Saturday, December 16, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - December 16, 2017

Today's Reading:

Philippians 4

Ezekiel 24

Isaiah 52

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Today, I'd like to invite you to join us on Livestream for two presentations, both of which are on calendar issues... To view them, click the following link https://livestream.com/lightedway




Friday, December 15, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - December 15, 2017

Today's Reading:

Philippians 3

Ezekiel 23

Isaiah 51

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Once someone told me a short saying that has stuck in my mind. It went like this: "when I look at myself, I don't see how I can be saved. But when I look at Yahshua, I don't see how I can be lost." Certainly, this is an oversimplification. It is possible for us to backslide and lose our salvation (1 Corinthians 9:27; Revelation 3:11). 

Sometimes it's easy to get bogged down with the disheartening things we see in the Body of Christ... in ourselves...  And when we look at these things, we truly cannot see how we can be saved. But Yahweh calls us to look higher. Yah is mighty and able to save. His promises and power on the behalf of His people are great!
Yahweh has given many beautiful promises for things concerning Zion and Israel... Please know, I am referring to Zion and Israel in the spiritual sense - these terms refer to Yahweh's people - His Body on this planet. Prayerfully, all that have "put on Christ" have become "Abraham's seed" (Israel) and "heirs according to the Promise" (will share in the Eternal future promised only to Abraham and his seed) - Galatians 3:16 & 28-29. In our reading from Isaiah 51, we find a few of these powerful promises:
Isaiah 51:1-2 "Hearken to Me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek Yahweh: look unto the Rock whence ye are hewn... Look unto Abraham your father... for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. For Yahweh shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Yahweh; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody."
How about you, dear member of Zion? Are you comforted? Is your barren wilderness so abundantly blessed that it is transformed into Eden? This is what Yahweh promises to do for you! The promises are there. But we need to claim them. They don't do us much good, left waiting in the Book. So, to help in the process of claiming those Promises and to open Heaven's floodgates to bring you soul-Eden at last, I invite you to pray the following Scripturally-formulated prayer:

Dear Yahweh, 
Right now, I do confess my sins and ask for the precious Blood-covering of Yahshua Messiah to cleanse me. Please clothe me in Your Righteousness (Revelation 19:8). I choose to serve You this day.  
For Your Name's sake, I ask that You will not allow my soul to famish. As You promised in Proverbs 10:3, let not my substance in You be cast away.
Father, today I cast my burdens on You, and claim - by faith - Your promise to sustain me. In Your Righteousness, Yahweh, I plead that You will not allow me to be moved (Psalm 55:22).
In Your Righteousness alone I ask that You will make me into Your jewel to Your glory, according to Your promise in Malachi 3:17-18. 
Oh Father, in Christ alone, please let me be counted worthy to be a citizen of Your Kingdom this day (2 Thessalonians 1:5). I confess, that I choose for this world to not be my home.
Yahweh, please bring my soul out of prison, as You have promised in Psalm 142:7. You have promised to deal bountifully with me and I do praise Your holy Name!
Oh Father, because You have promised, and for the sake of Your glorious Name, please hear me and act (Psalm 34:15). Condemn the wicked that afflict my life and impede Your Will for me. According to Your Word in 1 Kings 8:32, bring the way of the wicked one down upon his own head and please justify me according to Your Righteousness.
Let the righteous strike me; it shall be a kindness. Let him rebuke me; it shall be as excellent oil. Let my head not refuse it (Psalm 141:5). Let me not dwell in foolishness to refuse the rebuke of the righteous. But let me be nourished in Your rebukes that I may grow in Your Grace.
I hunger and thirst for Your Righteousness, Father. Please fill me as You have promised in Matthew 5:6. Let me walk in the Way of Goodness and keep me in the paths of Righteousness (Proverbs 2:20).
Because You have promised, let Your blessings be upon my head (Proverbs 10:6). Let Your righteousness guard my way so that I will be found blameless (Proverbs 13:6).
According to Your good promises, let light and gladness be sown for me (Psalm 97:11). Take the desert areas of my soul and life and turn them into Your blessed Eden (Isaiah 51:1-2).
 My afflictions are many, Oh Yah, but I praise You for You have promised to deliver me out of them all (Psalms 34:19). And I claim Your beautiful promise right now, in Yahshua's Name, I ask it all, Amen.
  
  
 
 
 


 
 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - December 14, 2017

Today's Reading:

Philippians 2:12-30

Ezekiel 21-22

Isaiah 50

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Today is a particularly difficult day. My husband and I have an appointment that we have been praying about for weeks. It is an appointment to try to bring peace in a situation, where "disputings" against us have arisen. Such situations are difficult to say the least. Facing such an appointment, I was particularly blessed by Philippians 2 today. What a wonderful God we serve, who empowers us to face the day - whether easy or difficult - with praise to Him. And that, by His Grace, is how I face today :-) I am especially blessed by the following promise and reminder:

Philippians 2:13-15 - "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputingsThat ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."

To do all things without "disputings" means to live in peace with all, even when they aren't peaceful towards you. That's something we can do only through Yahweh's power. But having addressed bitterness already - and recently - I'd like to focus on the "murmurings" part. Here we find a reminder about being thankful - at all times living without complaint. Frankly, that's also something we can do only through Yahweh's power.

There is no denying that times are tough. Many people are out of work, cannot find a job and are struggling financially. The unemployment rate is still up and food stamps and unemployment benefits are being distributed at record levels. 


When times are good, it is easy to be grateful to Yahweh for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. But during hard times, it is often difficult to be grateful to Yahweh. Whatever our personal circumstances, Yahweh is still God and He is still good.  So, when we feel like we have struggled enough or lost more than our fair share, how do we remain thankful and maintain a grateful spirit toward God?

The more thankful one is, the more there is to be thankful for. A person cannot be complaining and thankful at the same time, nor can they worry about money or health or anything while being thankful. Instead of complaining and viewing the glass half empty, we need to stop and praise Yahweh for His many blessings. Because Yahweh never fails, and because He works everything together for good, there is always something to be thankful for. Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6)

So how can you still be thankful if you are facing financial troubles and monetary setbacks?

Life is not all about accumulation of things. He who dies with the most money or the most toys, still dies. No one can take their friends or their collections with them to the grave. Job, in Job 1:21 said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. Yahweh gave, and Yahweh has taken away; Blessed be the Name of Yahweh.”)

A very well-grounded perspective. Solomon repeated the truth in Ecclesiastes 5:15. “As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand. 

Yahshua asked the rhetorical question, “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25) And Yahshua taught clearly in Luke 12:15 to “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Life for the Christian is about loving God and loving others, and introducing people to the Master Yahshua Messiah. People are to be loved and things are to be used, and never the opposite. All things considered, life is precious and fleeting and fragile, and it behooves believers to take time often and just be thankful. Make a list of things to be thankful for if necessary, but part of obeying God's Word is taking time for giving Him thanks.

So, I’d like to encourage you to seek contentment. Praise Yahweh for His many blessings. Dwell in continual praise and thanksgiving for His abundant goodness towards you. And walk in this pattern every day, whether easy or hard – this is true Thanks Living. 

By Yah's Grace, we can live in this blessing every day, no matter what the day may bring. For this I truly am thankful.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - December 13, 2017

Today's Reading:

Philippians 2:1-11

Ezekiel 20

Isaiah 49

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Many of my favorite Bible promises are found in the book of Philippians. So, having mostly over-looked it due to focusing on a short series, I would now like to pause and focus on Philippians a bit more closely. Where are we going in this book? What can we expect to find? What is the historical background that helps make the book come alive for us in living color as we read? To answer these questions, I'd like to share with you a short video overview of Philippians, by The Bible Project. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfrU5uhZ5D4

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - December 12, 2017

Today's Reading:

Philippians 1:12-30

Ezekiel 19

Isaiah 48

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

It's time to finish the series of blogs on bitterness... We've already looked at the first four keys to overcoming bitterness. Let's continue with the fifth key, which is forgive your offenders.
Before we get into that, let's do a quick review. Overcoming bitterness is possible in Christ and it is a vital part of "good work" which Yahweh is doing in each of us is removing every root of bitterness.
Hebrews 12:14-15  "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see Yahweh. 

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."

Again, Yahshua gave us seven keys to conquering bitterness, which are contained in seven of His Commands. Exercising these keys (by His Grace) is wearing the Helmet and Breastplate effectively against becoming bitter.

So what are the seven keys to conquering bitterness? These keys (when appearing in the list) may seem strange and unrelated to overcoming bitterness, but as we look more deeply into them, we will see how living by these Commands of Messiah is effective against the soul-poison of bitterness:


Key #5: Forgive Your Offender

The Command of Christ regarding forgiving our offenders is found in Matthew 6:14-15. 

Forgiveness is a difficult and even scary concept. What about accountability? If we forgive someone for a betrayal or wrong, haven't we just opened ourselves up to be "hurt" again? Many people also worry that if they forgive someone, there is something unjust going on. But, forgiveness doesn’t remove the consequences, this is part of what takes place in pardon. What is the difference between forgiveness and pardon?

Forgiving someone doesn’t automatically imply pardon.  Forgiveness involves having a godly and loving attitude toward our offenders.  We desire what is best for them. Pardon, on the other hand, has to do with the consequences for a crime. To illustrate how these concepts are different, consider this illustration. If a man kills a member of your family, the Bible teaches that you must forgive him, but you cannot pardon him. He still (rightly) stands guilty before the law of the land. Pardon is the release from the legal penalties of the offense. Thus, our forgiveness toward our offenders does not involve lifting the consequences for the “crime.”

Also, forgiveness is not given because of merit. Forgiveness is given because Yahweh first forgave us for our offenses. Matthew 18:23-35 reminds of a parable about forgiveness and what happens if we fail to forgive our offenders.

Key #6: Await Messiah's Return with a focus on Eternity

This is our purifying hope. When Yahshua returns, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2-3). Waiting for Yahshua to return means that we are in a continual state of readiness. We will be able to give Yahshua a full account of all the things that we have done, whether good or bad (Matthew 12:36) by having confessed our offenses to Him and asked for His forgiveness. We also will have forgiven blessed and done good to those who have offended us.

“Temporal values” relate to bitterness. The very presence of bitterness proves that we have temporal values. Temporal values involve being more concerned over things that last for a time than things which last for eternity.  “...We look (focus our attention) not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:18.  

Temporal values are really a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5). And idolatry is, by spiritual definition, “Expecting benefits from people or possessions which only God can give.”
Temporal values cause us to react to people out of fear, greed, covetousness, or defense of our “rights.” Such reactions reveal unsurrendered areas of the heart. These are things we prayerfully want to lay aside, as they are spiritual weights on the soul (Hebrews 12:1).

The final area of overcoming bitterness deals with our attitudes and behaviors towards children.

Key #7: Despise not Children or be angry at them

Children... they're wonderful - and yet challenging - all in one adorable-at-times-aggravating package. There's no one who seems to know how to push a parent's buttons, than his/her children. We can be "perfect" Christians outside the home, but when the doors are closed and the curtains are drawn, we are tempted to turn into screaming banshees chasing around small minions. 

If we fail to have God’s perspective on little children, we will tend to get angry or bitter when they misbehave. This is an offense with serious consequences. It would be better to have a millstone tied around our necks and to be drowned in the depths of the sea than to offend a little one (Matthew 18:6). What we do for a little one, we do for Yahshua (Matthew 18:1-5). 

Scripture states:  “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children (sons and daughters) to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Yahweh,” Ephesians 6:4.

And those are the amazing and life-changing keys that Yahweh has given for overcoming bitterness - permanently!

1 Increase Your Faith – to see the benefits from past hurts

2 Be a Servant of all – give all expectations to 

3 Yahweh and embrace the character of a Servant

4 Deny yourself wrong desires and emotions of the soul

4 Love your neighbors – even when they wrong you – this conquers the source of bitterness

5 Forgive your offenders from the Heart

6 Await Christ’s Return by laying aside every weight and running in purity – view offenses from an eternal perspective


7 Despise not little ones – see your children through God’s Heart







Monday, December 11, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - December 11, 2017

Today's Reading:

Philippians 1:1-11

Ezekiel 18

Isaiah 47

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Today we begin reading in the book of Philippians and we will continue our short series on eradicating bitterness. As it says in Philippians 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Yahshua Christ."

One vital part of that "good work" which Yahweh is doing in each of us is removing every root of bitterness.
Hebrews 12:14-15  "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see Yahweh 

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."

Yahshua gave us seven keys to conquering bitterness, which are contained in seven of His Commands. Exercising these keys (by His Grace) is wearing the Helmet and Breastplate effectively against becoming bitter.

So what are the seven keys to conquering bitterness? Yesterday, I only discussed the first key. Today, we'll continue starting with the second key, which is "Be a Servant of all". Again, these keys (when appearing in the list) may seem strange and unrelated to overcoming bitterness, but bear with me as I will explain how living by these Commands of Messiah is effective against the soul-poison of bitterness:

Key #2: Be a Servant of All


The Command of Christ regarding being servants is found in Matthew 23:11-12. How does this apply to bitterness? Consider the following example:
A husband was bitter at his wife for failing to carry out his instruction. When he heard that husbands should not be bitter towards their wives (1 Peter 3:7). He became convicted and forgave her. But, she didn’t change. She continued to offend him in this area. Soon he was bitter at her again – his forgiveness was not working!
The reason it wasn’t working is that he continued to have expectations of his wife. As long as he held on to his expectations of her, he would be bitter when she failed him. 

Expectations destroy relationships. They are like bars of a prison that we put around those whom we expect to serve us. Expectations are also bars of a prison of bitterness that put around ourselves when others fail to fulfill our expectations. We are not able to fully love someone as long as we have unfulfilled expectations of them. Genuine love focusing on giving to the needs of others. Expectations focus on getting what we think we need for ourselves.
True service is “hoping for nothing again” Luke 6:35

Expectations must be given to God, as we told in Psalm 62:5 “My soul wait thou ONLY UPON YAHWEH; for my expectation is of HIM.” 
Key #3: Deny Yourself
Yahshua requires all those who want to follow Him to deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him (Mark 8:34). Denying ourselves is renouncing the wrong desires of our souls, such as indulgence in bitterness.

When Yahshua said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My Sake shall find it,” (Matthew 16:26), He used the Greek word pseuche for life. This word has the same meaning as the word “SOUL”. It is in our soul that the battle takes place between our flesh and our spirit. If we lose the battle in our souls, we will experience anger, guilt, lust, bitterness, greed, fear, and envy.

The word “deny” (in Matthew 16:25) is translated from the Greek word aparneomai. It involves a voluntary putting away, to remove from oneself, to refuse, disown, decline, or withdraw from fellowship.

When we relate this to our souls – the meaning of the word life – we find that this means we are to deny our souls the “right” to become bitter by not allowing our minds, wills or emotions to run in an embittering vein. 
Key #4: Love Your Neighbors
The next key to overcoming bitterness is found in Christ's Command to love our neighbors. This injunction involves loving people, even when they wrong you.
Love for Yahweh and others is the essence of all the Law, because “love worketh no ill to his neighbor” Romans 13:8-10. 

With this command there is absolutely no grounds for bitterness, because Yahshua laid down His Life for us when we were His enemies. Loving all others is how we conquer the source of bitterness.

But learning to love others, especially those who do wrong to us, is much harder to put in practice than it is to write about on paper! Peter gave us a spiritual "ladder" for Christian character development. In that ladder, love is the final rung - which is only fully accomplished when the earlier rungs are first addressed:


One of the most powerful steps in loving and gaining a forgiving spirit toward our offenders is going the extra mile for them.  This means that we are to voluntarily invest something of our time, talents, or resources into the life of our offender, for where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also (Matthew 6:21).

In Christ’s day, the Roman soldiers could command a male twelve years old or older to carry his military pack for one mile in any direction. Many Jews resented this. To them, it was just one more way the dictatorial Roman empire dominated them. But, Christ taught that rather than just going the required one mile, His followers were to go two (Matthew 5:38-40). This command goes dipolar opposite to our natural response to injustice! But the Bible warns that our natural responses are usually wrong (Proverbs 14:12).

But, in the principle of going the extra mile, we reclaim our joy in Yahweh, and truly overcome the last vestiges of bitterness! It is also not until we go the “second mile” so-to-speak, that we have opportunities to witness to our offenders. Thus, we should pray and seek the Father’s insights as to how we can invest some voluntary “treasure” in the lives of our offenders.  And as we do so, we find a window of Heaven opens flooding us with divine grace to triumph amid the suffering.

Continued tomorrow...



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - December 10, 2017

Today's Reading:

Ephesians 6

Ezekiel 17

Isaiah 46

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

Ephesians 6 is a powerful chapter on Spiritual Warfare. We need the armor of Yahweh - daily! Never can we safely be without it! For today, I'd like to focus on the Helmet of Salvation and the Breastplate of Righteousness. The Helmet and Breastplate are worn when we guard our thoughts and emotions, by God's Grace.

But sometimes, we let Yahweh's protection slip, not even recognizing that we are under attack. One of the most deadly attacks against the mind and heart of the Christian is the attack of bitterness. Bitterness is a personal poison that corrodes our walk with Yah and weakens our spiritual influence. Yet, the the embittered person is the least likely to recognize he/she has fallen under bitterness.

So, today, I'd like to address how we can wear the Helmet of Salvation and the Breastplate of Righteousness - applying these part of God's Armor specifically against bitterness... 

There are actually seven keys, given in Messiah's Commands, for conquering bitterness. Obedience (grace-empowered) is wearing the Helmet (guarding our thinking against bitterness) and the Breastplate (guarding our hearts - emotions against bitterness), in practical terms.
Hebrews 12:14-15  "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see Yahweh: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."
In Ephesians 4, which we read just a couple of days back, we read a very misunderstood (poorly translated) passage on anger (which is related to bitterness). It seemed to give Christians license to be angry - in fact, by the way this verse is translated, it appears that getting angry at someone isn't sinful.
Ephesians 4:26-31 - “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil… Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the Day of Redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” 
  
But Ephesians 4 isn't countenancing rage. Actually, it is better translated (from the Greek) as it appears below:

Ephesians 4:26 - New Living Translation (NLT)
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”

As I mentioned before, Yahshua gave us seven keys to conquering bitterness, which are contained in seven of His Commands. Exercising these keys (by His Grace) is wearing the Helmet and Breastplate effectively against becoming bitter.

So what are the seven keys to conquering bitterness? Today, I will only address the first key. Tomorrow, I will continue to discuss these keys. In other words, today is the first in a small chain of studies on overcoming bitterness. At first when I share them with you, they may seem strange and unrelated, but bear with me as I will explain how living by these Commands of Messiah is effective against the soul-poison of bitterness:

Key #1: Increase your faith


The Command of Christ regarding increasing faith is found in Matthew 19:26. If we have faith, nothing will be impossible for us to do (Matthew 17:20). Faith comes by hearing the Word of Yah (Romans 10:17). We have access by faith into the power of God’s Grace (Romans 5:1-2) When we allow ourselves to become bitter, we are resisting the grace of Yah. Faith in God’s Word is the victory that motives us to humble ourselves, forgive our offenders and receive more of Yahweh’s Grace (James 4:6).


2 Corinthians  5:7  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

Faith begins with the awareness that Yahweh is in charge of every detail in our lives. Therefore, He is able to work out benefits, even for the “bad” things that happen to us.

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

When something that looks bad happens to us, we must not give in to our natural tendency to get angry or bitter, but rather ask ourselves, “What blessing does God want to give me by allowing this to happen?”

When you belong to Yahweh, suffering is to be expected. We first partake of Yahshua’s Sufferings before we may have the joy of full fellowship with Him or partake in His glory.

Suffering isn’t an unusual experience, in the life of a Christian. The Bible tells us that all who live godly will suffer (2 Timothy 3:12). The Scriptures also assure us that “all things work together for good” in the lives of those who love God (Romans 8:28).  This means that God allows suffering into our lives only when it is for a good purpose.

• Suffering perfects our characters—1 Peter 5:10
• Suffering delivers us from materialism, causing us to focus our attention on that which has eternal value—Philippians 3:8
• Suffering in the flesh destroys our attraction for sin. Thus, suffering is the pain which comes in order for true healing to take place—1 Peter 4:1 
Suffering is the method God uses to “choose” us as His own, as the Bible states in the following verses: 
“...Many be called, but few chosen,” (Matthew 20:16). 
“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction,” (Isaiah 48:10).
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him…” (2 Timothy 2:12).

Bitterness is related to a failure to suffer with grace. If we fail Yahweh’s tests of suffering and do not respond to them in a submitted and godly manner, we will become embittered by these experiences rather than tasting triumph.

When fiery trials come our way, like Job of old, we have an opportunity to pass through the experience of suffering in a way that pleases and glorifies God. This is what it means to suffer with grace.

However if, instead of looking with humble submission to God, we focus our attention on the human instrument who “caused” our suffering, we will become angry and embittered towards the “offender.”  When we permit the “gall” of bitterness to develop, our soul becomes poisoned (Acts 8:23). Thus, we miss out on the “good” that our Heavenly Father was attempting to accomplish through the trial.

If bitterness is allowed to persist, it is a spiritual cancer that ultimately erodes our relationship with Yahweh.

• 1 John 4:20-21  “If a man say, I love Yahweh, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love Yahweh whom he hath not seen?  And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth Yahweh love his brother also.”
• Ephesians 4:30-32  “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as Yahweh  for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”

Increasing our faith helps us to pass through times of suffering with Grace. And suffering with Grace rather than becoming embittered involves responding to trials by using the acronym G.R.E.A.T. (many thanks to IBLP for this acronym and the insights):

G = GIVE THANKS
· The Bible tells us plainly that whether we’re in a happy or difficult situation, we are to still thank God for the GOOD He is accomplishing in this trial.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Yahshua concerning you.”

· Thanking God for the trial doesn’t mean we are thanking God for evil. It means that we have full faith in God’s promise to never allow anything to come our way unless He is using it for good. We are enabled to thank God for the benefits He is using this trial to produce. 

What are some of the benefits of suffering? There are many benefits which God uses suffering to accomplish in us.  In this study, we will specifically identify some of these benefits, as a means of increasing our faith in Yahweh, even when we are in difficulties:

1. Suffering is God’s Way of GETTING OUR ATTENTION—Sometimes we get so caught up in the “cares of this world,” that the Voice of God seems to get drowned out. As it says in Jeremiah 35:14. Yahweh may bring suffering upon us just to get us to look up. 

2. Suffering is an assurance that Yahweh loves us and has ADOPTED US AS SONSHebrews 12:6-7

3. Suffering is God’s call for PRAYERFUL SELF-EXAMINATION—Sometimes we bring suffering upon ourselves through sinful words or practices. This is why one of our first responses to a trial should be prayerful self–examination. We need to be certain that we have not brought the troubles upon ourselves. God requires that we search out, confess, and forsake every sin - Proverbs 28:13.

4. Suffering is God’s way of CONQUERING OUR PRIDE— The suffering of contention (fighting) reveals pride (Proverbs 13:10). The suffering of destruction is a consequence of pride (Proverbs 16:18). 

5. Suffering is a reminder of OUR WEAKNESSES and NEED FOR DEPENDENCE ON GOD—Perhaps we
are suffering under an “infirmity” which we cannot change. Only as we learn how to praise God in our unchangeable “infirmities” are we able to fully experience the power of Christ resting upon us (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

6. Suffering motivates us to CRY OUT TO GOD— God responds to the cry of His children when they suffer (Psalm 34:17). Suffering motivates us to cry out to God in humble yet heartfelt appeal. We are to cry to Him daily during suffering (Psalm 86:3). We are to cry out with our voice, out of a pure heart (Psalm 3:4 & 66:18).

Psalm 3:4I cried unto Yahweh with my voice, and He heard me out of his holy Hill.”

7. Suffering is an opportunity to use SPIRITUAL WARFARE—When we are suffering, we find Spiritual Warfare especially necessary. We may recognize a spiritual attack if our suffering takes the form of confusion, suspicion, ungodly emotions and division. We are told how to suit up for battle in Ephesians 6:11-18.

8. Suffering is God’s method of PURIFYING OUR FAITH—God purifies and strengthens our faith, testing it in the fires of affliction (1 Peter 1:6-7). “Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience,” (James 1:3).

9. Suffering is one way in which God increases our HATRED FOR EVIL—When our suffering is caused by the devastating consequences of sin, we are able to see how sin has robbed us of something God planned for us to enjoy. We also can see how our sins have damaged the lives of those we love. When we can clearly see that we are suffering because of our sinful choices, our hatred of evil increases. As we count the cost of this sin, we truly commit to God and turn away from it permanently (Galatians 6:7-8).

10. Suffering is a reminder to PRAY FOR OUR AUTHORITIES—The Bible tells us to pray for those in authority over us (1 Timothy 2:1-2). When our authorities overstep their bounds and persecute us for righteousness, it is vital that we pray for them. Thus, God will intervene causing the authorities’ hearts to turn 

Proverbs 21:1 - The king's heart is in the Hand of Yahweh, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will."

11. Suffering is our signal to RE-EVALUATE OUR PRIORITIES—When we fail to spend proper time with God, in prayer and meditating upon His Word, we become vulnerable to transgression, fear, doubt or despair.  Such trials are unnecessary (Psalm 127:2). Sometimes by not placing our time with the Lord as a high priority, we get too busy to worship Him on the Sabbath. This results in us suffering spiritual weakness and a loss of connection with God. But, if we have more projects than we can manage to do in six days, we have assumed more work than God intended (Exodus 20:9). 

R = REJOICE

Returning to our G.R.E.A.T. acronym, the "R" stands for Rejoice

· While giving thanks to God at the first onset of a trial is an act of will, true rejoicing is a spiritual response.

· In order to truly rejoice for the good which God is accomplishing in a trial, we must prayerfully identify its benefits. When we can identify the benefits God is bestowing in our suffering, we can really rejoice, rendering heartfelt praise to our Heavenly King.

· One of the biggest blessings hidden within each instance of suffering is God’s work to polish and perfect our characters (Jeremiah 29:11).

· Romans 8:18“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

E = Engraft Scripture

· When our Saviour faced trials, like the temptations in the wilderness, He responded by quoting appropriate Scripture.

· Claiming Scripture is a powerful way to build faith, enabling us to continue to suffer with grace, fully submitted to God.

· Romans 10:17“...Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” 

A = Appeal to Yahweh

· When we have accepted the trial, thanked God, rejoiced for the benefits He is accomplishing through it, and have claimed Scripture to empower our godly response; we are ready to appeal to God, with a right attitude.

· It is perfectly appropriate to cry out to God to remove a trial. But, we should ask Him to remove it WHEN He has finished accomplishing the good He intended. 

· Psalm 107:13“Then they cried unto Yahweh in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses.”

T = Triumph in Bringing Glory to Yahweh in the Suffering - Rather than Becoming Bitter

· God wants us to respond to trials in a way that even benefits the lives of those who have oppressed us. This response is opposite to our natural hearts.

· Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies (with our heart and spirit), bless them that curse you (with our mouth) , do good to them that hate you (with our actions), and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” 

· Not only does it glorify God when we are kind and loving toward our “offenders,” but also God has promised to give a special reward to those who return good for evil.

· 1 Peter 3:8-9  “Finally…  be courteous:  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”

And all of that has been expounding upon only the first key to preventing (or healing from) bitterness, which is "increase your faith". How life-changing will it be to put just this first key into practice in our lives? And that's not all - there's more...  Tomorrow, we will continue our prayerful look into the powerful keys to overcoming bitterness...  Let's knock it out and prayerfully remove every root! 

In so doing, we'll be discovering the practical application of Yahweh's mighty Armor, found in Ephesians 6. It isn't about decoration! Wearing the Armor is about victorious, Christian living!


COMING SOON... 2018 Sneak Peak! 

As we are nearing the end of 2017, several of you have been asking what I plan to share on the blog for 2018. Thanks for your interest and for your heartfelt desire to continue the momentum in Yahweh's Word! I share this interest. As a result, next year I will be doing two things on this blog, as follows:

1) Each day I plan to re-post the blogs from 2017 (with a few adjustments as needed), allowing a person to read the Bible through in a year. This will not only accommodate those of you who were blessed and want to do it all over again (Yay! Isn't God's Word a joy!?), but it will also help out some who started late and didn't get all the way through the Word this year.

2) I also plan to start something new - Torah readings and studies. This coming year, I will be providing weekly Torah readings along with in-depth studies explaining the meaning behind the Commandments and Statutes found in the Law of Yahweh. Doing this is a protection against false doctrine (Isaiah 8:20) and is a powerful blessing (Psalm 1:1-3).

I hope you'll join me in 2018 as we search out the gems of Truth found in the Law of Yahweh, paying special attention to how the Statutes apply in our lives today...