The Man in the Circle

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Stand in a circle?! And pray?! That is exactly what Honi the Circle Maker did. He was an ancient Israelite scholar mentioned by Josephus in the book of “Jewish Antiquities.”

Honi drew a circle and stood in it and told God that he would not move until God provided the rain that had not come that winter. Honi prayed and God brought rain.

Rulers, scholars and religious types all thought Honi had a special relationship with God. Actually, what he had was prayer. He was so closely knit to God he knew the goodness of God’s character.

Honi wasn’t satisfied with just rain. Honi’s heart ached for the people of God. He not only desired the seasonal rain, he wanted God’s rain of favor, blessing and graciousness. Honi didn’t give up, he prayed consistent and persistent, big audacious prayers, that could only be answered by God. Then he waited in expectant anticipation for God’s answer.

Audaciously bold prayers our part of our inheritance in Jesus. You will never know unless you ask and when you ask let it come from a heart that has been steeped in the truth of God’s word and promises.

Boldly go where every man, woman and child ought to go…before the throne of God, drawing circles around your prayers.

Shalom!

©2018TereseJMBelme

 

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Leave Egypt Behind

 

 

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photo courtesy of http://www.bible.ca

Are you stuck in Egypt? I have been and not just once but on several occasions. How many times have I sojourned away only to find myself right back in the circumstances I so longed to be done with? And, like the ancient Israelites, I cried out to God, “Don’t you see what I’m going through?” “Don’t you care?” “God, WHERE are You?!” And every time I would leave, I would complain that things weren’t any better on the outside, and although the circumstances in Egypt were anything but ideal, I kept going back because at least I knew what to expect in captivity even if it was spiritually unhealthy. Leaving meant taking a substantial, huge, ginormous, (how many adjectives do I need to use here?!), venture in faith.

One day I was finally tired of yo-yoing back and forth, back and forth, (that and the Holy Spirit had been nudging me for months to explore what was beyond my captivity). With some help from my spiritual father and a whole lot of Jesus, I packed my bags and never looked back!

Have you over stayed your welcome in Egypt? I encourage you with these words of Moses.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14.

Shalom!

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The Truth About Reality

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Photo courtesy JDR Military Service/web.mst.edu.

When I was a little girl I grew up in a time where we practiced duck and cover under our school desks to the sound of an air raid siren. This was a post WWII mechanism that was still in effect after the Viet Nam War, the world that was my reality then; free love, hippies and the peace sign, but I digress. I really despised that siren, even though it was designed to give us a chance to be safe, in the event our country were attacked by airplanes dropping bombs.

My childhood home was in the flight path of NAS Moffett Field, where the mighty P3 Orion could be seen and heard on descent into the air field. Sometimes, as I recall, there would be more than one flying in formation and multiple times throughout the day. For some reason, in my five-year old mind, I thought these mighty aircrafts were the reason the air raid sirens would sound. I remember every time I would see or hear the P3’s I would run and hide in our house. I did a lot of hiding back then! You see, I believed something as truth about my reality that was a big fat lie!

This morning as I was traipsing through Galatians 3 and absorbing all the goodness and truth there and I was stopped along the way by some verses that jumped out at me.

Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Galatians 3:6

God counted Abraham as righteous simply because he believed God. He believed the truth that God would bless all nations through him, that God had called him to be the physical and spiritual father of the Jews and eventually all believers including Gentiles.

The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham. Galatians 3:8a

Even then, Scripture, which is Jesus Himself, was moving toward his creation with the gift of salvation for EVERYONE!

Precious One, the gospel has been here since before time, as we know it, began. Waiting for you to believe and receive and nurture the truth in your heart through your relationship with Christ.

And as I reflect back, I see that air raid sirens can be very beneficial especially when one goes off in your heart when Satan is tempting you to question the integrity and truth of God’s word. But, instead of running and hiding, you can stand firmly on the truth of Scripture which invades your heart every time you spend time with Him.

By the way, I eventually married a P3 Flight Engineer.

Shalom!

Spying the Gospel

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This morning I found myself journaling my way through Galatians 2.

This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. Galatians 2:4.

What struck me about this verse is the word spy. The word spy in this verse means to closely inspect or to look down on someone with a hostile perspective. I think about those who are hostile to the gospel just as the Jews Paul was preaching too. I think fear breeds hostility. Perhaps, in the case of spreading the gospel, fear of the unknown or fear of living life differently than one does now, causes some to look down on believers from a hostile perspective. How gracious is God to reveal this to us so we can pray for the wisdom, the right words, a soft heart for those we will share with and for ourselves; to understand it is about building a relationship with others as we share? Many times we are so on fire for God and want to bring others along that we go in head first without asking God how to proceed. Prayer is left out when prayer ought to be the foundation of everything we do. It is God who gives his creation the faith to believe. It is our responsibility to ask God to give faith to those we minister to, so they can choose to believe!

Two other verses stood out at me.

“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:15,16.

Did you catch in v. 15 that Paul called those not born into Jewish heritage Gentile sinners? Beloved, please don’t allow the enemy to pervert this in your mind. During this period of time that is what the Jews thought of and called Gentiles. Paul is speaking to a Jewish audience and speaking to them in terms they understood to make a point. The truth is we are only justified, Jew or Gentile, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and profess with our lips that he is the Christ.

The law won’t get anyone into heaven, the law and doing good things won’t get anyone into heaven. It is only faith in Christ as Lord and Savior that will bring salvation and the hope of eternity spent with our precious Jesus.

Precious One, when others spy the gospel in you may it turn from hostility to curiosity and desire to have what you have because you have committed yourself to praying for God’s wisdom and understanding to reach others with the love of Christ.

Shalom!

Grace Peace and the Gospel

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When you see your friends, how do you greet them? With a handshake? A hug? “Hello, its good to see you”? What about people you pass by in the store or when you are out and about? Do you offer a smile to complete strangers or do you simply pass on by looking straight ahead?

I love Paul’s greeting to the Galatians in Chapter 1.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen. Ephesians 1:3-5.

What would this world look like if we greeted people with grace and peace? If we greeted one another with God’s favor, his extension of Himself that he freely gives away because he is always moving toward his creation? And his peace? If we greeted others with the concern of their welfare and God’s gift of wholeness?

As you ponder true grace and peace let’s step over to Vv. 6,7.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Some believe that this letter of Paul’s to the Galatians was due to his first visit there, others believe it was written after his second missionary trip to Galatia. Regardless, I am struck by his astonishment that these new believers had quickly turned from God and began following a false gospel and I wonder was there no one in Galatia to disciple these beloved children of God? This is why it is so vitally important to be in God’s word consistently, so that we will hear God’s discernment about false teachings. Also, old habits are sometimes hard to break even as a new creation in Christ. An excellent reason to seek out mature believers to mentor and disciple you and study God’s word together. Truly, it doesn’t matter how long we have been in relationship with Jesus, we ought to make it a daily practice of mentoring and discipleship of each other and then pouring into the lives of even more people. Effectively spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!

Verse 7 also tells us that the gospel of Christ was perverted. This is one of the enemy’s main tactics, to tempt believers to think God’s word is not truth, that is wasn’t divinely given; just like in the garden. I think some of Satan’s favorite words are, “Did God really say?” when he knows exactly what God says because he knows the truth and hates the truth. That is why I believe the sword of the Spirit is the most powerful weapon of spiritual warfare because it IS the word of God and Holy Spirit freely shares his sword with us. Think about that for a minute; the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead not only lives in each believer in Christ, but freely shares HIS sword!

Oh, Precious One, do you see? Everything about your relationship with Christ comes back to the truth of His word and reading and studying for yourself. Won’t you start today?

Walk tall, carry His sword and greet others in the grace and peace of Christ!

Shalom!

 

 

The Face Of Righteousness

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Photo Credit: J. Pulley

Today finds me deep in a study on the armor of God, which is so apropos considering life’s challenges at the moment and especially because prayer has been and continues to be a very large part of my relationship with God. For me prayer and reading and studying God’s word are the foundation upon which I nurture my relationship with Jesus.

For the past three weeks I have been looking at the different pieces of God’s armor. This week I am looking at the breastplate of righteousness. The author states that there are three types of righteousness; perfect righteousness, which is unattainable by us because only God is perfect; comparative righteousness where we compare our righteousness with others in attempt to feel puffed up or discouraging ourselves because we see others as more righteous than ourselves and imputed righteousness the righteousness we receive the moment we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The author also states a fourth type of righteousness – practical righteous, which is the consistent and conscious effort of putting off the works of darkness and putting on the armor of light. According to the author the actions of putting off and putting on are the breastplate of righteousness.

With the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:14b.

Perhaps it is mincing of words or simply semantics but the word righteousness in Ephesians 6:14b means the divine approval of God! Maybe we struggle with putting on and taking off our breastplates but God doesn’t. He placed the breastplate of righteousness on us the moment we first believed and it is there to stay. It protects our hearts from the fiery arrows of the enemy and serves as a brilliant reminder in the heavenly realms that we belong to God and in God’s eyes we are righteous. We are righteous because of our faith in Jesus Christ, his death was the price for which our righteousness was bought.

Precious One, God divinely approves of you because of your faith in Christ. Please, live in that freedom.

Shalom!

You Already Know

lightning-mountain-silhouette_GyYQcDKdCurrently I am on the road and today I had the opportunity to worship at a church in the area I am staying. The Pastor gave a message that I not only know but that I needed to hear again simply because I had done exactly what the Pastor’s message was about.

This particular faith family is in a sermon series titled, “The Red Words,” and today’s message was out of John 15.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

I won’t retell the sermon but will share what really resonated with me. He asked us if we truly know what staying connected to Jesus looks like. Are we truly dependent on Jesus or do we bring what we think we can do in our own power and ask God to combine it with his power and then expect God to move?

He went on to tell the story of Darlene Deibler Rose, who was a missionary in Indonesia, and was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II. Darlene was tortured repeatedly while in prison, she was hungry and exhausted. One day she began to crave bananas and as she looked out the window of her prison cell she saw a guard smuggle bananas to another woman prisoner. She cried out asking God for just one banana. The next day she received ninety-two! 

Darlene came to realize this truth; “What I needed to do was link my impotence to God’s omnipotence.” Darlene understood that in her weakness she could only depend on the unlimited power of God. She didn’t bring to God what she felt she could do in her own strength, she came to God completely powerless and trusted God’s power to work in her situation.

Later in the day I realized why this resonated with me, because I have been coming to God in the midst of struggles and bringing what I think I can do on my own and asking God to combine it with his mighty power. When I ought to come to him confessing that I am powerless to do anything apart from Him and that I am dependent on Him and his power to work in any situation in life.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

When we choose to stay connected to the Vine weakness is not a negative thing. Our weakness, our inability to do anything in our own power is when the supernatural power of God flows through us and spills into our life and our life situations.

Precious One, you are powerless but God is powerful. And that is something you already know.

Shalom!