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

Context Matters!

​You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? – Matthew 23:33 ESV

Yes, these are Jesus’s words! These are the “words in red”, but don’t mistakenly think that Jesus walked up to some scared teenage girl headed into a planned parenthood building and said this. Don’t think that Jesus walked up to a boy or girl struggling with their identity and the temptation of their flesh that has led them into shameful ground before a perfect and holy God and said this. Don’t think that Jesus walked into the meth cooker’s house, or the bar, or the jail and said this. 

No, He walked into the church. He pointed that sword from His mouth in the direction of the religious and said to those hypocrites –

You make it burdensome for the people to come to me. Instead of helping them carry their burdens, you lay burdens on their shoulders. 

You do everything to be seen and honored yourselves. You take the best seats and titles and honor from others and return it to your “same people” instead of extending it to those you don’t know, those who are poor, needy,  sick, burdened, lost. You enjoy your season tickets, golf courses,  country clubs, first class accommodations while His people starve, hurt, freeze, suffer,  and die alone and without love or hope in this world. You celebrate with songs and lukewarm religious practices that make me sick enough to puke you out. 

You want to be seen and revered as wise teachers and leaders when you don’t even know how to serve and love. You are puffed up in knowledge and pride and you would rather be called Father yourself than admit to who your real father is. That snake, that liar, he is quite satisfied with you remaining religious and lost and serving as hischireling crying Lord, Lord but serving only your own pride.

You won’t enter into grace and belief yourself,  and you try to shut the door in the faces of those who would. You would tell them that Christ is necessary but that He is not sufficient. You would tell them that even though they have received salvation by grace through faith that they must turn back to the law because you wish foolishly that you could pluck them from His hand so they might fall short of grace? May it never be so! Foolish children, who has bewitched you? Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Having begun by the Spirit,  are you now being perfected by the flesh? Do you not know that those who rely on works of the law are under a curse? Are you cursed or blessed? Are you bearing love or condemnation? Thistles and thorns or fruit? 

You make grand overtures to sign people up for your religious practices, observances of days and seasons, sacrifices of obligation,  and empty works – and you prove them twice the chill of hell as yourselves. They no more know God or bear the fruit of His Holy Spirit than you do,  you sons of perdition! 

You guard the safe keeping of the money and “valuables” in your buildings, houses, warehouses and bank accounts, but you have no such safeguards for what is the only thing valuable that ever enters your building – my people. You wouldn’t even know if you lost a hundred of them, but you sure would know if your balance sheet was off a penny! 

You spend your effort on tithes and attendance and clothes and appearances because these are the greatest desires of your own eyes and what is valuable to you – thinking foolishly that I value the same things by your same priorities. But I desire mercy above sacrifice, justice above bribes, and faithfulness of heart above outward compliance. With your striving to uphold the law, you strain at removing the smallest speck of dirt on your dinner plate while you try to conceal your coming on the log wedged securely in your throat.

You are full of greed and self-indulgence. Though your mind has learned the great mental gymnastics of hiding your heart from the undiscerning, though you have learned to treat the symptoms of your cancer it is still at work killing you from the inside. So realize the heart of the issue and get that transplant, that cure, before it is too late.

Yes, you are dressed in the right outward appearance,  but you are dead inside. Your fear of admitting the lies that you have spread founding your own reputation as white washed, should be exceeded by your fear of falling into the hands of am angry God who knows your heart. The stench of your hypocrisy and your lawlessness is not just like death lingering in the air,  it is the rotting death of your “legacy”. 

Yes, you outwardly honor with your flattering words the very ones from the past that you try your best to kill today with your biting and devouring. You stand on high saying, “I would not do such things” when you are quick to go to war with any wise man who offers you a rebuke. You are a fool,  drinking the full measure of the foolishness of your fathers. 

You serpents, you brood of vipers, HOW ARE YOU TO ESCAPE BEING SENTENCED TO HELL?

You think this should be aimed at the sinners,  with your picket signs, and your political support, and your vocal self-righteousness but the Lord has set His eye on you. He is that bear lying in wait for you, He has walked you in so that you cannot escape, He has bent His bow and His arrows will pierce you, He will make your teeth grind on gravel,  if you do not hear my cry and repent! Do not delay! 

Because the steadfast love of the Lord is everlasting,  and His mercies are for the humble and the lowly. Will you rail against the Truth? Will the rock fall on you so that you are utterly destroyed,  or will you fall upon the solid rock and be saved and sing praises of His mercy, love and grace through the testimony of your life extending these same mercies to so many more? 

If you read this and said to yourself,  “_______ ought to hear that.” or “That preacher over at _________ sure needs to hear that” – then you are the very person that needs to stop right here and go back and read this message that IS MEANT FOR YOU! Because if you think that you can teach _________ something, you fit the bill for this message. If that is you,  go back and read it again and let the words til up the soIL of your heart – you aren’t so perfectly cold and dead that the Word of God can’t touch your hardened heart at all are you? 

If you have come to repentance, continue reading,  otherwise, I’m sorry,  but this message is not for you. 

My child, your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more. 

 

God Saves, God with Us

​”She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” 

(which means, God with us). – Matthew 1:21‭-‬23 ESV

#HisPeople #Saved

Jesus, Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua (ישוע) “God Saves”.

Immanuel (Hebrew: עִמָּנוּאֵל‎) meaning, “God with us”.

Yes, God is for us and not against us,  believer,  child of God. I’m thankful for this when I realize how much of my life I was against myself, and I was against others – not that I was overly cruel or so wicked that I would gather a crowd who hated me and were ready to kill me for my great treachery and lawlessness, but I definitely wasn’t much help to anyone whether we are talking physical needs or spiritual needs. But even then He was for me. 

But He did have people that were ready to kill Him and scourge Him and put Him on that cross, not because He was wicked to them,  but because the light of His love some so brightly against their darkness that they would rather remain hidden than be brought into the light. And He died so that I might live. In fact,  more importantly,  so that He might live in me and through me. 

A love poured out. We know the end of the story,  and we are quick to hurry along to it, but we might miss the beautiful rose. We might overlook this precious Prince of Peace come into the world as a babe to teach us things like the faith of a child. 

It reminds me of that little one’s prayer,  “Lord, please make the bad people good. And the good people nice.”

Teach me that you are close, Lord, and that you are for even those who (like me) can be hard to love. Teach me to pour out the rains of love onto both “the good and the evil” – those groups in which I might foolishly classify those you call your own, those you came for and have called, those you long to see not stumbled by my hypocrisy and my falling short of your perfection and glory. Don’t let me be wise like a teacher, but humble like a studious servant, Lord. Remind me of that childlike love and faith that you desire,  Lord. Amen.