Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ambassador From What Country?

Our Friend Kyle has hit it again.  He has a gift for putting the same thoughts I have into words of understanding.
Thank you Kyle.

The way you see people is the way you treat them,
and the way you treat them is what they become.
Johann von Goethe

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Kyle Humphrey
Sent: Sunday, July 28, 2013 9:39 AM
Subject: 072713's devotion

Are you going to travel to another country in the near future?  Then get to know their ways!  Enjoy and know you are loved by your brother!
Have you ever heard the saying: 
When in Rome, do as the Romans do?
I say, “While in Christ, do as Christ did!” (1 John 2:6)
07 / 28 / 13
(Comments in parentheses and emphasis are mine)
If we were to move to another country, a country that we knew nothing about prior to our moving there, after about a year we would start to pick up some of the language and even understand their culture.  We would adopt their ways of life … because we want to be like them and not be viewed as foreigners.  We would put the effort into learning their culture and ways.  If I knew ahead of time that I was moving there, I would even take the time to study their culture and language before going! 
So, why do so many people who say they believe in the Son of God look and act NOTHING like the Son?  Actually, the majority literally are walking contrary to how Yeshua (Jesus) walked!  Why?
1)      They do not understand God’s original Laws (which are all nestled in with those sacrifices, of course), when they read about our Messiah rebuking the Jews for their “obedience”, they think it is the Laws of Moses they were being rebuked for obeying.  What He was referring to, though, were the added man-made laws! 
2)     To obey those Laws now?  In our Western society?  Well … to be honest … would really seem odd and different for most people.  Besides that, it would really cramp many lifestyles, to say the least.  So, they conclude that since God looks into our hearts and knows that we “actually do love Him”, it must be okay to continue to disobey Him (They do not realize that He DOES know the heart and what that actually means … many SAY they love Him, but HE says, “by their actions, they are denying Him” … Matthew 15:8, Mark 7:6 is speaking about those people who were saying they love Him, but they were not practicing His Laws … only the laws and traditions of men.  Plus, Paul writes in Titus 1:16 the same thing, They profess to know God, but by their deeds (actions) they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
The result of such lack of knowledge, “You worship God your way, and I will worship Him mine”.  Funny, but when in Rome, would you say that?  Would you obey only those Italian laws that you liked and refuse to adhere to their ways of life?   I don’t think so!  The fact is:  There is only one way to worship God:  His way (Not mine or yours, or even the churches that came before us).  This theme rings out everywhere about those who “did it there way” and, well, God tells us what He thinks about that:
These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.”  (Psalm 50:21)  Some versions have, “Rebuke you in the end” … these people “thought” God was like them and enjoyed their acts of worship … He clearly did NOT.
Okay, back to the topic:  When in Rome, do as the Romans do.  Well, I am NOT of this world, but the next, the kingdom to come, and I have taken the time to look like those who will be there (the kingdom of priests … Revelation 20:6).  We are told that the Son could do NOTHING but what His Father told Him to do … “Yeshua (Jesus) gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do ONLY what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” – John 5:19 (and others).  So Yeshua was NOT rebuking the Jews for obeying His Father’s commands / Laws as given to Moses, but rebuking THEIR added laws. 
Below is a summary of what brought me to the place of repentance and letting go of this life (if you care – smile):
I was not in Rome, so I had no desire to do as the Romans did.  BUT … I was claiming to be in Christ, yet there were some things HE was doing and I was not.  So I took the time and searched His Word, and now I am now looking more each day like His Son and those who followed Him!
If you love God, it is out of the extent of THAT love that you will either fear Him or fear those around you.  When Yeshua (Jesus) walked the earth there was the SAME choice:  Continue obeying the leaders (pastors and priests of the time), or let go of all the man-made teachings that have crept in over decades and distorted the Word!  Whomever we fear (and love) the most will be the one we will conform to (this is what Paul is referring to about obeying or not obeying … we obey the source we love the most:  either righteousness that leads to life, or disobedience, that leads to death.  So, was it my friends I was listening to?  My family?  My teachers of the Word?  Or to the Messiah who clearly obeyed the Father out of love for him?  I must tell you, to change to honoring the 7th day Sabbath was VERY difficult for me and my family.  It caused division and strife within the extended family.  It meant going against those that I love … but I loved HIM more!!  It was amazing after that first step of faith (Faith is what?  Doing something JUST BECAUSE God says to do it), all else seemed to fall into place.   
May I dare say that those who taught me in the past put a fear within me about God’s Law?  It was out of that ignorance that I refused to obey the Law of Moses and “just love” (But, to find out, the Laws tells us HOW to love both God and our neighbor).  That ignorance is what kept me from truly imitating and looking like my Savior!  Oh, I was still obeying “a Sabbath”, but not the right one … oh, I was still celebrating holidays to Him, but not the ones HE commanded and His Son did!  The things I was doing were simply not in the Bible and nobody in the Bible did them … I just had to search His Word for myself … it just didn’t make sense!  I was confused!!  I thought and I thought …
1.)    What laws were nailed to the cross?  (Colossians 2:14)
2.)   What laws am I supposed to be upholding by faith?  (Romans 3:31) 
3.)   What laws did my Savior walk in, and therefore, I am to be walking in?  (1 John 2:6)
4.)   What laws did our Savior say are not done away with? (Matthew 5:17-19)
I was literally screaming inside, “I am SOOOO confused”.  But I desired to please God!  So I did not want to place my knowledge about God into man’s hand … but HIS.  Questions upon questions built up inside:  What laws are for the Jews? …What ones are for the Gentiles?  Are there two different laws?  Two families?  Who, then, is Israel? And this list grew until He got me to the place of a child, 
Then the verses started to flow.  You see, I had to first let go of men’s way (the flesh) and actually get to the point of, “No matter what, I will serve you and do what you say to do!”  I first had to let go of the traditions of men!  It was this act of complete submission and giving up on my desires and the fear of what others thought, that seemed to allow His Spirit to work within me.  Finally, answers came … like:
1.)    There has always been just one Law … (Exodus 12:49 … “The SAME law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.”)
2.)   There has always been just one family …  Israel (made up of believing Jew and believing Gentile (John 10:16 … “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”)  … and I wanted to become part of that family.  Sooooo … I had to know what an Israelite is supposed to look like and how they are to act!  In short:  I had to look like the High Priest, Himself … Yeshua (Jesus).
3.)   How can I Show God that I loved Him?  I could finally hear His voice whisper (and, and if we would only listen, is Daddy is a talker (smile)):
-         John 14:15 … “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” “Just like your kids obey you because they want to please and love you, Kyle”  (I could literally hear His voice say it!)
-         John 14:24 … “He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.  These words you hear are NOT my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”  (You mean the teachings that my Savior taught were nothing new, but simply the same laws of His Father being corrected from man’s changes?  The words, “I do love you!  I do desire to please you out of that love!” … rang from my heart.)
-         1 John 5:3 … “This is love for God: to obey His commands.  And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”  (I finally overcame this world and its teachings!!!  It was then that I started to search, “Which commands were too difficult (that I was told, “They couldn’t do it”, yet HE said, “They are NOT too difficult”)?  Rising up for the grey-haired man?  Nope … that is easy!  How about returning a lost animal to its owner?  Nope … that is easy too!  Honoring the true Sabbath and calling it a delight?  Actually, I look forward to this day coming again, right when it is over at sundown.  All this obedience was out of my faith in God and trusting in HIM for my Salvation.) 
-         John 14:21a … “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”   
While in Christ … do as Christ did!
Christ obeyed His Father … it cost Him His reputation and ultimately His life.  If that is what it takes … “Use me Father to do the same”.  My Master’s obedience to the real Laws went against the religious leaders and their teachings.  Just like today…we, too have years of “new laws” that have been handed down to me … A different Sabbath, a different diet, a different worship appearance and even different days to celebrate.  Just like those who lived during Yeshua’s (Jesus) walk on earth … I, too, had to literally let go of man’s teachings (doctrines and traditions) to follow His Son.  Again, over the last 2,000 years, we have changed God’s Laws. 
The question remains … does He care?
I believe He does!  He is compassionate … loving … patient … long-suffering … wanting no one to perish but all to come to a knowledge of who He is!  But His wrath is still being stored up for the day when His Son is revealed (The book of Romans was written AFTER the Son’s resurrection, so this day is coming) … “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed.”  (Romans 2:5).  Unrepentant from what?  If we continue in our sin AFTER we say we are sorry … are we repentant?  Nope!  But I thought that the Son did away with the Laws?  Nope again (smile)!  How do we know what sin is, except by the Laws (1 John 3:4 … what are you practicing?  A life with or without the Laws?)
While in Christ … do as Christ did!
We still must offer our lives to God.  As 1 Peter 2:5 says, be “Living sacrifices”!   We are to live by faith that His entire Word is truth and is in effect for us today.  We need to know our heritage so that we can look like the children that God intended us (Israel) to be.  We, like those who came before us, are to live as strangers on this planet … waiting for the true life to come (Hebrews 11:13-16).   Just like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, we must continue to celebrate the REAL holidays, the REAL Sabbath, and eat the REAL food … and yes, love our enemies and neighbors as HE commands!  Why?  So that we do not forget what God did for us and so that our children will also know Him personally!  Our children will know that we actually serve God with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28) and that HE runs their parent’s life!  They will know that HE is Holy, as well as forgiving if we live as if God is God, and not a man.  So why would people stumble over this type of obedience?  (1 Peter 2:8-10)  I, for one, have decided NOT to trample the Spirit of grace … just because I have mercy now!
I am in Christ … so I do what Christ did (how about you? – smile)

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