Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Protected:

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Every where I turn, I see people feeling miserable and frightened about the economy. I know personally how scary it is with problems at work… but at least I have a job. Many I know do not, and some haven’t held a career-type job for a couple of years.

But, in spite of what news sources, government reports, and the doom-and-gloom secular prophets tell us, we who are Believers have a God-authorized “secret weapon”: Proclamation.

And this is a great financial scripture to proclaim over scary financial circumstances:

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.

II Corinthians 9:8 (NLT)

I know this in my head, but I am really starting to learn this in my heart: the more I trust in God and focus on Him, not my circumstances, the more worry-free I become. Also, trust builds on trust. That mustard seed parable Jesus told is true.

God bless you all, especially readers going through trying financial and economic times. Remember one of God’s special names in the Scriptures: The LORD who Provides. And if God spoke and our universe and our planet came into being, then a weak economy is no problem for our God!

Overheard:

Christ nailed the Law to the cross, so we don’t have to follow it.

Analysis: Lie from the Pit, and popular false teaching (often by people who are well-meaning, not intentionally lying).

Jesus warned us in Matthew 5:17-19:

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now, that doesn’t sound like someone who came to nail the Law to the cross.

But what is “the Law”?

The Law is commonly known as the first five books of the Bible, Genesis through Deuteronomy. In Jewish parlance, what Christians call the Old Testament is called the Tanakh. The first five books are called Torah, which means “Teaching” instead of “the Law”.

The other two parts are the Nevi’im (the Prophetic writings) and the Ketuvium (the historical and wisdom books). The word “Tanakh” is an acronym of these three divisions. Torah – Nevi’im – Ketuvim.

Here are some of the famous “new covenant” Scriptures:

Jeremiah 31:33
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

Isiaiah 59:20-21
“The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem
to buy back those in Israel
who have turned from their sins,”
says the Lord.

“And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

Luke 22:20
After supper he [Jesus] took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.”

Romans 11:27
“And this is my covenant with them,
that I will take away their sins.”

Jesus said that God promised us a new covenant. He never promised us a new Torah, nor did He authorize or command us to ignore His Torah. Nowhere is it indicated that with the death of Yeshua, or with His resurrection, His Torah would become null and void.

We can’t forget this fact: following the Torah never saved anyone. It was always the faith of the Believer – pre-Jesus birth or post. Faith in God, then or now, wasn’t/isn’t about following a checklist.

In fact, Torah is essential for our knowledge of wrong and right – and all these answers are contained in the Old Testament. The New Testament does NOT supersede or abolish the Old Testament.

The proper, Biblical lifestyle of a believer is this: Whether Jews or non-Jew, we should follow Torah AND believe in Jesus.

John Hus

John Hus was born around 1371 in what is now the Czech Republic.

Hus, a professor of theology and ordained priest priesthood in 1400, denounced various abuses of church discipline and practice in his sermons. 

Hus opposed a custom of distributing the bread to all Christians in good standing during the Lord’s Supper, while restricting the chalice to the celebrant alone. This restriction was contrary to Scripture, he taught.

Hus strongly opposed the sale of papal indulgences, arguing that the theology behind the indulgences was a lie and contrary to Scripture, and the sale was akin to thievery. 

Contrary to practice of his day, Hus held that Church officials ought to exercise spiritual powers only, and not be earthly governors.  Perhaps the original “separation of Church and State.” 

Perhaps his biggest complaint against the religious establishment was directly against hte Pople.  Hus taught that the pope’s office did no exist by Divine command (as was commonly taught, and is taught to this day), but was established by the Church that things might be done in an orderly fashion. 

These teachings ticked off the powers-that-be.  In 1412 his archbishop excommunicated him – for insubordination, not for heresy.

In 1414, the Emperor guaranteed Hus’ safety as he was summoned to the Council of Constance.  Instead, he was tried and ordered to recant certain heretical doctrines. Hus replied that he had never held or taught the doctrines in question, and was willing to declare the doctrines false, but not willing to declare on oath that he had once taught them.   The “Christian” Council found him guilty of heresy, and burned him at the stake in July, 1415.  In 1999, John Paul II expressed “deep regret for the cruel death inflicted” on Hus.

The followers of John Hus and his fellow martyr Jerome of Prague became known as the  Moravians. The Moravian Church survives to this day, and had considerable influence on the both Martin Luther and John Wesley.

In Jesus Name

I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but I think a lot of believers have used “in Jesus name” as a kind of magical incantation instead of a powerful spiritual statement.  I know that I have at certain points of my life.

I think we do this for several reasons.  First, it is procedural. It is akin to putting the period at the end of the sentence.

Next, I think we all, deep down inside, “know” that is the right way to pray – so we do it.

But what does that phrase really mean? 

The book of Ephesians explains the meaning of this phrase in great detail. In a nutshell, our position before God hinges on our relationship with Messiah.  For those who have received Jesus, we have an “ascension privilege” – a position in Jesus the Messiah. Our standing before God rests in Jesus and praying in the name of Jesus is the way our prayers are heard.

“In the name of Jesus” is an acknowledgment of the believer’s position in Jesus as Messiah and an understanding that our prayers are heard as we approach the throne of grace. We cannot pray in our own standing but we pray in His.

Since we are talking about Ephesians, let me share my favorite verses from that wonderful book: Ephesians 3:20-21.

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Thousands of Tongues

Charles Wesley was a man who understood sin.  And the freedom from sin for those who receive Jesus.  He wrote this hymn to com­mem­o­rate the first an­ni­ver­sa­ry of his con­ver­sion to the Messiah.  The first verse of this hymn is actually verse seven of his orig­in­al po­em.

The hymn is based on Scripture from Revelations 5:11.  “I…heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands.”

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace! 

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

Prayer and Fasting

It seems like most congregations I’ve attended or visited did very little fasting.

Fasting is interesting – I read about it in both Old and New Testaments, but never hear too much about it in a sermon or in other teaching. So what’s the deal?

Prayer and fasting is voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. You can pray without fasting, and fast without prayer. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God’s glory that they reach their full effectiveness.

That said, please be aware that God did command certain fast days, such as the Day of Atonement. While most Christian leaders say these days are “done away with,” Messiah said he didn’t come to abolish the Law (more correctly called the Teaching), but to fulfill it. In other words, there is nothing in the New Testament that says we should no longer honor these fast days.

Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting is not a way of manipulating God into doing what we desire. Rather, it is simply forcing ourselves to focus and rely on God for strength, provision, and wisdom you need.

Certainly, prayer and fasting is something all Believers should practice. But our focus shouldn’t be on abstaining from food. The purpose of fasting in the Bible (Old or New Testaments) is to take our thoughts off of the world and focus them more fully on God.

Food is good, but we should be ready to give it up occasionally for a greater good.

If you are interested in fasting, but don’t know where to turn for further information, there is an excellent booklet available at Christian bookstores, and I am sure you can find it online as well. It’s called “God’s Chosen Fast” by Arthur Wallace, and it is easy to read.

Get a copy, and the practice won’t seem so mysterious.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.