Tag Archives: christian
(#276 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. (Proverbs 20:5)
Deep waters! This is a powerful metaphor. Have you ever been in the deep of the ocean? Almost all light is absorbed within the upper 200 meters. Only a small amount of light penetrates beyond this depth. There is barely any measurable light that can reach as far as 1,000 meters, in fact, so little that photosynthesis is not even possible. Below 1,000 meters, sunlight does not penetrate at all. That zone is bathed in total darkness. However, what does change considerably as you go deeper is the pressure. At sea level, the pressure on your body is 14.5 pounds per square inch (psi). For every ten meters you go deeper, the pressure increases by 14.5 psi. So, even though the change in perceptible light is negligible, the pressure change between 200 and 1,000 meters is eighty fold. And in the deepest ocean, the pressure is over 1,100 times that of the surface, or the equivalent 16,000 pounds per square inch on a human body. That would be equal to eight tons sitting on a surface little more than the size of a postage stamp. That’s a lot of pressure!
This magnitude of pressure creates risk, fear, and uncertainty for those daring enough to go there. The metaphor: the deeper you go the fewer men you will find have ever explored there. There are not many treasure hunters in the deepest places. Those who dare to go face all of the pressure and risk involved. But they go to seek the potentially remarkable payoff, “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:8-9)
What is the increase in store for those who risk going deeper with Yahweh? What hidden treasures await you, if only you are willing to draw them out? I tell you, the treasures are the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matthew 13:11) You get it, right? To those who do not search, it has not been given. To those who do, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which the Almighty has prepared for those who love Him.” But the Almighty has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of the Mighty One. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
The pressure is always increased when we travel to the depths, and the journey reveals who we really are, who we have been created to be. What too often is our daily alternative to the pressure? We stay on the surface. Staying on the surface only supports the illusion. Remember, it all looks the same from the surface and that is the great deception. We are not who we pretend to be. Better yet, we don’t even realize how much we are pretending. It is far worse than we are willing to admit. Some of us attempt to go to the deep places in order to heal, only to be frightened by the realities we discover in the depths, the pressure. There is so much more beauty below the surface loved one; it is where He makes “known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.” (Ephesians 1:9) If you are willing to go there, you will see things never before seen and experience things never before experienced.
Search the deep things of Yahweh, to attain all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of the Almighty, both of the Father and of the Messiah, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3) Don’t give up. Don’t fear the pressure. Keep going back, little by little. Dive deeper each time, precept upon precept (Isaiah 28:13), remembering that the treasure hunters never dive alone. For safety, there is always a companion. And you know who it is; you are not alone. Go deep and find the treasures.
(#274 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 29:20)
As I stood at the microwave waiting for my coffee to heat, I realized how the microwave had exemplified my life. In the past, when I needed a minute of the microwave’s effort to heat something, I would have usually opened the door with at least fifteen seconds left on the clock. There was not time to wait the entire minute, even though I knew that one minute was necessary. Because I had to “go,” I settled for lukewarm coffee. I never really enjoyed the lukewarm coffee; yet, I got used to it, used to “not finished, but good enough.” My entire life back then could be summed up by my choices made at the microwave, my inability to wait the full minute. Even though a microwave is already a shortcut, and not even good for you, I still could not invest the nominal time needed to get the best outcome it had to offer. The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)
Today I am in prison. Prison has changed me. I laugh as I set the microwave for one minute. I use every last second. Everything will be as it should, once the minute is up. And the universe was just fine without me, for the entire minute. I often used to say, “Men can’t save men.” My lukewarm coffee proved I did not believe my own words. I had to “make it happen.” I had to “be the one.” Why? Was it for Him? No, it was all for my own purposes, all while pretending to be serving Him. I know better now. I still want to “do things” and “be the one.” But now I only want to do what He says and be the one who He wants me to be. Yahweh is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of Yahweh. (Lamentations 3:25-26)
So now I always ask first. I talk to my Father about everything and I hear His voice. “Heat your coffee Michael. Take as long as you need. We have time to discuss what I will require of you today.” The coffee tastes so much better these days. I have new goals, new dreams, and new convictions. In prison we only have a microwave. When I’m home again with my family, I will get rid of the microwave altogether and heat my coffee on the stove. Can you imagine that? Meanwhile, Yahweh and I have coffee every day now. Hot coffee together.
But as for me, I will look to Yahweh; I will wait for the Mighty One of my salvation; and my Mighty One will hear me. (Micah 7:7)
(#269 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
He rules forever by His power. His eyes watch the nations, lest the rebels exalt themselves. (Psalm 66:7) Selah [ponder this]
If it is His power alone that rules all things, then you would do well to consider how it is you have reached any level of success or authority? “And Yahshua came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore…'” (Matthew 28:18-19) If you have any authority at all, it is because He has passed the mantle to you. “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19) Therefore, if you’ve reached the “top” having never followed His leading to get there, then by what “power” did you arrive? “Not by might nor by [your own] power, but by My Spirit,” Says Yahweh of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
The author of true power, power which never diminishes, only releases such through His Spirit to the righteous (right thinking). Unfortunately, many of you will convince yourselves that you have been “good enough” to deserve His blessings and power. This personal “goodness” is nothing but a byproduct of “self” deception. “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10, 12) And more so, what does the desire for, or the reliance on, personal power entail? It necessitates the use of tricks and manipulation. If you have “success” and it did not come through His power, then you have hijacked it. And remember, His eyes watch the nations, lest the rebels exalt themselves.
Conversely, if it is the power of Yahweh that has promoted you, then your success will always be accompanied by fruit in your life that has His signature on it: obedience, humility, repentance, and “self” realization. The latter, of course, meaning the realization that the “self” must die to make room for His true power to manifest in you.
What are you feeding on loved one? What desires do you have? Are they rooted and grounded in the perfect life of Yahshua the Messiah? A good way to know is to ask these questions; “Would He have cared about such things?” And, “Would He have done what I did to get them?” There is only one source of power loved one. Everything else is vanity and will be sifted like chaff from amongst the wheat.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
On Second Thought
(#264 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
Second thoughts are common to you My loved children. They depict an inner battle to maintain options for what might be “a better choice. “I, your Father, do not share in such struggles. I know there is no second-best choice, no Plan B. You need to accept that all of My thoughts are absolute perfection the moment I think them. I only have Plan A. I only think perfectly and I long to bring you into My way of thinking.
So we understand each other, let Mosheh (Moses) remind you, “And Yahweh was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart [mind].” (Genesis 6:6) What do you believe is happening when I tell you I was “grieved?” Do you think I was intimating that your disappointing actions surprised Me? Or, did I know all that would happen the moment I spoke creation into being? I exist outside of time and space as you know, for I have said, “My ways are higher than the heavens.” It’s true; then tell Me, why would I be grieved?
Here is some valuable spiritual insight loved one. I express emotion to reveal My heart [inner thoughts]. My heart was grieved, filled with pain. My “emotion” is to show the depth of My love for My children. For instance, the flood was Plan A child, not an afterthought. I desired that you would recognize the lengths you would go to in order to deny My Fatherhood, My right to discipline My sons and daughters (Proverbs 3:11-12). The fall; the flood; the covenants; the birth; the death; the resurrection; salvation; the perfected temple, and dominion—all Plan A. There were no changes in design along the way. Everything was decided before day one of My creation (John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20).
Like Adam, I gave you all the option to obey. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) You know you didn’t. And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? (Hebrews 3:18) You have second thoughts and you give yourself options! You cannot enter My rest in rebellion and that is “My grieving heart filled with pain.”
However, do you actually think I have to reconsider My own thoughts? Wouldn’t this lead to the inevitable conclusion that I Am flawed, and could potentially blow it? My plans are eternally perfect the first time! They are perfect from the moment I think them! Yes child, you have always been Plan A, whether you liked it or not. And it is My immense love for you that will not allow Me to leave you the way you are. No longer will you struggle with options. The mental gymnastics it takes to ponder My “perfect will” as opposed to My “permissible will,” as if I have two heads, will cease! I Am One, and everything comes under My One perfect will!
Shaul said, “I am a bondservant of Yahshua the Messiah, called to be an apostle, separated to the good news of the Mighty One.” (Romans 1:1) A bondservant is a voluntary slave who was given the option to leave slavery, allowing for the ability to make personal choices (which always lead to a fall), but instead volunteers to stay in bondage to his master knowing that true freedom is found in recognizing that there is no better option than to serve his benevolent master. This is your only choice loved one. Can’t you see it?
Why Christians should celebrate the feasts and holy days of the Old Testament
Door of Hope
(#254 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
Therefore, behold, I Am going to allure her [My Son’s bride], will bring her into the wilderness and give her understanding [speak comfort to her]: And I will assign to her these, her vineyards, and the Valley of Achor [troubled mind] as a door of hope. She will sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the days when she came up from the land of Egypt [carnal materiality]. (Hosea 2:14-15)
This is the never changing and ever difficult pattern for the fallen mind to grasp. But it is that which leads to the perfected mind. The valley is the place where hope is created and destinies revealed. And you must make a conscious decision to either conform to this most Holy of patterns or continue to rebel. The rebellion always manifests with predictable signs: anger, resentment, sadness, doubt, fear, bitterness, rage, jealousy, judgment, pride, etc. Each of these are indicators of your denial of this pattern; “The door of hope is in the valley (wilderness).”
Yahweh has seen fit to show His supernatural Hand in your life, a magnanimous gift unto itself. And He has chosen the wilderness as His place for this revelation. But, because the valley is the designated place of revelation, denial of the pattern leads to denial of revelation.
The voice of one crying, “In the wilderness prepare the way for Yahweh; make straight in the desert a highway for our Mighty One.” (Isaiah 40:3) Interestingly, each time John quotes this: Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; and John 1:23, the translators write, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare a way…,” whereas Isaiah actually says “The voice of one crying, in the wilderness prepare a way….” Do you see the subtle difference? It’s just a misplaced comma, yet it changes everything! It is not the “voice” that is in the wilderness; it is the “way” that is in the wilderness!
Remember this loved one! It makes all the difference and it will not change! And when you seek to grasp it, an amazing thing takes place as a result of your obedience. Yahweh will gift you with a supernatural peace which empowers you to actually rejoice in the wilderness; it is the ability to suffer well! Think about it. The wilderness is not a punishment as it is often presented. It is actually a place of freedom; the Israylites were freed from bondage. It is place of training in reverence; Yahweh gave His people the instruction manual for life. And it is a place of supernatural provision; where else can you get water from rocks, manna from heaven, and shoes that don’t wear out, etc.?
However, once you are given permission to go free from “Egypt” (the carnal ego), it is all too predictable that you will desire to return, as the lusts of the flesh have been rooted deeply in your subconscious. We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (Numbers 11:5-6) This is the very thing that causes you to dread the valley experience and that which creates desires to “go back into bondage.” As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)
These carnal desires can be overcome by allowing the Spirit in you (the Son’s presence) to dominate your personal choices rather than seeking to satisfy your sensual desires. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of the Mighty One dwells in you. (Romans 8:5, 9)
Understanding this most precious pattern prepares you to receive the mind of the Messiah promised to you; be perfect! “So, you mean that when I finally grasp that suffering is the only road to perfection, the narrow road to perfection, then Yahweh will actually give me joy in the midst of the suffering, so that it no longer feels like suffering to my mind?” The words of our Messiah will best explain. As they tore His flesh and drove nails through His limbs; as He hung suffocating and in agony on a tree; and as He bore all the past and future sins of humanity in an instant; He said, “Father, forgive them!” He had a mind at peace and filled with love in the midst of the most amazing display of suffering the world had or will ever witness. Suffer well loved one. Suffer well.
(#253 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“And He did not speak to them except in parables, but when they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples.” (Mark 4:34)
He led “the” life to emulate. Every pattern Yahshua demonstrated with His words and actions was a guide for our perfection. With this in mind, as we closely examine His ministry, one that would ultimately reach the masses, we notice something peculiar to our sensibilities. He consistently moved away from the crowds (Matthew 15:38-39), and chose rather to reveal the deepest things about Himself and His Father in the most intimate settings, to a distinct few. Now after six days Yahshua took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (Matthew 17:1-2) To change the world He moved away from the crowds. Counterintuitive to our instincts for sure, yet this was the formula He used to impact the masses. Interesting!
Even when He did speak to larger groups, parables were His chosen method. But He always reserved the revelation of the deeper mysteries, the secrets of the Kingdom, for a chosen few. And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been given.” (Matthew 13:10-11) Ask yourself why.
Preprogrammed agendas of men have often caused us to err in a “we must save the world” mentality. We fabricate self-prescribed missions, believing that everyone “must know.” Yahshua never had this mindset. Take a moment and consider what Matthew 4:34 and 13:10-11 are revealing? “It has been given to you [the few] to know; to them [the masses] it has not been given; when they were alone, He expounded all things.”
Yahshua was never concerned that anyone who His Father chose would be lost. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your Name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12) This was because Yahshua was promised that if He shed His blood, all those the Father intended to come would come. And the Father’s Word was all He ever needed. That is why He could focus on a small inner circle with intimate fervor, and at times, on just three even more closely. These few powerhouses; these seasoned, mature men and women, operating in the full power of Yahweh, were distinct from the masses who were hardly prepared to receive anything more than parables. Once fully persuaded, they were able to affect others with whom they were intimate. And on and on it shall go.
You too have this promise loved one, for your family; your friends; and your community and nation; and whoever is chosen shall be redeemed. This was established before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Take heed to why you are constantly trying to “save the world,” while your own inner world (your conscience) is battling about who Yahweh really is to you. Know that you have been called to be a “witness” to and about Him. How can you rightly represent Him in any matter pertaining to life and Holiness if you are double minded in your beliefs, words, and actions? Of course it sounds silly to think otherwise, and yet, you minister while undone! Work out your salvation (the perfecting of your conscience), and then perhaps He will allow you to truly witness for Him. Broken minds cannot lead, and blind men only lead other blind men into pits (Luke 6:39).
(#250 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
You have heard it said in various ways, “This above all: to thine own self be true.” And what is meant by this worldly wisdom? Is it meant to construe that if something “feels” right, then it is right? And what makes something right, or wrong for that matter? Is it a matter of “to thine own self?” Or does the Almighty make it so? These words of wisdom come from Polonius in Hamlet Act 1, scene 3. And of course, Polonius is just the mere fictional voice of Shakespeare, a man. Here are a few other “words of wisdom” from the same scene. If they are wise, what makes them so?
· Give thy thoughts no tongue…
· But do not dull thy palm with entertainment…
· Give every man thy ear but few thy voice…
· Take each man’s censure but reserve thy judgment…
· For the apparel oft proclaims the man…
· Neither a borrower nor a lender be…
· For loan oft loses both itself and friend…
Now, take into account that Yahweh has declared that man’s unredeemed heart (center of intellect) is “wicked and deceitful above all things.” (Jeremiah 17:9) Then consider that the very thing that opposes obedience to Yahweh’s commands is, “To thine own self be true.” Can you trust yourself, Shakespeare, or any man? Or would you be better off knowing what the Master has to say? “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) My commandments! Cursed is the man who trusts in man; blessed is the man who trusts in Yahweh. (Jeremiah 17:5, 7) How do you “feel” about this? It is black and white, no? Trust Yahweh and keep His commands. These are not actions based upon feelings or man’s wisdom, but rather those based on immutable truth.
“To thine own self be true?” Perhaps you might consider stating the following out loud, making a decree that will forever keep you from trusting “thine own self”: “Self, I must tell you that I cannot trust you. My Almighty Father has often told me, throughout His word, that you are only interested in your own personal desire (will). And that you will never conform to the Holy standard ‘because the carnal mind is enmity against the Almighty; for it is not subject to the law of the Almighty, nor indeed can be.’ (Romans 8:7) Self, you must decrease so the Spirit of Yahweh, through the life of His Son, might increase within me (John 3:30). Goodbye self; you are not welcome here anymore!” Think it not silly loved one. This is what it looks like to take a very powerful step towards the Light and to leave behind all that the world might offer.
And here is a final thought to consider; any “words of wisdom” from Polonius that are true, are only so because they represent Yahweh’s Word. Man apart from the Almighty has no wisdom to offer humanity. “Cursed is…! Blessed is…!” It’s that simple!
Acts 15 The Jerusalem Council
What Commandments should new Jewish people follow?
Shake it Off
(#247 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“But he shook the creature [viper] off into the fire, and suffered no harm.” (Acts 28:5)
How often have you considered such things, like Shaul’s (Paul’s) ability to overcome such a seemingly insurmountable physical obstacle? A viper “fastened on his hand” and he just “shook the creature off!” How about things that Abraham, Moses, and David overcame? How often have you thought, “Why not me?”
Let us consider how and why Shaul suffered no physical harm? It was not as you might think or imagine. Take heed loved one; nothing is ever physically achieved until it is spiritually conceived! Many acts of faith propelled Shaul’s ministry, but a recent specific memory of a spiritual promise fulfilled was most likely what inspired him during his encounter with the snake.
Just the night before, Shaul demonstrated amazing faith as he “believed” the promise of things to come even during a storm that was sure to take the lives of all aboard his ship, including his own. Consider his words; “For there stood by me this night a malak [messenger] of the Almighty to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Shaul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed the Almighty has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe the Almighty that it will be just as it was told me.” (Acts 27:23-25)
Because Shaul could testify that “it will be just as it was told me,” not even a viper bite would mean death for him. Why? Because Yahweh made a promise to him that Shaul was certain would be fulfilled. “You must be brought before Caesar.” Just like Abraham believed Yahweh for his son’s inheritance, “My son, the Almighty will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering,” (Genesis 22:8) Shaul knew he would see the future Yahweh had promised.
Faith allowed Shaul to shake off the viper (mind tormentor) and move forward as if nothing had happened. Literally, he set his mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). He knew that Yahweh was his strength and his shield; his heart trusted in Him, and he was helped (Psalm 28:7). He was able to ignore the physical realm, and all of its illusions. It’s never from the physical where power is derived! Remember this! All power is spiritual; and all power is from Yahweh alone. There is no other source of power! (Psalm 62:11)
My soul, wait silently for the Almighty alone, for my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.
In the Almighty is my salvation and my glory;
The Rock of my strength, and my refuge is in the Almighty.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him; The Almighty is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:5-8)