlasting to everlasting; written as His Voice directed it to be written. I’m in no way understating the validity and power of the Word of God. No, indeed, that very Word is the same person as the Truth, Yeshua the Messiah; and He said…

John 10:3-4

This is the one the Gatekeeper admits, and the Sheep hear His voice. He calls His own sheep, each one by name, and leads them out. After taking out all that are His own, He goes on ahead of them, and the Sheep follow Him because they recognize His voice.   

John 10:16

Also I have other sheep which are not from this pen; I need to bring them, and they will hear My Voice; and there will be one flock, One Shepherd.  

John 10:27

My sheep hear My Voice, I recognize them, they follow Me…  

✡ May the grace and peace that comes from hearing and knowing Yeshua the Messiah be with you. Now and forever more. ✡

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