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Archive for the category “Walking with Christ in the Wilderness”

Loved by God…

…a sanctified sinnerJuly 17 2018

In my recent on-line studies with Ligonier Ministries I have been learning more on God’s attribute of love.  The most recent session of the course entitled, “Loved by God,” has visited the spectacular grace revealed in the Scriptures on the subject of “God’s Electing Love.” 

Discussion questions always accompany the study sessions, and I typically dig deep into them. The online study participants are always encouraged to share their answers on the Ligonier Connect community portal where other fellow participants can comment and interact with us.

Each session has a theme verse for the topic. The topical verse for the session entitled, “God’s Electing Love” follows:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”

—Ephesians 1:3–6

The particular discussion question which provoked my little grey cells to address dealt with the relationship between being a sinner chosen by God’s grace to be set apart for holiness and that of actually living as one sanctified by God’s grace while yet a sinner:

In what ways can sinners be holy as He is holy? Do you ever struggle with your own sanctification? In what ways have you progressed in this area of personal holiness?”

Before I could even form a thought on this question, I was driven back to the Scriptures to meditate again on the truths which my little grey cells tend to blur in the daily dust kicked up in the “helter-skelter” of the “ME” kind of life this side of Heaven. Laying hold of the Scriptures and feeding richly on the spectacular grace of the God who is the Ever living King of the cosmos cut through the accumulated “cataracts” on the eyes of this  mind He gave me and exposed the reality of being set apart by His own grace.  In realizing again that I am loved by God through His own electing grace, He “killed me softly” with His Word. What follows are the reflections on the subject of “God’s Electing Love” and the treasures which I found in His Word, both new and old…

There are two ongoing struggles in my life in this dusty existence, while yet being called out in the dust to live as one who knows the redemption from it by God’s grace. The first struggle is to remember that I am LOVED BY GOD and all that is wrapped up in that spectacular love package. The verses I have explored in this exercise are a few which ignite the fire of reality in my little grey cells and my bones and a longing to love God back. These are a few of the passages from the Word of God for my mind’s struggle to REMEMBER in this world of deceptions:

“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.” Deuteronomy 15.15

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine’.” Isaiah 43.1

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you’.” Jeremiah 31.3

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10.27-29

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15.16

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14.25-27

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2.9-10

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1.2-4

“…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1.14-16

  • Created in His image and likeness to belong to Him;
  • redeemed from my corruption and the corruption of this world to know Him and to LIVE as one alive and not perishing.
  • To know His Kingdom and to declare it—to LIVE as one who belongs to His Courts, His Service, His Royal children, lieges and loved ones.

Because I am loved by God, these are the things that the Holy Spirit reminds me about this spectacular sanctification of which I am privileged to live in Christ Jesus; and it is for Him and for His glory that I live and enjoy this calling.

The second struggle is a “good fight” (1 Timothy 6.11-13) as a sinner sanctified by the holiness of God and by His love. That “good fight” is YIELDING to the counsel, conviction, and correction of the Holy Spirit, and it is truly spiritual aerobics and a full and ongoing “cardio” workout.  Because I am loved by God, feeding on the Word of God and prayer without ceasing stays my mind on what is really real and true in a world of deceptions bombarding from every side. Because I am loved by God, by His grace, I am learning increasing tenderness to the conviction of sin and an increasing hatred for any “darling” sins which I admit to resisting and hesitating to surrender to Christ’s authority to cleanse; and I am learning the terrible effects of quenching the Spirit of God’s convicting work (1 Thessalonians 5.19) and the  grief such obstinacy brings to the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4.30). I am learning an ever increasing desire for the transforming and renewing of my mind that I would not “let sin reign in my mortal body,” and that I would “not present my members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin,” but present myself “to God as being alive from the dead,” and my “members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6.12-13) Because I am loved by God, there is that longing to more glorify God by living a “Romans 12” and a “Micah 6.8” and a “1 Thessalonians 5.16-18”  life as Christ who lives in me—the “good fight”Soli Deo Gloria!

When I am Weak…

spiritual battleI have not blogged for many weeks not because I have been particularly busy. I have not been traveling to far away places and enjoying limitless social gatherings with relatives and friends. Although I have not been busy in the culture’s understanding of what “busy” is nowadays, I have been occupied with living one day at a time–prayerfully, joyfully and thankfully. Truthfully, it has been a fight–a good fight–but nevertheless, a fight to do so. I have not been able to engage in the battle without the mercy of some medication, because the “good fight” I face every night and every day is anxiety disorder. The “good fight” broke out over 15 years ago, and God has mercifully granted me the blessings of an isolated few who have accepted me and prayed for me. He has also provided the blessing of therapists who not only respect but also identify with my Christian Biblical orientation for living in Christ with this kind of infirmity. But I am, after many years in one church, in a new church with new challenges to “connect” and with innumerable “opportunities” to exercise my gifting to serve–and most of all the greatest challenge to finding a sister or brother in Christ who is a local praying friend, unashamed to be my friend, understanding when I cannot join the throng of retreats, church socials, and ministry commitments, and willing to take time to pay a personal visit to our home.

I have not found very much in Christian literature or church counseling publications on the truth of what the weakness of anxiety disorder does to a person who loves Christ and longs to serve Him in the Body of Christ in response to that zeal, consuming fire and love. Today, in my quietness, I came upon this article published by another Christian, one whom I greatly respect, whose articles and teaching I have found at other times and on other topics come from the heart of the Word of God. He is also one whom I did not suspect as being a victim of the “pox” of anxiety. His name is Tim Challies. Some of you may know of him.

After another one of the series of nights struggling to rest without resorting to medication, I yielded to God’s merciful provision and was rewarded with sleep I have not experienced in a long time. Today, I found Rev. Challies’ article entitled “Some Things You Should Know about Christians Who Struggle with Anxiety.” He posted it on his blog site in August 2016. I believe today was my day to be encouraged and exhorted in a way no other fellow Christian has had the courage to talk to me. So I am sharing the link with you. Some of you know and experience this “good fight” firsthand;  others of you do not struggle with this weakness, but you have dear ones about whose inexplicable periods of uncharacteristic introversion or perpetual tiredness you are always finding a puzzlement and frustration. Rev. Challies explains it courageously and graciously.  I could not have said it better, but I am encouraged by this offering of his to be forthcoming with others in my family in Christ when I need to decline the many good “opportunities” for the sake of the best which equips me to fight the “good fight.” Here is the link to the article:

Some Things You Should Know about Christians Who Struggle with Anxiety – by Tim Challies

I close with a verse from Isaiah 30.15 which has become a living verse, a capable weapon in my “good fight,” and a continual blessed comfort in a culture which is opposed to any such exhortation:

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”

A Perfect Church…

…and other expectations…

I could put many thoughts on this subject in writing to share with everyone who reads my posts; but I doubt any of them would serve anything but to elicit a nod of agreement on shared insights. What compels me to post anything at all on the subject is my studies this morning in Revelation 21 from the Community Bible Study materials.  If you read the chapter in this book of the Bible, you will see a description of the New Jerusalem.

In our group’s CBS Bible study questions we are asked to compare some of the previous manifestations of the glory of God from the passages of Scripture: Exodus 40.34-38; 2 Chronicles 7.1-3 and Matthew 17.1-8.

Here is what I observed: These are all appearances of God’s glory—even for their stunning effect upon fallen, corruptible men—while yet cloaked in a mitigating cover. The very face of God is not revealed, while fallen, corruptible men recognize that it is the Presence of the Glory of God before them and they are undone by its nearness to them. And the moment of glory fades…

In the new city, the holy city of Jerusalem, only the incorruptible redeemed shall dwell and they shall behold His Face in unmasked glory and not die;  but they shall surely worship God face to face, still falling humbly before Him, while enjoying perfect fellowship with Him and one another in His forever Presence.

Another thought question was included in our group’s CBS lesson on Revelation 21; we are asked how looking forward to such a city changes our perspective on today… 

Are you looking for a perfect church this side of Heaven? You might find a very good one, and on some days you might feel like you have stepped across the threshold into the New Jerusalem for the glory of God which falls on your heart at the substance of the unvarnished teaching of the Word of God there… and the beauty of reverent and excellent praise… and the kindness of people who acknowledge your existence in a culture which is wrapped up in itself and its I-phone activity…

But the glory this side of Heaven still fades, just as it did on Mt. Sinai, in the Temple dedication during Solomon’s reign, and on that mountain peak where Jesus was transfigured before the eyes of his disciples…

There are good churches on this planet where the substance of the unvarnished, un-compromised Word of God is taught and lived out from the heart, even if haltingly and “in process;” where forgiveness and accountability to the Word of God has not become an obsolete virtue… And yet, there are Sundays when you might feel dashed expectations because the pastor, for all his gift as a communicator and his humility as a student of the Word in his own life, his sermon did not address your struggle and search for understanding that day… or for all its excellence, the worship team’s rhythm did not match the particular rhythm of your heartbeat that day, because, by God’s sovereign providence, it spoke to others with different needs… I concede that if Scriptural deprivation from the pulpit leadership is a regular, long-term, repetitive experience, perhaps you should be looking for another church. If you are not in a solidly Scriptural teaching church, I exhort you to find one and attend it and take notes on the sermons and study the Scriptures presented…

Even so, if you find yourself pining at times because you hunger for God’s glory to fall upon you and change the stuff in your heart which does not please God–if this stunning “glory work” does not happen in every worship service in your church–the glory fades because we are not in the New Jerusalem.

A “perfect church” which is truly a good church will keep you looking forward to “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11.10).

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Revelation 21.3

Another Day to Glorify the Lord Jesus…

Just thinking out loud…

Paul Witnesses to Roman LeadersI have been studying the Book of Acts with my friends at Community Bible Study, and this week’s lesson material is covering Acts 25-26. While examining the record of Paul’s defense before Agrippa in Acts 26 I read Paul’s opening statement:

“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews…” (vs 2).

One of the study questions asked: “Why do you think Paul considered himself ‘fortunate’ to be addressing Agrippa in his defense against the accusations of the Jews?”

This is not the first time in my studies of Paul’s life and witness that I have seen his total surrender to the love of the Lord Jesus Christ in all things. Paul’s life and ministry was both a physical and spiritual battleground every day of his breathing existence this side of Heaven. And still, he wakes up each morning with the expectation that he has another day to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ–because he loves Him more than all…

…(wait while I weep over my ambivalent, insipid commitment to Jesus)…

spiritual battleAnyway, not so very long ago, in another moment of awakening, I told the Lord that I want that same expectancy in my own life when I wake up every morning–another day to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ–in my own breathing existence this side of Heaven. And not very long after that, Satan went “nuclear” on me, mustering every weapon in his hateful arsenal to quench that desire… To be sure, it has been a battle of “operation desert storm” proportions in my life, because Satan is not having any of it…

But I wonder if Paul ever had periods of waking up dreading what he might face in his day–whether it be the physical taxing on his body to travel while in pain, or whether it be the undercurrent of dread at facing another mob bent on drawing blood… so much so, that his flame of gladness of glorifying Jesus gutters and flickers in the battles of each day; and that instead of jubilation, his heart is like a ship anchored and held fast to its mooring in Christ while yet battered from within and from without…

god-strength2That’s something of how I feel in my dusty existence this side of Heaven…But I know that Messiah Jesus fights for me, because I am alive today “fortunate” to have another day to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in my own breathing existence this side of Heaven…

Thanking God that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world, as it is written by another faithful one who loved the Lord Jesus:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

-1 John 4.4

Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?…To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light both to our people [the Jews] and to the Gentiles.”

–Acts 26.8,22-23

Glory to Thee, Lord Jesus!

An “Indivisible” American Heart…

Just thinking out loud…something I do not quite understand about the current media and political upheaval over talking to foreign diplomats/businessmen/guests during an election campaign season…

Observation #1: Former President Obama and the Democratic Party are generally in favor of global trade, free access between countries to trade and traffic… “the global economy” idea…

Observation #2: In this country, we value freedom of speech; there are countless champions for that right given in our Constitution…

Observation #3: In this country, a political candidate has the right to raise funds and support from willing parties… in recent years, those who are resident aliens, enjoying the blessings of the Democratic welcome of living and working here, in the interest of free trade, etc., exercise their freedom of speech to dine with and be invited guests of a political candidate whose ideas and business philosophy interest them… especially since he might become the next “leader of the free world…”

Observation #4: But Democratic advocates for free speech and global trade and traffic and unified global economy and good relations suddenly object to another political candidate even speaking with peers/businessmen/government emissaries of the foreign country — whose relationship has not been defined as outwardly hostile at any particular level (or maybe it is a personal dislike of the former “leader of the free world.”) Democratic advocates for free speech dismiss these resident aliens and deport them for talking to and liking the platform of the other candidate…

As I read what is being presented in the media, the only thing that is apparent is that Mr. Flynn lied to the FBI about exercising his right to entertain and talk with people from another country…potential supporters of the potential new leader of the free world… the lie was wrong.

But here is another thing which puzzles me: It is now the outraged champions of free speech–the Democratic party–which have instigated an FBI investigation into this other country’s “meddling” in the 2016 election. What constitutes meddling? Having been dissatisfied with previous avenues of accusation and investigation into “meddling,” the FBI is now directed by the Democratic champions of free speech to turn its inquisitive eye upon the team members of the current President’s office, announcing the “criminality” of his conversations with people from the country the previous President evicted in response to his own unproven suspicions of “meddling.”

Believe me when I say this: witch hunting is an abominable thing for a people to be doing–regardless of who is in the “people’s house,” (aka The White House).

I have nothing else to say on this matter, except to go to the Sovereign Lord in fervent prayer…

LORD! There is so much going on which so many of us do not see. If it is Your Will, by Your grace, protect us from ourselves!

Fill the earth and subdue it…

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’.”

Genesis 1.28 NKJV

In recent weeks, my wee corner of the earth has been filled with the things of a creative mind multiplying for the sake of children’s ministry–

Story Stand-up FiguresI was given a resource from a craft distributor for use in our Sunday School for an Easter lesson. The resource was a pack of card stock figures for re-telling the story of Jesus’ Resurrection. They are lovely line drawings on white cardstock, made to color and stand up on a flat surface. Each pack included a story card on which is written the story of what the disciples of Jesus found when they arrived at the tomb on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. The moment I saw these, my mind saw the possibilities for a child’s modified Resurrection/Grace Garden…

resurrection garden 1In case you have not seen one, a Resurrection/Grace Garden is a small arrangement in a container, made to resemble the garden where Jesus’ tomb stood. The elements of the landscape reflect the environs of Judea, and the tomb can be made from earthen plant pots, etc… Ultimately, the idea is to create a scene which depicts and remembers the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ at Easter, in much the same way we set out nativity sets at Christmas.

So, my little grey cells began to whir and click and hum—at the quickening of the Holy Spirit—about how to gather the elements for a combined class of pre-schoolers through first graders, 15 children on a full-house Sunday, to make their own little Grace Garden for Easter celebration…

fill the earth-subdueMy “earth” soon became filled with Wilton cake boards to serve as the platform for the standing figures and the bits of landscaping; the sandpaper, the mosses, the tiny little pebbly shells and bits of finely crumbled rock, the plastic grasses, bushes, succulents, the scrap card stock from my stash to use as the flats for the gardenscape strips… and then the different types of adhesives for the best adherence and ease of construction in the class…

Then, I realized how limited is the time we have to work on such a project in the classroom; and I began to consider how best to prefabricate the landscape so that the children would enjoy the work of constructing their craft project and be able to finish in time to take it home…

They would need to color the standing figures, and then adhere each one to its appropriate place on the landscape…

My mind began to whir and click and hum again, at the quickening of the Holy Spirit, about how to subdue all the elements which were filling my little corner of the earth…

Garden Strips Left & Right

“Garden” Scape Strips

Story Garden Platform

Platform for Figures & Garden Strips

Story Stand-up Figures

Stand-up Resurrection Story Figures

Story Card Folder

The Resurrection Story Card Folder w/Story Inside

My experience in the preparation of this Easter celebration Sunday School craft taught me volumes about the meaning of what God intended when He called our ancient parents to “fill the earth and subdue it….” It is a labor of love and sacrifice; and, because of the Fall, it is a labor accompanied by tears and trembling and in weakness and hope… One quite literally sows her being into the ground of the earth in order to bear fruit to worship God… And this taught me more of what it is to trust God in a work inspired by His Spirit, but beyond my natural abilities–His grace which is truly sufficient for these aging little grey cells; for these fingers and fatigue-ridden back and shoulders, as the labor of subduing all the elements progressed one step at a time…

Grace Garden Craft…And because of His LIFE in mine, it is a labor of joy in subduing all the gatherings–in their tumult and diversity–into something the children can enjoy, learn, understand and share for the increase of Christ’s glory in this earth…

My hope is for the fruit to increase and multiply in the lives of our young children to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ…

 

Faithful and True…

On this evening before the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, I am deep into the prophet Hosea, preparing for our little ones Sunday School. The one thought that keeps emerging in my little grey cells is that there is only One True God. No other God loves the way the God of the Bible loves. No other God than He has ever provided the way of grace and mercy and forgiveness for our rebellion against Him…

Hosea’s message was a call to Israel to come back to the only True God whose holy love, mercy and grace are true and faithful. Hosea’s life was an example to Israel of the faithfulness of the One True God. Hosea’s name means “salvation…”

jesus-faithful-trueMany hundreds of years after Hosea lived, God sent His Son Yeshua. His Name means “God is Savior.” Hence, Hosea 13.4 “…for there is no savior besides Me.” Hosea paid a high price to bring Gomer back to him; Yeshua paid the highest price to bring the mercy, grace and forgiveness of a Holy God to sinners–peace with a Holy God through Messiah Jesus alone…

Lord, the One who is called Faithful and True, please grant the same grace to other rebels that You have shown to me while I was in deep rebellion against You…

Soli Deo Gloria!

Elijah on Mt. Horeb…

…Listening for God’s Voice…

Recently, I had the blessing of introducing our church’s younger children to the encounter between Elijah the prophet and God on Mt. Horeb…In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had run a marathon to escape the fury of queen Jezebel; she was livid, nearly apoplectic,  when she heard her husband Ahab’s tale of how the God of Israel had literally outmuscled all Jezebel’s favorite idols and made 850 prophets of these false gods look like simpering idiots on Mt. Carmel. Elijah was the agent of the Lord who facilitated the exhibit, and also meted out subsequent execution on 400 of those false prophets. As a result Jezebel was not only angry with her husband, she also declared all-out war on Elijah with a vow to murder him at the first opportunity…

elijahcavecolor

Elijah on Mt. Horeb

Having escaped Jezebel’s wrath, Elijah found a tree under which he could collapse his weary, frightened, discouraged bones. In his bitter dismay about the response of faith among the Israelites who witnessed God’s unmistakable presence on Mt. Carmel, Elijah wanted God to let him die… An angel of the Lord visited Elijah, comforted and fed him, bidding him rest awhile…

 Upon regaining his strength, Elijah traveled 40 days and 40 nights, over roughly 280 miles of wilderness to find a cave on Mt. Horeb. Again, he prayed, pouring out his grief about the leadership of Israel, their hatred for the Word of God and their fondness for all the atrocious customs attendant to the idolatry of the pagan world…Again, Elijah asked God to let him die…

tornado-storm-wind-rotation-whirlwind-willywillyAs I thought about whether God was grieved in His own Spirit for the very issues which grieved Elijah’s soul, I realized that the way God expressed His own grief at that encounter with Elijah was first with a whirlwind…

But His voice was not in the whirlwind…

tumbling-rocks-earthquakeThen God expressed His grief in an earthquake…

But His voice was not in the earthquake…

Finally, God expressed His grief in fire…fire

But His voice was not in the fire…

At last, God spoke to Elijah in a whisper—when all the grief was vented in rushing wind, shaking of the earth, and the roar of fire—and nothing was left but quiet…so quiet that Elijah was now sensitive to hear that still small voice of God’s comfort and counsel and encouragement…

Over 2,000 years ago, God sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to speak to the people of Israel and He was overheard by the Romans who carried news of the teachings of the new Jewish Rabbi all over the Roman world…During that period of the Roman Peace, there was sufficient quiet to hear God speak through Messiah Jesus…And no enemy from within the Church nor any foe from without has succeeded in silencing His voice…

Hebrews 1.1-2 tells us that God spoke in former days through the prophets, but now in these last days, He has…

“…spoken to us through His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…”

Among the multitude of thoughts with which my little grey cells swim, this is what occurs to me as I think on this encounter with Elijah: there are so many expressions of woe and travail in creation around us; we have the whirlwinds; we have the earthquakes; and we have the fire, to name a few. My question was this, “Lord, what will You do to make it quiet enough for people in this culture of constant racket and babble to hear Your voice?” His answer came so gently…

the assurance that He will make it so…

“Be still and know that I AM God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46.9-10

Ezekiel’s Vision: The Restoration of Israel…

Bible Address: Ezekiel 36.22-32

How thorough is this restoration!

  • God promises to lead Israel back into the land He promised her, to gather her from the nations to which He scattered her in her state of rebellion against Him…
  • God promises to sprinkle clean water on her to cleanse her from all her rebellion and idolatry
  • God promises to give her a new heart and put a new spirit—His Spirit—within her and cause her to love Him and adhere to His ways
  • After this work of spiritual restoration, God promises that they will dwell in the land promised to them and be God’s people; and then the land will multiply its yield and increase and the trees will be fruitful, with no threat of famine…

This is a work of environmental restoration which comes from the hand of God when Israel comes into the knowledge of her redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ; when Israel looks upon Him whom we have pierced and grieves for Him as for an only son…when Israel recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of Israel…How great a Yeshua! How great a Salvation!

And then all creation will rejoice, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 8.19:

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God…”

Many observe how Israel now blesses the world through their perseverance, inventiveness, scientific contributions, humanitarian ministries, etc. And these, for the measure of their restoration to the land, are blessings and wonders. But this is not the fullness to which Ezekiel speaks. This current state is welcome, to be sure, but it is merely a shadow, a wee foretaste, of what God promises when Israel finally comes into the fullness of faith in Christ.

In that day all creation will finally shake off the corruption and death which came upon it by the sin of man…creation finally rejoices when the prodigal sons of Israel at last return by the sovereign grace of God and behold the Lord Jesus…

Let us who now enjoy the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus harbor no delusions of entitlement; God declares that He will not do this for the sake of Israel, but for His holy Name’s sake, which the nations have scorned because of the rebellion of the people God chose to exalt Him (Ezekiel 36.22)… Hear this, Church…

There are no photographs or images to adequately picture this. And the apostle Paul says that “eye has not seen…nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2.9-10)…

Think about it! Wake up those little grey cells in your God-given brain! The promise of God to the prodigals of Israel in Ezekiel 36.28-30 is a promise which is full and final—no interruptions; no need for military defenses or barriers for protection or fickle political alliances. It is a promise for full restoration of the land–no pestilence; no parasites; the abolition of genetic modification and pesticides to enhance the production of the fields and the trees; the perfect balance of creation—it all comes after the ultimate return of the prodigal remnant of Israel to behold and embrace Yeshua (Ezekiel 36.25-27,31)!

Awakening to the implication of Ezekiel’s vision I am more earnestly praying for the salvation of the Jewish people, because:

“… if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”

–Romans 11.12

Pray for the salvation of the Jewish people

and for the Peace of Jerusalem…Psalm 122…

“Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.”

–Psalm 122.9

Weak Days & New Beginnings…

Lately, I have been having an onslaught of weak days—feeling tired, floundering, losing interest in ordinary things, overwhelmed, even a little sick…wondering greatly what has attacked me, as if knowing the “WHY” or the “WHAT” would give me the rational strength from within to effect my healing and release from the weight. News flash! I looked and there was no strength from within…

So, I started talking it out with the Lord; and in my conversation with the Lord, I have had to confess my rebellion, my “I don’t want to do ‘it;’ I don’t feel like ‘it’…” a pattern of thought which I have allowed myself to entertain for far too many days and nights…

Well, I figured I  needed some sanctified cognitive behavioral therapy…

By God’s grace, it occurred to me to just stop for one moment and challenge that repetitive thought pattern, wondering why indeed I would permit that to have its way in my sanctified mind, instead of calling out to Jesus to touch me and make me want to do “it” (whatever “it” I am refusing to do in the ordinary life and my dusty existence). The current catalog of “its” for which I have lost my rhythm and interest include simple things like making decisions, a reasonable appetite, making healthy meals, knitting, a daily walk, simple sewing projects and writing…

I am reflecting on why this sudden relapse into the old patterns of thought, old habits, which seemed to flee from me in the springtime of this year…I remember that then I began a new beginning of seeing the matchless grace of Christ, how sufficient His grace is for me, how perfect His strength is made in my weaknesses…and blessed release from old habits, enjoying a new beginning…

Just now, I am realizing in my heart—not just an intellectual kind of recognition—but down in my kishkes—that this discipline in my walk with Jesus is a seasonal kind of experience…Well, duh! (I don’t know why that is so mysterious a concept to get into my grey cells and remember; perhaps, the influences of this culture)…

I find that I am constant and seemingly unchallenged in my commitment to a new beginning for a period of time. Then, without warning, I am prone to fall away—my thinking skips beats; the focus I once enjoyed without a grievous effort has now, of a sudden, become a constant, unyielding struggle to regain.  I lose my former breath which once fed my soul and filled me…and I realize I need another new beginning…in my weakness I need another healing touch from Jesus…

So here is a new season, the Feast of Trumpets, the Days of Awe and Remembrance…a wonderful and timely moment for another new beginning…to remember that the grace of Messiah Jesus is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in my weakness 2 Corinthians 12.9

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All I need to do is call on Him to make me want His strengthening grace to do what He has formed me to do from the womb…This is the discipline I dare not forget or fail to recognize from season to season …

Beloved, if you are going through this kind of season, may God grant you the grace to recognize it for what it is; and by His grace, may God bring you to Him to find the truth that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for you, that His strength alone is made perfect in your weakness. By this may He grant you a new beginning…

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