The Accuser

Read Job 2

The word “LORD” here (and throughout most of the Bible) is a substitution for God’s name, Yahweh. It literally translates into “I AM.” It was given to Moses in Exodus 3:15 (although it was known and apparently forgotten before that – Genesis 4:26) We know that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not know him by this name: Exodus 6:3. Jesus himself makes an unmistakable reference to His name in John 8:58.  (Assuming He was speaking Hebrew here, and there’s no reason to believe He wasn’t, He changed His grammar to say “Yahweh” (I AM). If you notice, the Jews did not like Him equating Himself with God, and they began stoning Him. The days are coming when all mankind will call upon His true name: Zephaniah 3:9

I thought all of this was worth mention, although today’s thoughts are more about the name of Satan. However, I did not want to give too much attention to that name without first acknowledging Yahweh’s beautiful name (since He plays an important role in this chapter as well). We have overlooked His holy name far too long, and I did not want to do that here. In case you think I am dreaming all of this up, or making a big deal out of nothing, it is common knowledge among those who have studied it. Research it and see if I am correct. You can start here: Hebrew Names of God.

In Hebrew Satan means “accuser” or “adversary.” I have only known the definition of his name for one week, however, in that time, it has helped me a lot. Anytime lately that I find myself angry at someone else for the way they are behaving, I remember that Satan is the accuser of our souls. I do NOT want to be anything like him. Our job is not to accuse others for what they are doing wrong. Our job is not to try to make God or others angry with someone when they are not living up to our standards. Just think about it: how often do we fail to meet our own standards? Sometimes when I get angry, I will remember some of the sins of my past and be thankful that someone isn’t following me around telling all of my current friends and associates about my past failures. I am glad that someone doesn’t just show up on my Facebook page and tell all of my secrets from my youth. Thinking about this always throws a blanket of ice over my disgust with someone else. How often do we all fail to live up to God’s demands? Last week, we talked about how our righteousness was as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). No one is sinless. We have no right to point out blame in another of God’s children.

Let’s dig into the story a little bit:

Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job was able to go through these trials without speaking anything foolish. We know he must have had a few thoughts during these events that were not wholly acceptable to God. We know this because God reprimands him at the end of the book. Job 38:3-4, etc. However, he controlled his tongue. This kind of discipline enabled him to also control his body – the works of his flesh. See how he was perfect, or complete:

Job 2:3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect [complete] and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (Another example of perfect meaning complete.)

Perfect. What does that mean exactly? Here is a link to the etymology for this word. This makes me think that he was finished. He would never be wholly without sin, especially considering that we all have sins in our past, and even if you could be perfect for a day, a month, a year (I have absolutely no idea if this is possible – what is the limit that a human can go without sin?), those former sins would keep us from ever coming into Yahweh’s presence – were it not for the redemptive work of the blood of Christ. But Job was perhaps as perfect as he was ever going to be. As a human being, he was complete.

James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. 

It takes an enormous amount of discipline to not sin with your mouth. If you have that much discipline, controlling your body will not be any more difficult for you.

Read the whole chapter of James 3 and think about the implications. How does our tongue get us in trouble? Many times we begin to control ourselves, and then suddenly give up completely, telling everything we know or think.

James 1:26-27 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

I just included that last verse for free. It is an often quoted verse, but we tend to leave off the very last phrase and all of its implications. Just something extra for you to think about this week and come to your own conclusions.face-1381321_640

Entitlement and the Bible

Our society is in trouble, and everyone knows it.  We are surrounded by people who abuse the welfare system. The Bible suggests a reasonable punishment for these folks:

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

The root of this problem is a total disregard for Biblical principles. Let me show you:

Job 1:13-22

13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

We have been raised in a culture that is always looking out for number one. We begin learning our own self-importance from our loving parents and teachers who are merely trying to build self-esteem, and it just continues through life: My school is the best because I go there. My team is the best because I’m on it. My church is the best. My friends are the best. My town is the best, ad nauseum.

We have been nurtured with a world-view of entitlement: I deserve to be wealthy; I deserve respect; I deserve to own the things I want; I deserve some time off. Credit card companies and businesses of every kind are seriously guilty for promoting this kind of thinking and behavior. The pervasiveness of the materialistic world that surrounds us is largely to blame for this constant barrage of input that stimulates the “me” mentality.

 

StealingFact 1: Human beings are greedy.

James 4:1-3

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

 

Fact 2: The poor envy the rich.

I think we make the mistake of thinking that everyone on this earth should be equally successful. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 not to envy the rich because they have their (earthly) reward. Just because someone else has something doesn’t mean that every person on earth deserves it.

 

Luke 6:20-26

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

 

Fact 3: When it comes down to it, we don’t deserve anything at all.  

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 

Isaiah 64:6-8

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

 

Fact 4: We have no right to question God.

Who are we to question God and His providence? We don’t know what’s best for us – we merely think we do. We get ourselves into scrapes all the time because we rebel against God.

Romans 9:20-24

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

We know ourselves to fall short of God’s standards countless times, and many of these times we directly defy Him (Any time we sin on purpose, we assert our knowledge of what is best for us over God’s knowledge. We say, “no, I know better than You.”) Ephesians 2:8-9 We can never earn salvation, we don’t deserve it.

 

Fact 5: Everything we have is God’s.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Everything you have had, have now, or ever will have is a gift from God’s hand to yours. Everything good you own is like God saying, “I love you; I want to give this to you today.” But when He removes something from our lives, it is also because He loves us.

 

Fact 6: We prove our trust in Him through obedience to His Word.

We have to trust Him enough to believe He loves us and acts in our best interest; our actions should reflect those beliefs. Anything short of obedience shows that we do not trust Him with our lives.

James 2:17

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

When things go wrong, when we lose things, when we can’t catch a break, remember that we are not on this earth to self-worship or seek our own good.

 

Fact 7: We serve a God who loves us in spite of our shortcomings.

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

He was willing to become a human being and share our plight, taking our punishment for sin upon His own flesh. This is how much He values us.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Matthew 10:30-31

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Conclusion:

Humans may not deserve God’s love, but He loves us unconditionally. We are who He thinks we are – precious souls in need of a Savior. We were redeemed (bought) by the very blood of Christ, so even though we don’t deserve redemption, we are far more valuable than any price could ever tell.

Our goal is to become totally dependent on Him, trusting Him for everything. Each breath, each penny, each door that opens and closes in our lives. The book of Job will help us get there.

Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves when we are in poor health, jobless, and betrayed, we need to offer up a sacrifice of praise.

Hebrews 13:15

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

II Samuel 24:24.

And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

We need to remember that He is in control, even when things seem dire (think of the crucifixion – God was using Satan’s own plan against him).

I Peter 5:7

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Trust, have faith, take action, obey His commandments, knowing that He only wants what is best for us, and that all things work together for our good.

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

And we can rest easy, knowing that He will take care of us through every situation.

 

The Law Is Not an Example of Planned Obsolescence

bible-1149924_1280As I study all of the Scriptures more in-depth, and consider the Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy) from an angle I have never considered, three things jump out at me. I will get to that part in a minute. First of all, what is the angle I am talking about here? That the Law hasn’t become obsolete. Let me make very clear that I am not talking about the Levitical law – the sacrifices and priesthood. Jesus Christ has perfectly and eternally fulfilled God’s just demand for sacrifice and reconciliation, so thankfully, that aspect of the Law is perpetually and permanently met. Not only was He the perfect Lamb, but He also acted as the high priest (after the order of Melchizedek, who predated the order of Levi), offering himself for the the ransom of many (Psalm 110:4, Genesis, 14:18, Hebrews 7, Mark 10:45). We are redeemed. It is finished.

Some verses that support the eternal existence of the Law. (For a better understanding, pull out your Bibles and read the whole chapter or even the whole book wherein the verses are found.)

I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (Proof that the Law still points to sin in our lives.)

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Proof that we should not disobey the Law, even under the New Testament covenant.)

Matthew 5:17-19  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Proof that the Law will stand as long as the earth stands, and that folks will be in trouble for teaching that the Law is no longer valid. Also proof that breaking the Law does not negate one’s salvation.)

Something worth noting – “jot” and “tittle” refer to the smallest markings of the Hebrew language (equivalent to crossing a “t” or dotting an “i.” Considering this and the fact that the New Testament had not been written yet, we can be assured that Jesus was referring to the Old Testament Law.

If you will read all of Romans chapter 4, you will see that adherence to the Law never justified anyone, not even those living under it. No one in the history of mankind has ever been able to obey the whole law, with the exception of Jesus Christ our Savior. No one in history has ever earned his way into the presence of the Holy Father. Salvation has always come through faith to those who believe. So the question remains: If God gave the Law, that never saved anybody, what purpose did it serve then, and what purpose does it serve now? I believe the purpose has remained the same throughout time, before the incarnate Christ, and even now, in the era of our Lord.

The Three-fold Purpose of the Law

These are the three main purposes that I can see. I am sure there are many more, but these definitely deserve some attention.

  1. To reveal sin in our lives, thereby proving our need for a Savior.
  2. To act as an indisputable sign, pointing perfectly and completely at Jesus Christ as Messiah.
  3. To show us how to live an abundant life during our sojourn here on earth.

To reveal sin: this is a pretty much undisputed purpose of the Law, at least among Christians. However, since my husband and I have been observing the Law in our lives (food laws, Sabbath Day, etc), a few people have wondered if we are sinning by trying to keep the Law. Let me show you Paul’s answer to that question:

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7 – but the whole chapter is eye-opening. 

When the Law was given, we were suddenly capable of sinning against it. If your child picks his nose, he is only doing something natural. Until you tell him not to, and then if he continues, he is disobeying. Suddenly, it becomes sin. That does not mean that you shouldn’t instruct your children in cleanliness for their own good (more about that later). That does not make the instruction bad. And just because you will love your child forever and still be his parent if he does pick his nose, does not mean that he has license to disobey as much as he chooses. And if he chooses to obey, that does not mean that he is afraid you will disown him or stop loving him if he doesn’t. This is how some people react when I tell them we are keeping the Law.

Just because our family chooses to obey God’s Law, does not suddenly mean that we think we are earning our salvation. The idea is ludicrous to me, even though it is probably the number one argument against obedience. One sin. One. That’s all it takes, and a person is no longer capable of earning salvation. That’s all of us, folks. We are not trying to earn salvation or love or acceptance or anything else. We are merely trying to obey the Rule-Maker because we love Him, because He makes the rules, and because He has only ever asked us to do what was best for us. Speaking of that, I am going to skip over point two for now (because I fear it will be lengthy), and jump right over to point three.

An abundant life: The word Torah (translated law) also means instruction. We often joke that this life didn’t come with a handbook, but it did! Not only for how to behave, how to treat others, and hope for the future. It tells us everything we need to know to live a happy, healthy, prosperous life. Do take some time and read Psalm 119. The Law is not a bad thing! God tells us what to eat and what not to eat, how to be clean, how to be financially prosperous. The Jews were blamed for the outbreak of the Black Death because they weren’t getting sick at the rate of non-Jews. Why weren’t they getting sick? Probably because they washed using running water. Leviticus 15:13

My husband and I chose to have our son circumcised on the eighth day of life. For no other reason than that we believe that God always instructs us in our favor. We discovered years later that blood clotting is best on the eighth day of life.

Deuteronomy 5:33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Deuteronomy 6:24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Jesus is the Word by which the universe was created. He is the Word made flesh. The Law is part of his Word, part of who He is.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Malachi 3:6a For I am the LORD, I change not;

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Does it seem that some verses say that the Law has been abolished?

I believe everything the Bible says about everything. I’m not trying to pick and choose verses, glossing over the ones I think are contrary to what I have come to believe. I want to examine everything. If the Bible is 100% accurate (and it is), then it does not contradict itself. If parts of it contradict itself, how would we determine what parts to believe? Creation, the virgin birth, salvation, the resurrection, eternal life? It is either all true, or it is the greatest conspiracy of all time. (However, when I get into my second point – in another post – you will see that it is too complex to be conspiracy. It is all true!)

If some verses seem to say one thing, and others seem to say something opposite, then there must be something we are misunderstanding. Why are we misunderstanding? Christians have had their eyes blinded for centuries. We can’t understand what the Bible is trying to say because we have been approaching everything with the misconception that the law is not longer valid. What have we misunderstood concerning the Law? Why does the Bible seem to say that the Law has passed away while also making very clear that it has not? I think some of the confusion lies in the fact that because the Levitical part of the Law has been fulfilled, folks get the idea from reading the Scriptures that the Law doesn’t apply to us at all anymore. Apparently, there were some folks during Jesus’ ministry who also thought this way, or perhaps He was speaking to modern-day Christians in advance (referring to His words previously quoted above from Matthew 5).

Also, Paul speaks out against the ordinances and says that they are nailed to the cross. My research online shows that many folks believe that he is speaking about the Law here. However, if you read the entire chapter of Colossians 2, you will see that he is plainly talking about the ordinances of men and traditions of the world. You see, there’s this whole other addition to the Law that the Jews were observing (and many still do), and that is the Talmud – man’s interpretations and expansion of God’s Law. Also, if you read Psalm 119, you will discover that the Law of the Lord is perfect.

Another verse commonly quoted is I Corinthians 7:19: Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.

Galatians 6:11-15 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The Jewish people were trying to make circumcision a salvation issue for the new Gentile converts. Even though, because of their own unrighteousness, the Jews could not wholly keep the Law themselves, but they were still demanding that the Gentiles be circumcised if they wanted to accept Christ. Why did they think they got to choose the one way to salvation? Circumcision? Hardly!

God makes it very plain, over and over, that salvation is by grace alone. I think folks who speak out against Torah keepers believe that we are making the Law a salvation issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Law is what it always was – never saved anybody, never will. Always pointed to Christ, always will. Was given for the good of mankind then and mankind today.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Acts 16:30-31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

What do I really believe?

I have been quiet lately, I know. I may appear calm on the outside, but my soul is stirring underneath, like a barely controlled tempest. My mind is altered. My life is beginning to take a shape that I am unfamiliar with. In a previous post, I alluded to a change in perception that has been taking place for over a year now. Well, today I am ready to talk about it.

I have been hesitant to publicly address how I now believe. One reason being that I am constantly learning new things, and I know that in another year’s time, I will have morphed completely beyond where I am now, and I am loathe to make a fool of myself, speaking of things which I barely understand. I have only scratched the surface, I know. But I am yearning, starving for more, and every week I uncover something new that has been hiding in plain sight all my life: Principally, I have uncovered 2 things:

  1. the overwhelming, inexplicable foreshadowing of Jesus Christ throughout the Law and the Old Testament. Something like this cannot be forged. The conspiracy would have to span thousands of years, countless patient martyrs, and make sudden and complete perfect sense of the hidden mystery of God that was revealed in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Messiah. The more you study, the more you will realize that the gospel message could not possibly have been contrived by men. I realize I’m a little late to the party on this one. Many of you have already discovered what has lately been filling me with amazement and unspeakable respect and awe in the face of our Creator and Redeemer. However, I want to lay these things out plainly for any other seeker that may be a bit behind, as I was (and am).
  2. the fact that the Law is every bit as relevant today as it ever has been. (This is the belief that I expect to be challenged for.) “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4. “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” Colossians 1:24-29

The second reason is difficult for me to admit. I am afraid. Afraid that my dearest friends and family members will misunderstand what I have to say. Afraid that they will think that I am not “looking unto Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith.” That’s why I intend to be very careful about how I word things. I will attempt to say exactly what I mean. I do not fear questions and challenges, so ask away. To quote a good friend of mine: “I am not afraid to discover the truth, whatever it may be” – which is what led me to this place to begin with.

Here is what has changed my life: deep inspection of the Law of God, the Torah. I have only just learned this term, its meaning, and the importance and impact of these books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). I am not saying they are the most important books of the Bible, merely that we have neglected them for centuries, and that it’s high time they reclaim their proper place in the hearts and lives of mankind.

Now I have long since wondered about Christianity and its neglect of just one of the Ten Commandments. Why neglect one? This has been an ongoing, nagging question in my heart since childhood. There have even been phases in my life where I have attempted to keep the Sabbath, but they were always short-lived. I lacked the urgency needed to follow God’s rules (due to being steeped in modern-day, “fluffy” Christianity).

However, my journey began in earnest after learning that I am BRCA positive. I started to wonder if my genes harbored some trace of a Jewish heritage. Having always believed that the Law was given to God’s chosen people, this wonderment changed something in me. Was the Law intended for me? However, I was only in a phase of curiosity. I had not yet reached the intense desire to find out everything that it’s possible for a person to know about God and His Law (which are insights into His personality and righteousness).

While I was mostly ignoring the occasional blips on my spiritual radar, I went on with my life as normal. On the other hand, my dad started to dig and began sharing things with me. His conversation and lifestyle sparked in me a compulsion to prove him wrong. I was afraid that he was placing his salvation in his own hands, not in the pierced hands of Jesus Christ alone. I feared he was on the verge of practicing gnosticism, wondering if he believed he knew things that were only revealed to a chosen few. I would come home from visits at my parents’ home and search and comb the scriptures, comparing the old (testament) with the new, and the new with the old, trying all the while to read them with naked eyes. Does that make sense? Eyes that were not looking through filtered lenses of world-view, doctrine, or any other type, striving to merely see what God is saying about His Covenant and everything else. Deeper and deeper, revelation after revelation, the Scriptures slowly began to change my mind, and only God knows how deep the rabbit hole goes. I am beginning to suspect it is infinite.

Here is the third reason that I have been hesitant to share, and it is the biggest. I have this fear that perhaps I am wrong. Maybe it’s the urging of the Holy Spirit asking me not to get into things over my head. Most likely it’s Satan, trying to prevent me from discovering the fullness of God’s majesty and plan of redemption. I would like to think that I know the difference between the voice of God and that of His adversary, and I believe that I do. However, for your sakes, please do not take anything I have to say at face value, and do your own digging. Please. If there is anything you take away from all of my rambling, be it this admonition: Find out for yourself; it is your responsibility. This is not, however, a disclaimer. I am not attempting to wash my hands of my part in this movement. I am not pretending that I won’t share the blame if I mislead anyone, and God knows that is the last thing I want to do, so I have waited this long to share the beliefs of which I am now fully convinced. I am just stating, that if you believe a lie without consulting the Scriptures, you will be equally responsible for your own misguidedness.

In my next few posts, I will be addressing a few of the things I have learned very recently, and I hope they spur you toward revival and a thirst for the Living Water and His righteousness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6.Christie Thomas Even if you disagree with everything I say here, I hope these words compel you to dig and find out whether I am right or wrong. I urge you to search the Scriptures for yourself, Old and New Testaments alike, and find out what God has to say to you.

It’s time to stop relying on conventions, traditions, and unsupported doctrines of men. Some doctrines are good; some are bad, but we have everything we need to allow us to discern the truth. We have no excuse to mindlessly accept what we’ve always been told. We have been given the Word and the Holy Spirit of God. It’s time to stop neglecting the Holy Scriptures – the one thing in this world that reveals the message of life freely to all who believe.

 

This is enough for one day. Aside from the scriptures provided here, I realize I have said next to nothing of substance in this post. However, I am afraid to write everything I am thinking at once. (I am afraid you will get bored and stop reading!) Next time, if God gives me grace to complete it, I will begin to tackle what I believe is the three-fold purpose of the Law:

  1. To reveal sin in our lives, thereby proving our need for a Savior.
  2. To act as an indisputable sign, pointing perfectly and completely at Jesus Christ as Messiah.
  3. To show us how to live an abundant life during our sojourn here on earth.

 

Later, I intend to cover some common objections.

I would also like to talk about the names of God and His Son, the feast days, worldliness in the church (including pagan practices), and the tricky way that Satan has convinced us (almost collectively) that sin is okay.

These are all from a layman’s viewpoint; I am seeking to educate myself but have no credentials of any kind. However, I am a perpetual student of Yahweh and His holiness. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

 

I John 4:1-5:

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

Bible Study Tips

bible-1149924_1280After searching the internet for 30 or 40 minutes, I finally gave up trying to find the perfect Bible study tip sheet for my Sunday School class. There were a lot of good ideas out there, but nothing that fit our needs perfectly. We generally choose a book and go through it one chapter at a time, so I needed something that would fit that format. Anyway, here’s what I came up with. If you have similar needs, perhaps it will be useful to you!

Here is a link to download the pdf, along with the complete text below.

BibleStudyIdeas

Who: Look at the beginning and ending of the book. Is it apparent who is speaking and who is being spoken to? If not, see if you can find out by looking in a reference book or getting online.

 

What: Read the whole first chapter. Is it easy to tell what’s going on? If not, you may have to read the entire book first or look up a summary of the book.

 

Where & When: Can you tell when and where the book was written?

 

Why: Why is the writer of the book speaking to his audience? Again, you may have to do a little digging for the answers.

 

You may want to spend the entire first week finding out the answers to these first few questions, before beginning with chapter one. If you decide to use outside sources for your information, and by that I mean anything other than the Bible, be sure you don’t just accept the first thing you read as truth. Check to see if the facts are widely agreed upon by Christians and if they can be supported. (Even then, be wary. Satan has his own agenda, and it is sometimes hard to discern.)

 

Chapter by Chapter:

 

After satisfying your curiosity about the previous five questions, you will have a good foundation for understanding the individual chapters of your chosen book. Beginning with the first chapter, follow the simple steps found on the next page. Commence each step with prayer. Genuinely seek the face of God and His will for your life. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” Matthew 7:7

 

  1. Read the chapter, noting any questions you may have along the way. For instance, what does _____ mean? Do the Jews still carry on this tradition today? Why would he have said that specifically? Etc.
  2. Spend some time searching out a few more scriptures that address common topics or themes. Scripture is best understood in the light of other Scripture. The Bible is a uniform whole, communicating to us the story of God’s plan of redemption for mankind.
  3. Pray. This time, ask for help staying focused and finding helpful information. Look up the answers to your questions, and write down the results.
  4. Cultivate a desire for God’s truth, and ask for eyes to see the big picture. Read the chapter a second time, and write down any of your own thoughts and opinions. If another scripture comes to your mind while reading, look up the reference and make note of it.
  5. Pray again. This time pray for discernment before you read the opinions of others. Find out what other Christians believe about this chapter. This is where you need the most discernment, and if you aren’t sure, you may want to skip this step until you become more grounded in the Scriptures.
  6. Ask for strength to apply the Word of God in your daily life. Read the chapter one last time, writing down any personal applications you can find.
  7. Find your favorite verse from the chapter and memorize it. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:2

In the instance of preparation for a weekly group Bible study, these steps can be accomplished one day at a time throughout the week, spending 10-20 minutes in study each day. If you split the steps like this, be sure to begin each daily session with prayer.

That Sweet, Sweet Spirit

I first shared these thoughts in 2011. Today, I needed that gentle reminder from the Holy Spirit. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. How do we come to Him? With a humble and contrite spirit. With praise and worship for everything He Is, and for everything He has done for us. I thought these words might encourage someone today, so I am re-sharing it (slightly altered from the original).

 

Lacking:

I have often wondered what I am missing in my personal Bible study and prayer time. Why do I seldom feel that sweet Spirit at home that I often feel in church while surrounded by people, as I struggle to resist the overwhelming desire to weep aloud and praise God with my whole being? The answer came to me quite unexpectedly yesterday morning as I researched and meditated over the life of Matthew Henry.

I was reading that Mr. Henry used to invite his friends over after God answered a special prayer. They would then proceed to worship God together as a group, thanking Him for His recent blessings. Now, I’ve heard of prayer meetings where people get together and petition God for something, but never just to thank Him. The verse was quoted:

O magnify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3

After reading about this, my mind wandered to several places that I’m having trouble tracking, but a few minutes later, I found myself trying to remember several praise and worship songs that I learned as a teenager.

When I look into your loveliness, when I gaze into your righteousness, when all things that surround become shadows in the Light of You.

I worship you, Lord; I worship you, Lord. The reason I live is to worship you.

You are awesome in this place, mighty God. You are awesome in this place, Abba Father. You are worthy of our praise; to you our hearts we raise.

I worship you, Almighty God; there is none like you. I worship you, Almighty God; that is what I long to do. I give you praise, for you are my righteousness.

I couldn’t remember all of the words to the songs, but you should be thankful, because I would probably sit here typing them out and singing them in my head all day long if I could.

As I sang bits and pieces of songs from my youth, I was impacted by the presence of God in my life. By His incredible love for me, His mercy toward me. I reached a point where I could sing no longer, but merely sit and weep, and try to take it all in.

The missing element:

Singing! When I sing, I glorify only – I’m not busy asking for things or being otherwise selfish. I am bearing my soul to testify of His worth. For the purpose of this post, I am changing the meaning of this old expression by slightly altering the spelling of the first word.

Baring. My. Soul.

When I think of baring something, I think of revealing it, making it naked, exposing it for what it truly is. When I come to Him in humility, worshipping Him for His wonderfulness, nothing stands between me and God. He sees me and understands me fully at all times, but when I sing, I am aware of Him looking back at me. And I don’t quite know how to deal with that.

Something about singing reveals our human qualities; the imperfections of the voice mirror the imperfections of the soul. Singing takes away the façade, stripping us down from how we want to be seen to the nakedness of who and what we really are. To the transparency of our utter dependence on Him.

It is difficult to pretend to be something that you’re not when you are singing, unless one has been highly trained to do so. Even then, if the trained singer once breaks focus and contemplates the message he is yielding forth, he is in danger of losing his composition, becoming that shattered and hopeful spirit once again as he struggles to physically cope with the majesty that is God’s love and grace.

More Cursive Writing Worksheets

CursiveSo I just noticed that people are still landing on my blog looking for creative writing worksheets. Back when I wrote my first one, my son was in second grade; now he is in sixth!! Anyway, I just created some of the worksheets I promised you, so here they are. (I don’t know what happened to the old ones I made, or why I never uploaded them.) If you want to create your own worksheets, there’s a link to the website on the post I linked to above.

Books of the Old Testament

Books of the New Testament

Months of the Year

Days of the Week

Names Alphabetical

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/31124313@N02/3921162736″>cursive-letters from the Karen Whimsey in the public domain</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;