Month 7:21, Week 3:6 (Sheshi/Kippur), Year:Day 5939:199 AM|
2Exodus 2/40, 4th Sh'mittah - Year 49/50,
USA Judgment - Day #T-6, Global Judgment - Day #T-93
Gregorian Calendar Sunday 4 October 2015
Sukkot VII 2015
Be Who You Are & Serve Yahweh!
Continued from Part 6
Chag sameach Sukkot mishpachah and welcome to the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles! This is the final day of Sukkot about which the Jews make much ado with their Simchat Bayit haShoevvah water-pouring ceremonies which are derived from the Mishnah rather than from the Torah. We have our own appointment with Yahweh this morning at which He wishes to deliver both a davar (word) as well as an anointing for all those prepared to receive it.
I was reminded last night, as I meditated on the Davar (Word) how uniquely different we all are and how easy it is to offend others - as well as being offended ourselves - because we, or others, are not exactly the way that others or ourselves would like others or ourselves to be. Charles Spurgeon was most emphatic about being the vessel Yahweh has made us to be, when he said:
Allowing Messiah to Perfect Us Within
"Be yourself, dear brother, for if you are not yourself, you cannot be anybody else; and so, you see [in order to please someone else], you must be a nobody...Do not be a mere copyist, a borrower, a spoiler of other men's notes. Say what Elohim (God) has said to you, and say it in your own way; and when it is so said, plead personally for Yahweh's (the Lord's) blessing on it" .
We will all be called, very soon, to be the most vigorous and active of witnesses. The anointing that is waiting for us as we come out of apathy and sleep will not permit us to be anything else if we are true to our profession. As we acknowledged in our discussion after the sermon yesterday, we are none of us perfect, not even remotely so, and should therefore never forget to plead Yah'shua's (Jesus') purifying blood on our witness and testimony, because none of us are untainted. At the same time do not use this as an excuse not to aspire to perfection, for we have been commanded to seek it: "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt.5:48, NKJV). If He who is perfect in us becomes our perfection, and if we wish to live our life through Him, then we cannot make any excuses for imperfection. He must simply have us all. At the same time, do not allow self-doubt or the fear of man paralyse you into silence - we must recognise who we are but also recongise who He is and never forget that He is within us.
An Englishman and an Ulsterman
I got to thinking last night about who I am and though I have been, in a way, an 'exile' in Scandinavia these past 27 or so years and felt the invisible and concsicious pressure to be like those around me - and though I have been affected to a certain extent by the environment that I find myself in, having gladly taken on board some things about Scandinavians that I like a lot, I was gently reminded by Yahweh that I am still an Anglo-Saxon and an Ulsterman. And if any of you know of others who are of that interesting mixture, you will know that there is quite a contrast between them character-wise!
Between Two Temperaments
I often find myself moving in and out of these two dichotomous temperaments - the one (dare I say it without sounding boastful) disposed toward sophistication and eloquence, and the other hard hitting and no-nonsense. I can't tell you how it thrills me to both listen to the soft purring of gentlemanly Anglican theologian-preachers like N.T.Wright who knows how to make music out of words and the blunt and fiery booming voice of the likes of the late Free Presbyterian Iain Paisley! I love them both. Thanks Dad and Mum! I'm at home with both. Then there's that great Ulsterman John Lennox, a professor of Mathematics in my home city of Oxford, who seems to have found that mixture in his own way by embedding his Irishness in a matrix of English academese. You would be hard pressed to provoke either Wright or Lennox. Paisley - well, I'm not sure about him, he was as raw as they get but also kindly and fatherly. So I'm simultaneously at home in England and in Northern Ireland. And yet here I am in Sweden. I guess Yahweh has a sense of humour. No, seriously, The Norwegians and Swedes have taught me how to be relax and not to get upset over trivia. And then I have Malay, Chinese and German components...but that's another story.
Start With What You've Got
When it is your turn to witness, I want it to be you witnessing and not an imitation of someone you'd like to be. Now of course as chidlren we learn by imitation but by the by we make choices as to how we want to be. Whatever you have become - and are becoming - I encourage you to be you and to continue becoming what He wants you to be by yielding more and more to Him. You were purposefully made unique and common - you share attributes of your parents and family line along with those things in others you like and have opened yourself up to. My wife is a huge admirer of Afro-Americans and you can see it in her! But you have to start with the raw material sitting in that suit of clothes you're wearing. So start there and don't worry about whether you're pleasing someone or not. Offence is, in any case, the bait of Satan, as John Bevere so eloquently shows . In the end you will become indifferent if every word you speak offends someone. Spurgeon noted:
To which I would, recounting what I talked to you about yesterday, add the word "righteous".
"I notice that, when I have measured my words, and weighed my sentences most carefully, I have then offended most; while some of my stronger utterances have passed unnoticed. Therefore, I am comparitively careless as to how my expressions may be received, and only anxious that they may be in themselves just and true" .
Escaping the Devil's Trap
One thing we have absolutely got to get past if we are to survive and thrive in the new world opening up before us is to get past being offended by people. If we don't, we'll be baited again and again and be rendered useless as ministers and testators. Paul said:
The Way Satan Baits
"Yahweh's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that Elohim (God) will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the emet (truth), and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will" (2 Tim.2:24-26, NIV).
Many people are unable to function properly in Yahweh's purpose and calling for their lives because of the wounds, hurts, and offenses in their lives. We all have them, or hopefully have had them and are past them as conquerors in Messiah. When Satan baits us, he does two things. Firstly, like any hunter, he hides the trap, he's subtle and not at all as blatant as you might be tempted to think. He is shrewd, cunning and crafty. Secondly, he baits it, and one of his most successful baits is being offended. Have you noticed that our politically-correct society literally revolves around being offended? We have actually been trained to be offended! We are taught to cultivate offense over the most trivial, pathetic and ridiculous things. Don't be man-pleasers. Utterly reject this demonic culture and its 'cures' for offenses which are no cures at all. Have you noticed how paralysed society has become over these state-cultivated offenses? Now people are scared to talk about the most absurd things. Common sense has gone out of the window in order to 'protect' people who are sometimes offended simply because you exist. We live in a radicaly anti-Christian society as far as attitudes and maturity are concerned.
Do Not Give Sin Life
The fruits of being offended are pretty obvious. They are hurt, anger, outrage, jealousy, envy, resentment, strife, bitterness and hatred. We are not to mollycuddle them. But we are to invite people to let go of these things to Yah'shua (Jesus) and to move on. Why sit in Satan's sewage pit? If any of these things have you in their grip then you cannot function in Yahweh's purposes. And of we are bothered or tripped-up over these things in others, as Spurgeon was in the face of his many critics, we shall be rendered ineffective ourselves. We cannot give these sins life by supporting them. We have to kindly point out what they do and urge people to simply walk away from them, leaving them in the Saviour's hands for disposal.
Misery Seeks Companionship
But it is very, very hard dealing both with this in ourselves as well in others who would suck us into their misery. Misery will ever seek companions but we are not called to be them. David understood the difficulties when he said:
When Opposition Starts Again
"If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of Elohim (God)" (Ps.55:12-14, NIV).
It is hard when brethren are offended by us. When offended people hurt, their understanding is darkened. They begin to judge others by assumption, appearance and heresay. We are about to enter a time of great controversy when Christianity will not only be disliked and slandered but also vigorously opposed. We will offend and be accused by close brethren and sisters with whom we formerly walked. They will spit out venom and malign us. It has already started to be and the pressure will mount. We will be criticised for sure, as we have been in the past, and we will need once again to weigh carefully the criticism levelled against us in order to be honest lest per chance our enemies may prove to be right in some things, and necessitate some changes on our part, hopefully small rather than large one. But if large, let us have the courage to own up to error and change gracefully, not in anger, resentment or bitterness, thus falling into Satan's trap along with them. Yah'shua (Jesus) warned:
So we do have to be prepared for them and know how to handle them. And I am sure that you, like me, have struggled over offenses. It's been a hard battle for me especially when your culture has trained you to be a certain way that quenches the Ruach (Spirit) and is displeasing in Yahweh's sight. You can react in one of two ways, either by becoming icy cold or by becoming red with rage. Either way kills. Resist both.
"It is impossible that no offenses should come" (Lk.17:1, NIV)
Worthy Bearers of the Name
By the grace of Yahweh you are who you are, and I am who I am. Let us pray that we are worthy bearers of the Name that won our affections because of the Cross. But let us be resolved to renounce the kind of second-guessing concerning what others may think of us because this will simply destroy our souls. And destroyed souls are useless on the battlefield.
Giving Thanks for Offenses
I want none of you to forget that when adversity comes that, like the ebbing of the tide that comes and goes, that it too will also pass. It does not last forever. We have been horribly slandered, and still are, and it hurt badly at first. I worried that we would lose souls because of it. But then, as I let go of it and stopped worrying what others thought of me, I thanked Yahweh for the slander because it acted as a filter, keeping away those who would likely trip us up rather than support us as faithful and loyal brethren. Yahweh uses even slander and offenses to sift out the true from the false. It is not an easy place to get to you because it does hurt terribly but I dare say not one of us escapes that specific spiritual training. We have to get past others' offenses and vitriol. We have to become thick-browed like Ezekiel without losing our tenderness. You see, it's a bit like being English and Irish - you can be both tender and thick-skinned! The knack is knowing what to be thick-skinned to and what to be tender to.
Overcoming Through the Blood and Our Testimony
We will not be called to bear more than we can, nor will we be expected to remain in a place where there is no opportunity to witness. The Besorah (Gospel), if it is the true one we are preaching, cannot be routed or defeated, and nor can eternal emet (truth) be driven out of our nations. It will remain so long as we continue to grip our flags and keep them planted in the soil Yahweh has prepared for that planting. Remember, that we serve an Almighty Elohim (God) and if He wishes to send fire down from Heaven, then He will do so, or swallow up the adversaries into the ground. And if He wishes to draw souls to Him, then He will do so, and in His sovereign will. We should therefore remain of good courage, neither doubting nor waivering, remaining faithful in delivering our testimony, by which, and together with the Blood of the Lamb, we shall absolutely overcome! How do I know? Because it is written:
Everyone a Witness, Everyone a Minister
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our Elohim (God),
and the authority of His Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers,
who accuses them before our Elohim (God) day and night,
has been hurled down.
They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the davar (word) of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short"
Who is he that can harm us if we follow Yah'shua (Jesus)? How can the cause of our Messiah possible be defeated?! Converts will flock like fish gathered up in a drag-net. Then the real work - the hard work - will begin: they will need discipling like no other generation, for it is a wicked and depraved generation knowing little of what righteousness is, knowing little or nothing about what family life is supposed to be like. New converts will have to be educated in the very basics that those few of you raised in true Christian homes take for granted as being 'normal'. So everybody will be needed to teach something. Did you notice that Paul said we were all teachers? That doesn't just men teaching Bible - it also means teaching people what it is to be human, what it to be in Messiah. So, yes, every one of you is a teacher, young and old. What should you teach? Everything you know! What should you not teach? What you do not know. Leave the teaching of the things you don't know to those who do know. And share the load. There cannot be a sharp ministry-laity didine in the end-time Remnant. Everybody is a minister of some kind, everyone has a calling, so nobody can ever plead uselessness. This harvest will be plentiful but it will require much dedication and hard work. So be of good courage, never cease rejoicing, regarding even a single soul being saved into the Kindom of Heaven as deserving of the greatest celebration.
Giving Thanks in All Things
This morning I had a very reassuring dream that I want to share with you. Like you, I have doubted my abilities in so many ways and at so many different times. I have interpreted periods of apathy and doubt as failure. Don't believe that. We all have the blues and you may remember from an earlier witness of Spurgeon that I shared with you some days ago that this 'prince of preachers' suffered from depression. But, as he learned, even Yahweh used that to bring him out of himself. Provided we give thanks in all things, as Brother Ljungstrand never ceases to remind us of, then Yahweh can turn imagined failure into success, yank us out of self-pity and give us the confidence and boldness that is the heritage of the sons and daughters of Elohim (God).
Prophetic Dream of the Black Soil and White Quartz
I dreamed this morning I was in my garden. Now those of you who know Sweden or who have visited my home know what kind of soil it is. It is very thin, there is rock directly underneath it, and the soil is very gritty. Indeed, there are more stones in it than there is soil! The other day the electrician was digging a trench in it to lay a cable and it took ages to remove all the stones. In the dream the soil was deep, black, rich and thick, a gardener's paradise! I couldn't believe how good it was. There were some pot holes in the ground and these I went and filled in. But I also noticed something that we had dug up which surprised me. You may know that Sweden is rich in white and pink quartz. In the dream there was a large pile of neatly stacked and pure and large clean blocks of white quartz. This simple and common material is made of six-sided prisms of silicon dioxide, is used commonly as an amplifier of energy. In Scripture it appears as violet-purple-coloured amethyst which symbolises the royal priesthood, kingship and majesty, and also as red, yellow, brown and green jasper, an apaque variety of chalcedony, and symbolises the glory of Elohim (God), splendour, brighteness, magnificence and beauty. This, however, was white quartz, and white symbolises purity, righteousness, holiness and the Bride of Messiah.
The Glory of Being Fashioned By His Hand
We are simple, common quartz, brethren and sisters. We have sought with all our strength for holiness these past months and have our reward. The quartz was freshly taken out of the ground, fashioned in blocks, and was ready for cutting and polishing into jewels. It call comes out of the dirt. That is where holiness begin, but that too must be cultivated. And once it is cultivated it yields both rich soil and precious stones. Each block is one person, 'birthed', as it were, in the soil of this ministry. I cannot say how many blocks there were, for there were many. I will not attempt to interpret that further, but simply ask you to join with me and give thanks to Yahweh-Elohim for what He has done - and is doing, and will do - in us. There is no faking this. These things are born in adversity and in faitful adherence to Covenant. You all know the Parable of the Sower and what it means (Mt.13) and of the importance of cultivating the soil of the heart with the Davar Elohim (Word of God) through emunah (faith) and obedience to Torah. This we have endeavoured to do, in His grace.
And so we gather on this last day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) to celebrate His faithfulness and loving-kindness to us. We will assemble again tomorrow for Shemini Atseret or the Last Great Day to end this series of moedim (appointments). We have much to be thankful for. There are many from all over the world now waiting in the wings to join this work when it restars next year - after our spiritual reset is completed. May the Name of Yah'shua (Jesus) be praised. Hallelu-Yah! Amen.
 Charles Spurgeon, An All Round Ministry, p.73-74
 John Bevere, The bait of Satan: Living Free From the Deathly Trap of Offence (Charisma House, Lake Mary, Florida: 2004) - also available in DVD
 Spurgeon, Ibid., pp.282-283
Continued in Part 8