A while ago, I had prayed for a woman. She had so much fear because as a little girl she had been told by an adult leader in a church that she had committed the unpardonable sin and would not be able to go to heaven. What is even sadder though is both of my boys, unsuccessfully, had been taught about the unpardonable sin. Thankfully this was after sharing my revelation of God’s great grace with both of them. My youngest got in such a heated discussion with his “Christian studies teacher” that he had to be pulled out of the classroom. For him he saw a God that would forgive everything and the way this teacher was explaining this scripture, in Mark 3:29-30, did not fit into how he saw and knew God. So, today I want to bring clarity, hope, freedom and truth to this scripture that has, because of the way it has been taught for many years, hurt so many people.
Let me copy two different translations of this verse below one from the New King James Version (NKJV) and one from the Message. My favorite is from the Message; yet many times this is taught from the NKJV.
“Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30 NKJV)
“Listen to this carefully. I’m warning you. There’s nothing done or said that can’t be forgiven. But if you persist in your slanders against God’s Holy Spirit, you are repudiating the very One who forgives, sawing off the branch on which you’re sitting, severing by your own perversity all connection with the One who forgives.” He gave this warning because they were accusing him of being in league with Evil.” (Mark 3:28-30 MSG)
What is even more interesting is the title in the NKJV which states this section is about THE UNPARDONABLE SIN. Wow, and it looks just like that…..so this must be what it is about…..and it is….but not what we have been taught for years. (Yes, I said all that with a huge grin…because of the goodness of God).
I have written before about the importance of reading scripture in context, looking at the time period, who wrote it and whom it was written to. It is just as important here. At this time Jesus was healing and teaching around Galilee. There were many people from other areas there with Him. He had chosen His twelve disciples when all of a sudden scribes are proclaiming Jesus to have the prince of demons, Beelzebub, within Him. Jesus teaches them in parable regarding how can a house divided against itself stand? He then goes on to say in Mark 3:28 how ALL of the sins and blasphemes will be forgiven the sons of men. It isn’t just a few sins but ALL; which means in Greek the totality of. No sins left unforgiven. It will all be accomplished, finished. But then all of a sudden it sounds like Jesus is now retracting what He just said in the next sentences. But He isn’t.
I looked up each word in the Greek in all three verses. Specifically verses 28 and 29. Here is the summation of what I looked up (to do your own research you can view the bible hub pages here: http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-29.htm and http://biblehub.com/text/mark/3-30.htm):
Whoever refuses to acknowledge the good that has come from the union (remember Jesus is talking about Himself and the healing He has been performing by casting out unclean spirits) of the Holy Spirit, negates possession of forgiveness in this age, is legally bound or obligated eternally (both now and outside time) to sin’s results because they have concluded I possess a spirit which is adulterated(“a wrong mix’/tainted by sin). (Mark 3:29-30)
He is making it clear there is one condition that the son of man (yep, that is you and me) must make to have ALL your sins forgiven. The scribes had just concluded that the sinless lamb was full of sin. So for them, unless they change their minds (yep that is repentance) and realize that Jesus is the Sinless One whom will take on all of the son of men’s sins, they are negating the ONLY way to possess forgiveness from God.
Jesus was already telling how and Who forgiveness would happen through. How the one condition of faith in Who He is makes all the difference for the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. It is simply the same simple message of faith, forgiveness and a Spotless Lamb that must be seen as spotless not just as a “good man”, a “prophet” or a fake. He was, is and will be the only real Spotless Lamb, born without sin, remained without sin for our good.
And what you can do about it…
In His Name
Over the many years of being a “Christian”, I have been “taught” how to “pray”. I quote those words because I think they have been misused or misunderstood. At first I was taught by the Holy Spirit; but the longer I was around people who had been in the church longer than me I began to pick up some of their habits. Then it was expected I should pray in a certain way and take classes to learn how to pray.
A vending machine
has no will,
money is put in,
a button is pushed,
and what the person pushing
the button wants comes out
Today though, I want to discuss the practice of what may have become more like a formula many Christians use to put emphasis on their prayers. One of the things the Lord had shown me during those three days almost three years ago, was a vending machine. When He showed me this He spoke,”I am not a vending machine but people have made me into a vending machine“. See a vending machine has no will, money is put in, a button is pushed, and what the person pushing the button wants comes out. We, as Christians, may have started at a wrong starting point with our view of God. We unknowingly may think God has no will in circumstances of life and yet, His plan comes above everything else. I can only discern what I believe to be God’s will as each circumstance comes to me through this lifetime. His Holy Spirit inside me tells me and gives me unction to pray instead of praying a prayer as someone (man) desires me to…but wait I am getting ahead of myself.
Let me try to explain. The scripture that I want to use is in Acts 3:16. This is where the apostles are headed to the temple and there is a man who is sitting at the Beautiful Gate begging for money because he has been crippled since birth and the apostles say they do not have money but what they do have….here let’s enter in:
“Kefa said, “I don’t have silver, and I don’t have gold, but what I do have I give to you: in the name of the Messiah, Yeshua of Natzeret, walk!” And taking hold of him by his right hand, Kefa pulled him up. Instantly his feet and ankles became strong; so that he sprang up, stood a moment, and began walking. Then he entered the Temple court with them, walking and leaping and praising God!
Acts of Emissaries of Yeshua (Act) 3:6-8 CJB
In His Name…..I have ended many prayers this way. Many times knowing or sensing what I had just prayed wasn’t what God wanted me to pray. Yet, the expectation was for me to pray this way because if I didn’t then God wouldn’t be seen as good and/or I would not be praying correctly according to man. Let me make this very clear: God is good all the time despite the circumstances I am in. Yet, in the past, I felt I needed to pray a way directed by man rather than God. For this I have been convinced I was wrong and have gone back to my childlike trust in God and what His will is in each circumstance. See we apply an attribute to God and then make it a blanket statement not realizing that it might mean something far greater than what we see it as. Let me use this as an example. God hates sickness. Yes, God holds no account to sickness. It is not part of His realm. But I want you to think of the worst sickness or disease to ever hit mankind. Maybe it could be the plague, AIDS, cancer or….there are many to choose from. To me though the worst sickness or disease is actually the original fall. This is a disease that has attacked every single human being in the world. Our brokenness is what has brought so much strife, division, hatred, and evil acts perpetrated on other humans and the earth. This sickness/disease we are all born with. Jesus carried this for us at the Cross. He made a way to rid humanity of this awful disease. This sickness that has caused so many sicknesses. And with that He also took the shame of all of us who have performed these acts. I want the world to see the largeness of what God actually did through His Son on the Cross. We get caught up in the smaller picture and with that fear creeps in. What if I die? Well….we shall all die and as Christians we should not fear this or the second death. Because truly we live forever. We should not be like the Goyim (the unbelievers).
So, back to prayer. Here is the definition of the Greek word for “name” from biblehub.com:
3686 ónoma – name; (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others. Thus “praying in the name of Christ” means to pray as directed (authorized) by Him, bringing revelation that flows out of being in His presence. “Praying in Jesus’ name” therefore is not a “religious formula” just to end prayers (or get what we want)!
[“According to Hebrew notions, a name is inseparable from the person to whom it belongs, i.e. it is something of his essence. Therefore, in the case of the God, it is specially sacred” (Souter).]
Praying “in His Name” means we receive revelation from Him as to what to pray. It is not simply to tag this on in hopes you are praying what He desires. It actually means you are praying as directed by the Holy Spirit in that instance. As stated above, Hebrews understand that the name is part of the person….the essence of that person and is inseparable from the person. A name is very important to Hebrews. As it should be for all of us. As believers in Christ, we have His essence known as the Holy Spirit residing within us. Inside of us we know, otherwise called discernment, what, where and when to pray. We have the mind of Christ, His essence, in us. We pray in His Name as we call out His will in this earth realm as it lines up with His larger picture, not yours. His larger picture, as I have read in scripture, is that the world may know His Name. He simply does not want one person, human, to be separated from Him. As we pray, this is the larger picture. In the above historical story of the man being healed at the Beautiful Gate, God’s larger picture evolves. This isn’t saying God didn’t want this man healed but there was a larger picture. Let’s finish the story here:
Everyone saw him walking and praising God. They recognized him as the same man who had formerly sat begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were utterly amazed and confounded at what had happened to him. While he clung to Kefa and Yochanan, all the people came running in astonishment toward them in Shlomo’s Colonnade. Seeing this, Kefa addressed the people: “Men of Isra’el! Why are you amazed at this? Or why do you stare at us as if we had made this man walk through some power or godliness of our own? The God of Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Yeshua — the same Yeshua you handed over and disowned before Pilate, even after he had decided to release him. You denied the holy and innocent one, and instead asked for the reprieve of a murderer! You killed the author of life! “But God has raised him from the dead! Of this we are witnesses.” “And it is through putting trust in his name that his name has given strength to this man whom you see and know. Yes, it is the trust that comes through Yeshua which has given him this perfect healing in the presence of you all.” Acts of Emissaries of Yeshua (Act) 3:9-16CJB
God glorified His Servant Yeshua. Simply making it known Who He is. Trust in His essence, His Name. Trust in Who He is that gave strength and perfect healing to this man in their presence. We have always focused on the healing but not so much about the people present. Peter was very straightforward telling these Jews the very same man with the name Yeshua, Jesus, this man who You disowned and denied as holy and innocent is the very same One Whose essence in them brought healing to this man whom had been crippled since birth. This was just what was needed at this point, in these people’s lives to make Him known to them. Each situation is different because each person is different. God knows us perfectly and knows what needs to be done in each situation. We are simply to trust (faith) Him with the outcomes. Fully knowing the worst disease to ever hit mankind has been abolished by the King of kings on the Cross. In His Name, ❤️
Silence never solves a problem…
I have never told this story publicly……because I was told not to. Why am I telling this story now…..because Prophets need to be a little better understood amongst “leadership” within the church-the abuse (to control and manipulate) needs to stop, prophetic words need to be understood within the church, and why you should never agree to not talk about something that has happened to you.
It is Saturday, May 21, 2008 and that morning I received a vision from the Lord of myself on a tiny wooden boat and heard, “And the tiny boat was tossed.” The sea was dark and rumbling, but I was at peace with light shining down on me. I felt as though a storm was approaching but I will have peace…..It is now July 26th of the same year and I had received a directive and a word from the Lord that week. Our church was to begin a building campaign in the next few months and I was praying for this as directed by the pastors. The Lord told me three things at this time with a great amount of love:
After He told me those three things He requested I proclaim in the earth realm that the money wouldn’t come in. It took much but after He told me the last two things, I did as He requested.
I was to share with the pastors that the money wouldn’t come in. I was able to do so with the female pastor that Saturday night. I thought it was received well and that they would take it to the Lord. My husband, Bryan, had gone to a movie and I had driven home with our young sons. I received a phone call from the female pastor, frantically saying they needed to come over to our house right away. I told her Bryan was not home; but they still came. This is when things got ugly and horrible. First they were asking what they have done wrong, what sin they needed to repent of and I told them there wasn’t anything the Lord had said about that. I had felt the word had come from a place of love and protection. But it was like they didn’t hear what I was saying and continued trying to ask me what sin the church had committed. Then, I was accused of cursing the church and was Jezebel. I was told I must apologize to the pastoral team and what was then a pastoral prayer team members. The prayer team members did not even know what I was apologizing for just that I was to apologize. I was told by the pastoral team that we (the pastoral team, my husband and I) were never to talk about this with anyone. Later I had found out the pastoral team did not hesitate to talk about it with people and these people also shared some things with other people. So much for promises and keeping it to ourselves. I was in full fledge fear because 1) I was accused of cursing the church and 2) What if I did have Jezebel inside me?????.
God never intended us to submit
to spiritual leaders who are cruel,
hurtful or can not humble themselves
They are considered untrustworthy
I had many situations that came up during this time that would be termed as spiritual abuse. Shunning, hurtful words and actions by the pastoral staff, I was actually told they were surprised I showed up for events at the church, my own children were told to pray against me as I was the one “cursing” the church and I choose to stay, I took all the abuse and did what was asked of me; because I doubted God’s word to me and thought I had sinned horribly— so I deserved all of the harsh treatment; because at this point my viewpoint of God was off. I had learned in the church that they are the “authority over you” and “we are to submit to the authority over us”. Never realizing what the Greek actually meant in Hebrews 13, more explanation will be in another post. In a nutshell though– I truly believe that God never intended us to submit to spiritual authority that is hurtful, cruel and are unable to humble themselves to say they are sorry. They fully expect and require people “under them” to apologize for anything they deem needs an apology. People like this are not God’s leadership.
It is now three and a half years later and the money did not come in for the building campaign. Soon after the pledges were taken the economy nose dived and many people lost houses and jobs. The people could not make their monetary commitments they had written in August of 2008. No one on the pastoral team ever said a word about the word being accurate.
I knew the next three and a half years would be different and began praying for the building and the needed money to fund this venture. Remember I never said a word about the last 2/3 of the word. I had kept them to myself and my husband at the Lord’s directive. Sunday, June 1, 2014 the same female pastor met with me in between services because she had to share something with me she had said. We went into a back room and she had asked me, “Do you remember when you had to give that “hard word” back at (the name of the place we were worshipping at back six years ago).” I replied yes and she continued, “The Lord God Himself made you give the word because as a prophet, that was the only way to birth through me the prayer necessary to bring the building.” She never knew that she just confirmed the third promise the Lord gave me. And the second promise was that the building would be up that seventh year and it is.
I never did receive an apology, we were wrong, or you were right. Many leaders in the church are afraid of admitting they are wrong or saying sorry because of a crazy misconception that this will somehow lessen their leadership when instead it actually would increase it. It is wrong to think saying you are sorry in some way will cause them to lose their authority over you. I have talked a bit about this in Because of Christ, Believers in Him Are Seated in Heavenly Places. This kind of control is not of God, it is directly trying to control the prophetic gifting in the most hurtful and damaging way. Most of this occurred because the blind were leading the blind. I say that as Jesus said it about the Pharisees because like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time this pastoral staff’s viewpoints of God were and are still off. They do not see God as a loving Father but one that will turn away from you if you sin and you must grovel to have Him even be able to look at you and love you again. This doesn’t line up with the New Testament Covenant. I believe so much hurt has occurred in the church because of this incorrect view of God and it is time for this to change.
There has been a large movement saying that prophetic words should only be “good” not “negative” and this is unbalanced thinking. Mainly because we have defined “good” by man’s way of thinking not God’s. Prophetic words should bring life, hope, warning and DIRECTION. Here are the biblical examples that helped me hold it together waiting to see if this “word” would come true and prove I wasn’t crazy, Jezebel, cursing the church etc….
“One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.” Acts 11:28 NASB
“As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.‘” When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!”” Acts 21:10-14 NASB
One was a corporate word and the other was a personal word. Both were warnings that would help give direction to the individual and to the large group of people. It was to let them know what would surely come; so they could make a plan, to decide, to have wisdom. This is were I see the church lacking because of the fear of a word that doesn’t fit into their “box of love”….while this surely fits into “God’s box of love”. It is time for the church to understand God’s love.
Agreeing “never talk about something again”, for the moment, looks good to the offender; yet it is not healthy. It is unhealthy to not be able to talk, process and walk all the emotions out in a safe place. When I was told never to talk about this situation it actually made things worse for me, not better. I needed to process out loud with people that had wisdom and loved me. What I have realized is that hiding something away doesn’t make it just disappear it makes it fester. And festering is toxic for our bodies. Do not agree to never talk about something again…talking is one of the ways God created for us to stay healthy, helpful, loving and bond as human beings.
This very thing that occurred, as one friend pointed out, helped create who I am today. This very story becomes the tapestry of my life which helps forge what God desires in and through me. I am sure it would have still happened without this occurring yet I might not have understood so many things such as: the Grace of God, being assured of Whose I am and who I am, not doubting God can truly turn ALL things around for our good, His amazing peace in spite of our circumstances, no longer wanting to please man, confident in the fact He loves me no matter what, my children understand spiritual abuse and can spot it a mile away, they are also confident in their stance with God, and I will never prostitute myself in the prophetic again.
Silence has never solved a problem
I am sure there are many of you with similar stories; actually I know of too many stories already that have occurred with these same pastors over multiple states. It breaks my heart that anyone would have to go through something like this. I also know these aren’t the only pastors that lead this way, as they have been taught to lead this way. If you want to share your story to heal and move forward please feel free to share below or on my Facebook page: Hisbelovedgrace4ever. I have set my comment settings so you can be anonymous when commenting below if you would rather. I am here to pray, read your story and will try to respond to your comments. With love, freedom and His beautiful grace, Darlene
For the rest of my story that got me where I am today you can read Ummmm…Is That An Elephant in the Room?!?!? and People Don’t Like Letting the Elephant Out, Questions Answered
I had made a meme…A Little of What… . This had been part of something the Lord had been telling me: "You are the pearl, be the pearl. You are the treasure, be the treasure. You are the coin, be the coin." One of the things I would have believed or interpreted from this statement in the past, because my view of God was off, is this:
"Darlene, shape up because you aren't behaving like you are one of My children."
Yet, this isn't what God was saying to me at all. What He is saying is:
When you believe you are pure, priceless and beloved by a Father in heaven it changes you. You can't help but be changed. Your whole mind shifts from a place of fear to a place faith. When we start to understand the fullness of what Christ did for us on the Cross: how fully forgiven we are, how beautiful and priceless we are, how greatly loved we are this in and of itself changes our perspective of ourselves and others. This alone is huge. Yet then God gives His gift the Holy Spirit, Himself to live within us. The closest we can get to Him this side of Heaven and that is amazing love.
Whose you are
Who you are
It isn't about your or my behavior when He says, "Be the pearl". It is all about seeing yourself as or believing you are the pearl, treasure and coin. This is called: "faith in what He did for you". That is the Kingdom of Heaven….be the pearl.
Matthew 13:44-45, Luke 15:8-10
As I have gone back and looked at some of my journals and the words God has given me I have realized how “off” my interpretation or understanding was of what He was trying to tell me; because I did not see Him clearly back then.
So the other morning this is what God and I were talking about:
In the prophetic it is imperative that we see God correctly. That our view is clear and we start at the right starting point. As believers, in Christ, we should be able to see God clearly for Who He is and what His Son has completed for us. When we know who we are and Whose we are the interpretation of the prophetic is on target. When we start at the wrong starting point, because we don’t know who we are or exactly Whose we are, our interpretation of the prophetic will be skewed or off.
We need to start off believing, having faith, that Christ has completed all that we never could, on our behalf, putting us in right standing with God for eternity. And as my mom said forever, or eternity, is a long time. ☺️. We are made righteous through Christ alone. As we begin at the right starting point with these truths we can begin to interpret what God is saying to us much more clearly. “For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 CJB
If you believe you are prophetic, I would encourage you to read through my blogs and begin to undo what you may have been taught in the past of Who God is and begin to soak in Who God truly is and who you are in Him. As His sons and daughters we are to see Him clearly and you will be much more confident as you know to the depths of your being just how important and beloved you are to Him. ❤️
Gossip…that word you have probably heard taught in the church; if you have been in the church for any length of time or maybe you have been harshly accused of gossiping. I have actually never heard a sermon on gossip, maybe your experience is different, instead I would be accused of gossiping when it seemed convenient to someone. So never understanding what gossip is or isn't has had me confused so many times I just stopped talking. Being called a gossip, for me, is like being called a liar or a cheater and I don't like that. Plus I didn't want to hurt people. What I have found though is the word "GOSSIP" is used by many in the church to silence the TRUTH from being told. This is when, as believers, we begin walking on dangerous ground.
"Truth"…something Pilate himself was looking for. Something, as believers, we are to walk in, search for and be able to discern. Something I see many in the church not looking for; because they are afraid to be called a GOSSIP.
Today the Lord wants to bring clarity as He shared with me this statement:
Gossip is Slander
Simple, yet I believe so many in the church do not have a grasp on what gossip actually means in scripture in the Greek. This in turn lends to bad teaching that has led to people unwilling to search out the truth, ask questions, and live a life from the inside out, unafraid.
As believers, we are to walk in the light as Christ walked in the light (1 John 1:7). This is simply done by faith in Jesus Christ, trusting Him that He was enough of a sacrifice for the whole world. This leads to living from the inside out because we know He did what we could never do for ourselves and He is our righteousness. This trust leads us to lay in a place without fear of condemnation, punishment or separation from our Father in Heaven. We know Him to be Father not judge. From this place we can be honest, truthful and sincere because we have no fear of our Father in Heaven turning away from us. Now, truthfully, have you seen a church like this? Let alone maybe a person like this? They are few and far between because the church teaches performance, fear, and condemnation as the way, the truth and the light rather than Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Light. See the latter is the Good News that Jesus wants told.
Once I realized the love of God, even after I accept His free gift, is not EVER based upon my performance I am able to live open, honest, and in the light with God and with people. The people part is difficult only because there are so many still afraid to live in the same manner because too many Christians still believe after they accept the free gift there are requirements to stay in "right standing with God". This is the FURTHEST from the truth.
The belief you must perform
to stay in "right standing with God"
is in direct opposition
to the TRUTH of the Good News
In actuality it is the opposite of the TRUTH of the Good News. AND what is even more interesting, this is similar to the meaning of GOSSIP–the opposite of truth regarding a person. Here let's take a look:
According to the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) version the word gossip is used five times in the New Testament. It would be found in the following scriptures (in bold are the meanings of each word in Greek):
From these definitions I looked up a couple of words: calumniate and Prating. I am a stickler when defining a word not to use the word in the definition because it doesn't illuminate the word at all. So here is the definition to both words from dictionary.com:
CULUMNY: noun, plural calumnies.
1.a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something:
The speech was considered a calumny of the administration.
2.the act of uttering calumnies; slander; defamation.
PRATING: intransitive verb 1:to talk long and idly
As you read through the definitions a few things becomes clear. First, there is a huge difference between how we define gossip today and the five Greek words used within the scriptures above. It is quite clear from above the Bible is defining someone who knowingly, maliciously and on purpose decides to malign, lie, and make empty charges against someone both openly and quietly; their whispering launches secret attacks to destroy another person's character; they choose to hurt, and destroy and to condemn a person's character; and they desire to sever a relationship by doing all of this. As you can see from above, this is a tactic of the enemy; hence the Greek word "diablos". The Greek word above translated as "Gossip" is someone who is a false accuser or an empty accuser (full of air just bubbling over) that does not want to bring unity but disunity, not life but death and not healing but destruction. Let's look at the original meaning of the word "gossip" in English from Merriam-Webster dictionary:
History for GOSSIP:
At first the word gossip, from Old English godsibb, meant “godparent.” Later it came to mean “close friend” as well. Close friends, of course, share secrets. Gossip has come to mean anyone, friend or not, who shares the secrets of others.
The word GOSSIP is NOT
found once in the KJV
So, interestingly enough, if you look up the word "GOSSIP" in the King James Version (Old English) you will not find one scripture with the word "gossip". There are zero results. We need to understand the meaning of the original Greek words translated as "gossip" if we are to judge the universe (1 Corinthians 6:2) and understand what was truly being talked about in the five scriptures referenced above. In the first letter to the believers in Corinth Paul is referencing a problem that came up between two believers and one took the other to court and he is asking,
"Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters?"….Can it be that there isn’t one person among you wise enough to be able to settle a dispute between brothers?"(1 Corinthians 6:2-5).
One of the many things we need to understand, as believers, is that we have the Holy Spirit within us and we should be able to discern the truth from a lie. But we must hear both sides of the story to be able to do so and then wait upon Holy Spirit to help us. Is one side gossip??? The real meaning of gossip??? Is it a fabrication to bring down an individual, and why would this individual need to be brought down? Is there something the enemy is trying to hide? Paul and the apostles ran into this time and again as they brought the Good News and the enemy did not want the Good News to be believed. So people would rise up and gossip (the real meaning) about the apostles in hopes the apostles would not be listened to.
As believers, we also must understand we need to be open, honest and truthful with what we experience. We should be able to talk about circumstances that are unhealthy and tell our side of the story without the fear of being called a "gossip". For far too long the church has covered up great harms done to others by calling the truth GOSSIP and that is an unhealthy trait. For it covers actions in darkness instead of bringing things to light to be dealt with in a loving, healthy way (Matthew 18). I believe this truly happens because we are too busy trying to perform holiness, as we think we should, instead of simply knowing we are holy because of what Christ did for us on the Cross.
No longer be afraid to speak the truth when asked, search out the truth when something doesn't sit right with you and judge the matters before you. For one day we shall judge the universe.
How many times have you been taught about the armor of God? I can say I have sat through many teachings and preaching regarding the armor of God. Most times the teaching was about how I needed to put on the armor, keep on the armor, how not to take off the armor. I don’t know about you but for me God wanted to reassure me that it wasn’t so much about me and my behavior but about Him and standing in what He has already done for me.
I have been waiting awhile to write about this. I have been so excited to write about this topic. Here is why: the Lord had asked me, “Darlene, do you know how well Bryan (my husband is a police officer) knows how to use his weapons?” I answered, “Yes.” Then He asked, “Do you understand how to use My weapons?” I answered, “I don’t know.” “It is time for you to understand,” He replied.
Let’s look at the scripture in Ephesians:
“Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength! Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God’s people.” Ephesians (Eph) 6:10-14, 16-18 CJB
You may want to read It All Begins and Ends With Trust, Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2), and A New Wine Skin if you haven’t already. These set up where I am going next. Like I said in It All Begins and Ends With Trust:
The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy your trust. That is what he is roaming about to do. Yet God brought eternal life through His Son which we receive through trust.
One of the things I have been telling myself and others lately is God never promised that we would not have “evil days”. What is interesting is Paul also told us that our struggle is not against human beings. Now we have to look at context here. This is during some evil days. Christ followers are being fed to lions, crucified, boiled in tar….by other HUMANS. What, the what!?!?!!! If Christ followers were being told by Paul to specifically do something when all of this was happening to them, we might want to take note. I have to say I have not been fed to lions, crucified or boiled….but some tactics felt like that in my life….just not unto death in this lifetime. So….let’s pick apart this very strong statement Paul makes through the Holy Spirit.
First Paul reminds us of the very thing in which I believe the entire armor truly consists of in his opening statement in Ephesians 6:10:
“grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength!”
Here is the direct translation from Biblehub.com:
“be empowered (1743-I fill with power, strengthen, make strong)
in [the] Lord and in the strength (2904 dominion, strength, power; a mighty deed)
of the might (2479-strength(absolutely),power,might,force,ability*) of him.”
Note that there are two different strength meanings in this verse. What I want you to see is how God does this for us. We do not do this for ourselves. We simply TRUST (believe) He will do it for us or already has done it for us and we thank Him for doing it. I want to clarify here, my strength comes from the Lord alone. I do not have enough strength of my own to be able to stand in circumstances that are beyond me. Truly I don’t know how people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus do life. I love the direct translation from bible hub.com because it helps us to start at the right starting point-trusting (faith) Him to do for us what we can not.
Next Paul calls what he talks about next our “war equipment that God PROVIDES” and that we are to put it on or use it so that we can stand (2476-I cause to stand) against the schemes (3180-a way of search after something, an inquiry; a method), scheming, craftiness, deceit.). Again I want you to see in the Greek that HE will enable us to stand against the methodology of the evil one or “rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm”. Father causes us to be able to stand!
Now into the nitty-gritty. I believe Paul is showing us the way to stand during trials and tribulations. Yes they come to the believer and the non-believer. As believers we do not get a pass on these trials and tribulations: but what we do get is Someone, the Great I Am that walks it with us, enables us to stand, helps us to see a greater picture and to have good come out of it (2 Corinthians 4:8-12, Romans 8:28).
Truth-But not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea;reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness: true to fact. Literal: what can’t be hidden.=Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6).
Righteousness-divine righteousness. =Jesus gave us our divine righteousness our righteousness is like filthy rags (1 Corinthians 1:30,Isaiah 64:6) Romans 10:10 helps describe why righteousness is a breastplate; because, “For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness.”
Peace-Good News of Shalom-wholeness. Jesus came so that we would have “firm footing, foundation, preparation, readiness” in that He came to give us wholeness (shalom, peace). This is a foundational truth of what He did for us in His death and resurrection and what He desires for us to share with others. (Luke 1:79)
Trust-belief, come to trust, confidence, be persuaded, core meaning of faith=DIVINE PERSUASION- Jesus came, died and was resurrected and our part is to believe in who He said He is. This is why we are to always carry this “shield”. It all starts in the faith of Who Jesus is. For we have been delivered by grace through trusting and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (Ephesians 2:8). This shield (4570) thwarts, extinguishes, and I suppress. As we trust the true battle is won. Like I said above the enemy wants to steal, kill or destroy your trust.
Salvation-saving, bring salvation. This word is derived from the word soter which means Savior who of course is Jesus– Again Romans 10:10 helps us understand why salvation is a helmet, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance (salvation).
Sword (3162 properly, a slaughter knife; a short sword or dagger mainly used for stabbing; figuratively- an instrument for exacting retribution) given by the Spirit which is the word (rhema) of God. In Matthew both the sword and word (rhema) are used for the first time in the New Testament. Let’s look at both: in Matthew 10:34 Jesus says He came to bring a sword and in Matthew 4:4 Jesus says we are not to live by bread alone but every rhema (word) coming out of the mouth of God. Also in Revelation Jesus is shown to have a sword coming from his mouth (Revelation 1:16). Rhema word is very different from the Logos word. Rhema (4487) means (from 4483 /rhéō, “to speak”) – a spoken word, made “by the living voice” (J. Thayer). 4487 /rhḗma (“spoken-word”) is commonly used in the NT (and in LXX) for the Lord speaking His dynamic, living word in a believer to inbirth faith (“His inwrought persuasion”). Because we are here to continue Jesus’ ministry (see A New Wine Skin for more info) we are to speak what the Spirit tells us to. Remember when Paul encouraged us that we would know what to say when we need to say it (Matthew 10:19). We are to bring the necessary words in the time of need through being connected to the vine Who is Jesus. This is how we know what to pray…by His Spirit in us.
So how in the world do we do this? I have been taught I need to prayerfully put on each piece and make sure none of my armor slips off. If it slips off I need to say sorry and pray to put it back on. I have finally truly repented from this way of thinking and see it God’s way. I believe the Lord has shown me exactly how we are clothed in the armor and are able to fully use the weaponry God has given us. Please note God gave this all to us through His Son. His Son made the way for all of the above. All we need to do is believe in Who Jesus is. We find a great secret in Isaiah 56 and Hebrews 4. Let’s take a look:
Isaiah 56:1-2 (CJB)
“Observe justice, do what is right,
for my salvation is close to coming,
my righteousness to being revealed.”
Happy is the person who does this,
anyone who grasps it firmly,
who keeps Shabbat and does not profane it,
and keeps himself from doing any evil.
Hebrews 4:1-3 (MSG)
“For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith.”
How are we disqualified? By not having faith or trust in Who Jesus is–the Son of God! Once again faith (4102) is a gift from God never generated by us. Again this all begins and ends with faith. Faith as small as a mustard seed that each of us is given by a loving Father in heaven.
So, we have a choice, yes that is a free will choice that God also gave us, to enter His rest as we choose to believe the Good News of Who He is and choose to trust He has truly done it all for us. This is why we can approach the throne boldly with our requests, our prayers; we can stand in the evil day and when God has completed or literally, “worked down to the end-point,” i.e. to an exact, definite conclusion (2716 katergazomai)— we are still standing, because of what Jesus did for us. We trust that Jesus is Who He says He is and that the promises are ours…we rest in ALL that Jesus accomplished at the Cross in His death and in His resurrection.
That is literally what the armor is….resting in ALL THAT CHRIST DID FOR YOU. Otherwise known as standing in Christ the vine.
And we pray in the Spirit. The Greek word “en” is contained within this sentence, “in the Spirit”. Realize again this word means:
The Holy Spirit dwells within us and time after time the prayers that have been “in the Spirit” always align with God’s will. This truly is a whole other topic that will take another post. Realize though or prayerfully ask Father what His will is in situations…not what you expect but what is His will. His love is multi-dimensional and doesn’t always look the way you think it has to. Ask Him and rest in Him.
I left off last post, It All Begins and Ends With Trust, with a teaser to read Numbers 5:18-27. If you haven’t read it here it is:
“The cohen will place the woman before ADONAI, unbind the woman’s hair and put the grain offering for remembering in her hands, the grain offering for jealousy; while the cohen has in his hand the water of embitterment and cursing. The cohen will make her swear by saying to her, “If no man has gone to bed with you, if you have not gone astray to make yourself unclean while under your husband’s authority, then be free from this water of embitterment and cursing. But if you have in fact gone astray while under your husband’s authority and become unclean, because some man other than your husband has gone to bed with you…” then the cohen is to make the woman swear with an oath that includes a curse; the cohen will say to the woman, “…may ADONAI make you an object of cursing and condemnation among your people by making your private parts shrivel and your abdomen swell up! May this water that causes the curse go into your inner parts and make your abdomen swell and your private parts shrivel up!” — and the woman is to respond, “ Amen! Amen!” “The cohen is to write these curses on a scroll, wash them off into the water of embitterment” and make the woman drink the water of embitterment and cursing — the water of cursing will enter her and become bitter. Then the cohen is to remove the grain offering for jealousy from the woman’s hand, wave the grain offering before ADONAI and bring it to the altar. The cohen is to take a handful of the grain offering as its reminder portion and make it go up in smoke on the altar; afterwards, he is to make the woman drink the water. When he has made her drink the water, then, if she is unclean and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that causes the curse will enter her and become bitter, so that her abdomen swells and her private parts shrivel up; and the woman will become an object of cursing among her people.” B’midbar (Num) 5:18-27 CJB
(If you want to read the whole of this directive in Numbers 18 start with verse 11.)
What got me to this verse was actually studying why Jesus didn’t drink the first drink He was offered before the Cross and why He drank the second offer of bitter drink. There is always purpose in everything He did. So as I studied the two words for the two drinks offered to Him at the Cross there was a distinction in the words and the origin. I have talked about looking at the Greek and Hebrew and meanings and also when they are used: first time word is used etc. So, let’s dig in to the words!
The story is found in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and partly in John 19. Let’s look at Matthew 27:34 and 48-50; and John 19:28-30 to get a full picture:
“they gave him wine mixed with bitter gall to drink; but after tasting it, he would not drink it.” Matthew27:34 CJB
“Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, soaked it in vinegar, put it on a stick and gave it to him to drink. The rest said, “Wait! Let’s see if Eliyahu comes and rescues him.” But Yeshua, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit.” Matthew 27:48-50 CJB
“After this, knowing that all things had accomplished their purpose, Yeshua, in order to fulfill the words of the Tanakh, said, “I’m thirsty.” A jar full of cheap sour wine was there; so they soaked a sponge in the wine, coated it with oregano leaves and held it up to his mouth. After Yeshua had taken the wine, he said, “It is accomplished!” And, letting his head droop, he delivered up his spirit.” John 19:28-30 CJB
In verse 34 wine is made from grapes and the gall is bitter herbs. You can check here Verse 34 at biblehub for yourself or here is the definition from biblehub.com:
1. bile, gall: Matthew 27:34 (cf. the Sept. Psalm 68:22 ()) (cf. B. D., under the word Gall); Acts 8:23 (on which see πικρία); for מְרֵרָה, Job 16:13.
Then we can get to the Old Testament word from Job 16:13 in which we learn the root word for this is marar (4843) which is found in our opening scripture with the woman drinking the bitter water. He tasted the bitter waters we have had to drink because of our transgressions: “These bitter herbs, called maror (ma-ror), are symbolic of the bitterness of slavery and the miserable existence in Egypt. To us as Christians, the eating of bitter herbs reminds us of our lives before we knew the Savior. The maror also symbolizes the bitter cup our Lord tasted on our behalf. The horseradish brings tears to our eyes as we taste it and remember”(Celebrating Biblical Feasts, Zimmerman, pg. 67). This means, He knew what it was like to be us. Yet, He was still sin free. Remember, He had been fully tested in the 40 days in the desert (see Matthew 4). Thus, when Jesus tasted this drink yet chose not to drink He was stating He is like us in that He understands the bitterness and that He is the one and only pure Passover Lamb (fully man and fully God) that would choose to be sacrificed for the whole world (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Now that we are sure He is THE PASSOVER LAMB of all Passover lambs let’s see why He drank the last vinegar offered to Him? This is the last act He does before yielding up His Spirit. And it is a critical move on His part. This is the only time this word is used in the New Testament scripture. The Greek word for vinegar here is:
3690 óksos – Definition: vinegar, sour wine mixed with water, a common drink of Roman soldiers.
Just before His last statement, after He had taken all of the worlds transgressions, iniquities, pain, diseases, wounded for our crimes, punished for our sins, disciplined for our wholeness (Isaiah 53), Jesus cries out My God, My God why have You forsaken Me! Jesus says this because His Father allowed Jesus to become each of us on the Cross. Jesus became every person that has ever been born and all of our wrong doing, all of our disease was put on Him the perfect sacrifice.
Before Jesus gives up His Spirit he does one last thing He drinks the sour wine, vinegar or vinegar wine. I believe I am only scratching the surface here. I believe Jesus drinking this sour wine/vinegar symbolizes a few things and I want to point out two of them. First, this word vinegar is associated with Number 6:3 chomats (2558) and is something a Nazarite could not drink when making a vow to God to separate him or herself from the world and live only for God. I believe His drinking this chomats Jesus was making it known that through Him you would now be separated from the world (John 15:19). That only through Him is access to a relationship with God. We no longer had to make a vow and work for the relationship with God. A relationship was provided by the work Jesus accomplished on the Cross.
Second, we needed to understand that the full cup of God’s wrath had been finished on the Cross within Jesus Himself. There are many scriptures that state cup of wrath but the one I want to look at is in Isaiah 51:22
“this is what your Lord ADONAI says, your God, who defends his people: “Here, I have removed from your hand the cup of drunkenness, the goblet of my fury. You will never drink it again.” CJB
Isaiah 51-54 tells of the hope that is coming in and through Jesus Christ. It tells of ALL that will be accomplished through Him. It tells of God’s plan for ALL the people of the world through His Son’s sacrifice. When Jesus took that drink after He had asked why have You forsaken me, it was that He had fully drank the cup of fury or anger and we as believers in Him NEVER HAVE TO DRINK IT AGAIN because He physically removed it. He kept His promise. He proclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED!” ALL OF IT!
Let me make this as clear as day. The curse has been removed from us. We as believers DO NOT, CAN NOT EVER live under a curse, EVER. Once you understand and truly know this truth you stand in the power and authority Jesus Christ suffered, drank, died and resurrected for us to have. Read Isaiah above again actually go and read Isaiah 51-54 for yourself and understand or see ALL of what God did for us through His Beloved Son and remember Who lives in you through His Holy Spirit. Many times I have known Christians have believed we can be cursed but that is not TRUTH. We can not be cursed….now if you believe you can then I believe that causes the ability for the curse to alight (Proverbs 26:2). Since Jesus swallowed God’s fury that should have been our due, I stand fully aware in what Jesus did for me. I simply trust, believe in what Jesus did for me. So can you!