Didn’t He say “love others”?

So the other day I was having a “conversation” online with someone. He was essentially going after an author who was talking about his journey with Yeshua. In his attack he was misquoting scripture. So I posted the scripture, about 6 of them actually, to the thread and didn’t say anything else. He then came after me a little, and again misquoted Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, and I again shared the actual scripture.

If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1‭-‬2 TPT

This morning Abba started talking to me about the conversation and specifically about 1 Corinthians 13:1-2. I tend to get frustrated with the folks that spend their time trying to discredit different people that rise up as leaders or voices in Christendom. I ‘m not saying that some folks shouldn’t be evaluated, but there is a reason we have been given Holy Spirit and discernment. Our focus, if these people get off track, should be love and restoration not condemnation. I kept hearing Abba say “where is the love in all of this?” Pointing me back to 1 Corinthians. He then showed me how so many religiously use scripture, many times out of context or slightly twisted, to align with certain doctrines of man to abuse others. They will even say, “God is love”, but don’t have the relationship with Him to know what that love looks like on a personal level. In this, Abba was not only pointing out things to watch out for, but also for me to be aware in how I am walking in love.

We need to remember that when we are engaging others, regardless of how we feel or what they are saying, we need to engage with love. Even if we are helping to correct, guide, teach, or disciple, our focus must be love, over all things. Jesus didn’t wait till He felt like us to provide us access to the Father, the Father loved us and sent Jesus. For us to shine the light and share the love that Abba has given us is one of the most honorable way that we can show our love for Him.

A way out… just keep moving

I was reading through Titus this morning. Yes, the whole book, it is only three chapters. I actually suggest that every once in a while you should read through each of the Epistles, or letters, that make up most of the New Testament, all in one sitting. Yep, read it as it was written, as a letter.

Anyways back to Titus. As I was reading through this, I had a note written in my Bible, actually a couple of them. One read, the difference between conviction and condemnation. Conviction shows you the way out, where condemnation makes you feel there is no way out. In reading through this, I need to say I was a little convicted by verse 2 in chapter 3, where it talks about not speaking ill or poorly of others. I know sometimes I can be guilty of this, mostly out of frustration or being in a mood. Then I  was presented with a way out, through Jesus. Not only is there a way out, there is a way to dominion, as we move closer to Him and through Holy Spirit. .

Titus 3:2‭-‬8 TPT
And remind them to never tear down anyone with their words or quarrel, but instead be considerate, humble, and courteous to everyone. For it wasn’t that long ago that we behaved foolishly in our stubborn disobedience. We were easily led astray as slaves to worldly passions and pleasures. We wasted our lives in doing evil, and with hateful jealousy we hated others. When the extraordinary compassion of God our Savior and his overpowering love suddenly appeared in person , as the brightness of a dawning day , he came to save us. Not because of any virtuous deed that we have done but only because of his extravagant mercy. He saved us, resurrecting us through the washing of rebirth. We are made completely new by the Holy Spirit, whom he splashed over us richly by Jesus, the Messiah, our Life Giver. So as a gift of his love, and since we are faultless— innocent before his face— we can now become heirs of all things , all because of an overflowing hope of eternal life. How true and faithful is this message! I want you to especially emphasize these truths, so that those who believe in God will be careful to devote themselves to doing good works. It is always beautiful and profitable for believers to do good works.

Notice I wasn’t condemned, I wasn’t stuck in “I can’t do anything about this bad behavior”. That is a lie from the enemy. He wants us to feel stuck with no way out. What I have found, is that when you hit a place where you are being convicted, you don’t stay there and wallow in it, you move forward. When you are reading through, you will always get to the “but God” part where He provides not only the way out but the ability to consistently be an overcomer.

Word or word

Continuing to read through Roman’s, and in chapter 10 something jumped out at me (verses 16 and 17).

Romans 10:16‭-‬17 AMPC
But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? [Isa. 53:1.] So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).

In the New King James version, it says in 17 “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God“. When I read this I heard a question, “Who is the word of God?” The big thing that stood out to me, is that is was Who, not What. This caused me to pause, grab my phone, open my Bible app and start looking at other versions to see how they were worded. Because of course The Word of God is Jesus (see John 1) and from digging in a little, I see the word that is talked about here are the words of Jesus, the gospel that He taught. This started a short conversation with the Holy Spirit. I asked why are You highlighting this distinction? His reply was, “you need to remember that the Word of God (Jesus) does not equate to God’s words recorded in what is now the Bible. Jesus was from the beginning of all things, and is above all things. When the word is mentioned it refers to Jesus, when scripture is mentioned in the New testament it refers to what we now call the Old testament.” He went on to say that, “too many in the church have made the Bible an idol that is placed above Jesus, the true Word of God. This interferes with our ability to fully enter His purpose and plan to come back into relationship with Him. A relationship that isn’t based on laws and rules and doctrines of man, but on His love and desire for us that is transparent, open and honest. This does not devalue the Bible, as it is important, it is just putting it where it belongs. It is a tool that we have been given so that we can get to know and understand Him better, not as a replacement for Him”

While I was going through processing and writing this, I Have to admit a little fear crept in. The thoughts of “if I share this I might upset some people” to which I heard “will you be obedient? There are many that need to hear this.” My reply was obviously yes, as you are now reading this.

Called to His Purpose

I was reading through Romans this morning and got stuck in the latter half of chapter 8. The verses just prior to verse 28 talk about how the Holy Spirit interceded for us according to the will of God. Then we get to verse 28. The first half of this verse is what most church folk hear when something hard happens in their lives. A friend of mine calls it a religious platitude. It says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,”… Which is true, however, there is a comma at the end of that not a period as most quote it. The rest of the verse is where my attention started to be grabbed. It was, “to those who are the called according to His purpose.” So this raises the question “who are those that are called to His purpose?” Well the next couple of verses lay this out.

Romans 8:29‭-‬30 TPT
For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him. Having determined our destiny ahead of time, he called us to himself and transferred his perfect righteousness to everyone he called. And those who possess his perfect righteousness he co-glorified with his Son!

In some versions it says “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Now some of these verses have been known to be taken out of context to prove some polarizing doctrines of man, not going there today.

So who did God, the Father, foreknow? Well, all of us of course, Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” You see we were each created in the image of Christ, we each have Abba in our DNA. But because of Adam’s sin, yes He was also created in the image of Christ, yet he chose disobedience which broke the world and all of his descendants.

So continuing in Romans 8, you see that Abba sent His Son to fix what Adam broke. Why? So we could enter back into relationship with Him. So He could justify us, glorify us call us His elect. Once our relationship with Abba gets sorted we get to walk out Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” And Romans 8:15For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.””

So as we come into this new year we have some opportunities.

• We can walk out our lives as adopted sons and daughters with Christ.
• We can be more than conquerors in every situation, no matter what is thrown at us.
• Because we have a hope we have ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.
• We can be obedient to Jesus’s command to love, heal, and share His good news.

Ya know the whole Unity thing…. yes I meant it

While reading in 1 Corinthians 12 this morning, Abba started talking to me. Most pentecostals will assume this is going to be about the first part of the chapter (you know the gifts of the Spirit part), but He took me pretty much straight past that to the next part, the part that sits in between the gifts and the love chapter. The section that talks about unity.  What Abba started talking me to about was the unity part. Most times when I have heard this Scripture preached, it generally is referenced within a certain church or specific body of believers, or as a way to point out those that have separated themselves from a group. So, that is where my thoughts went…. and I was quickly corrected and shown the bigger meaning of the point He was trying to get across. 

I proceeded to read this Scripture in a few different versions (this helps me gain more understanding). As Abba was talking to me He said, “this is about the bigger body, the entire body of Christ, not just the localized segments that have divided themselves based on different doctrines, music styles, or whatever.” I was like “ok”. Then He proceeded to express the sadness in His heart concerning how divided His Church has become. He started showing me how we have divided ourselves based on things that really don’t matter, things like doctrines of man, the color of our skin, whether or not we agree on the gifts of the Spirit, and worst of all, politics. He then said, “I have established perfect doctrine in Jesus, why must my people create their own? I have created a perfect kingdom, why must you build yours based on your own likes and desires? I have created one race that has grown into different cultures and you divide yourselves by color, culture, and national origin.”  I could literally sense His grief. Then He asked, “what part of love and unity don’t we get?”

Then, in the Scripture, He showed me how this Scripture was nestled between the gifts of the Spirit, which are for the building of the body, it talks about a “leadership” that should help build unity in the body, followed by how all of this is supposed to work together with His love.

I guess now is the time that we should be looking for the walls that He is wanting us to tear down and the foundations that He is wanting to build up. I will guarantee that whichever it is, it will be based and found in His love.

I Corinthians 12:12‭-‬31
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would  be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would  be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there  are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

Unclean?

Reading in Acts this morning. When I got into Chapter 10, the Holy Spirit started highlighting some things for me. Many are familiar with the story here. Peter is up on the roof praying and God shows him a sheet full of what the Jews considered to be unclean animals and told him to kill and eat them. Peter refused and God rebuked him three times saying:

Acts 10:15‭ The voice spoke again. “Nothing is unclean if God declares it to be clean.”

While Abba is talking to Peter He is also talking to Cornelius, a Roman centurion, telling him to send for Peter. He is quickly obedient and sends messengers to find Peter. Peter realizes in that moment that Abba was talking about people and not food (yes I know many of us have used this to justify eating bacon and Sunday ham). What Peter has a revelation of, is that, yes the Jews were the first to receive Jesus, but that He wasn’t limited to them. That when Jesus directly told him and the other disciples to “go out into all the world and share the gospel with everyone”, that He literally meant everyone.

Acts 10:28‭-‬29‭ Peter said to them, “You all know that it is against the Jewish laws for me to associate with or even visit the home of one who is not a Jew. Yet God has shown me that I should never view anyone as inferior or ritually unclean. So when you sent for me, I came without objection. Now, may I ask why you sent for me?”

Acts 10:34‭-‬36 Peter said, “Now I know for certain that God doesn’t show favoritism with people but treats everyone on the same basis . It makes no difference what race of people one belongs to. If they show deep reverence for God, and are committed to doing what’s right, they are acceptable before him. God sent his word to the Jewish people first, announcing the wonderful news of hope and peace through Jesus, the Anointed One, the Lord of all.

The Holy Spirit then showed me that there is supposed to be unity in His body, the Church. Any divisiveness caused by skin color, culture, social status, housing situation (remember Jesus was essentially homeless for three years), or wealth, is outside of His will and literally grieves Him. Also, when we divide ourselves by denominational and doctrinal differences, we cause His house to be divided and what did Jesus say about a divided house? What it comes down to, is that we should be recognized by our love for each other, not for stances taken that are usually based on doctrines of man and not Jesus. This whole story shows that Peter’s religious spirit had to be, and was, broken so he could see things from Jesus’s perspective and not just a Jewish one. In his revelation, he was broken but quickly obedient to what Abba was telling him to do. And the result:

Acts 10:44‭-‬48 While Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit cascaded over all those listening to his message. The Jewish brothers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on people who weren’t Jews, for they heard them speaking in supernaturally given languages and passionately praising God. Peter said, “How could anyone object to these people being baptized? For they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he instructed them to be baptized in the power of the name of Jesus, the Anointed One. After their baptism, they asked Peter to stay with them for a few more days.

Not only was the gospel of Jesus shared with this group of gentiles, but the Holy Spirit poured out on them and they spoke in tongues, prophesied, and glorified Abba. They gained freedom and the kingdom.

What religious points of view do you need to have broken, so that you can, like Peter, step out and bless others and break down walls of division?

Hey Jude (aka Judah)

So I have a question when is the last time you read the Book of Jude or even heard it quoted? Jude, like Philemon and most of what are referred to as the minor prophets, tend to get skipped over fairly regularly.

I have found for me that whenever anyone actually references these books it gets my attention and I have to go read them. The beauty of some of these books is that most can be read easily in one sitting, at least until Holy Spirit starts highlighting things for you to dig into, and pray into. Things that He wants to use to take you on a journey of deeper understanding with Him.

This happened to me this week. I was reading through my devotional and boom, right there in the supporting scriptures is Jude. I just see the name and immediately have the thought “oh yeah, I haven’t read that one in a while”. I couldn’t shake that I needed to read the book through, so while I ate my breakfast this morning I read through it, twice, in two different versions. The whole book is a total of 25 verses, but is packed with so much. There are seven main points that are addressed. Some are encouragement, some are warnings, but all are important and really pertain to what we are dealing with in the world and church today. My suggestion is to go and read it for yourself. Try it in a few different translations, I find that in doing that, I gain more insight into what is being said.

Jude (Judah) 1:17‭-‬21 TPT

But you, my delightfully loved friends, remember the prophecies of the apostles of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. They taught you, “In the last days there will always be mockers, motivated by their own ungodly desires.” These people cause divisions and are followers of their own natural instincts, devoid of the life of the Spirit. But you, my delightfully loved friends, constantly and progressively build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith by praying every moment in the Spirit. Fasten your hearts to the love of God and receive the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us eternal life.

Don’t forget the context

I was cruising through Instagram this morning and came across a meme that had Romans 3:23 on it which is smack dab in the middle of the Scripture I added below. Verse 23 says “for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God” which is so very true. But when I read it I heard Holy Spirit say “too many in the church take this out of context and use to control and impose the doctrines of man on others”. This caused me to go and look the verse up and read the context around it. As I read it in context I again heard Holy Spirit say “this verse out of context is used to portray that even as believers in Jesus we still have a sin nature, this negates the very gospel of Christ”.  As I read through the contextual scripture surrounding this one verse it is clear that this verse is a part of the process of what Jesus has done and continues to do for us. The verse essentially puts us all on a level playing field pre-Christ. Before Him we all had a sin nature, there was no one sin that was deemed worse than others. We were just all sinners.  Then comes “But Jesus” part, where because of the love of the Father and His desire to be in relationship with us so He sent Jesus His Son to cleanse us from sin so we could be all He desires for us to be. So we need to be careful not miss the context of what is being said, otherwise we might turn that one thing into false doctrine and not present Christ in truth.  Another thing to always consider is that there is no better interpreter of the Scripture than Holy Spirit since it all came through Him to begin with.

Romans 3:21‭-‬26 TPT

But now, independently of the law, the righteousness of God is tangible and brought to light through Jesus, the Anointed One. This is the righteousness that the Scriptures prophesied would come. It is God’s righteousness made visible through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And now all who believe in him receive that gift. For there is really no difference between us, for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. Yet through his powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away his righteousness. His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin! Jesus’ God-given destiny was to be the sacrifice to take away sins, and now he is our mercy seat because of his death on the cross. We come to him for mercy, for God has made a provision for us to be forgiven by faith in the sacred blood of Jesus. This is the perfect demonstration of God’s justice, because until now, he had been so patient—holding back his justice out of his tolerance for us. So he covered over the sins of those who lived prior to Jesus’ sacrifice. And when the season of tolerance came to an end, there was only one possible way for God to give away his righteousness and still be true to both his justice and his mercy—to offer up his own Son. So now, because we stand on the faithfulness of Jesus, God declares us righteous in his eyes!

Wineskins

Reading in Luke this morning and these verses grabbed me. It seems in different doctrine circles how the Old Testament/covenant and New testament/covenant are looked at. Some will discount the OT as no longer having relevance and in this they are missing everything that Abba put in place that was meant to prepare His people for the coming kingdom. Then there are some that have allowed the pendulum to swing too far the other way where they are so concerned with the old law and following that, over the grace freedom we have been given in Christ. If you look at Jesus’s analogy of the new and old wineskins. The first group throws the old wine skin away and the second clings to it in fear, sometimes totally ignoring the new one.

Luke 16:15‭-‬16 NKJV And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it.

This verse in Luke shows that there is a point of transition that happened. The law and prophets clearly pointed to the coming Kingdom, but the thing that stood out to me was it says “until John”. You see John the Baptist was the last of the Old testament/covenant prophets. Then Jesus comes and when He is baptized and His ministry time on earth happens, something shifted, the need for pointing towards the Kingdom wasn’t necessary because He brought it with Him. The message changed from repent for what is coming to repent because the Kingdom is at hand. Man is that exciting or what? Jesus opened the gate that everyone before Him could only point to, and we have been given the choice to enter in and be changed forever.