Pleasing God

(Judges 3:4-6) The Lord left them to test Israel to determine if they would keep the Lord’s commands He had given their fathers through Moses. 5 But, they settled among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perrizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 6 The Israelites too their daughter as wives for them selves, [and] gave their own daughters to their sons, and worshiped their gods.

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What if God steps back just far enough to see if we actually live out our faith, If we are genuinely grateful for the transformation taking place through His Holy Spirit? Time and again, the Lord, our God, has come to our rescue and restored us back to His grace, Only for us default to our own devices.

ISRAEL’S SINS: Within a period of 250 years, God allowed Israel to fall to adversarial forces four times. Gideon, the fourth judge, was tasked [by God] to deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Midianites, yet again. The nation of Israel chose to defy God’s commandments by giving in to their proclivities.
ADAM and EVE MOVED AWAY. Their defiance gave birth to a generational sin: Genesis 3:6) Then the woman saw the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of it’s fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

WITH HEART, MIND, and SOUL: When we feel the urges of our cravings, We need to lean harder into the Holy Spirit, To draw from the well of His sovereignty, and strength: (Genesis 49:24) Yet his bow remained steady, and his strong arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel.

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Restoration

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My prayer for restoration: (Matthew 5:29-30) If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
(Hebrews 12:12-13) Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened kness, 13 Make straight paths for your feet, so what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead.

Pray with me: Lord, I come to you seeking forgiveness for the thing I have done; “Help me” to escape this bondage that causes me to stumble, and forsake Your name. Lord, take these feelings of condemnation from me, and fill to over-flowing with Your Holy Spirt of mercy and grace. “Lead me” to repentance; “Restore” Your child, and “Move me” fearlessly toward my assignment. I love You, and worship You in all Your splendor; I turn back all praise, honor and glory back to You. In the name of Your son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Reconciled back to God

 

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“MENDING FENCES”

Lv 4:5-6 If someone incurs guilt in one of those cases, he is to confess he has committed that sin. 6 He must bring his restitution for the sin he has committed to the Lord: a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering. In this way, the priest will make atonement on his behalf for his sin. [4:31b] The priest is to burn it on the altar as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. In this way, the priest will make atonement on his behalf and he will be forgiven.

As we carefully examine our reconciliation, let us consider the full weight behind the transaction that took place thousands of years ago on our behalf-our “Salvation” Let us prayerfully be transparent before the cross to allow our indifferences (to God),be exposed and come to light, as we learn to push-back against the proclivities of our sinful nature.

Under OT Law, atonement for sins were only acceptable through sacrificial offerings. Observing and submitting to these Laws was a display of a believers faith in the promise of the Sacrificial Lamb to come.

Understanding Sacrificial Offerings and their purposes:

OT sacrifices (Levitical Offerings) were divided into five categories: 1. Burnt,2. Meal, 3. Peace (Fellowship), 4. Sin, and, 5. Trespass (sin). Each sacrifice, Deliberate, and filled a specific requirement of man’s relationship with God (Lv 4:5-6). These sacrifices were made with the highest reverence for what each represented.

Provisions for Atonement:
Merriam-Webster
Atonement (n) to make reparations for offense/injury; satisfaction

Recompense: (n):atonement. to pay back in equal amount to injury, to give something to, by way of compensation (a for a service rendered, or damage incurred)

OT: Sin(un-intentional), Atonement(Sacrificial offerings), Restoration:

NT: Sin (un-intentional), Atonement(Recompense, repentance), Restoration(Un-merited Favor with God) through the Son.

Observation: Atonement was/is available for OT and NT reconciliation, Our focus should be on how and what changed to affect our attitudes of worship. We should be humbled by the price that was paid on our behalf, and relishing in the saving grace of Christ, as we hold fast to the virtues of our faith: 2 Corinthians 5:5 And the One who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a downpayment.

Aloha ke Akua

Temptation and Sin death

A big reason we wrestle with our faith, is the lack of understanding of God’s character, and Why certain events unfold as they do in our lives. We know that God is outside all space and time, So, getting to know and understand Him is a lifelong endeavor. A great place to start is right here where we are, and Seeking Him through the lens of the Scriptures

POTTERSHAND

 

(James 1:13) No one undergoing a trial should say, “I am being tempted by God.” For God is not tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone HCSB

So, Why do we say, “Why me Lord?”.. For God is not tempted by evil and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

What is Temptation? “Depravity” carnal cravings, lust-Bondage. Because of our human condition, our pneuma Gk. “Flesh” will forever be at war with our sarx “Spirit” [1:15] the Desire conceives and breeds Sin, while Sin matures and gives birth to Death. (Genesis 3:6)Adam and Eve’s fall to temptation will forever plague humanity-Samson the Nazarite gave in to every carnal craving and committed the most vile acts, And he was set apart by God for Himself (Judges 14:7-9) 7 Then he went and spoke to the woman, because Samson wanted her.8 After some time, when he returned to get her, he left the road to see the lion’s carcass, and there was a swarm of bees with honey in the carcass. 9 He scooped sone honey into his hands and ate it as he went along.

Temptation cannot possibly come from God, But, God sees it as useful:(1 Corinthians 10:13) There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able; but with temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to escape it. And He did,(John 3:16).

(James 1:21) WE MUST WANT TO CHANGE “Die to ourselves”: Therefore ridding yourselves of any moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

HOW? Submit, and surrender to God’s faithfulness, and sovereignty; Ascribe to the purification process. We cannot break the cords of bondage on our own-(Ephesians 6:12) For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
YOU NEVER OVERCOME ADDICTIONS, You Replace them with others: (Romans 6:19) For I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourself as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.

Lamenting the fall of Jerusalem

Jeremiah, affectionately; The “weeping prophet” laments to God over this darkest time in Jewish history. Being from Jerusalem himself, Jeremiah takes it hard because he knew its significance (to God), and knew firsthand how precious the people were to God. He opens his letter with “How” (woe) which in Biblical text is reserved for funerals, laments) We know by his writing style that this was a very personal letter in comparison to the others (Kings, and Jeremiah). He opens his letter with “How” Lamentations is a collection of 5 acrostic psalms, or songs *Each verse begins in a Jewish alphabet, and its purpose is found in the first verse-A “puzzle”

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Your pain does not belong to you: You number my wanderings; put my tears in you bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8) NKJV

Sixteen years earlier, Jeremiah warns of an invasion from the north, but Jehoiakim remains stiff necked against the Lord and turns back to Egypt for support to defeat this great army. Consequently, Jehoiakim is put to death, Jerusalem is ravaged by Nebuchadnezzar, and God’s people are taken into exile.

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(Lamentations 1:5) Her adversaries have become
her masters;
her enemies are at ease,
for the Lord made her suffer
because of her transgressions
Her children have gone away
as captives before her adversaries HCSB

There is one thing we can all relate to, its suffering. It causes discomfort and causes us to take a different path. Jerusalem was allowed to suffer, To be stripped of her identity, ridiculed,and made to submit to the tyranny of a foreigner.

Zayin
1:7 During the days of her affliction
and homelessness
Jerusalem remembers all
her precious belongings
that were hers in days of old
When her people fell into the adversary’s hand,
She had no one to help.
The adversaries looked at her;
laughing and her downfall

Indeed it was a most difficult time for her (Ezekiel 16:35-38) “Therefore, you prostitute, hear the word of the Lord! 36 This is what the Lord God says: Because your lust was poured out and your nakedness exposed by your acts of prostitution with your lovers, and because of your detestable idols and the blood of your children that you gave them.38 I will judge you the way adulteresses and those who shed blood are judged. Then I will bring about your blood shed in wrath and jealousy

Still their arrogance, and conceit blinded them from God’s faithfulness to keep his word (1Timothy 6:4) they are so conceited and understanding nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

That will never happen to me!
Tet
1:9 Her uncleanliness stains her skirts
she never considered her end.
Her downfall was astonishing;
there was no one to comfort her.
Lord, look on my affliction,
for the enemy triumphs

Her most prized possession, the temple of God, Once considered off limits to the Gentiles has been trampled on by the nations

Yod
1:10 The adversary has seized
all her precious belongings.
She has even seen the nations
enter her sanctuary-
those You have forbidden
to enter Your sanctuary

Lamentations offer no clear antidote to our human condition, It does teach us: What happens to the dis-obedient, and How to properly use the language of prayer that we may meet the One who will rescue us in the midst of suffering, and circumstance:
(Lamentations 3:22-23) “Because of the Lords faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end They are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness; Isaiah 40 God’s people are fearful of the impending invasion, but the Lord sends a message of restoration.

A loving Father disciplines His children

A study in the Book of Micah

Background: “Micah” meaning “Who is like Yahweh” (God), Number 6 of “The Twelve” Minor Prophets(730-690 BC) Overlapped with Isaiah. Written as a Prophetic Book Tanakh OT.

God’s covenant blessings, then, as now,
were predicated upon keeping of the covenant by His people; and failure to keep the covenant meant forfeiture of every blessing
James Burton Coffman Commentaries

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(Micah 3:11-12) 11You rulers make decisions on bribes;
you priests teach God’s law for a price; Yet You all claim to depend on the Lord. “No harm can come to us” you say,
“For the Lord is among us.”
12 Because of you, Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field; Jerusalem will be to ruins! A thicket will grow grow on the heights.

After the death of King Solomon (1King 11:41-42), conflict arose between the king’s son, Rehaboam, and Jeroboam, (servant to the king). This conflict divided the king’s nation in two ( Rehaboam, the appointed king),faced the uprising of Jeroboam
(1Kings 11:29-31) 31 During that time, the prophet Ahijah the Shilomite met Jeroboam on the road as he came of of Jerusalem. Now Ahijah had wrapped himself with a new cloak, and the two were alone in the open field. 30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he had on tore it into 12 pieces and said to Jeroboam ” Taken10 pieces for yourself for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I am about to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I will give you ten tribes-Invariably resulting in Rehaboam’s rule of the south (Judah), On the other hand, Jeroboam would rule of the north (Israel)-1 KINGS 11:26-27 Now Solomon’s servant, Jeroboam son of Nebat, was an Ephraimite from Zeredah. Jeroboam rebelled against Solomon, 27 and this is the reason he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the supporting terraces, and repaired the opening in the wall of the city of his father David. This, at a time when both the north and south were experiencing sudden affluent, and economic growth with all its trappings, which presented challenges for an already obstinate people.

Israel was divided into several dynasties (Groups of king’s from the same families), different cities with different names, the last of which was Samaria,(Israel’s capitol). Each dynasty operated its own government which became corrupted by unscrupulous business practices(Micah 2:1-3) They scheme, and devise ways to place financial yokes on others for their personal gain- These practices have found their way into God’s church, by way of false prophet prosperity gospels: (Micah 3:11) Her leaders issue rulings for a bribe, her priests teach for a payment, and her prophets practice divination for money. Yet they lean on the Lord,saying, “Isn’t the Lord among us? No disaster will overtake us” corruption had found its way into Judah (Micah 1:9) For her wound is incurable and has reached even Judah; It has approached the gate of my people as far as Jerusalem

In those days, the Lord sent prophets to deliver His message of warning of the impending wrath-He sent prophets who were priests, some were rich and advised the kings, while others became farmers. Some prophets taught their prophecies, many didn’t-They taught judgement and fairness, dreams of success, and destruction. Some saw the coming king as a ruler who would suffer, while others saw him as a servant. But all saw him as Messiah.

Lord God, sent Micah to deliver this message at a most troubling time in Israel’s history. The divisiveness of His children lead to the downfall of a kingdom, resulting in establishment of many corrupt governments practices, that found its way into the churches. “I”will make recompense, and “I” will restore My church. Soon, the Lord Almighty will dole out His judgement, His righteous merciful judgement:

God promised long ago, never to completely destroy mankind (Genesis 9:15-17)
“I will make recompense!” Why?: in His righteous judgement, there will always be hope, a promise, and a provision. He will allow judgement, but will always be in control. Prior to His judgement, God has already made provisions for reconciliation-What is REQUIRED OF US? (Micah 6:7-8) Would the Lord be pleased with a thousand of rams, or ten thousand streams of oil? Should I give my first born for my transgression, the child of my body for my sin. No! (6:8) Mankind He has told you what is good and what the Lord requires of you: To act justly, to love faithfully, and to walk humbly with God (4:7-8) On that day-This is the Lord’s declaration-I will assemble the lame and gather the scattered those I have injured. I will make the lame into a remnant, those far removed into a strong nation. Then the Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion 8 And you, watchtower for the flock, fortified hill of Daughter Zion, the former rule will come to you, sovereignty will come to Daughter Jerusalem. The “Former” rule will come to you- The “Covenant” will be restored.

Revival starts with the renewing of our minds

 

(Romans 12:2) 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern whats good, pleasing, and perfect will of God HCSB

In as much as recent days, the world was rocked by the atrocities of mankind’s wickedness. We can agree that what was once an occasional event, has become commonplace, at in the fore-front of our day to day life. We become so influenced by social media, that we have become sensationalized with world events causing us to lose sight on what really matters: (Matthew 24:6-8) You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet.7 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. there will be famines and earthquakes in various places, 8All these are the beginnings of birth pains-The overthrow of the “Ottoman Society” 1383 *Janissaries The Muslim movement come full circle (TheOttomans.org.) These things MUST unfold, and are all coming to pass.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light
of His mercy and grace….

(Psalm 51:10) God create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit in me-Take from me all that distracts me from receiving the Full Measure of your mercy and grace. A Major Distraction in our relationship with God, is ourselves. Paul reminds us of the Jews who were a overly proud people-Who believed themselves to be above reproach (Better than everyone else). And, We see how God dealt with these distractions: (Romans 11: 1) I ask, have they stumbled in order to fail? Absolutely not! On the contrary, by their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel Jealous.
The broken branches of the olive tree needed to be removed for the rest of the tree remain strong, and the roots could continually nourish the tree(11:17-18). Others (Gentiles) were starving for the Gospel, and the Jews were a stumbling block. The spiritualy dead were removed so other olive branches could be grafted in, to partake of this nourishment.

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RENEWAL AND REGENERATION: (Romans 11:17) Now if sone of the branches were broken off, and you a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, *The Gospel was fairly new in the area, and God was still working on the Jews and was intent on saving those who came into repentance. Those who hadn’t were slowly killing the entire vine, and kept others from being fed.
The Lord loves His children and is not willing to see anyone perish, So, He extended grace (John 3:16) to those who do come to repent of their ways (Romans 11:23) And even they, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God has the power to graft them in again-Even if they were trimmed from the vine once before..