Life Happens!

LIFE HAPPENS!

“Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of thosewho love God and are called in accordance with his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 We are used to hearing people say, “I did what I thought was best.” Even if a person’s actions didn’t produce the desired outcome, we emphasize with them because we’ve been there ourselves. Faced with the decision, we gather our facts, seek advice, way the pros and cons, and then finally make a decision. Because we are imperfect, it’s hard for us to imagine someone choosing and acting perfectly. It’s hard to imagine someone with a sovereign will whose decisions are always right and for the good.

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Who needs you?

Who needs you?

 Philippians 2:3-5- 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves - 4 look out for each other’s interests and not just for your own. 5 Let your attitude toward one another be governed by your being in union with the Messiah Yeshua: 6 Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be possessed by force.

It is pretty humbling to realize that each of us has been placed in the lives of others who need us.  If someone is in your life, then they have been placed in your life specifically because they need you.  At times people in your life will need your goodness, your patience or your tenderness.  Sometimes you will hold information or the keys to a problem that they need to solve or you may have resources, financial or otherwise that you can use to help.  People in your life may need encouragement from you or even truth spoken into their life circumstances or a spirit lead prayer.

It is important to be lead by the Holy Spirit when interacting with people in your life.  This is why we need to put down attitudes of vanity and rivalry within ourselves and be lead by our union with Messiah Yeshua.  Messiah Yeshua knew what we needed and He sacrificed himself so that we could have the atonement for our mis-deeds and sin.

We are encouraged in the book of Phillipians to provide for the needs of others.  These needs are not just physical but include intangible needs as well.  We truly become servants of Messiah as we become servants to one another.  As we serve each other, we become more like Yeshua as our service to one other causes us to emulate Him.

Listen to the Holy Spirit in your relationships and be quick to offer your resources, information and knowledge, encouraging words and a smile, a note, phone call or just some time with you.  You have much to offer one another because of Messiah Yeshua in you.  Focus on God and Messiah and He will let you know how you can serve the people in your life.  Don’t delay, bless each other today!

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Gods will, your love, your reward

1 Corinthians 10:13- 13 No temptation has seized you beyond what people normally experience, and God can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.

Have you ever considered that this verse is not just or not only talking about what we consider to be the “big sins” in our lives? What about the everyday tasks (how we conduct our lives and treat others) that we are given through the scripture and the promptings of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) that we often so promptly ignore? It is sin to ignore the Holy Spirit but it tends to be sin that we most certainly discount. For example: What about the stranded motorist we could help out, the words of encouragement we could give, the monetary gifts we could offer, the time set aside when the Holy Spirit calls us to read or study Gods words or any act of kindness we are lead to give. When it comes to doing the will of God it can be difficult to put our comfort level aside and complete the work.

The Bible tells us that we me must put our comfort levels or flesh to death:

Galatians 5:24- 24 Moreover, those who belong to the Messiah Yeshua have put their old nature to death on the stake, along with its passions and desires.

If fulfilling Gods will was easy, Rav Shaul (The Apostle Paul) would not have needed to express that it is like putting our old nature to death. Yet, it is not impossible:

Mattityahu (Matthew) 19:26- 26 Yeshua looked at them and said, “Humanly, this is impossible; but with God everything is possible.”

The statement here is that “with God all things are possible” which not only includes a salvation experience but also includes following Gods will and putting the flesh to death.

I heard a saying once: “just because something is difficult does not mean it is not worth doing.”

If doing Gods will was or is easy, what credit is that to you? But, it is these works that have been prepared in advance for us to do that display our faith:

Ephesians 2:10- 10 For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.

Expose the depth of our relationship:

Mark 12:29-31- 29 Yeshua answered, “The most important is, `Sh’ma Yisra’el, ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, O Isra'el, the LORD our God, the LORD is one], 30 and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: `You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other mitzvah greater than these.”

Causes man to rejoice and be drawn into a relationship with God:

Peter 2:12- 12 but to live such good lives among the pagans that even though they now speak against you as evildoers, they will, as a result of seeing your good actions, give glory to God on the Day of his coming.

And positions us to receive heavenly rewards:

Mattityahu (Matthew 25:21)- 21 His master said to him, `Excellent! You are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master’s happiness!’

When Gods will is difficult for us, we have an opportunity to show to ourselves the depth of love we have for Him when we obediently comply. God will reward you for every pre-ordained task you overcome to complete. Find joy in all your adversities whether it is overcoming sin, completing an act of kindness or conquering a difficult task. You have joy in knowing the depth of your love for God and that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 11:6- 6 And without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out.

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Who says you need an appointment?

Who says you need an appointment?

You may have heard it said that it is good to set and keep appointments with God.  To be sure, God does make appointments with us such as Shabbat, the high holy days etc.  But what about appointments for prayer?  Is it really sound in practice to make set times for prayer?  It depends on how you approach God.  Do you approach God in a religious form or do you approach him in a relational form.  During the times of the temple, prayer times were established for the Morning (Shacharis), Noon (Minchah), and Evening (Maariv) and these times or appointments continue today.  It is by no means wrong or an error in keeping these times but if you look at how these prayers are spaced and structured they reveal God’s plan for His children; God’s plan for you in prayer is not the short bursts of communication wrapped in specified time frames, but rather a continuous communication between a loving father and His child(ren).

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray continually”.  What is interesting about this verse is its location.  Beginning with verse 16 the passage reads like this:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24- 16 Always be joyful.  17 Pray regularly.  18 In everything give thanks, for this is what God wants from you who are united with the Messiah Yeshua.  19 Don’t quench the Spirit, 20 don’t despise inspired messages.  21 But do test everything – hold onto what is good, 22 but keep away from every form of evil.  23 May the God of shalom make you completely holy – may your entire spirit, soul and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.  24 The one calling you is faithful, and he will do it.

The Complete Jewish Bible translates verse 17 out as “Pray regularly” but the Greek word means to pray without interruption or continually or unceasing.  Yes, there are times and even appointed times when we should pray the scripture or pray crafted prayer or pray a specific petition or request but these should be accomplished within a lifestyle or a relationship of prayer and not apart from it.

1 Thessalonians 5, says to pray continually without interruption.  So, if you look at the passage in context we can see how this continual/relational prayer works on our behalf:

Pray continually and in everything give thanks.  By praying continually you stay relationally connected to the spirit of God and He is free to move through you and you are free to speak His inspired messages and the spirit is not quenched by you.  Relational or continual prayer helps to keep you chasing after the good that God has set before you, and strengthens you to resist the evil that fleshly desires bring into our path.

The design of this continual prayer is that it is to keeps us in a state of intimate relationship with the loving Father.  It is a gift that is given to all believers in Messiah Yeshua, Jew and gentile alike and it helps us to walk out our salvation and brings us to complete holiness and keeps us blameless for the day when the Messiah Yeshua returns.

Appointed times of prayer or prayer appointments can benefit us tremendously but it is the continual / relational prayer that we have with the heavenly father that produces the will of God in our lives because it changes us…being in God’s presence always does…

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Unending Prayer in God’s presence

Psalm 65:2- “You who listen to prayer, to you all living creatures come.”

 Prayer is the way you talk to God and it is through prayer that you connect with God.  Prayer is the communication from our heart and it can be couched in song, words or tears.

 Luke 6:45- 45 The good person produces good things from the store of good in his heart, while the evil person produces evil things from the store of evil in his heart. For his mouth speaks what overflows from his heart.

 Our prayers that pass our lips is the expression that comes from our heart.  If we listen to our prayers carefully we can begin to get an idea of what is in our heart and if our heart is in line with the will of God.  God does not delight in doing our will, it is we who delight in doing His will.  When we pray in conjunction with God’s will; we sense His presence.  Do you feel distant from God?  Do not wait until you “feel” close to Him.  The Bible tells us what God’s will is, praying the scriptures when we “feel” distant will lift us up into His presence where our feelings of unworthiness are washed away because our focus becomes His righteousness, His holiness, His work, His will.  This is why we never need to wait to be worthy or to feel worthy to come to Him.  It is easier to pray when your heart is full during a worship service but it can be another experience altogether when the brokenness of the world and our wrong attitudes toward sin completely drain our hearts empty.  However, this is when it is especially important to pray.  Do not worry that you may have times when you may falter in prayer.  Where you are now is all that matters.  Sometimes our thoughts or opposing spiritual forces speak to you and tell you that you are not worthy to go to God in prayer.  You may have stumbled yesterday and you may stumble tomorrow but God is God of all your days and each day is a day made for you to enter and be led by His presence.  Through Messiah Yeshua, God has delivered you and He wants to elevate you above the world’s brokenness and sin onto the path of His good and perfect will.  Pray for guidance and wisdom from the creator of the universe and thrust yourself upon Him for His mercy and His grace for all spiritual and material blessings appointed unto you so you may perform His will without impedance.

The mechanics of your prayer may be different each time, but you should pray with every breath, every movement, every thing deep inside of you and every thing on your surface.  Pray with your emotions and your reason.  The power of this kind of prayer will lead you into joy, fulfillment and a deeper understanding of your relationship with the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.  This is practicing the presence and will lead you to prayer that is unending.  Every conversation you have can be elevated by your understanding of continual, unceasing prayer.  Every thing you think and do can have its root in your continual prayer to God and your actions and prayers will begin to line up with Gods will as you exist in His presence.

Do not wait, start your unceasing prayer today!

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For Good or Not for Good

For good or not for good…that is the question?

Romans 8:28 Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose;

Life is full of happenings and because our view is limited to a degree in this present reality we often miss, that our heavenly father is working all of our good times and (what we consider) bad times together for our good.  This is not a new realization but it is one that we often times ignore.

It is easy to immediately identify a good or bad circumstance as valuable, yet at other times we must wait for the progression of time to pass before we can see the benefit of a difficult or trying circumstance.  As human beings we tend to “sweat the small stuff” and in so doing we often miss the good that God is doing in our lives.  The other day, my wife and I drove 30 miles to keep an important appointment.  We made work and home arrangements to leave town after work to be at the meeting location on time (if not a bit early).  We waited, and waited, and waited.  We knocked on the door and double checked our information by reading through the emails to be sure we had the right day, time, and location.  After a while we discovered that the meeting had been cancelled via phone message that we never received.  Do to the nature of the meeting we could have been upset, disappointed, mad and a whole host of other non-helpful emotions but in that moment we had clarity. We had a choice to recognize that God was working for us through this inconvenience.  The meeting was rescheduled but what about the fuel expense, the time we spent in vain making arrangements at work and our home schedule?  We both looked at one another and had the same thought…”God is working through this circumstance and what He is doing is good.”

With God there is never any waste.  The writer of Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us that “For everything there is a season, a right time for every intention under heaven.”

Recognizing God’s love for us and being aware spiritually can help us live in much more joy.  We do not have to react like the world, we can act and accept all things with joy and love.

James 1:2-4- 2 Regard it all as joy, my brothers, when you face various kinds of temptations; 3 for you know that the testing of your trust produces perseverance. 4 But let perseverance do its complete work; so that you may be complete and whole, lacking in nothing.

I pray that you can see that this awareness actually frees you from a lot of pain and suffering in this world.  Your awareness of all things being made to benefit you whether minor irritations like being stood up for a meeting to major pain and suffering in your life is all easier to endure.  You can decrease suffering and distress and plain misery simply by engaging your free will and choose to view your life in the light that God is letting nothing go to waste and all things will (eventually) benefit you, His child.

Back to the question…”For good or not for good?”  Prayerfully you understand that every circumstance in your life is positive.  God is working in the background to make it so and He never fails.

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Stay Focussed!

STAY FOCUSSED!

“We have found this man a pest. He is an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world and a ringleader of the sect of the Natzratim. He even tried to profane the Temple, but we arrested him. By questioning this man yourself, you will be able to learn all about the things of which we are accusing him.” The Judeans also joined in the accusation and alleged that these were the facts.   Acts 24:5-9

When Paul appeared in court he heard these outlandish charges leveled against him. It was a trap set by Paul’s opponents. Yet Paul saw an even bigger trap. HaSatan himself was trying to get Paul off his message of Yeshua being central and to embroil him in the Jews bitter conflict with their Roman enemies.

As a skilled debater, Paul easily could’ve engaged his opponents. But he refused to become entangled in their political fight. He made the choice for the sake of the truth to preach Messiah.

Eventually, Paul was taken before King Agrippa to defend himself. But in the Royal Court, Paul again chose to preach Messiah. He boldly told Agrippa his dramatic story, even at his own peril:  “On one such occasion, I was traveling to Dammesek with the full authority and power of the head cohanim. I was on the road, and it was noon, your Majesty, when I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my traveling companions. We all fell to the ground; and then I heard a voice saying to me, in Hebrew, ‘Sha’ul! Sha’ul! Why do you keep persecuting me? It’s hard on you to be kicking against the ox-goads!’ I said, ‘Who are you, sir?’ and the Lord answered, ‘I am Yeshua, and you are persecuting me!   Acts 26:12-15

The king was stirred by Paul’s message and refused to rule, instead decreed that Paul be sent to Rome to appear in Caesar’s court. Paul accepted this readily because he accepted his Calling: “The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage! For just as you have borne a faithful witness to me in Yerushalayim, so now you must bear witness in Rome.”   Acts 23:11

Today, Satan is attempting to get us off the message of the centrality of Messiah Yeshua. We must stay focused!

It’s all about God and the Messiah!

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Test of Loyalty

TEST OF LOYALTY

Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with His purpose. Romans 8:28

Only mature Believers can believe that God engineers blessings in all our circumstances. We give little thought about our circumstances, as far as God is with us, although we say we do. We treat things that happen as if it’s just us and the world. To be faithful in every circumstance means that we have only one loyalty; and that is to God. Suddenly, God breaks up a particular set of circumstances and the realization comes that we have been disloyal to Him by not recognizing that He has been with us. We are distracted and do not see Him working through us all the days of our life. The test of loyalty always comes just there. If we learn to trust in God and those trying circumstances, He will alter them as He chooses.

Loyalty to the Messiah Yeshua is the thing that we should focus on every day. We are willing to be loyal to our work, to our job, to anything, but do not ask us to be loyal to the Messiah Yeshua! Many of us are intensely impatient of talking about loyalty to Yeshua. Messiah is dethroned more emphatically by us than those of the world. God is focused as a machine for blessing us and Yeshua the Messiah is made a Worker among the workers.

The idea is not that we do work for God, but we are so loyal to Him that He can do His work through us! God wants to use us as He used His own Son.

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Procrastination

PROCRASTINATION.

Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God’s only and unique Son

John 3:18

The English word “procrastinate” comes from a Latin word made of 2 parts: Pro (“forward”) and crastinus (“belonging to tomorrow”). When we procrastinate, we move forward to tomorrow something that should be done today. Procrastination gives the illusion of neutrality. For instance, if we put off making a decision, it is easy to think we have said neither “yes” nor “no”; that we have remained neutral. In reality, however, the failure to say “yes” means, by default, that we have said “no.” We have remained in our original negative state by a failure to say “yes” and moved to a positive state.

When people put off making a decision about Messiah; or when Believers put off making a move to go forward to a deeper level of spiritual maturity – they have not remained neutral. The failure to say “yes” to Messiah is the same as saying “no.” Why? Because we are born into this world saying “no” to God (“since all have sinned and come short of earning God’s praise.” Romans 3:23). We remain condemned by sin until the day we say “yes” to Messiah.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what should be accomplished today.

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What you expect from G-d?

WHAT YOU EXPECT FROM GOD?

Miryam stood outside crying. As she cried, she bent down, peered into the tomb,  and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Yeshua had been, one at the Head and one at the feet. “Why are you crying?” they asked Her. “They took my Lord,” she said to them, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.” As she said this, she turned around and saw Yeshua standing there, but she didn’t know it was He.    John 20:11-14

Miryam did not recognize Yeshua. She was one of the women who followed Him and ministered with Him throughout his earthly ministry. She knew Him well and had heard Him teach many times. Yeshua honored Miryam  by choosing her to be the firstt person He appeared to after His resurrection, yet she supposed He was the gardener.

Certainly, one of the principal reasons Miryam didn’t recognize Yeshua was that she wasn’t expecting to see Him alive! The thought that Yeshua could be alive hadn’t yet entered her mind. This illustrates how her expectations dictated her experience; and all of us are no different. What we expect from God is usually what we get from Him.

God is Who He is regardless of what we think about Him. As far as our experience goes, we will only experience Him in the way we think He is. For instance, if you don’t believe God heals today, you won’t be healed until you begin to believe differently. If you don’t believe in the infilling of the Holy Spirit, you won’t receive it. Those who don’t believe Yeshua rose from the dead will not recognize the risen Messiah, even if He stood before them.

Miryam recognized Yeshua when He called her by name. It was the personal relationship between them that finally opened Her eyes. What do you believe about Him today? If you think He’s angry with you, you won’t experience His pleasure, even though Scripture says you are accepted and beloved (Ephesians 1:6). If you believe He’s forsaken you, you won’t experience His Presence, even though He said He would never leave or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5.) Believe everything the Bible says He is in and He will be all that to you and more.

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