Matthew 8, a devotional

A Year in the New Testament

This fulfilled the Word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sickness and removed our diseases.” Matthew 8:17

img_20180110_071238_4921675883407.jpg(Day 8) The next section of Matthew starts with some shocking requests.

  • If you are willing, heal me!
  • Heal my young servant!
  • An unspoken request for a high fever.
  • Heal the demon possessed men and women brought to Him by desperate families

Where did anyone get the idea that He could do this? One thing to keep in mind is that Matthew is written as a sort of handbook for disciples. Different sections focus on different concepts. More importantly, Jewish people knew their scriptures and by faith, expected Messiah to fulfill His word. How about you? Faith is “standing on” or believing the Word, believing that God is who He says he is. Pray for understanding as you read chapter 8 from your Bible

Matthew 8:1-4 The Leprosy Instructions Class is over, Yshua-Jesus comes down from the mountain with a multitude following Him, to encounter a multitude before Him. From that crush of humanity, Matthew chooses a leper as the first miraculous sign in his gospel. I think we have missed his point. I humbly want to testify of what I have learned.

We have been taught that this is about the Lord’s touch, His compassion, and even about the disobedience of the leper. None of these are wrong, but none explain the significance of Matthew’s choice.

Y’shua cleansed the man. He does not warn him to go and sin no more. He tells him to, “Go show himself to the priest (The man who already had the sad job of pronouncing him leprous in the first place) and present the offering Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:4

On the mountain, Y’shua said, “I have not come to destroy the Torah (Law) but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17

The man had heard Him say, “Ask, and it shall be given to you…Matthew 7:7

He received his cleansing, and the instruction to present the offering Moses had commanded. Here is an odd little fact. From the days of Moses to that moment, no one had ever brought that offering to the priest, because no one except Naamon from Syria (Who, as a gentle could not go to the priest) had EVER been healed of leprosy.

The book of Leviticus has nearly a whole chapter on this cryptic offering. I’m guessing that the priest had to go read up on it.

  1. Gather two birds, a cedar stake and a hyssop branch.
  2. Kill one bird, catching the blood in a bowl. Mix the blood with water… not just any water, it has to be flowing (living) water.
  3. Dip the living bird into the water and blood with the hyssop and the stake, then sprinkle the cleansed man with the water and the blood.
  4. Release the bird. …as a testimony to the priest.

One bird is a substitute for the sinner who cannot heal himself. The other bird is set free after being washed in the blood.

Here is what I take from this. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). But what of the water? From Y’shua came water and blood. John 19:34b  Y’shua came by water and blood. 1John 5:6

Interesting story, but what is my point? Israel seems to be in a rut. Religion has become an expression of patriotism; an act of identity without power. Suddenly the mystery of the sacrifice for leprosy is before them. The priest must participate in something they may not have believed in. Moses also said to look for a prophet like himself, the Messiah of Israel. Yshua-Jesus alone can heal us of the leprosy of sin. He is our substitute, it is his blood and the living water that flowed from his side that sprinkled us, the stake was His cross, and we are set free as the 2nd bird was set free! But what of the testimony? Acts 6:7 tells that the early church had a healthy population of priests. Our life of faith isn’t just about us.

Debs in Everett, Washington
January 10, 2018

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A Sword Unsheathed (Ez 21)

Ezekiel 21

Four assignments are given for Ezekiel for Israel, and one for Ammon (modern Jordan)

Assignment 1 Human Child (Son of Man) set your face toward Jerusalem. (21:2)

and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold, I AM against you; and I will draw My sword out of its sheath and cut off from you the righteous and the wicked. Ezekiel 21:3 nasu

The beloved is against Israel? Both the righteous and the wicked? It is not something that gives the Almighty any measure of pleasure. His Human Child is instructed to represent God’s grief with “the groaning of a broken heart” (21:6), and with bitter grief. When Israel asks Ezekiel, ‘why so glum’ he is to communicate what is coming… there is no stopping it.

Assignment 2 Human Child, prophesy of the sharpened , polished sword.

‘Sharpened to make a slaughter, polished to flash like lightning!’ Ezekiel 21:10a

The sword was made ready for the slayer and he is coming against Israel! A sharp glittering sword made to “strike like lightening” Why is this sword coming against Israel? To appease the Almighty’s wrath (21:17)

Assignment 3 Human Child, make two paths for the sword (a cross-road) for the King of Babylon (the slayer who will hold the sword). Then, make a sign-post showing the way to Jerusalem and another showing the way to the Ammonites (modern Jordan). The king of Babylon (Iraq) will stand at the crossroad to consult his god (Molech, which is also the god of Ammon). But arrogant Israel will see the King of Babylon’s divination toward his idol and blow him off as one who practices false divination. Big mistake! Too late they realize that it is YHVH who remembers their transgressions and sinful deeds, YHVH allows Israel to be seized. Even Israel’s king will be brought down.

Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high. Ezekiel 21:26

…until He whose right it is; and I shall give it to Him. Ezekiel 21:27 Did you catch that? Israel will be brought low, without a king, “…until He whose right it is…” The King is coming! Our true King, The Son of God who is even now, preparing a place for us! Hallelujah!

Assignment 3 prophesy and say, “Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the sons of Ammon. Remember the other signpost at the crossroads for the King of Babylon?

“And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD concerning the sons of Ammon and concerning their reproach,’ and say: ‘A sword, a sword is drawn, polished for the slaughter, to cause it to consume, that it may be like lightning-–  Ezekiel 21:28b

Jordan currently controls Mt Zion, the temple mount. Jordan allows the moslems to run rank over the most holy places. Jordan allows Israel to be persecuted for simply praying on the Temple Mount. Repent people of Jordan, king at Ammon, The Almighty has given you this privilege for a season, use it to honor him and not the god of Islam if you would save yourself. The Almighty will not return the sword to the sheath until His indignation and the fire of His wrath is exhausted on you, Jordan… The LORD has spoken.

20190131_083320956088789.jpgGod so loves you that he gave His only begotten Son as a lamb to the slaughter for your sin. You have this moment to turn to Him in repentance. Twice in Ezekiel chapter 21 the people thought the prophecy was for another era and did not take it seriously. Do not be like them, the time is soon. Call upon the name of the LORD while it is still called “today” and you will be saved from the eternal side of the punishment.

Debs in Everett, Washington

I loved Ray’s essay on Ezekiel 21. He did a nice job of connecting this chapter to the Sword of the book of the Revelation.  (click on “Ray’s essay on Ezekiel 21” for the link)

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Ezekiel Chapter 21

The Sword of Judgement!

As Ezekiel prophesies against Jerusalem and Israel we see the sword of judgement being brought forth. Have we seen it before, will we see it again?

Ezekiel 21:3 and say to her: ‘This is what the LORD says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its scabbard and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked.

God tells Ezekiel to groan before them, that they might ask, “Why are you groaning?” to which we see Gods promise.

Ezekiel 21:6-7 “Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief. 7 And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?‘ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every knee become as weak as water.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD.

Have we the sword used before?  More than likely in chapter 9

Ezekiel 9:1-2 Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring the guards of the city here, each with a weapon in his hand.” 2 And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand

Ezekiel 9:5-6 As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion.  Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark.

Will we see the sword of Judgement again?

Revelation 1:16  He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength

Revelation 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,’These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword

Revelation 2:16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Revelation 6:8 ” So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 19:15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God

Revelation 19:20-21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh

The sword is just one of the terrible judgements In Revelation.  Will you be taken up in the rapture or left behind to suffer these judgements.

Enter into his Kingdom today!

 

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Ray in Everett

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Matthew 7, a devotional

A Year in the New Testament

“But the gateway to life is vary narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:14

img_20180109_071759_1742067771961.jpg(Day 7) We are in the final moments of the mountain top teaching (5:1-2) and these last words from our Lord are vital! Pay attention from the heart. There will be days you desperately need to remember that it is fruit we inspect while leaving judgement to our beloved, we need to remember perseverance in prayer and our solid foundation because ministry in the valley is coming. Sit down, invite the LORD to speak to you as you read through Matthew 7

“…unless your righteousness surpasses the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:20

(8:1-14) I am told that the Pharisees were a self righteous bunch. My experience is that self righteousness is natural and easy. Mercy is supernatural. It is The narrow Way that leads to life. This teaching is for the fellowship of believers. Mercy is unsustainable, even impossible without the Holy Spirit. (James 4:11-12) Because walking The Way requires constant contact with Pappa-God. (Ask, Seek, Knock). It requires that we seek the heart of God, not just His hand.

What man is there among you, when his son shall ask for a loaf will give him a stone?Matthew 7:8

…”after he had fasted 40 days & nights He (Yshua-Jesus) became hungry. The tempter came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.Matthew 4:3

Yshua-Jesus is the solid foundation. He is the Word of life (John 1:1-5) He IS Torah. He is not an external standard. An external code of conduct measures failure. Y’shua is The Word written on our heart. He is our victory!

But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, ” I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My peopleJeremiah 31:33

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26

being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.  2 Corinthians 3:3

He shows us how to live Torah. He is The Way of life, our light in the shadow of the valley of death. He IS The Way, but to find The Way we are dependent on Him, not education, logic or instinct, not even on other people, even though we are One body who need the fellowship of our fellow believers. We are founded upon the Rock, but not stony inside.

Build your house, the rain is coming.
Debs in Everett, Washington
January 9, 2018

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Ezekiel Chapter 20

Faith!

It seems as though Israel never learns, they always fall to the sins of the world.  God rebukes and calls them back to him. Why?  A phrase continually pops up as to why.” Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” or some variation thereof.

Ezekiel 20:5-7 and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I chose Israel, I swore with uplifted hand to the descendants of the house of Jacob and revealed myself to them in Egypt. With uplifted hand I said to them, “I am the LORD your God.”  On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of Egypt into a land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands.  And I said to them, “Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

Ezekiel 20:8-12 “‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt. Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert.  I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them.  Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy

Ezekiel 20:13 -20 ‘Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws-although the man who obeys them will live by them-and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. Yet I looked on them with pity and did not destroy them or put an end to them in the desert.  I said to their children in the desert, “Do not follow the statutes of your fathers or keep their laws or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the LORD your God; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.”

Ezekiel 20:26 “‘But the children rebelled against me: They did not follow my decrees, they were not careful to keep my laws-although the man who obeys them will live by them-and they desecrated my Sabbaths. I let them become defiled through their gifts-the sacrifice of every firstborn-that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD.’

Ezekiel 20:38 I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezekiel 20:44 You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, O house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.'”

In spite of Israel not following Gods decrees, performing detestable acts, and worshipping Idols, to name just a few. God reaches out to them so that:  “you will know that I am the LORD your God.”

Does the Lord reach out to us in the same way? Are we that repetitive in our sinful ways?

I think he reached out in the most profound way possible:

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Are we repetitive? Thank God for Grace, for I know I stumble!

Rom 6:1-3What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

God will not forsake us just as He does not forsake Israel in spite of her continual sin.

Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

I always think of the picture and poem “footprints in the sand” when I imagine how the Lord walks with us.  But I have a slight enhancement to the story being told. We are familiar with the image of Christ carrying us and seeing only one set of footprints.

Now imagine that is when we are a babe in Christ and need much care, as He carries us for a short time.

Hebrews 5:13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

Know as we grow in the knowledge, He sets us on our feet and commands us to “walk with Him”

Hebrews 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

We know when we stumble He will not forsake us, as we picture ourselves on our knees in the sand we look up and see footprints leading the way ahead of us. Did the lord forsake us, NO, remember Deuteronomy 31:8.

Now raise your gaze a little higher and see the Lords outstretched hand reaching out to you as He calls to you “walk with Me”.  Again and again and again!

Are you walking with Him in faith?

 

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem

Ray in Everett

 

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Keep THE Sabbath Holy (Ez 20)

Over seven years in captivity. How much longer O God? It has been seven years, five months and ten days, but whose counting? The elders of the families of Israel come to Ezekiel with a question for the Almighty.

I have no idea what the question actually is, but it wouldn’t matter anyway, YHVH is not happy that this rebellious bunch has the nerve to even ask Him a question. Far from home as a result of their sin and still they do not repent. The Almighty has a word for them, but it is not an answer to their pointless question.

And the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Do you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, ” I will not be inquired of by you.”‘
Ezekiel 20:2-3

The Human Child (Son of Man) is given an assignment from YHVH. “Make them know the abominations of their Fathers. (20:4)

It was YHVH who chose Israel, who first protected them in Egypt, then brought them out of Egypt by miraculous power that would never be forgotten. He made a covenant with his beloved Israel, promising them a beautiful, abundant home land. And what did he ask in return?

“I said to them, ‘ Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’ Ezekiel 20:7 with Exodus 20:4-2, the 2nd commandment

Walk away from your religious lust for Egypt’s gods, get rid of the trinkets and traditions of the seductive dark holidays of other religions. Don’t clean it up and weave it into your walk of faith in YHVH (remember the golden calf). I guess they failed, they kept the “harmless” tradition of exchanging valentines… so to speak. These “harmless traditions” were enough to bring God’s wrath and reason enough for him to pour out his anger. If not for the good testimony of His good Name, he would have destroyed them. (20:9)

In the wilderness, just to make clear YHVH’s will, He gave Israel three things to hang on to.

  • His statutes: God’s appointments and customs. Including the Holidays that we are to share as “dress rehearsals” while we wait for the return of Y’shua-Jesus.
  • His ordinances (or judgments, the mishpat), family rules (Torah) and God’s instructions on The Way to keep them.
  • His Sabbaths which is a sign that we are His and not any other gods!

“But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not walk in My statutes and they rejected My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; and My Sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them in the wilderness, to annihilate them.  Ezekiel 20:13

Even though the Almighty did not destroy Israel, He did not bring her into the beautiful, abundant land he had prepared for her. Woe. The promise would be given to their children instead of to them… who also rebelled, which is how they ended up in captivity.

Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Will you defile yourselves after the manner of your fathers and play the harlot after their detestable things?  Ezekiel 20:30

The next block of scripture details what the children have done, which is no different then what the fathers did, and how the Almighty will scatter them among the nations until he calls them home to the beautiful land of Israel, then they will know that He is YHVH. (1948)

But what does all of this have to do with me?

Today is February 14th, Valentine’s Day. I have wished my family a happy v’day, I have sent notes to family, I’m dressed in red, and if it would have been just a little warmer out, I would have exchanged my wool socks for a pair that is covered with hearts. It’s fun! But did YHVH give me this as a day of celebration in His Word? If so, I cannot find it. I have googled the history of valentine’s day before and know that it is a day of darkness, a day of lust that we have made cute with paper and lace with pretty ribbons. But it is not a covenant day of YHVH for His beloved. It belongs to another god.

Just how bad do I want to hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your King! Wasn’t it enough that Y’shua’s heart actually stopped for love of me?

20190203_0746461976055144.jpgDebs in Everett, Washington
February 14, 2019

I don’t know that exchanging cards for Valentine’s Day is or is not evil. I’ve done it for years… which may be why I struggle with it. It seems as if there is a clue for me in that statement. DH

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Matthew 6, a devotional

A Year through the New Testament

img_20180108_053809_230586884914.jpgBut when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

(Day 6) This statement has always struck me as odd. How can it happen? Knowing a little bit about Hebrew helps. The right and left hand represent important ideas in Hebrew culture. The right hand represents mercy. The left hand represents judgement. Why did Pilate “wash his hands” of Yshua-Jesus? Because of his wife’s dream. He did not want to judge but because of politics he did not want to show mercy. Why does Y’shua sit at the “right hand” of the Father? It is the place of mercy. Why do we not let the left hand know what the right is doing? When the Spirit puts it on your heart to give, do not let logic stop you, do it secretly and Abba will reward you.

I’m just getting started with Matthew 6. Take time to pray your way through this foundational chapter!

“…From that time on Yshua-Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

Having established that we live in the reality of the Spirit realm (which is why you must be born again) though we walk (live) in the shadow of death (Psalm 23), we need to know the rules of the road. How do we live in this reality? Matthew 6 is a chapter of contrasts between religious piety and living as a child of God. The instruction is not as intense as chapter 7 but it opens my eyes to the difference.

Every time I see the word “but” in this chapter, I made a note of the contrast between religion and faith.

Matthew 6:1-4 on acts of compassion. Religion requires full participation from the congregation to be successful. We want to be recognized for participating in giving programs. Think of Ananias & Sapphira in Acts 5. What motivated them? In the end it wasn’t giving, even though they did give. I think they wanted Barnabas’ recognition. Give in secret for the Father’s reward.

Matthew 6:5-15 on prayer. I LOVE the fellowship of prayer. I have learned more about prayer from praying with others then I thought was possible. Yet here Y’shua is telling His people to pray in secret. Does that mean public prayer is wrong? Not at all! This same Matthew says in 18:20 that where 2 or 3 believers gather in the Name of Y’shua, he will be in their midst! Hallelujah! Believers met in fellowship to pray for Peter’s release and the Almighty answered (and how!). So what is this teaching about? Who is your audience? Is it the people around you or is it the Almighty who sees your secret thought life. Is this prayer to be done in your closet? You can if you want, but I think this passage is about shutting out the world to pray in the Spirit realm. I think that is why we can stand alone in prayer or stand in agreement with other believers.

Matthew 6:16-18 on fasting. Again, this is an activity that is for the secret spirit realm. You have a body but you are a spirit creature, a BENE ELOHIYM, if you have been born again.

Matthew 6:19-34 seems to be summed up with, “No one can serve two masters…Matthew 6:24 Your heart is either in the Spirit realm, while living on earth in Yshua-Jesus shadow, or we live chasing the glory men give. We need a plaque on the wall recognizing that we gave on a platinum level. Maybe we hope for a dinner in recognition of our piety, or at least we want to find our name in a news letter. But Y’shua says that if that is what you want, then OK, but that is all you get. Me? I hope for, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master!”

Debs in Everett, Washington
January 8, 2018

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