Harp and Story

Is There Something We Are Missing?

Mat 10:6-8 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

Matt 17:20 for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.

What is the fervent and effective prayer of a righteous man that avails much? Why do we pray and yet the sick remain sick and the demon oppressed remain oppressed, the lepers remain unclean, and the lost sheep are still lost? A mustard seed is a very small seed indeed and yet Yashua said that was all that was needed to change the physical position of a mountain! I have read the books and listened to the tapes and all the theories and postulations and justifications for the excuses as to why we don’t live, work and breathe in the power of the first century believers, but for me personally I am tired of accepting the excuses as to why we don’t and I am ready to discover how I can. I am ready for a change. When Steve was in Israel this fall he was talking to Moshe of The Shorashim Shop in the Old City. After a lengthy conversation Steve finally said, “I don’t know what to call myself anymore.” Moshe looked at him and said, “Why Steve, you are a first-century believer.” A first-century believer, WOW! Now, what exactly does that mean?

Rev 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of YHVH, and hold to the testimony of Yashua haMeshiach.

A first-century believer followed Torah (Yashua) and was filled with the Ruach haKodesh for what did Yashua say about the coming of the Ruach: John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Ruach haKodesh, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Yashua also tells us in John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” Yashua and the Ruach haKodesh are the identity of the remnant; they are the way, the truth and the life.

No longer would the Ruach just abide with us as was the case throughout the First Testament, but the Ruach would now abide in us. This is tremendous! The Second Testament is the story of one account after another of the power of the Ruach in the lives of believers. Rav Shaul tells us in the book of Romans that the letter of the law kills, but the Spirit brings life. What’s the difference here? There were definitely power encounters in the First Testament so what could Paul/Rav Shaul be talking about? The difference I see is that the First Testament believers in YHVH did not have access to the Tree of Life. Without the Tree of Life there was no life, everything that was done only emphasized death highlighting the need for a Savior. The Law/Torah/Instructions only proved to man, everyday, that he could not keep the very thing that was supposed to guide him back to His creator. When Yashua came to live among men, He referred to Himself as the Light, the Living Water, the Bread of Life, eat of me and live He said in John 6:51. If we could have kept the Instructions/Law/Torah without eating from the Tree of Life there would have been no need for a Savior. But we have a Savior, Yashua haMeshiach made a clear path back to YHVH for us to follow, He promised the Ruach haKodesh to come live in us the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31:33, “But this covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares YHVH, “I will put My Torah within them, and on their heart I will write it, and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people.

Yashua takes the scribes and Pharisees to task in the 23rd chapter of Matthew for looking good on the outside, appearing righteous, but inwardly full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Isaiah 29:13 is very descriptive of their condition, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote…”

Paul carries on with this theme in 2Timothy 3:1-5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

We can debate the finer points of scripture all day long, but unless we are filled with the Ruach haKodesh, who is doing the work of leading and guiding, directing us into all truth; we only have a form of godliness. Yashua said, the world will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another. What does the world see when it looks at YHVH’s people?

Back in our network marketing days if someone didn’t want to get involved in building the business we were to “flush” them. There must be a lot of network marketers in the messianic movement for the attitude appears to be the same; if you don’t see it my way then ‘flush” you. This is definitely not the counsel Yashua left us with, He said that the world would know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another. It is this kind of love brought about by the indwelling power of the Ruach haKodesh that produces life that changes the world. Our endless debating on the fine points of scripture will not change this world, our, (even if we could) keeping each law to the letter will not change this world, these things didn’t do it for the First Testament Hebrews and they won’t do it for us. John 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Do we truly comprehend the abundant life that Yashua gave to us, or are we still in darkness?

Is there something missing? If we don’t live, breathe and work in the power of the first-century believer then yes, something is missing. To be a part of the Revelation 12:17 remnant we need both Yashua and the Ruach haKodesh, both Spirit and Truth, both Torah and Power; to deny one or the other is anti-Messiah.

 

Give and Receive

December 6, 2010

Have you ever wondered why it is easier to give than to receive?

On the way to the airport this morning, to catch our flight to Thailand, the conversation turned to stories about people giving us things for doing good deeds or just being kind and how difficult it is many times to receive such generosity with only a heart-felt “thank you” – especially when we don’t feel we deserve their gift. We’ll bend over backwards in our attempts to wiggle out of accepting their generosity with a “no, no, that’s silly, keep it, I didn’t do anything; no really you keep that; no problem, it’s good;” we will say anything to keep from accepting what we may perceive as an unwarranted “free gift.” As a general rule we’re much better at giving than receiving.

As the conversation drifted on to other things I was struck with a startling thought that tied onto earlier bits of “going to the airport” conversation. I grew up in a religious denomination that was really big on works. In fact at the beginning of the individual Bible class study times each week a record was kept of how many Bible studies were given this week, how many pieces of literature were passed out, how much clothing was given away, how many home and/or hospital visitations were made and so on and so on. These were all added up and it was a point of pride for the person who had done the most. Even though I don’t remember this ever being preached from the pulpit, but certainly the strong under-current of belief in that denomination was – you have to earn your salvation – you have to prove you are good enough by all the good works you do and maybe, just maybe, if you are good enough God will accept you.

As a child I frequently went to sleep at night wondering, “was I good enough today that if I died tonight would I go to heaven or hell. It really is a terrifying question for a child. I was in my late thirties before my Heavenly Father answered that question for me for all time and eternity. I now have absolute assurance of my salvation in Yashua – Hallelujah! But for my wonderful, godly Great Grandmother just a short time before her death at the age of 102, I heard he asking her pastor, “How do I know Pastor if I’m good enough?” Her question broke my heart. She died without assurance in her Messiah’s free gift of the cross to her.

How many are in the same place? Are you, In the deepest depths of your heart really wondering the same thing? “Am I good enough?”

Sitting in the back seat of the car listening to the conversation drift around me I suddenly realized the two are related. We have trouble receiving what we may deem as unwarranted gifts because really in our heart of hearts we haven’t yet truly received the greatest unwarranted gift of all – eternal life. We still want to be the one in control, we want to be the giver, we want to orchestrate the event, we want to be good enough to deserve it, but we’ll never attain that place of “perfection” because our false sense of humility won’t allow it. Therefore we have to be the guy or gal on top – the one who gives and never takes – we want to be that one on the cross, not the one bowing at its foot.

Is this harsh? Are you recoiling at these words?

No, that’s not me, maybe you are saying. Well maybe this isn’t for you, and actually I pray that it is not, but if Yashua is knocking, right now, on your heart’s door – let Him in. He wants to sit at your table and eat with you and you with Him. He said He is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven – eat My flesh and drink My blood and live forever. He didn’t come to condemn you, He came to save you and He’s waiting to be invited in to dinner!

One last question, one last pondering before I go; if we in our hearts truly believed in Yashua’s free gift of eternal life would the description of the first-century believers become our life in the body of Messiah today?

Act 2:43-47 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Something to think about, isn’t it?