God’s great mercy………

chesed love

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.  ~  Genesis 1:27

That has become one of my favorite verses lately.  It’s our blueprint… our original design.  No matter what mankind may look like on the outside, no matter what sins we may commit, this is truly who we were created to be and how God sees us – because He always sees us according to our potential in Him.   The very first man walked in that design, and all mankind afterward were supposed to walk in the same pattern.  But although Adam was created in that design and walked in it for at least a few days, he sinned and introduced sin and consequently death into the world.

All men born after him were born in Adam’s likeness and image instead of God’s.  Genesis 5:3 “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth”.  All mankind was born into sin. Made in Adam’s likeness and image – one of sin and death. Romans 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners….”  Man isn’t a sinner because he sins, he is a sinner through birth.   Sin in the Greek is hamartia and means to miss the mark.  To sin is to behave out of tune with God’s original harmony.  It is to believe a lie about ourselves.  It is to miss out on sonship.  Sonship is our blueprint… our true, original, chosen design.  Ephesians 1:5 “He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…”

Even when the Law was introduced, mankind was still a sinner.  No matter how good he was morally, he could never fulfill the requirements of the law and be made righteous.  The Law simply revealed sin and made mankind aware of his lost state.  Man was unable to save himself — the Law revealed that he needed a Savior! God’s timing was absolutely perfect.

He always had a plan to redeem us.  He had found us in Christ before He lost us in Adam!  Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  He always loved us too much to leave us in such a wretched state…. He never abandoned His creation!  Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  God’s great mercy is far reaching and ALL encompassing.  Just as it took Adam’s one act of sin to condemn all of mankind, it only took Jesus’ one act of righteousness to completely declare all mankind innocent.  Romans 5:18  “So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life.”  Freely acquitted in the sight of God.  Through Adam we were ALL declared sinners and death reigned in us BUT through Jesus we are ALL declared righteous and life reigns in us.

Jesus’ death and resurrection reconciled us back to God and to our original design of sonship.  Now we are no longer made in Adam’s image and likeness – one of sin and death.  The sin nature has been completely removed and we received a new nature.. a new spirit… His Spirit.  Ezekiel 36:26-27A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.”   

Jesus defeated sin and death ONCE and for ALL.  God did not love us more once we were reconciled.  Reconciliation simply made us free to realize how much He has always loved us and free to enjoy our redeemed original identity — made in His image and in His likeness.  To see ourselves as He sees us — IN CHRIST.  Free to enjoy sonship and all of it’s joys and privileges.  And not just to see ourselves, but our old ways of seeing others is over as well (2 Cor 5:16).  We are now to see everyone through the eyes of our Redeemer.

He has made us ambassadors or ministers of His reconciliation with the world.  Our lives are now to exhibit the urgency of God to persuade everyone to be reconciled to God because Jesus took their life to the Cross in exchange for His resurrected life in them.  He did a finished, completed work on the Cross for ALL mankind.

The language of the Old Covenant… of the old written code was “Do in order to become”.  The language of the New Covenant is “Be, because of what has been done.”  It’s simply a matter of saying yes to God through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus.  It’s simply a matter of them awakening to their righteousness… of seeing themselves as God already sees them…. IN CHRIST.  So that then they will be able to say “I once was blind, but now I see.”

God’s great mercy for mankind is seen in the riches of His goodness toward us and His absolute passionate refusal to let us go.  His Covenant love for us is because continues to hear the echo of His image and His likeness in us.

I love the Mirror Translation of Romans 3:23-26:

Humanity is in the same boat; their distorted behavior is proof of a lost blueprint. (24) Jesus Christ is proof of God’s grace gift;  He redeemed the glory of God in human life; mankind condemned is now mankind justified!  (25) Jesus exhibits God’s mercy.  In His blood conciliation God’s faith persuades mankind of His righteousness and the fact that He has brought closure to the historic record of their sins (not by demanding a sacrifice, but providing the sacrifice of Himself).  Jesus is the unveiling of the Father’s heart toward us.  (26) All along God refused to let go of mankind.  At this very moment God’s act of righteousness is pointing them to the evidence of their innocence, with Jesus as the source of their faith.

It is the revelation of God’s goodness that leads men to repentance, not our repentance that leads to God’s goodness.

~ Robin

Counting the Omer……….

omer 1
Last night began the season of “counting the Omer” and goes through May 30th this year.  It marks the beginning of the barley harvest when, in ancient times, Jews would bring the first sheaves to the Temple as a means of thanking God for the harvest.  Omer means to utter speech – to verbally count the days. It is a 49 day transition period between the second night of Passover (Pesach) and the holiday of Pentecost (Shavuot).… a transition from deliverance into an outpouring from Heaven….an outpouring of His Spirit.
In this transition period, it is important to “verbally count the days” with declarations…. declarations of His promises over our lives, of who we are In Christ and of all that Christ purchased for us through His death and resurrection.
Angels are activated as we declare His Word (Psalm 103:20). Daniel 10:2 ” I have come for your words”. His angels are poised and ready to work on our behalf… to obey God’s Word that we have been declaring.
What will you declare in this 49 day season? It’s not a time to plead with God for healing, prosperity, favor, etc…. but rather a time to boldly declare what is already ours in Christ. For instance, rather than praying “Oh God please heal me or my family” instead declare “Jesus, you are my healer and by Your stripes, my body is healed… not going to be healed but healed already.”   Instead of “God please save my family” begin to boldly declare “Jesus, You died for my family.  Your death on the Cross provided salvation for them.  I just command right now that the blinders fall off their eyes and they will experience Your delivering power in their lives.  I call them saved and set free NOW today!”
I encourage you to think about what you want to declare in this season and write it out. Get into the Word and find out what God has to say.   Faith begins where the will of God is known.  Find the Scriptures that say He is your Healer, Provider, Deliverer, etc and then boldly declare Him as such in your life.  If the Word says He is your Healer, then healing is always the will of God.  Once you are settled on what His will is for your life, it’s easy to boldly declare His promises as yes and amen in Christ Jesus.
Paul’s prayers are another great thing to declare out during this season of counting the Omer.  Ephesians 1:17-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-14.  Make them personal, for example:

Col 1:9-14….

Abba (Father, Daddy, Papa or whatever your name for your Heavenly Father is) thank you for filling me with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, (10) so that I may live a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing Him in every way: I bear fruit in every good work, I continually grow in the knowledge of God, (11) and I am always strengthened with ALL power according to His glorious might which results in me having great endurance and patience, (12) and I give joyful thanks to You Abba, because You have made me qualified in Christ to receive my share of the saint’s inheritance. (13) You have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son You love, (14) in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Make it your own.  Spend time reading Paul’s prayers and boldly declaring them as your own.  I particularly like a translation by Francoise Du Toit called the Mirror Translation.  He writes it in such a way, that it is as if you are looking into the Mirror of the Word and seeing who you truly are.  It also includes Greek definitions of the words.  So, for reference,  I’ll put Paul’s prayers from the Mirror at the bottom of this blog post.

I also like the Passion Translation and use it quite often in my studies and prayer time.  I’ve also included it at the bottom of this post.

Even taking only these prayers for the next 49 days and declaring them over yourself will make such a difference in how you see yourself in Christ.  By the time Shavuot (Pentecost) comes, you will be dancing and shouting!

~ Robin

In the Mirror Translations, the Greek Word definitions italicized… also don’t forget to personalize it and make it yours.

Eph 1:17-23 (Mirror Translation):

I desire that you will draw directly from the source; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory ignites the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in you in the unveiling of his Master Plan (His intent, doxa, glory.). I desire that you know by revelation what he has known about you all along! (18)  I pray that your thoughts will be flooded with light and inspired insight; that you will clearly picture his intent in identifying you in him so that you may know how precious you are to him. The saints are his treasure and the glorious trophy of his portion! (We are God’s assets and the measure of his wealth!) (19)  I pray that you will understand beyond all comparison the magnitude of his mighty power at work 1in us who believe. Faith reveals how enormously advantaged we are in Christ. (The preposition eis, speaks of a point reached in conclusion) (20) It is the same dynamic energy that he unleashed in Christ when he raised him from the dead and forever established him in the power of his own right hand in the realm of the heavens. (21) Infinitely above all the combined forces of rule, authority, dominion or governments; he is ranked superior to any name that could ever be given to anyone of this age or any age still to come in the eternal future. (22) I want you to see this: he subjected all these powers under his feet. He towers head and shoulders above everything. He is the head; (23)  the church (The word, 1ekklesia, comes from ek, a preposition always denoting origin, and klesia from kaleo, to identify by name, to surname; thus the “church” is his redeemed image and likeness in human form.) is his body. The completeness of his being that fills all in all resides in us! God cannot make himself more visible or exhibit himself more accurately.

Eph 1:17-23 (Passion Translation):

that the Father of Glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would unveil in you the riches of the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation (discovery)  through the fullness of being one with Christ. (18) I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination (innermost) flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of our great hope of glory. We know that is the reason he called you to himself. And I pray that you explore and experience for yourselves all the riches of this wealth that has been freely given to all his holy ones, for you are his true inheritance! (19) My prayer for you is that every moment you will experience the measureless power of God made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! (20) This is the explosive and mighty resurrection power that was released when God raised Christ from the dead and exalted him to the place of highest honor and supreme authority (at His right hand)  in the heavenly realm! (21) And now he is exalted higher than all the thrones and principalities, above every ruler and authority, and above every realm of power there is. He is gloriously enthroned over every name that is ever praised, not only in this age (Aramaic says universe),  but in the age that is coming! (22) And everything now finds its essence in Him, and He alone is the Leader and Source of everything needed in the church. God has put everything beneath the authority of Jesus Christ (under His feet)  and has given him the highest rank above all others. (23) And now we, His church, are His body on the earth and the completion of Him that fills all things with his presence flowing through us!

 

Eph 3:14-21 (Mirror):  

Overwhelmed by what grace communicates, I bow my knees in awe before the Father. (15) Every family in heaven and on earth originates in Him; His is mankind’s family name and he remains the authentic identity of every nation. (16) I desire for you to realize what the Father has always envisaged for you, so that you may know the magnitude of his intent (The word, 1doxa, opinion or intent.) and be dynamically reinforced in your inner being by the Spirit of God.  (17) This will ignite your faith to fully grasp the reality of the indwelling Christ. You are rooted and founded in love. Love is your invisible inner source, just like the root system of a tree and the foundation of a building. (The dimensions of your inner person exceed any other capacity that could possibly define you.) (18) Love is your reservoir of super human strength (The word, exischuo means to be entirely competent, to be empowered to 2comprehend). which causes  (the word 2katalambano, kata, strengthened form; with lambano, to grasp, thus to entirely grasp, means to come to terms with, to make one’s own Rom 12:13 Purpose with resolve to treat strangers as saints; pursue and embrace them with fondness as friends on equal terms of fellowship. Rom 12:16 Esteem everyone with the same respect; no one is more important than the other. Associate yourself rather with the lowly than with the lofty. Do not distance yourself from others in your own mind. [“Take a real interest in ordinary people.”— JB Phillips]. Rom 12:13 Purpose with resolve to treat strangers as saints; pursue and embrace them with fondness as friends on equal terms of fellowship. Rom 12:16 Esteem everyone with the same respect; no one is more important than the other. Associate yourself rather with the lowly than with the lofty. Do not distance yourself from others in your own mind. [“Take a real interest in ordinary people.”— JB Phillips] In the breadth and length we see the horizontal extent of the love of Christ: the complete inclusion of the human race. 2 Cor 5:14,16. The depth of his love reveals how his love rescued us from the deepest pits of hellish despair and led us as trophies in his triumphant procession on high. Eph 2:5,6, Eph 4:8-10, Col 3:1-4) you to see everyone equally sanctified in the context of the limitless extent of Love’s breadth and length and the extremities of its dimensions in depth and height. (19) I desire for you to become intimately acquainted with the love of Christ on the deepest possible level; far beyond the reach of a mere academic, intellectual grasp. Within the scope of this equation God finds the ultimate expression of Himself in you. (So that you may be filled with all the fullness of God! Awaken to the consciousness of his closeness! Separation is an illusion! Oneness was God’s idea all along! He desires to express himself through your touch, your voice, your presence; he is so happy to dwell in you! There is no place in the universe where he would rather be!)  (20) We celebrate Him who supercharges us powerfully from within. Our biggest request or most amazing dream cannot match the extravagant proportion of His thoughts towards us. (Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…KJV)  (21) He is both the Author and Conclusion of the glory on display in the ekklesia (The word, 1ekklesia, often translated church, comes from ek, a preposition always denoting origin, and klesia from kaleo, to identify by name, to surname; the ekklesia is the expression of his image and likeness redeemed in human life.) ,mirrored in Christ Jesus. The encore continues throughout every generation, not only in this age but also in the countless ages to come. Amen!

Eph 3:14-21 (Passion): 

So when I think of the wisdom of His plan I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, (15) the perfect Father of every father and child (Translated from the Aramaic. It could also be translated “the perfect Father of every people group.” The Greek word for “father” and the word for “family” are quite similar, which indicates that every family finds its source in the Father.) in heaven and on the earth. (16) And I pray that He would pour out over you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. (17) Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life, providing you with a secure foundation that grows and grows. (18-19) Then, as your spiritual strength increases, you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences— the great magnitude (excellence) of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement, beyond academic knowledge— this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! (20) Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. (21) Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ— and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!

 

Phil 1:9-11 (Mirror):  

It is my desire for each one of you, that the realization of love’s  (The word 1agape is a compound word from ago, which means to lead as a shepherd leads his sheep, and pao, which means rest! His love leads me into his rest; into the full realization of his finished work! Agape is Psalm 23 in one word. “By the waters of reflection my soul remembers who I am.”) completeness in you will increasingly burst through all boundaries, and that every sphere of  your relationship with others will be greatly impacted by your intimate acquaintance with love. (10) I urge you to examine this agape-love with the utmost scrutiny, just like when a diamond is viewed in the full sunlight to prove its flawless perfection. I dare you to take Love to its ultimate conclusion! There is no offence in love, as evidenced in Jesus Christ who is the light of day. (If the diamond is flawless to begin with, every possible test will prove its perfection; how someone might respond to love’s initiative is not the point, love’s ultimate test was concluded on the cross. Truth does not become true by popular vote; someone’s ignorance or indifference cannot change the truth.) (11) You have been fully furnished with the harvest of your redeemed innocence and righteousness which Jesus Christ labored for! This is what the glorious intent of God is all about! Celebrate him!

Phil 1:9-11 (Passion):  

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase more and more until it overflows, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. And with this revelation you will come to know God fully as He imparts to you the deepest understanding of his ways. (10) This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all (The Aramaic literally means “choose those things that bring contentment.”) — becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. (11) And you will be filled completely with the fruits of righteousness that are found in Jesus, the Anointed One— bringing great praise and glory to God!

Col 1:9b -14 (Mirror):

…..Our constant desire for you is that you might be overwhelmed with the knowledge of God’s dream for your lives. We pray that the pattern of his wisdom and thoughts will fall into place for you in all spiritual understanding (“sunieimi“, means a joining together as of two streams; a fusion of thought.) (10) Go on a walkabout tour (“peripateo“, means to walk about everywhere).to explore the extent of the land that is yours under his Lordship. Now you can conduct yourselves appropriately towards him, pleasing him in every harvest of good works that you bear. Meanwhile, you continue to increase in your intimate acquaintance with that which God knows to be true about you (The knowledge of God is not our perception of him, but his knowledge of us; to know even as we have always been known. [Jer 1:5, 1 Cor 13:12]). This results in the most attractive and fulfilled life possible.

** I like that “walk about tour”….. walking through the Word and exploring what belongs to me through Christ Jesus!

(11)You are empowered in the dynamic of God’s strength;  His mind His glorious power, or doxa, comes from dokeo, to recognize for what it really is, true opinion; God’s intention—his mind made up.) is made up about you! He enables you to be strong in endurance and steadfastness with joy. (12) We are grateful to the Father who qualified us to participate in the complete portion of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (The light of the Gospel reveals what God accomplished to transform the sinner into a saint; from hagos, an awful thing to 1hagios, a consecrated object: “call no-one unholy or unclean (Acts 10:28) (13) He rescued us from the dominion of darkness (the sense-ruled world, dominated by the law of performance) and relocated us into the kingdom where the love of his son rules. (Darkness is not a force, it is the absence of light. [See Eph 4:18] A darkened understanding veiled the truth of our redeemed design from us. 2 Cor 4:4. What “empowered” darkness was the lie that we believed about ourselves! The word, 1exousia, sometimes translated authority, is from ek, origin or source, and eimi, I am. Thus, I was confused about who I am until the day that I heard and understood the grace of God in truth, as in a mirror. See 2 Corinthians 3:18, John 1:12.) (14) In God’s mind mankind is associated in Christ; in His blood sacrifice we were ransomed; our redemption was secured; our sins were completely done away with. (The word sin, is the word hamartia, from ha, negative or without and meros, portion or form, thus to be without your allotted portion or without form, pointing to a disorientated, distorted, bankrupt identity; the word meros, is the stem of morphe, as in 2 Corinthians 3:18 the word metamorphe, with form, which is the opposite of hamartia – without form. Sin is to live out of context with the blueprint of one’s design; to behave out of tune with God’s original harmony. See Deuteronomy 32:18, “You have forgotten the Rock that begot you and have gotten out of step with the God who danced with you!” Hebrew, khul or kheel, to dance. Sin distorts the life of our design. Jesus reveals and redeemed our true form.)

Col 1:9b -14 (Passion):  

….that you would be filled to overflowing with the revelation of God’s pleasure over your lives. This will make you reservoirs of all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (10) We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do. Then you’ll become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fullness! (11) And we pray that you would be energized with all his explosive power from the realm of his magnificent glory, filling you with great hope (As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek text means “patient endurance.”) and joy in the Holy Spirit!

 

Lamb Selection Day…..

 Palm Sunday 2

Cry out with joy, O daughter of Zion!  Shout jubilantly, O daughter of Jerusalem!
    Look—your King is coming; He is righteous and able to save.  He comes seated humbly on a donkey, on a colt, a foal of a donkey~ Zechariah 9:9

I spent the afternoon studying Palm Sunday.  I wanted to look at this day through Jewish eyes…. in light of Old Testament Scriptures.  To see what the people who saw Him ride into Jerusalem would’ve seen and known.  There are so many rich nuggets to be found in this momentous occasion.  My study began with a specific question.  Why did God choose this particular day for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem?  Was it just a random day or did it have specific meaning to the Jews of that day?

The day Jesus entered Jerusalem was called “lamb selection day”.  I love that!  Families selected their lambs in the late afternoon. Offering Himself as the Lamb, Jesus also rode into the city in the late afternoon that day (Mark 11:11).

Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.   – Exodus 12:36

How is it that I have never heard of Lamb Selection Day? Or that it was the same day as what we call Palm Sunday?  The writers of the New Testament certainly understood the significance. But of course they grew up abundantly schooled in the Torah and the Old Testament Scriptures, I did not.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “For Christ, our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” Hebrews 7:27 says, “He sacrificed for sins, once for all, when he offered himself”, and Hebrews 9:28, ”Christ was sacrificed to take away the sins of many people.” John the Baptist said, ”Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Peter, in 1 Peter 1:19 says, ”You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or spot.” In the book of Revelation twenty or more times it refers to Christ as the Lamb. Revelation 5:6 says, “Then I saw a lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne…”. Revelation 12:11 – ”They overcame by the blood of the Lamb…”

From Genesis (Genesis 22:8 – “God Himself will provide a lamb”), to Revelation (Revelation 5:12 – “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain”), Christ is revealed as our Passover Lamb! And, just to make sure we didn’t miss it, God sent His Son into Jerusalem on the same day that the Jewish people had been selecting their lambs for the past 1500 years!

Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem four days before Passover is not a coincidence. The lambs chosen for sacrifice by each family on the 10th of Nisan (the day we call Palm Sunday) must be visible for 4 days before the Passover Feast in order for everyone to observe the selected lamb’s perfection. During those days of inspection of the lambs, the perfect Lamb of God was present daily at the Temple, where everyone could see Him….. allowing Himself to be inspected by the people.

Jewish historians cite that the lambs during that time all came from Bethlehem and were brought into Jerusalem through the Sheep Gate. At that time, only the sheep from Bethlehem, that had been raised especially for this purpose, were allowed to be used for selection.  Jesus entered Jerusalem along with all the Passover lambs through that same Sheep gate.  Can’t you just see it?  What a beautiful picture of redemption…. His hour had finally come! Oh what a beautiful Savior… what a beautiful spotless Passover Lamb.

The road into Jerusalem was extremely crowded that day.  Hundreds of thousands (or according to Josephus, millions) of pilgrims were flocking into the city to begin the celebration of the Passover season. How did the people respond to the arrival of Jesus?

At the Sheep Gate, a crowd of people threw their coats and branches down on the ground while shouting,

‘Hosanah!’

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanah in the highest!’

“Hosanna” – hosha’na in Hebrew means, “Save now!”  They were hailing Him as King – the One Who would dwell with them in the Messianic Kingdom!  By this time they were weary from the oppression by the Romans.  It was 1,000 years since Solomon had been crowned king and rode in on a donkey to Jerusalem (1 Kings 1:32-40). AND of course – it was nearly PASSOVER – which to them was a reminder of God’s deliverance from their enemies!  Now Jesus… the Messiah, would finally set up His Kingdom delivering them out of bondage to the Romans and reigning over their beloved nation of Israel!

The cheering crowd was upsetting some of the Pharisees who began to call out to Jesus saying, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” (Luke 19:39). Jesus refused and told them that if His followers were silenced, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40).  The stones? Why did Jesus mention the stones?  What would that have meant to this crowd of people and the Pharisees?

Jesus had started his triumphal entry east of the Jordan – He crossed the Jordan River on that day. .. . Nisan 10th (Palm Sunday).  In Joshua 4:19 the children of Israel crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land — on the 10th of Nisan!!!

After crossing the Jordan on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through Jericho.  This city was the first to be conquered by the children of Israel in Joshua’s day when they were fighting for a kingdom.  All of those standing there along the road wouldn’t have missed the symbolism of crossing the Jordan into the Promise Land and setting up a kingdom.  This must be what Jesus was coming to do!  Set up His Kingdom here in Israel.

Mark 10:46 tells about a crowd joined Jesus near Jericho.  Word had gotten out – HE WAS COMING!  The people were crying “Jesus, SON OF DAVID, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47).

Their cry was for the restoration of the age of Solomon. This is what they had longed for… what they were expecting! For the restoration of Israel…. for the return of what it had looked like in Solomon’s day.

This is the setting for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem . . . Excitement for the deliverance of Roman oppression and the setting up of a glorious kingdom.  They’re Savior had come for them! As you look at the details of what was happening it’s easy to get caught up in their excitement and forget that in a few days these same people would suffer a great disappointment.  Their expectations were not met…. or so they thought.  It didn’t turn out the way they thought.  The One they thought was Messiah… King…. would be crucified and their lives would remain under the oppression of Rome resulting in the destruction of their beloved Temple.

But Jesus did set up His Kingdom.  His hour had come.  His purpose and destiny fulfilled.

He had reclaimed a kingdom ——— His Father’s kingdom.

He had conquered ——– sin and death –- the real oppressor (NOT Rome) (Heb. 2:14)

Ephesians 4:7 quotes Psalm 68 which is a victory hymn written by King David. “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”

In Psalm 68 we read that after a TRIUMPH, the CONQUERING KING marched through his enemy’s territory, wreaking havoc and collecting spoils – and bringing home those spoils.

Hebrews 2:14 says that through death, Jesus DESTROYED Satan who had the power of death, and released the CAPTIVES.

Jesus’ death meant VICTORY for us.

Through His death and resurrection He gave LIFE to us….. ETERNAL LIFE in Him.

His Kingdom is a Kingdom which resides in us and released through us.

But sadly they couldn’t see all of that yet.  They were crying out Hosanna!  It was a plea for salvation.   Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!” It was a cry for salvation and a recognition that Jesus was the One able to save.  They were looking for a physical king.   They were desiring and hoping for someone to change their oppressed condition.

They were sure that the long-awaited Messiah would come in the form of a militaristic king. One who would sit on an earthly throne.  The throne of David—and reign in Jerusalem over a renewed Davidic kingdom.

Spiritually they were blind to their true condition…. they needed salvation from sin, not from Roman oppressors.  Isaiah 42 talks about the spiritually blind who are captives and sit in darkness.  They regain their sight when they are set free.  Isaiah 35 prophesies about the Messianic Kingdom (the Highway of Holiness) and one of the responses of Heaven to save is the recovery of sight to the blind.

Mark  10:51-52 tells us that there was a blind man named Bartimaeus who was one of those by the road on that Palm Sunday…. on that lamb selection day.  

What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.  The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.  ~ Mark 10:51-52

He followed Jesus.  He selected his Lamb that day!  I will find it hard now to refer to it as Palm Sunday now that I know about “lamb selection day.”  That just seems so much more appropriate.  What about you?  Have you chosen The Lamb of God today?  Select Him and examine Him… He has come to set you free and set up His Kingdom in your life if you’ll let Him.

 

~ Robin

 

 

 

Shevat 5777 (2016)

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Wow, it’s been almost two months since I’ve written on this blog.  I’ve meant to, but life sometimes just gets busy.  And time does fly when you’re having fun.

We spent seven weeks down in San Clemente at the end of the year, and it was lovely.  We rented a condo that had a panoramic ocean view, and I spent the time just relaxing, reading, and spending quality family time with my husband and kids.  Just allowing God to refresh my soul.  I slept better than I had in a long time.  I spent dinners, coffee dates and beach time with good friends who have become more family than friends.  Just simple, pleasant long chats with girlfriends who encourage me, build me up and cause me go farther with God.  I was also teaching the book of Hebrews at our church down there as well as doing my weekly online teaching of the book of Romans.  The Hebrews study is finished, and we are wrapping up our Romans study next week.  So, I’ll now have more time to devote to this blog, and I’ve been putting together notes and studies for a book I’m working on.

We are almost at the end of the month of Shevat.  Shevat is spelled shin-beit-tet in Hebrew.  Shin is a picture of a crown.  Beit is a house, household or family.  Tet is the letter for goodness.  Shevat is a reminder that God has crowned our households…..our families with goodness. Psalm 65:11 “You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance.  Another translation says even the hard places overflow with abundance. 

Asher is the tribe associated with the month of Shevat.  Asher means blessed or prosperous and comes from the root word “ashar” meaning to go on, to advance or to make progress.  Asher was blessed with the potential for every earthly blessing – abundant resources, the most fertile land in Canaan, many children, peace with the other tribes, the favor of God and security from enemies.  He is known as the prosperous one.

His blessing from Moses indicated both prosperity and pleasure.   Asher is the blessing beyond the norm – to be given more than what is necessary for just basic survival.  2 Cor 9:8 “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others (New Living Translation).”  1 Tim 6:17b “….. place your confidence in God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”  We are meant to not only be prosperous but to enjoy that prosperity, both the spiritual and earthly riches.

We are in the decade of 70 on the Hebrew calendar which means ayin.  Ayin is symbolic of the ability to see or perceive and the choice of good and evil.   This decade (2010-2019) is a season to have increased vision. To open our spiritual eyes and begin to see from God’s perspective.

From God’s perspective everything He is ever going to do for us has already been done in Jesus.  2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  Has given us… it’s past tense.  It’s already done.  All that we have to do is receive it and walk in it.  To do that we have to change our perception and see it as God does.  Sometimes our vision gets clouded by our five senses and by circumstances in life.  At times, others words can cause us to see ourselves through their perception of us instead of God’s.  God’s Word is a mirror.  When we look into it, we see who we truly are. Created in His image and His likeness.  We are joint heirs in Christ.

Exchange your vision for His.  Begin to see that He has already given you everything you will ever need for life… and for godliness.  Allow God to do the exceedingly, abundantly, above all you could ask, think, hope or imagine in your life this month in and through you!

This month walk in the revelation of all that God wants to do in your life… the prosperity He wants to pour out on you… not just enough but overflow.  Prosperity AND pleasure!   Walk in His goodness, in His richness.  This is a month to go forward and continue on in the inheritance He has blessed us with.  In Shevat, let’s remember to enjoy His bounty in our lives… to be happy…. full of joy, proclaiming “I am blessed with prosperity and pleasure in Christ Jesus”.  This is a GOOD month.

♥ Robin

Hebrew month of Tevet 5777 (2016)

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Today we enter in to the Hebrew month Tevet.  Tevet is the 10th month of the year on the Hebrew Biblical calendar.  10 is a number of divine order … 10 is also 5 + 5… five being the number of grace or in this case a double grace…. multiplied grace… abundant grace… dare I say it?… hyper grace!  😮

Tevet is a month full of the goodness of God.  The first two letters in the word Tevet is tet and vav.  Tet and vav make up the word “tov” which means good.  The first time the letter “tet” is used in Scripture is Genesis 1:4 …. and God saw that it was good.  The final letter in Tevet is also “tet”…. so the whole word Tevet from beginning to end is a word full of God’s goodness.   A month beginning with goodness and ending with goodness.  

I’m a lover of all things good.  I’m an incurable optimist.  I like looking for redemption and goodness….in people and all things in general.  I do believe it’s a gift from God… I’ve always been like that.  My mom nicknamed me Pollyanna Sunshine when I was little because of this abundance of optimism and hope.  Though, these past couple of years, there have been a lot of personal challenges that would try to produce a critical spirit instead of seeing the good.

Sometimes it is going to require more effort than usual to find the good in something…. thank God for His grace to help in those times.  Especially today when we are inundated with bad news from the media, bad attitudes from people, etc.  It’s a choice we have to make.  And when we make the choice, God will be faithful to open our eyes to see something good… even if it’s just hidden potential…or buried treasure in someone.  Then we get the privilege and joy of co-laboring with Him to pull out that potential and treasure in those around us.  

If I want to be like my heavenly Father then I need to make that choice to look for the good in everything around me daily.  Because He is good… ALL THE TIME!  In fact, good isn’t just a description of Him… it’s who He is.  1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  Good in this Scripture is called an absolute noun, meaning it follows another noun forming a single idea. “Good” and God are one single thought. There is no “good” separated from God and then associated with Him. “Good” and God are the same thing (see my blog post on Goodness and Goodness and Grace)

I’ve been teaching weekly Bible studies this past year and I’m always amazed when I teach on the goodness of God, how some people will adamantly argue against it.  They prefer to see God as judgmental, harsh, punishing and while they’ll see Him as sometimes good it’s based on only if they’ve done something to deserve it.  Sadly, their interpretation of Scripture is in light of that perception of God…. and their representation of Jesus and of the Father is also through that perception.

There is nothing I can ever do to deserve His goodness.  He is not good to me because I’m being good and “obeying” His Word (for a definition on obeying see my blog post on No Hebrew word for obey).  Goodness just overflows out of Him in my life because it’s who He is.  He can’t help Himself.  He’s not angry with us… He’s not angry with the sinner who is unsaved either.  That’s the good news of the Gospel.  Jesus satisfied the wrath of God, the punishment we deserved for sin, and He reconciled us to God.

Then He made us ambassadors of that reconciliation (2 Cor 5:20).  It’s going to be hard to be an effective ambassador for Christ if we fail to see the goodness of God in the land of the living (Ps 27:13).  2 Cor 5:19 says “He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” We have been anointed to preach the good news just like Jesus (see my blog post on Jesus is our JubileeThe widow of Sidon and one of my favorites Naaman the Syrian).  No one wants to be reconciled to an angry, harsh, God who is only going to breathe down our necks and punish us every time we slip up….. that’s not the good news of the Gospel.  

This month of Tevet, I encourage you to dig deeper into the Word and find out about the goodness of God… to quote Bill Johnson, “He’s better than you think”.  We have a responsibility to re-present Him correctly.  The more we begin to see Him as good in the Word, the more we will begin to see the goodness in the people around us and in this beautiful world of ours.

Then our co-laboring will be a joy to us and we will become true ambassadors of Christ…. running after ALL people, begging them to be reconciled to God because He is GOOD and wants to overflow that goodness into their lives.  

~ Robin

New Covenant lens….

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Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  ~ Hebrews 13:4-5

I’ve been studying and teaching Hebrews for the past 4 months. We are on the last chapter … and I have learned so much. It was not an easy book to study or teach and has stretched me and challenged me outside of my comfort zone.  But it is definitely a book that has helped me understanding the benefits of the New Covenant more than anything else I’ve read.

Hebrews is such a fitting name for this Epistle.  Not because it was written to Jews, but because of what Hebrews means.  The word comes from the Hebrew verb ivri meaning “to cross over”

The very first Hebrew was Abraham and there were 2 ways in which he “crossed over”… first, he crossed over from Mesopotamia into Canaan and secondly, he crossed over from the world of idol worship that was familiar to him and his family to a new realm, one in which the One True God was worshipped instead. In both senses Abraham became forever an “ivri” – a Hebrew, one who crossed over.

That fits this Epistle so well — crossing over.  These Jews had crossed over from the familiar realm of the Old Covenant to life in the unfamiliar but liberating, grace filled New Covenant.  They were under intense persecution and were being pressured into returning to the Old and this letter was to encourage them to remain in Christ.  This letter presented to them  a contrast of the old and new covenant — and the supremacy of Jesus and the New Covenant… a far better, superior covenant.

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness;

Our study of this book was verse by verse, always keeping it in context of who it was written to and why.  When I came to chapter 13, specifically verses 4 and 5, it just seemed so out of context to command them to keep the marriage honorable and the marriage bed undefiled with the warning that God will judge the immoral and those who commit adultery.  And then in the next verse he’s telling them to live free from the love of money and be content with what they have.  Sex and money…. were those the two biggest concerns the writer of Hebrews has for these believers?

Of course we are to live holy, pure, godly lives.  Of course we are to be faithful in our marriages and sex is wrong outside of the marriage relationship.  Of course we are to not be covetous, greedy, or lovers of money.  And of course we are to be content with what God has given us.

But is that all this verse is saying?

Remember, the book of Hebrews is about the contrast of Old Covenant and New Covenant.  The writer has explained theses contrasts to us for the last 12 chapters and has warned us several times throughout this letter to not fall from grace, to not turn away from Christ (apostasy), to steer clear of idolatry and going back to Judaism, and to enter into the rest of the finished work of the cross.

So, with all of that in mind, we don’t want to look at these 2 verses through the lens of the Old Covenant pattern which is…. if I am not faithful in my marriage or if I sleep around — if I mess up!  If I sin in this area!  If I do those things, then God is going to judge me.  The problem with that “Old Covenant” lens is that He already poured out all of His judgement for my sins on Jesus.

  • Isaiah 53:5: The punishment that brought our peace was upon Him
  • 2 Cor 5:21:  He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 
  • Romans 5:8-9:  But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him!

This letter was written to believers (believing Jews) not unbelievers/unsaved.  So, even if I did do those things after I’m saved, God doesn’t call me an adulterer or a whoremonger.  He calls me righteous!  He sees me as I am… not by what I do or have done.  

So who does God call the adulterer and the whoremonger?  Who does He refer to as covetous?

  • several verses in the other epistles mention sexual immorality as a false teaching — Eph 5:3-7; Jude 1:4; 1 Tim 4:1-5; 2 Peter 2:14; 1 Tim 1:3-10; 
  • Jeremiah 23:10 also talking about false prophets and calls them adulterers.
  • Sexually immoral in Heb 13:4 is the same Greek word used in Heb 12:16 to describe Esau as a fornicator.. an idolator.  — The root word is porne which means an idolatrous community.
  • Adulterers in Heb 13:4 is “moichos” which figuratively means an apostate
  • In the Old Testament, whenever Israel went into idolatry, God called it “adultery.”
  • Idolatry is spiritual adultery
  • Col 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever is worldly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry
  • 2 Peter 2:3  By covetousness they [the false teachers] will exploit you with deceptive words;

Historically, at the time this was written (and the other epistles), there were false teachers that had infiltrated the churches and were attempting to turn the believers away from the grace of the New Covenant…. away from it’s teachings… away from Jesus.  

What were some of the strange, false, demonic doctrines that these false teachers were teaching?

  • There were those who were forbidding marriage, believing celibacy was purity and pleasing to God (1 Tim 4:3)
  • There were those who were perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality (Jude 1:4)
  • Of course there were the Judaizers who were encouraging them to go back to the Law (which is adultery/idolatry – Romans 7:1-4)
  • All of these false teachers were motivated by greed (covetousness – love of money)

….and be content with such things as ye have:

Be content in the original language is “with the things that are present.”  Present = right now.  So, what was “present” for these Believing Jews the writer was talking to?

  • They had put their faith in Jesus alone for salvation.
  • And because of it, they were suffering intense persecution and the reality of having to flee Jerusalem and everything they had previously known
  • From all that was familiar… the temple, the priests, the sacrifices.. their family and friends.

Remember they were feeling the pressure to return to Judaism and they were being influenced by false teachers.  This is an encouragement to them not to fall back into idolatry (the Law/Old Covenant) but walk free of that because Jesus is enough.

For hasn’t He promised you that “I will never leave you; never will I forsake you  

1 Kings 8:57 — Part of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple was that the Lord would never leave them nor forsake them.  He was declaring that God had kept His promises and not one word had failed which He promised through Moses.

What a fitting thing for the writer of Hebrews to remind the people of…. he’s already told them that the New Covenant is far superior to the Mosaic covenant.   Now, he’s encouraging them that if God kept His promises and not one word failed which He promised Moses, they can trust Him to be with them and never leave or forsake them because “Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises” (Heb 8:6). 

Then he reminds them that their response because of that… because Jesus is enough…should be “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.” (Heb 13:6)

When you begin reading the Bible through the lens of the New Covenant you begin to see things in Scripture that you never saw before…. and you truly begin to find the Father’s heartbeat.  This grace filled New Covenant is liberating!

~Robin

Chanukah 5777 (2016)

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Chanukah is on the evening of the 24th of Kislev on the Jewish calendar.. on our calendar this year it begins tonight Christmas Eve.  Our family began celebrating Chanukah 3 years ago as well as the other Biblical feasts.  We celebrate this in addition to Christmas.  Our family loves both celebrations.  Chanukah is the festival of lights and is a beautiful reminder to us to shine in the darkness.  I love Matthew 5:14-16 in the Message Translation “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”  Let’s go public with it… shining as such  bright lights in this world.. not keeping God as a secret.. opening our homes, being generous with our lives (being open and giving with others)

As I was preparing my study notes on Chanukah to share with our kids, I decided to study each individual letter in the word Chanukah. I love studying the Bible in Hebrew.. it’s a rich and beautiful language full of layers upon layers of meanings.  The Hebrew letters in the word Chanukah are chet, nun, vav, kaf, hey.  The Hebrew alphabet (or as it’s called in Hebrew alef-bet) is full of meaning. Each letter is not just a letter, but a number and a picture.. with layers of meanings.  I love something Billy Graham said, “The Bible is big–so big that even the greatest scholar will never exhaust its riches.”

Chet, Nun are the first two letters of Chanukah and spell the Hebrew word grace.   Vav is the next letter and the first time “vav” is mentioned in Scripture it is as a word, not just a letter.  It is in Gen 1 “heavens and (vav) the earth.” It is a word connecting Heaven and Earth.  Grace always connects us to the Heavenly realm…. it enables us to live on earth as it is in Heaven.  It is the empowering Presence of Holy Spirit in and through our lives.  “Vav” is also the number 6 which is 5+1… 6 = 5 (grace) + 1… an abundance of grace.  Romans 5:17 tells us that those who receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in this life through Jesus.  That is just the first two letters of Chanukah… grace! An abundance of grace poured out from Heaven upon us.  

The next 2 letters or the 2nd half of the word is Kaf, Hey.  Kaf is a picture of an open hand… an open hand speaks of blessings.  In Ex 33:22, when Moses asked God to show him His glory, God covered Moses with His hand… that word hand is kaf in the Hebrew. Kaf is a picture of God’s open hand, specifically His open hand of blessing.  One of the meanings of Hey is behold!  or revealed.  The 2nd half of this word is speaking of God’s open hand of blessing being revealed (in this season).  

Studying the word Chanukah by breaking it down letter by letter shows us a beautiful picture of what God is wanting to pour out on us in this season… His grace multiplied to us and His open hand of blessing revealed to us.  

John 1:16 (amp version) sums it up so beautifully…  For out of His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace, and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.  

Merry Christmas and Chag Sameach!!

~ Robin

Kislev 5777 (2016)

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I have been blogging about the Hebrew months for 2 years now and I’ve learned so much.   God’s calendar is not like ours…. He has a different way of looking at time. After all, He created time! He designed a calendar to help us stay in step with Him as we move through the year. His calendar was established at creation….

Gen 1:14 “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”.  

On God’s calendar day begins in the evening not the morning.  Night watches set the stage for the new day.  His calendar includes “set apart” or “appointed” days such as the yearly cycle of Feasts and the weekly Sabbaths.  Israel began every month with a first fruits celebration called Rosh Chodesh (Head of the Month).  They did this because they wanted to honor God at the start of every month and during this celebration they also gathered to seek prophetic direction for each month….because they knew every month was like a prophetic season for them. Gathering for First-fruits allowed them to live in sync with God’s timing.

So, what is God saying about the month of Kislev…..

The month of Kislev (כִּסְלֵו in Hebrew) is considered a “month of darkness” because as you move through Kislev the days get shorter and the nights get longer.  But Kislev is not only a month of darkness but a month of light shining in the darkness. It is the month of Chanukah, which is the festival of lights.  God has called us to be a light in the darkness to the world… not just in this month but all the time.

Matthew 5:14 in the Message translation says “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.”  Verse 16 in the same translation says  “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”  I LOVE that!  By opening up and being generous of myself, my family, my home, my possessions, it will prompt them to open up with God!

Kislev is also the 9th month.   Nine is the number for fruitfulness, completion, fullness of blessings and Holy Spirit.  It is the 9th month on the Hebrew Biblical calendar (counting from Nisan)….. it is a number of Divine blessings, divine completeness, and divine judgment.  9 is the number of gifts of the Holy Spirit and there are 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Twice in the book of Acts the 9th hour is associated with prayer (Acts 3 and Acts 10)  And then of course the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost at 9am in Acts 2:15!   Through the number 9 of this month God gives us a prophetic revelation of what to believe for in our lives…. again, not just this month but all the time.  So let’s believe God for an increase of supernatural healings, angelic visitations, and Holy Spirit outpourings upon our households and families.   

Nine is also usually a number representing finality and judgement.  Lately I’ve been studying a lot on grace and the finished work of the cross… I think the number 9 represents the finality (completeness) and judgement of the Cross so beautifully… God’s judgement was poured out on Jesus who was crucified at 9am (Mark 15:25) and then at the 9th hour (3pm) He said “it is finished!”  We are able to walk in the gifts and the fruit of Holy Spirit because of the finished work of the Cross and in our set prayer times let us continually give thanks to God for the judgement He poured out on Jesus and for the grace of this finished work… the complete work… that grace that enables us to live on Earth as it is in Heaven… to walk in our inheritance… no sickness, no poverty, no lack, only total victory in all areas of our life

I think the most important thing about this month is receiving revelation of your true identity. Kislev is the month of the Hebrew tribe of Benjamin… it is a month to begin to uncover your true identity.   Whenever God changes someones name in scripture, their destiny changes… their new identity becomes their true identity… the identity He had for them all along.  

Gen 35:18 Rachel was dying. As she took her last breath, she named her son Benoni [Son of My Sorrow], but his father named him Benjamin [Son of My Right Hand].

Benjamin was one of those individuals who had a name change which altered the course of his destiny.  Although the tribe of Benjamin lost their way for a bit and were almost destroyed (see the story in Judges 20 – they lost 25,000 men!  Only 600 survived) they ended up strong with members of their tribe saving the Jewish population (Esther and Mordecai) and writing almost the entire New Testament and fulfilling Israel’s destiny of being a light to the Gentiles (Apostle Paul)

Benjamin was the youngest child of Jacob and Rachel….and one of the smallest of the tribes of Israel. Rachael’s first son was Joseph and her second was Benjamin. She died giving birth to him.   Before she died, she  named him Benoni (son of my pain).   Jacob knew this was not the identity God wanted him to have and so he renamed him Benjamin (son of my right hand… or son of honor)God’s destiny for Benjamin is in Gen 49:27 “When Jacob blessed him he said, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.”  The tribe of Benjamin were fierce warriors, skilled in warfare… trained to hit the mark.  The tribe of Benjamin had many distinguished slingers and archers such as in Judges 20:16, where we read of 700 “left-handed” slingers who could sling stones at a hair and not miss! One such Benjamite by the name of Ulam, had 150 sons and grandsons who were expert archers. (1 Chron 8:40) while King Asa had an army comprised of 280,000 valiant warriors from the tribe of Benjamin. (2 Chron. 14:8, 17:7)

King Saul was a Benjamite and also a skilled warrior (a quality God would use to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines – see 1 Sam 9:16)… however, nothing of spiritual significance is ever mentioned when we are introduced to Saul in 1 Sam 9:2.  What is mentioned is how impressive his lineage and family status is and his physical appearance. Saul is chosen as king because the people asked to be given “a king to lead them like the other nations” (1 Sam 8:5).  Even after Samuel warns them that he (Saul – whose name means “asked of”) will be a king that will take everything from them (sons, daughters, land, vineyards, etc) and make them like slaves… they still choose to have a king.

God, however, in His grace, put a new heart in Saul and made him a changed man (1 Sam 10:6,9) He did this in order to help him succeed as a righteous king.  In contrast, David needed no such change in order to rule… he was already a man after God’s heart, having spent his whole life cultivating a relationship with God.  God literally changed Saul in order to make him the kind of man who could rule and be King. When God removed His anointing… from Saul, He truly removed the qualities that made him king. He left behind the man Saul originally had been and worse.  He became the man who hunted and tried to kill David.  However, his son Jonathan cut covenant with David which forever united the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  Although the potential was there… Saul was given a new identity when he became a changed man with a new heart, his fear of men (1 Sam 15:24) caused his downfall.  Rather than walk in the “new man” that he had become, he chose to fear the people instead of God.

Saul of Tarsus is another Benjamite who had an identity change….. he was given a new heart, a new nature, a new name (Paul) and also given the Name above all Names!  He was changed from Saul to Paul in Acts 9.  Unlike the king who he was originally named for, Paul chose to walk in this new identity and fulfill the destiny God had for him…. a destiny which included writing most of the New Testament, planting churches, and being an apostle to the Gentiles…. he advanced the Kingdom.  He counted the natural qualities of his old self (which were quite impressive) as nothing… in fact he called them “rubbish or dung” compared to gaining Christ.  He received from God the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness and therefore “reigned” in life IN CHRIST.

Sometimes circumstances or people in life brand you with an identity that God never chose for you.  The way you view yourself is not how God views you.  This month choose to change your identity and be all that God has called you to be.  If you are like king Saul, held captive by fear, this is a month to be set free.  Ask God to show you the habit patterns and ways of thinking that hold you in an old cycle.  Guard the word of your mouth, this is a time of confession and decree… what you say now determines your future.  Ask God to breathe fresh revelation on you this month revealing your true identity in Christ… your sonship identity.  And then begin walking as a son. For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation (the revelation) of the sons of God (Romans 8:19)

~ Robin

Cheshvan 5777 (2016)

 “Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”  ~  Isaiah 43:19

Tonight we enter into the month of Cheshvan.  It is the 8th month on the Hebrew calendar.  Eight symbolizes new beginnings. I have always loved new beginnings or new starts.  The New Year, fresh new seasons, new adventures…. even as a kid I loved starting a new school year, with the brand new books and pencils, a new classroom, the promise of learning something new that I didn’t know before.  It was always a time full of anticipation and hope that anything could happen!

In Isaiah 43:19 God talks about doing something new… “Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”  A few verses before that He reminds Israel of all He has done for them.. the miraculous way He delivered them out of Egypt and overthrew their enemies.  And then He says “But forget all that – it’s nothing compared to what I am going to do! (NLT)”… I love that!  It would be easy to just camp right there… to live on the past miracles… on His past wonders that He has done for us.  But He is saying to forget all that!  The New American Standard version says not to “ponder the things of the past” and the NIV says not to “dwell on the past”  As wonderful as the past miracles were, He is wanting to do new things, fresh things for us…. things that will surpass the old things He has done.  Remembering the past, keeps us looking backwards…. God is wanting us to look ahead in expectancy for what He wants to do now and in our future.

The word “new” in this passage means “fresh,” but it also means to “renew” and to “rebuild.  The word “renewal” implies a repairing or a replacement of something.  For us as believers this new thing in Isaiah speaks of Christ Jesus.  All of His grace, all of His goodness, His promises… His benefits are ours in Christ.  The cross was a finished work… all of His benefits are ours by right of Covenant… but it takes renewing our minds to walk in our inheritance.  As I study His Word, my mind is renewed…. old thought patterns and wrong traditions (doctrines of unbelief) that I’ve learned have to be cast down and replaced with right believing.  Each day I learn “new things” in His Word… new areas of grace that belong to me… peace, prosperity, divine health (not just healing!).  I am learning that these things are mine because they were purchased for me by my Savior and released to me by my loving Father… not because I obey and follow rules, but because they are my inheritance in Christ.  This “new thing” He does for me on a daily basis….by revealing to me areas of unbelieving thoughts and teaching me how to take those thoughts captive, causing me to grow in His Word… to grow in grace… this right believing results in right living that glorifies Abba Father!

God desires to replace an old belief system and relationship with Him (that has been limited by mindsets, doctrines, etc.) with an updated and even repaired relationship and revelation of Him.  So often we allow our own fears, circumstances or wrong teaching to determine our believing when it comes to grace, healing, prosperity, etc.   He desires to repair our belief system and reestablish the truths of grace and faith and righteousness… giving us fresh revelation of the finished work of the Cross and what Jesus purchased for us and set us free from…. free from all sin, sickness, disease, poverty, oppression, etc.  This renewal will bring forth a refreshing and in the midst of this, His perfect plan for our lives will be rebuilt.   To make this shift, will require that we be willing to come out of our comfort zones, our comfortable doctrines and comfortable mindsets…. like the children of Israel to go to a new place where we’ve never gone before.  

Joshua gave the children of Israel a few instructions in order for them to successfully navigate this new land.   In chapter 1 verses 10-11, Joshua instructed his officers (in Hebrew  officers is “shoter,” referring to a person of authority… an overseer or ruler) to “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you.”  Prepare in Hebrew is “kun” is more than just getting ready, it means to be established in readiness.  It also means to be fixed and stable.  Prepare your provisions!  What new thing is God doing in your life in this season?  What is He rebuilding or renewing in you?  Is it prosperity or healing?…. get your provisions prepared.  Get established in readiness.  We do this through prayer, studying the Word and renewing our minds…taking captive every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.  Dig in the Word and find out what the Word says about His promises… forget what you think you know, what you’ve been taught or what your circumstances are saying to you about His promises.  Allow Holy Spirit to breathe life and fresh revelation into your spirit man as you read the Word.

In chapter 3 verses 1-4 Joshua gives a second set of instructions to the children of Israel through the message of his officers… “When you see the Levitical priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, move out from your positions and follow them. Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you. Stay about a half mile behind them, keeping a clear distance between you and the Ark. Make sure you don’t come any closer.  They are instructed to stay behind the priests who are carrying the Ark of the Covenant (symbolic of God’s presence).  These people are to follow behind the priests (in Hebrew to walk after them).   The priests will guide them…. so that they (the people) will know the way to walk.  Ephesians 4:11 tells us the Jesus gave gifts to the church… apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.  Verse 12 tells us that these gifts were given to us to equip or perfect us…. in Greek it means to enable the individual parts to work together in correct order… and to build us up or edify us….in Greek it means constructive criticism and instruction that builds a person up to be the suitable dwelling place of God, i.e. where the Lord is “at home.”  In this new season where God is renewing and rebuilding your faith to walk in His promises, it’s important to follow after “the priests” (the 5 fold ministers) who truly believe the Word and teach it truthfully.  Those who anointed to lead the body of Christ and have the heartbeat of God… saying what He is saying.  

Then in verse 5 Joshua gives them their final instructions before crossing over which is to purify or sanctify themselves. 1 Cor 1:2 says that God made us holy by means of Christ Jesus.  Verse 30 says that Christ made us right with God, he made us pure, holy and free from sin (NLT)… He became for us righteousness, holiness and redemption. In this season, we have to know who we are in Christ… to know our identity.  He has already made us pure… we just need to know what the Word says about who we are.  Get a list of scriptures that tell you who you are in Christ… there are about 133 scriptures!  Read them daily, meditating on them and allowing them to replace wrong beliefs.

The tribe associated with the month of Cheshvan is Manasseh. Manasseh was the first born son of Joseph.  Manasseh and his brother Ephraim were adopted by Isaac and received Joseph’s inheritance and became tribes like 10 of Joseph’s brothers…they represent the next generation. They didn’t have to sit out and wait their turn by waiting until a generation passed away.  They were adopted in and received the same responsibilities and blessings as the older generation.   Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh were grouped together as 1 tribe on the west side of the Tabernacle.  They were the youngest and smallest of tribes.  Their responsibility in war was to defend the Holy things of the Tabernacle.  This is a beautiful picture of the responsibilities of the next generation… they have to be taught to guard what is holy.  Are we training this next generation to guard what is holy?  By teaching them who they are in Christ and teaching them how to guard that identity and the inheritance through that identity that belongs to them.

This month I challenge you to stretch yourself and renew your mind in areas and promises of the Word that maybe you’ve not fully believed… maybe it’s healing, prosperity, righteousness or abundant grace…. and then teach your children to walk in those things and guard them for future generations… because ALL of His promises are yes and amen in Christ!

~ Robin

Inked for Jesus….

butterfly

This weekend I attended a prophetic conference for seer training.  I love these classes because they stretch me out of my comfort zones and teaches me new ways to hear from God and to minister to people.  These classes also remind me how easy the prophetic is when we trust God to speak to us and then through us to others.

At the end of the conference I glanced over and noticed a woman’s tattoo, it was a flower and 2 letters in the middle of the flower on her wrist, and I saw a Hebrew word on it.  When I looked a second time I noticed it wasn’t a Hebrew word at all but I knew what God had shown me was the Hebrew word “bo” in the middle of the flower.  I’ve had that happen before where I see words that aren’t there… it was God was showing me what was going on behind the scenes of a situation.  Giving me insight.

I walked over to the woman and asked her what the tattoo was.  She got a bit embarrassed and said it was a tattoo she got before she was saved.  I asked her what the letters in the middle were and she said it was the Hindu word “ohm”.  She went on to tell me how much she dislikes the tattoo and you could tell from her expression and the fact that she pulled her arm from me to hide it, that it caused her great shame.  While it may at one time have represented who she thought she was, it now no longer defined her.

I apologized for making her feel uncomfortable and then proceeded to tell her about the word I saw in the flower.  Honestly, I am probably the least likely candidate to prophesy over a tattoo.  I don’t even like tattoos!!  LOL!  I love that about God though…. if we stay compassionate towards people, and if we seek after His heartbeat and desire to release His love and who He is, then we make ourselves available to Him in EVERYTHING.  I love co-laboring with Him.

God is not for or against tattoos.  But He is for people… ALL people…. saved and unsaved.  And He is against bondage.  He’s against the devil and how he tries to enslave people in condemnation and guilt over things we did before (and sometimes after) we were saved.  Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago and purchased our freedom.  We have been set free from the condemnation and guilt of sins, choices, mistakes, etc. of our past.  He forgave us completely… of all past, present and future sins.   This tattoo was causing guilt and shame to this woman… this daughter of God that Jesus has completely set free.  

The word “ohm” has a meaning in Hindu.  It means an eternal sound, the seed of creation, the sound of creation, truth, the name of Divinity, the origin of the universe….from where everything has come, in what everything dwells, and into what everything will dissolve into.  Wow!  What a lie from the pit!!  What a bondage from the devil!

No wonder God zeroed in on this particular tattoo.  There were several tattoos in the room and no one was going around prophesying over tattoos… it wasn’t part of the class info.  God was just focused on this one.  Contrary to religious thinking, He wasn’t angry about the tattoo… He didn’t see it as wicked, evil, or wrong… He didn’t even tell her to get rid of her tattoo…God simply renamed her tattoo.  What a beautiful expression of His redemptive power!  He is a good Father and He cares about what we care about…. His love envelops every area of our lives.

Words are powerful and carry the power of life and death.  I believe He simply didn’t want the “power” of this Hindi word speaking to her mind and thoughts any longer.  So he chose a simple Hebrew word “bo” to redeem this marking.   Bo in the Hebrew is a command meaning to come.  The verb “come” means, to move from a far position to a position nearby.  We who were once far from Him came to Jesus when the Father drew us.  And then He came and made His dwelling place our hearts.  Now we are one with Him.  He told us to come to Him and He would give us rest…. unlike the devil’s bondage, His yoke is easy and never burdensome or heavy.  This word that He chose for her tattoo speaks of her position in Him now and about the freedom He purchased for her.

She was so thrilled that God would do that and she lovingly put her hand on the tattoo, the one that she had just a few minutes before tried to hide, and she said “this is my bo tattoo”.  Oh Abba Father You continue to astound me!!  You are truly the God of restoration…. of ALL things.  You can even turn tattoos that exalt a false god into ink for Jesus.

~ Robin