Sacrifice Defined

September 12, 2015 at 12:45 pm (Devotionals, Remodeling the Mind, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Thanksgiving as a sacrifice…what does this look like?

Sacrifice means it cost us something to give; whatever the thing may be. Something that is hard, to the point of rendering one destitute. Lets look at the widow Yeshua (Jesus) praises in Luke (21:1-4) as she was poor, she likely had no way to know how she would pay for food or her bills, but God moved her to give all that remained of her money. Look at the depth of this story.

The widow knew the church (the body of people in the temple and it’s leaders) was corrupt. She could see very well that the money given to it was hardly being used to help the poor such as she, and likely most the people she knew. Yet, she obeyed, trusting God, not the church, giving her money to God, not the church. The sacrificial give here? Her own perspectives, way of thinking – rationalizing, she instead thanked God for what she had to give and gave it all to Him.

Verse 4: “…but she, out of her poverty, has given all she had to live on.”

She could have fallen back on the hardship of her widowhood, made her circumstances the terms by which she negotiated her thinking and giving. I’m sure times we’re hard. Instead she thanked the God who gives and takes away. The sacrifice of praise, even in circumstances that feel hard – don’t initiate praise inside; she chose instead to see her standing as unchanged in His sight. The outward circumstance may look different but the reality of her standing in the Kingdom was what she chose to live by. The sacrifice of giving up our own perspectives and praising God instead of pleading for help and staying in the sorrow – this is the greatest and most costly sacrifice we will make to God. It is most precious in His sight.
So she gave up everything she “owned” both in the physical world and in the inner world where transformation is done. We often make the people in the stories of the Bible inhuman, meaning above those human responses, just because they did indeed rise above them in the stories. The widow thought and felt just like we do, rationalized as best she could, as we do, but her knowing God, changed her choices. Isn’t this what it says?

John 17:3
And eternal life is this: to know You, the One True God, and Him whom You sent, Yeshua the Messiah.

Most don’t sacrifice with thanksgiving, because they don’t know God. Knowing about Him is not the same as knowing Him.

Do we teach our children how to do this? How young are they when they are exposed to the concept? When they scrape their knees and we tend to them with love, do we then pray with them saying,

“God we praise you for scraped knees, we don’t need to know exactly why they are given, but we trust You. May You open our eyes to look for You the most in painful circumstances. We welcome all opportunities for You to show Your love, healing and power as greater than anything on earth we experience and see. Thank You, Father, for scraped knees and the opportunity to praise You. Amen”

This contradiction to all our senses to think and act on such sacrifice is profound. Some may call it extreme, crazy and taking things “too far”. Some may, some do, always have, always will…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Yeshua praised the Father for what He was doing when Lazarus died. He waited to go, I bet He didn’t want to, but He waited till The Father told Him to go. Sacrifice is always what we give up of ourselves for another. We trade our desires, wants, needs, thoughts, perspectives, feelings etc…for God’s instead of our own. And we know that they will be strikingly different, as Isaiah was faithful to write it down – “My ways are not your ways, nor My thoughts your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8)

So read the first part of the Psalms above again.

“Whoever offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors Me…”

Then the next part comes into focus.

“…and to him who goes the right way, I will show the Salvation of God.”

The sacrifice of praise in all ways that seem contradictory, hard, and awkward…this sacrifices our view, our opinions, our perspective (which we know is always but a speck of the whole picture) and our lean or bent; this is what this Psalms is speaking of. Without the first, the second is impossible.

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Show us our Father, open our eyes, for great is the need for this lesson to be applied to us, cemented in our hearts. We depend on You to teach us, as we know this action takes You, Your Holy Spirit, Your Word to enable us in action. Our lean is to complain, fall back on excuses, run towards a “help me” prayer (though we know that we need help, and this is not wrong) instead of trusting that You are working as hard for us when the hits come as when all is well. To say, “Praise You God” for the broke down car, loss of a loved one, hurt and pain of those who misuse, abuse and mistreat us – this is not our first response, and without You it shall never be. We want to be like Your Son, our Master, and be able to turn our cheeks to those who smack them, to give without looking and calculating whether we have it “in our opinion” or not. To simply obey, without hesitation, praising You the whole way, knowing nothing will happen that You can not provide for. ..this is what we pray.

It’s easy to think of sacrifice horizontally (with people). But vertically? What is sacrifice for God? How could it be anything other than our ways, and our thoughts? It’s easy to praise Him, when things are well, or even in the “norm”, but in hard times? To actually say “thank You.” when we are in a tough spot, experiencing great pain, hurt and anger? What else could it be but the sacrifice being spoken of so often in the Word. Is this not what we watched our Lord do, to our own perplexity? That even, steady, consistent example of His inner world (very human) completely sold out to trusting the Father. Oh how all who watched Him, walked with Him, knew Him, we’re touched by Him wanted this that He had. Peace.
Those who walk with, watch, know, and are touched by Him still do. They bare the hallmarks of it as well, as it begins to change them from the inside out. It’s more than a simple “I trust You, Lord”, it goes way down deep and pulls up a “Hallelujah, glory glory glory to the Most High”. Joining the constant refrain of Heaven (read all the refrains in Revelation) at times when doubt, fear, frustration, anger, and resentment lurk around looking for the opportunity to steal from this joining in with heavenly discourse. Do we remember how our enemy is described? A thief, searching for someone to devour, rob joy, pull down and snuff out the light? It’s not his delight to do this because it brings us down. No! It’s because it steals from the glory of God, which resides in the praises of His people. Not just the kind of praise of a thousand voices ringing in song to Him, but most importantly the praise that comes from a child whose tendency is to become self absorbed focusing with earthly eyes; instead – those eyes track with the eyes of the Savior and begin to lift up with heart, mind and soul a “thank You” and chorus of “glory” that heaven itself turns towards and joins. Sacrificial praise, points us to the Way, and we can not help but see the Salvation of God. He has and always will ‘out-sacrifice’ us! Glory to God, in the highest! And Shalom – peace to His people on earth!
Selah – Amen!

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♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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Distinctives

August 22, 2014 at 4:09 am (Mile Stones) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Recently I embarked on a new way of eating. Diet is a concept set up for temporary experimentation; sadly. This concept of food; what’s good, what is not, is so akin to the concept of sin it quite frankly amazes me. Have you ever googled quotes about sin? How about quotes about animal protein? The main stream of Web-based information is strikingly simular. Weak and paltry at best in helping one get at the heart of the matter. As with all things God leaves plenty of room for us to formulate our own opinions or adopt His as He created all and knows best how to advise how life can be lived to the fullest. Man’s opinions are as countless as the stars. .. with plenty of options to choose from. God’s are simple. .. but not easy. The options are few in order to keep it simple; which we need in all honesty. In man’s mind God is marrow minded. Yet look what He has created! If that’s narrow minded. .. then perhaps man is projecting!?! The most narrow minded God can be comes from man’s mind dulled by his own intellect and pride. We are just lazy, pleasure seeking fools with comfort driven desires to kick God out of the very universe He creates. Praise be to God, we’ll never be able to think and therefore it becomes! Not like Him. In Him the possibilities are endless, apart from Him our thoughts produce vapor and mist!

So. .. this new lifestyle of food consumption has really revealed much in the spiritual nature of my condition. .. perhaps more so than my physical. I begin to understand why diets are so short lived. One cannot begin to deprive the body of the previous poisons it has called “food” without it revealing the true nature of its need and depravity. After a time it becomes a question of “Why do this, with all its ‘misery’ and die anyway?” Ahhhh. .. man’s logic, it stupefies the heart. .. or as God calls it. .. hardens. Discipline is hard. .. endurance with it is down right extenuating! When I began down this road it was exciting and new. I knew in my head that it would be hard but the newness of it for the first 30 days kept me from feeling the difficulties. 60 plus days and I’m still inspired because the body really does begin to reveal the amazingness that God created it to be by now, but the world has shrunk in its options! There are two restaurants we can eat at that adhere to this way of eating. Two! We make our own snacks, meals, condiments. .. everything. The shelves in my cupboards are bare. .. My frig. .. poor little thing, is about to burst at the seams! I miss quickie meals. I miss spending an average of 1-2 hours in my kitchen (including clean up) verses the 4 plus it seems I spend in it now. My forty plus years of living has plenty of recipes to draw from in the “old” ways. I love cooking and cherish creativity in meal making… always have. But the new way leaves me feeling like all the “old” experience helps about as much as if I only spent 10 minutes worth of experience before.  It’s humbling! Do you see the spiritual overtones in the language? The few options the world presents verses before the world was my oyster! The knowledge of the former way being useless to the new! The need to dig deeper to find the source of my discontent verses before the shelves of every aisle at the store held a temporary “fix”. The concept that everything God gives does not have a “shelf life”; its not meant to be kept but consumed and lived! Here’s a real big eye opener! Try to find a product in the grocery store with absolutely no sugar, oil, or dairy! Its like shopping in the store of the heart trying to find one motive without self-centeredness or  self-need! I find God never points me in a direction physically that He doesn’t intend to work most on my heart in His hands!

By now, you are likely either drawing conclusions about the eating style I’m referring to or dying of curiosity! Forgive my vagueness. I’m simply not trying to endorse my food choices with this piece. I’m happy to share if you want to comment/question below but the main ingredient to this dish is not “food”. It’s Life, in the hands of a God who even told us how to eat food for our physical best, as well as made sure that the meal He emphasized was at the heart of our minds and thoughts being emptied for Him alone to fill. .. With His Word. True food. .. is His every direction/instruction.

Do I crave the old stuff? Sure, from time to time. .. but do I really miss it?  No. I miss the ease of the former. .. but I’m learning to love the work of the new. Waiting for that part in the process when it will no longer feel like work. .. it’s joy now but Everlasting joy too! The danger is always how we balance the earn/reward mentality. I could still get sick and die. There’s no promise of cancer free living just because I’m eating right now. A plus B does not equal C in the Kingdom of Heaven. .. not the way we do it. If your physical life is getting your attention. .. God is drawing your real attention to your heart in His hands. Notice this in the parables Yeshua (Jesus) taught with! Its not what the eyes see, and body feels that grants us knowledge. .. it’s been given only to draw our gaze up to His “big screen” of Life! The true question becomes the distinctive: “Am I trying to glorify myself or is my sincere heart for God and His ways to be glorified?”

I praise Him with my whole heart these days that His ways and thoughts are higher and so much unlike mine, yet so humbled that He makes them accessible to me! In the smallest of things He is the biggest of all! And in the biggest of things His simplicity is astounding! I’m in awe of Him! What a mind blowing God we serve! 

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah

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What did Yeshua Think? ~ Part 5

July 26, 2013 at 1:45 am (The Shepherd's Words) (, , , , , , , , , , )

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Psalms 51:5-6

True, I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment my mother conceived me.
Still, You want Truth in the inner person; so make me know wisdom in my inmost heart.

**The following is taken from the Ancient Hebrew Dictionary by Jeff A. Benner.**

Heart ~ ley-vav (Hebrew)
Definition: Literally, the organ which pumps blood, but also seen as the seat of thought; the mind.

More about the word…
To the ancient Hebrews the heart was the mind, the thoughts. When we are told to live Elohiym with all our heart (Deut. 6:5) it is not speaking of emotional love, but to keep our minds and our thoughts working for Him. The first picture in this Hebrew word is a shepherd staff and represents authority, as the shepherd has authority over his flock. The second letter is a picture of the floor plan of the nomadic tent and represents the idea of being inside, as the family resides within the tent. When combined they mean “the authority within“.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I love this way of learning!! It pulls everything Yeshua (Jesus) said right into everything Adonai said from the beginning!

John 14:23

Yeshua answered him, “If someone loves Me, he will keep My Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him.

Ever wonder why it says…“if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart.“? Or why we “receive Yeshua into our hearts?”
God is not a “pace maker” for the physical heart in this regard. Everything represents something much more concrete in spiritual terms. Meaning…if I don’t think in my mind Yeshua is Lord, my heart will still keep beating but I can not begin to call my actions to His attention without my mind knowing Him! Indeed one won’t even think much about that which they disregard or don’t believe. Example:

I, Lisa, do not believe that man over rides God in anything. So therefore I don’t follow the whole “global warming” trend. I disregard any “science” that says anything contrary to Gods Word. And “globally we are warming” but it has nothing to do with green house gases! So my thoughts surround very little in unity with this worldly perspective. I don’t worry about driving my car to do as God tells me. The air is in His hands, and obeying Him is more important. I will trust Him.

So you see…what we think in our heads is what determines our “state” – emotionally, physically and mentally. I am fully convinced of Yeshua, Adonai and the Spirit, I aim to please Him and seek out how to do so diligently, every conscience minute I am here. By my mind’s acceptance of Him as Truth, I indeed reap the rewards of understanding that The Father, Son and Spirit are indeed making their home in me! And now read the scriptures with the word heart, completely different than I used to based on His teaching me what heart means! Paul was extraordinary in his words…”For those who identify with their old nature set their minds on the things of the old nature, but those who identify with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Having one’s mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one’s mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom (peace – completeness). For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God’s Torah (teachings – authority) – indeed it can not!” (Romans 8:5-7)

He then goes on to say how one is transformed…by the renewing of the mind. In the Kingdom of God, the heart beats with His thoughts! In this perspective we can vividly See that Adonai’s heart has been laid out from the beginning…by sharing His thoughts…mind! We find them in His written Word! If you pick up a Bible…you hold in your hands some of God Almighty’s heart! When you invite Yeshua into your heart you begin to hold more of His heart inside your inmost being! He is still speaking to His Children! Still sharing His heart! Transforming our hearts with His!
Everyone who enters the Kingdom gets a heart transplant! Wow! God is so breath-takingly GOOD!

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ❤

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What did Yeshua Think? ~ Part 2

June 5, 2013 at 2:32 am (Remodeling the Mind) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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This prayer/phrase was integrated into every single thing Yeshua (Jesus) did, the Hebrews did. Hear O Israel the Lord our God is One God starts every prayer and blessing in this culture. Therefore we can know that Yeshua grew up with these words coming before and after virtually every action He took every day. Knowing it’s meaning…the function and purpose of it, when we know our Savior spoke these words almost as first words…is powerful.

The following is taken from The Living Words – Volume 1 – Pages 135-137 by Jeff A. Benner. Everything in parenthesis ( ) is my addition.

Application

Could you imagine watching the news one evening and the news anchor states, “A major earthquake hits, causing extensive damage and loss of life,” then moves onto the next story. No video, no details, no location, nothing. Well, this is exactly what translating one Hebrew word for one English word is like, as each Hebrew word is rich with meaning that cannot be expressed with only one English word.

We will be examining several verses of scripture, word by word, looking for the deeper meaning behind the Hebrew that has been lost in our English translations.

Hear O Israel

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one LORD: And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
~ Deuteronomy 6:4,5 (RSV)

Hear: sham a – This word means “to hear” but with the Hebraic idea “to pay attention to what is being spoken and act upon it“. When Israel “hears” the directions of God, they agree to act upon them they obey His Words. When God “hears” the pleas of Israel in bondage in Egypt, He acts upon them He rescues Israel.

(John 5:25 ~ Yeshua (Jesus) speaking…

Yes, indeed I tell you that there is coming a time – in fact, its already here – when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will come to life.)

LORD: Yahweh – The name meaning “He exist”.

God: Elohiym -While this word is often translated as “God”, we must recognize that the idea behind a “god”, any “god” is a Greek concept. The Hebrew word means “judges” in the sense of One with great power and authority.

One: ehhad – The use of the word “one” in this verse is commonly interpreted to mean that there is only “one” God. However, from a Hebraic perspective, this verse is stating that Yahweh is in unity with Himself. A good example of this is the pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. A cloud and fire are opposites – one provides coolness and shade; the other heat and light. Yet they work together to preserve the people during the day and the night.

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(John 10:37-38 ~ Yeshua speaking…

“If I am not doing deeds that refect My Father’s power, don’t trust Me. But if I am, then, even if you don’t trust Me, trust the deeds; so that you may understand once and for all that the Father is united with Me, and I am united with the Father.”)

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Love: ahav – Love is not an emotion: it is an action. The context of this word in the text indicates that we are to “love” God with our actions, not with our emotions. (Because our emotions are always changing based on circumstances, hormones, and reactions. They can be used by the enemy to move away from God)

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( John 17:26 ~ Yeshua praying for us…

I made Your Name known to them, and I will continue to make it known; so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I, Myself may be united with them. )

Heart: levav – The heart in Hebrew thought is the thoughts of the mind, not an emotion as we would relate to the word heart. In this passage, we are informed how to “love” Yahweh – by keeping all our thoughts focused on Him.

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( Matthew 15:18-20 ~ Yeshua speaking…

But what comes out of your mouth is actually from your heart, and that is what makes a person unclean. For out of the heart come forth wicked thoughts, murder, adultery, and other kinds of sexual immorality, theft, lies, slanders…These are what really make a person unclean… )
(notice the wicked thoughts are mentioned first, then action, action, action. The concept of this prayer/command is neon in Hebraic perspective. Sow a thought…reap an action)

Soul: nephesh – Literally the whole of the person. First we are told to love Yahweh with our minds, now with all of our bodies, our wholeness.

Might: me’od – This is a very interesting word, especially in the way that it is used in this context. This word is used throughout Hebrew as an adverb, intensifying a verb, and is usually translated as very, greatly, or much. This is the only time this word appears as a noun and is best translated as “muchness”. This idea of muchness is expanding on the previous two ways we are to love Yahweh, first with our mind, then with our body, and now with everything we have. (All at our disposal, resources)

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( Matthew 13:44-45 ~ Yeshua speaking…

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. A man found it, hid it again, then in great joy went and sold everything he owned, and bought that field.
Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for fine pearls. On finding one very valuable pearl he went away, sold everything he owned and bought it.”
)

Now that we have examined each word in this passage, to uncover their original meanings in the Hebrew culture, let’s translate it with a more Hebraic flavor. ( The way Yeshua thought and understood it )

Israel, pay careful attention and respond: Yahweh is our power and authority, Yahweh works in unity with Himself: and you shall act upon your love to Yahweh your power and authority with your thoughts and mind, with your entire body and with all the muchness that you have.

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It becomes increasingly clear that Yeshua thought and processed like a Hebrew. He knew these concepts and perspectives from His growth in the culture of God, the Father’s making…Hebrew/Jew. Every word He spoke is inundated with Hebraic thought. Which tells us that the richness and depth of God’s communication is profound this way.

So far in this series we have seen the value of looking “through His eyes” at the Words He spoke. We find confirmation after confirmation of His culture. That it makes a difference to understand it. It can be understood via the Greek/western mindset; but one gives a side salad if you will, which feeds but this way we get ” the full meal deal”. 🙂

Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ❤

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God Fed, Holy Spirit Led

May 24, 2013 at 2:00 am (Remodeling the Mind) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Romans 8:14-16

All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you again to fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by Whose power we cry out, “Abba!” (That is, “Dear Father!”). The Spirit bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God;

Romans 9:1

I am speaking the truth – as one who belongs to the Messiah, I do not lie; and also bearing witness is my conscience, governed by the Ruach HaKodesh: (Holy Spirit)

1 John 3:24

Those who obey His commands remain united with Him and He with them. Here is how we know that He remains united with us: by the Spirit whom He gave us.

1John 4:6; 13

We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God doesn’t listen to us. This is how we distinguish the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of error.

Here is how we know that we remain united with Him and He with us: He has given to us from His own Spirit.

John 14: 15-17 ~ Yeshua (Jesus) speaking…

If you love Me, you will keep My commands; and I will ask the Father, and He will give you another comforting Counselor like Me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees nor knows Him. You know Him, because He is staying with you and will be united with you.

What is the function/purpose of the Holy Spirit? You could say, in modern terms, to keep your “ears” connected to God’s Voice…by which He leads and guides His children every minute of every hour of every day. The key is to listen and act, without delay to what He says. I will try to bring this into a realistic picture.

You feel hungry. At the inkling of that desire your own voice in your head begins to “speak”. Based on what this voice says, you get up (act), walk into the kitchen (act), and proceed to “follow that voices” instruction (action) until you have consumed food and feel hunger no more.

When one is united with Yeshua and now His child, we still feel urges like before but have received and agreed to listen to a new Voice inside and act according to His instructions. This is called obedience, listening to His commands, keeping His commands. All His commands accord with those you find in His written Word thereby as “infants” we have a means of “comparison” in order to learn which voice belongs to who. The more we grow, the more we remember the Word and do not need to stop and consult the Word for comparison (only)…we know His Voice by obeying it over and over. Not by merely reading it and saying “Yep, that’s the right thing to do.” We still read The Word, but it becomes food! Something we know we need, and desire to be fully alive in Yeshua! The Spirit gives us a desire to read it because He is now teaching us what it means!

The Holy Spirit speaks right into our very lives, applicable to our situations, circumstances and issues. So in essence when we feel hungry, get up to go fulfill that desire; we can ask Him to tell us what we should do to fulfill it, instead of just doing what we always did before; which was listening to our own voice and acting. This is a very simple example, not the less true for its simplicity either. God knows us best. Say we feel hungry, but in Truth we don’t need to eat. If we ask Him, He will tell us yes or no. If yes, He will tell us even what it is we should eat! Its the equivalent of having a Personal Trainer. That is…if we let Him.

Romans 8:5-8

For those who identify with their old nature set their minds on things of the old nature, but those who identify with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Having one’s mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one’s mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and shalom (peace meaning completeness). For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God’s Torah (Instruction/teaching/guidance) – indeed, it cannot. Thus, those who identify with their old nature cannot please God.
But you, you do not identify with your old nature but with the Spirit – provided the Spirit of God is living inside you, for anyone who doesn’t have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn’t belong to Him.

In truth – the word identify is listen to, act on, let lead; the voice of your mind which was independent of God before you received Him as your new Teacher, Trainer, Guide, God.

The word Torah has always been translated Law from Hebrew (the original language all Scripture was written in) to Greek. But in truth, the word Torah means Teachings. Teachings are way different than laws. Teaching is done with patience, interest in the person being taught, and grace for the learning. Laws are not. God gave instructions to Israel not Laws. Mankind turned God into a lawmaker, but He never agreed! He is, was, and always shall be a Teacher! His desire has always been to train, lead, guide not police!
So when we read Jesus’ Words “If you love Me, you will obey (keep) My commands.” He is saying, “follow My instruction, lead, teachings.” When we truly accept His Lordship, we get the Holy Spirit “installed” into our minds. So we can follow His Voice. Those who have said/say they follow Yeshua but ignore the Holy Spirit enabled Voice become what the Word refers to as double-minded and unstable.

To be God fed, we must be Spirit led. We consider ourselves no longer having the option to “take our own advise” anymore. This is a process, by which we serve a Teacher, who trains us as we go. Its a walk with a Patient God, who understands it takes time to renew/train the mind to listen and know His Voice. Not a police-god ready to write a ticket for breaking laws!
One is relational, the other is well…I don’t know many people who want to get close to a policeman. (Exception being made by those who are police officers and have friends and family but those who love them do not want to be close to their job, but their person)

It makes all the difference in the world to be united with Yeshua via the Holy Spirit. It changes…everything!

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Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ❤

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