How are we Repaid? How are we Repaying?

Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected and guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missing of all that belonged to him; and he has repaid me evil for good.
1 Samuel 25:21‭ AMP

We can probably all think of someone in our lives who has “repaid us evil for good“.

Read full chapter here: https://www.bible.com/bible/116/1SA.25.NLT

Those of us who have been beaten down by people who have repaid evil for good in our lives — might have learned over time the same initial self-defensive response as David. David proclaimed that he would go and destroy them all. Almost a “kill them all and let God sort them out” mentality.  This man, David, a man described in the Bible as “being a man after God’s own heart” — set his mind upon the utter destruction of this fool and everything associated with him. I can understand this perspective.

There are people who I feel have wronged me so badly that I could see justice in God crushing and humiliating them, in their businesses and pursuits being dashed upon the rocks, and in their wicked ways being made an example for others to avoid. But I am reminded of what Proverbs tells us on this topic of our enemies falling or stumbling:

Do not rejoice and gloat when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad [in self-righteousness] when he stumbles, Or the Lord will see your gloating and be displeased, And turn His anger away from your enemy.
Proverbs 24:17‭-‬18 AMP

In this story in 1 Samuel 25, neither Nabal, the harsh and evil fool in this story, nor David, the angry and offended warrior king, are the ones that we want to model when it comes to initial responses and reactions. But if you’ve ever felt hurt or betrayed, you can probably at least understand where they were both coming from.

Nabal is thinking to himself,  “Why should I help this person, let him help himself” like we might say when we encounter someone with a request, a need, or a challenge that “isn’t my problem”. Like my reaction just today towards the homeless guy that approached me in downtown Greenville as I bought my Chickfila sandwich for lunch — when I put my headphones back on my ears quickly, just in case he was going to hit me up for some money. Albeit, David was no complete stranger to Nabal, so this was a bit different — but I can put myself in the shoes of this foolish man pretty easily.

And here David was, mourning the death of Samuel out in the wilderness with his men,  being a blessing to Nabal’s men and offering them protection, and he extended a blessing to Nabal:

and this is what you shall say, ‘ Have a long life! Peace be to you, and peace to your house, and peace to all that you have.
1 Samuel 25:6 AMP

Nabal and his men were celebrating a festive day, the time of shearing, and David simply asked if Nabal might show his men favor and let them “have some of the leftovers”.

Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your sight [and be well-treated], for we have come on a good (festive) day. Please, give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’ 
1 Samuel 25:8 AMP

Matthew Henry’s commentary has to say of verse 8:

Riches make men look great in the eye of the world; but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man as David suffers want!

I have recently encountered a man in India who runs an orphanage,  who messages me most days through Facebook Messenger with blessings:

Having seen similar circumstances in the past,  and having discovered some to be scam artists panhandling for money by targeting Christians in private over the Internet,  I wanted to validate this need, when the inevitable request to send money came. So I checked with a friend who had confirmed that the need in this instance was indeed real. I was immediately reminded of “heroes” like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, George Mueller, and Harriet Tubman (read more: http://www.linnysaunders.com/2017/11/heroes-2.html ).

Day after day, he blesses me with his messages, and many days,  I have ignored them — expecting they were just contrivances meant to open conversations so that he can ask for money. The name Nabal means “fool”, and when I look at how I many times respond to those in need around me,  I feel quite foolish. Yes, I sometimes help, but even then,  I “feel good about myself” for having helped someone in need — it becomes a “big deal” in my own mind that I helped someone else. How foolish is that!!! God has given to me abundantly with excess, and I cling to it with closed fist as if it isn’t meant for me to be a blessing to others! As if helping and loving and serving those in need is supposed to be some unique/odd occasion instead of my very way of consistently doing life.

Lord, forgive me for seeing things wrongly and seeing enemies — either from the perspective of Nabal or David.

So let’s look at the Peacemaker in this story. Her name is Abigail. She is Nabal’s wife and when she sees what her foolish husband,  Nabal, has done,  she “hurries” to make peace. It is pointed out in both verses 18 and again in verse 23 that she did not hesitate, but she hurried to meet the need and to make peace. And in verse 24, she even asks that the blame fall on her. She then proceeds to bless David and his men,  not just with physical provision, but with a proclamation of spiritual blessing upon them in verses 28-31. Abigail shines like a bright light in this moment and reminds me of another one willing to take blame for our sin, willing to intercede on our behalf, willing to provide provision without question or delay to meet the need, willing to be a peacemaker — His name is Jesus,  and He is clearly Lord in this story.

We can read on to see how Abigail was freed by the Lord from her foolish husband,  and how she was blessed greatly. I wonder how many opportunities we might miss to be the blessing for the glory of God because we delay, we procrastinate, we avoid — instead of hurrying to be the peacemaker, to meet the need, to be the light of love in the midst of dark and challenging situations?

If you would like to run towards a need,  I encourage you to reach out to someone in need. Maybe check out this man who has contacted me and communicated his need to pray for them and see how you might be a blessing: https://www.facebook.com/100024177901842/posts/856366498512606/?app=fbl

Maybe consider donating to help him fill the need: https://paypal.me/MallikRao?locale.x=en_GB

I cannot speak to all of the particulars of this man’s orphanage or ministry. But he repeatedly offers me words of encouragement and an opportunity to be a blessing for the glory of God. Abigail didn’t run hurriedly towards the need because she thought she would eventually be blessed as David’s wife — she saw the need was urgent and she interceded. The blessing was “added to her” because she was “seeking first God’s way”.

“Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life? And why are you worried about clothes? See how the lilies and wildflowers of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin [wool to make clothing], yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory and splendor dressed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive and green today and tomorrow is [cut and] thrown [as fuel] into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Therefore do not worry or be anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted), saying, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ For the [pagan] Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; [but do not worry,] for your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25‭-‬34 AMP

https://bible.com/bible/1588/mat.6.25-34.AMP

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted]. “Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied. “Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God. “Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God. “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:3‭-‬12 AMP

And Your godly ones will bless You

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created]. All Your works shall give thanks to You and praise You, O Lord , And Your godly ones will bless You.
Psalms 145:8‭-‬10 AMP

All Your works shall give thanks to You and praise You, O Lord , And Your godly ones will bless You.

The distinction at the end of verse 10 stirs us. There are two categories mentioned:

  • All your works
  • Your godly ones

There is a distinction made between the first and the last — that all of His works will give Him thanks and praise Him — but that His godly ones will bless Him.

I pray that we will give Him thanks and praise Him, but not be satisfied with only that. I don’t even pay that we would give Him thanks and praise and “want to” bles Him. We need to pay that we will be a blessing to the Lord, AND we need to live our lives to be a blessing to the Lord — because there is a great distinction between the two.

May our lives bear fruit, actions, deeds, service — not just words and songs — but let our lives be a sweet song lifted to you in the language of love.

…let our lives be a sweet song lifted to you in the language of love.

“Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [appearing gentle and innocent], but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them [that is, by their contrived doctrine and self-focus]. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the unhealthy tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will recognize them [as false prophets]. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from M e [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’

Therefore, by their fruit you will recognize them [as false prophets]. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great and complete was its fall.”
Matthew 7:15‭-‬27 AMP

So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, will be like a wise man [a far-sighted, practical, and sensible man] who built his house on the rock.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory and majesty and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him [for judgment]; and He will separate them from one another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right [the place of honor], and the goats on His left [the place of rejection]. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God, appointed to eternal salvation], inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me [with help and ministering care]; I was in prison, and you came to Me [ignoring personal danger].’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’ “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Leave Me, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (demons); for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me [with help and ministering care].’ Then they also [in their turn] will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will reply to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these [my followers], you did not do it for Me.’ Then these [unbelieving people] will go away into eternal (unending) punishment, but those who are righteous and in right standing with God [will go, by His remarkable grace] into eternal (unending) life.”
Matthew 25:31‭-‬46 AMP

The King will answer and say to them, ‘I assure you and most solemnly say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for Me.’

Yes Sur

The word render means to “provide or give”.

This reminds me of a few verses from the Bible:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33‭-‬34 ESV

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:7‭-‬11 ESV

“Render, Oh God!”

Sometimes we find ourselves with a wrong mindset about our relationship to God and His to us, even in our time of great need. When we want God to “render” for us through our requests “our will to be granted in heaven” this is not from a right mind or a right heart. See, He is master and Lord and He makes the decrees and commands, not us.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
James 4:3 ESV

“The render is freed by the sur”

The prefix sur means “over and above”.

See, when we address that prefix “sur” and put God “over and above” our lives — when we truly want “His will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, it is then that the “surrender” takes place that opens the floodgates of heaven.

Many would take just this one bold verse in Malachi 3:10 with hopes to use it for their own gain and prosperity, as if they could “bind God by His promise for their own profit” — but let’s see the whole of its context. God is not the means by which men would manipulate a “spiritual” financial transaction for the increase of their own will and purposes and power and honor to be increased upon this world, No!

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts. “Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord . But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.'” Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.
Malachi 3:10‭-‬18 ESV

Master, Lord, these words when speaking of God and not self — are either heard in the ears of the wise as beautiful to you — or they are beasts as hatred and condemnation in the deaf, blind, fools who inhabit the earth.

The call is not to make ourselves gods and to make God our servant, but to truly lie down in surrender and find ourselves truly sons of God. Because we are either surrendered sons of God or you are sons of another father.

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Matthew 6:24 ESV

And

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
James 4:4‭-‬10 ESV

This I will RENDER unto the Lord – my praise, for He has heard my prayer and granted me a surrendered heart:

I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Psalms 56:12‭-‬13 ESV

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord , I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. O Lord , I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord . I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord , in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord !
Psalms 116:12‭-‬19 ESV
http://bible.com/59/psa.116.12-19.ESV

Being a Disciple

Are we doing the work of a Disciple and Follower of Christ?

We should see what is in bold and either receive it or deny it — depending on whether we are true Israel and the lost sheep of God or we are the goat children of perdition — there is no room for compromise or excuse in the Word of God — receive Jesus Christ today and live!

Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans,  but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep.  Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! 

“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins.  Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. 

“Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town.  When you enter the home, give it your blessing.  If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing.  If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.  I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day. 

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.  But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues.  You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.  When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.  For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.  And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.  When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel. 

“Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master.  Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names! “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.  What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! 

Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin ? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. 

Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.  But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. 

“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ 

“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.  If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.  If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 

Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me.  If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.  And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

Matthew 10:5‭-‬42 NLT

All that is taught


“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. – Matthew 7:12 NLT
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36‭-‬40 NLT
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. – Galatians 5:16‭-‬26 NLT


Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:9‭-‬10‭, ‬12‭-‬15 NLT
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. ” – Luke 6:38 NLT

Shabbat Shalom

Matthew 5:18 and Exodus 20:8-11 have me contemplating what my life will look like following sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow.

Even more importantly, Isaiah 58 has me contemplating what His Word proves is the “rest” that is “keeping it holy”.

Sabbath Rest:

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” – Matthew 5:17-20

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” – Exodus 20:8-11
“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel of their sins!
Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the lord?
 
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
 
“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the LORD will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
The LORD will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
 
Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
Then the LORD will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the lord, have spoken!” – Isaiah 58:1-14

shabbat-shalom

 

Shabbat (/ʃəˈbɑːt/; Hebrew: שַׁבָּת‎‎ [ʃa’bat], “rest” or “cessation”) or Shabbos ([‘ʃa.bəs], Yiddish: שבת‎) or the Sabbath is Judaism‘s day of rest and seventh day of the week, on which religious Jews and certain Christians (such as Seventh-day Adventists and Seventh Day Baptists) remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and the Exodus of the Hebrews, and look forward to a future Messianic Age. Shabbat observance entails refraining from work activities, often with great rigor, and engaging in restful activities to honor the day. Judaism’s traditional position is that unbroken seventh-day Shabbat originated among the Jewish people, as their first and most sacred institution, though some suggest other origins. Variations upon Shabbat are widespread in Judaism and, with adaptations, throughout the Abrahamic and many other religions.

According to halakha (Jewish religious law), Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night.[1] Shabbat is ushered in by lighting candles and reciting a blessing. Traditionally, three festive meals are eaten: in the evening, in the early afternoon, and late in the afternoon. The evening meal typically begins with a blessing called kiddush and another blessing recited over two loaves of challah. Shabbat is closed the following evening with a havdalah blessing. Shabbat is a festive day when Jews exercise their freedom from the regular labors of everyday life. It offers an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and to spend time with family.

 

Biblical Sabbath is a weekly day of rest or time of worship. It is observed differently in Judaism and Christianity and informs a similar occasion in several other faiths. Though many viewpoints and definitions have arisen over the millennia, most originate in the same textual tradition of “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy“.

Observation and remembrance of Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments (the fourth in the original Jewish, the Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestant traditions, the third in Roman Catholic and Lutheran traditions), sometimes referred to individually as the Sabbath Commandment. Most people who observe Biblical Sabbath regard it as having been instituted as a perpetual covenant for the people of Israel (Ex. 31:13-17, Ex. 23:12, Deut. 5:13-14), a rule that also applies to proselytes, and a sign respecting two events: the seventh day, during which God rested after having completed Creation in six days (Gen. 2:2-3, Ex. 20:8-11), and God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt (Deut. 5:12-15).

 

Don’t Withhold

​When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. – Genesis 50:15‭-‬21 ESV
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” – Luke 7:44‭-‬48 ESV
Pray then like this:  “Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be  your name.    Your kingdom come,  your will be done,   on earth as it is in heaven.   Give us  this day our daily bread,    and forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors.   And  lead us not into temptation,  but  deliver us from  evil.    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,  but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:9‭-‬15 ESV

“Today” & “”Tomorrow”

​And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” – Joshua 3:5 NKJV

“Sanctify yourself for tomorrow”

קָדַשׁ

מָחָר

“Show yourself set apart for God’s use in preparation for what is to come.”

Planning and preparing for tomorrow, even for eternity, not just living for the day. 

Yes, vision that sees past the moment and looks to the future. Grasping hold of what is most enjoyable in the moment can come with costs unexpected for tomorrow. A child with no wisdom yet doesn’t under stand this. They will give up the promise of ten in the bush for the reality of one in the hand. In fact, or very nature cries out for this even if we are adults – but our experience has taught us something different. 
For example, as a married man,  don’t I know from experience that letting my eyes wander will result in me forgetting the amazing blessing that I have been given in my wonderful wife? 

For example, as a working man, if I spend up my paycheck the weekend after I get paid, or buy and live past my means,  don’t I know from experience that not having any self-control and discipline in my handling of the smaller things like money will leave me in debt and servitude to others, and will impact my ability to help those truly in need around me (the heavier matters of life).

For example, as a studying man, if I think of myself as wise and able to instruct others,  won’t I eventually encounter something that is past my understanding, and won’t I be humbled by the laborer, mechanic, plumber, farmer, ditch digger, and garbage man when I find that I could do very little for myself in a world where they do not provide for me. 
So when I’m saying be sanctified, be set apart,  I’m not saying be divided from the people. No, how can you poor out the love of Christ or share the Good News of you isolate yourselves from the very people we are called to go out and reach? 

No, I am saying,  be separate by your resisting the desires of the flesh, the last of the eyes, and the pride of life. I’m saying that the Lord has a purpose and mission and destination for you, Child of God, and you should prepare yourself for what lies ahead. I’m saying,  don’t let yourself get tangled up in the chains of the dead, but cast them off and prepare yourself for His Holy use. 

For you do not know when “that day” comes. You do not know when your running total of “todays”will come to its end. You do not know what work will be done in you and through you to accomplish His will today and prepare you for tomorrow. 

Are you sanctified? Or are you bathing in sin and worldliness and self in order to satisfy the desires of your evil heart? 

Do you know the Lord and love Him or do you hate Him? Don’t answer me with your words, we are proving it today with our lives. I pray that this truth is not bringing condemnation upon you,  because I pray that you are consecrated for His Holy use,  I pray that you are a peculiar and set apart people – and I pray that if you are not that you will repent while it is still “today”.

Yes, we will choose today who it is we will serve. If it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, return to your vomit,  enjoy the rain that He sends down upon both the just and the unjust,  enjoy your today until tomorrow comes if that is indeed your decision. I have stood on the mountaintops and sounded the trumpet,  and so many have returned to their true love instead of remembering their first love,  He who loved you before you were even in your mother’s womb. If you have chosen a better party than the wedding feast of the Lamb, I will go and invite all from the streets and the dutchess and the highways and the hedges to come instead. They will be grateful because they will understand that they have been forgiven much.

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” – Revelation 19:6‭-‬9 NKJV


And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,  and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.  Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’  But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.  And the rest seized his servants, treated them  spitefully, and killed them.  But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.  Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.  Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’  So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.  So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him  into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:1‭-‬14 NKJV

Rise and go…

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt. 

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

– Matthew 2:13‭-‬14‭, ‬19‭-‬21 ESV

#Awake #Arisen #On Mission

Have you received the call to rise and go?

Have you dreams or the answers to your prayers pressed you on towards a new and unknown destination? 

What will be your answer to the call today? 

We can’t change yesterday,  nor can we let guilt or pride over our past influence our actions to “rise and go” today. 

Lord, help us to be attentive to your call,  to listen for your instruction, to be prepared to go,  and to rise and go when called into action. And if we are to wait, if this is our time to rest in your grace and prepare for the knock at our hearts, let us meditate upon your word,  renewing our minds, preparing ourselves for the journey ahead by consuming your Word, loving and serving, and looking to you without ceasing. Amen.

Come, let us reason together

​Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,  learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.  

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord : though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.  If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;  but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

– Isaiah 1:16‭-‬20 ESV

#WashYourself #CeaseEvil #LearnGood

Are your sins easily hidden? Or are they clear and visible and evident in your words, in your attitude, in your “un-grace”? I say this because that lack of grace at work in your life shows up like a scarlet stain that can’t just be seen,  but it can be smelled as either the fresh aroma of life or the decaying stench of death. 

I praise God that I smell such a wonderful aroma of life coming off of the lives of my friends and loved ones most of the time. It is a welcoming and inviting aroma that purr from their hearts and comes out in their smiles,  their encouragement,  their joy, their love for one another. And I see them willingly obedient, and eating of the good of the land, and they warm my heart for what they are pouring out into the lives of so many around them. it’s a valuable treasure that when they share it with others,  they come away with more themselves. 

Buy the rebellious and the willful. I know the stench well, it used to engulf me. I used to walk in its thick cloud, as it blinded my vision and hindered my navigation. Whereas others hear the Word of God and are humbled, you think that it doesn’t apply to you! You think that this message is meant for someone else, but why has the Lord brought it to your ears? It is sharp and it cuts deep. 

So will you:

​1) “Wash yourselves; ”

2) “make yourselves clean;” 

3) “remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;” 

4) “cease to do evil, ” 

5) “learn to do good;” 

6) “seek justice, ”

7) “correct oppression;” 

8) “bring justice to the fatherless,” 

9) “plead the widow’s cause.”

Or do you have something better to do even though the Lord has called you to “Come, let us reason together”?

Will you say,  “I am too busy for the Lord’s work, too busy to be called by the Lord into action,  into ministry. ”

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,  and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.  Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’  But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,  while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.  The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.  Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.  Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’  And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.   “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there  a man who had no wedding garment.  And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are called, but few are chosen.”

– Matthew 22:2‭-‬14 ESV