“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as the battle of Midian. For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this (Isaiah 9: 2-7 NASB).”
“For a child will be born, a son will be given,” a child has come and a son has been given. He has come born of innocence in a land teeming with the stench of pride and death. His innocence the only sacrifice able to redeem fallen man. He was given, a Son. The precious Son of Almighty God, blameless. He was given, a Son, to pay the penalty that belongs to each one of us. He knew this before He came. He knew the suffering that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:1-3). He came, enduring the cross for the resurrection of the joy that which has been set before Him. That joy, us, His children. He endured shame and torment to be called Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Messiah, Jesus our Salvation.
Isaiah, in the verses above, recounts the hope of His light which will be poured out upon the earth. Isaiah writes as an encouragement to those who are in the midst of darkness. He writes to offer strength in the truth of an eternal King! Isaiah compares the hope that we all have in our King to the hope that Gideon found in the battle against the Midianites. Gideon was a reluctant hero. He was hiding in the winepress threshing wheat to avoid being noticed by his enemy the Midianites (Judges 6:11). Nonetheless, God chose Gideon to accomplish the task of delivering Israel from the oppression of the Midianite and Amalekite attackers. In what should have been an overwhelming defeat, God used just 300 men to overcome an army that was described as being as “numerous as locusts (Judges 7:12).” Even in what should have been certain destruction, God overcame the enemy because of the obedience of Gideon and the 300 with him. It was the Lord Almighty who broke the rod of Midian. God, Himself, delivered Israel in the face of overwhelming odds because there were a few who were willing to carry the light of the Almighty. God instructed Gideon and the others to carry pitchers and place torches inside of the pitchers. When the time was right, they were to blow the trumpets and then smash the pitchers revealing the torches hidden inside. This display struck so much fear into the hearts of the enemy that they actually started to fight one another (Judges 7: 22-25). Gideon overcame the enemy by the provision of the LORD. The Most High God brought victory because there were those who chose to hold up the light of His deliverance.
My friends, take heart in this familiar message; for it is a message that continues to speak. It is a message of great encouragement for those of us who call upon the true name of Salvation. We live in a world that grows dark. It is not difficult to see the many things of the enemy that plague our world. War, famine, sexual perversion and unrelenting pride pervades the landscape. The enemy crouches around every corner waiting to strike and bring down the hope that is within us. Just like the armies of Midian and Amalek, our enemy seems to be “as numerous as locusts or as sand on the seashore (Judges 7:12).” The influence of evil seems to be without end and the darkness overwhelming.
Many believers, feel the oppression. They feel the weight of the battle and the strength of the forces that stand against the throne of the true King. The view of many believers is one of pessimism. They view the fate of the true church, the true assembly of believers, as one of doom. They fear the church is coming to an end. They fear that the witness of God is fading within the earth. They sense that His influence is but a shadow, a whimper of the once glorious truth that fell upon those who were filled by His Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. We long for a revival, but in pessimism we cower in our winepresses. We thresh our wheat in secrecy to avoid the notice of the enemy. The gloom of oppression is an overwhelming weight that relegates us to silence and fear.
Tribulation. The word tribulation comes from the Greek word (Θλιψις), phonetically pronounced thlipsis. A literal definition of this word means pressing, pressing together, pressure. A figurative definition is anguish, burden, trouble. Our Messiah warns us that in this world we will have tribulation. He says to those who were with Him as they walked to Gethsemane after the Last Supper, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NASB).” The Lord offers encouragement and hope in that we will face tribulation, but in Him, and only in Him, will we find peace. He can offer this peace because He has overcome the world. It is interesting to note that Yeshua, Jesus, states that He has overcome the world before His death and resurrection. Our Messiah entered this world as a child, given, to overcome through His obedience and diligent walk according to the Father’s will. Jesus was given to shed His blood for us on the cross, but He was also born into victory as the overcomer, the Redeemer of the lost. As Yeshua walked the earth, He knew the victory. Our Messiah also gives us a warning in the book of Matthew. The disciples were asking Him about signs of His return at the end of the age (Matthew 24:3). Jesus recounts events that will increase before His return in the end. He states that there will be war, rumors of war, famines and earthquakes. He explains that these things are like birth pangs before the return (Matthew 24: 6-8). Our Savior then states that during these dark days, believers in Messiah will be delivered over to tribulation. He uses the same Greek word thlipsis when describing this event. He warns the disciples that they will suffer tribulation, pressure, because of Him. They will be hated and some will even be delivered over to suffer death because of His Name, Salvation.
The most disturbing aspect of this warning given of the end days is found in verses ten through twelve. Jesus states, “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold (Matthew 24: 10-12 NASB).” How true this is in our day! So many are falling away because of strife and discord in the body. We are so easily offended. We lash out at one another in anger, rather than embracing one another in an attempt to lift each other up in love. Lawlessness has increased and we can feel it within our hearts. Within ourselves we feel unsettled and on edge. Because of this internal recognition of strife in the world, we lash out at one another. This is a strategy of the lawless one to cause division in the body. The enemy knows that a house divided cannot stand (Luke 11:7). Our common enemy seeks to divide in order to conquer.
It is imperative that we recognize this as a strategy of the enemy. It is vital that we acknowledge the discord within us; the sense that at any moment disaster can strike. We need to embrace this sensation and allow it to guide our speech and actions. Knowing that the enemy works to cause dissention in the body, we should seek ever more diligently to remain united in the truth of Messiah and His return. He spoke one message, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2).” In this hour, we should seek repentance and return to the purity of our faith. We can use the attacks of the enemy as a weapon to increase our own faith and to band together as His body. Isaiah writes, “’No weapon formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgement you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me’, declares the Lord (Isaiah 54:7 NASB).” It is within the authority of His people to use that which comes against us as a weapon to strike back and repel the enemy. The beauty of what Isaiah writes is that it is our heritage as servants of the Lord to have victory. Our lineage as His children is that we have the dominion to overcome. We are children of a KING! The enemy has been defeated; it is our duty to stop allowing him to have victory. Glory to God the Father!
There is one more truth I want to draw out of verse nine in Mathew chapter 24. Remember our Messiah says that because of Him we will face tribulation. Again, a literal translation of the word, thlipsis (tribulation), is pressure. We can easily grasp that as the days draw dark, there will be pressure that falls upon believers. The system that is against the One True God will increase the pressure as the end crests the horizon. I am sure that the pressure, the tribulation, will feel overwhelming at times. But take heart in this truth. If we inflate a ball, there is both pressure on the outside and the inside. The pressure experienced on the outside of the ball presses against the surface, much like the pressure spoken of by our Messiah. Though pressure is expressed against the external surface of the ball, the ball remains inflated because of the internal pressure. The hope is that as believers, we have the authority to stand firmly on His Word to demonstrate pressure against the whims of our enemy. We do not have to cave to the pressure because we have the promise of His Spirit dwelling within us to push back just as hard, if not harder, than anything that comes against us. Please remember this truth. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31: 6 NASB).” His command: be strong, courageous and do not tremble because He goes with us and He will never fail us. Keep this thought of pressure in the back of your mind for a moment. I am going to move to another truth and then we will get back to our discussion of pressure and how it will play out as we prepare for His return.
To quickly summarize the events detailed by Yeshua from verse 9 in Matthew 24 up to verse 20, we see a description of tribulation that will befall the people who call upon His name and are alive during the period of time when the antichrist is beginning to be revealed. The tribulation spoken of is anguish felt by the people. The cause of the anguish is found at the hands of the world system that is allowing the antichrist to rise to power. In the words of Jesus, this is the tribulation. Now, looking at Matt. 24:21, we see a descriptor added to the word tribulation. Jesus begins to talk about a “great tribulation.” He describes this time as seemingly unbearable. The hope He gives is that the Father will cut the days short. The Messiah explains a little about what this time may be like, but it still remains a little unclear. Many scholars teach that when Jesus transitions from talking about tribulation to talking about the great tribulation, the recipients of the tribulation changes. Many scholars suggest that the initial tribulation can be compared to events described in Revelation chapter six. In this chapter, the seven seals are opened by Yeshua revealing the adversity that will befall the earth. In chapter six, we see the various riders inflicting destruction and torment across the world. We see the horsemen of the antichrist system, of war, famine, and death. The enemy is working to bring destruction to the people of God. This is the tribulation inflicted upon believers by the hand of the enemy. At the end of chapter six, we begin to see a great convulsion, a shaking upon the earth. The sun is darkened, the heavens are rolled up, the mountains and the islands are removed. We see the heavens begin to blow the trumpets and the bowls of God’s wrath are poured out against those with the audacity to stand in opposition to the Almighty. We begin to see the universe attempting to cope with the return of the victorious and conquering King!
The great tribulation, spoken of by Jesus, is compared to the sounding of the trumpets and the bowls of God’s wrath. We begin to see the Almighty unleash His judgement. The trumpets sound which causes hail, fire and blood fall to the earth. The bowls of wrath are poured out, as God makes war with lucifer. The great tribulation is the acts of God against the forces that are trying to separate Him from His children. This will be the Father’s acts of tribulation against the enemy. It is this time that Jesus declares to be of such wrath that it has never happened “since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will (Matthew 24: 21 NASB).” The greatest tribulation, pressure, will be felt on the back of those who seek to drive the sheep away from the shepherd.
Pressure. We can clearly see that the pressure from the enemy will increase before the Father moves to realign the world according to His design. I offer a word of encouragement in light of distress; for those who feel pessimistic about the state of His witness on the earth. For those who feel that His church, His assembly, His people are dwindling into obscurity. I offer this encouragement first in the form of a question. Think on this question before you read on. In a war, why would the enemy expend valuable effort and resources to increase the attack?
The only logical answer for an enemy to increase the attack by expending resources and effort is because those whom he fights grow in strength. An increased attack only means that the battle is becoming more difficult for the enemy. My friends, hope in the strength of Messiah because He fights for us. Our enemy is limited. he is not self-sufficient, omniscient or all powerful. If he chooses to increase the pressure against those who claim Messiah as their Lord, it only means that we, believers, are growing in strength. The challenge to deceive the true believers is becoming more difficult. The ease at which our enemy was once about to exert his will upon us is turning to agitation as he loses his influence against us. Deceptions are being revealed, the enemies plan is being laid out before us and the true people of God are waking to stand in authority and dominion as servants of the King. The army of God grows in authority! Take heart that only He offers victory! Stand in the authority given to you by the Risen Savior, for He has overcome. “You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth and called from its remotest parts and said to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous hand (Isaiah 41: 9- 11 NASB).”
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them (Isaiah 9:2 NASB).” My friends, though the enemy encamps around us, the pressure will increase. The increase will be the pressure to push back against the enemy of man and God. Like a matchlight at midnight, those who place their faith in Messiah will shine brightly in the dark as a beacon for the lost. This is the hope that we are entering into as we see the world grow dark. The hope of His people is that we have the eternal Light of His Salvation emblazoned within us. This Light is brilliant. The darker the world becomes will result only in the increased intensity of this Light. No one can extinguish this Light. No enemy has the ability to remove the Light. Hope in this Light because this Light will pierce the darkness. This Light will push back the enemy as darkness has no authority over light. Darkness will not and cannot permeate the Light. Darkness cannot repel the Light; only the Light wields the authority. In the darkest hour, the brilliance of the Light of His Spirit will shine forth from His people drawing the lost to redemption.
This is our hope in tribulation. We will yet be brilliant as His servants to lead those who are lost to receive Life abundantly. In the words of Messiah, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me’, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water (John 7: 37- 38 NASB).’” Beloved, believe that He will accomplish His will for the good of His Name. Raise your torch, like the warriors with Gideon, and cast a piercing light upon the valley of deception. The hatred of the enemy will shrink away at the power of His glorious Light.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this (Isaiah 9: 6-7 NASB)."
The Child has come; the Son has been given. He sits in the throne room of God and awaits His return. He will ride in clouds descending upon this earth to establish His everlasting government. The very ground will split at the weight of His heel (Zechariah 14: 4). Rejoice, Be Glad! The Father will uphold these promises because of His zeal and for the sake of His Name!
TODAY'S TEACHING from Philia Contributor Corby Shuey @ www.becomingbereans.com
Scripture Reference: Matthew 7:24-25
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against the house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell- and great was the fall. (Matthew 7: 24-25 NASB).”
The words of our Messiah meant as both an encouragement and a warning.
His words an encouragement to those who proclaim Jesus as their Lord. Believers in Messiah are those who have built their lives upon the Rock, the very Word of God. This Rock will never crumble and our faith in this Rock will be the fortification that will enable us to stand in the midst of tribulation.
The words of Messiah, as a warning to those who reject Him. He warns those who deny His majesty that they will meet hardship. They have chosen to build their houses upon the sand. The sand representing the ever changing promises and lies of mankind. Confusion and discord taint the words of those who deny the Messiah. The words of mankind, just like the sand, can be easily manipulated by external forces. Our words can be tossed to and fro, just like sand, by the torrent of the sea. The sand provides no firm foundation on which to build.
Jesus warns those who refuse to acknowledge Him, to consider what they are willing to endure. He promises that He will return and He will establish His throne (Zechariah 14:9, 2 Peter 3:10, Mathew 24:44). Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:9-11). In this hour, Jesus is giving us the opportunity to pay Him honor out of our love. The time is coming when those who reject Him, will give Him honor out of recognition. They will recognize the gift that they denied and they will bow in fear of and angry God with whom they have caused wrath to increase (Revelation 22).
I believe we can all understand the teaching Jesus offers as recorded in these verses by Matthew. Jesus did not mince words or speak incoherently. The parable that Jesus develops is spoken in clarity. Often as we read this parable, we focus on the foundation. We consider only the substance that the foundation of the two houses are built upon. This interpretation is correct and sufficient to give us instruction. We are getting what Jesus is preaching. But I believe we can go a little deeper.
One thing that we often neglect to consider is the fact that within this parable, Jesus tells us that the rain fell upon both houses. Now, looking at this aspect of the parable, we can get into an eschatological debate as to whether Jesus is talking about pre/post tribulation rapture. It is not my intention to address this subject in this writing. The topic of the rapture and when it will happen is something that we will never know for sure until the day it happens. The best teaching, I can offer on this is to prepare for the worst and pray for the best scenario.
Leaving the rapture debate aside, I want to focus on what Jesus means when He says it rains on both houses. We all can easily grasp His intent when He talks about rain falling on the house built on sand. This house is washed away by the trials of this world. The aggression of the sea and the rain cause the very ground that this house is built upon to crumble. The message is that we can built the most immaculate house, but if we are not building upon a firm foundation based in faith in Messiah, then when the tribulation of life hits, the sand supporting our efforts provides no resistance. In other words, there is no substance to push back against that which comes against us.
The interesting aspect of this parable is that Jesus explains that it will also rain on the house built upon the Rock. The Rock, again, represents our faith. Our faith in Jesus is our Rock. Our faith in Him causes us to be able to build our lives upon a foundation that can provide resistance to the tribulations of life. This foundation can offer support in times of difficulty. Unlike the sand, which will be washed away, we can be assured that the foundation of Messiah will be everlasting.
So, as believers in Messiah, we can expect to get rained on. There will be times in our lives that are difficult. Jesus tells us this, not as a discouragement, but as a directive to stand firm. He is our Rock. He is our resistance. He is our strength. He is the only firm foundation. I am reminded of the Hymn:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”
We cannot rely on the word of mankind to provide us with any type of functional, lasting, trustworthy support. Without Jesus our words are sinking sand.
Acknowledging that it will also rain on the house built upon the Rock, we as those of faith can ascertain our call. We are a witness to the house built upon the sand. The words of Jesus are not meant to be about doom and gloom. His words are an encouragement to those who have faith in Him to use the circumstances that life throws at us to be a living witness to the world around us. The rain falling on our houses should provide fodder for our weapons of spiritual warfare. We are to demonstrate fortitude, love and determination to those who are living atop sand. Our homes and our lives should be an example. We are called to be a living testimony. As the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the church in Rome. Chapter 12: 1-3 reads:
“Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed by this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God allotted to each a measure of faith (Romans 12: 1-3 NASB).”
We are called to be a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Our lives are to be a living testimony and witness to those around us. The world is to see that we are different, by the glorious Holy Spirit of God living within us. His Holy Spirit is to shine a light of His presence as a beacon to the lost. We are to intentionally make choices and act according to the will of God. As Paul writes “to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” We are no longer slaves to this world corrupted by sin. We are made new and alive by the washing of His presence in our lives. We wear His robe of righteousness. We are to do His work on this earth. His work is to seek out the lost and call them home.
We are to help them build upon the Rock. All of us hurt. All of us experience suffering. As Paul warns us “not to think more highly of himself than he ought.” In humility, we are to come alongside of our neighbors. We are to help them up. Walk beside them. Offer them friendship and acceptance. We are to allow them to see the light of God’s glory shining within us. The result of our efforts is to give them a glimpse of the glory, mercy and peace of knowing Messiah. Because those with faith in Messiah, have a hope that is beyond hope. We have peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Let your light shine and in humble friendship, become a carpenter for the Kingdom of God. Help your neighbor build upon the Rock. Show them the peace and mercy of Messiah.
I have included a link to a beautiful song which eloquently brings our call to light. The link is:
I pray that the rain that falls upon my house will help me to stand more firmly in Messiah. He is my Rock and my strength. He is my hope and the hope of all mankind. By His Blood alone am I healed. Help me Father to be your servant. Help me to do your will. Help me to hear you call for my life. Help me to reach the lost. Speak through me and allow the ears of mankind to be opened. Only your voice has the power to convict. I am also a sinner. I am no witness in my own flesh. Allow your voice and the determined will of your Son to shine through me.
Rain falls on both houses.
Today's Teaching from Philia Contributor Corby Shuey @ Becoming Bereans Ministries https://www.becomingbereans.com/
Restoring our vision to align with the vision of the Father.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).”
In most instances when I hear this verse being quoted, those quoting most often only quote the beginning of the verse. What Solomon and those quoting this verse are conveying is the need to have vision in walking through this life. We should express forethought in our lives as to how we are directing the choices we make in the present in order to positively affect the future. Our lives should be a process of continual growth and learning. If we stop growing, if we stop learning, we stagnate in the blindness of comfort. The blindness of comfort being the complacency of allowing the present condition to govern our very being. Too often we settle and accept our circumstances out of comfort. Our tendency toward complacency lulls us to reject actively fulfilling the call of God to those who place their faith in Him.
I do believe we need to have diligent vision directing our lives. We should look at life through spiritual lenses knowing that this life is temporary; it is a shell of a greater reality awaiting us in the promises of God. Our vision should be directing us to make choices that help us come into alignment with this greater reality. Rather than having vision to cope with and make adjustment to meet the challenges we see on the horizon, we often just blankly stare ahead and await the coming of those challenges. The vision that Solomon speaks of is the vision to know what is on the horizon and adjust our lives to overcome the difficulties that we face.
Not only should our vision be looking ahead, our vision should also peer into the past. Our vision should expose us to the foundation of our beliefs. This vision cannot be limited to the traditions of our own doctrinal understanding, but our focus should be seeking the standard of Biblical truth. We should seek to pierce the veil of the cultural traditions that cloud the historical and spiritual heritage of our faith.
To then complete the thought that Solomon put forth in Proverbs 29, those who have vision should find rest on the foundation set forth by the Most High God. It is essential that there is also an anchor to ground our vision. Without this anchor, vision becomes relative to the individual. In this vision there can be no common ground as we all are like sheep who “have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa. 53:6 KJV).” Sheep without a shepherd are lost because there is no one to guide their vision. They will be distracted by every blade of grass further down the field that flickers in the light of curiosity. Solomon warns that vision must have a standard from which to find structure.
Our faith as Believers in Messiah should be driven by vision but at the same time, our faith should be anchored to our heritage. The heritage of the church is not the Roman political construct developed early on as a means to quell the people to submission to the state. Our heritage is in the heritage of God. The heritage of the people of God whom He brought out of slavery in order to establish an everlasting covenant. Our heritage is Hebraic. Our heritage is in the Hebraic account of God’s people as written in the Holy Scriptures. Our Heritage is God’s Word starting at “In the beginning,” Our truth must be derived from this council. Our vision must originate and be guided by this understanding and recognition.
If we simply take a quick survey of the landscape of the church in our day, we see division and confusion. There are countless divisions within the faith. Even within specific individual denominations there are divisions of doctrine and tradition. There is confusion in how we aree to appropriately interpret the Word of God. Do we take the Word literally, seriously, as a suggestion, as a moral allegory, or maybe even just as a story. In this state of confusion, our vision has no foundation. Without a foundation, the whims of the sin nature are able to run rampant on the desires of men. Sin then sets us free in our captivity to be bound to directionless, fruitless vision.
Paul writes of the difference between the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. He gives a clear distinction between the two as a means of discernment. Paul addresses this topic in order to give substance to our vision. Paul writes:
“But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law (Galatians 5:15-23 NASB).”
We can easily see that many in the church have not chosen to be led by the Spirit. This has caused the church to suffer many divisions and to stand upon a weak and ever shifting foundation, as we can see today manifested in the unprecedented tolerance of sin. Our vision truly is bound to the slavery of our sin nature.
Paul writes of two types of fruit. He first describes the fruit of the flesh. Paul describes this fruit as producing, what I think we can all agree, as being negative, harmful, angry results of division. This fruit divides, causes jealousy and impurity to rise, which undoubtedly leads to a lascivious lifestyle. The fruit of the flesh will always seek to please itself by causing its rot to permeate the whole being. Feelings of negativity fester and thrive within those driven by the spirit of the flesh.
Paul exhorts those who have faith to be aware of the fruit that they are producing. We are to consider the fruit that comes out of the choices that we make. If we are producing anger, discord and jealousy, we are acting in ways that are according to our sinful nature. If left unchecked, sin will permeate the whole person. Sin will consume the person like a cancer causing the infected individual to become increasingly preoccupied by that which the sin produces. We close in to ourselves and our vision is limited only to the things that will feed the ravenous sin dominating our lives.
As Believers, we are to be aware of our fruit. Our behaviors should be aligned with producing the Fruit of the Spirit. The choices we make, the words we use and the behavior we exhibit to others should contribute to the production of God’s Spiritual fruit. This fruit builds relationships. This fruit strengthens the faith of both the individual and those whom they come into contact with, and ultimately, this fruit draws us closer to God. Our character comes into agreement with the character of God that dwells within our hearts. The Spirit of God will be given opportunity to manifest outwardly as a witness.
I ask, where do we find the fruit that is produced on a tree?
The fruit is on the outside, hanging from the branches full and vibrance. This fruit finds nourishment from the root. In turn, heathy fruit gives nourishment to those in need. Healthy fruit contributes to the lives of those within the environment. Healthy trees drink from the source of water in its environment. The water must be living and alive. The root system of the tree must be firmly planted on the foundation of soil. The tree must work to draw the water up, through the foundation, this effort produces the abundance we see as fruit.
We, as those of faith in God Most High, should be like this tree. We need to be firmly planted in the foundation of our faith. We need to rely on the Word of God to direct our thought and actions. When we fail, we need to go to God to seek forgiveness, for this will produce a healthy root system by which we are able to drink from the Living Water. We, as Believers, must put in the effort to draw the Water up from the foundation and distribute it throughout the rest of our body. We need to allow the Water to refresh us and redeem us unto our Heavenly Father. This Water brings life and restores us to a right relationship with The One who created all that is seen and unseen. Without this redeemed relationship, we are bound to the sin nature and destined to produce rotten fruit.
Be Diligent! Be determined, my brothers and sisters, to draw from the Living Water. Allow the Source of Truth to enable you to produce good fruit. Inspect the fruit that you produce and compare it to what Paul describes as the Fruit of the Spirit. If this fruit is healthy, allow it to nourish others. If you encounter bad fruit, seek to discover the source of the contamination in your life. Prune the negative influence so that the sin will not taint the rest of the crop. Use your good fruit to bless others. Be an encouragement and seek to build the faith in those with whom you come into contact. Allow your life to be a source of nourishment, a source of good fruit.
In summary, the lesson is to have vision grounded in the Word. To produce fruit that is of the Spirit which will bring harmony and peace. Our vision should be in alignment with God’s vision. His vision is for His children to be a community of servants seeking to plant His grace within the fields of the hearts of mankind.
The Words of Jesus: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33 NASB).”
My friends, seek to be known as a good tree.
This Blog Post is Courtesy of Philia Contributor Corby Shuey Becoming Bereans Ministries https://www.becomingbereans.com
Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
All throughout scripture, we see the people of God turning aside to false gods and idols as soon as things weren't going perfectly for them. It's so easy to look at these people from the pages of scripture and see the deep fault in them and want to yell at the pages, "What were you thinking!"
We see time after time, a gracious God delivering His people and yet they turn aside to fables and idols. While it is so easy to see the fault in their hearts, it seems more of a challenge to acknowledge the idolatry and lack of faith and gratitude within our own hearts. It's a challenge to ask ourselves, what notion, fear, addiction, emotion, hobby, attitude, or desire of the flesh have I set up as an idol in the seat of my own heart? Who am I serving when I ____________?
In these days, where the big clock is ticking closer and closer to midnight, it is so imperative that we are willing to examine the condition of our own minds and hearts in all that we are choosing to do, think, and say. This thing that you are doing, thinking, or saying, is it loving Adonai with ALL your heart, soul, and mind and loving others as yourself? Or is it serving another god, idol, desire, notion, or fear? Oh Lord, we repent! Oh Lord, we surrender! We extol Your name forever!
The Ten Commandments, and the law was built upon the first commandment: “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me” (Deuteronomy 5:6-7). Here we see not only God’s prohibition against idolatry, but His reasons for that prohibition. It was the Lord God who had the power to bring His people out of bondage in Egypt. He alone cared enough for them to choose them to be His own, and He alone delivered and protected them. For all this, He declares that He alone deserves to be worshipped and reverenced. No idol made of wood or stone is God. Idols are deaf, dumb, blind, and powerless.
Paul’s letter to the Romans indicates the worship of things in creation themselves—not just their images—is wrong in the eyes of God (Romans 1:25). Paul also warns the Colossians against worshipping other supernatural beings: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize” (Colossians 2:18a). Yeshua (Jesus) expanded the definition of “other gods” to include concepts in addition to images, living things and other supernatural beings. In Matthew 6:24, He warns against the worship of material things. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”. The Greek word mammonas, translated here as “money,” does not mean the money in one’s pockets. It is the personification of wealth or money (especially wealth gained through greediness), the love of which, in modern terminology, is “materialism.” The dangers of worshipping material things are clearly outlined in the story of the rich young ruler Matthew 19 who turned away from Christ because he could not part with his wealth.
In the Hebrew word study, the commandment Have NO other gods translates to, Don't put another face on God. WOW! How often do we do this? We change Him in our minds to suit our situation, and in turn we create false god worship. We must know the God we serve by praying and reading our Word so that it is harder for the enemy to deceive us into putting another face on Yahweh.
David describes what awaits the person who puts God ahead of all else: “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods” (Psalm40:4).
As for ME and MY HOUSE, we will Serve Yahweh.
There is nothing on a chilly winter day like a warm bowl of soup. This soup has that old fashioned slow simmered and made with love taste to it. Great if you are feeling under the weather or just want a tasty healthy dish.
Avocado or Olive Oil
Grass Fed Butter
3 Garlic Cloves diced
1 Onion diced
1 or 2 heads of celery chopped
3 Large Carrots chopped
Frozen Peas (Optional)
Optional Herbs and Spices: Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Cayenne, Thyme, Rosemary
Roasted Seasoned Chicken Thighs or Legs with the Bone in (See the Video Below for detailed instructions)
Bone Broth, Chicken Broth, or Water
INSTRUCTIONS: (If you prefer detailed video instructions check out the short video below)
Roast the chicken in the oven. (These instructions will vary depending on the chicken you choose and the oven you are using)
Add the oil and butter to the bottom of the pot on low medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and herbs and simmer until the onions are soft. Add the roast chicken straight into the pot. Cover the ingredients with the broth or water. Add peas. Allow to simmer 30 mins to 3 hours. Remove the chicken and set aside. Remove the good meat from the chicken and put it make into the pot. Add more seasoning and pasta or rice.
"There are some important things to consider before you answer the question. Do you really trust the Lord? That he is able, faithful and willing to do what he said he would? If we do, then why don't we pray or believe like we should? Why do we not cast our cares on him and leave them there instead of picking them back up and trying to do it ourselves? Bro. Wilkerson examines the passage in Jer. 17:5 "Cursed be the man who trusteth in flesh". This is a very important message for all. True faith in God results in an abiding peace and rest in your soul. When we haven't learned to trust God, he will bring us to a place of depth to train us to trust him no matter whats. God wants us to be prepared to trust him. He wants us to learn how to depend totally on him for everthing, completely surrendering to his will. Then comes the calm and rest. "
- David Wilkerson
There are moments in this journey when God allows the unexpected, the curve in the road, the twist in the plot, the moment we didn't see coming. Sometimes these moments are wildly amazing and victorious and build up our faith tremendously. These are the times when God shows up, answers prayers, and makes a way where no way existed before. Some of these moments however are different... things appear to not go as planned or seemingly don't pan out the way we think they should. ALL these occurrences are equally God showing up in His faithfulness and majesty. Yet, one scenario builds our faith and the other.... well, that's up to us.
When God has doors He is about to open, plans He is about to unfold, destinies He is unlocking, purposes He is pouring out, He always tests us. God will always test you before giving you more, and God will challenge you before sending you on your way forward. You see, it's really not about us trusting God, but about God trusting us. It is so easy to trust Him and be moved by His character and His awesomeness when things go "our way" and it's easy to know He's with us. For whatever reason, as humans, we default to leaning on our own understanding as soon as things don't happen as we planned. We panic, scurry, worry, gripe, complain, throw fits, shake our fist at God, all without stepping back and realizing that He's the same God who was in the moments of victory. God doesn't change, ever... it's only us who are tossed to and fro by the waves of life. It's only us who are moved by every wind shift of our emotions and imaginations. It's vital that we begin to train ourselves in those moments, to direct our minds right back to the truth of who God is and ask ourselves, what is my role in this moment? God is always the same and so it's me who He's calling in this moment to hold onto my faith, to continue to trust in His ways, to leave my burdens at the cross, to not allow the enemy to convince me that God is anything other than who He says that He is.
God allows the testing.... He did it to almost every great man and woman in the scripture. He is testing the condition of your heart, the fortitude of your faith, and the resolve of your trust. Never EVER forget who God is, and in those testing moments of life recognize that His greatest concern is not with your comfort or happiness but with your eternity and holiness. So, allow Him to do what His is doing, with faith that HE IS FAITHFUL.
Armor up saints.
Shalom. - Lea
Homemade Cranberry Jam is my absolute favorite thing to make with cornbread muffins. I typically make the muffins once a week as a yummy treat to heat up throughout the week. Taking ownership over what food products you consume and knowing what goes into the things you are eating is a major part of wise stewardship of the body. Eating intentionally does not mean that you have to miss out of amazing flavors and delicious foods. Thank you so much as always for taking the time to come to my blog and hang out with me. I would love to hear how this recipe goes for you!
2 Cups of Cranberries
Fresh Orange Juice or Fresh Oranges
Maple Syrup or Honey
Arrowroot, Pectin, or Cornstarch (I prefer arrowroot)
Place the cranberries, water, and cinnamon sticks in pot. Allow to simmer until the cranberries begin to soften and cook down. Add your fresh orange juice. You can either juice oranges, squeeze orange slices, or add organic organic juice If it's all you have. Substitute with water If need be making sure the cranberries to not get dried out. When the mixture begins to look soupy, begin slowly adding the arrowroot, cornstarch, or pectin and stir as you go. Continue adding and stirring until the mixture starts to thicken and look like jelly. Add nutmeg and honey or maple syrup. Continue smashing the cranberries with a fork and stirring until you get the consistency that you prefer.
In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we read,
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."
Here in the Jersey pocket of the East Coast of the US, we are in the dead center of winter. The temp rested around 6 degrees last night and the usual loud nature sounds outside retreated to stillness.
Just like the weather here in the North East, sometimes life has seasons that feel an awful lot like winter. Maybe you feel as though your spiritual walk is stagnant, or that you've been waiting for an answered prayer forever, or life has beaten you up a bit. You aren't feeling vibrant, warm, or alive. I have been there... we have all been there. Life is full of valleys, peaks, trials, and detours. Sometimes, God in His goodness allows these seasons to show us the greatness of His hand or to invite us to rest in His presence while we wait for our breakthrough to come.
I could take it as far as to say that all of this life for the believer is a season of winter and that we are waiting on our King to come and bring Spring to the land and to our hearts again. It reminds me of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when they are speaking about Aslan returning...
"Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight, At the Sound of His Roar, sorrows will be no more, when He bears His teeth, winter meets it's death, and when He shakes His mane, we shall have spring again."
The Lion of Judah will come and the age of winter will be over.... and OH what a glorious day.
Until then, here we are, all of us in different places on the journey, in different seasons of life, and with different testimonies to share. I look around sometimes at the winter landscape outside my window and I realize that it has its own unique beauty to behold. That there is something about the shorter days, the stillness, and the way the earth sleeps, that makes it shockingly beautiful. It is so much like the challenges of my life.... when I can see them through the lens of heaven and realize that there is beauty there If I choose to see it.
I encourage you all today to see the beauty.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Ps. 23:4-5 (ESV)
This is one of my favorite DIY homemade facials because it's simple, easy to make, and makes my skin feel amazing. This facial recipe is exfoliating and nourishing for your skin and you don't have to worry about any harmful chemicals because all of the simple ingredients are edible!
Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
I mix all the ingredients today and when I apply this mixture to my face I first rub it in to allow the sugar to gently exfoliate my skin and then I let the masque sit in my skin for another 10-20 mins.
Benefits of Coconut Oil: Adds healthy fats to the skin, nourishes, heals inflammed skin, combats dryness.
Yes, according to our experts. Coconut oil is used in many natural beauty products, and for good reason: It's naturally antibacterial and antifungal, coconut oil for skin is an excellent moisturizer, it can penetrate hair better than other oils, and, well, it smells like cookies and awesomeness.
Benefits of Raw Honey: It's antibacterial properties flush out impurities and kill unwanted bacteria. Acne: Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it's great for acne treatment and prevention. Aging: Full of antioxidants, it is great for slowing down aging. Complexion boost: It is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glow.
Brown or Coconut Sugar will give your skin a gentle exfoliation which is so needed in these dry and cold winter months.
I also use this as a masque on my lips!
I pray that you enjoy this facial recipe and that you take some time for yourself to breathe and think of all the things that you are grateful to God for.
P.S. I won't tell If you eat a little while you're making it :)
Hugs and Shalom,
This is a healthy delicious version of fried rice and also a great way to use up that day old rice nobody wants to eat. I used rice that was uncooked and rinsed but as I said you could also use rice that has gotten hard from the previous day.
Oil (I recommend avocado or sesame)
1/2 yellow onion
Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
Water or Broth
Carrots, Peas, and Peppers or Broccoli (You can use any veggies you have and like)
Spices If you so desire
How It's Made:
Heat the oil in the saucepan on medium heat, add onions and cook until soft, and then add your rice.
Once the rice is coated in the oil, pour some of the soy sauce or liquid aminos into the saucepan and continue stirring. (If the rice is uncooked you will have to continue stirring and watching the rice until it reach desired consistency.)
As the rice is cooking, you can add small amounts of broth or water and continue to stir (If you add to much it will get mushy so only add a little bit at a time)
Add your veggies and chopped chicken If you so choose and continue to cook until everything has reached desired consistency.
Super easy, delicious, and frugal!
Lea from James and Lea D chats all about life as a wife in pursuance of the Father's heart. Follow my faith walk journey and all that it involves. Faith, family, food, and fellowship. Come, relax, and have some tea with Lea. Shalom & Blessings!