Posted by: forfreedomalone | 08/09/2017

The response of love.

The love of God knows no bounds. The love of God is not exclusive; for some, but not for others. The love of God is steadfast and sure. The love of God will surround us and keep us safe.
 
There is only one thing which can nullify the love of God for us and that is us. If we set our wills to live in opposition to him we will find ourselves in circumstances which are not where he, in his love, would have us.
 
We cannot say “There is no target anymore” and believe we will grow and prosper in his love. We cannot say “well, that would be sin for me, but my brother has to decided for himself” and believe we are walking in God’s love. We cannot live a lifestyle of sin, say we belong to Christ and expect to see the blessings of God flow into our lives. It won’t happen.
 
In Deuteronomy 26:17 we are told that Moses reminded the people that they had “declared today that the Lord is your God and that you will walk in his ways and keep his statutes and commandments and his rules and will obey his voice”.
The people had agreed that there would be total compliance with all that God had ordained.
 
Then in Chapter 27 we are told that God ordained that when the people arrived in the Promised Land they were to set up pillars, plaster them and write all the words of all the law on them, as an eternal reminder to them of that to which they had agreed. Entering the Promised Land was not a time of forgetting the law of God. As the Promised Land was a type of the rest of the believer, there is no place for a believer to forget his law either.
 
This having been understood God starts to list the curses which will befall them if they break the Ten Commandments. Just reading the first list of curses one can see that they are linked to the Commandments.
v. 15…1 & 2
v. 16…5
v. 17…8,9 & 10
and so on.
 
Chapter 28 v. 1 says, “If you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth and all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God”, followed by a list of blessings which come from keeping God’s laws.
 
If we believe that all the curses were poured out on Jesus, on the Cross, instead of on us, then we believe we are free from the consequences of breaking God’s laws. But we then assume that because we are free from the consequences of breaking the law and will not be cursed, somehow we are also free from being required to keep the laws in order to be blessed.
 
God’s abundant blessings are linked to living a life governed by God’s morality, laid out for us in his laws. We are not achieving righteousness or holiness by such living, we are not ‘buying’ his blessings’, we are honouring the one who asked us to live as he lives. We will not lose our salvation nor the label of ‘righteous’ given to us by God, but we will find life harder than it need be and the blessings will not flow towards us.
 
Every rule God set down was an act of love. Every law enshrines love, but fear causes people to see them as enshrining control. Considered again why God would say Do not Steal. What effects would stealing have on your soul, the one from whom you steal, the community in which you live, your relationship with God? God loves us more than life itself, but that love is not permissive, it is protective and he protects us with a few rules for living which, when looked into carefully are all laws of love. He doesn’t give us the freedom to decide for ourselves what would be loving, he tells us. We don’t get to decide morality from the fruit from which our fathers ate, but from the fruit of the tree of life. There is nothing to fear in respecting and obeying the commands of God. They are love made plain.
 
If you fear becoming a legalist by keeping God’s commandments there is already something wrong with your relationship with God. Why would obeying the commands of someone who loves you cause you to fear that you would then be ‘buying’ their love? We keep the commandments because we know how loved we are, if you cannot keep them for fear of being a legalist, you do not know how loved you are and without knowing the love of God, you cannot love him, which is what keeping his law is all about.
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Posted by: forfreedomalone | 06/09/2017

Why is the world such a dark place?

As we hear of wars, rumours of wars, natural disasters and civil order break down, people are saying “What has happened to the world? It is such a dark place nowadays”.
 
There are more ‘explanations’ that you could shake a stick at but there is one explanation and one only.
 
The Church has failed to be a light in the darkness and, as a result, the darkness has got darker. The brilliance of the light which Christ shone in the world has dwindled to the flicker of a dying candle.
 
What was the ‘light’?
It was the light of the righteousness of God. It was holiness personified.
 
As the church has more and more associated ‘works’ with self righteousness and taught that we ARE righteous when we come to Christ, the Church has sat back in true, smug, self-satisfied self-righteousness and said “We ARE righteous because we believe. We can never lose that righteousness. We are perfect” and watched the world go to hell.
 
The word, most commonly, translated as “justified” in the Greek, means “declared righteous”. If Tom, Dick and Harry, declare Jenny to be ‘one of the boys’, she does not BECOME a boy, she is just treated as one. Having been declared ‘one of the boys’ Jenny now gets to join in their games, play with their toys and show other girls what fun can be had as ‘one of the boys’.
She is not a boy, but she will also not remain ‘one of the boys’ if she does not join in.
 
The Church has concluded it is righteous, perfect, holy and just, so nothing is now required of it. Holy living, working out their salvation, obeying God’s commands, are all passé, for another age, not for the enlightened. Oh really!?
 
Jesus said that he did not come to do away with God’s law, but he came to establish it, as the rule of law in the world. This was the law which was to be the force of law which stood as the guide for all humanity. We were to take this torch and shine it in the darkness of the sinful world, the world where man made the rules, man decided morality and man was lord. We, the Church, were to live to a much higher standard. We were to continue what he began, the establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth. A Kingdom will fall with no law, not justice system. God’s justice system has been treated with contempt by his Church for so long that his Kingdom is teetering on earth.
 
God may love us, indeed he loves us more than life itself, but we have shamefully let him down by grabbing the goodies and running. We have rejoiced in the salvation he has freely given us and then told him where to shove his morality and justice. We have rejoiced in how much HE loves US, but then we treat our siblings like dirt. We will not correct, or hold to account, in love, those who are going astray because we are afraid of ‘judging’, of being hypocrites; we show no love for the children of God from totally self serving agendas. We declare that his wrath was poured out on the Cross and ignore the warning that we are storing up wrath for ourselves for the Day of Wrath, yet to come.
 
Romans Chapter 2 explains this very well. This chapter is NOT being written to unbelievers but to believers. The word ‘sinned’ in this chapter is a verb. That means, that it is a ‘doing’ word, not a state of being. Paul is telling them, in no uncertain terms, that they, even though they claim to be Christ’s, are still sinning, from a “hard and impenitent heart”, for it is “not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law (who) will be justified”.
 
This is the Jewish month of Elul. It is a month of repentance and preparation for the arrival of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. The New Year and the Day of Atonement. It is their tradition that this was the month when Moses spent time preparing the second set of tablets to receive the second writing of the law. (The first set were given to him by God but the second set had to be provided by Moses). Moses’ heart was heavy as, when he came down with the first set, he was faced with the idolatry of the people in the shape of a golden calf. Now he has to go back and face God. As their representative before God Moses is humiliated, shameful and sorrowful.
 
God will never turn away a repentant heart, but he will not receive one which is pride filled and self righteous. We are in the latter days of the latter days, we are a Church filled with pride and self seeking. We want to receive from God yet we are very reluctant to give to him. He will not reward such attitudes.
This is a the day of repentance before the day of wrath.
 
Can we in all conscience say we have lived lives which drew the lost to the light? There may have been one small moth now and again, but has there been a swarm? There was with Jesus, there should be with us.
 
We need to examine our hearts today, repent of the sin we have returned to, of our contempt for the law of God. We need to return so that we may walk in the love which God has had for all people since the beginning of time. The time is short to let go of our self serving lifestyle and to adopt one of God serving, but it is not yet too late……
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 02/09/2017

The Four ‘R’s

Have you ever wondered why it is that some apologies seem to fix the hurt and others do not? How, sometimes, a person can say “I am sorry” and it just doesn’t heal the wound you experienced?
Apologies come in two ‘types’. There is the Apology of Regret, which the first type.
The Apology of Regret says “I am sorry you were hurt by what I did or said”. It may be genuinely offered and be a true expression of regret at hurting another person, but it doesn’t do the job of healing the wound inflicted by the offense.
Then there is the Apology of Repentance.
The Apology of Repentance says “I am sorry you were hurt by what I did or said, I understand why that was and I intend never to do or say that again”. This is the apology of intent, or turning, of changing the mind. This is the apology of healing.
So what is the difference?
The third and fourth ‘R’s; Recognition and Responsibility.
Without taking responsibility for what was said or done the Apology of Repentance cannot be issued because you always have a justification or excuse for why you did or said what caused the hurt. You are, in fact, laying the responsibility for the hurt at the feet of the other person. Without taking responsibility for our own words and actions we can never, truly, repent. How can you move to change what does not need changing?
The person who has been hurt needs to send away the offense caused to them, to prevent festering and further, one could say, ‘self inflicted’ suffering. If we hold on to something which is a foreign body, we are agreeing to it infecting us, filling us with toxins and causing us to become, possibly deathly, ill. This is no longer the responsibility of the ‘wounder’, but of the ‘wounded’.
But if healing is to take place between the two parties an Apology of Repentance is essential. The wound will not heal without it and the offense will be repeated over and over again until the relationship is so damaged it cannot be repaired.

This applies to on going relationships. Those who ‘wound and run’; or have died; have severed the relationship already and there is no relationship or heal. The pain you continue to feel, without the Apology of Repentance, is, in fact, the pain of a wounded relationship, a relationship in which a part of you is deeply invested.

If you find you have been wounded, sent the offense away as quickly as you can. This is loving yourself.
If you have wounded, recognise, take responsibility and repent as quickly as you can. This is loving others.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 25/08/2017

Testing or tempting?

Testing often causes people confusion. Is it from God?
 
Well, that depends.
It depends on what you mean by testing.
The Old Testament is full of scriptures telling us we will be tested and, as God does not change, this testing continues today. The purpose of the testing it refining and many of the scriptures talking about “refining in the fire”. This ‘test’ would, today, be called “assaying”. Assaying is a process of putting metals through various processes to ‘test’ their purity.
 
It is at the end of the assaying process that at metallurgist can declare gold 9,14,18 or 21 carat. He can tell, after the refining or testing process, just how pure the gold is. This is a process we will experience again and again in our lives, as the ‘dross’ is burned off and we are made more and more like Jesus…assuming we will go through the process. Nothing is automatic about the walk of faith, we have been given all that we require to make it, but we have to actually get up and walk, learning to use the tools as we go.
 
When my husband was teaching me about hillwalking he equipped me, but I had to walk. I have to learn how to use an ice axe as it was no use to me otherwise, but I couldn’t say he never gave me one. Learning to use it meant hours of falling and sliding down hard pack snow slopes or ice faces, rolling over and digging it is, until I was safe to be let loose on unknown terrain. No one learns these skills by just going into the hills and doing what they read in a book. Idiots find themselves there, poorly equipped and untrained and some may survive by “a wing and a prayer” but they are not, and cannot claim to be, mountaineers; they are just lucky fools. Without a map and compass I would have been no worse off than with one, but with no idea who to use them. Today, we are seeing more and more people going into the hills with GPSs as they believe they are superior to the map and compass, but when there is a storm and no reception, they are as lost as anyone else with no map skills.
Never be tempted to take a short cut to walking in strong and perfect faith.
 
God is constantly refining, or attempting to refine, us, so that we are able to walk and fall with more confidence. We are equipped to get up, to stop the slide, to overcome the obstacles. The ones who will not learn, believe they don’t need those skills or prefer to do it their way, will always come a cropper when the going gets tough.
 
Tempting is quite a different matter.
Tempting is enticing to do evil and this God NEVER does. James 1:13 makes this very clear, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”. It even clarifies. for those who are confused, that this is tempting and that involves the use of evil.
 
So where are you?
Are you being tested?
Are you asking things of God but not receiving? Are you being persecuted? Are you struggling in your life but don’t know why?
 
If you are asking but not receiving ask yourself what you are doing with what you have?
If a child is given toys and has no regard for them, why would their father give them more? Are you in financial straits yet you are spending foolishly; eating out, drinking, smoking, new clothes, pridefully tackling thing you cannot do when a professional would save you money? Are you stewarding well what you have already received, or are you wreckless and blithe with the treasures God has already entrusted to you?
If so, there is refinement required in your attitude to what God has given. There is no thankfulness in this, it is disdainful and that cannot remain in a child of God. These attitudes have to be burned off, but how quickly will you allow it to happen?
This would qualify as testing. This is discipling from God.
 
{Ex 20:20, Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
2 Cor 4:16-17, This is the reason we never lose heart. The outward man does indeed suffer wear and tear, but every day the inward man receives fresh strength. These little troubles (which are really so transitory) are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain.
Acts 14:22,”We all have to experience many hardships,” they said, “before we enter the kingdom of God.”}
 
If you are suffering for the fact that you are a believer at the hands of man? Then you are being persecuted. This is not from God, however, he told us not to be surprised when such suffering comes our way; it happened to Jesus and it will happen to us.
 
{John 15:18-20, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own… Remember the words I spoke to you; ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”
2 Tim 3:12,In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
1 Thes 3:3 None of you should turn back because of these persecutions. You yourselves know that such persecutions are part of God’s will for us.}
 
If you are being tempted evil will always be involved. You may not recognise it as ‘evil’ if you do not know what it is that God says is ‘evil’, but it will be evil nonetheless. Anything which entices you to leave the path of God’s morality is evil.
Are you tempted not to pay your taxes, or alter the figures so you pay less? What about the item the checkout girl missed, are you tempted not to pay for that? Are you tempted to buy that new outfit, when you know the money is needed for another cause? Are you tempted to break a confidence or exaggerate your good points or someone’s bad? Are you under the sway of drink, or drugs, pornography of homosexuality?
This is never of God.
 
{James 1:13, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”. It even clarifies. for those who are confused, that this is tempting and that involves the use of evil.}
 
Turn your back on temptation, but count it all joy when you are tested and tried, because you will emerge, if you co-operate, a stronger more refined believer. You will have the strength to resist the devil when you refined and you will find he bothers with you less and less.
 
The final word should go to Oswald Chambers, who so perfectly said………. “The [wave] that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things; tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors, super-victors, with a joy we would not have but for the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.The saint knows the joy of the Lord not in spite of tribulation, but because of it.”
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 19/08/2017

Wallow

Almost daily someone sends me, or posts to my timeline, an encouraging quote. The intention of the quote is ….(you’ll never guess!)…..to encourage and the intent of sharing it is, likewise, to encourage, however, many, while sounding esoteric actually produce a feeling of ‘need to work’ in the recipient.

Today, my attention was drawn to a quote from a well known speaker, “One person walking with God is in the majority, so one person believing the Lord can change the atmosphere where you live and where you work.”. The majority of readers were full of ‘amens’ and ‘this is truth’ type comments, but what does it mean and how does it encourage you?

It is intended to show you that you + God is a powerful combination. That when we are with him no weapon formed against us can prosper etc. and, fair enough, if that encouraged you, don’t let me rain on your parade. But if your next thought was “Humm, but how do I walk in that?” or “Am I changing the atmosphere at work or home?”, or “How do I do that?”, you may want to read on.

One person walking with God is not in the majority. They are in the minority, but they have more power than the majority. Nothing the world has can equal God, nothing the demonic real can conjure up can equal God, so God + you is a very powerful combination. If you are in God and God is in you then you bring the presence of God with you wherever you go.

There is no doubt one person can change the atmosphere, but the key issue, in the statement, is ‘believing’. “One person BELIEVING God” can do more than millions who do not believe.But the question is, are we believing?

If the heart is not at rest in faith it is not believing.
No amount of effort will change that, no amount of reading inspiring quotes will change that, the ONLY thing which will change that is it to be immersed in the presence of the Almighty Himself.

David said, in Psalm 100, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name”. It is by praise and thanksgiving that we find ourselves in the Holy of Holies. We enter into His presence when we praise Him, when we are thankful to Him and when we bless His name.
A simple Google search will dig up dozens of names of God for which to bless Him. He is our peace, our prosperity, our wholeness, He is our safe hiding place, our rock, our eternal anchor. HE is worthy of blessing, praise and gratitude for WHO HE IS, not for what He has done. Lay down all your burdens and requests and enter His presence. Praise and bless HIM and see your life change.

This is SUCH a simple thing to do, yet it seems too simply for most. They want something harder to do, something which sounds like it has virtue and righteousness inherently woven into it, but this is what God called us to do. In the next verse David says “For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations”. David knew he got in touch with God’s goodness and His everlasting truth when he praised and gave thanks.

There are so many cheerleading the church into more and deeper faith and it isn’t working. There are just more and more dead works lying around the place. People trying to believe, trying to put into practice a good idea, or ‘work of faith’, and failing miserably because their hearts are not at rest in faith.

Don’t even think about ‘walking in it’, whatever ‘it’ is.
Forget it.
Just focus on worshiping God for who He is and let the rest take care of itself.

Posted by: forfreedomalone | 07/08/2017

What is ‘sin’?

The discussion of sin came up again the other day. It’s a fairly hot topic in my world 😏
 
The gentleman who started the conversation was outraged that another person had had the audacity to tell him that the sharp way in which he had just spoken to his father was sin. Quite why this conversation occurred I never found out, but the point it raised was that Mr A felt ‘judged’ by Mr B and Mr A felt Mr B had no right to tell him what was and what wasn’t sin.
 
For centuries, if not longer, people have been fighting about this subject. Is gluttony really a sin? Is theft a ‘bigger’ sin that pride? Without doubt homosexuality is the ‘worst’ sin of them all!!
What is ‘sin’ and who has the right to call it so? What are the penalties for sin? Do the ‘big’ sins have a worse penalty than the ‘small’ one?
 
On and on people have argued and fought over the subject of sin when, really, the Bible makes the whole thing quite plain.
In the beginning God told Adam and Eve what they may and may not do. We could say, he defined what was ‘good’ for them and what was ‘bad’ for them and he told them what would happen to them if they chose the ‘bad’ things; they would die.
This was the creation of morality. Morality is the quality of being moral and moral means “concerned with or relating to human behaviour, especially the distinction between good or bad, right and wrong behaviour” (Collins English Dictionary)
 
God defined, right at the very beginning of time, what was ‘right and wrong’, ‘good and bad’. Why he so defined things was not theirs to question, but they did. Tempted into rebellion, Eve looked at the fruit and saw that it was good to eat (according to her) and so she concluded that it must BE good to eat. The eating of the fruit gave her the Knowledge of Good and Evil (of right and wrong, of good and bad). Now she could decide for herself what was right and wrong, she didn’t need God to tell her, but she was lacking one vital component to making those decisions the way God would make them and that was his spirit of life, She only had KNOWLEDGE, which in and of itself is dead. Knowledge needs vitality, head needs heart, to bring it fully to life, to give it fullness and meaning, otherwise it is dry and dusty, like death itself.
 
From that day to this man had been redefining morality. Man has been saying what HE thinks is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but ignoring what God says. God clearly set out the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, in minute detail at Sinai, he showed the people just how ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ worked, how far it stretched. He, in effect, said to them, “If you want to live by the Knowledge of Good and Evil, here it is in all its glory. This is what ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ look like.” He knew that man cannot live with such knowledge. He knew that man could not always do ‘right’ and never do ‘wrong’ from the stand point of head knowledge, which is what they were trying to do. He knew that when they presented themselves to him, in all their ‘righteousness’, proud as punch and full of their ability, he would have to wipe them off the face of the earth because he cannot allow sin into his presence. Oh, they would think they had done a WONDERFUL job, they may even have done a wonderful job, if one looked only at how many boxes they had ticked, but the very act of redefining morality was sin and so even if they had achieved it all, under their own steam, he could not accept them.
 
God sees no one ‘sin’ as bigger or worse, or smaller or lesser than any other. If we have redefined what HE says is ‘wrong’ we are in ‘sin’. It is as simple as that. If we are in sin we will be ‘miserable as sin’ because man was never created to live in that state. Guilt, shame, condemnation, depression, they are all the results of living in a state at odds with God’s morality. No matter how often or how vociferously people claim that it is not so, no one who lives at odds with God’s morality has the love, joy and peace, which comes from the Holy Spirit…the helper, who lives with us, in us, causing us to live in alignment with God’s morality FROM OUR HEARTS, not from our HEADS.
 
The church has become a victim of the toxic thinking of the world, otherwise known as, political correctness. This is a toxin which began in the world, it belongs to the world and they have a higher immunity to it than we do. Political correctness is leading Christians away from God’s morality and into a mire of deadly quicksand. We must accept all (so that means all behaviours and lifestyles too), we must be tolerant (even though God is not), we must redefine ‘tolerant’ to mean loving, but then we define ‘love’ in a way God never did. We cannot correct a brother or sister (this is ‘judgement’) and cannot distance ourselves from sinful activities and attitudes (this is prejudice), we cannot call a spade a spade because we are narrow minded and unforgiving.
 
We need to get back to basics and be willing to speak truth in love. Yes, speaking to his parents in a sharp way was ‘sin’, he should be called to book over it, but it should be done in a loving way, with the intention of building him up, not tearing him down. His correction should lead to a deeper relationship with God and his parents, not a destruction of the man himself. Judging is not pointing out error it is condemning to punishment. We have no authority to punish anyone for their sin, but we have a duty in love to bring back a brother or sister who has strayed, even slightly, from the Way.
 
Love one another, bear with one another, watch over one another in love and do not sin. In these days having a pure heart, free of sin, before God is vital for US, so that we can hear his voice leading us through the quagmire of sin and suffering the world has become.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 06/08/2017

Even the angels long to hear.

At various points in history and certainly in the history of the church, God has revealed something previously unknown to people.In Exodus 6:3 he tells Moses that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob know him as ‘El Shaddi’ but now his people would know him as ‘Yahwah’. He did not say, “I will no longer be know as El Shaddi, I will now be Yahwah”. He did not cease to be The Almighty, in order to become,The Self Existent, in fact, being The Almighty was, actually, rooted in being The Self Existent. He added to the revelation the Israelites already had, he did not say “That name is no longer of any use or important to you, here is my new name, I’ll use it from now on”.
 
1Peter 1:12 tells us that there are things into which the angels have longed to look, these things were revealed to the prophets of old, that they could point to Christ and so that when the Gospel was preached it was already confirmed by what had been written aforetime.
 
Can you imagine what a shaking there must have been in the synagogues and market squares when what they thought they knew was added to? Can you begin to comprehend how new, additional, knowledge must have threatened them? They would have thought that knowing this new thing undermined the old thing. They would have been very insecure about what they thought they knew, until they were willing to add what they were now being taught to what they already knew and discover how much richer it made the overall picture.
 
Then, of course, there were the traditions of men. Those would have to go, because now they were fully exposed, by the additional revelation. So there would have been people who were agog to hear, people who were totally closed to hearing anything, people who were afraid of what this new revelation would do to their currently held beliefs and those who would not only fear their beliefs being undermined but who were not will to have the new revelation even preached.
 
Today the church is no different.
 
There is a great unwillingness to be taught something new. The ears of the fearful are shut up, yet the angels have longed to hear and know what is being taught. There is fear that if what one believes now is shown to be wrong then one is not really saved, or will look foolish, or that one may have been preaching a false Gospel. God does not reveal additional material to erase the previous revelation, he reveals it to ADD to previous revelation. If we want the FULL counsel of God we need to be willing to move with him when he adds to what he has revealed before.
 
It is unbelievable arrogance to assume that God, the Almighty, The Self Existent, the one who knows ALL things, should have revealed everything to us and have nothing he now wants to tell us, which we have never before heard. Do we deny him his right to say, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; did you not know it?” (Isa 43:19) just because WE conclude he has already done “a new thing”?
 
Being teachable does not mean that we take on board EVERY new doctrine, that we follow EVERY new thinking or emotional craze. It means we are open to hearing from God, through any means, no matter how much it threatens our doctrine. If what we are being told is rubbish, can not God tell us so? If what we currently believe is the truth are we in danger of swapping truth for lies if we listen to teaching we have never heard? Of course we are not, if we are listening to God.
 
So many tell us they are following God, but will not be taught, they fear new teaching because they do not trust God to teach them. New teaching is vilified, the teachers pilloried. There is no discernment in action, to separate new teaching from God and new teaching from man. There is fear where there should be love and there are closed ears where they should be open.
 
If what you are hearing is heresy, if it goes against the Word of God, then it will be obvious. Telling people that everyone is already saved, or that, in due course, all will go to heaven is totally against what the Apostles and Christ himself taught. This is not additional information, it is alternative information. But if you are told that, for example, the ‘new’ and ‘old’ mentioned in Hebrews 10:9 refer to sacrificial systems and not covenants, a simple reading of the previous verses of the chapter will confirm this…..but ONLY if you are willing to see it.
 
IF your beliefs are really traditions of men, wouldn’t you be better without them? Why keep what is only toxic to your faith?
 
Do not rush hither and thither with every new wind of doctrine, but do be open to hearing what you have never before heard and which challenges you. Trust God to teach you the new things he has for you, which even his angels have been anxious to know. The end result is deeper relationship with the Father and greater faith. Isn’t that what we all want?
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 31/07/2017

Exempt from moral liability.

“And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
 
How wonderful to know that all our bonds will be broken, we will be set free, nothing will ever again enslave us, once we know the truth. We just need to know how much God loves us, who we are in Christ, how The Law has been done away with, that all that matters now is love, we live from our hearts, not rules and we will be free. Well, much of that’s true, but it’s not what this verse says.
 
Rarely can we pick a verse out of the ethers and make true sense out of it, we normally need to look at it in context.
Jesus started this train of though in the verse before, in verse 31, when he said “to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings…”
 
Remaining faithful to his teachings was a prerequisite to being his disciple and, as verse 32 follows on from that, being his disciples which requires remaining faithful to his teachings, will lead to knowing the truth. ‘Knowing’ in this context does not mean understanding in an intellectual way, it means “having intimate, relationship knowledge of something”.
 
So we remain faithful to what Jesus taught, this causes us to be his disciple, which lead to us having a deep and intimate relationship with truth, which…….well, if every other part of the verse doesn’t mean what it is traditionally said to mean, does ‘set you free’ not mean that either?
 
The word, translated as, ‘set you free’ means, “to exempt from moral liability”. “Moral liability” is an interesting term. What does that mean?
It means that, under the ceremonial law, that is the law of sacrifices and offerings, people were ‘liable’ for their morality. God set the standards of morality and if the people did not keep his standard, a sacrifice was required to atone for their liability. They broke his rules, they had to pay for it. This payment was in the form of animal sacrifice.
 
When God renewed the covenant, after Israel went off after other gods, he took it upon himself to pay the cost of our ‘loose morals’, the many, many times when man redefines morality according to his own standards. His own son was the price he paid, perfect blood, never tainted by sin, eternally living on the Altar in heaven. It is this sacrifice which sets us free from moral liability. We are no longer liable, because our debt has been paid. We are not free to live as we please, but we are free from having to pay for the times we sin.
 
It is a fact that our debt has been paid, but it is not a fact that we live in that freedom. Many deeply desire to know that freedom, but do not and so lie to themselves. They are not remaining faithful to Jesus teachings,they are choosing to redefine morality and set their own rules and so live with condemnation. They quote Romans 8:1 and declare that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” yet are condemned in their hearts all the while.
 
Jesus will not condemn them, but they condemn themselves due to their lack of relationship with the truth, brought about by their faithlessness to Jesus teachings and not being his disciples.
 
There has been, for far too long, an acceptance of the words of the Bible as some sort of magic formula. Jesus did everything and I am a new person, miraculously living a different life, with no effort, thought, or even intention of my own. The Holy Spirit has possessed me and I now just can’t help loving everyone and being a wonderful person in every way. We are lying to ourselves if we believe this and we are lying because we are afraid that if we are required to ‘do’ anything we will suddenly find ourselves in a legalistic situation where our salvation is dependant upon us.
 
Jesus blood paid the price required of us. His blood is eternally living, it is eternally on the Altar in heaven and it is enough to purchase our freedom from moral liability.
We ARE free, but unless we develop a relationship, which is deep and intimate, with the one who set us free, by being faithful to his teachings and becoming his disciples, we will not experience that freedom.
 
We ARE new creations, but unless we daily consider the old creation to be dead and live from the new life we have been given we will just be dead men walking. In every area of our lives we have been given new power, new vitality, new perspectives, new live itself, but unless and until we live it, it is all theory. It is an eternal certainty, but it is not a current reality.
 
If we want the truth to set us free, we have to develop a deep and intimate relationship with him, being faithful to his teachings and becoming his disciples. None of this is automatic…
 
As Phil 12 tells us “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, ………. work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
 
If we are to know, deeply and intimately, the power of freedom, we need to act on what has been given to us, powered by grace, faithful to his teachings and free from legalistic requirements. This is freedom indeed.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 28/07/2017

Why are you who you are?

Once, in a very ancient kingdom, the rulers of all the provinces got together to choose the next High King. They considered all the men who were suitable for the position and, having deliberated for weeks, chose the fellow they considered most likely to be the best leader of the people.
 
An envoy was sent to tell him that he was now High King of the land. He could not believe his ears! Me? Surely not?!
 
“Yes, Sire”, said the envoy, “You were chosen and so now you are High King. You have all the powers and rights of the High King and you are the person who is to lead and care for the people”.
 
The King went about for days muttering to himself “I am the King. I am the King”. It just didn’t seem to sink in very easily.
Gradually and tentatively he began to assume his duties, but still he muttered “I am the King, I am the King”. He would stand in front of his dressing mirror and practice “I AM the KING!”, but it took a lot longer before he was really confident of that fact.
After a few months his courtiers noticed that he was uttering his mutterings with greater confidence. “He’s beginning to believe it”, they said. “Now we will have a father for the nation”.
 
More months passed and still he told himself constantly “I am the King”, but now his tone was changing, arrogance was creeping in to his assertions. His awareness of his position was not one of benevolence, as had been hoped, but one of pride and conceit. As time passed he became more and more aware of just WHO he was!
 
“I am the King!!”, he would cry as he marched about the palace. “I am the King!!” he would declare whenever anyone questioned a decision, “I am the KING!!!” he would shout when asked at what hour he should be expected to begin the work of the day.
 
There was never any doubt, in the minds of his people, about just who he was.
 
In time he went to a neighbouring country to visit the King and Queen there. His counterpart could not have been more different to himself. The foreign King rose early and was in conference with his ministers for hours in the morning. “Where is the King?” demanded the visitor. “He is working, Sire”, replied the courtiers. “WORKING!!?”, yelled the affronted monarch, “Yes, Sire. That is how the King takes care of his people”.
 
The mornings were filled with discussions, the afternoons with hearing petitions, evenings stretched long into the night as the working King considered the country and its management, his people and their needs.
Finally, the visitor could take no more of being ignored. He marched into his host’s meeting chamber and demanded that they go riding together. “An excellent idea”, said the host, “We will go this afternoon to the village on the other edge of the forest and see the head man there. He wants to talk to me about water”.
 
So they rode together to the village and the visitor’s eyes were opened. The King spoke with the head man of the village, learned of the problem of the blocked well, consulted his accompanying ministers and arrange for a work team to come and help unblock it or dig a new one. He listened to his people, he got dirty examining the problem and he arranged a solution. When the visitor, shocked at how low his host had stooped, reminded him, “You are the KING!”, the man replied, “Yes, my friend, this is what Kings do”.
 
When he returned home he determined to change his ways. He WAS the King, there was no doubt about that, but his focus had been entirely upon himself and his position, now he resolved to turn his focus towards others and use his position for their benefit. In his early years, he was one of the most useless Kings they ever had, in his last years he was one of the best Kings they ever had.
 
Being a King is one thing; living and reigning like one is quite another.
Posted by: forfreedomalone | 20/07/2017

To work, or not to work, that is the question.

We are justified apart from “works of the law”. We are told this over and over and indeed it is good news, but what does it mean?
Most Christians would understand the term to mean, any actions required by the Mosaic law. It is understood that Jesus nullified or did away with, the Mosaic law in its totality and that to keep any part of it was it “go back under law”, as the “Old Covenant” was based upon a works-based righteousness, or salvation.
The feeling is that as Paul preached against “works of the law” there can be no doubt that such works are not part of the miscalled “New Covenant”.
So where did he preach against the “works of the law” and what was he talking about?
There are only two book in the Bible where Paul talks about “works of the law”; twice in Romans and 4 times in Galatians, a total of 6 verses in the whole Bible mention this subject.(Rom 3:27; Rom 9:32; Gal 2:16′ Gal 3:2,5 & 10)
So can we conclude that Paul was against the law (properly Torah) from these verses? It is certainly what many think, but there is a problem in the shape of 7 more verses, mainly from Romans, where Paul clearly and emphatically states that he is NOT opposed to the Torah. (Rom 7:12, 14, 22; 1Tim 1:8; Gal 2:17) In all of these verses Paul is abundantly clear that he is FOR Torah, that it is good, holy, spiritual, just and a delight.
Towards the end of Paul’s life he stated clearly that he had NEVER offended against the Torah (that is broken or taught against) (Acts 28:17) and indeed the disciples in Jerusalem themselves were fully aware that he walked “orderly and kept the law” (Acts 20:24).
So doesn’t this leave us with a dilemma?
How can he be for it and against it at the same time? Sounds just a bit schizophrenic don’t you think?
In every one of Paul’s uses of the term ‘works of the law’ he is talking about how one is saved, made righteous, justified. So what does that mean?
Justification is the process by which we are made acceptable to the Holy God. It is by grace through faith. God expends the grace, we apply faith to receive it. We cannot earn it, no matter what we do or how well we do it. It is based on righteousness, God’s righteousness, as revealed in the faith of Jesus Christ. (Rom 3:21 & 22) We have faith in his faith and God says we are now in right standing with him.
So if Paul is for the Torah and understands that we are justified by faith only, what are these ‘works of the law’?
Well, we know from what Paul writes in Rom 3:22 that one can be justified by faith and still observe Torah, because they are not two sides of a coin, they are two different coins.
The Israelites in the desert had Torah which they followed scrupulously, but they had not faith, so they could not enter the Promised Land ( a symbol of God’s eternal rest).
Works without faith bears no fruit and faith without works is dead. We need both. Our justification is purely based upon faith, keeping the Torah alone will never earn us righteousness, but once we have righteousness, through the free gift of God, to ignore his moral imperatives and say that his Torah (his teachings in righteousness) is null and void is to go from legalism to lawlessness. It is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
It is also important to note that in no instance in the Renewed Covenant (NT) does Paul actually say “works of THE law”, he says “works of law”. These are two very different statements.
If I say “works of the charity” and “works of charity’ you can see that in the first instance I am talking about a specific charity and in the second I am speaking about an indeterminate charity.
Paul is talking about ANY legal requirement one puts on one’s salvation, not Torah specifically. So one can throw away all Torah and then say “People can only be saved on a Sunday” and one is under a “work of law”.
He was never against Torah, he was against producing that ‘feel good factor’ within ourselves whereby we convince ourselves we are righteous by what we have done. We are not told we will ever FEEL righteous, we are to BELIEVE we are righteous, by the finished work of Christ. If what we need is a ‘righteous feeling’ then we will work to achieve it and ‘fall from grace’.
Torah was never in question, it’s holiness, purity or value, it was the man-made twisting of God’s teachings into a system of actions to earn our righteous feelings that he was against.
When we reduce God’s words of life to words of law we suck the life out of his teachings and reduce them to death.
If we are doing ANYTHING believing if we do it, do it well enough, do it long enough, or do with self denial and suffering we will earn a response from God, in any form, we are deceiving ourselves. God’s righteous standard is still the same today as it was at the beginning of time, but we now have a helper who has written that standard on our hearts. Although, note, that doesn’t mean WE get to define his standard because of what we feel, we are still limited to what HE says is the way of love.
David Stern, the translator of the Complete Jewish Bible, puts it rather well when he says, ” Paul’s usage of the term works of [the] law means not deeds done in virtue of following the Torah in the way God intended, but deeds done in consequence of perverting the Torah into a set of rules which, it is presumed, can be obey mechanically, automatically, legalistically, without faith, without having to trust God, without having love for God and man, and without being empowered by the Holy Spirit”.
With this in mind he translates Galatians 2:16 thus, “Even so, we have come to realise that a person is not declared righteous by God on the ground of his legalistic observance of Torah commands, but through the Messiah Yeshua’s trusting faithfulness. Therefore, we too have put our trust in Messiah Yeshua and become faithful to him, in order that we might be declared righteous on the ground of Messiah’s trusting faithfulness and not on the ground of our legalistic observance of Torah commands. For on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah commands, no one will be declared righteous”.
Works of law are varied and can be very subtle, but they will earn us nothing but condemnation and misery.
Redefining God’s morality, as laid out for us in his Torah is sin.
The middle ground, the place of safety and growth is found in living in love, as defined by God, powered by grace, obtained by faith.

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