Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Encouraging Words from The One Who Loves you most

( These are my notes on what The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Rav Shaul to write about, in Ephesians 4: 17 - 24)

verse 17-18:
We are to have our (spiritual) understanding enlightened by The Truth of YHWH God, Who shares with us (gives to us) all things that pertain to life and godliness. This phrase, within the statement just made, is taken from II Peter 1: 3 -- "According as His divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto {eternal} Life and Godliness {God-like-ness}, through the Knowledge of Him that hath called us to Glory and Virtue (having an excellent spirit; doing what is righteous and good, with a right motive and loving heart attitude)."

We are not to be ignorant. If there is any lack of knowledge or of wisdom in us (and there always is), we are to ask God to give us wisdom and knowledge we need to make wise decisions that give His Name (haShem) glory, and that turn men's (and women's) hearts to Him! If we think we "know" something, He will surely show us that we do not know as much as we think we do (in our conceit).

We are to find those who are wiser than we are in The Lord, living a more Godly life than we know we do, and ask them to pray for us, and counsel us, when we need some practical advice, and are not sure "what to do next." He may use them to point us back to His Word, to read a passage in another place we've not explored recently, or they might pray with us, asking The Lord Who knows all things, and Who Loves us with His everlasting (and powerful!), genuine Love, to break down the walls (in us) that are preventing His Mighty, abundant, ever-available Grace to work in us His Will. He will be faithful to "do it."

verses 21-24:
We are to "put off" concerning our behavior and thinking (our thinking, if it is wrongly rooted or influenced, leads to wrong speaking, and a tongue that says wrong things, which hurt God and others) "the (our) old man" (this refers to both men and women, folks!), which refers to our flesh, our human self, our frail nature which is corrupted and is rotting, slowly, from birth on. We are, in other words, not to listen to what our human mind thinks, but to continually, as Yeshua (Jesus) did while on earth, ask The Father in Heaven what He wants us to think, say and do. !! Is this a revelation?

It is written in The Word, that we should follow what our Lord did, and ask The Father "what do You want me to do, for Your glory, today?" Just our marching orders, as some call them. We need to understand this, as well: We are to ask, and then, listen to His response to our question. We are to ask Him and 'wait' (and that may be done while we do our regular daily duties, until we have "a real peace" we can perceive, in our soul, in our spirit, more so, that He has either reassured us that what we're doing is what He wants us to continue doing, or else He will, if we have a clear conscience and clean hands, make it clear to us what He wants us to accomplish that day, ... if we remain vigilant and hearing / listening to His Gentle Voice.

He speaks in quietness. Get somewhere "alone" with God! (to hear Him) Spend time with Him, as if He were your Love, and you desire to be with Him at all moments during your day.

I realize that physically doing this can seem nearly impossible for so many of us, but I've done it while in a restroom, even in a public place, or walking outside for about 60 seconds, or a bit more, in an office environment, ... into the hallway, and walking slower than I might otherwise, ... though still achieving my job (I tend to do things fast, so for me to slow down means I am going more at the pace of most others in my workplace, at the time I did this, years ago), or if you're a mom at home with little ones, then just sit and let them "be" for 30 seconds, and praise His Name aloud, or sing to The Lord a hymn of praise to His Name, or ... just thank Him for whatever He brings to your mind, and begin with the simple things He provides which we Americans take so much for granted. He gives us so much more than we realize!

In verses 22 - 24, remember to notice: The Lord, Who rejoices over us with Joy, wishes we would "put off" what we don't need anyway, ... the way we used to think, before we "believed." (in The Lord Yeshua the Messiah) He wants us to also "put off" our rights, our expectations, our hopes and dreams, just laying them down at His altar, offering them as sacrifices we're "giving up" for His sake, and for Him to work His purposes in us and through us, for His glory due to His Name. We owe it to Him! Not as those "under some burdensome obligation," but as thankful children, or as brothers / sisters of The One Who made the entire universe, who recognize that He has put so much at our disposal, and we should just open our eyes, letting Him do the opening (if you understand what I mean here), to enable us to "really see" (with more spiritual Understanding that He wants to give us, as we mature, day by day, in His Truth and in knowing Him better) what He is working in us, and wanting us to accomplish for Him.

We are to allow (and can easily find Joy in allowing) Him to "renew" us in our "spirit of (our) mind;" we are to lay down our plans, and drink in, eat, if you will, The Word of God, until it permeates every part of our being! We are to digest it, by memorizing parts of it, as much as He enables each of us to do, and (our aim is to) meditate on it, by speaking back to God what we have stored in our mind / our soul. This He uses to give us good success in all we endeavour to do. Now, that does not refer to selfish pursuits. He only blesses what is in agreement with His Word and His Spirit and His Will (as I understand it; am hoping my wording is understood as not being the exact words God uses, in His Word, but the basic idea He wants us to get out of it).

We belong to Him! He owns us! If we have plans, or hopes, or dreams, contrary to Him or His Word, or His Spirit, or His Will (for us), then we must yield them, lay them down (and not pick them back up, later), at the altar, as things we no longer need, because His Ways, and His Thoughts, and His Will are higher than ours, and we'll only get something better back to use for His Glory, if we do this. In other words, we aren't truly giving up anything that's truly good. We are only trading in the inferior for the superior. He is able to use us, as we do this, to bless someone else! He is also able to use it to conform our spirit/ our soul to Him and to His Will! This will return to us so much Joy that we soon will find we won't be able to contain it! Hallelujah!!!

We are to be renewed, daily, or, some days, moment by moment, as we read, even a short passage at a time, in His Word. Yes, we are first to stop and pray, asking The Lord YHWH's Holy Spirit to give us Understanding from it, and to teach us what our Father God wants us to learn from it. We are to ask Him to give us the Grace to enable us to "walk" in it. As we choose to "apply" what we've read and have been learning, He blesses us, and shares that goodness and the Wisdom He's teaching us, with others. Then, our Light is shining!

verse 24 reminds us:
We are to "put on the new man (our re-born self)" as if it were clothing, but that goes all the way through us, and not only around us, "which after God is created in Righteousness and True Holiness." wow! Did you see that?! Will I choose, today, to 'let Him clothe me' with the 'new Life' He has already given me, in such a way that I think differently, I speak more like He would, and I act in an attitude of humility and meekness, as He would? Will I respond to others who are not at the level of understanding I am at, with His spirit of Peace? of Grace? of LovingKindness? of Tolerance (in the right sense of that word, from YHWH God's perspective)? of Patience? of Mercy?

Will I remember to speak a verbal, Scriptural blessing upon anyone who "comes at me" with a wrong attitude, either to hurt me, or in ignorance? Will I remember to ask The Lord to make them the God-honoring, God-Loving people He wishes them to be? Will I remember to accept them at the point they are at, as Yeshua (Jesus) accepted me at the point I was at?,
... when I first surrendered my life to Him, in believing trust that He truly was (and is) The Only-begotten Son of YHWH God, my Father in heaven, and
... that He came to earth to live, suffer and die in my place to redeem me from the curse of the law and from the destruction and condemnation of my self, to eternal destruction, which was the path I was on, before.
He then arose from the dead, by the Power of God, on the third day, according to The Scriptures (God's Word), and He is now alive and dwelling at the Right Hand of the Father Almighty. God has put all things under His Feet, and He is my Redeemer, my Deliverer, my Lord, Master, and Saviour! I belong to Him and am a child of God!

Will I see, more and more, through spiritual eyes that see the Truth as God sees it? Will I accept everyone and not choose favorites, showing "respect of persons" ... treating some better than others? James 2 shares with us that we must treat all others as the same, before God. We are not to treat, for example, a rich man better than we'd treat a man whose clothes are ragged, dirty, or as if his lack of washing makes him a worse person than someone who keeps their body clean but their inner self is corrupt, and in darkness and they dwell in sinfulness. I am to treat all as children of God, because He may be bringing any one of the people I meet to a saving knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. I don't know who. He may show me who. But if He does not, I am to do as Yeshua taught: to treat them as I would like to be treated.

And when I mess up, as we all do, even as believers in The Lord make mistakes, daily, ... He has made a way for me to make it right again, with my Lord, and King, by admitting I realize I was wrong to ................... (I can mention what it was I did, speaking specifically, naming the sin as what God calls it in His Word; studying His Word often makes me more aware of what He calls sin and what I should call it, as I repent of sins committed after I received His free gift of salvation) And then, I can mention what it did to the one I hurt, by doing what's wrong, and mention what it did to Him, as all my sins do hurt Him (Yeshua /Jesus). Then, I can ask Him to forgive me, or as some say, thank Him for forgiving me, showing me His Mercy.

Then, I can rejoice and ... there may be one more step that some, like Neil T. Anderson, and others, like Jim Logan, teach is good to take: I can, next, ask Him to take back the ground I gave to satan by my bitterness or anger in my sin (if my sin involved either or those two), in The Name and through The Blood of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Amen.

This is not a formula. It's simply a pattern of what I've been taught, and have found is powerful. As mentioned in Ephesians 4: 26 - 27, Paul mentions a powerful truth that many overlook, or just 'miss.' I did, for years! And I still mess up, and let myself get tricked into becoming bitter, or angry, at times, showing that anger or bitterness in speaking or in an attitude I, then, show to others. I do it in ignorance, at the moment "I lost it." (my temper, let's say) But ... I must realize, recognize that it is actually a spirit (of the enemy of God) trying to act on me to get me to do something I would not otherwise do. The Lord wishes me to remain under His (Spirit of) self-control.

He wishes me to honor Him by remaining vigilant regarding the devil's many attempts to trap me, or cause me to fall. But if we each are in communion with our Lord, are keeping our sins confessed, remaining reconciled to God our Father, and are letting Him work in us, to do His Will, and not ours, then He will enable us to "catch ourselves" before letting ourselves 'slip off the path.' (on which we are to walk; how we are to live) And when we don't do all things as He would wish us to, He is so good to us, that He is ever ready to welcome us back, if we will just recognize, acknowledge what we've done wrong, and confess it as sin, and ask Him, again, to forgive us.

He does enable us to live without willfully sinning. (from I John 5: 18 - 20) So, do all you can to study to show yourself "approved unto God" so that you are seen as one who is approved of God, by those who dwell in the darkness of this present world system. (from II Timothy 3: 15) We are meant by The Lord to shine as Lights in this world.