The Work of the Spirit of God

An excerpt from Sermon #921, by C.H. Spurgeon, delivered to a faithful audience on March 20, 1870.
     VERY often we address the Gospel to the chief of sinners; we believe it to be our duty to do this with the greatest frequency; for did not our Lord, when bidding His disciples to preach the Good News in every place, use the words, “beginning at Jerusalem”? Where the chief of sinners lived, there was the Gospel first to be preached; but at the same time it would show great lack of observation if we regarded all mankind as being equally gross, open offenders against God; it would not only show a lack of wisdom, but it would involve a lack of truthfulness, for though all have sinned and deserve the Wrath of God, yet all unconverted men are not precisely in the same condition of mind in reference to the Gospel.
     In the parable of the sower we are taught that before the good seed fell upon the field at all, there was a difference in the various soils; some of it was stony ground, another part was thorny, a third was trodden hard like a highway, while another plot is described by our Lord as “honest and good ground.” Although in every case the carnal mind is enmity against God, yet are there influences at work which in many cases have mitigated, if not subdued, that enmity. While many took up stones to kill our Lord, there were others who heard Him gladly; while to this day thousands reject the Gospel, there are others who receive the Word with joy! These differences we ascribe to God’s Prevenient Grace; we believe, however, that the subject of these differences is not aware that Grace is at work upon him; neither is it precisely Grace in the same form as Saving Grace, for the soul under its Power has not yet learned its own need of Christ, or the excellence of His Salvation.
     There is such a thing as a preparatory work of Mercy on the soul, making it ready for the yet higher work of Grace, even as the plowing comes before the sowing. We read in the narrative of the Creation that before the Divine Voice said, “Let there be light,” darkness was upon the face of the deep, yet it is added, “The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Even so in the darkness of human nature, whereas yet no ray of the Living Light of God has shone, the Spirit of God may be moving with secret Energy, making the soul ready for the hour when the true Light shall shine.
Drew Sanborn

Photograph by Drew Sanborn

I am very encouraged by these words, because I know that YHWH is already at work upon the hearts of those He has asked me to be a Light to. Let us rest in this beautiful truth, this Sabbath day, giving glory to God for the work He is doing within the hearts of men everywhere. HalleluYah. Amen.
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Who Is Israel?

Have you been asking yourself, “Who is Israel?” It seems to be a pretty hot topic, these days. Of course, there are countless verses within Scripture that tell us who Israel is. Sometimes, though, YHWH will emphasize to me just a select few verses on any given subject so that my brain can wrap itself around what He is trying to teach me.

Just the other day, He made it clear to me just how simple it can be to figure out who He defines Israel as being. There are only two verses that He brought to my mind. One verse is from the Prophets, and one verse is from the Apostles. Let’s begin with the first verse I was reading…

Isaiah 41:8
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

In Isaiah 41, YHWH defines Israel as “the seed of Abraham”. Other versions render this “descendent of Abraham”, or “offspring of Abraham”. You get the idea. Basically, according to this verse, Israel consists of the children of Abraham.

Israel = Seed of Abraham

Well, you may be thinking “this seems obvious”. Anyone descended from Abraham, by blood, would be considered Israel, right? Let’s look a little deeper. Before we make that assumption, we must look at the Apostolic verse in order to further define who the children of Abraham really are.

Galatians 3:7
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

Ahh. Here we see that being a descendant, or child of Abraham involves this thing called Faith. In other words, Abraham’s seed consists of those who are of Faith.

Seed of Abraham = They which are of Faith

Therefore, using the law of syllogism, we can see, 1) If Israel is the seed of Abraham, and 2) the seed of Abraham are those which are of faith, then 3) Israel consists of those which are of faith. So, who is Israel? Israel is the faithful.

Israel = They which are of Faith

Can we then safely deduce from this that anyone who is NOT of Faith is, therefore, NOT considered Israel? This is a very interesting question to ponder! It would be imperative to understand what exactly Faith is, according to the Scriptures, in order to not get into trouble on this one. 😉

Who Is Israel

There are always two sides to any issue. Many people, on both sides of this issue, do not like the simple truth that Israel are those which are of Faith. They, therefore, try to twist the Scriptures to mean something else. I believe that heretical doctrines, such as, Replacement Theology and many other doctrines of exclusivity, have come out of this misunderstanding of who Israel really is.

We know that Paul was trying to right the wrong views of his day when he wrote in the book of Romans “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel, nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s seed”.

Apparently, there were people in his day who believed that just because they were from Abraham’s blood line that they were considered Israel. I think this same view is alive and well within many Messianic and Jewish circles today, unfortunately. In my opinion, this is just as divisive as the supersessionists’ idea that the Church has replaced Israel. Both opinions create only division among the body of Messiah.

It’s about time we read the Scriptures just as they are written, without trying to make them fit into our finite understanding. G-d is smarter than we are. We can only humble ourselves and ask for the spirit of YHWH to provide the understanding we so desperately need, if we ever expect to be restored with our brother, Judah.

May YHWH lead you by His outstretched hand as you seek His will in all things. Amen.

Recommittment

Confession: I have not blogged in quite awhile. Too long, in fact. I know.

Originally, I began blogging as a simple way of sharing my journey of finding true love and growing in faith, but over time I pulled away from writing about these very intimate subjects. Often, I would post simply some beautiful quote or picture, and avoid writing what was on my heart. To be honest, I haven’t really felt like sharing my life with a lot of people I do not know. Yet, something in me keeps nudging me to document my life-discoveries so that someone out there may be encouraged, or better yet inspired by what comes through my keyboard.

I regret that I have been absent for so long. With the beginning of the new Roman year, I am recommitting myself to this space with the desire to share what I am learning along my pilgrimage through life. With that said, I have decided to add a new subject category to my blog site. I will now be journaling, and I hope that you will join me, on my adventures in SEWING! You can learn about how I got started sewing here. But before you go, let me share with you how I was inspired to start blogging about sewing.

When I began to learn to sew last year, I started doing A LOT of online research, looking for tutorials that I could use to teach myself basic sewing techniques. What I discovered is the abundantly fruitful world of Sewing Blogs! To my surprise, I found more information than I could have imagined existed on the subject of sewing. At first, it was all eye candy – beautiful blogs with pictures of vibrant fabrics sewn into items that I can only dream of creating at this point. I signed up for almost every newsletter that I could join, and soon my Inbox was overflowing with information each day. I soon found myself spending more time surfing the web than sewing, and that is not right! Since then, I have culled my blog reading and newsletter memberships down to a very select few.

Each time I read these inspiring sewists’ posts, a desire rises in me to start documenting my own journey in this wonderful world of stitchery. To my surprise, when I opened my email this morning, one such blogger‘s post brought me to the point of no return. After I read about Sarai’s project, Wardrobe Architect, for the sewing blog community, I jumped in with both feet.

So, here I am. A blogger. I hope you will join me on my adventures in Faith, Love, and Sewing!

Discovering My Passion To Sew

This past year, 2013, I rediscovered one of my hidden passions. I began to learn how to sew! By taking a sewing class with a few other ladies, I found myself growing more and more excited about using my hands to create beautiful, functional and practical items using fabric and thread. Since last spring, I have successfully accomplished the construction of a quilt and matching pillow case, pants for my nephew, a blouse for my niece, as well as several aprons and potholders, and other assorted little projects.

Learning to SewThe internet has been a huge resource in helping me get over the nervous jitters of trying to teach myself a skill that has been a mystery to me all these years. I found a ton of wonderful free patterns that I was able to download to my computer. Most of them are still there collecting pixel dust on my hard-drive. But I have sewn a couple of really wonderful patterns I found, to challenge myself specifically in the realm of clothing construction. Those pants I mentioned have been the most challenging mainly because the directions were difficult for me to follow.

Up to the spring of last year, I had been successful at hiding this inner desire from myself behind the busyness of life-in-general. I had seen my mom sewing my garments as a child and had always wanted to learn how to sew my own garments. However, as the days flew by and I grew up, it became more and more difficult to find the time to make sewing a priority in my life.

I am so happy to say that this has finally changed! My goal for 2014 is to begin sewing garments for adults, specifically for myself and my husband. I have a dream of one day creating a line of graceful and modest, Kingdom-inspired, linen garments for men and for women. I am hoping that the Wardrobe Architect project over at the Coletterie will help get me pointed in that direction.

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