The “Salt Covenant”; Are Believers Missing Something?

I thought I would re-blog this from years past. My pastor and his wife just concluded their message and testimony on relationship in marriage.

The WORD Detective

SALT FLATS; Something is missing here!

“Every cereal offering you shall season with salt [symbol of preservation]; neither shall you allow the SALT OF THE COVENANT of your God to be lacking…with all your offerings you shall offer salt”  (Leviticus 2:13)

“For everyone shall be salted with fire.  SALT IS GOOD (beneficial), but if salt has lost its saltiness, how will you restore [the saltiness to] it?  Have salt within yourselves, and be at peace and live in harmony with one another”  (Mark 9:49, 50).

HOW THE INVESTIGATION BEGINS

I have been asked by some people how I come up with the ideas that I blog about.  To answer that I’ll give the example I used in this subject title.

When I was studying and investigating Scripture and historical evidence in my blog, “The Tabernacle; Jesus and the Cross“, I came upon the four words “salt of the covenant” in

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Living In A Dangerous Spiritual State

John 8:47 (Amplified Bible):

“Whoever is of God listens to God.  [Those who belong to God hear the words of God.]  This is the reason that you do not listen [to those words, to Me]; because you do not belong to God and are not of God or in harmony with Him.”

"I can't hear you"
“I can’t hear you”

I once was sitting in room of a hospital, waiting for the results of the physical stress test I had taken.  A nurse came into the waiting room and sat down next to me, taking my pulse and blood pressure to add to my chart.  She asked me,

“Are you nervous waiting for the test results Mr. Thompson?”

“No,” I answered.  “I’ve been praying about the results, as well as others, and He simply told me to leave the results to Him.”

My answer appeared to raise her curiosity.

“You hear from God?  Actual words?  I never hear words from God and I’ve been a Christian all my life.”

“A Godly heritage can be a powerful influence but never guarantees righteousness.”  [Dr. Dennis Davidson – Mid-America Baptist Seminary]

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, CHAPTER 8  –

The Crowd, the scribes and Pharisees…

“Early in the morning, He [Jesus] came back into the temple [court], and the people came to Him in crowds. He sat down and was teaching them”  (8:2).

There is a back and forth questioning and answering at church on this day between Jesus, the ‘Jews’, the (“They’s”), I want to focus on before examining verse 47 in detail.

Who were the Jews represented in John Chapter 8?  (verses 30-31)

I love when I am in biblical study, to read various bible translations for comparison.  After doing so, I immediately go to the Interlinear Bible which is keyed to the Greek and Hebrew text using Strong’s Concordance.

John 8:30-31 (Authorized King James Version – AKJV):

[30] As he spake these words, many believed on him.  [31] Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”

“in him” OR… “on him”?

They were ‘Jews’ which believed, and they continued to be so while they were believing.

Now the word ‘Jew’ in this Gospel always indicates adversaries to Christ Jesus. and as for these persons, we begin to see how superficial and unreliable their bond was to the Lord Jesus.

Over the remaining verses, these same ‘believing’ Jews took up stones to stone Him. They believed “on Him,” as some Bible translations claim, while others read believed “in Him.”   One of my favorite ‘go to’ when studying Scripture is the Interlinear Bible; the bible is keyed to the Greek and Hebrew text using Strong’s Concordance.

John 8:30 Interlinear Bible:

These things  of his speaking  many believed  ON (Strong 1519 [e] )  him.

I’m only pointing this out as one point of view to the narrative in John 8.  Of course there were those who believed IN Jesus as the Son of the living God.  It was the “inconsistency” that comes into play here, and today as well.

INCONSISTENCY TAKES HOLD – “Abraham is our father” (verses 39-41)

The gathered Jews were taking claim to a lineage to ABRAHAM and their ticket to heaven.  In reality… they were honoring themselves, not Abraham.

Jesus wanted them to see that they could be his descendants, yet lack his spirit.  Was not ABRAHAM our father JUSTIFIED by works when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar?

James 2:21-22:  

[21] Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac?

[22] You see that [his] faith was cooperative with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works. 

Matthew 3:8-9:

[8] Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance  [let your lives prove your change of heart];  [9] And do not presume to say to yourselves,  We have Abraham for our forefather; for I tell you, God is able to raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones.

MAKING FALSE CLAIMS – “We have one Father, even God”  (verses 41-43)

In writing up her resume for a full-time job, an applicant described her summer job as ‘purchasing’, being responsible for accuracy of the daily cash transactions, maintaining the morale, alertness and well-being of the entire office staff.  Actually–she went to Starbucks for the coffee.

Then the Lord said,  Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning]”  (Isaiah 29:13 AMP).

There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death  (Proverbs 14:12).

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven”  (Matthew 7:21 NIV).

THE COMPROMISING EVIDENCE REVEALED (verses 43-47)

Unfortunately the world Christian has lost a great deal of significance over the centuries and no longer means “one who has turned from sin, the old way of living, trusted Jesus Christ, received salvation by Grace.

Many people who have never been born again consider themselves ‘Christians,’ simply because they say they are not ‘pagans’.  After all, they belong to a local church, attend services semi-regularly, and even occasionally… give to the work of the Church!

180-degrees-angle_318-59071But it takes Repentance from sin–a demonstrative change in direction–a 180 degree turn.

It takes FAITH in Christ Jesus, who died for our sins on the Cross and rose again to give us eternal life (Warren Wiersbe).

And already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire  (Matthew 3:10).

The wind blows where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit  (John 3:8).

“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due Me” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for My name”  (Malachi 1:6 NIV).

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient”  (Ephesians 2:1-2 NIV).

Because the “they’s” were not truly God’s children, they could not understand God’s Message as John 8:43 indicates:

Why do you not understand what I say?

It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying. 

[You cannot bear to listen to My message; your

ears are shut to My teaching.]

The ‘religious’ become so wrapped up in their own way of thinking, they couldn’t understand the Truth.  The Jews were unable to understand because they refused to listen receptively to Jesus [selective hearing].

Satan, “the father of lies and all that is false” (8:44), used their stubbornness, pride, and pre-conceived notions to keep them from believing “IN” Jesus.  Do you know anyone like that?

It is no surprise to know, Satan too is a ‘fisher of men.’  And the bait is whatever will lure stock-photo-businessman-takes-the-bait-to-the-hook-275973842us to take the hook of sin.

It usually appeals to a natural desire–such as our need for intimacy or success or security.  He uses legitimate needs to hide his real intent, which is to get us to disobey God’s Word.  He knows that to entice us to take the bait; he has to hide the hook.  And he’ll make it look as appealing as he can.

Being Prepared –

Don’t be surprised, when sometimes you wonder if God exists.  Filled with questions that you feel at times like an unbeliever.

As followers of Christ, we are in conflict with God’s enemy, the devil, the father of lies.  We wrestle against him and “the rulers of the darkness of this age”  (Ephesians 6:12).

Two of the pieces of armor God has provided for us when we are attacked by DOUBT are “TRUTH” and “the shield of FAITH” (Eph. 6:14-16).

As we then soak our minds with God’s Word, our FAITH will be strengthened.  The best protection against Satan’s lies is to know God’s TRUTH.

Good communication involves more than ‘good speaking’ qualities; it requires ‘good listening.’

So why were  “THEY”  such poor listeners?

It wasn’t because Jesus failed to communicate the message, but because they didn’t want to hear the truth–because it made them face up to their need to change.  It is hard to tune into heaven’s message if our lives are full of earthly static.

Jesus intentionally challenged His listeners to test Him (verse 46):

“Who of you convicts Me of wrongdoing or finds Me guilty of sin? Then if I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?”

Jesus welcomed those who wanted to question His claims and character as long as they were willing to follow through on what they discovered.

Jesus’ challenge is clear to the two most frequent reasons that people miss when meeting Him:

  • they never accept His challenge to test Him, or
  • they test Him but are not willing to believe what they discover

In verse 47, Jesus answers His own question as to why the “they’s” couldn’t believe:  “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear then, because you are not of God.”

Jesus was speaking to those who thought they followed God.  They had a notion that they were of course, Children of God, but never yielded to Him in depth of allegiance that is the core of real belief.  It is a dangerous spiritual state.

TRUTH is an abstract concept and difficult for some people to know and appreciate.  So many people today get so involved in the fallen world system that they no longer recognize God’s truth (John 18:38).  God’s truth is a foreign language they cannot understand.

A RELIGION or A RELATIONSHIP?

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well  (1 John 5:1 NIV).

Do you want a load to weigh you down or a love to lift you up?

Do you want impossible rules that do no good or an impeccable relationship that does the impossible?

Do you want a religion that leads to nowhere but eternal death, or a relationship that leads to eternal life?

Your answers will determine your ability to hear the truth in your choices that you make.

ARE YOU LISTENING?

 


CREDITS:

Photo Credits: Google Search Images.

Commentaries:  John 8:47 Commentaries: “He who is of God hears…” – Bible Hub.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible except where noted in the text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A GUIDE For Witnessing In A Christ-like Manner

you will be my witnessesIn my reading of Scripture every morning, my set-aside devotional time, there’s one book in the New Testament that refreshes my spirit over and over again.  It was the first book of the Bible I read through after I was “born again” in 1972.  The book, The Gospel Of John.  

Many truths set forth in John’s gospel have made a great impact on my Christian life.  First and foremost, there is no greater honor than to be a part of God’s work of telling others about Jesus.  So this is where I want to begin; sharing from my own experiences and giving a beginning guide to today’s oft forgotten term… Witnessing to others about Jesus Christ.

We hear from pastor’s sermons at least once a year from a familiar passage in Acts 1:8  “and you shall be My witnesses…”  Now if we take that verse to heart, seriously, maybe we need to reevaluate our preparedness to obey Christ’s command.

WHAT IS A WITNESS?

WITNESS Definitions:  Merriam Webster;  [2] One that gives evidence;  [5] public affirmation by word or example.

The word WITNESS we are most familiar with comes to us from the legal sphere, derived from the root meaning “to bear in mind,” “to be careful.”  Thus a witness in the field of law is one who has the knowledge of something by recollection and experience and who can tell about it accurately.

Biblically speaking, A WITNESS is born when one is born again, that is, when you experience the POWER of God in your own personal death, burial and resurrection. In that sense, Christian Witnessing is not optional, nor is it mandatory.  It is inevitable.

When I first had knowledge of what a witness was, and internalizing Jesus’ message in Acts 1:8 of being “witnesses” in the community, this next little tidbit was added to my spirit: 

The word MARTYR: “comes from the Greek word for “witness”.  Early Christians were often put to death for the “witness” of Christ Jesus.

Boy, after having that scary thought placed in my mind, I needed some real motivation if… I was going to be a witness for Jesus.  But where was that motivation going to come from?

A GUIDE to Being A WITNESS:

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In John chapter four, JESUS is passing through Samaria.  He comes to Jacob’s well, tired from His journey and He sits down (John 4:6).

Now the disciples have gone into a nearby town Sychar, to buy food (John 4:5, 8).  The Bible says it was about the sixth hour which most likely be around noon.

LUNCH TIME!

In my last job before retiring, I was required to be at my desk by 6 AM.  So by the time lunch time rolled around, I needed to get away from the office, where I could sit down, get a bite to eat, and relax.  Many times, several of my co-workers would show up at the same place.  I didn’t invite them to come.  They just showed up!

In this portion of Scripture, we see Jesus’ human side and see that He is tired and evidently hungry, just like when we get tired and hungry.

Notice how Jesus uses a common physical thirst to cause the lady at the well to ask questions about deeper eternal matters.

I was intrigued once more to focus on their discussion.  Remember, they are total strangers to one another–not co-workers, not BFF’s, but strangers.

STEP #1.  Jesus arouses the woman’s curiosity with a promise; the quenching a natural spiritual thirst common to all mankind.  That spiritual thirst which people try to satisfy through giving into the flesh, drinking in the world’s views and Satan’s lies.  Sadly, only a few drink of the Living Water offered by the Lord.

John 4:13-14:

[13] Jesus answer her, “All who drink of this water will be thirsty again.  

THE PROMISE…

[14] But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more.  But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling)  [continually]  within him unto (into, for) eternal life.”

By Divine Appointment – A Personal Story

Working for a large company for over fifteen years, starting as a truck driver and working myself up through the ranks to Branch Manager, in February, 1985, the company was sold, and my services were no longer needed.  I was to be replaced by new management.  Although I was given a decent severance pay package, my self-worth was definitely damaged in the process.

Two weeks later, I received a phone call from an old business associate, who had heard through the grapevine reasons for my termination.  He asked the question–“Would I be interested in taking a job out-of-state?”  “That depends,” I answered.  “Where is ‘out-of-state’?”  HAWAII.  So, two days later, I found myself sitting in front of the president of large Hawaiian Wholesale Plumbing Company on the island of Oahu.

The next several months was a time in my life I have reflected on in detail for years. For my stay was for a brief time.  At the time, A Divine Appointment wasn’t even a thought. But God had set His plan in motion long before I had a clue.

After accepting the new job, part of my negotiated package was housing and a company vehicle to use until my family and automobile arrived from the mainland.  Since the president’s daughter and son-in-law lived nearby and also worked at the same office, I carpooled with the young man…for over two months.  Our conversation varied during the heavy commute, from family to music choices (the car radio was always active), to Hawaiian lifestyle compared to mainland lifestyle.  Then one day he asked, “I’ve noticed you go to church every Sunday.  What church do you attend?”  The opportunity at the well was there and I took it!

I answered his question with a question; asking him his religious background and did he have a personal relationship with JESUS; a few weeks later led him to Christ.

Hawaii wasn’t the place for my family and I to live, and I returned to the mainland; unemployed to employment…and back to unemployment… all with three month’s time.

WHY?  God had a DIVINE APPOINTMENT in mind and I had the privilege to be a part of.  It wasn’t until I returned to my original starting point did I fully understand the details in my going.

Divine Providence brings always amazing things and Jesus doesn’t want you to miss the opportunities He gives you.

Three simple truths we can hold on to here as laid down by Jesus to help all Christians in their daily witness.  For after all, when we leave our front door in the morning, we don’t go out witnessing; we witness as we go.  It may be today, next week, next month or off and on through out the calendar year.  But know this: God wants to use you.

So how can we follow the simple example of Christ with confidence that Jesus is going to use us?

The FIRST THING I noticed that Jesus did was to make a connection.

The woman who lived a sinful life came out to get water and He makes the connection with her.

You have family members, friends and co-workers just like this lady and you need to be making connections.  Jesus made the connection in being obedient to His Father who was sending Him to Galilee.

All Divine Appointments that are set up for you come about as you are obedient to the Lord’s call on your life.  

Divine Providence brings all glorious things into existence.  Jesus doesn’t want you to miss the opportunities He gives you.

Is there someone in your workplace that you want to reach for Christ?  Is there a neighbor, a family member you’ve been praying for?  Ask the Lord for a connection.

Jesus had a need for water and the lady had a way of getting water from a well that was very deep.  The depth is around 70 feet to the water line with a depth of about 105 feet (Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Jacob’s Well).

The point being Jesus, being a man, had a NEED that could not be met without her help.

We all have some needs that we cannot meet and there is someone who is bound by sin who can help you meet that need.

This is a wonderful opportunity to make a connection. It may be an answer to a question about work, home repairs, a physical task you cannot do on your own.

Make a connection with someone who would be shocked that you even noticed them let alone asked them for help.

The lady at the well asks,  “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”  (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans) – (John 4:9)

A Little History About Samaritans –

Samaria is right about center of Israel.  When Israel fell to the Assyrians, Samaria was theacts_1_8_1 place where the poorest were left behind.  They intermarried with other races and brought in a false priest.  Add to that, they began false worship and twisted Scripture while rejecting everything in the Old Testament except the first five books of the Bible (2 Kings 17).

There are many PREJUDICES that keep people from hearing the gospel message of Jesus.

PREJUDICES of the people who are living in sin.  They convince themselves that obedient Christians don’t want to associate with them or care about their needs, problems or concerns.

Jesus’ lifestyle was to be out among sinners, ministering to the sick, the needy, meeting practical and spiritual needs to all who would accept what God was doing through Him.

“Must needs”  (John 4:4)

After looking at different bible translations, I like the KJV version the best:  “And he must needs pass through Samaria.”

Interesting TRUTH can be found here that the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp in our efforts to fulfill our part in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

“Must needs” in application means it was a necessity, a compulsion and Jesus’ destiny to go through Samaria for the sake of His mission.

There are THREE ROUTES Jesus could have taken.  But Jesus had to go through Samaria to lay down a foundational work of the gospel, because it was His Father’s will for Him (John 4:34).

THE SECOND TRUTH the Holy Spirit wants us to get hold of:  Jesus drew attention for temporary satisfaction to eternal fulfillment.

The core of Jesus’ mission at the well as defined in John 4:10 and 13 is to move the lady from what she does know to what she does not know.  He does this in stimulating her curiosity resulting in her asking a question about Him (John 4:12).  She wants to know who this man at the well is:

“Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?”

Through Jesus’ example, our goal is to get people from thinking and talking about what they know and talking about and asking they about what they don’t know.

How can we guide the conversation in our connections to talk about what they don’t know?  

One example, when people begin to talk about the problems their family is having, move them to ask about a Christian family that had the same problem, maybe your own family, but do not have them now.  

Point how Jesus did a work in their lives.  Remember the goal here is to be walking in obedience to the Lord.  The focus is to be speaking to people you connect with.  

Let the Lord lead you to the Divine Appointment; to a heart that is prepared to receive what the Lord has for them at that time on their life.

An important note to remember in witnessing to others: Jesus pointed the women’s attention to what matters in eternity.  There is a contrast to what will satisfy PHYSICAL Thirst (water drawn from a well by labor) and to SPIRITUAL Water that will bubble from the inside given by Jesus.

In this incident at Jacob’s Well, the Samaritan lady makes a request, “…Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water!” (John 4:15).

This lady typifies many of the people we come across daily in our witnessing.  Because they are bound by SIN, they are so slow to respond to the things of God.

Like the lady at the well, many HEAR the gospel message, yet still want the things of God for all the wrong reasons.  In other words, she and those like her, still need a purifying of the heart.

People who are carnal in their thinking and not yet surrendered to the Lord (Matthew Henry Commentary).

In John chapter four, we see that Jesus had to break the barrier that kept her from understanding.

The TRUTH that must be presented to all, including Christianity is FIRST,  the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that He is.

The SECOND is the revelation on oneself.

It begins with the realization that LIFE lived without Him being Savior and Lord will not do; that one must be enlightened by the Holy Spirit that he is in great need of GRACE & MERCY of God.  Use your own testimony of how God’s Grace & Mercy made things new in your life.

The THIRD TRUTH I discovered is that the Lord wants us to grab hold of and pass on to others the importance:  What is a TRUE WORSHIPER?

Jesus said,  “You [Samaritans] do not know what you are worshiping [you worship what you do not comprehend]. We do know what we are worshiping [we worship what we have knowledge of and understand], for [after all] salvation comes from [among] the Jews.  A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.  God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth (reality).”  (John 4:22-24 AMP).

Most of the people we come in contact with are like the Samaritans in a sense who have chosen a partial knowledge of God’s Word.  They, like the Samaritans, have selective worship.  They choose which portion of Scripture they like and disregard the rest.

No one can worship in spirit and truth without an honest heart, seeking God’s will through the whole council of the written Word.

That doesn’t mean that a worshiper has to know ALL of God’s Word, but they must have a heart desire in seeking the Lord’s will and a willingness to live out what has already been revealed to them.

Those who want to WITNESS as Jesus did must point out the Lord is looking for the worshipers who approach God through his spirit, to attain a closeness and intimacy with God–a new relationship.

TRUE WORSHIP is when the spirit, the immortal and invisible part of oneself, speaks to and meets God, who is immortal and invisible (William Barclay).

This study in John chapter four is but a GUIDE towards your making connections in your community.  Simply use what you have already been given and He will make the way for you to WITNESS for Jesus.

God has a DIVINE APPOINTMENT for you to keep–be ready and willing to keep it!!

 


CREDITS:

Photos & Map – Google image search.

The New Testament Meaning of “Witness” [Founders – by Ernest Reisinger]

Bible translations as noted in the text.

 

 

 

HALLOWEEN “Just Harmless Fun, Right?”

I originally POSTED this blog back in 2011 and I repost every year. I was going to forget to reblog this year, and then…I read some others take on HALLOWEEN. Read it, if you get a chance, or you can delete it/ignore it. Your choice.

The WORD Detective

“Aren’t they CUTE?”

Many Christians believe participation in Halloween is a form of involvement in worthless deeds; “evil and darkness” as one source proclaimed.  However, many people today consider modern-day Halloween activities just harmless fun.  Something that they looked forward to as a kid and their children and grandchildren look forward to every October 31st.

I walked into a local large grocery chain store this past week and was overwhelmed by the sight and sounds of displays of Halloween decorations.  Masks, ghost sounds, Jack-o-lanterns, smoke blowing devices and on and on.  I have friends in the church who have said that they don’t participate in the actually trick or treating anymore but they love seeing their grandkids all dressed up as ‘bees and bee-keepers’ during Halloween.  Afterall, “they don’t dress up in ghost and goblin or evil costumes!”  All of these viewpoints, the worlds and some Christians traditional ideas, I thought would be worthy…

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INTEGRITY in a World of Change!

Pastor spoke of the importance of INTEGRITY within his message this morning. I thought I would add my thoughts in reposting this Blog from the past.

The WORD Detective

EVIDENCE FOUND IN THE “DIGGING”:  [Daniel 5:1-30]

INTEGRITY with CONSISTENCY–

One of the hardest aspects in living your life is INTEGRITY being consistent.  But first, let me give a secular definition of the word, then we will getter a better meaning set in our minds:

INTEGRITY:  A concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.  In ethics, INTEGRITY is regarded as the honest and truthfulness or accuracy on one’s actions.  INTEGRITY can be regarded as the OPPOSITE of hypocrisy”  Quoted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

With all the problems we face throughout our lives, no wonder many fail to act and react consistently in each situation.

In this blog, I will continue my detective work; digging in the Biblical evidence contained in The Book of Daniel Chapter 5. 

DANIEL is now approximately eighty years old.  He would be considered by all standards in any society…

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Your BREAKTHROUGH Is Here!

BLOG TEXT: MICAH 2

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A SHEEP GATHERING

MICAH’S DECLARATION:

Micah declares to the people of the day that the JUDGE was coming, referring to God!!

And God was angry because of widespread SIN of Idolatry and…covetousness, abuses, lawlessness, among other things.

And this isn’t just referring to the nation’s leaders, but to everyone who had cultivated a heart of acceptance to do evil in the sight of God.

The CULTIVATION Effect –

In Genesis 2:15, Adam’s job in the Garden was to “tend and keep”–or “cultivate and guard” what God had provided.

To CULTIVATE is the effort a farmer makes to ensure that he will produce a bountiful crop.

If a FARMER is lazy, if he fails to cultivate the ground, to do nothing to promote growth, nature will follow its course and the farm begins to degenerate.

If we don’t “guard” our hearts; we get lazy in reading and meditating on the Word of God, spiritual weeds (lies, excuses, rebellious spirit, lawlessness) will crop up and choke out any spiritual growth (fruit) that should be developing.

And in the place of SPIRITUAL FRUIT, we begin to nourish (cultivate) our fleshly heart, and sin gets a hold of our thoughts and we wind up at the wrong destination.

In place of FRUIT, SIN will reign in its place and our heart will begin to degenerate.

Proverbs 4:23-26 begins with this:  “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life”  (v. 23).

Apathy can let down your guard…

We are often guilty of pointing a finger at our nation’s leaders, our elected politicians, while at the same time being somewhat complacent–apathetic– on what’s tolerated by society–  “Hey, I don’t support “X, Y, Z”, but I don’t want to be judgmental. There’s nothing I can do or say, so why bother.”

It might become THE LAW of the land, but as true believers, we don’t have to roll over and play dead–forget who we are in Christ JESUS.

What is about to happen isn’t going to be a pretty sight!

So God declares through the Prophet some pretty heavy things that were going to happen from their neglect, their laziness, for what they were doing to the people and for their sins!!

What ever they had taken, God was going to take from them!!!  This also refers to their impending captivity to Babylon.

The whole scene is not a pretty sight

Then in Chapter 2:12-13, the scene abruptly shifts to the LORD’S restoration–A “BREAKTHROUGH”!

I think we can all agree, before we were born again, our lives were under JUDGMENT because of our SIN!

Romans 3:23:  Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.

If we are honest with ourselves, some of us did some pretty ugly things we’re not proud of.

We can look back and remember, some of us were pretty messed up.  Because of that, our SIN brought the JUDGMENT OF GOD on our lives.

Romans 2:5-6:  [5] “But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.  [6] For He will render to every man according to his works.”

Romans 6:23:  “For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Then JESUS came into our lives and changed the course of everything!!!  Whether at the time, we weren’t aware of what just happened to us spiritually.  It still happened!!

RECOGNIZING THE FIVE “R’s” AND MORE!

We were REDEEMED, RECOVERED, RECLAIMED, RELEASED, RESCUED…brought back, purchased, delivered, dis-imprisoned, emancipated, liberated, loosened, set free, SAVED by the Precious Blood of JESUS!!!

1 Peter 1:18-19:

[18] “You must know (recognize) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless (fruitless) way of living inherited by tradition from [your] forefathers, not with corruptible things [such as] silver and gold.  [19] But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish or spot.”

JESUS is our Savior, our liberator, our salvager, our salvation, THE MESSIAH!!

TRANSITION TO THE BREAKTHROUGH (verse 12):

In the book of MICAH, the people, as well as the leaders of the land, were under THE JUDGMENT of God.

Then, all of a sudden in Verse 12, a transition…a breaking through the Mist of Deception takes place.

BREAKTHROUGH-Sunset-Picture-800x533
THE BREAKTHROUGH IS HERE!

It is kind of like SALVATION–

First, you are not saved, then in a moment, you open up your heart to receive Christ and confess Him as Lord.

In that moment…YOU ARE SAVED!

Here in chapter two of Micah, we have the JUDGMENT OF GOD, and then all of a sudden, there’s RESTORATION to those that have survived (“overcomers”) all the ugliness and had been broken.

BREAKING THROUGH THE SHEEP’S’ GATE–

Micah 2:12-13 (N.L.T.) – RESTORATION:

[12]  “Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left.  I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock into pasture.  Yes your land will again be filled with noisy crowds!

[13]  Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land.  Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”

GOD CAN RESTORE!

God restores, renews, rebuilds, recovers…heals, cures, mends, retouches, refreshes and revives.

He RESTORES LIVES,

He RESTORES HEARTS,

He RESTORES MINDS,

He RESTORES RELATIONSHIPS & FRIENDSHIPS,

He RESTORES FAMILIES & MARRIAGES.

I think we all know and can give many testimonies that GOD is a GOD who RESTORES!

Jesus has the POWER of RESTORATION (verses 12-13)

In the text, there’s a remnant of God’s people spoken of in their land (foretold captivity), but they were broken, wounded, hurt people who were spread out over the land and…the prophet Micah declares to them that God would restore and gather them all together again.

“I will bring them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in the middle of a pasture, they will be so numerous that they will make a lot of noise.”

This is a perfect picture of RESTORATION & HEALING.

The basic understanding here is God wants to restore & heal those who have been BROKEN OR HURT AND WOUNDED!!

As we go to Verse 13, there is something very deep-seated that needs further study.

BREAKTHROUGH!!!

As I studied and meditated on this verse of Scripture, the more I read it, the more powerful it became.  The “Breaker” has come up before them; they have broken up; and…they have passed through the gate and are gone out through it.

It’s like the image I used of the Gathered Sheep in a pen, excited to burst through the narrow gate.

DELIVERANCE!!!

It is a picture of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, sudden and aggressive!  God broke down the gate of their captivity and lead them out of bondage.

It is a picture of deliverance, not conquest.  It’s not just breaking thru a barrier (the obstacle in the way) to get to the other side.  BUT…to BREAKTHROUGH; removing all other obstacles to keep them moving forward…then MOVING FORWARD!!

It’s a picture of being confined, like in prison, and all of a sudden the prison gate was blown open and set the prisoners free!!!

THE OBSTACLE?

And the OBSTACLE which was the gate was removed so they could get out; keep moving forward.

Without getting too heavy here, the basic understanding is God will remove any and all obstacles to get us where we need to be.  It is telling us today that God is the “BREAKER”.  That God is a God of BREAKTHROUGH!!!  He will remove those things that stand in our way of progress.

The Enemy Will Try to Put Obstacles In Our Path…

Satan will try to stop what God wants to do in our lives.  But God the Breaker, the God of Breakthrough, can and will clear a path to overthrow everything that stands in the way that God wants us to accomplish.

I don’t know about your circumstances, but I do know that in my Christian walk with God, when I need a BREAKTHROUGH, He will keep me moving forward.  And He can do the same for you.

We Need Some Breakthroughs Right Now…

#1.  For Our Churches–for souls to be saved and a supernatural move of Holy Spirit to touch the lives of His people.

A BREAKTHROUGH so spirit moved, that it couldn’t be refuted, challenged or denied; you knew, that you knew you were in the Presence of God.

#2.  We need a BREAKTHROUGH of the Holy Spirit Fire!

th_FIRE-1Like the AZUSA STREET REVIVAL.  It began with a meeting on April 9, 1906, led by Wilbur J. Seymour, the one-eyed 34-year-old son of former slaves.  [See Footnote [ii]].

A BREAKTHROUGH so awesome, that men and women would rise up to any occasion and do the work the Lord has called them to do!!

#3.  We need a BREAKTHROUGH in our VISION…

To look further than we’ve ever gone before.  To enlarge, to stretch, to lengthen, to strengthen and not hold back.

A VISION that goes beyond our borders–“Jerusalem” first, then Judea, Samaria…and the World!” (Acts 1:8 – paraphrased). 

This not only applies to the CHURCH as a corporate body, but also as an individual Christian.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH in your VISION because right now, it’s dull and blurred.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH so that you can clearly see what God has called you to do.

You might need A BREAKTHROUGH from apathy, indifference, and worst of all…LUKEWARMNESS.

We need a PHYSICAL BREAKTHROUGH!

Some need a FINANCIAL BREAKTHROUGH!

God wants us to know according to the words in Micah,  We don’t have to remain in the sheep pen…in the negative place we’re at, that He can give us BREAKTHROUGH!

God doesn’t want us to stay in captivity to any negative situation we find ourselves in.  He wants to BREAK down the gate and set us free–keep us moving in that direction.

THE GOD OF BREAKTHROUGH –

According to verse 13, God would clear a path for mankind and make a way to Himself.

Thank You Father for Your Son Jesus! 

God makes a way for us to be brought to Himself through His Son Jesus.  Thank God for His wonderful, awesome, amazing grace.

If you are reading this today, right where you are, JESUS wants you to experience A BREAKTHROUGH in your life.

You see SIN has the POWER to hold you captive.

But JESUS has a greater POWER TO SET YOU FREE FROM CAPTIVITY.

He wants to forgive you of all your sins, and come into your heart today.

If you will give Him your old life, He will give you a new one!!!


CREDITS & FOOTNOTES:

Footnote [i] : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azusa-Street-Revival

Photo Credits:  Google Images and computer storage/personal Pictures [“fire”].

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified Bible, except where noted in the Text.

 

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 36,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.