11:1) For the Chief Musician. By David.
In the Yahua, I take refuge. How can you say to my soul, ai???Flee as a bird to your mountain!ai???
11:2) For behold, the wicked bend their bows. They set their arrows on the strings,
That may shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.
11:3) If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?
11:4) Yahua is in His holy temple. Yahua is on His throne in heaven. His eyes observe. His eyes examine the children of men.
11:5) Yahua examines the righteous,
But the wicked and him who loves violence His soul hates.
11:6) On the wicked He will rain blazing coals;
Fire, sulphur, and scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
11:7) For Yahua is righteous. He loves righteousness. The upright shall see His face.
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 the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.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 Spirit 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 Spirit can give His Gifts (discernment, a word of knowledge or prophecy, a tongue or interpretation, etc) 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 Spirit 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 Spirit is. In the above verse quoted form the Second Letter to the Corinthians, Rav Shaai??i??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 Spirit 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 Spirit. 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 Spirit 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 God 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.
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 Spirit that convicts a person of their wrongdoing and reveals sin as it really is. It is the Spirit that causes the complete turn -around. It is the Spirit 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.
If you want to accept Fatherai??i??s offer of salvation through Messiah Yahshua, you need to ask Him in prayer along these lines. Use your own words but they must be genuine as Father knows our very hearts and nothing is hidden from Him.
ai???Father, I am a sinner who needs forgiveness through your Son, Messiah Yahshua. Please forgive me of all my past sins as I accept that, Messiah Yahshua my Saviour, has taken upon Himself my punishment. By your Spirit, help me to live a life worthy of His sacrifice. Thank you, Father, for making this way back to you.ai???Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??Ai??
Father, we thank you for the power of your Word and that Word was made flesh in Messiah Yahshua so that in believing in His Life, Death and Resurrection we may have eternal life with you.
Pesach/Passover and Chag Matzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread) begin at sunset on Friday 22nd. April.
Father willing, we will gather again next Shabbat.