Archive for the ‘New Circumcised Heart’ Category

Whatever happened to forgiveness?

Recently I had a discussion with my brother about forgiveness. It began with his question, “Whatever happened to people forgiving one another instead of always being offended?”

The dictionary defines forgive as the ability to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake; to cease to feel resentment against. Within that definition is the word offense or the annoyance and resentment brought about by a perceived insult or disregard for one’s standards or principles. These definitions of forgiveness and offense make the question even more intriguing.

What happened to people that they can’t stop feeling anger or resentment toward others and continue to embrace perceived insults for one’s standards or principles?

“Every scheme of the wicked in his arrogance [says], “There is no God, [so] it won’t be held against me” (Psalm 10:4).

The answer to that question is quite simple though somewhat complex and begins with our culture’s loss of belief in God (Elohim) as a Sovereign King, loss of their identity as a human being created by Him, and loss of humility before this Sovereign King. Arrogance stands in direct opposition to Him and is the seed of fruit eaten in the garden.

“So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord. Perhaps you will yet be forgiven for holding such a thought in your heart” (Acts 8:22).

Years ago I read a book entitled, “Out on a Broken Limb” by Shirley McLaine who has no fear of her Creator, but believes herself God. There was a little description of her standing on the shore of a great ocean punching her fists in the air screaming at the top of her lungs, “I AM GOD!” over and over confirming her stance in the presence of the Almighty that She. Is. God. Yet, in the ears of the Creator of the Universe, her voice sounds like a mere ant standing on a minute grain of sand. He could barely hear her tiny high-pitched squeal and only laughed at her arrogance. Such arrogance breeds offense and not forgiveness.

Yeshua taught in “The Lord’s Prayer:” “Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us.” Yet, arrogance never allows for personal wrongdoing. Arrogance judges others as the wrong doers and therefore responds with offense and unforgiveness. This arrogant attitude destroys personal relationships in families between parents and children, marriages, friendships and even fellowships. Forgiveness is an act of humility and as taught by Yeshua has a condition, “but if you do not forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will not forgive yours” (Matthew 6:12, 15).

Herein lies what I view as the problem. We live in a culture where a heavenly Father no longer exists in the minds and hearts of His creation. So, who cares if He forgives us or not? We are ‘little gods’ and create Him in our image just like Shirley McClaine standing on the beach. We should care because without forgiveness we will continue to live in a culture of offense that will escalate in strife, anger, bitterness and murder while we wonder what is happening in the world.

“Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).

Love. Social media is filled with memes about love. Love is constantly preached in our culture, but it’s not a Biblical love that forbears, politely or patiently restraining an impulse to do something. It’s a Beatles kind of love that is humanistic making the individual the center of the universe. It is a deceptive love that speaks tolerance, but never forbears. This redefinition of love is not the authentic, unconditional love that each person’s soul truly seeks. In fact, it appears to be a type of love that actually promotes dissension and division between individuals and groups of people.

“Love covers a multitude of sins …” (1 Peter 4:8).

First Corinthians 13, the chapter in the Bible that actually defines authentic sacrificial love, says keeping a record of wrongs is not love and neither is being easily angered, rude or selfish. Yet, the greatest kindness we can give to one another is to bear with one another and not keep a record of the offenses, allowing them to build until they explode which is what we are seeing in our godless culture.

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted; and forgive each other, just as in the Messiah God has also forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

According to the definition of offense, it is ‘perceived’ and not necessarily something finite or real. It is something that the minds of men embrace to the point that it takes over their entire thought process until it defines who they are. We were not created to be defined by a political view or morality issues; we were created to be transformed into the image of Yeshua, the one who gave his life so that we could not only be forgiven our offenses, but have the ability to forgive others. Offense, like forgiveness, is a choice and matter of the condition of one’s tender heart or having a kind, gentle, or sentimental nature. Again, tenderheartedness is not the norm in our godless culture because our hearts have become hard toward our Creator and we define ourselves and our lives apart from Him.

“You bring frail mortals to the point of being crushed, then say, “People, repent!” (Psalm 90:3).

In Hebrew, the word ‘repent’ is teshuvah which means to make a 180 degree turn in your life and return back to God. According to the prophet Isaiah, the solution to sin, wickedness and evil arrogant thoughts that bring offense, is a return to God and His ways which includes forgiveness (Isaiah 55:7) As mortal human beings we become easily offended by ideas and opinions that differ from ours, however, our Sovereign King is offended by sin, actions that are highly reprehensible to Him. These actions are outlined in the Bible that no one wants to read because we are such modern people and the words of our Creator have been deemed as outdated. Obeying them would be like going back to the 1700s. Really, it would be like going back further than that, back 4000 years. The underlying message of repentance is missing in today’s spiritually diverse culture. Fear of being intolerant or unloving has made acknowledging sin and its consequences a judgmental action rather than truly loving. Yet, forgiveness is magnanimous when repentance is true.

When post-modern individuals care about the actions that are reprehensible to God can they understand the depth of their weakened human state that focuses on offensive ideas and opinions and not the power of God’s forgiveness. We live in a culture that mocks God and pounds their fists in the air at those who do put their faith in Him. They still cannot see they are not ‘little gods’ and those voices raised in arrogance against God and His people still sound like a mere ant standing on a grain of sand. He laughs at every teeny weeny voice trying to be so bold as to redefine His world and His standards. It doesn’t matter what the government defines as right or wrong by law; governments come and go. It only matters what God defines as right and wrong whether it’s abortion, fornication, adultery, stealing, lying and the worship of the false god of self because His laws are eternal. Only through humility will anyone understand the depth of God’s love for humanity’s pointless arrogance against Him and be able to forgive others rather than hold onto an offended, judgmental attitude based on ideas and political concepts that will pass away when we do.

“Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. “Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). 

I find it almost laughable when godless people quote Yeshua’s words “Don’t judge and you won’t be judged” so they sound knowledgeable about a God they don’t want to accept or deny exists. These are the same folks who judge and condemn those who read the Bible as being judgmental! If only they would take one second and open a Bible, they would see the rest of that verse, “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” There is less judgment in the Bible than lovingkindness, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Instead of focusing on forgiving, forbearing and being tenderhearted, these misinformed people focus on judging and condemning others’ views they do not understand while pontificating Scriptures they know nothing about. It’s unfortunate that most of these people base their knowledge of the Bible on the behavior of many who claim to be Bible believers, but deny the reality of God’s commandments in their own lives.

“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered over …” (Romans 4:7).

Forgiveness is the willful act of covering over the sins and offenses of another. This is not the same as giving a thumbs-up to their sins and offenses for sins against God are established until the world to come and will ultimately be judged by Him. This type of forgiveness is the ability to overlook the offense and accept the individual in the state in which they live and think. When there is this type of forgiveness, relationships are established that may bring peace, joy, and hope into an individual’s heart.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in that the Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).

While offense brings arguments, divisions, civil unrest and broken relationships, forgiveness brings restoration and blessing. In Hebrew the word for blessing is barak and means ‘to kneel down and show respect.’ This is the epitome of forgiveness – to kneel down in front of the one who has offended you showing respect for that person’s humanity as one created in the image of God. This is the greatest act of Biblical love, forbearance, tenderheartedness and forgiveness that the world not only is searching for, but needs desperately to see emulated by those who have had their sins forgiven by God through Yeshua and know the power and blessing of that forgiveness.

“Claiming to be wise, they have become fools! In fact, they have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for mere images, like a mortal human being …. In other words, since they have not considered God worth knowing, God has given them up to worthless ways of thinking…. They are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and vice; stuffed with jealousy, murder, quarreling, dishonesty and ill-will; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God; they are insolent, arrogant and boastful; they plan evil schemes; they disobey their parents;  they are brainless, faithless, heartless and ruthless. They know well enough God’s righteous decree that people who do such things deserve to die; yet not only do they keep doing them, but they applaud others who do the same” (Romans 1:22-32).

Back to the original question: “Whatever happened to people not forgiving and holding onto offenses? Simply. Without God, no one knows or understands the concept of forgiveness and therefore holds onto their personal perceived offenses. Without God, we are nothing but bumbling fools who have been deceived into believing that we, mere humans, can make the world a kinder, better, more loving place. And, we can’t.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries

Open My Eyes: Wonders of Torah

Paperback on Amazon

The catalyst for publishing Open My Eyes – Wonders of Torah came from the myriads of people who, in these last days, are denying the deity of Yeshua and his sonship to the Father.  This is a Bible study of the first five books of the Bible or Torah that reveal Yeshua throughout its written words, it’s language and its shadows.  

The Torah includes the history and foundations of a Biblical faith necessary for a walk with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Isra’el and is the most obvious place to begin learning about the Creator, His Kingdom, His People, His plan of redemption and His restoration of Isra’el and to delve deeper into Yeshua and His teachings.  

When the Torah was written down by Moshe, he didn’t have the fullness of the Scriptures we have today with the prophets,  the writings, the gospels and the letters.  We have a more complete picture of God’s eternal plan while he had only a glimpse.

When Yeshua became flesh and walked on earth, he only had the Hebrew Scriptures – the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings – for teaching about repentance and the Kingdom of God.  Each Torah portion includes words and actions of Yeshua that prove his faithfulness to the instructions of his Father, the Torah, and his divinity.  

The Torah portion commentary comes from questions my family asked, searched out, and may even still have.  Because Biblical names and Hebrew words have unique meanings different from English,  Hebrew Word Pictures are included that illuminate those nuances. Selah, meaning ‘pause and think about this,’ are also found throughout the text.  At the end of each parashah, traditional readings from the prophets as well as the new testament readings are listed along with a suggested midrash.

©2018 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

Priestly and Bridal Garments

“Therefore, since we have a great cohen gadol (high priest) who has passed through the highest heaven, Yeshua, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we acknowledge as true” (Hebrew 4:14).

The priestly garments, according Exodus 28, were comprised of blue, purple, scarlet, and linen threads.   Yeshua, our High Priest came from heaven represented by the blue and was the royal King of Kings represented by the purple. The scarlet represented his blood sacrifice for the sins of the world while the linen represented his sinless purity.  Woven through the blue, purple and scarlet yarn was gold, hammered so thin, it became a thread.  The gold represented both Yeshua’s divinity as the Son of God as well as his humanity as he was beaten and hammered.

The high priest wore black onyx stones on their shoulder engraved with the names of the 12 Tribes of Isra’el in their birth order.  In Hebrew, the word for ‘engrave’ is charasso and means ‘set free’.   The engraving was done like a ‘seal’ for a signet ring foreshadowing Yeshua who would set his brothers and sisters free from sin and the darkness of the world represented by the black onyx.

Isaiah, in Hebrew is Yeshayahu and literally means ‘salvation of Yah.’  The book of Isaiah has 66 chapters.  The first 39 chapters of Isaiah speak of Israel’s need for redemption while the last 27 speak of Elohim sending salvation or yeshua to Isra’el.

“I am so joyful in Adonai!  My soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in salvation, dressed me with a robe of triumph, like a bridegroom wearing a festive turban, like a bride adorned with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10-11).

Isaiah describes the wedding clothing of the bride of Messiah.  Along with the priestly garments mentioned above, the Bride wears a festive turban.  The Hebrew word for ‘wear’ in this verse means ‘to mediate’.  The priestly turban had a gold seal with “Holy to Yahweh.”   Wearing a festive turban, the Bride will be Holy to Yahweh because she has ‘meditated’ on her Bridegroom and was ready when he arrived.

The bride wears several garments.  The first is her garment of salvation representing her faith in the atonement of her Bridegroom.  This is like her undergarment.  It is the first piece of clothing she receives.   Her second garment is a ‘robe of triumph’ symbolizing her victory over sin and death and her righteous sanctified life.  Though there is a positional righteousness given to each of us by faith, there is also the practical righteousness of daily obedience to our Father’s commands.  Yeshua is not looking for a lawless bride who does what she thinks is ‘right in her own eyes.’  Yeshua is looking for a set-apart, holy, sanctified Bride.  This garment of triumph is worn over the top of her garment of salvation.

When our Bridegroom returns, he will adorn his Bride with jewels and give her a new name.  It will be like a glorious crown and a royal diadem.

“Then you will be called by a new name which Adonai himself will pronounce.  You will be a glorious crown in the hand of Adonai, a royal diadem held by your God” (Isaiah 62:2-3).

“Then, when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive glory as your unfading crown” (1 Peter 5:4).

The Bride will be given one more garment, a wedding dress.  It is made of fine linen and stands for the ‘righteous acts of the saints.’  It represents her testimony of the Bridegroom in her life as she onto the commandments of his Father.   She has persevered with patience and is rewarded accordingly.

“For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)” (Revelation 19:7-8). 

When the wedding feast of the Lamb and his Bride arrives, it will be a celebration like no other, an ‘appointed time’ of Yahweh.  In Hebrew, the word ‘bride’ is challah. Every Sabbath evening Jewish families eat a special braided bread known as challah.  It is not called lechem or ‘bread’, but the bride.  This bread makes the Bride of Messiah central to the prophetic vision of the eternal Sabbath where Yeshua is not only present, but rules and reigns for all eternity as King of Kings with his redeemed, sanctified and glorified Bride at his side.

©2017 Tentstake Ministries

The Marriage Covenant

I saw an interesting meme the other day praising marriage. It pontificated about how difficult marriage can be and young married couples should strive to keep their marriages together when marriage isn’t all fairytale dreams. When ‘sharing’ the meme, it was suggested putting a photo of yourself and spouse along with how long you have been married. What I found interesting with the person who posted the meme is I know the man had been divorced once; the woman twice and they are presently only married 10 years. Though the meme offered sound advice, a post praising marriage from divorcees seemed foolish.

When I initially wrote the word marriage for the title, I heard the voice of the priest from Princess Bride say: “Marrwigde is what bwings us togedeter today.”  Yes, it is.

Marriage is a covenant. It was instituted by God in the beginning with Adam and Eve. Though marriage is not always an easy road, it should always be the road on which we stay the lifetime course. At the time I am writing this, my husband and I have been married 31 years; neither of us were ever married before.  We have had some rough and tough times to be sure, but apart from the traditional vows, we promised something to each other on our wedding day (at the advice of my dad):  Never go to bed angry.  We have been faithful to that advice all of these years. Whenever there is a disagreement or issue that , we talk it out so the devil doesn’t get a foothold in our relationship. 

On a road trip with my son several years ago, he asked me to answer a question in one word. His question: What is one word that is most important in marriage? I could only respond with ‘forgiveness.’ Forgiveness is huge in a marriage relationship especially if either of the spouses is a believer because forgiveness is commanded by Yeshua. Forgiveness is the first step in accepting our individual responsibility in every disagreement. When we forgive one another, we eventually have restoration of the relationship. Some things may be more difficult to forgive than others, but Yeshua doesn’t say to forgive only the little things, but to forgive everything – 70 x 7 times a day!

I remember being married only a few weeks and my husband confessed something from his past that was pretty shocking to me.  I remember asking him, “Are you born again?”  He responded, “Yes.”  I continued, “Have you asked forgiveness from God?”  He responded, “Yes.”  At that point the discussion was over.  The event has never come up again and this is the first time in our married life that I’ve even acknowledged it happened.

Did my husband and I bring junk from past relationships into our marriage? Probably. We’re human beings and we lived lives of sin. However, we never focus on our pasts or blamed the junk from others as the reason for our problems. In many cases we hit the issues head on. For example, many years ago an old girlfriend of my husband’s stayed with us for two days while we attended her brother’s wedding. Strange? Yes. But I trusted my husband. I also met a former girlfriend of my husband’s on a trip to Arizona.  She was a very nice woman, married with her own family. Was it strange? Yes. Was I jealous? Absolutely not. My husband went with me to a Denver football game to watch a former boyfriend from college play professionally. I’m not sure he thought it was weird because he enjoyed the free football tickets! Yet, sometimes we have to rest in who we are in Yeshua and trust who we are in our marriage relationship. All of these awkward situations brought us closer together rather than drive a wedge between us.  We sin against God and each other enough times on our own that to allow past junk to fester and destroy our marriage is pointless. 

We have trust in our marriage.  This doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been stretched a time or two even to the point of breaking, but if one doesn’t trust their spouse, then what is left?  I do not care to know my husband’s passwords to his computer or phone except in the event he dies; nor do I stalk him on social media because he has his own life and I have mine. We trust each other.

What I see and hear in many marriage relationships is no one accepts personal responsibility.  Husbands and wives  blame each other and bring up past relationships in their arguments. When we are born again into God’s Kingdom, the past is in the past and should remain there. It should not be thrown into anyone’s face or be the cause for separating from our spouse.   That’s the work of the devil.  Period. However, Scripture is very clear about marriage, divorce and remarriage. There are reasons God hates divorce – He has seen the results for Himself with his relationship with His people. Junk from previous marriages can be very detrimental to present relationships because the severing of one flesh that happens in marriage is more than difficult – it isn’t supposed to happen.

Our past surely affects who we are, but if we’re born again, we’re new creations and the old has passed away.  That is how I like to live out my life and my marriage relationship. I appreciate that my husband lives his life the same way. Sometimes we reminisce about our pasts and either laugh at our foolishness or are reminded of our regrets because we didn’t know the ways of God and put them into practice.

One of the problems I have witnessed over the years is that most wives (since this is my world as a woman) want to be the Spirit of God in their spouse’s life, convicting them of sin.   That is not the job of a spouse – husband or wife.   If you don’t like something in your spouse’s life, figure out if it’s a personal personal issue or actual sin.   If it’s a personal pet peeve, talk about it. Then, let it go.  If your spouse is sinning, present it to God as a sin and allow the Spirit of God to deal with it.  This is called trusting God to bring each of us to His perfection.  If your husband is not a believer in Messiah, then wives are commanded to live such pure and holy lives that their husbands are convicted.  Pure and holy doesn’t mean being the convicting Spirit, but allowing the Spirit to live, rule and convict your life.

I had a friend who became pregnant with her second child.  Her husband wanted her to have an abortion.  He was not a believer.  She didn’t know what to do as their first child was born out of wedlock. They waited nearly a year after the child’s birth to get married. She had been through this before and didn’t know quite how to handle it.  God brought a opportunity for her to leave for three days on a mini vacation.  She went.  When she returned, her husband apologized and his heart was changed.  That little girl is his special child.  This friend had faith that God would work while she was gone.  He did.

I believe God joins people together – for better or worse – whether or not they are believers in God. As I stated earlier, marriage is a covenant created by God so those who get married enter that covenant.

It amazes me what people think is ‘worse’ as I would be divorced numerous times over by now if I had those same standards on my husband and marriage. Worse is the worse thing you can imagine and then some. Worse is not death; worse is not illness; worse is not hanging out with the guys (or gals). Worse becomes worse when it meets you where you are and is unexpected. It takes the wind out of your sails. Yet, the vow was to remain faithful ‘for worse.’

No one is to divide the marriage relationship – no one, not a friend, child, pastor or parent.  Especially a parent. Parents have no place in a marriage relationship.  This is why the woman leaves her home and a man leaves his mother according to Genesis.  Torah commands that for the first year of marriage the married couple is to be ‘left alone’ in order to begin their own home – leave and cleave are the buzz words.   When my son got married, we followed that command.  We only visited them or them us that first year when they initiated it.  They needed to begin their own life together without unwanted advice from us.  My husband and I had no interference in our marroage as my family lived on the east coast of the U.S. and his lived on the west coast.  We lived in the middle of the country and were able to grow our relationship without family interference.

We agreed early on that we would never ever use the D word – Divorce.  Having that idea in the back of the mind just opens doors for the enemy to take hold of one of our sins, and as is human nature, pride seeks its obvious course.  Throwing the D-word around is a sign of knowing you have an escape rather than to press on in spite of difficult situations.

I was blessed to have parents who were Christians, loving and married until death parted them after only 21 years of marriage. My grandparents were Mennonite and that is how I was raised in a ‘plain’ way.   My husband’s parents divorced when he was 18 and he purposed in his heart that he would never take that path before he ever met me or the Lord.  We have also been blessed that we did not come from manipulative homes with overbearing moms or dads or alcohol and drugs. Consequently, we are not controlling and overbearing to one another or our children.

I was a staunch feminist when I met my husband. In college I had a book bag that said, “A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate.”  I was all for woman’s equal rights and everything that went along with that mantra.   However, today I am so far removed from that mindset for two reasons.  First, it is rooted in the Jezebel spirit and and creates a woman dominate household. Many women that I know complain that their husbands don’t spiritual lead their family. Perhaps it’s because the wife is dominating that role as is easy to do.  If a woman wants a leading man, then let him lead!

Second, according to Scripture men and women are only equal in terms of sin, redemption and forgiveness.  There is a line of authority given by God. I am commanded to submit to my husband as I would to the Lord – like the holy women in the past.   For me this has been a journey of learning how to do submit in an equal role.

Several months ago my husband and I listened to a teaching on marriage for young unmarried people.  My husband commented that “We did it all wrong.”  Yes, we did.  We lived together, one a believer; the other not.  We didn’t understand anything about the purity of the marriage bed, protecting our hearts and minds, or even the spiritual warfare that is strong and steady trying to destroy the marriage covenant.   It’s not how you begin the race that matters, but how you finish it.  Forgive, press on, and pray for your spouses.  Have faith that God will work everything to His glory in His perfect timing.  There are still things that bug me about my husband as I’m sure there are things that bug him about me, but we have overcome and will continue to do so because that’s what our vows meant to us when we entered the marriage covenant – overcome.

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

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