Spiritual Static

Have you ever had to put together or replace components of your “home entertainment system” ?  If so you know how challenging this can be.  I remember when it was referred to as A/V equipment-audio/visual.

When I did this, my biggest challenge was sound.  I could get the sound from the t.v. speakers but not from the external ones.  I was able to get sound with static, static only and sound with static.   The static was so bad that it was not worth it to turn the speakers on.   Turns out the amplifier needed to be replaced.  Once that was done, the sound worked the way it was supposed to.

Our walks with God can be like that too.  Sometimes there is static interfering with our ability to her or worship Him.  This static can be from many things: a busy season in life, sin, people  who are around us, the place we worship.

Some of us are good at being able to stay focused on Him despite the static.  Others of us find that we are putting so much energy reminding ourselves to stay focused on Him, that there is little left over for worship or hearing Him.

If you are someone experiencing static from where you worship, a good test to use is this:

Can you honestly say you would feel comfortable with bringing a friend/acquaintance there and would you feel comfortable recommending it to people inquiring about Shabbat and the Feast Days?  If the answer is no and remains that way over a few months time, that is a good indicator that you are experiencing spiritual static.

Shabbat and His Feasts are supposed to be times of rest, joy, delight, and worship of Him.  Static interferes with our ability to do that.

This post is part of Shabbat Shalom Link Up.

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Your Footsteps Become My Pathway

This is a post for Shabbat Shalom Link Up #15 . For more information, please go to my Shabbat Shalom Link Up page at the top of this blog.  My contribution this week is a song by Kathy Shooster-“Your Footsteps Become My Pathway.”

Get off the Bench

We had a testimony a while back about getting off the bench and participating in the game-in this case, in more congregational activities.  This week we had a different person use that phrase and urge us not to be pew sitters.

They have a point, but they also fail to realize that the culture of the place is not conducive to keeping people in the game.  People have gotten off the bench and into the game and ended up getting run over multiple times.    People have offered to help with activities and been told that help is no longer needed.   Lastly, they don’t want volunteers-they want clones.   When people have stepped in to fill a need all they got in return was grief as they were not doing things the exact same way the person that had the job before them did.

If they want people to get off the bench and stay in the game, they need to change the way people are treated.

I’ll Never Understand

There are some things I will never understand in life, and while I know that intellectually, it does not make it any easier.

I do not understand how people can attend a conference stating how wonderful it was, how they grew in relationship with the Lord, give a testimony to the congregation about how they grew and what they learned and yet a few weeks later state how they and their significant other are at a graduation party already drunk.

I’ll never understand.

Salvation vs. Sanctification

I missed the last couple of STLS-one due to Shavuot and then the next week I just plain forgot about this carnival. I’m back now and when I saw the topic this week was our choice, I decided on this one.

Truthfully this has been on my mind the past few months, because it has been coming up quite a bit on some boards I read. The most recent instance is a conversation about a certain preacher. I also know people that get the “you are working for your salvation” comment frequently, due to the holidays they celebrate.

Let me be clear-there is nothing any one of us can do to earn our salvation form a holy, perfect righteous God. We can come to Him just as we are. Salvation has always been by faith something the Old Testament (OT) has proven time and again. Remember that in Yeshua and the Apostles time, the only Scripture they had was the OT. The NT was not in existence when they walked the earth and did their miracles. The Scriptures the Bereans sought to see if what the Apostles said was true was the OT.

How did Abraham receive his righteousness:

Galatians 3:6

“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

He believed God-nothing else.

There is however a difference between salvation and sanctification. Most believers seem to have their focus only on salvation and not sanctification.

Sanctification should be the result of salvation. Sanctification means making ourselves more like Yeshua and Jehovah every day. Seeking to be their image of holiness and righteousness. Sanctification takes work. One will not and can not be sanctified-becoming holy-without work.

In the New Testament (NT) there are times when salvation is equalled with sanctification:

Phl 2:12

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

This is a NT verse, not an OT one so it does contradict the thought that one does not work at salvation, does it not?

When we go to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, we have numerous entries for salvation-this is one of them:

“(c)…this present experience on the part of believers is virtually equivalent to sanctification;”

It is also equated with gaining wisdom and is not something to be neglected. Gaining wisdom is also work and we know that the wise man is to be blessed.

When we go to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, here is what it says for sanctification:

“involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul
in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man ( Rom 6:13; 2Cr 4:6; Col 3:10; 1Jo 4:7; 1Cr 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the
plan of redemption to carry on this work ( 1Cr 6:11; 2Th 2:13). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification, inasmuch as it ( 1) secures union to Christ ( Gal 2:20), and ( 2) brings the believer into living contact with the truth, whereby he is led to yield obedience “to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come.”

Perfect sanctification is not attainable in this life ( 1Ki 8:46; Pro 20:9; Ecc 7:20; Jam 3:2; 1Jo 1:8). See Paul’s account of himself in Rom 7:14-25; Phl 3:12-14; and 1 Tim. 1:15; also the confessions of David ( Psa 19:12,13; 51), of Moses ( 90:8), of Job ( Job 42:5,6), and of Daniel ( Dan 9:3-20). “The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father’s loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves.”, Hodge’s Outlines.”

Indeed, that is work. We should be encouraging this work not slapping people who are doing and preaching this with “you’re preaching salvation by works”.

And if salvation does not have work attached to it let’s not forget the words of Yeshua himself in Revelation 3:16-19:

“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need
of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”

Being tried in the fire-is that not work? And if salvation is not work, why would Yeshua say he would spit those out of his mouth that are lukewarm?

Because salvation in these passages I quoted is being equated with sanctification. Once one has received Yeshua as Lord, then the work is just beginning. There should be a change and if there is not, then people are not working out their salvation with fear and trembling, which is one of the NT scriptural demands.

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I Came Not to Send Peace

This is my second “Seek the Lord Sunday” post. This week’s topic is to tell about a verse or chapter of the Bible that speaks to you lately.

For me, it is not one verse or chapter that’s been speaking to me lately as much as one idea presented in numerous chapters. This idea starts off in Micah 7:6:

“For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies [are] the men of his own house.”

This idea continues in Matthew 10:34-35:

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”

Luke 12:51-53 repeats this sentiment:

“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”

I brought this issue up to other believers once and it was an explosive issue-so explosive that most of them have never spoken to me again. Yet as I look around me and see what is happening in the world, I think we need to look at these verses.

God always has a reason for telling us things. We may not always understand it, but He has a reason. I think He told us this so we would know to expect it and not to lose faith when it does happen. In fact this is already happening-children calling CPS on their parents, people being paid to turn in others for arrest, etc…

This also happens when people believe in God, but differ about how to act out that belief. When people start doing things differently, families, friends and neighbors get upset, and stop speaking to the people doing things differently.

Now a lot of people will say that Yeshua promised us peace, and ignore these verses. Yeshua did say He would give us peace, through the fire, through the trials. He did not promise that families, neighbors and friends would be conflict free.

He also told us that when these things happen, that is one of the signs of His returning. We need to prepare ourselves for this by making sure we are strong in our faith and not blaming Him when it does happen. We also need to make sure we can forgive the people who did this to us. It is not a question of if this will happen-we have already been told it will-it’s just a matter of time.

Are we prepared?

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