Defining God

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God (Some mss. read the only wise God.), be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1st Timothy 1:17

What would you tell someone who asks you for a definition of God? One person might reply: “God is the One who exists beyond all definition.”

Another person, the well-known theologian Charles Hodge, suggested the best definition of God that was ever penned was: “God is a Spirit, independent, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.”

Another way of defining God is by looking at Messiah, for Yeshua said, “If you have come to know Me, you will know My Father also. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Master, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Yeshua said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you haven’t come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father”?  John: 14:7-9 Yeshua is God personified, “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”

When we hear Messiah’s wisdom, were listening to God. When we see Messiah’s power, were witnessing omnipotence. When we feel Messiah’s love, we know the love of God lavishes upon us. Yeshua is worthy of our praise because of who He is, and we should praise Him always.

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Our Seeker

Or which woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, Lit. drachma, a Greek coin. 1 drachma = 1 denarius = 1 day’s wage, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I’ve found the coin I had lost!’ In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:8-10
Yeshua came into our world: seeking and finding. It makes no sense that the Messiah Yeshua would come into the world to seek those who are lost and not find them.

Yeshua was criticized by our Religious Leaders for socializing and sharing meals with “sinners”, “Now all the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Yeshua. The Pharisees and the Torah scholars began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2). Earlier, Yeshua answered their objections in a word: “I did not come to call the righteous, but the sinful to repentance.” (Luke 5:32) “Sinners” were those needed to be found – those He came seeking. To amplify the point, He told 3 stories about “finding.” A single sheep was lost and found, the coin was lost and found, and the son was lost and found (Luke 15:3 – 32). He clarified that He associated with sinners – and found them – because they knew they were lost; they knew they needed finding, unlike the Religious Leaders. If you have been found by Yeshua, it is because He came seeking you. It is only as God seeks us that we can be found of Him. God’s is a seeker rather than sought.

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How Important is it to Pray, “Your Will Be Done”?

Yeshua not only taught his disciples how to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), but He modeled those very words in His own life and ministry. Which teaches us to pray with “your will be done”.

To pray “your will be done” is to recognize the sovereignty of God over every aspect of our daily lives. In fact, His way of us saying, “Thank God this world is under His control, not mine!” We would be in deep trouble if God gave us everything which we asked for. The fact is we don’t know what’s best for us. We only see the “now” of our lives – while God sees our eternal existence. Plus, His perspective is far superior to ours.

Furthermore, to pray “your will be done” is a daily recognition that our wills must be submitted to His will. The most comforting thoughts that can penetrate the human mind yielded to the will of God is that He who created us also knows what’s best for us. Plus, we walk according to His will rather than trying to command Him according to our own will, we will indeed have, as He has promised, not just comfort, but peace in the midst of the storm. And in your life there is great peace in knowing the one who taught us to pray “your will be done” has every detail of our lives under His control. Not only is God the object of our faith, He is also the originator of our faith. Indeed, He is the originator of our salvation and, yes, even the originator of our prayers. Plus whatever we pray for, whether it’s for healing or a house, when our will is in harmony with His will we’ll receive our request 100% of the time. However as Messiah prayed, “nevertheless, not my will but your will be done,” we can rest assured that even in sickness and tragedy, “we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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Do You Have Too Much?

But ADONAI said to Gideon, “Too many are the people who are with you, for Me to give the Midianites into their hand. Otherwise Israel would glorify itself against Me saying, ‘My own hand has delivered mecf. 2Cor. 4:7. .’ Judges 7:2

Gideon was struggling with some unbelief. That’s why he put a fleece before the Lord. Now the Lord was telling him he had too many people in his army. Although they were already terribly outnumbered, the Lord instructed him to thin the ranks. So Gideon told all who were afraid to leave. 22,000 men went home! That left 10,000, but the Lord said they were still too many. He directed Gideon to separate the men according to how they drank from the brook, and he chose 300 because they knelt down on one knee to drink by cupping their hands and bring water up to their mouths.

Why did the Lord cut down Gideon’s already small army? Because He didn’t want anyone else to take credit for the victory. He wanted the number of men to be so small that there be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the victory was a miracle of the Lord. He specifically put them in an impossible situation so His people would come to know just how awesome He was.

Think about this: the Lord didn’t bring the Midianites against His people or cause the problem. But when the problem appeared, He specifically led Gideon in such a way that only His supernatural power would deliver them. He wants to do the same for you and me today. He may lead us to do things that look crazy or dangerous to our natural mind just so He can reveal Himself to us in a miraculous way. He often spurns conventional wisdom so that we will know that our deliverance is totally from Him. Give Him that chance.

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The Presence of God, the People of God, the Purpose of God

Romans 12:2- 2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Why is it that many believers who are filled with the Spirit of God struggle to be transformed in thought and in deed to the life in which the God of the universe has destined them to live; a life of freedom, a life of hope, a life of joy in spite of any and all circumstances?  Why do believers struggle with all the trappings of the world?  Why are broken families as normal in the homes of believers as in the homes of those in the world?  Why do believers who have the power of the almighty God through His Ruach HaKodesh in them remain so powerless and ineffective?  What can be done about this and how can these trends be reversed?

Our “situations” tend to gain complexity as we use worldly solutions to guide us to a life of peace and tranquility.  What the body of Messiah Yeshua has clearly lost is the concept of the Spirit-formed life in Romans 12:2.  Those in the world-wide community of faith in Messiah Yeshua (both Jew and Gentile) are the people of God and what we need to remember is that we are the people of God because God first acted on our behalf.  He is the one who initiated the covenant relationship between us and Him.  It is Yeshua, who provided the way or means by His atoning sacrifice/blood/covering and the
Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) was given to live in us and provides the power in us and through us on our behalf.

However sweet this knowledge is, it is not alone enough to transform us.  What is needed in our knowledge of God is the presence of God and it is this presence that changes us.  As part of the covenant people of God we are given the ability to abide in the Messiah and this abiding is what effects our transformation and conformation.  Yet, before we kill our own transformation by legalistic works, we must realize that it is not the actions that we perform but rather it is being in the presence of God alone that changes us.  This Spirit-formed change is a natural by-product of our relationship with God and our being drawn into His presence is His work in our lives and our goal of real spiritual change.

The power of God in our lives comes from the Ruach HaKodesh and as we yield our lives to and in Messiah, the power of the Ruach becomes evident in us.  However, the yielding is a process for us and as we struggle to yield to the Ruach HaKodesh’s leading and guiding, we find that in Messiah there is no condemnation in this process which produces confidence, life and victory!

Romans 8:1-2- 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua. 2 For the law of the Ruach of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and death.

It is in this process that we find that it is only in the presence of God that we are transformed.  This becomes the work of the partnership between the Ruach HaKodesh and us.  As we yield our lives to Him, we are drawn to deeper depths in His presence and we are further transformed.  It is this change of being in God’s presence that does, and will, draw men unto Him.

As you reach to deeper depths in Messiah Yeshua and struggle against the ways of worldly distractions and sin and exchange them for the ways of the Ruach (Spirit) there is an important spiritual equation to grab hold of:  It is the presence of God that makes us (you) into the people of God to accomplish the purposes of God in your life and in the life of others.  Practice the presence!

Matthew 6:33- 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

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God’s Relational Perspective

Exodus 6:7 (TLV)-  “7 I will take you to Myself as a people, and I will be your God…”

Your perspective accounts for much of your action in your life.  As a believer in Messiah Yeshua and thereby a child of the One True God of Israel, you are intended to employ a God given perspective on scripture.  As human beings we tend to let the events of our physical lives dictate our perspectives.  For example, an abused child typically views the world and all relationships through the lens of a victim.  An assaulted woman by a man typically sees men as victimizers and this shadows every relationship she has.  Men define themselves often by what they do for a living and are aimless and listless in a weak economy.  Unfortunately, the brokenness of the world that touches our lives has the potential to darkly shadow our understanding of God’s Word and our relationship with Him.  Our questions then become: how can this be prevented?  How can I live in the world and not become part of it?  How do I correctly understand who God is in the midst of all this worldly pain? Ignoring our pain through a “fleshly faith” inevitably produces powerless results.  The answer comes when we truly understand who God is by what He declares in His Word.  The many statements of “I will be your God and you will be my people” (Jer. 30:22; Ezk. 36:28; Ex. 6:7 etc.) indicates a desire from the one and only Almighty God towards those He is in relationship with.

The desire of God is to have a people and He takes the initiative in this by saying “I will be your God…” As He initiates, His people respond and they become His people, “…you will be my people.”  This is the typical covenant of “if this, than that.”  It is followed by the consummation of the covenant “…I will dwell with you.”  So, we are looking at a covenant between God and His people Israel and the grafted in peoples through faith in Yeshua the Messiah.  The physical implications of this statement in scripture of being set apart unto God, were meant for the people then, and the spiritual implications of this statement in scripture of being set apart unto God are meant for all of God’s people now.  The spiritual implications of this covenant “relational perspective” is to draw God’s created humanity out of places of perceptive death and into places of God ordained life.

So, what are the implications of this covenant?  For the people then, it was to set them apart from physical actions of the nations around them so as not to be like them.  It was to keep them safe and secure within the physical covenant.  For God’s people now, it is to set them apart spiritually from the death of religion and the perspectives of worldly brokenness around them.  Although the people of God are from every tribe, nation and tongue we come under the banner of the saving nature of the sacrifice of Yeshua the Messiah and enter into this new spiritual covenant.  This is where we employ the “relational perspective.”  Because God is our God we are elevated in the greater reality of the Spirit of God and from this perspective we can see God’s ultimate desire for us; to be “our” God and for “we” to be His people.  The greater perspective is that we are forever in covenant relationship with Him where there will be no more tears, no more pain.  Indeed, in the greater reality of the spirit there is now no more tears, no more pain because this work in that reality has been accomplished and it is growing as opposed to our “here and now physical reality,” which is in the process of passing away.  As we realize God’s bigger story or the meta-narrative we can grow in this greater reality by “becoming” as we allow the spirit of the kingdom of God to invade us as we work out our salvation and build our own “becoming” through lives formed in God’s Spirit.

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The Time is Near!

How fortunate is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and those who hear and keep what has been written in it—for the time is near. Revelation 1:3

An economist released a book early this year projecting the collapse of the global monetary system, but in a recent interview he confessed he got something wrong. “Therefore some of these catastrophic outcomes may come sooner than I wrote about.” Other books are being written about the upcoming economic collapse. It may come sooner than we expected! That’s how many Believers feel about world events. Rogue nations are acquiring nuclear weapons. Terrorism is a constant threat. Government surveillance is relentless. Middle East tensions are rising. And morals are collapsing like dominoes.

What a great time to read and study the Bible! When we read the Bible, we are encouraged to see God working through problems in our history. We also are blessed by the promise of Messiah’s return! He is coming shortly. He is coming for us.

If you’re anxious about the state of the world, that’s understandable. But trade your anxiety for the blessing of hearing the words of Scripture, keeping them in faith and obedience and remembering: it’s all about God and Messiah! Anyway Yeshua is coming back! And it could be today!

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Staying Peaceful in an Evil World

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have shalom. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world! John 16:33

It is possible to become overwhelmed with all the reports of Islamic terrorists slaughtering so many; while crying out threats against Christians and Jews. Indeed, violence has increased against Believers worldwide. One expert recently called Christian persecution “worldwide human rights disaster of epic proportions.”

The Western world is becoming increasingly secularized in giving over to sin. It is easy to grow discouraged. However, according to Yeshua, discouragement isn’t the correct response. We should maintain our shalom; knowing that Yeshua is our Redeemer. He said, “You may have shalom. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!”

I personally believe that we, here in the United States, are heading for a time of evil turmoil. We need to remain focused on God and the Messiah! Only through the Holy Spirit can we truly hold onto the “peace that passes understanding.” How often have you heard me say: “it’s all about God and the Messiah?” If you make God your reality, everything else will simply be: everything else! Stay focused and be blessed.

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Living on Purpose

LIVING ON PURPOSE

But He said to them, “I must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God cf. Dan. 7:14, 27. to the other towns also. It was for this purpose I was sent.” Luke 4:43

In 2005, the Barna Research Group surveyed Pastors and Christian Leaders about the books that influenced them most during the previous 3 years. Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life was the most cited book (apart from the Bible). Warren’s The Purpose Driven Church was the 2nd most often cited. What does it mean that 2 Bible-based books on “purpose” sold tens of millions of copies around the world? At the very least, it suggests that Christians (and others) are interested in discovering how to live life “on purpose.” When we say we did something “on purpose,” it means we did intentionally; it means our actions were no accidents.

“Meanwhile, the disciples were pressing Him, “Rabbi, eat!”  But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. So the disciples were saying to each other, “No one brought Him food to eat, did they? Yeshua tells them, “My food is to do the will of the One who sent Me and to accomplish His work.” John 4:31-34

If we model our life after that of the Messiah Yeshua, we would live our lives as purposefully as He did. Yeshua came into this world with a purpose, a mission from God, and refused to let anything distract Him from that purpose.

As God sent his son Yeshua into the world “on purpose,” so Yeshua has sent us “on purpose” as well. “Yeshua said to them again, “Shalom aleichem! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21

Live purposefully, not accidentally, for Messiah today!

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Don’t Bare False Witness

“Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

There are at least 2 ways to be untruthful about another person. One, it is possible to tell a lie: to say that someone did or said something that they didn’t. The other way is not to tell the truth when you know someone is under a false impression. Staying quiet in the presence of a lie can be as wrong as telling the lie.

“So they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a billy goat, and they dipped the tunic into the blood. Then they sent the long-sleeved tunic, and it was brought to their father, and they said, “We found this. Do you recognize whether or not it is your son’s tunic? He did recognize it and said, “My son’s tunic! An evil animal has devoured him! Joseph must be torn to pieces!” Genesis 37:31-33

Ten of Jacob’s sons, who were also brothers of Joseph, the 11th son, were guilty on both counts. First, they misrepresented what happened to Joseph; they pretended they didn’t know how Joseph’s torn, bloodied coat got that way. They even pretended not to know if the coat was Joseph’s. Then, when Jacob reached the wrong conclusion about Joseph’s fate – that he had been killed by a wild animal – the brothers remained silent, knowing they had sold Joseph, alive and well, to Midianite traders.

You must purpose never to traffic in falsehoods yourself. Also, purpose never to remain silent in the presence of a lie. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all ways into Messiah, who is the Head.”  Ephesians 4:15

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