Hebrew month of Tevet 5777 (2016)

god_is_good

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

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  

Hebrew month of Iyar

Jehovah rophe necklace

Last night we entered into the Hebrew month of Iyar.  This is one of the three Spring months…. Remember that each month is a progressive blessing – the blessing of the Spring months are:

  1. Reconfirm your covenant with God at Passover in the first month (Nissan)
  2. So that, He can reveal secrets of His covenant in this second month (Iyar)
  3. And then He will bring you into a whole new level of Pentecost in the third month (Sivan)

Spring is a time to plant…. as you sow this month declare that your harvest is being secured and that every seed will prosper.  Biblically it is the “New year of Kings”… a time of counting the years of the reigns of kings in ancient Israel.  It is also the month when kings go to war (2 Sam 10:1)… This is a time to reign as kings and to use your authority…. to war for your covenant promises.  Zech 10:1 tells us to ask the Lord for rain in the springtime…. this month is a time to ask for the rain of His presence.  

After coming out of Egypt, Iyar was the transition month between Egypt and Mt Sinai.  It was a transition to a new level in their relationship with Him from being one of deliverance to one of covenant.  The rabbis have traditionally taught that this new level was actually a marriage covenant between the Lord and Israel… He became their Husband. During this transition time He began revealing His covenant secrets to them in the Wilderness – in Ex 15:26 He revealed Himself to them as their Healer, Jehovah Rophe.  In fact Iyar is actually an acronym meaning Ani Yaweh Rophe.  In Hebrew it is spelled:  Aleph, Yud, Yud, Resh….. “Ani Yahweh Rofecha.  Aleph – stands for Ani,  Yud – 2 yud’s next to each other always represent God’s name and Reish – stands for Rofecha.  In Ex 16:12 He revealed Himself as Jehovah Jireh, the Lord their Provider as He sent in quail in the evening and rained down Manna (angel’s food) from Heaven.  Another covenant secret He taught them was the Sabbath (Ex 16:26)… He was trying to teach them to rest in Him, that He would provide everything they would ever need.  This provision was given even in their grumbling (Ex 16:2).  In Ex 17 He revealed Himself as Jehovah Nissi, the Lord their Banner after their victorious battle against the Amalekites.  This battle was only victorious because He was their banner and fought for them…. later after the report of the spies and they are judged to wander in the Wilderness for 40 years, they realize their sin and decide to go up and take the land against Moses’ counsel and are badly defeated by the Amalekites and Canaanites.  Our victories are only guaranteed when God is with us…. Psalm 108:13; Psalm 60:12;   How do we learn His secrets?  Simply when we ask!  Dan 2:21-22, Mt 13:11, James 1:5.

 Iyar is often called the month of Ziv, meaning radiance.  It is linked with light or increased revelation.  It is the opposite of darkness….Isaiah 60:1-3.  This is also the month the disciples were taught many things about the Kingdom by Jesus during the 40 days after His death and when they waited in the upper room to receive the promise from on High.  Just like every year before, as tradition dictated, they spent the night before Shavout (Pentecost) first taking an offering to the temple and then staying up all night studying the Word. But this particular year on Shavout, He fulfilled the prophecy in Joel 2.  He poured out His Spirit upon them and they became changed men and women who went forth changing the world. This month we are still in the period of what is called counting the Omer.  Omer in the Hebrew is to form and utter speech!  This is a time to speak out the promises of God… releasing words that will help propel us into our destiny and transition us successfully into this new season!

The tribe associated with Iyar  is “Issachar”, this is probably one of my favorite tribes.  Jacob prophesied over Issachar in Gen 49:14-15 and Moses prophesied over them in Deut 33:18-19.   Issachar was the 5th son of Leah.  Five represents grace, goodness and favor of God.  Remember that this is the month of transition through the wilderness before Mt Sinai.. In the wilderness they received grace – the word encampments translates “grace was available”.   This month grace is available as we move towards the month of Sivan, as we learn the ways of God, the secrets of His covenant.  Issachar was a man of strength that would not hold back from hard work to establish a secure place to rest.  He was a burden bearer… this links the anointing to intercession.  Men of Issachar were also prophetic people…. they not only had an understanding of the times and seasons, but also knew what Israel should do… 1 Chron 12:40.  Deut 27:12… an Issachar anointing understands the timing of God and the government of God, carries the burden of the Lord, and releases the blessing of God into the earth realm at the crossroads of every season.  Lets ask Him this month for this Issachar anointing of prophetic intercession!

Nisan – a time of revival

barley yeshua

Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.  ~ Exodus 12:1-2

Last year as we entered into the Hebrew month of Nisan I woke up to a song in my heart and on my lips… “it’s a new season, it’s a new day.  a fresh anointing is flowing my way.  a season of power and prosperity. it’s a new season coming my way.” And in prayer I kept  hearing God say “new day, new day!!” where He led me to Joshua 1:2 ““Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.” This happened in the Hebrew month of Nisan.  A new day had come for the children of Israel…  the old way of living (in the Wilderness) was over and it was now time to cross over into the Promise Land and receive all that God had promised them.

On this past Friday evening we entered into Nisan… on Sat morning I woke up with an expectancy of something new.  It felt as if something in the atmosphere had shifted.  Saturday was also the day of Azusa Now in Los Angeles (which marked 110 years anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival) as well as United Cry DC in Washington DC.   East coast and West coast worshipping together and crying out to God on the same day for revival in our land!  A day of unity in the Body.  I believe we have entered into a new day… Saturday marked a day that everything changed… an historic day for us!

And not coincidentally it happened as we entered into the Hebrew month of Nisan.  The month of Passover… a time of liberation, personal change, going from slavery to freedom, and the emerging out of the old.  Saturday I believe we “passed over”into a new season… a season that has shifted us and positioned us for the next Great Awakening and a New Jesus Revolution.  Rev. William Seymour, the leader of the Azusa Street Awakening, prophesied that in 100 years there would be an outpouring of God’s Spirit and His Shekinah Glory that would be greater and more far reaching than what was experienced at Azusa.

Revival is defined as to live again, to receive again a life which has almost expired; to rekindle into a flame the vital spark which was nearly extinguished.  Another great definition I read is “The Spirit of God working through the Word of God, in the lives of the people of God.” Passover (which is in Nisan) is a time of revival and spiritual renewal, a restoration of the Power and Glory, a renewed interest in God! In Nisan the children of Israel shifted into a new season… a season of liberation as they followed Moses, the revivalist, out of Egypt.  The children of Israel had been enslaved for 430 years and in Exodus 6 God told Moses that He heard their groanings….and He responded to their prayerful cries and to the hearts of His people… there was a revival of His covenant with Abraham.

Nisan is also a month of Repentance, Redemption and Miracles.  It’s called the season of the ‘miracle of miracles’ and your appointed time for great blessing!  Nisan has within it the word nes, which in Hebrew is miracle.  It is also the month that the King had favor on Nehemiah and granted him permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall.  Again, another time of revival for Israel…. in Nehemiah chapter 8 the people gather as Ezra reads the Word of God.  They stood listening to the Word for about 6 hours!! Then they began weeping, because they realized how much they had sinned against God…. they were repentant…  and worshipping God after it was read…. their hearts were revived and turned back to God.    Again, this happened in the month of Nisan.

It is also month to watch your speech.. be aware of what your confessions are.    If you speak negatively during this month, it will adversely affect you months down the road.  The seeds of negativity take root and will pull you backward. Your positive confessions should “grab the wind” and change the atmosphere. Speak forth revival… in your life, your families, your city and your nation!  This is also a month assigned to the right foot.. a time to step out….. and step forth in strength and consider where the Lord is leading you this year.  Move ahead confidently in God. Numbers 33:3 “They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians”.  In the Hebrew the word used is “rum” (pronounced room)… it means exalted.  Psalm 18:4 says God exalts us above our enemies.  Step forth triumphantly… in victory this month!

The letter “hei” is assigned to this month.  Hei is my favorite of all the Hebrew letters.  This letter is for behold!….it speaks of revelation and light.  It is wind, breath, the Spirit of God blowing on us…. it is the divine breath of God’s creative power breathed into Adam.  It is the number 5 which speaks of God’s grace and goodness.  It is the transforming power of Holy Spirit that changed Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah.  This blessing of the letter “hei” is available to us in the month of Nisan… His grace and goodness, His redemption, revelation and light, and of course the wind of His Spirit transforming us and making us fruitful and productive.  Ask the Holy Spirit to blow upon you for a fresh revival in your heart, for new revelation, and for a quickened understanding of what God is doing.

Nisan is the month of Judah.  It was the kingly tribe, the tribe of Messiah.  Judah represents apostolic leadership… they were the warring tribe who knew how to operate with sound.  They were the tribe that went out first in battle (Judges 20:18)…  they were also the first tribe in the order of procession when Israel moved in the wilderness (Num. 10:14)  Judah also means “to cast a smooth stone against your enemy”….  that is what David, who was of the tribe of Judah, did to Goliath… praise will bring your enemy down. Biblically praise and warfare are always connected.  Psalm 149:6 describes the high praise of God in our mouths and as a double edged sword in our hands.  Praising God is an act of war!

Judah’s symbol is the lion… Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  Judah comes from the Hebrew word “Yadah”, which means to praise God with lifted hands, to give thanks, to glorify or to acknowledge God.  They were a people of praise…. praise was their identity.  This tribe camped to the East of the tabernacle.  The entrance to the tabernacle was on the East…. likewise, the way into His presence is with praise.  God assigned a portion of land to all the tribes…. Judah was given Jerusalem.  God told them that He would choose one location that would be His holy place, where He would manifest His presence, this place was Jerusalem.    For us to dwell in His presence and experience His blessings, we must be a people of praise.

Nisan this year is April 8th – May 8th on our calendar.  Nisan is also called Aviv which means Springtime.  It is a time of coming out of a dead winter and positioning yourself to bring forth new life and flourish…. a time of rebirth and a fresh start.  This month sets the course for your future. Spring is a time to plant…. as you sow this month declare that your harvest is being secured and that every seed will prosper.  Another Hebrew word for Spring is tishuvah… tishuvah means repentance.  It is a month to repent… turn away from.. to change your mind from anything that held you back in the previous season, so you are free to move forward with God in this new season.

Biblically it is the “New year of Kings”… a time of counting the years of the reigns of kings in ancient Israel.  It is also the month when kings go to war (2 Sam 10:1)… This is a time to reign as kings and use your authority…. to war for your covenant promises with praise.  Zech 10:1 tells us to ask the Lord for rain in the springtime…. this month is a time to ask for the rain of His presence.  I loved that on Saturday the 8th (Azusa now and United Cry DC) it rained here in California and also in DC…. in fact my Facebook post that morning was Hosea 6:3 “He comes like the rain”.  That day on Facebook I saw two different photos of rainbows… one over the colosseum in LA and two double rainbows a few days before over the Washington monument and the US capital.

Nisan is a time God has scheduled on His calendar for a a powerful outpouring of salvation and deliverance for our families, breakthroughs in our business and finances and the miracle of a new beginning in every area of your life! It’s a time to align yourself for abundant harvest!  It’s a window of opportunity that’s passing by right now, so press in with faith and lay hold of every blood bought promise of God, paid for in full by Jesus Christ our Passover Lamb.  This is a time to expect miracles not only in your life but also to expect signs, wonders and miracles working through you.

~ Robin

 

Naaman the Syrian

naaman the syrian

And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”  When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath   ~ Luke 4:27-28

I started this blog post 2 weeks ago but a death in my immediate family forced me to put my study on hold.  Now that life has resumed back to normal, I’m excited to start blogging once again.  We had been talking about Jesus’ teaching of Isaiah 61:1-2 in the past two blogs (see Jesus is our Jubilee and The widow of Sidon) and the people of Nazareth’s response to His teaching.  He was revealing to them that He had come to be a light and a blessing… to show forth His salvation… to the Gentiles (unbelievers) as well as the Jews.  He was reminding them of their covenant responsibility to co-labor with Him in being a blessing to ALL the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3)…. He had blessed them to be a blessing… to release that blessing to ALL we come in contact with.  

This example must’ve struck a nerve with them and just pushed them over the edge…. this example that He gave was unthinkable to their natural reasonings!  The widow represented Gentile sinners but Naaman represents much more than that… he was the captain of the Syrian army… the Syrians oppressed Israel.  They were enemies of Israel.  Much in the same way that the Romans were the oppressors of the group sitting and listening to Jesus.  Surely being a light and a blessing didn’t mean extending it to their oppressive enemies did it?  

Remember, God’s heartbeat is for the nations.  He was so intent on showing the Israelites His love and compassion for ALL people, and that ALL people can have faith in God, that He chose one of the most hated men in Israel at that time to prove it.  God in His mercy pursued Naaman…. there were MANY lepers in Israel but none of them were healed except Namaan the Syrian (Luke 4:27)  

The Syrians were always terrorizing and attacking Israel and then taking prisoners back to Syria… on one of these raids, Namaan carried off a little girl from Israel and made her his wife’s servant (2 Kings 5:2).  Chapter 5 opens with the Lord allowing Syria to win a battle, although we don’t know who the other side is.  The Bible also tells us that Naaman was mighty, honorable to his King (King Aram) and strong in battle.  But his military strength and glory were marred by an incurable disease of leprosy.    

This little girl that he kidnapped tells Namaan’s wife about the prophet Elisha and that Namaan could be healed if only he were with him.  I love the little girl in this story… she is definitely a co-laborer with God…a minister of reconciliation.  She is being a blessing to even the one who took her captive.  She has complete faith that if Namaan were to see Elisha he would be healed!  She had faith in her God that He is not only able to heal but is willing to heal…. even an enemy of Israel!

While this story in Luke 4 is a rebuke to the people that they are neglecting their covenant role of being blessed to be blessing to ALL the people of the earth… thankfully however God doesn’t just rebuke us and leave in our neglectful condition.  It is also an invitation to be His ambassadors of unconditional love… God’s love that He poured out into our hearts (Romans 5:5) … to even our enemies… those who oppose us… oppress us… or even enslave us (as Namaan did to this girl).  

Namaan goes to see Elisha.  An enemy of God, one who has attacked, killed, plundered Israel, one who has leprosy… an outcast of outcasts is standing at the door of the man of God hoping to be healed.  He comes carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing and with his horse and chariot and wealth.  What a sight Namaan was… power, prestige, a commanding presence.    He had yet to acknowledge with the psalmist that “Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7).  

But rather than respond to such pomp and circumstance as Namaan was undoubtably used to people doing…. rather than come personally, Elisha sends a messenger to him telling him to go and wash 7 times in the Jordan river and he will be made clean. God alone would get the glory for healing Namaan… not Elisha… because Namaan was expecting Elisha, the prophet of God, to heal him… he didn’t even know the God of Israel yet.  His trust was in a man whom he assumed had “magical” powers.  Naaman comes from a pagan country, where his “prophets” made quite a spectacle when they healed the sick. According to the Bible Commentaries, they raised their hands in the air, and shouted for the sick to be healed.  But God was after Namaan’s heart not just in healing his physical body… He was pursuing Namaan.    

However, Naaman almost misses his miracle healing because of pride and self importance.  The first words out of his mouth were “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.  In fact he went away more than just mad… the word used means wrath, rage, full of poison and venom.  

He thought!  He had a preconceived idea of how he thought his healing would come about.  How many times have we missed or almost missed our miracle because we thought God would do something the way we preconceived it?  We had it all figured out in our minds!  Thank God He is not bound to the limitations of our preconceived ideas or the boundaries of our thinking!!  Let’s let go of our limited expectations and have faith in the God of Israel and His limitless way of manifesting miracles in our life.

Naaman thought the resources he trusted in were better than what God was providing.  He said the rivers in Damascus are better than Israel…. they are tov.  Tov is good… to be in proper working order, the way it was meant to… the way God created it to work.  Naaman’s pagan ways were far from tov!  He lived in a culture that didn’t function the way God created us to live.  We were created to love Him… not to serve false gods. 

He was asked to do nothing less than to betray the faith of his fathers. He was being asked to be willing to acknowledge that there was a possibility that Israel’s God could do something the Syrian god was unable to do. Naaman would have to let go of everything he trusted in and trust God for his healing.  The Jordan means to descend… Namaan would have to humble himself… to descend… to lower himself in order to be made clean.  And this was exactly what Jesus was saying to the people in the synagogue listening to Him that day… if they wanted salvation, they were going to have to let go of everything they trusted in… their adherence to the law…their good works…. and admit they were the poor, the blind, the oppressed, unclean.. that they were no different from Namaan.. or for that matter their Roman oppressors…in need of a Savior.    Instead of responding to the rebuke and the invitation to release His goodness and His presence… His salvation…. to the Gentiles (the unbelievers), they responded with offense.  

So, after being encouraged by his servant to do what was asked of him, he steps out in faith and humbles himself by dipping in the dirty Jordan 7 times.  Naaman experienced the overwhelming power, presence, and mercy of Israel’s God and his whole attitude changed.  Naaman had a whole-hearted transformation: “Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.’”  When Naaman goes back to Elisha’s house – he’s a changed man! There is no mention of horses and chariots this time as he returns to Elisha.  And he doesn’t just declare the goodness of God but that God is the only God in the entire world.  This is a radical statement for a man of his time, living in a polytheistic society.

Naaman’s God is now the God of Israel and he declares he will only make sacrifices and offerings to God. Before he didn’t want to wash in the Jordan River, because the waters of Damascus, were better than any of the waters of Israel, and now he wants to take dirt from Israel (v 17). The Bible Commentaries say: he wants to take dirt because God’s presence was in Israel.  His solution to worshiping in Syria was to take Israeli dirt with him.  He asks God to forgive him, when he has to bow to other “gods” because of his obligation to the king. This gentile, knows it’s a sin to bow down to any other “god” that isn’t the God of Israel.  Elisha blesses him and tells him to go in peace.  Luke 4:27 Jesus says there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”  God’s heart is for the Nations…. Naaman was a changed man… a spiritually cleansed man all because of one little Jewish girl who had compassion on him… her oppressor.  

2016… A year of God’s manifested goodness

new year

 

Today begins 2016 which is also 5776 on the Jewish calendar (which began on September 13th).  I love New Years Day… it’s like a fresh start.  Anything is possible.  Today we took down all of our Christmas decorations… giving even our house a clean, fresh start.  Anything I didn’t like from last year, I’ve left behind me and the things I’ve learned from 2015 I get to carry with me into 2016.

This year is a Jubilee year.  In Leviticus 25, Jubilee has promises attached to it…. Liberty for the captives, restoration of family, land, and possessions, increase from your field, freedom from oppression, safety and triple blessings!  In Christ these promises belong to us every year, not just during a Jubilee year…. Jesus is our Jubilee.   Unfortunately we don’t always walk in the revelation of our inheritance In Him.  This year let’s begin to declare BIG…. let’s declare these Jubilee promises over our lives.

This year is also a Leap Year… in Hebrew a leap year is called a Pregnant year.  We’ve been given an extra day and on the Jewish calendar an extra month (Adar II) added to their regular calendar.  What are you pregnant with this year in the Spirit?  Steward well the dreams and visions God gives you for this year with hope and faith.  Be careful not to abort those dreams prematurely through doubt, unbelief, and impatience.

The letters associated with this Hebraic year 5776 are the ayin and the vav. The ayin has a numerical value of 70 and the vav has a numerical value of 6 forming the “76.”  The entire decade from 2010 to 2019 (the year’s 5770 to 5779) is dominated by the significance of the last two digits.  70 is the Hebrew word “AYIN.”  “Ayin” is a word describing an eye…or insight or seeing or perceiving with God’s perspective. This is a decade where we must constantly renew our mind to keep close to God’s way of seeing things.

Vav has a couple of different meanings.  It is a word, as well as a letter.  The word is “and” which is a uniting word… a connecting word.  The first time it is used is in Genesis 1:1 “God created the heavens and (vav) the earth”.  This year is to believe BIG and declare BIG.  It’s a year to believe and declare heaven on earth.  Whatever is in heaven is available NOW on earth…. Matt 6:10  “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven”. There is no poverty, sickness, or disease in Heaven!

Vav is also a picture of a tent-peg.  Isaiah 52 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;  do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”  This year, do not hold back… enlarge your faith… believe bigger and declare bigger!  Go farther in the things of God this year.  What inheritance promises were hard for you to wrap your head around last year…. prosperity, divine health, grace??  Meditate on those scriptures this year… putting them in your heart and speaking them forth.  Building your spiritual muscles and laying hold of what’s yours In Christ.

Judges 4:21 is another story of a tent-peg… this time as a weapon.  It’s the story of Jael.  The enemy had come into her home because her husband Heber (meaning fellowship) hadn’t stood against the enemy but rather had an alliance with him (verse 17) in order to stay safe on either side of battle.  But Jael had no such alliance and she took a tent-peg and nailed it through the enemy’s head!  This year stand firm against the enemy… against what belongs to you In Christ… don’t allow thoughts that exalt themselves against the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor 10:5) to come into your dwelling place… stake them with the Word!  

I am expecting great things this year… in fact my husband and I have been saying this year will be our best year yet.  I believe this is a year we’ve been waiting for… a year of acceleration, promotion, fullness, favor and increase in every area.    

This morning at 2:30 am the Lord spoke 2 words to me regarding this year.  He said this would be a year of “Behold I make ALL things new”.  I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant until this morning when I read Verna Brown’s (the Pastor of Soul Harvest Worship Center in Modesto, CA) post on Facebook with the exact same words “Behold, I make all things new”….. her post went on to list several new things He is giving this year:  new dreams, new revelations, new strength, new health, new opportunities, new mindsets, new experiences, new mercies, new wine and wind of the Spirit, etc.  What is it that you need new this year?  Begin declaring it and claiming it as yours.  All things are possible to him who believes.  Maybe you need new, fresh hope in order to believe bigger.  Ask Him today to make ALL things new in your life.

The second thing He told me was this year would be a season of His manifested goodness.  I love that.  God is good and He wants to pour out His goodness on your life. Psalm 65:11 says “He crowns the year with His goodness and your paths drip with abundance”.   In Exodus 33 Moses asked God to please show him His glory.  God responded that He would cause all His goodness to pass before him.  He said He would proclaim His name to Moses… revealing His true character and nature to him.  He revealed His glory, His very essence, which includes His mercy, grace, loving-kindness (chesed – covenant loyalty), truth, forgiveness and holiness. (Ex. 34:6-7) God’s glory is His goodness. His goodness is His nature…. it’s who He is.  A manifestation of His goodness in your life is a deeper revelation of His glory… of who He is… His true nature and character.  

This year, allow Him to enlarge your tents, give you bigger dreams and visions, make ALL things new in your life, and manifest His goodness (all that He is) in and through you.  Get ready… this is the year you’ve been waiting for.  I believe at the end of 2016 we’re not going to say “I’m so glad this year is over and ready for a new one” but rather “2016 was so awesome how can 2017 possibly top it!” To quote Kenneth Copeland… “This is the Great year of whatever you need!

 

~ Robin

 

 

 

Full of Grace and Truth

grace and truth

John 1:14 “….We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus came full of grace and truth. Full of is “pleres” in Greek which means abounding in and completely occupied with. Grace is “charis” which means bowing down favorably toward us… it’s also the Old Testament equivalent of “chesed” which is God’s covenant loyalty toward us (see the last blog post Goodness and Grace).  Chesed (grace) is His love that will not let us go!  And truth is “aletheia” which is not just truth spoken but the reality of truth.. truth revealed. Summed up, Jesus came abundantly and completely occupied with bowing down favorably toward us… He came abundantly and completely occupied with showing us God’s covenant love toward us and revealing to us the reality of the Father… what He’s like… that He’s a good Father to us all the time. Completely occupied!!

He was consumed with revealing to us the true realities of the Father’s love.  The Word, the Son, who is God, became flesh to reveal a divine glory that is “full of grace and truth.” The Word of God became flesh to be gracious to us. The Word became flesh so that this graciousness to us would come in accord with God’s truthfulness. Paul put it like this in 1 Cor 4:4 “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  The glory of Christ is the image of God, our Father. Verse 18 says although no one has ever seen God, Jesus has revealed Him and made Him known to us. Our Father is full of grace and truth all the time.  Verse 16 tells us that we have received “out of this fullness” grace upon grace!  We’ve received an abundance of grace.   

Sometimes I get preoccupied with the demands of my life… motherhood, being a wife, family time, making a home, friendships, our business, etc. and don’t make the time to be completely occupied with Him…. completely occupied with His love and allowing that Love to flow through me to the world around me.  Completely occupied with the truths and realities of what my Father really looks like…. and showing others what our Father looks like.  Being a walking, talking manifestation of His extravagant grace.  Being full of grace makes me more pleasant to be around.  I’m not pointing out others faults or weaknesses but rather helping them to look to the One who can pour out His grace upon them.  Being full of grace causes me to encourage and walk along side those around me.  It makes me realize that apart from Him I can do nothing, because in Him I live and move and have my being.

I have become more occupied lately with learning about grace and the truths or realities of my Father. The more I learn, the more it replaces old mindsets… the wrong perceptions of who my Father is and what He’s like.  And the more revelation I get, the more I become a walking epistle for a hurting world to read…. because isn’t that truly what we all want… for the world to come up and grab our coat tails and ask us how they can have a life like ours… one that is victorious, peaceful, loving, and full of grace and truth.  For them to look at us and not see us but to look into our Father’s eyes and experience His truth (realities) and His grace (chesed).  And then we get the honor of directing them to the One who can give them life more abundantly.

Goodness and Grace

chesed love

Yesterday we looked at the word good.  We studied 1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…  ” and learned that good is not an adjective describing God but it is who He is (see yesterdays post entitled “Goodness“).  Good and God are the same thing… they are a single idea.  He is good!  And He can’t be anything but good to you!

The rest of that scripture says “for His mercy (lovingkindness) endures forever”.  The word mercy is not an accurate translation.  Translators use words like kindness, loving-kindness, mercy, loyalty, steadfast love, and graciousness  because there really isn’t a proper English word that encapsulates the meaning of this word. Perhaps loyal love is close.  Hebrew has a word for this loyal love that is richer and deeper than anything in English—it is chesed (KHEH-sed). It is a covenant word that goes beyond the requirements of mere duty and obligation…..it is a love that WILL NOT let me go!  It is from the root word chacad, which is to be good or kind….”to bow down.” It is a picture here of God coming down to where we are (in the person of Jesus)  and providing us the Way of Salvation! It truly is covenant love an immovable, unshakable, unchanging loyalty to His covenant with us.

We also quoted Ps 23:6 yesterday “Surely goodness and lovingkindness (chesed) will follow me all the days of my life…. goodness and chesed (God’s loyalty to His covenant) will follow me ALL the days of my life.   The word”surely” is set as a seal upon it… it’s guaranteed… a done deal! It doesn’t depend on what I do or don’t do… I can add nothing of myself to it.

Psalm 107:1 is the same verse as 1 Chronicles 16:34 (above) and the same word chesed is used.  Psalm 136 is another identical scripture….again the word used is chesed although our English uses the translation mercy.  I like Psalm 136 in the Complete Jewish Bible translation (you can go to bible gateway.com to read it)…. this translation always translates chesed as grace, not just in this Psalm only.

One of the earliest usages of chesed is by Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, when he was sent to find a wife for Isaac. He realized that his success was because of the Father’s chesed (translated “kindness” in Genesis 24:12) God’s covenant loyalty to his master Abraham.

Moses used this term to show why God delivered Israel from captivity in Egypt…. because of covenant loyalty (chesed). “You in Your mercy (chesed) have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13). In Ex 34:5-8 after God gives Moses the Tablets, He descended in a cloud and stood before him proclaiming who He is… verse 6 translates chesed as abounding in goodness! He abounds in covenant loyalty towards us.  We see a similar statement in John 1:17  “grace (charis) and truth (reality) came through Jesus Christ.”  Jesus is the manifestation and the reality of grace and truth… of chesed (covenant loyalty). Thus we see the connection between the Hebrew word chesed (translated here as “goodness”) and the Greek charis, meaning “grace.”

Ps 117 says Praise the LORDall nationsExtol him, all peoples!
For great is his loving kindness (chesed) toward us, and the faithfulness (truth) of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!…..The CJB translation says in verse 2… For his grace has overcome us, and Adonai’s truth continues forever.  Grace and truth! Jesus came full of grace and truth….this had always been His character and by extension the character of His Father. 

Chesed is covenant word ….  it is the OT equivalent of the NT word charis which is “grace.”  Sometimes we view the Old Testament (Judaism) as a religion of laws and the New Testament (Christianity) as a religion of grace.  God extended his grace in both Testaments… both Covenants. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He revealed his grace to the fullest in the New Testament coming of Jesus (John 1:16-17 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace…….grace and truth came through Jesus Christ) but His grace is also displayed throughout Old Testament Scriptures

Chesed is definitely a word that begs for a deeper study than we can give to this one blog post.  Now that I know it is the equivalent of NT grace, it will change how I read scriptures and it will definitely cause me to do a deeper study of it.  I hope it sparked you to do a deeper study as well.  Hosea 6:6 says that God desires chesed (covenant loyalty) not sacrifice, and He desires the knowledge of Him (yada – intimate knowing as in a husband and wife) not burnt offerings.  That reminds me of Paul’s words in Phil 3:10 that I may know (ginosko in Greek – the equivalent of the Hebrew word yada) Him and the power of His resurrection.  By going deeper, drawing nearer to Him… knowing Him more intimately… only then can I fully understand chesed.

God’s grace is a given that is always being given!  There is nothing you can do to earn or merit His grace.  It is given because of chesed… His covenant loyalty toward us…. HIS LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET US GO!

Goodness

good father 3

This Hebrew month of Tevet is a month filled with the goodness of God.

God is a good God… He can’t help but pour out His goodness on us all the time!  The word good, which in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word tov, is listed 562 times.  Strong’s defines it as favorable, pleasant, festive (I like that one!), pleasing, well, better, right, best. Some of the translations in the KJV are beautiful, best,  bountiful, at ease, joyful, prosperity, ready, wealth.   In the New Testament the Greek word for good and goodness is “agathos” and is mentioned 101 times.  It describes goodness as something that originates from God and is empowered by Him in our lives, through faith.  Good originates from God… I really like that!

The Psalms mentions good in connection with these things….

  1. God… He is good!
  2. having life and adding to to thatlong life
  3. God’s name
  4. His loving-kindness
  5. drawing near to God… is good and releases good into our lives
  6. increase… gotta love this one!
  7. giving thanks to God… again like #5 not only is it good but “thanks” is a releaser, releasing even more good into our lives!
  8. God’s judgements… it doesn’t say judgment is good, it says God’s judgements are good because He is good!
  9. God’s mercy
  10. God’s dealings with us ….I especially like this one!! .
  11. It is good to dwell in Unity…. ooh this one is really good, and our lives are good when we walk in unity… I did a study on this not too long ago….
  • unity is:to be in tune or in sync with one another.  All going the same way, headed in the same spiritual direction together.
  •  “to breathe” or “to breathe spiritually together”. Breathing together speaks of covenant relationship… becoming one (Jn 17:21).
  • it is not based on likes and similarities… it is having one heart and one mind

12.  God’s spirit

The Psalms also say….

  1. that to find goodness we are to look to God – because there is no good without Him
  2. that God sends blessings of goodness to us
  3. that He makes goodness follow us
  4. that we are to taste and see that God is good
  5.  when we choose God we will lack no good thing in our lives
  6.  God gives good things

Truly, life is good because God is good!  Life is not supposed to be hard for us…. Prov 13:15 says that the way (or life) of the transgressor is hard (and continues that way).  We are not transgressors, we are righteous… in covenant with God.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us He has good plans for us.. plans that give us a hope and a future.  Psalm 23:6 tells us that goodness and covenant loyalty (God’s loyalty to His covenant toward us)  follow (pursue us, chase us down) us ALL the days of our life.  Psalm 103:5 says He satisfies (fills me to full) my life with good things.

That’s not to say that life is always sunshine and roses.  Many in the Bible had circumstances in their lives that didn’t appear to be good… Joseph, David, Daniel, etc… but God’s goodness was still working in their lives in the midst of those circumstances… producing favor in these circumstances and using it to fulfill His destiny in their lives!   The root word for tov is “tet-bet” which means preparing something to receive.  God is always preparing us to receive more of His goodness…. preparing means to set us up or establish us.  Good in Hebrew  means working the way God created it to work..  functional, kind of like a well oiled and tuned machine….. whereas evil which is “ra” means dysfunctional.  God is always at work in our lives setting us up and establishing us to receive even more goodness than He has already poured out on us and causing all things to work together for good (Rom 8:28) the way He designed and purposed (Eph 1:4, 2 Tim 1:9, and Eph 2:10 just to name a few) for us.

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 is not an attribute of God. “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…. good is who He is. He can’t be anything but good to you!  

life is good

Today begin looking at your life as good… regardless of your circumstances.  Begin confessing His goodness over your life today… saying….”My life is full of God’s goodness…  it is  pleasant, it is festive , it is truly the best!  My life is beautiful, it is bountiful it is at ease and full of joy.  My life is full of prosperity, wealth and abundance.  My life is full of His good plans, full of hope and a future.  His goodness is chasing me down and pursuing me.  He is filling my life with good things.  God is preparing me today to receive even MORE of His goodness.  My life functions the way He designed and purposed it to function… there is no dysfunction in my life.  Truly, my life is good because my God is good!

~ Robin

Tevet

chesed

My mom nicknamed me Pollyanna Sunshine when I was little… because I have an abundance of optimism.  Truly it’s a gift from God that I cherish. I have always tended to always look at things through a heart of hope.  I love believing God and I like to look for His goodness in all things.  I’m learning to read the Scriptures through the lens of redemption… through my Father’s eyes.

When I’m studying the Hebrew months I look for goodness and hope… for something that encourages and causes me to grow higher in Him. Each month was given by God with a unique purpose and is designed to release a blessing into our lives.  I pray that my study of this month and this season gives you fresh hope of the goodness of God and all that He has for you.

Tonight  we enter into not only a new month on the Hebrew calendar, Tevet (Dec 13th – Jan 10th).. but also a new season, Winter.  Winter is  the season to plan for increase in the next season.  Tevet is the 10th month on the Hebrew 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 portion of grace.  This month walk in the double portion of grace available for you… choose to walk in the fullness, in the grace that Jesus made available for us.  He paid it all so that you could have it all!  It’s a free gift (Eph 2:8).

The first two letters in the word Tevet is “tov” which is the Hebrew word for good and it is followed by the letter tet which is also a letter connected to the word good…. so the word Tevet from beginning to end is a word full of God’s goodness.

While I LOVE the Christmas season,  I realize not everyone enjoys it.  It can be a time of bitter disappointments, sadness over loved ones gone, rejections of family members, depression, etc.  It can also be a financially stressful time for many.  But this month, Tevet, let’s declare it as a month of God’s goodness from beginning to end.. allowing Him to lavish us with His goodness, His grace and His favor.

Tevet is also connected to the Hebrew letter “ayin”.  Ayin means the eye.  This month purposely choose to see things through the Father’s eyes.  Seeing circumstances through the eyes of faith and hope… and seeing others through the eyes of love, grace and redemption.  Read the scriptures through the lens of the finished work of the Cross and the Resurrection… it will change how you read it!

Each month is associated with a tribe of Israel.  The tribes were divided into four groups of three.  This Winter season included the three tribes:  Dan (the leader of this group), Naphtali and Asher.  They formed the “rear” guard of the camp and were the ones to watch out for the enemy attacking the camp from behind.‭ ‬These three formed the rear guard not because of military skill but because they brought the glory of God.  They were the most creative of the tribes… Dan were skilled craftsmen in all kinds or artistic work, Naphtali brought forth beautiful words, and Asher caused the land to flourish.  This Winter season let’s allow His glory to be our rear guard  (Is 58:8)…. creating in us His most artistic work, speaking over us with beautiful words and causing us to flourish in the land.  

Dan is the tribe connected to Tevet.  Dan in the Hebrew means to judge.  Dan’s ensign was the eagle!  Dan is one who can see the prey afar off‭ ‬-‭  the ‬one who soars on high in the Spirit and get the heavenly perspective on things.‭ ‬His judgement takes in the full scope of the scene and from his viewpoint,‭ ‬he is able to objectively give good direction and accurate assessments of situations.‭ ‬As a result,‭ ‬he is called to judge Israel.‭  Let’s judge correctly this month… soaring on wings of Eagles and judging things through God’s eyes of love and mercy, of goodness….. of grace.

May this season be full of the goodness of God, full of His glory (Ex 33:18-19)…. Merry Christmas (Celebration of Christ) from our family to yours!

~ Robin

Declarations for the month of Tevet:

  • God is good and He wants to lavish me with His goodness and abundance.
  • This month of Tevet is full of goodness, grace and favor from beginning to end
  • This month I look at my circumstances through my Father’s eyes… eyes full of faith and hope.
  • This month I walk in a double portion of grace!
  • This month I see others through the eyes of love, grace and redemption… seeing them as the Father sees them.
  • This season, God’s glory is my rearguard… He is creating in me His most artistic work, speaking over me with beautiful words and causing me to flourish in the land.
  • This season, I soar in the Spirit and get the Heavenly perspective on things.
  • This season I judge correctly…  judging things through God’s eyes of love and mercy, of goodness….. of grace.