The Lord Heard Him

“The poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him” (Psalm 34:6). The man was alone, and the only one who heard him was the Lord. Yes, the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, the All–glorious, heard his prayer. God stooped from His eternal glory and gave attention to this cry.

Never think that a praying heart pleads to a deaf God. Never imagine that God is so far removed that He fails to notice our needs. God hears prayer and grants His children’s desires and requests.

We can never pray earnestly until we believe that God hears prayer. I have been told, “Prayer is an excellent exercise, highly satisfying and useful, but nothing more. Prayer cannot move the Infinite Mind.” Do not believe so gross a lie or you will soon stop praying. No one prays for the mere love of the act. Amid all the innumerable actions of divine power, the Lord never ceases to listen to the cries of those who seek His face. This verse is always true, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17). What a glorious fact! Truly marvelous!

This is still Jehovah’s special title: the God who hears prayer. We often come from the throne of grace as certain that God heard us as we were sure that we had prayed. The abounding answers to our supplications are proof positive that prayer climbs above the regions of earth and time and touches God and His infinity. Yes, it is still true, the Lord will hear your prayer.

~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Yeshua The Face Of Mercy

Knowing that we are called one of His very own, is revealing the revelation of love that is being manifested in our lives.
But, to know that YHVH Elohim has prepared beforehand vessels of mercy, so that we can receive His glory, is an entire separate marvelous mystery in itself.

In the Hebrew, there is a cluster of related words that are often translated as “mercy,” depending upon where they appear in the sentence.
There is “ahavah,” which refers to God’s enduring love for Israel, much like the love between man and woman.
Then there is “Rachamim,” which comes from the root word “rechem,” or womb, and therefore might be more literally understood as suggesting a “maternal connection” between YHVH and human beings.
In Psalm 85 it speaks of the Israelites’ return from exile, it is said that when “mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed.”
“Chesed,” the word translated as “mercy” in this verse, additionally suggests YHVH’s quality of “steadfast loyalty.” The psalm thus relates steadfastness and mercy with “truth”. In Hebrew the word for truth is “emet”, which means behaving ethically and being faithful to YHVH’s will.

Yeshua is the face of mercy.
In Matthew’s gospel, Yeshua tells His disciples to understand the meaning of the phrase:
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Perhaps most significantly for us is that Yeshua shows us what it means to be merciful: He healed the sick, welcomed the stranger and pardoned those who persecuted and killed Him. He came to set us free from the curse of death and to reconcile us with Abba.

Mercy does matter!
And to know that you can be a vessels of mercy, and carry the glory of YHVH, is to know that you have the nature of Christ inside of you. Every morning we receive new mercy from YHVH. Every morning we should become empty vessels of honour in serving our King, knowing His mercy is inside of us, so that we can take it out into the world.
In this the revelation of the wealth of His glory, will be revealed to all, and all will know who YHVH Elohim is. His glory will be release to those who carry His mercy.

And doesn’t He also have the right to release the revelation of the wealth of His glory to His vessels of mercy, whom God prepared beforehand to receive His glory? Even for us, whether we are Jews or non-Jews, we are those He has called to experience His glory. – Romans 9:23-24

Warning Against The Teachers of The Law

Mark 12:38 “And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and [love] salutations in the marketplaces,”

“Beware Is to see or watch. It carries the idea of guarding against the evil influence of the scribes.

” A long, flowing cloak that essentially trumpeted the wearer as a devout and noted scholar.

“Salutations”: Accolades for those holding titles of honor.

These scribes, above, were not servants of their fellow men. They wanted to be looked up to as being special. Their prayers were are not sincere, they were only for those around them to hear and brag about how great they were. God does not care about fancy big worded prayers. He just wants us to pray from our hearts.

Mark 12:39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets.

“Chief seats in the synagogues”: The bench in the synagogue nearest the chest where the sacred scrolls were housed, an area reserved for leaders and people of renown (see note on James 2:3).

Mark 12:40 “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.”

“Devour widow’s houses”: Jesus exposed the greedy, unscrupulous practice of the scribes. Scribes often served as estate planners for widows, which gave them the opportunity to convince distraught widows that they would be serving God by supporting the temple or the scribes own holy work. In either case, the scribe benefited monetarily and effectively robbed the widow of her husband’s legacy to her.

“By saying long prayers, The Pharisees attempted to flaunt their piety by praying for long periods. Their motive was not devotion to God, but a desire to be revered by the people.

Many scribes of that day were dependent on generous individuals for their livelihood. Some abused the hospitality they were shown and brought their hopeless donors to the brink of financial ruin. Others flaunted their religion for the sale of impressing others with their spirituality, perhaps thereby obtaining more support.

Jesus Sober Words

Mark 12:38-40 and Jesus’ tough words of warning against the teachers of the Law.

The tension between Jesus and the Jewish authorities has been bubbling away all through this chapter – and not under the surface. Here Jesus gets explicit in his blunt criticism of the teachers of the law.

Scribes would have worn distinctive white long robes and been venerated as men of the Law. People would have risen when a Scribe passed by, they were treated with huge respect and given titles like Rabbi, Master or Father. It was an honour to have one at a banquet and prominent seats were reserved for them in the Synagogues.

As we’ve been reminded in the posts on One.Life, Jesus’ passion for justice lies at the heart of his preaching on the kingdom of God.

It so it is injustice that provokes this severe warning. The widows reference is probably about the unpaid scribes being dependent on gift income and taking advantage of widows hospitality and resources.

Comment: It is very hard to read this passage in an Irish context and not make a link to the abuse of religious power in this country. Where men were venerated and given untold respect and status. And where so many of those men used that position of trust and power for selfish and abusive purposes, taking advantage of the weak and vulnerable, and all the time being seen as models of piety.

One thing is clear – according to Jesus, such actions lead to severe punishment. God’s justice includes judgement.

But it is also hard to read this text and not feel Jesus’ call for integrity and authenticity in ministry. Those called to positions of leadership and public ministry need prayer: for honesty and humility and accountability along with a passion to serve God and others rather than themselves.

Warning Against the Teachers of the Law

38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

The Lord of Lords

Deuteronomy: 10:17

Of angels and civil magistrates, who are sometimes so called. These are his creatures, act for him and under him, and are accountable to him.

“The Lord of lords”: Of the kings and princes of the earth, who have their crowns, scepters, and kingdoms from him. And hold them of him, by and under whom they reign and decree judgment, and who are subject to his authority and control.

“A great God”: As the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands. The blessings of his providence and grace, and the extensiveness of his dominion in heaven, earth, and hell, show him to be.

“A mighty and a terrible”: Mighty and powerful to help, protect, and defend his people. Terrible to his and their enemies, even to the kings of the earth.

“Which regardeth not persons”: But bestows his favors, whether in a way of providence or grace, according to his sovereign will and pleasure. Without regard to the works and merits of men, their characters or circumstances.

“Nor taketh reward”: Or bribes, to avert threatened and deserved judgments (see Job 36:18).

The nations around them worship false gods. The True God is the only God. He proved that over and over. One of the purposes of the ten plagues on Egypt, was to defame the false gods of Egypt. God showed His supreme power over nature, when He parted the Red Sea at His command. He showed His power over all provisions, when He caused water to flow from the Rock. He needs nothing at all. He wants our love and respect.

Deuteronomy 10:18 “He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.”

“He doth execute the judgment”: The sovereign, authoritative God is also impartial (verse 17), as seen in His concern for the orphan, the widow, and the alien (compare Lev. 19:9-18; James 1:27).

He is the Provider of those who trust Him. God cares for those who are unable to care for themselves. He is Father to the fatherless, and takes up the gap for the widow as well. He provides food for those who are His, even if He has to rain it down from heaven. He provides their robe of righteousness to all who believe

Always Be Vigilant

Matthew 24:38 “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,”

“For as in the days that were before the flood”: Not all the days before the flood, from the creation of the world; but those immediately preceding it, a century or two before it: they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage: not that these civil actions of life were criminal in themselves, had care been taken that they were not abused.

It is lawful to eat and drink, provided it be in moderation, and not to excess; and to marry, and give in marriage, when the laws, rules, and ends thereof, are observed: and therefore this must be understood, either of their wholly giving themselves up to the pleasures of life, and lusts of the flesh, without any concern about the affairs of religion, the worship and glory of God, the welfare of their souls and their approaching danger, of which Noah had given them warning.

Or of their luxury and intemperance, in eating and drinking, and of their libidinous and unlawful marriages; for the word here used for eating, signifies eating after the manner of brute beasts: they indulged themselves in a brutish way, in gluttony and drunkenness; and it is certain from the account given of them, in Genesis 6:2 that they entered into unlawful marriages, and unclean copulations.

Wherefore these things may be spoken of them, as what were really sinful and wicked, and denote a course of sinning, a constant practice of these sins of intemperance and lust, and which is still more fully expressed, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.

The observation that the people of Noah’s day “knew not” the severity and suddenness of the coming destruction indicates that this last generation will be totally unprepared for the “coming of the Son of man,” the return of Christ to judge the world (see 2 Thess. 1:7-8).

The reference to “two” being in the field or at work at the time of Christ’s return implies the suddenness of His coming to separate the lost and the saved.

Amen

Our Gifts from Yeshua

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

When we first turn to Ephesians 2:8-9, the first thing we notice is that we are confronted with a whole list of spiritual-sounding words: grace, saved, faith, gift, works. Even those of us who have been in God’s church for many years and who may clearly understand each of these words individually, are slowed down in our comprehension of these verses when faced with such terms presented one after the other.

So let us take a very brief Greek lesson. Please take the time to study these words in more detail. Here are the key terms contained in this scripture in English and Greek, the Strong’s Concordancereference number, and, to make the meanings clearer, other English terms translated in the New Testament from the same Greek words:

  • Grace (#5485): charis (khar’-ece). Also translated as favor, thanks, thank, pleasure.
  • Saved (#4982): sozo (sode’-zo). Also translated as make whole, heal, be whole.
  • Faith (#4102): pistis. Also translated as assurance, believe, belief, those who believe, fidelity.
  • Gift (#1435): doron. Also translated as present, offering.
  • Works (#2041): ergon. Also translated as deed, doing, labor.

We have just learned that ergon is the original Greek for the English word “works.” It does not appear to be a very difficult, ambiguous, or confusing term. But what do the many people and churches who

claim that works are not required perceive “works” to be?

Opinions vary. One group perceives works to mean the whole law in general. A second group perceives works as specific portions of God’s law, which they look upon as being “Jewish” or “Old Covenant,” or that they are just not willing to keep and teach. A third group, amazingly enough in their rejection of it, perceives this term as meaning works of charity in general!

Individuals or groups who choose to substitute the word “law” for the word “works” in Ephesians 2:8-9, and who thus say that New Testament Christians do not have to keep God’s law, do not appear to mean it totally and literally. Instead, most of them reserve the right to choose which parts of the law they wish to keep (“You shall not kill,” “You shall not steal,” etc.) and those that they do not wish to keep (“Remember the Sabbath,” holy days, tithing, clean and unclean meats, etc.). God has nowhere given authority to His people to be selective in these matters, thus this stance toward the law is inconsistent and even hypocritical.

The church of God has always agreed one hundred percent with those who say that salvation is a gift, and that a Christian cannot earn salvation by charitable works or by obedience to God’s law. However, obedience is a condition we must meet before God will give us His free gift of salvation. New Testament evidence is overwhelming on the matter. Here are just a few verses:

· And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit, which God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32)

· He who says, “I know him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)

· So He said to [the rich young ruler], “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:17)

· If you love Me, keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

The apostle Paul, in Ephesians 2:8-9, does not say that works are not required at all. The purpose of his statement is to show that works do not save us, but that grace and faith do! In fact, the very next verse, verse 10, shows that God calls members of His church for the very purpose of performing good works: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

The apostle’s language is very clear. God desires us to walk in good works, and He has prepared our spiritual educational process so that we will learn to do them. Doing good works in the name of Jesus Christ is a major part of the purpose for the life of each true Christian. We cannot truly be Christians without them!

Longing For Heaven

“For we know that if the earthly tent [physical body] we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-2

Physical death for Christians holds the promise of a new, perfect body in heaven where we will live eternally with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God designed us to be homesick for heaven. We will never be completely at peace until we share eternal life with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I’ve heard it said that each of us has a hole in the heart that only God can fill. That hole can never be filled completely until we are in our eternal home with the Lord.

Amen

Cathey Lynn

Two Kinds of Wisdom

Those with some scriptural training or higher status in the faith community will be tempted to count themselves qualified as “wise.” Those who feel inadequate in spiritual things might hope they won’t be noticed. James’s answer to his own question, though, comes as a surprise. As human beings, we tend to measure wisdom as having all the right answers to the hard questions. Instead, James suggests, wisdom is as wisdom does. He echoes what he wrote about faith and good works in chapter 2: “I will show you my faith by my good works.”

A truly wise person will demonstrate the humility of wisdom by his good works. The true test of God’s kind of wisdom is a life well lived, a life spent doing good works for others. As the wisdom book of Proverbs repeatedly makes clear, humility is an essential component of living wisely (Proverbs 1:5–8). Without setting ourselves aside, we cannot hope to become the wise servants God has called us to be