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Who Am I?


When you have a genuine relationship with Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) as your Lord and Savior, you have something that goes so far beyond religion and behavior that it sustains you. It holds you up when you’re feeling down, and it carries you higher in your moments of joy. It strengthens you when you are weak, and it gives you endurance when you stand to fight the good fight. There is no religious study or sacrifice that compares to being in love with God and know that He is in love with you.

Those times when I read His word and feel as if He is speaking directly to me are priceless. When I pray and somehow know I’m not just talking to air, but that He is right there in the room with me, it makes every sacrifice and good behavior worth it. I do what I do because of who I am in Christ; because of what He made me through the mercy of His blood that was shed on Calvary. It is in those times that I can feel the heart of those who write great lyrics like those written by Rusty Goodman in 1965 for the song Who Am I. (Video with lyrics below.) The chorus says…

Who am I that a King would bleed and die for?
And who am I that He would pray not my will thine for?
The answer I may never know,
Why He ever loved me so,
That to an old rugged cross He would go,
For who am I.

Today’s Infinite Supply newsletter by Chip Brogden talks about the whom versus the what…

Infinite Supply Image for November Seventh by The School of Christ

Infinite Supply Image for November Seventh by The School of Christ
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original article and other resources at The School of Christ dot org website.

November 7

Knowing What vs. Knowing Whom

“I know Whom I have believed.”
2 TIMOTHY 1:12

A certain brother was always emphatic about what he believed until someone with equal or greater argument confronted him. This occurred one day when someone pointed out several supposed “errors” in the Bible. This caused the brother to be very alarmed. He went to an elderly sister and informed her of these alleged errors and wanted to know her opinion. She simply stated that the knowledge of God did not depend upon the answering of these questions.

He thought, perhaps not to you, but to me it is important! So he spent the next year investigating what this other person had told him and found it to be untrue. But, had he simply known God He would not have found it necessary to study the whole thing and reason it out. The elderly sister was right, the knowledge of God did not depend upon the answering of those questions. If you know Who, knowing what and why become less significant.

Source: Lord of All by Chip Brogden

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A friend of mine went into a store in Florida that was owned by a Jewish proprietor. She was wearing a necklace with both a Star of David and a cross on it, so the owner asked her about it. She explained a bit about Messianic Judaism, and he responded with a statement that she later shared with me. He said, “As long as it is who you are and not just what you are.”

When we have the “who” down (both Whom we serve and who we are), we have an identity. With it, we’ve got a better chance of hanging in there when things get tough. It’s part of what attracts people to gangs and similar groups. People need identity, and who better to share an identity with than The King of Kings? As a matter of fact, I heard a story once of a young gang member walking by a church once where someone was singing Rusty’s song. The thought that he could share an identity with a king apparently meant something to him, so he rushed into the church and asked if he could meet that King.

Have you met The King? If so, have you made Him Lord of your life? If you haven’t, you are welcome to write to me to learn more about God. If you already serve Him, I’d love to hear something about your walk with Him, and who you are in Him. In the meantime, enjoy this video of Who Am I as performed by the “Altar of Praise Chorale” and backed by some beautiful imagery…

November 8, 2014 Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Devotion, Nonfiction, School of Christ | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pray Now, It’s A Lost Art


Prayer, Conversations With God by Flickr User Evan Courtney, CC License = Attribution

Prayer, Conversations With God by Flickr User Evan Courtney, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

There’s nothing like fellowship with like-minded Christian friends. In fellowship tonight, we talked about what it means to have a real relationship with The Lord. Just as I was mentioning that all real relationships involve some heartbreak, my friend Debbie was thinking in her mind about the times she’s been on her face weeping before God. We talked about how that happens, not because we are burdened or crying out for some kind of favor, but because of the brokenness we sometimes feel in God’s presence. When our flesh gets in the same room with the living God, we can break under the awesomeness of His love, and that’s just how it should be.

In a real relationship between real people, we have ups and downs, hard days and easy days, good times and not-so-good times. We have days where we feel so close that we almost feel like we’re actually one in body and mind. We also have days where we feel so distant from each other that we may wonder if the other person knows us at all. We share in all these times because we have made a commitment to be there no matter what, and we will usually find that upon reflection, we’re glad for that commitment. After all the hours, days, weeks and years, those who are truly in love will say it has been worth it all.

Well, it’s the same with God. We have ups and downs, hard days and easy ones, good times and bad times. We have days where we sense that God is walking right alongside us every step of the way, and we have days where, like King David said, it seems the heavens are brassed over. If we truly love God, we will make it through all these times because we are committed to Him just as we are to the humans to whom we have pledged our love.

In the relationship business, commitment is the key to keeping things together, and communication is the key to keeping them together in a pleasant way. With our spouses, and even with our friends, we don’t grow closer by being distant from each other. We fellowship, we share our dreams and hopes, we share our stumbling blocks, and we do our best to help each other walk through both valleys and mountain top events. We always try to talk to each other before we make judgment calls because we give the benefit of the doubt as we trust our partner or friend will do for us.

So, why don’t we do the same thing for God? With God, we often make rush judgments. It’s a blessing. It’s a curse. It’s a punishment. It’s a lesson. It could be any of those things, or it could just be life, but we can’t really know unless we ask God what He thinks. But, if we are not in the habit of talking with God, we may not know His voice as well as we should when it comes time to listen. His word promises that His sheep know His voice and listen, but why does a sheep know its shepherd’s voice? It knows the voice it hears on a regular basis. Here’s how The Message Bible states it in John 10:1-5

“Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

See, it’s all about being familiar with God’s voice. To do that, we must have communication with Him. We must pray, and we must listen. We must read His word to see what He tells us from there. When we worship Him, we may hear His voice even better because He inhabits the praises of His people. Prayer is not about rubbing the magic lamp just because we need God’s assistance (though He is there for us and willing to be our very present help in times of trouble), it’s conversation. It’s our time to draw nearer to Him, to get to know Him better, and just to spend time in His presence. As the ApologetiX song in the video below says, “Pray now, it’s a lost art….God is listening, you know.”

October 28, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Devotion, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hear Oh Israel


Shema Yisrael by Flickr User Yaniv Ben-Arie, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike

Shema Yisrael by Flickr User Yaniv Ben-Arie, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Imagine trying to have a close relationship over a long distance and without ever getting to know your partner. Could you even call it a real relationship? Two people who are acquainted with one another have a type of relationship, but they do not have an interactive, loving, and intimate relationship. They can’t. An intimate relationship requires truly knowing who your partner is.

God knows us because He made us, but it takes more than a set of repetitive prayers, a few glimpses at Scripture, and a weekly visit to a church to get to know God. All the gold stars, volunteer duties, and memory verses in the world will not take the place of seeking God with your whole being in the effort to get to know Him deeper and better. His word even tells us that when we seek and search for God with all our hearts, we will find Him.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 6:4 through Deuteronomy 6:25 (the end of the chapter), we begin with God’s main introduction of Himself to the people of Israel. In Hebrew, the first verse is called The Shema. It means “hear” or “listen.” You may even have heard it sung in your church in either Hebrew or English or a mix of both since some Israel-friendly churches like to add it to the worship songs. There’s some great information with a breakdown of words and such for the subject at Wikipedia. For our reading today, the verse that begins it all goes like this…

Hebrew: Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad — English: Hear Oh Israel, The Lord Our God, The Lord is One

The reading continues with what Yeshua quoted as the greatest of all commandments…

And you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.

Moses then tells the people that these words should always be on their hearts, and they are to teach them carefully to their children. They should talk of them when they are at home, when they travel, when they lie down, and when they rise up. They are so important, they should be written on something strapped to their hands, tied around their foreheads, written on all their door frames, and engraved on their gates.

As the chapter continues, Moses reminds the people that when they are living in the land of promise, in houses they didn’t build, using water from wells they didn’t dig, and eating from vineyards and olive trees they didn’t plant, to remember who delivered them from Egypt and brought them to the land. He tells them to fear The Lord, serve Him, and swear by His Name. Then, he reminds them to never follow other gods, especially those chosen by the people that surround them because Yahveh is there with them, and He is a jealous God. Moses reminds them to never again test God like they did at Massah and to always do what is right in His eyes.

The last paragraph gives us the first representation of the power of personal testimony. Moses tells them that someday their children will ask them why they have so many laws and rules. When that happens, they are to tell their children that the community of Israel was once in slavery to Pharoah in Egypt, but The Lord brought them out with a strong hand. They should tell them of the signs and wonders God worked against Egypt, and that He brought them out for the purpose of bringing them to the land He promised to their ancestors. And they are to share that He gave them all the laws and statutes for their own good because it is righteousness for them to observe all that The Lord commands.

I love how Moses keeps referring to the laws of God being for the good of the people, and how that should even be part of their testimony to their children (and I’m sure to others). Their testimony should include the bondage they were in before they were delivered, and it should include the powerful ways in which God brought them their deliverance. Our reasons for keeping the laws of God are the same. They bring us righteousness, and they are for our own good. By living a holy and separated life, people will ask us why we’re not like everyone else, and then we will have a chance to share the testimony God gave us when He delivered us from whatever bondage we were in.

No matter how many laws we keep though, if we forget God, they become nothing but legalism. We must know who He is to know why we would want to walk with Him. The longer we serve God, the more we should know Him and know about Him, but it must begin somewhere. That somewhere for Israel was Deuteronomy 6:4-5, so it should work just as well for us. When we know God as who He is, we can have an intimate relationship with Him that becomes more than doctrine or legalism.

So how does that translate to those of us now who serve under the blood of Messiah? Well, since God never changes, it means that even for those of us who consider ourselves to be Christian, God is still One. We won’t be able to fit that infinite concept into a finite mind easily. Even Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:16 that Godliness is a great mystery. He reminds Timothy that God was manifested in the flesh, seen by angels, preached to the Gentiles, and received up into glory. God could only have done those things in the body of Yeshua.

Because of my personal testimony and studies, I have much more to share on this finding out who God is and how we can draw closer to Him, so if you want to read the rest, just click for more at the end. If you must come back to it later, or you’re just not ready now, I ask you to pray specifically to ask what God meant when He told Israel that He is One Lord and why that is important. I bless each one of you, my readers, with a desire for more wisdom in your walk that you may also have more intimacy in your walk with our wonderful Creator. Shalom and Bye for now.

Continue reading

July 31, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When God is in Your Fan Club


Image

Fractalius Fan and Roses by Crystal A Murray–See the original in my photo stream at Flickr by clicking on the image.

Today, we have another short reading of only seven verses. This one, from Genesis 26:23 through Genesis 26:29 is all about the blessings of Isaac and the promises God made to him. In verse 24, Yahveh appears to Isaac and lets him know he has nothing to fear because He is the God of his father, and that means He is the God of him. Yahveh reminds Isaac of the blessings He has in store for his future descendants because of the promises He made to Abraham. And at this point, Isaac builds an altar and worships God.

I don’t remember if Scripture tells us that Isaac ever built an altar to God before, and whether it does or not, I don’t know if he did. In trying to look back over the last few weeks, I don’t think he did, so I’m thinking this is beginning of Isaac’s personal relationship with his Creator. But here is what I find truly interesting about this event. When Isaac dealt with Abimelech before, maybe even expecting the king to defend him as he had done his father, Abimelech suggested he leave town. Now, since Isaac has talked with God, Abimelech and the commander of his army have shown up on Isaac’s doorstep to make sure things are right between them.

In verse 28, after Isaac asks them why they would show up after now after sending his family away (and not defending him against the lying herdsmen who were stealing the wells Isaac dug), Abimelech tells him how they want to make sure that Isaac will not treat them badly because they may have sent him away, but they did so in peace. I can just hear them tripping over their own tongues trying to make sure that Isaac will treat them as friends and not as enemies. And in verse 29, they give away the reason they are so concerned about how he will treat them. They say, “You are now the blessed of the Lord.”

Huh, so when they just thought he was the son of one favored by God, they didn’t defend him, and they sent him away. Their blessings toward him were simply to do him no harm. Oh, but now that they know God is in Isaac’s fan club just like He was in Abraham’s fan club, they want to make sure they’re on the right side of the blessed man.

It’s like people who think they’re special because they get the autograph of someone who is famous to others, as if they’ll be sort of famous by osmosis. I think these guys were thinking that if they befriended someone who was blessed by God that they would get blessed by osmosis. And the funny thing is, Abimelech did the same thing to Abraham, right down to asking for the same protection and bringing up how good they treated him. But if folks want to hang around Christians and treat them well to keep themselves out of trouble, at least that means they can see that we are blessed by Him and walking in His presence. After all, God’s word says He will bless a city for the righteous that live there, so I guess it is in people’s’ best interest to get near those who are blessed by God. But I think it’s even better if we can be the blessed and say, “Guess who is in my fan club? Yep, it’s God Almighty!”

And with that I will close with my report on NaNo that I have reached 12,613 words for day #5. And I’m hoping God is in my reading fan club and will help me turn this one into something because I’m liking what my characters are doing now. Oh, and pardon the use of my “punny” picture for this post. I just liked the idea of showing off my fractalized fan to go with the title. 🙂

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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