The Kingdom of Heaven is Like…

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:

  • You are pure; because My Son made you pure.IMG_1590
  • You are priceless; because you are you created by Me.
  • I will keep running after you; because you are so very beloved by Me.

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
and
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

What Has Your Big Brother Done For You?

Maybe you don’t have a big brother in your family like me….yet I do have a Big Heavenly Brother, Jesus, and He has done a lot for all of us.

You may have been taught many times regarding the woman with the alabaster box, in Luke 7.  How she had poured out everything she had on Jesus; and while that is a beautiful teaching, as I read this story with fresh eyes the Lord woke something up in me that I want to share with you.  Let’s dig into this historical account about this nameless woman, called a sinner, whom had an interaction with Jesus which changed her life forever.
In the beginning of Luke 7, Jesus is invited to Simon’s house, a Pharisee.  Right before this invite He is talking about John the Baptist and says this: ““I tell you that among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than Yochanan the Immerser! Yet the one who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he!”” ‭‭Luke ‭7:28‬ ‭(CJB)‬

What I find extremely interesting is this is exactly who Jesus ministers to…the least.  They are the people society deems less than through our human eyes.  Jesus did come to help the world see how His Father sees, among many other things He did. As Jesus traveled in those last three years of His life there is an emphasis in what He DOES which shows us just how important each individual is.  No one is higher or lower.  Everyone is on equal standing no matter wha they have done or not done and yet each of us is still uniquely made.  When we look at the historical life story of Jesus, within scripture, He healed the blind, lepers, woman and children.  Yet, to the many of the “well taught” men he was trying to heal their thinking.  He desired for them to repent, to see things differently and that had to start in the brain of these well taught “leaders” in the community.  It is the same within the story in Luke 7.  It is interesting that the least, within societies beliefs at that time, saw Jesus for Who He is; while those that would be considered greater had a much more difficult time seeing Who He is.

Let’s look at this account in Luke 7:36-50 (NASB)

“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

Three things I took note of in this passage:

  1. “The definition in Greek of the word “love” used here is: 25-agapáo-With the believer agapáo (“to love”) means actively doing what the Lord prefers, with Him (His power and direction). True agapáo (“loving”) is always defined by God- a “discriminating affection which involves choice and selection”.  Properly, to prefer to love;….preeminently (above all) this refers to what God prefers as He “is love”.” biblehub.com
  2. Remembering faith is a gift from God.  See: It All Begins and Ends With Trust and Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2) for a greater understanding of how faith is a gift from God.
  3. What the woman did versus what she didn’t do.

As I put all three of the above things together while reading this account, I wept with the beauty and simplicity of Who God is and has been since the beginning.  In this story holds the simple yet glorious good news that Jesus had come to bring to all the people in this world He had created and loves so dearly.  The woman can be found in each one of us born from Adam; as we are born into sin (Psalm 51:1) and if you don’t believe this to be true you are deceiving yourselves (1 John 1:8).  I don’t know about you but I know I have had many sins, even after receiving God’s free gift.  Please remember we go from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I also know that there is no way I could keep all of the Law as Jesus Christ has done for He has “upheld and upholds” the law (Torah) (1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 CJB).  Because of this everyone should be able to relate to this woman, a sinner.  So what did this sinner do??  She loved (agapáo)!!!  Not just a mushy…oh I love you; but a preference, a personal selection, a free will choice showing good judgement and chose to follow IMG_1583the God given mustard seed of faith and trusted, believed in Who Jesus is.  She went and treated Him for Who she saw Him as, the King of kings.  The Pharisee, Simon, in this account did not.  Simon didn’t believe he needed much forgiveness.  He also believed He wasn’t in need of a Savior because he had the law to follow, his own performance that he relied on, and the yearly sacrifice for Israel-the Day of Atonement.  He was a Pharisee for goodness sake.  Yet, Jesus here told an important truth those that do not feel or think they have many sins love little.  Their reliance is more on themselves and their behavior and less on Him and what He desires to do for you.  Lastly, the woman did not go and beg Jesus to forgive her.  She did not speak all of her sins out and ask for forgiveness.  She actually did not utter a word to Him; she simply trusted in Who He is, and chose to believe Who He was in her heart and her actions showed her belief.  This faith is what saved her.  She boldly approached the throne of Grace, as a SINNER, and she simply from the heart believed in Who Jesus is and Jesus announced her faith (trust and belief) saved her.  Out of this faith, in Who Jesus is, came an act of agapáo (“loving”), an affection of choice and selection, a desire to love from and through Him, His strength that made her whole as Jesus said, “Your faith (belief, trust) has saved you, go in peace (wholeness).”  Her faith saved her, not her spotless record she tried to maintain but her faith.  Your faith saves you not your spotless record or your performance or your trying to act right.  Just your faith and out of this faith come these actions of agapáo.  This account happened before the Cross, before Jesus took all of the sins of the world upon Himself.  He was showing the “ones who were more influential in the world’s eyes” how their system of trying to follow the law could not be done nor would it ever bring the type of relationship that God, the Father, was desiring from the beginning: humans desiring , preferring , choosing and selecting Him out of our own free will.  He sent His Son to make the Way for us and all we have to do is agapáo- choose Him, just like the woman who walked in a sinner, broke her alabaster box and chose Jesus, believed in Who He is and walked out forgiven and whole.  There was no groveling but an active free will choice to choose Him, to believe in Who He is.

Jesus’ agapáo was
going to the Cross for us,
God’s agapáo was sending His Son
and then placing His wraith for the sin
humanity was due on His Son
and humanity’s agapáo
is to believe in Who He is

Because see He first chose you, us, the world.  He agapáo us.
Jesus’ agapáo was going to the Cross for us, God’s agapáo was sending His Son and then placing the wraith for sin humanity was due on His Son and humanity’s agapáo is to believe in Who He is.  This is the simplicity of the Good News: fully loved, fully chosen, fully selected, fully forgiven, fully righteous, fully reborn, fully live forever with God, fully whole.  This is how I see myself daily in the facts of all Jesus did for me on the Cross.   He does not want a groveling child but a child that is confident in what their Big Brother has done for them, what their Daddy did for them…living from that place of reassurance, embraced by the Holy Spirit our Helper…why not come join me in this safe place.

A Little of What…

The Lord has been speaking to me….

It Truly Can’t Get Any Better

Such an important truth revealed, just in time for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday…..Enjoy

Have you ever been afraid of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.”,  I sure have!!!!  We will get to that soon but first we must clarify some things……

What is the law for?  I have been taught many different things i.e. : It is there to keep us safe.  It is there so we know how to “act” as Christians.  It is there to point out how Holy God is and how unholy we are.  It is there to give us a framework for our behavior.  It is what we have to do to secure our salvation….what a minute…..WHAT?!?!  This in so many ways is what is taught to the church (ekklésia the body of Christ).  Behavior is what keeps you going to heaven.  Here are some examples, DO NOT: lie, cheat, talk bad about people, listen to certain music, read certain books, be around certain people (because they are doing “wrong things”), don’t drink wine or any alcohol, don’t gamble, don’t dance, don’t wear pants….I mean the list could go on.  The Law in the Old Testament was given to Moses, not Abraham.  Abraham believed God and that is where he received his righteousness, a gift from God.  The Mesopotamian’s had their own law known as the Code of Hammurabi which predates the Law given to Moses by around 300 years or more.  The Code of Hammurabi has many similarities to the Law given at Mt. Sinai.  Why?

Paul also talks about the law in Romans 2 and here from a biblical scholar we have a huge answer about the law. Let’s read from the Message version:

“If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say (or what you think) about you. He makes up his own mind.

If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God.

When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. Their response to God’s yes and no will become public knowledge on the day God makes his final decision about every man and woman. The Message from God that I proclaim through Jesus Christ takes into account all these differences.” Romans‬ ‭2:9-16‬ ‭MSG‬‬

And to save on space….(so I encourage you to go and read all of Romans)…..Here is a little more:

“Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being circumcised. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who keep God’s ways are as good as the circumcised—in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don’t you see: It’s not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. It’s the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.” ‭ ‭Romans 2:25-29‬ ‭

And:

“So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it: There’s nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. They’ve all taken the wrong turn; they’ve all wandered down blind alleys. No one’s living right; I can’t find a single one. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mudslides. Every word they speak is tinged with poison. They open their mouths and pollute the air. They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, Don’t know the first thing about living with others. They never give God the time of day. This makes it clear, doesn’t it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it’s clear enough, isn’t it, that we’re sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? Our involvement with God’s revelation doesn’t put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:9-20‬ ‭MSG‬‬

It sounds like there were Jews judging non-Jews saying that they are all fine and good because they were given the Law and are circumcised; not realizing that they also need a propitiation for themselves just as much as the non-Jew.  But why?  They followed the law and yet still sinned.  Remember the rich man who followed the law complicity until he was asked to give all he had to the poor and follow Jesus.  He couldn’t do it.  We all have our places where we fail to follow the law. Paul was making it very clear the law nor their personal behavior could ever make them righteous; because there would always be an area of failure in every single person’s life no matter if they are Jewish or not. Circumcised or not. Taught the commandments or not.  We all fall short of the glory of God. The law is put in our conscience from the beginning of conception.  It is written in the fabric of our being because of Adam and Eve.  When they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil it was implanted in them and as we are born from the seed of Adam we also have the understanding of good and evil in each of us. The Law comes from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Pure and simple.  Otherwise how could Hammurabi come up with some of the same laws 300+ years before Moses wrote them down for the Israelites?

Paul makes it clear that we all have a conscience that has been written on what is right and what is wrong.  That is why you would see the uncircumcised following the law without ever hearing of the law. The Law just makes known that we know what is right and wrong and we, in and of our own selves, can NEVER do what is right and avoid what is wrong 100% of the time.  Nor has God EVER BELIEVED we COULD!!!!  That is why He had to set things right.  Here is the scripture:

But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21-24

Okay, the question I have today to some of the church leadership around the world is the same question Paul asked the Galatians in chapter 3 of his letter to them:

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!

Selah (Hebrew for lift up,exalt or pause) Please pause and think about the above statement Paul made.

The Galatians, like many Christians today, were trying to perfect what God had already IMG_2795done.  They were “working their heads off to please God?”  Remember the list above I had made of the do’s and don’ts?  Those things are common sense things.  Some are just rules that are said to “keep us safe”.  But, in the end all of these “things” will not cause God to be pleased or not pleased with us.  What we need to understand is that God was pleased to give His only Son on our behalf, to set things right for us.  He pleased Himself with what He did for us.  The Galatians were so caught up with themselves and pleasing God with their behavior they forgot what Jesus said to the crowd at the sermon on the Mount:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23 NASB

I don’t know about you, but for me this verse has scared the daylights out of me.  I was so scared that I would do something wrong and then when I am ready to enter the kingdom of heaven Jesus would look at me and say, “I knew you not, depart from Me.”.  I believed this was based on behavior.  I could think of the lawless deeds I have done since becoming a Christian and what if I missed one that I didn’t say sorry for….WHAT THEN!?!?!?!???!!!!  I AM DOOMED!!!! AND MIGHT AS WELL STOP TRYING…..because I could never fully live up to the law.  Until, I understood I am righteous in CHRIST JESUS and I will never negate what He FULLY FINISHED at the Cross for me.  And this Scripture above proves that.  Let’s look at the Greek meanings from the above scripture in Matthew:

  • will=theléma= properly, a desire (wish), often referring to God’s “preferred-will”, i.e.: His “best offer” to people which can be accepted or rejected.
  • do=poieó=With nouns which denote to carry out, to execute; as, in Classical Greek to make a law of legislators; but in Biblical Greek to do the law to meet its demands-the things which the law commands.
  • lawlessness=anomia=NOT law; properly without law i.e. : (“lawlessness”) includes the end-impact of law breaking– i.e. its negative influence on a person’s soul (status before God).

First, what is His BEST OFFER?  Of course that is Jesus, Who He is and what He has done for the whole world.  That is God’s “best offer”….remember Paul said the crucified Jesus is where God set things right for us.

Second, do the things the law commands.  What are the commands of the New Covenant? According to 1 John 3:23, it is: This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another*, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” (*loving one another is the Law of Liberty talked about in James chapter 2, which I will discuss in another blog.)

Third, lawlessness here in scripture is pointing to a person’s soul and it’s status before God.  When we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be delivered, made righteous in Him and be justified before God. (Romans 10:9-10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 5:1 and many others).  This means your soul’s status is clear before God because of what Jesus did for us (propitiation).

It is time for the true Message to go forth once again.  Full circle to what was originally taught by the apostles.  The Message of exactly what Jesus Christ did on the Cross and in His Resurrection.  ALL of what He accomplished at the Cross when He said, “It is Finished!”  For our faith to be in Him not in our behavior.  It is time for the church to let go of teaching behavior and simply teach JESUS. It is simple trust that sets you right with God not your behavior. Keep the faith in what He did for you which FULLY assures your soul that it’s status before God is pure…not because of what you did but ONLY because of what He did for you.

It is all about: Knowing Whose you are and who you are.

What Do You Do With Failure?!?!

The Lord, a few years back, had shared with me the statement I put in the picture right here:IMG_1492.PNG  This was hard for me to hear back then because I was a “law woman”. Keeping the rules with a slave mentality instead of a daughter mentality was the relationship I chose to have with my Father in Heaven…until He set me free (see It is Time to Let Go of the Rules-Otherwise Known as the Law).  Yesterday, as I talked with a good friend, the Lord reminded me of this word. As I was talking, I finally received understanding for this statement because He has helped me understand how to be His woman.  First and foremost, we must start at the right starting point: Jesus took my place and all punishment, condemnation, and sickness, that was my due because of sin, was placed on His body and for that I am eternally grateful.  I didn’t understand this when He had told me this a few years ago…I was still striving in my own effort to hold up my part of the bargain in this relationship with God; which I had been taught in the church to do (religious law keeping). If I didn’t hold up my part of the bargain then I was lacking, God would then turn away from me or lift His hand of protection. I would then have to go to Him repent, showing enough remorse. Then, and only then, He would be able to look back towards me, cover me again with His hand and all would be well……until…….I somehow messed up again.  This was a continual process of shame, guilt and remorse….and I NEVER felt like I would EVER be good enough for Him.  Wow!! So the statement, there is no failure in Him had me mystified…until….yesterday.  All because I have the right starting point now.  Here is the picture God gave me:

When I see His timeline or plan, many times it comes to me as a tapestry that is being made.  It is not complete, but is complete.  In the inner weaving of this fabric pattern are the failures in which He has made a beautiful tapestry out of.  Yes, the failures which He has made beautiful.  How can that be?!?!?!!!! These failures are not failures because they have actually fulfilled a purpose in our lives which He ALWAYS make BEAUTIFUL for His sons and daughters.  The scripture that comes to mind is this:

“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 (Rom)‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭CJB

I encourage you to put past failures in His hands and take a look at the bigger picture of the tapestry of life that He is creating.  It is beautiful and honors Him. ❤

Resting in the Armor of God

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 TrustWalk 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.

  • (7676 Shabbat or Sabbath means rest for the heart. 2490 Profane means to  take it for granted. And remember this is under the law.)

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 IMG_1459requests, 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:

  • properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2)

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). img_1384This 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!