Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Blessed Man ~ Psalm 1


Psalm 1
1 How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, don't stand on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit! 2 Their delight is in the Law of the LORD (YHVH's Torah); on his Law (Torah) they meditate day and night. 3 They are like trees planted by streams -they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither, everything they do succeeds. 4 Not so the wicked, who are like chaff driven by the wind. For this reason the wicked won't stand up to the judgment, nor will sinners at the gathering of the righteous. 6 For the Lord (YHVH)  watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


   Well, readers, this topic has been on my list of "to-do" posts since the beginning of AWL (April 2012) So, be prepared to read (for perhaps the first time in your life) some things that may be difficult to accept - all I ask of those who are reading this, is that you please keep an open mind and have ears to hear. 
   Remember, this is all about serving Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, and our Lord to the best of our ability, obeying Him, and doing what is right in His eyes, not our own.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


   I've read Psalm 1 ever so many times, and have had it memorized since I was 9, and I thought that the Blessed Man was delighting & meditating on the Ten Commandments, and I hadn't a clue about what the "way of the righteous" was. I thought God's Law was just ten commands......Goodness! How wrong I was! [There are approximately 613 commands, (though some have been taken out of their original context meant by God)]

   So, lets break down this chapter, and get the meanings behind it, before I explain a few things:

1 How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, don't stand on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit! 
~ Rejecting the advice of those who do not follow & who reject the Lord, keeping away from the way of sinners (what they do, how they live), and avoiding scoffers brings blessing.

 2 Their delight is in the Law of the LORD (Y-H-V-H's Torah); on his Law (Torah) they meditate day and night. 
~ The blessed people DELIGHT in the TORAH of GOD & they meditate upon it day and night. The Torah has a joint meaning of  both all of GOD's eternal Laws & the first 5 books of the Bible (which contain all God's everlasting Laws)

3 They are like trees planted by streams -they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither, everything they do succeeds. 
~ Those who observe & keep God's Laws are like trees planted by streams. They bear GOOD fruit in season, they don't wither, & they succeed in what they do. How wonderful!!! By obeying God's Torah, we receive blessings in abundance!

   God tells us to keep His Laws in Lev 26:3, 26:15 & Lev 18:5 among other places. God even says that in the End of Days He will put His law in our minds and write it on our hearts - Jeremiah 31:33.
 
Yeshua (Jesus), and the apostles say that we know we are His children, if we keep His commands - Matthew 5:19, John 14:5, 1 John 5:2, 1 John 5:3, 2nd John 1:6, & 1 John 3:24 among others.

4 Not so the wicked, who are like chaff driven by the wind. 
~ The unsaved God rejectors do not bear fruit, rather they wither and are as chaff.

For this reason the wicked won't stand up to the judgment, nor will sinners at the gathering of the righteous.
~ The previous verses tell us why the wicked will not stand up to the judgement, but rather be condemned.

6 For the Lord (Adonai) watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed.
~ Way of the Righteous = walking in observance to the Lord's Torah. So, God watches over (keeps safe) the WAY of the righteous, which is Torah-Observance, but the wicked (those who reject God and His Laws) - are doomed.


I realize that some of you may be a bit confused at this point (since many teach that God's Law has been made void), but allow me to explain a few foundational things to you with the best of my ability, so that you will understand where I am coming from:

~ Torah = The Laws, ordinances, commands of GOD Almighty as well as the 5 Books of Moses - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy (B'Reisheet, Shmot, VaYiqra, B'Midbar, & D'Varim - in Hebrew)

~ Torah is not just the Ten Words [or Ten Commandments - but in Hebrew it actually translates to "Ten Words"......D'varim = Words] but rather it is all approximate 613 commands (Laws = Torah) given by GOD through Moses to the Children of Israel in the first 5 books in the Bible, the 5 Books of Moses.

~ Jesus, his Hebrew name being Yeshua (Yahushua, Yehoshua), was a JEW, and will always be JEWISH.........He followed God's Laws from the Torah (as most Jewish people do) and he walked as God wanted him to walk - & - He called us to Follow Him, Emulate Him, Walk as He Walked......hmmmmm considerations, considerations....

~ Contrary to popular Christian belief - Yeshua did not abolish the law and prophets....He Himself said that He did not!!! Matthew 5: 17-19 "Don't think that I have come to abolish the Law (Torah) or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a jot (Hebrew letter yod - smallest letter in the Hebrew Language) or a stroke will pass from the Law (Torah) -- not until everything that must happen has happened. So whoever disobeys the least of these commands (mitzvot in Hebrew) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 
   Then, later in Matthew 7:12, Yeshua said,  "Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Law (Torah) and the Prophets (Nevi'im in Hebrew)." So, our Lord and Savior not only emphatically stated that He did NOT destroy, abolish, or do away with the Torah of GOD, but He taught the Torah!!! You are familiar with the Sermon on the Mount? Well, there, Jesus was expounding upon God's Laws found in Torah!

   Some would argue that when Jesus said he "completed" or "fulfilled" the Law & Prophets - that those words mean the same as abolished & destroyed, but, this just isn't true! 
~ First, if such were true, he would be contradicting his former statement in the verse and that would make our Savior a liar - which he absolutely cannot be. 
~ Secondly, he would be opposing what His Father had said - God said that we should keep His Laws, that His Laws are eternal (See - Psalm 111:7-8 & Psalm 119:152), and that He would write his Laws on our hearts in the End Times = *now* (which means His Laws are very important to Him). 
~ And thirdly, when he said that he completed or fulfilled the Law & Prophets - he was saying that He had accomplished/performed/executed the prophesies about Himself within the Law & Prophets.

   When you get a chance, I would encourage you to read (or re-read ;-) Psalm 119 [this is a version that is truer to the original Hebrew than most Bible versions]. A long chapter, I know, but it speaks SO MUCH of God's eternal Laws & how the writer delights in them. This blog's main verse is Psalm 119:2!
   Wherever you see instruction, commands, precepts, rulings, laws, regulations, or mitsvot - you can replace them with either "Torah" or "God's Laws" - because ALL those words refer to Yaweh's Law - HIS precious Torah! 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I leave you with a handful of video teachings that have a more in-depth explanation of the things I have been writing about. 119 Ministries does a great job of explaining these subjects in detail.
 I really encourage you to watch these great teachings which add up to less than 2 hours whenever you can find time to do so.

~ approx - 7 minutes ~
Most everyone that I know would agree that Christ fulfilled the Law. But what does that really mean? It seems this is the problem. Though many may be saying the same thing, their definition of "fulfill" proves they are meaning polar opposites. So what is YOUR definition of fulfill?

 ~ approx -30 minutes ~
Did the Law of God change after the cross? In Matthew 5:17-19, what does the passing of the first Heaven and first Earth have to do with fulfilling all of the Law and Prophets?  What relationship do Heaven and Earth have with our receipt of God's law?  How does Heaven and Earth relate to all prophecy being fulfilled?  Was Yeshua referring to the passing of Heaven and Earth just to sound cool, or was there a purpose? We review all of these questions and more in "Heaven & Earth and the Law of God."

 ~ approx -18 minutes ~
God abolished or changed His law because it was simply too difficult, right? Some teach this, many don't test this doctrine to His Word. If you find men telling you that the Law of Moses is difficult, perhaps we should consider what God Himself said about it.

approx -15 minutes ~
Is the Word of God forever, or can parts of it be abolished? As always, if we seek truth, we want to test these things to His Word, and not the doctrines of men.


~ approx -15 minutes ~
In Matthew chapter 5 verse 17, Yeshua said He came to fulfill the law, to PLEROO the Law of God.  The Greek word PLEROO means to fully preach.  This means that Yeshua said He came to FULLY PREACH the Law of God.  We submit that if Yeshua FULLY PREACHED the Law of God, then perhaps we should listen to what our Messiah preached.

~ approx -30 minutes ~
Does Acts 15 teach that we are not to still obey the Law of God as written by Moses, or just that we can not be saved by observing the law? To answer this, we need to know the debate and the groups involved. You may have always been told what to believe about Acts 15, now...let's test it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

   Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog today. I hope that you have been encouraged, or at least that you've been induced to seriously think upon these matters. 
I welcome any question you may have!

[You will see that I have added a page called "Torah" to my top-pages. 
On that page I have put many verses from throughout the Bible that are in support of Torah-Observance as a way to glorify, honor, obey, and submit to God & which show that our Holy God & Yeshua the Messiah want us to keep Torah.]

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Vs. Turkey Day

 
   Hey there! I know it's been awhile since I have posted, but I wanted to stop in and quickly post this short read for you. I know Thanksgiving is long over - but - I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and found time to remember & thank the Lord for what it is truly all about!

Question for you all:
   Does it really matter whether you call a special American holiday wherein the pilgrims were saved by God's abounding mercy & grace, Thanksgiving or Turkey Day? - please comment with your reply =)

While you are thinking about this, let me answer my own question:
   Simple answer: Yes it really does matter whether you call Thanksgiving what it really is or some off-subject name invented to take God out of it! 
More in-depth answer: See, if you take our Lord out of Thanksgiving - you cannot call it Thanksgiving - because it would mean you were being thankful to yourself; after all, most people have forgotten about the Indians in the first place, so who would be thankful to them? We weren't, by the way - we sent them to reservations!
   Isn't it sad, and irritating, that Satan (and people under his hand) so strive to separate God from His creation, historical events, important places, etc, etc?!
   Think about it, Turkey Day.......What? Are we supposed to salute all the turkeys as we eat them that day??? Is that to imply that we should give thanks to the turkey on our table? [thanks, little guy, for giving your life (though not willingly) so I could eat turkey today] Ma zeh? (what is this?) - Or, heaven forbid, does Turkey Day mean that Thanksgiving is all & only about - eating turkey?!?
   Is that how most people these days view Thanksgiving? *Formerly* the most God-honoring American holiday of the year? For shame!

   Romans 1:28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 

   My friends, please remember that Satan is the father of lies - and thus, those following him lie. People are re-writing history, changing it because too much points to God and His Word - so beware - lest you fall prey to the lies!

This was just 1 question of hundreds that we can ask. Satan and those accomplishing his will are wrecking havoc on more than just this great holiday! 

 In many ways he tries to take the focus off of God.
This is just a short, comparatively minor example to get you to start thinking  about this serious matter.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pure White Rosebud - Emotionally


"Thou must purpose to be a white and pure rose - a bud that is still closed and one that will not give away the key to her heart until the time be right." - The King to his daughter 
[excerpt from Before You Meet Prince Charming]


  KEY VERSES:
   1 Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 

  2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

   1 Timothy 5:1 & 2  Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 
[emphasis mine]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
white rosebud

Emotional purity - the continuous act of keeping one's thoughts and intentions pure; as well as keeping one's mind from impure muses.

   Ah, at last we come to the very core of purity! All the information on this subject I have received has had great impact on me, and I am excited to be able to talk about it! I think the best way to be able to give more information on emotional purity will be to divide the bases of it into 4 parts and explain each one individually.   So, here we go:

Troublesome Thoughts:
   Keeping our thoughts pure is indeed a great task, but a most necessary one if we are to remain pure. Though I cannot speak for guys, I know that when girls think they "like" a guy, their thoughts tend to divert,  at rather odd times, from whatever task they have at hand, to that particular guy. "Does he like me? Oh, I wish he would talk to me more" etc. etc......I'm sure many girls would agree that this is annoying......Though the thought may not be wrong, they are most definitely distracting. No, it is not wrong that these thoughts arise, but what you choose to DO with those thoughts could be....
   In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 we read, For although we do live in the world, we do not wage war in a worldly way; because the weapons we use to wage war are not worldly. On the contrary, they have God's power for demolishing strongholds. We demolish arguments and every arrogance that raises itself up against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah.
   When guy/girl thoughts arise, we must make every effort to take them captive! Random thoughts are not in control of us! Prayer is a powerful tool to get your thoughts away from the particular person you cannot seem to stop thinking about ;-)
   It may be easy to justify and say, "But my thoughts in this area are not bad!" Well, they may not be - but - what is the point of harboring thoughts that will just distract you? Sure, Harry might be the only person in the world you could possibly think of marrying, he's just so perfect for you - but, it's not up to you to "make something happen". If it's God will - He will bring about what He wants. So you can rest your mind from needless thoughts ;-)

Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

Impure Intentions:
   Proverbs 20:5 tells us, The heart's real intentions are like deep water; but a person with discernment draws them out.
   Now, deep water has the potential to be a bad thing, right? Couldn't someone drown in deep water? A mild warning to us, don't you agree?
    Girls, we can defraud guys in numerous ways - and if that is your intention - I would seriously rethink how pure you truly are. Attention seeking, pleasure hunting, and fun (sin is fun for a season) riding, are not good intentions. Our intentions should be that we treat guys as we want to be treated, to be sisters in all purity to them, to be genuine friends with them, to seek their best interest - nothing less.

Think on this: Any intentions, whether good or evil, are deep water - choose your's carefully.

Miserable Mind: 
   When our minds wander, it can be a rather tough job to get them back. Although our minds wander onto different "thoughts" - wandering minds need their own section.  Most times, a wandering mind is a result of YOU allowing some random thought(s) to come in and settle down for a nice long internal chat with you, and then after they leave YOU (not some some random thought coming in now) purposely start coming up with YOUR OWN thoughts to dwell on that are along the lines of the initial thought. Whew! Long definition there!
   Our minds are powerful, they can help or hurt us. Allowing our minds to wander to, "I wonder if so-and-so would like a simple wedding or a more elegant one? Does my name sound good before so-and-so's last name?" etc. etc..... is NOT a good idea. It can lead to die-hard discontentment, and is in no way, shape, or form helpful to us! Actually, most times, you are setting yourself up for heartbreak if you continually allow your mind to go very far into thoughts like these!

   Remember, we [must] take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah.

Cornerstone Convictions:
   Our convictions must be as solid as cornerstones if we are to remain pure! If you do not have convictions, you will find it as hard to be emotionally pure as to be physically pure. If your convictions are solid, and you hold firm to them - you will be much safer.
   Convictions are formed from the very base of your beliefs - on everything! So choose your beliefs and convictions very carefully!

Think on this: You will only be as pure as you want to be. So if you strive to be as pure as you can, you will do well.

  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   In closing, the other day I was reading my Bible, came across the verse below, and knew I just had to include it in my emotional purity post. Read it and perhaps you will see why...

Song of Solomon 4:12 - My sister, my bride, is a garden locked up, a pool covered over, a spring sealed shut.
[emphasis mine]
   This is an great purity verse, my dear readers! One that applies to both physical & emotional purity. 
~ Physically, we must keep ourselves undefiled, chaste, and saved for one - not many.
~ Emotionally, we must keep our thoughts pure, our intentions right, our minds focused (not wandering), and our convictions strong.
   I pray our gracious heavenly Father helps each one of you to be a garden locked up, pool covered over, and spring sealed shut until your wedding days!



Thank you for reading today, dear readers! I hope you have been blessed reading today!
I encourage you now to look to God's Word for what He has to say about purity. You might be surprised ;-)

If any of you have questions that my posts did not answer, feel free to leave a comment, or Contact Me
I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Pure White Rosebud - Physically

"Thou must purpose to be a white and pure rose - a bud that is still closed and one that will not give away the key to her heart until the time be right." - The King to his daughter 
[excerpt from Before You Meet Prince Charming]


  KEY VERSES:
   1 Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 

  2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

   1 Timothy 5:1 & 2  Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 
[emphasis mine]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*NOTE: I realize that there are younger girls reading my blog - most likely more than I think. As such I will make note here that there are many things on the topic of purity that would not be age appropriate  for the younger minds. 
Because of this, I have purposed not to broach any subjects that, while well and good for older young ladies to hear and ponder, would compromise the sweet, childlike innocence of younger girls.
I do not wish to inform early the younger girls of things their parents will surely explain to them in time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
pure white rosebud
   Physical purity - the position of being physically clean, unsoiled, chaste, untarnished, and without reproach concerning purity.

   I think many of us from Conservative "Christian" homes are brought up knowing we need to stay physically pure - you know, save our kisses and such for our future spouses. But, as we shall see, physical purity is much more than that.

   Physical purity starts with a conscious decision one makes in their mind. They must then use their will to make sure they stick to their decision/commitment. Throughout this time, they will have been keeping, and will need to go on keeping, their emotions in check. [We will get into the emotions part during the next purity post about Emotional Purity.]
   Without making a conscious decision to keep oneself physically pure, and the determination to see that commitment through, it will be quite difficult to remain pure. You must fully engage your mind, will and emotions in the fight to remain pure.
   If you are a young person, still living with your parents, then let me encourage you - parents are good safeguards and have good wisdom in the area of purity (I speak from experience). They know our weaknesses and are ready and willing to offer advice, encouragement, and exhortation on this subject - if we will listen and accept their words. They also can really protect us from impure things, people, songs, movies, ideas, etc.
   Each year, things and circumstances will get harder and more complicated - it's life. But, each year, we must strive (and learn) to look more and more to the Lord for his help. As I have said before, the path of purity is not an easy-come-easy-go sort of walk - no, instead it requires us to be fully alert, wholly determined, and completely committed to it.

   The idea of committing to be pure, and able to present yourself as undefiled at the marriage alter, is not to be "just as pure as I have to be" or be "pure by the skin of your teeth" or "get away with as much as possible without crossing the line too much" - NO indeed! (heaven forbid!) - But rather to be as completely pure and holy as you possibly can!
   Many people today have the mindset (in all area's of life) of, "I'll do just as much as I have to" & "I'll get away with as much as I can without crossing the line too much". Which is a VERY wrong mindset to have. In all areas of life our mindset should be, "I'll do as much as I need to - more if necessary  & "I'll keep as far away from the line as possible so I will be as safe as I can be".

   I personally made a decision, and also committed, to remain wholly pure (physically & emotionally) when I was 12. Now, 5 years down the road, I am still determined (more than ever) to keep my commitment. I wouldn't trade my purity in for the world! It is very precious, especially now as I see and hear how impure people are these days!

   I have observed that many excellent points are easier made through analogies. Somehow, things click with most people when they read them. So let me now give you 2 similar "cake" analogies to illustrate a few different key points:

1 - There, on the counter, lies a large cake pan full of batter waiting to be baked. It is a white cake, Anna's favorite. Sarah, Anna's mother, was making it for her precious daughter earlier in the day. The oven is not yet hot enough, and Sarah hears her phone ringing in another room. She believes Anna is outside playing, so she is content to leave the batter there, sitting on the counter in the kitchen, as she leaves for but a moment to answer an important phone call in another room.
   A few moments later, Anna herself enters the kitchen. Upon seeing the cake batter, her eyes brighten, then dim. "White cake? There is no fun in having a white cake - I think I'll add some food coloring......Perhaps all the colors!" So Anna proceeds to add many different food colors to the batter; mixing them in just a bit. "Goodness, the batter sure is a weird color. I didn't mean for that to happen." Anna thought confusedly, "Well, if I put it in the oven now, mother will not know until later." She then quickly pops the batter into the oven and goes to her room. Her mother returns sees that Anna put the batter in the oven, and thinking how responsible her girl was, she goes to lay down on her bed - a headache pounding against her poor forehead..
   About an hour later, while her mother is napping, Anna pulls the cake from the oven, and lets it cool a bit before she turns it onto a rack. When Sarah awoke, she turns the cake out onto a cooling rack, and is shocked to find that the cake that had been made and kept pure and white under her care - was disgustingly a weird shade of grey!
   Anna enters the kitchen and is surprised that her "little bit" of food coloring could have had such a drastic effect on the cake. But, it is now too late to fix it. The colors have been thoroughly baked into the cake.

   This first little story illustrates that even a little bit of impurity makes one's whole self impure. Even just crossing the line a little can cause heartache and regret. So it is better to stay well within the "lines" of purity, so to speak, than to just barely cross over into impurity (sin). Because in the realm of purity - once you cross over - your purity will not ever be truly whole again, and you will never be the same. Indeed, our gracious heavenly Father will forgive you if you are penitent - but you will not, can not, receive your purity anew so that you may start all over. So it is much better to keep (guard) your heart (purity) with all vigilance (Proverbs 4:23)!

2 - Monica's fiance is coming to eat dinner with her and her family. Excitedly, she bakes his favorite cake for dessert - cinnamon spice cake - while her family goes out shopping. Some friends of her come over quite unexpectedly in the afternoon, about two hours before her fiance is due to arrive. Her friends bring over their cousin, Frank, so that Monica can finally meet someone they have talked so much about. The aroma of Monica's cake floats through the room, and the friends ask Monica what she had baked. She explained that she had made a cake for the special evening
  Her friends ask to see her new necklace and bracelet her fiance had bought her, and Frank decides to stay in the living room. Unfortunately, besides the fact that Frank is, well, not such a great chap, he is quite hungry. So, in his usual impolite manner, he wanders into the kitchen, trying to "discreetly" find something to eat. Finding nothing in the cabinets that appeal to him, he turns and sees Monica's special cake. The smell is quite inviting, and so, the selfish chap cuts himself a good sized slice and satisfies his hunger.
   He is finishing the last crumbs when Monica and his cousins are walking out of Monica's room. As they pass by the kitchen, one of Monica's friends bends over to smell the sweet aroma of spice cake, and notices with some shock, that a piece is missing. She looks over at Frank, and sees that he is definitely enjoying a mouthful of something. She exclaims, "Oh, Frank! How could you?" Her sister and Monica turn to see what the matter is and in one quick glance, Monica knows. She claps her hand to her mouth in despair  for her cake is ruined - and there is no time to bake another!
   Her friends apologize for their rude cousin, but they know apologies will not help the cake. There is no way to fill in the missing piece. Monica will either have to serve her fiance a partially eaten cake - or none at all. 

   This story illustrates some key points. Proverbs 4:23 Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life's consequences. 
1 - If you let your guard down, in regards to purity, things can (and tend to) happen.
2 - Once some of your purity has been "taken" (or you give it away) - you cannot get it back.
3 - There are some not-so-good people out there who could care less if they took your purity away.
4 - Would you really wish to give your future spouse only partial purity? I assume not! Just as you would not wish to serve your Beloved a cake that some stranger has partially eaten!

I hope these 2 stories proved to illustrate the points I made quite precisely =)

   I leave you now with something to ponder, taken from the book The Teenage Years of Jesus Christ by Jerry Ross, "The goal [as far as purity goes] of every Christian teenager should be to arrive at the marriage alter pure and chaste. If you do not, you lose a degree of credibility that you never fully regain."
   

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 2012 Guest Post

This month's guest post comes to us from Nela. I hope you enjoy reading what Nela has to say!


What is Joy & Why do We Need it?


                                    Source: Uploaded by user via Nela on Pinterest
Joy...a feeling of bliss and happiness that burns in our souls and shines through our countenances when we are most content. Like a flower bud bursting open in the springtime. 

But it can also be hard to feel "joyful" when we are going through a hard time. We give into temptation, letting the feelings of doubt and despair enter our minds, making us wallow in self-pity.

But that's why we have a Savior. Even as we walk through "the valley of the shadow of death" He'll be there with us, giving the encouragement that we need as we listen and apply it to our everyday lives. 

So why do we need joy? Because it is what gives us hope. For without hope, we would have no faith, and without faith we would be hopelessly lost in a fallen world. But since Christ died for us over 2,000 years ago on a cross that should have been meant for us, we can now have eternal fellowship with Him. 
So what better joy is there, knowing that the Lord (the Creator of the universe and beyond) is on your side, and will help sustain you in your darkest hour? Nothing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Hello! My name's Marianela (but everyone calls me Nella for short), and I'm a blogger over at "Beloved Star". Some of my passions and hobbies are cooking, baking, reading, writing, martial arts, exercising, photography, and of course, blogging. ;) I am also a sinner saved by the grace of God, through faith in the work of His Son, Jesus Christ. So come over and visit for awhile. I would love to meet you. :) 

~~~~~~~~~~~
I hope you all were encouraged by Nela's guest post today!
Thank you Nela for guest posting here, may the Lord bless you as you strive to live your life wholeheartedly for Him! ;-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Pure White Rosebud

"Thou must purpose to be a white and pure rose - a bud that is still closed and one that will not give away the key to her heart until the time be right." - The King to his daughter 
[excerpt from Before You Meet Prince Charming]

   Purity - voted as one of the top 5 topics my viewers wanted to see posts on - and a topic that seems almost overdue on a blog about living a wholehearted life, don't you think ;-)

   However, such a deep and important subject must have more than one little post ;-) Therefore, in this post I intend to lay the foundation as to what purity really and truly is, share some facts about purity, and also share my thoughts on the matter. In the subsequent purity post, I will talk about physical purity. Then, in the last (for the time being) post on purity, I will discuss emotional purity - which is at the very core of being pure.

The key verses for my 3 post series on Purity are:
   1 Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 

  2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 

   1 Timothy 5:1 & 2  Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 
[emphasis mine]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
White Rosebud - PURITY
   In our society today, purity is one very valuable thing most people do not have - one quite obvious reason for this is that it is not valued enough. Purity used to be highly valued. When looking for a mate, purity was greatly searched for. Now, purity - or chastity -  in our young people especially, is rare - yet it shines brightly in those few who have and hold onto it.

   To get a good idea of what exactly the words "Pure", "Purity", "Chaste", & "Chastity" mean, I will give you some definitions from Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language:

PURE: 
   ~ Clear; free from mixture
   ~ Free from moral defilement; without spot; not sullied or tarnished; holy
   ~ Genuine; real; unmixed; separate from any other subject or from everything foreign
   ~ Free from guilt; chaste; ceremonially clean; unpolluted; free from anything improper

PURITY:
   ~ Freedom from foreign admixture; cleanness; freedom from foulness or dirt
   ~ Freedom from guilt or the defilement of sin; innocence; chastity; 
   ~ Freedom from contamination
 
 CHASTE:
   ~ (the word denotes purity)
   ~ Undefiled; pure from all unlawful commerce of sexes
   ~ Pure

CHASTITY:
   ~ Purity of the body
   ~ Freedom from bad mixture
   ~ Purity; unadulterated state

   Out of all these definitions, the ones that, in my opinion, are the strongest explanations of purity are; free from moral defilement, not sullied, innocent, not contaminated, & undefiled. Just by these 5 definitions, one can clearly see that in this world - many people are far from pure. In fact, many people seem to enjoy being impure! Our world is so depraved! (Rom 1:28)

   The path of purity is not an easy one, my friend. The world says,"Do what feels good. What you want to do. What makes you happy." And Satan, the father of lies, tries his best to deceive us into thinking, "This will be okay, it's not too bad." BUT - as Believers, we must do what makes our Lord happy. We must strive to do what is right. We must not despair, for we have GOD on our side!

   I have read many books on the subject of purity, and, quite frankly, I believe all young people should. With so much against us - songs, movies, books, the world in general, Satan, our own flesh - that Biblically well grounded advice is helpful.

   A very important note is that our Lord wants us to be pure (see the 3 verses at the top). He even wants us to think about only that which is pure (Philippians 4:8). In Proverbs 30:5 it says, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him."  Meditating on His Word is a good way to redirect your thoughts when they start going astray.

   I am very happy that I live in a home wherein I am protected from the polluting influences of the world. The things I have learned about the world in the past few years are enough to make me sick - and to think I don't even know the half of it! My father has told me that he wants me to be shocked at the evil in the world - and believe me, I have been! Sometimes I have not been able to believe that people could be so evil! Ever since I can remember, I have been someone who wanted to believe there was a type of goodness in every person. In my imaginations, the "bad-guys/gals" would never be that bad - they always had a goodish side to them. I couldn't have created a believable bad-guy to save my life! Now, I can see that some people have been given over to depraved minds, and act totally evil - not with some little "goodness" here and there.
 
Forgive me for the detour.........Now, back to the subject at hand;

   We must purpose to be, in a sense, pure white rosebuds - closed, innocent, chaste, undifiled - not only for our future spouses, but also for our Lord. To truly be wholly pure, we must not only purpose to be physically pure - we must also keep our thoughts, actions, words, and agendas completely pure. Not an easy task by any means, but with the loving help of Christ, it is possible!

   Purity can and only be attained if we continually "renew our minds" - Romans 12:2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the 'olam hazeh [the present world]. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

   We cannot conform to the standards of this evil world. We must renew our minds so that we will know what God wants. Seems simple, right? That's the beauty of Scripture and of Adonai's (the Lord's) commands - the commands are simple and straight to the point, yet they go in direct opposition to how the world operates, so that it takes determination, willingness, and faith to follow them through. But, if purity is what God wants, we should be willing to undergo anything to do His will.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Growing in Love #2 - Truest Love

Work to develop true love for others. 
 [this is part 2 of my Growing in Love Series - you can find part 1 HERE]

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
(the theme chapter for this series)


I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels; but if I lack love, I have become merely blaring brass or a cymbal clanging. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may fathom all mysteries, know all things, have all faith - enough to move mountains; but if I lack love, I am nothing. I may give away everything that I own, I may even hand over my body to be burned; but if I lack love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, 5 not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people's sins but takes its delight in the truth. Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures. Love never ends; but prophecies will pass, tongues will cease, knowledge will pass. For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy partial; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, argued like a child; now that I have become a man, I have finished with childish ways. 12 For now we see obscurely in a mirror, but then it will be face to face. Now I know partly; then I will know fully, just as God has fully known me. 13 But for now, three things last trust, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.

   So, first, a quick review of what LOVE really is:

God's Word says that Love is:
~ Patient
~ Kind
~ Content & Satisfied (not Jealous or Envious)
~ Modest (not Boastful)
~ Humble (not Proud)
~ Respectful and Nice (not Rude)
~ Selfless (not Selfish)
~ Calm & Easy going (not easily Angered)
~ Forgives and Forgets & Bears NO Grudges (keeps no Record of Wrongs)
~ Sorry when Others Sin (doesn't Gloat over Others' Sins)
~ Takes Delight in Truth
~ always Bears Up
~ always Trusts
~ always Hopes
~ always Endures
~ Alive Forever (Never ENDS)

   I think you will all agree with me that this is a hefty list for one 4-letter action verb. As such, I believe you would also agree with me that LOVE must be quite an important attribute in God's eyes. God ehorts us to love Him and our fellow man; in the Psalms and Proverbs there are many verse to be found about loving God and others; one of Yeshua's (Jesus') commands to the Disciples was that they "love one another" [John 13:34-35 & John 15:12 among others]. 
   Our Messiah even said that men would know we were His followers is we have love one for another. So, love isn't something we can take lightly - the world knowing that we are Yeshua's followers partially depends on it.

   Loving others isn't always easy. The verse wherein Yeshua says "love your enemies" comes to my mind. But, it isn't always our enemies that are hard to love - if we are honest with ourselves, the very members of our family fall into the "unloved" category from time to time. However, that is where the part of love that is especially "patient, kind, nice, selfless, forgiving, easy-going, and always endures" comes in.
   Some may say, "But, when my siblings are being mean, irritating, and hard to deal with - they don't deserve my love and kindness!" And I couldn't agree more. BUT, think about this - what if God withheld His blessed love from us when we slighted Him? Hmmmmm..... Even better, what if God withheld His love from us permanently for all our countless sins against Him? After all, we don't deserve His love and kindness - wretched sinners that we are. ~ He would be completely just in doing so, would He not? But He doesn't! That is how incredible His love is - the kind of love we must try to imitate. HalleluYah!
When it gets hard to love someone - consider about ^this^ and I'm sure you'll have some re-thinking to do;-)


So, Truest LOVE is:

#1 - PATIENT
   The first character trait of love is patience. Interesting, no? A rather hard trait to master, and yet it is the first one on the list of love. Hmm.
   Patience is one character trait the Lord has been Working on in me this year - and one that has (thanks be to God alone) grown in me. God has given me many "patience extension" tests that have really helped with my impatience.
   Patience is such an important characteristic of love - without patience, how can one love? They cannot for very long! If you have patience, you are saved from a world of trouble, believe me. It is much easier to love if you have patience.

#2 - KIND
   The next characteristic of love is no less important than the first - without kindness, there would be no love either. Kindness is essential for any relationship to survive & thrive. We must always be "kind and compassionate to one another" [Ephesians 4:32]

#3 - CONTENT & SATISFIED
   It would indeed be hard to have love if were were constantly unsatisfied, discontent, and jealous, would you not agree? If we are discontent with what we have, then it will be hard to see through our discontentment and truly love others - because we will be too focused on feeling sorry for ourselves.

#4 - MODEST
   This is referring to the modesty of speech & behavior - unobtrusive, shy (literally), discreet, unpretentious, etc. But, if you think about it - it can also be modesty of dress. If we love our brothers in Christ, we will not don anything that could make them stumble.

#5 - HUMBLE
   Raise your hand if you can have true love if you are full of pride? Hmm, no hands raised.....One cannot be an arrogant, prideful fool (yes, the Bible says fools are prideful Prov 14:3) and harbor true love for others. Pride is the opposite of love ~ Pride = ME first; Love = OTHERS first.
   The humble person thinks of others as better than himself.

#6 - RESPECTFUL & NICE
   With a lack of respect for others - we could not get far in life (think about what would happen if you didn't show respect for your parents......or...God!). If you love someone, you will respect them.

#7 - SELFLESS
   Selflessness goes hand-in-hand with love - and I'm sure you know the reasons why. If your love for someone is selfish - it's not love at all! One really good test to see if one truly loves others is by how selfless, or selfish they are.
   If you are selfless - think of others first, do what would be best for another person and not yourself - your love is genuine. Others must come before ourselves - a hard virtue to master, but, nevertheless, a very crucial one.

#8 - CALM & EASY-GOING
   Being slow to anger comes with great understanding the Proverbs 14:29 tells us. Love isn't easily angered - but rather slow to anger. Being slow to anger is a quality that the Bible says our Lord possesses [Psalm 86:15; 103:8; & 145:8]
   Also, I will note that it is quite noticeable if one is slow to anger - just as it is quite obvious if one is not. It is easy to respect those who are slow to anger.

#9 - FORGIVING & BEARS NO RECORD OF WRONGS
   Mat 6:14 & 15  For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
If you do not [or say you cannot] forgive, you do not love enough. There are SO many verses about forgiveness, Matt 18:21 & 22, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:37, and many others!
   Love doesn't bear records of wrongs either - which means love doesn't bear grudges. Grudges mentally hurt the ones who bear them - and since grudges often show through the attitude of the ones who bear them, they negatively effect others as well. Bearing grudges and harboring unforgiveness within also puts a hedge between you and the Father.
   [It is amazing how God chooses to work in my life! Yesterday, during our Midrash (study) there was a good deal of talk about forgiveness! I had already written the first few paragraphs in this post, which included a point about forgiveness, and I knew I would be writing this section on forgiving soon. So I was thrilled with how God orchestrated this at the Midrash!] 

#10 - SORRY WHEN OTHERS SIN
   I would never think someone loved another if they were happy when the other person sinned and/or was receiving punishment after they sinned. No way, no how! When others sin, we should feel bad/sorry for them and for what they did. AND - we should pray for them.

#11 - DELIGHTS IN TRUTH
   If we delight in truth, we will not enjoy "harmless" lies. If we did not delight in truth, we couldn't, in good conscience, call ourselves children of the Most High God - who IS truth! [sorry, that was a little off topic, but no less valid!]

#12 - ALWAYS BEARS UP, TRUSTS, HOPES, ENDURES
   At first, I was a little confused how "bears up" and "endures" were different, but, my Mom suggested I use the Greek/English New Testament we have and look up the Greek word translated as "bears up". I don't know Greek at all, so I cannot give you the word, but the word means "covers" - but it was translated as "bears" or "bears up". [translations are SO frustrating]
   So, love always covers - or - in perhaps a better translation, "in all things, love covers." I believe it goes back to the verse, Proverbs 10:12  "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses."
      Love always trusts, or "in all things, love trusts". This means not jumping off tangents and assuming the worst about someone or something. We must trust, but not just anyone. For example, I love my parents and I trust that they have my best interests and welfare in mind when they make decisions that are tough for me to take. Spouses must trust each other and not (as in I Love Lucy) jump to conclusions that the other is cheating on them, etc.
   Love always hopes, or "in all things, love hopes". To hope is not, "oh, I hope I get to go to the mall today" - as I thought it meant until a few years ago. Because, to "put your hope in Adonai (the Lord)" would not make any sense that way. The best way I can explain it, hope is knowingtrusting, and expecting all together.
   Love always endures - "in all things, love endures". Now this is a tough one, to endure through everything! Yes, that is what love does. Yeshua (Jesus) the picture of Perfect Love, endured rejection, cruel words, harsh treatment, and an excruciatingly painful death, among other things.
   If He can endure all that - we *should* be able to endure little (comparably)  hardships in love.

#13 - ALIVE FOREVER
    Love NEVER ends! It should always be there - kept alive through everything. After all, that is how God's love toward us is - and our love should be patterned after His!
   
   I think one important thing to remember is what Christ said when a Pharisee asked Him....."Matthew 22: 36 "Rabbi, which of the mitzvot [commands] in the Torah [first 5 books of Moses] is the most important?" 37 He told him, "`You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.' 38 This is the greatest and most important mitzvah [command]. 39 And a second is similar to it, `You are to love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot." 

If we truly love God with all our heart, soul, and strength we will do our best to live as HE wants us to and we will do what  HE tells us.
If we love our neighbor as ourselves we would not do anything to harm or offend others - we would do them only good. We would be "patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered, and keep no record of wrongs. Not gloat over other people's sins but take delight in the truth.  Always cover, always trust, always hope, always endure - NEVER end"
~~~~~~~
Thank you for taking the time to read today! I hope this article has blessed you in some way.
For now, this is the last Growing in Love article - there might be more added to the series at a later date, though.

Shalom Aleichem, Chaverim!
(Peace be unto you, friends!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 2012 Guest Post

This month's guest post comes to us from Britt.

   Britt blogs over at Encouragement for Everyday Struggles & Designed to Inspire.


Joy
   Hello, this is Britt from Encouragement For Everyday Struggles. Mandie mentioned to me that this month's Guest Post was to be about Joy. Thanks Mandie for asking me to guest post!! 

   To be honest, for me being joyful often depends greatly on my circumstances and the type of day I am going through, sorry to say. Being joyful in hard times is something I think we all have trouble from time to time. Yes, we may say being joyful is easy to do, but when hard times come and trying circumstances arise it is hard to find the “joy” deep within us and know that we can be happy even through so much suffering. God tells us directly from 1 Thessalonians 5:16 that we should be “thankful always” and be happy for what we are going through. This may not come easily to us- and I don’t think it is supposed to. We are sinful and don’t have the right motives all the time. I think that God allows us to go through things to test our faith so we grow closer to Him and lean more on Him. 

   Being a joyful person really does help us spiritually, emotionally and physically. When we are joyful it makes our whole outlook on life seem change and also is shown to help increase our health. (Proverbs 17:22- A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones). 


   One thing that we should try to do more often is be joyful in the circumstances God has placed us in and not just look at all the bad things in our life. Yes, things may be bad and hard right now and it may be difficult getting up each morning, but we have so many things to be thankful for- a family, a home, a God who loves us and especially an eternal home waiting for us. 

   We have so much to be thankful and joyful about! Don’t forget how much you have in your life that you can be rejoicing over today- thank God that He has allowed you to have another day on the earth to help inspire others and also grow closer to Him. : )

Thanks Mandie for letting me guest post!!! Such a great topic to write on!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Thank you, Britt for guest posting here! You always write such encouraging posts ;-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weekly Bible Study Linkup #1 - Confidence


I am linking up with Britt for her Weekly Bible Study.
Week #1; Subject, Confidence.

TEXT HERE

Rules/Info for the linkup:
1. Attach button in your post
2. Answer the questions (if you don't want to answer all of them that is fine- you can just pick a few that stand out to you!)
3. Feel free to write anything that you learned or thought was neat
4. Please link your post up with your answers to the questions
5. Post these rules on your blog post 
6. You can comment on other people's posts and what they have learned
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
QUESTIONS:
1. What is your definition of confidence.
Confidence, how I understand it, is the feeling of peace and assurance one can have as they go through life, and various difficult situations. It is knowing that you can do something. Confidence is like self-assurance in a way.

2. List some things our society put confidence in. Now read the following passages: Psalm 71:5-8 and Phil. 3:2-9. How would you describe the difference between the confidence which comes from the world and the confidence we have in Christ?
Skin-Deep Beauty, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, Pastors, Diets, Exercise programs, etc, etc.

God is the One in whom we can (and must) have complete confidence. All else can be equated with garbage (Philippians 3) compared to what we have in Messiah.

The world chooses to put it's confidence in things that are vapors, things that swiftly pass away. But, as Believers, we must put our complete confidence in Christ and what we have in Him - these will not pass away.

3. What area in your life do you lack confidence in?
Hmmmm.....Though there are a few areas wherein I lack confidence, I would say that in the area of witnessing (sharing my faith), is one area in which my confidence is lacking. 
I doubt I'll know what to say, how to say it, and when to say things.

4. How do you think we best overcome our lack of confidence?
Prayer, reading God's Holy Word, and trusting in our Lord.

5. What are some verses that stand out to you relating to confidence? Are there any that have boosted your self confidence?
Romans 8: 35 - 39 
35 Who will separate us from the love of the Messiah? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Hunger? Poverty? Danger? War? 36 As the Tanakh puts it, "For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we are considered sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, 39 neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.

6. Why do you feel confidence is important in a person's life?
Without confidence, my life would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof! [seriously now]
Without confidence, I couldn't accomplish anything great, could not face things that I feared, could not be a strong Believer!

7.  How confident do you think you are (rank from 1-10, 10 being the highest)
7 or 8  (though about two years ago I was more of a 5)

8. Would your friends describe you as a confident person?
I think they would say that I am a fairly confident person.

9. Do you think there is a difference between confidence and arrogance?
Absolutely! Arrogance is pride, boldness, and haughty demeanor all rolled into one. Confidence is having full trust,  believing in yourself and in your abilities.

10. Have you had trouble with confidence in your life before?
Oh, yes, definitely. In many areas, shapes, and forms. 
Fortunately, I have grown in confidence throughout these past few years - something I am very grateful for. 
Somewhere down the line, I want to share some of my "lack of confidence" experiences.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The last thing I wish to say is this:
Confidence is something to be learned and acquired - it doesn't come quickly and without hardships.

Great Bible Study this week, Britt!