Spurgeon, Morning, June 11

burning love

“Love is an exotic; it is not a plant which will flourish naturally in human soil, it must be watered from above. Love to Jesus is a flower of a delicate nature, and if it received no nourishment but that which could be drawn from the rock of our hearts it would soon wither. As love comes from heaven, so it must feed on heavenly bread. It cannot exist in the wilderness unless it be fed by manna from on high. Love must feed on love. The very soul and life of our love to God is his love to us.

“I love thee, Lord, but with no love of mine,
For I have none to give;
I love thee, Lord; but all the love is thine,
For by thy love I live.
I am as nothing, and rejoice to be
Emptied, and lost, and swallowed up in thee.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings
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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.

longing for Love

Every one of us longs to be loved. In order to satisfy this longing, some of us bounce from one relationship to another searching for something that will fill the emptiness within our hearts. Those of us who do not bounce around, instead jump into the first relationship we experience and we end up marrying the wrong person.

Regardless of what you’ve done in attempt to fill that longing within your heart, are you still feeling lonely today?

Our loneliness is the result of searching for love in all the wrong places. For any and all human love will never fill our longing for true, perfect love. Why? Because human love is not perfect love? Human love is selfish love.

I have learned from my past season of bouncing around from relationship to relationship, as well as from my recent season of aloneness, one very important truth: Only God can give perfect love because only God is perfect love. {1 John 4:8, 16, 18; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7}

When we experience this love that God wants to give to us, we will be filled to the fullest with His perfect Love and will be completely satisfied. {John 4:13-14}

Will you allow God to fill your emptiness right now? He’s waiting for you to ask Him to…

Sacred Flame

While worshipping God, I discovered a tune that I don’t know that has the most amazing lyrics.  I gotta learn the tune that goes to these words.  The words alone are beautiful, but to be able to sing them with all my heart and possible lung capacity, I can hardly wait for the day!  If anyone of you knows the tune to this hymn, please contact me.  You can go to the “About Janie” page for my contact info.  Thanks!

Fire of God, Thou Sacred Flame
by Albert F. Bayly  (1901-1984)

Fire of God, Thou sacred flame
Spirit who in splendor came,
Let Thy heat my soul refine
Till it glows with love divine.

Breath of God, that swept in power
In the pentecostal hour,
Holy Breath, be Thou in me
Source of vital energy.

Strength of God, Thy might within
Conquers sorrow, pain, and sin:
Fortify from evil’s art
All the gateways of my heart.

Truth of God, Thy piercing rays
Penetrate my secret ways.
May the light that shames my sin
Guide me holier paths to win.

Love of God, Thy grace profound
Knoweth neither age nor bound:
Come, my heart’s own guest to be,
Dwell forevermore in me.

(taken from the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, Hymn #263)

faith

”‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’  Often the follower of Christ is brought where he cannot serve God and carry forward his worldly enterprises.  Perhaps it appears that obedience to some plain requirement of God will cut off his means of support.  Satan would make him believe that he must sacrifice his conscientious convictions.  But the only thing in our world upon which we can rely is the word of God.  ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’  Matthew 6:33.  Even in this life it is not for our good to depart from the will of our Father in heaven.  When we learn the power of His word, we shall not follow the suggestions of Satan in order to obtain food or to save our lives.  Our only question will be, What is God’s command?  and what His promises?  Knowing these, we shall obey the one, and trust the other.

“In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell.  It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death.  See Revelation 13:11-17.  But to the obedient is given the promise, ‘He shall dwell on high: his place of defense whall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.’  Isaiah 33:16.  By this promise the children of God will live.  When the earth shall be wasted with famine, they shall be fed.  ‘They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.’  Psalm 37:19.”  {Desire of Ages, 121-122}

witness

I have been working on writing my personal testimony – how God has moved in my life – how I got to where I am today.  My repugnance grows as I look back on past seasons of my selfish life.  I am utterly  disgusted with who I used to be.  I do not want to glorify my past.

Photographs tend to glorify whatever it is they are of.  I want so badly to erase the photographs taken during those dark years of my life.  But as I look at the images and ponder the action of deleting them, I realize that they are a witness of where God has rescued me from.  If I erase those images then I am silencing the witness.

By the power and grace of God, my life is a living testimony of Ezekiel 11:19,20; 36:24-27

Behold the Lamb of God!

“It is not sufficient that the human race behold Jesus as the Man of men, the Superman.  He is not only the Man of God; He is also the Lamb of God.  As Emmanuel, the God-man, Jesus Christ is the great Sin Bearer.  Jesus is man’s outstanding example, ‘the realized ideal of humanity;’ but He is more than that:  He is the Saviour and Redeemer of all who accept His grace and surrender to His sovereign will.  As the Son of man and the Son of God, Christ saves from sin and all its terrible consequences.  The repentant sinner need only fix his eyes upon the Lamb of God to be so completely transformed that his fear is turned to joy and his doubts to hope.  The stony heart is broken under the compelling power of grace, and a tide of love sweeps over the soul.  Beholding Jesus as the great atonement for sin is the secret of the transformation of character into the divine image.

“Jesus said: ‘This is My Father’s will, that everyone who fixes his gaze on the Son of God and believes in Him should have the Life of the Ages, and I will raise him to life on the last day.’  John 6:40, Weymouth.  The power of a fixed gaze to reproduce what is looked upon is beautifully illustrated by the camera.  In order to reproduce the likeness of a landscape or a person, the camera must be fixed in an immovable position till the image is formed on the delicate film.  The eyes or lens must be focused on the object to be photographed, and the gaze must remain fixed until the light completes the impression.  The film must then be taken to the darkroom and be submitted to a chemical bath in order to bring to view all the beautiful details of the reproduction.

“Someone has said that ‘Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple.’  He is posing for the reproduction of His image in us, and [our] gaze must remain fixed till His character is fully reproduced.  As in the photograph, the darkroom experience and the acid test of fiery trials are necessary in order to develop and to make visible what has been impressed upon the mind and heart by beholding Jesus.  These were the experiences that developed into visibility the marvelous perfections of Christ’s matchless character.  The darkroom of obscurity and trial developed the character of Joseph in Egypt, of Moses in the wilderness, of David in exile from the wrath of Saul, of Daniel in Babylonian captivity, and of Paul during the severe persecutions that ended in his martyrdom…

“‘All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied.  The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus…  If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image.  The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of the fullness.’ — The Desire of Ages, E.G. White, p302.

“Beholding the Man of God transfixes the gaze and produces admiration.  Beholding the Lamb of God reaches the heart and effects a transformation.”

{quoted from Behold the Man, Taylor G. Bunch, p13-15.

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