55:14) But it was you, a man like me,
My companion and familiar friend.
55:15) We took sweet fellowship together.
We walked in the Hose of `Elohiym with company.
55:16) Let death come suddenly upon them.
Let them go down alive into She`ol.
For weakness is in their dwelling, in the midst of them.
55:17) As for me, I will call on `Elohiym.
Yahua will save me.
55:18) Evening, morning, and at noon, I will cry out in distress.
He will hear my voice.
55:19) He has redeemed my soul in shalom from the battle that was against me,
Although there are many who oppose me.
55:20) `El, who is enthroned forever,
Will hear, and answer them. Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai?? Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai?? Selah
They never change,
Who do not fear `Elohiym
55:21) He raises his hands against his friends.
He has violated his covenant.
55:22) His mouth is as butter,
But his heart was war.
His words were softer than oil,
Yet they were drawn as swords.
55:23) Cast your burden on Yahua, and He will sustain you.
He will never allow the righteous to be moved.
55:24) But you, `Elohiym, will bring them down into the pit of destruction.
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days,
But I will trust in you.
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
My wife and I were keen boxing fans. In the days of free-to-air terrestrial television, we used to set the alarm clock and wake up in the middle of the night in time to watch contests from America. One early morning call got us up to watch Mike Tyson defend his heavyweight title. I switched on the television and my wife started to make a cup of tea and some toast. The bout commenced, I shouted to my wife to come and sit down. Thirty seconds later the fight was over and I shouted back to my wife not to bother with the toast.
During one fight, my wife looked at me and questioned if it was right that Believers should be watching two men trying their best to hurt one another. In spite of our like of boxing, we stopped watching and have never seen another bout since.
ai???But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of Yahua, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from Yahua, the Ruach.ai??? (2 Cor. 3:18).
Watching boxing is not a sin. However, we were convinced that it was Father, through His Spirit, testing us on our obedience to Him. Where did our hearts lie? Were we prepared to give up something that we enjoyed in order to be obedient? Over the twenty five years we have been going to house/Bible study groups the question often arises:
ai???How do you know it is the Ruach talking to you?ai???
It is very difficult to explain but it is usually answered by:
ai???You just know when it happens.ai??? We always temper this with the caveat that all things should be tested against Scripture.
Over the years, it has been proven that my wife has been blessed with the Gift of Discernment. At ATC we believe that the Ruach can give His Gifts (discernment, a word of knowledge or prophecy, a tongue or interpretation, etc), and does, for a specific moment or task. However, some people have a heightened Gift and are more prone to using it. As with any gift (playing football or the piano, singing, writing or speaking) the more one uses the gift, the better one is at it. We were, and still are, sure that it was the Ruach talking to us.
So what is wrong in watching boxing? For most people, I believe, nothing is wrong. With my wife and I, on the other hand, watching is not a sin, but disobeying the Ruach is. In the above verse quoted form the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Rav Sha`ul (Paul) is telling Believers that, once knowing what our Saviour looks like, through His Word, we should endeavour to become more and more like Him. For He is our perfect Example.
In Johnai??i??s Good News account (John 14:6-11) we are told that the glory of Father is shown in the Son. So in becoming more Messiah-like, Believers become more what Father had originally planned for Mankind; to be conformed to His (perfect) image (Gen. 1:26, 27). The process by which a Believer becomes more Messiah-like is called sanctification. It is a process; not an event. What was acceptable yesterday (such as boxing) may not be acceptable today and what is acceptable today may be wrong for us tomorrow.
Little by little, the Ruach convicts Believers of areas in their lives that need changing. Sometimes it may be events or people in our lives that cause change. It may be the voice of a preacher or it may be a passage in Scripture, having heard or read it many times before, suddenly takes on a new meaning as a new truth is revealed by the Ruach. Believers should always be on the look-out for those areas in our lives that are not fruitful and prune them out. If Believers are not willing, then Father, through His Ruach will do the pruning and He prunes hard, chopping out all the old, dead wood. Believers are not perfect, but have the perfect Example and it is this that we are called to emulate.
So what about non-Believers?
The process called sanctification has to start somewhere and it starts at salvation. Father does not expect sinners to come to Him in a final, perfect state. However, one of the major excuses of sinners is that they are not ai???good enoughai??i?? to approach their Creator. The Good News of Salvation is that everyone born is not ai???good enoughai??i?? to approach the Creator but the love of Father knows this. That is why He has made a way back to Him.
All have sinned and are in a position of judgement, condemnation and of ultimate punishment and as such cannot come into the presence of Almighty. ai???For Yahua so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.ai??? (John 3:16). This verse is probably the most quoted verse in Scripture. So in what does the non-Believer have to believe?
The starting point is that everyone needs to realise that they have sinned and their lives are contrary to what the Father wants for our best. He is not a kill-joy, but truly loves us and like all good parents wants only good for His children. His perfect standard is what is best for us but people think that they know better.
We do not!
If we acknowledge that our lifestyles are not what Father wants for us, that we have erred or sinned, then it follows that there are consequences of sin in our lives. The consequences are clearly spelt out to us in Fatherai??i??s own words ai??i?? the Bible. ai???For the wages of sin is death…ai??? (Rom. 6:23a). The first part of this verse tells us that sin is punishable by death. In this context, death is eternal separation from Father and is spent in Hell. This is a place of torment but is not what Father wants for us. It is our choice, our decision where we will eternally end up.
ai???…but the free gift of Yahua is eternal life in Messiah Yashua our Master.ai??? (Rom. 6:23b). If Fatherai??i??s Word was only verse 6:23a then we would all be destined for Hell. Halleluyah! But Fatherai??i??s Word goes on to say that we all have a choice. To carry on sinning is reject His grace, the freely given Gift that is Messiah Yahshua, our Saviour.
All that is written above for Believers and the need to constantly examine our lives and remove those areas that are not fruitful really are small changes in order to improve. For non-Believers, this change is an one hundred and eighty degree turn around, called repentance. It is the singular most important and dramatic change in a personai??i??s life. While we were sinners, we constantly had our back to Father and walking away from Him.
Turn back! Father is waiting to receive His child.
No matter how well I write these things down, it is Fatherai??i??s Ruach that convicts a person of their wrongdoing and reveals sin as it really is. It is theAi??Ruach that causes the complete turn -around. It is the Ruach that reveals our complete dependency upon the Saviour Messiah Yahshua. Although the wages, the consequences, of sin is eternal damnation, our Saviour has taken that punishment upon Himself.
If only we could believe that it was so.
Have you recently examined your lifestyle? What did you think? Are there areas in your life that you could, and should, do without? To what standard do you judge yourself; yours? The worldai??i??s? Or Fatherai??i??s?
There is only one Standard; Fatherai??i??s Word. There is only one Saviour; the Word made flesh in Messiah Yahshua.
Believe it or not, the choice is yours.
Receive my instruction rather than silver;
Knowledge rather than choice gold.
For wisdom is better than rubies.
All the things that may be desired can’t be compared to it. (Prov. 8:10, 11).
Pesach/Passover and Chag Matzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) begin at sunset on Tuesday 11th. April.