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

Elul 5776 (2016)… the King is in the field

king is in the field

We are currently in the month of Elul on the Hebrew Calendar.  My favorite thing about this month is that it is known as the month the king is in the field.  In the Bible, the king would leave his palace during the month of Elul and set up camp in the field and everyone was welcome to approach him.

Most of the year the king lived in a palace protected by guards and iron gates.   To have an audience with the king, you had to be summoned.  Should you approach without being summoned, you would die (Esther 4:11)… unless he extended the golden scepter to you and spared your life.  After the summons, there was palace protocol to learn before you could approach a king.  You had to dress correctly, speak correctly, and have proper mannerisms, your presentation had to be flawless.  Once you got to the capital, you were ushered to the palace through the many intimidating gates, corridors and antechambers that lead to the throne room.  Even the Queen of Sheba passed out when she came before King Solomon!  

BUT….once a year in the month of Elul, the king would come into the field.

He would leave his palace and go out among his people.  He would set up his royal tent in the field near a town and all who wanted to see him were welcome.  

The announcement was made, The King is In the Field.

They were all welcome to come just as they were… no dress code, no protocol, no intimidation.  The king receives them all with a smiling face and a radiant countenance, desiring to hear their concerns.  The peasant behind his plow has access to the king in a manner unavailable to the highest ranking minister in the royal court when the king is in the palace. 

Let’s look at a couple of Biblical examples of kings in the field.  2 Chronicles 19 is about king Jehoshaphat going into the field. Verse 4 says “So Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem and went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the LORD, the God of their fathers.”  The king went into the field to turn the people’s hearts back to the Lord — restoration.  When he went out among the people he saw things God didn’t like…. injustice, bribery, and oppression.  So, he established judges to end oppression and bring justice. — God wants his people to experience His character.  He wants to manifest His Justice, His righteousness and His love — this wasn’t being seen among the people.

Another king who went out into the field is Melchizadek in Genesis 14.  Melchizadek gave Abram bread and wine and blessed him saying:  “Blessed is Abram by God and Blessed is God who delivered your enemies into your hand.”  When Abram was weary from battle, king Melchizadek came into the field to strengthen and refresh him.  He blessed Abram.

Of course, the greatest King who left His throne to come into the field was Jesus.  He lived in our field in a tent of mortal flesh.  He was God made accessible, smiling and radiant.  He came to manifest God’s goodness, love and righteousness… to heal and deliver ALL.  He came to draw us into a relationship with the Father.  That’s what it looks like when the king is in the field.  

He is the King of kings.  Revelation 1:6 says He made us kings and priests.  We are in the field.  What should that look like?  We should be walking among the people, receiving them with a smiling face, listening to their concerns and like Jehoshopat reconciling them back to God by manifesting His righteousness and love towards them….. 

So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.  ~  2 Cor 5:20

Like Melchizadek, strengthening and refreshing them…letting them know they have been blessed by God. Offering them the bread and the wine… offering them Jesus and what He did for them through the Cross.

And like our King Jesus showing forth the nature of our Father… His goodness, love, righteousness.  His ability to heal and deliver ALL.  Drawing them into a relationship with a Good Daddy.   Not just in the month of Elul but all the time.

~ Robin

Hebrew month of Av 5776 (2016)

 

promises

We’re already almost halfway through the month of Av.. it’s been a busy month for us in the Smit family.  We’re at the height of our summer farming season and life for us just feels non stop, go, go, go.  I’m not complaining though… God has been so good to us and our harvests get better and better each year.  I’v also taken on teaching 4 Bible studies per week… one at church, one at my home, and 2 on an app called oovoo.  I love studying and teaching but it leaves me with very little time during the week for anything else.

However,  I wanted to take a moment this morning and write about the month of Av because it really is such a great month.. full of promise… even though on the Hebrew calendar this month is considered to be a low point.. a month of sorrow.  When studying the Hebrew months, we are to look for the redemptive side of things and pull out the treasure… pull out God’s original plans and purposes for each month.  

It was originally meant to be the month that the Israelites entered into the Promise Land but on the 9th of Av, ten of the spies came back with an evil report.. a report full of unbelief.  They came back and gave the people a mixed report(Numbers 13:25-14:10).  They told them that yes it was true that it was a good land…. flowing with milk and honey…. BUT there was no way that they could take the land because the giants were not only bigger than them, but too big even for God.  There was a zero chance!  That report struck fear into the hearts of the people and caused an entire generation to miss out on entering into the promises of God and they had to wander through the wilderness for 40 years until they died there!  That story makes me think of Acts 13:36 that David had served his generation well.  It says he served God’s purposes in his generation.  The ten spies didn’t serve their generation well.. they didn’t serve God’s purposes in their generation.  They caused their generation, through their mixed words of unbelief, to miss out on the purposes of God.

I want to be one who serves my generation well.  I want the words of my mouth to cause faith to arise in the hearts of those around me… to release life and destiny to them.  To encourage and help my generation reach their destinies and for the purpose of God to be manifested in their lives.  I choose to speak words…  to give a report that stirs the hearts of those around me to press into the promises of God.  So that one day, like David, when it is time for us to “fall asleep” and be buried that it will be said of us that we served the purposes of God in our generation.

So even in a month viewed as a low point on the Jewish calendar, we can choose to see it as God originally intended….a month of goodness, grace and favor.  A month of fulfilled destiny and promise!  A month of Holy Spirit’s transforming power (the 5th Hebrew letter hey which is connected to this month) making us fruitful and productive, taking what we are not and making us into what He has called us to be… as in taking Abram from father to Abraham “father of a multitude”. 

The name Av literally means “father.” Av derives from the root, which means, “to will” or “to desire.”  This is a month for us to walk in the Father’s will for us.  It is a month to hear and then speak forth what you have heard from the Father… just like Caleb and Joshua.  They had another spirit… they wholeheartedly followed after God.  They were “filled” with following after, or following behind God… there wasn’t any room in them for anything else.  They had no plan B… they had no mixed reports.  They heard God’s promises and then saw through eyes of faith that they were well able to take possession of His promises.

Caleb is one of my favorites in the Bible.  He is always so optimistic and full of undaunted faith…. wholehearted and unwavering!  Verse 30 in chapter 13 says that he silenced the people and told them we are well able to overcome… in the Hebrew he said we are “yakol yakol”.  He repeated the word, which means able, to have power, to prevail, to overcome!  Repetition of a word shows intensity.  He was in effect saying, “come on boys!!  We’ve got this!!  We can do it… we are strong in the Lord and the power of His might!”

Even when he is 80 and finally ready to enter the promise land with the 2nd generation of Israelites, he asks for the biggest mountain which was inhabited by the fiercest of the enemies to possess!  His faith only got stronger during the 40 years of waiting.  I’m sure he probably spent the 40 years serving this 2nd generation well.   Stirring their hearts with courage and faith so that they would be able to walk in the purposes of God.

In chapter 14 the people had caved and given in to fear because the ten had spread an evil report after Caleb had spoken… that word dibbah means to whisper, to defame or slander.. from a root word meaning to move slowly, to glide, to cause to speak.  Comparable to a word that means to walk slow or leisurely.  These men did more than just “give” an evil report to the congregation…. they did more that just give their fearful opinion of the matter.  These 10 men moved slowly through the camp from one person to the next whispering and slandering the promise of God.  Telling the people that this land… the land God has given them is not safe.  It devours, consumes it’s inhabitants and is full of “giants of the giants” and we saw ourselves as but grasshoppers and therefore they see us like that also!

Chapter 14 begins with saying they raised a loud cry (in Hebrew they set, or established their voices).  Even after hearing the encouragement of Caleb they made a choice to set their voices to speak contrary to what God had promised.  Then it says they grumbled against Moses. The Hebrew word for grumble or murmur is lun which is to lodge, or to abide.  Grumbling, murmuring, complaining was abiding in them instead of the Word of God.  John 15:7 tells us that if we abide in Him and His Word abides in us we can ask whatever we desire and it will be done for us.  Their grumbling pitted them against Moses and Aaron… it actually says “over” Moses and Aaron.  Grumbling not only pits you against leadership but causes you to think you are over or above them.. which is pride.

This caused them to say “we wish we had died in Egypt or in this wilderness” and “God’s purpose was to bring us into a land where we would be prey for the enemy.  It is good that we return to Egypt.  Let’s make… let’s establish or set… a captain, a leader and return to Egypt.”  Wow!! They didn’t just react with fear to the possibility of the promise land being hard to conquer…. they spoke out against the purpose of God and accused God of an evil purpose for them!  

Joshua was another one who was full of faith and courage.  After he and Caleb tore their clothes in response to the Israelite’s words against God,  he tried again to encourage these rebellious people.  He assured them that it was a very good land.  In fact he uses the word very twice… a very, very, good land.  An exceedingly, great land!!   He goes on to say that the Lord’s desire is to bring us into and give us a land flowing (gushing or overflowing) with milk and honey.  Overflowing and gushing with all good things.  Overflowing and gushing with prosperity and abundance.  He encourages them not to rebel against God and also not to fear the people of the promise land who will be our prey because the Lord is not with them and they have no defense.  The Israelites responded by wanting to stone Joshua and Caleb.

Regardless of the Israelite’s response and the fact that they were not persuaded and moved by Joshua and Caleb’s words, Caleb and Joshua had served their generation well and were allowed to serve the next generation well and enter the promise land with them.   God will have a people, even if He has to raise up a second generation to receive and walk out what the first generation refused.

This month be determined to be one who speaks forth a good report… a God report.  Be one who chooses to see with eyes of faith… wholehearted in following after God… in being led by His Spirit into His exceedingly great promises.  Be a strong leader of faith, encouraging others to step out into God’s purposes for their life.  Serve your generation well – Acts 13:36

~ Robin

Distorted view of the Father

luke 15

What a beautiful description Luke 15:24 is of the Father’s love for us… truly His heartbeat is restoration and His response to our being restored to Him is to celebrate over us!!  Zephaniah 3:17 in God’s Word Translation says “The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.”  I love that.  Psalm 91:15 He says He will rescue us and then throw us a party.  The more I meditate on His goodness, the more I see Him in this light…. rejoicing over me, renewing me with His love, celebrating over me and throwing me a party!!  I begin to see Him as Love… extravagant, lavish, outpouring, overflowing Love towards me!  This is the picture of the Father that Jesus is showing us in this parable… a picture of a Good, Good, Daddy.. full of chesed (Covenant Love) toward us (for more on chesed see my post Goodness and Grace).. a love that just won’t let us go!!

Both sons had a distorted view of their father…..

Both sons had a distorted view of their father and therefore a distorted view of themselves…. this identity problem made them unable to walk in the fullness of their positions as “sons” and enjoy the benefits of their inheritance.  They couldn’t see themselves the way their father saw them… accepted, loved and favored.

The Greek word for son is ‘huios’ and means son… a son having the nature of the father; a son representing the father — this is a word of position….a word of maturity.  As opposed to the Greek word ‘teknos’ which means child… one not fully grown or mature, still needing to be under tutors and governors (Galatians 4:2).  God has called us as sons…. Ephesians 1:5  Having predestinated  (in Greek:  proorizo…determined our destiny) us unto the adoption (in Greek:  huiosthasia… declaration of sonship) of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”.  How awesome and powerful is that truth!!  Before the foundations of the world, He determined and established our destiny as sons of God… being conformed to the image of the Firstborn Son.  

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons.  ~Luke 15:9

He had 2 sons… both were huios.  We are first introduced to the elder son as a huios (Luke 15:25)…  meaning having the nature of the father; one representing the father — this is a word of position and a word of maturity.  But his distorted identity was based on works… on what he did for the father instead of who he was.  Verse 29 gives us a glimpse of how this son saw himself.  “But he answered his father, ‘Look, all these years I have served you and never disobeyed a commandment of yours. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.”  The word served is douleuo which means “to serve as a slave” — slave was “doulos”.  This was a distorted the view the son had of himself.  He was a son not a slave but he saw himself serving as a slave…. not as a representative of the father.  And the rest of the verse gives his distorted view of the father… not as an extravagant, generous father but someone withholding from him — even something as small as a goat to celebrate.  

The younger son is introduced in verse 12 as a huios…. again meaning having the nature of the father; one representing the father — this is a word of position and a word of maturity.  His distorted view of his identity was based on his inheritance.. what he would possess at his father’s death —  his priority was on his inheritance instead of relationship.  Although even after he leaves with the inheritance, he is still called a “son” (huios).  His position hadn’t changed even though he walked away from it.  Later in the story he comes to his senses and realizes he has sinned against heaven and against his father and decides to tell his father he is no longer worthy to be called “a son” but instead a hired hand (with no inheritance).  But the father’s response is one of love and although the son no longer sees himself as a son but a servant, the father sees him the way he always has… as a son… his son. 

He always makes grace available for us…..

Redemptive grace was offered to both sons to see themselves as they truly were and to see the father as he truly was.  While we know the younger brother repented and began to see clearly who he was, sadly we never know if the elder brother repented and if his heart was healed and he embraced his sonship.  But we do get a glimpse of the condition of his heart in looking further into how the father referred to him.  In verse 31 the father calls him son but the Greek word used is teknos instead of huios;  Teknos means child — a member born into the family but immature; not yet transformed into mature sons, able to inherit and to administer the father’s house and his belongings.

We are sons of God.  And our Father is a good Daddy to us.  Ask Abba Father today to reveal this truth to you…. begin to see yourself in Christ… as joint heirs with Him, carriers of His glory, made in His image and as a representative on earth of all that He is and all that He is… and then begin releasing that to those who have lost their way!

~Robin