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Like Mike said,"please filter my comments through the lens of the bible"...I maybe diving into deep water here but here goes...I just couldn't help comparing Cyrus to the church.There are many messianic commnunites now but most of the ones I know here started off in a local christian church.Today more and more christians are praying for Israel to recognise Jesus as their saviour...alot of jews are responding.There was a time a doctrine was spreading that Israel has been rejected by God and all the promises made to Israel are now the church's.God still has a plan with Israel.
I believe it is crucial for every christian to be a "self feeder"I began to question the doctrine I was getting when I came to Christ.I really wanted to get to know the truth but somehow reading through the bible on my own didn't help me much.I have to say being involved in a bible study has really helped me filter out a lot of heresies.
God bless you all.
PS,I would really appreciate any corrections in case I go overboard with my comments

Isaiah 45 (NKJV)
11
Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “ Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; and concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.

NOTE:
This verse may appear totally contradictory to the God’s nature—He is the Most High, He is the Supreme, and He is the Almighty God!

Why, then, would “the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker” tell a man: “you command Me”?

CONTEXT IS KEY. The answer must always start there. Note the earlier verses from Isaiah 45:

1
“Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut:
2
‘ I will go before you and make the crooked places straight [OR. . . I will trample down the walls; OR. . . I will humble the great ones of the earth]; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron.

4
For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
5
I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
6
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other
~~~

God Himself had put His own desires into the heart of Cyrus.

Even though Cyrus—a pagan king—did not know the Lord, God had put it in the heart of Cyrus to perceive what God was telling him, to receive it, and then to completely yield to God’s will.

Thus, it now makes sense that God would say to Cyrus: “you command Me”.

God had so clearly put His will into the heart of Cyrus that whatever Cyrus wanted to do would be God’s will. So Cyrus had the right to “declare” what he was going to do, and God would do it.

Cyrus was raised for this purpose, as in the verse below:

13
I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build My city and let My exiles go free,
not for price nor reward,” says the LORD of hosts.

So Cyrus can speak and act according to God’s will, and there is no doubt it will be done.

In a much larger sense, applying to all of us, this makes me think of these verses:

Psalm 37 (Amplified Bible)
4
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.
5
Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

Proverbs 16 (Amplified Bible)
3
Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

John 15 (Amplified Bible)
4
Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

7
If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
~~~

Isaiah 47 (NKJV)
10
And you have said in your heart, ‘ I am, and there is no one else besides me.’

Pride is a wicked and deceitful attitude to have: “I am the best. There is no one besides me. It is all about me.”

Of course, that attitude rejects the truth that God alone is the highest and best, and that life is about God!
~~~

Isaiah 48 (NKJV)
10
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11
For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.

NOTE:
Thank God that God keeps working with us until our character is molded and shaped, and our lives become pure.

Thank God that, in Christ, all true believers in the Lord Jesus—when they repent, pray, believe, and receive Christ as Savior and Lord—they are immediately made clean in the sight of God.

Romans 5 (NKJV)
1
Therefore, having been justified [i.e., declared righteous] by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

2 Corinthians 5 (NKJV)
17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
~~~

Yet our character and our very beings have been so corrupted by sin that God has to bring us to death to our way of thinking.

May I receive the “refining” and the “testing” that God works and allows. It is in the fire that our faith is made pure as we seek Him when it is not convenient or easy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Jesus, Matthew 5)

We are called to live for God. It is all about Him!

Ephesians 4 (NKJV)
15
but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
16
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

NOTE:
May we love the Truth so that we seek Truth above our way and above our comfort.

May we speak Truth to one another in love and respect for others—knowing they are valuable and precious because all people bear God’s image.

May we receive a brother or sister who is speaking Truth in love.

In addition, all Christians are “not their own” but we have been “bought with a price”. The Lord Jesus in each believer is a very holy and precious reality. We respect the work of God in each other.

May we work together in love and unity. ONLY THEN will we individually and as a body develop the character of the Lord Jesus!
~~~

Yesterday, Sunday, September 24, 2006, was the beginning of Ramadan.

Let us pray for Muslims as they fast and pray during this time.

Many Muslims sincerely seek the Lord, longing for a pure desire to separate from the world and to know God.

Many Muslims have come to know the Lord Jesus as they seek the Lord during Ramadan because Christians pray.
~~~

Pray for Muslims in the Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan Rich in history and culture, the Ferghana Valley prides itself in being the cradle of everything Uzbek; the Uzbeks in the Valley consider themselves the most pure.

This pride has been a hindrance to the Gospel, because the notion to be Uzbek is to be Muslim, is very much accepted in the valley.

The city of Kokand, a major religious center (pop. 200,000), boasts of having 300 mosques (including one which can hold 10,000 worshippers). In reality, knowing the true God would only make them more Uzbek, as they understand who they can become through Christ!

Prayer guide for the Ferghana Valley:

1. Pray for the national believers in the Ferghana Valley to be bold in their witness and loving in their relationships with non-believers. The vast majority of Muslims in the Valley have not been evangelized.

2. May the Holy Spirit show people in the Valley that being a follower of Jesus will in no way make them less Uzbek, Tadjik or Kyrgyz. It will only help them to discover their real identity. Muslims in the Valley need to experience the Kingdom of God. Only God’s new society is able to meet their most profound aspirations for peace and justice.

3. Pray for God's righteous ways to rule in the business realm.

Testimony from the Ferghana Valley:

I am 38 years old, was born in Kokand, a small city in the Ferghana Valley, and I am married and have small children. I am an ex-criminal, and was in prison for many years. Previously my life was awful and I had no one to rely on except for myself. Before coming to Jesus I was very aggressive, rough and dishonest. People were afraid of me because of my reputation.

God is doing many miracles in the Ferghana Valley - healing people, setting them free, and changing lives. Now the kingdom of God is spreading to many villages and small cities in the Ferghana Valley.

Vance

The story of Cyrus to me is one of the most amazing in the Bible. How vividly it shows that our God has a plan for each of us...Jew,Gentile,Christian,non-Christian,saint,sinner alike. It is but one story, a simple story, an important story.

Ephesians 4:1-16

Unity in the Body of Christ

Paul calls on the Ephesians (and us believers) to walk worthy of the calling we have received.

How do we do that? In the end of 2Cor and all through Galatians Paul says that we cannot do it on our own - we must yield to the Holy Spirit. God will change us through the Spirit - we cannot change ourselves.

Yet here Paul calls us to be humble, gentle, patient, and to put up with one another out of love. Nice progression, one must be humble to become gentle then we will develop patience - and out of patience that love that is asked for by Paul.

That is not human nature. We are proud of things, we get upset when we are wronged, patience runs out, and it is so tough to love someone who constantly wrongs you.

These are fruits of the Spirit, and we can only be developed in them when we yield to the Holy Spirit, when we acknowledge we cannot run our lives and let God do it.

Notice Eph 4:3
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

It doesn't say go and get unity - it says "KEEP" the unity that has been given you already when you were saved. Christians, myself included, have done a remarkable job of thinking they can do it - they can improve, they can do things to please God. Inevitably when one does not walk in the Spirit, the body of Christ suffers from fractures. The Unity gets messed up.

"bond" used here in Greek refers to some kind of "tie or belt" - we are to wear the peace on us like a belt - kepping it always with us. A peace that is born of love. The final step in the progression in verse 2. If we are not enemies of God anymore, and our heart has been healed and we are at peace with ourselves through Christ - one should be able to yield to God (put aside our pride) and let God do His work in us through the Spirit.
======================================================
Verse 4: "There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

Ah here is that number seven again - the Biblical number of completeness. These seven things ALL Christians should be able to agree on. If someone doesn't they have a problem, and need to go to God in prayer.

IMPORTANT NOTE: People say the Trinity is never mentioned in the Bible. We have seen representations of it in various parts of the Bible, but here the Trinity is specifically laid out.

Spirit - pneuma - Holy Spirit

Lord - kurios - title of God the Messiah - Jesus

God and Father - theos and pater - God

Just as distinct in the Greek by using different words as it is in the English.
======================================================
Church Distorted

somewhere along the way the idea of the chuch got distorted. In the Greek it means an assembly of people - for us - "believers". Along the way the church became associated with buildings. worse - the idea that professional or life devoted people would be responsible for maintaining and building the church - and we the people would just sit and listen, and do things when asked or motivated.

That is not what God meant at all - gifts (different from the fruits ofthe Spirit) were given to us ALL. We are ALL to be actively invovled in the building up and growing in unity that the Church (assembly of believers) represents.

The gifts here are not an exhaustive list - other gifts can be seen in Rom 12, and 1Cor12. check the list out - you have at least one of these gifts, and YOU are to actively use it in the Body of Christ. The Professional staff has there jobs to do, and we are to use ourt gifts to encourage and love them, and each other so that the Body will grow in unity and fullness of Christ - ergo Christian maturity. There is an awful lot of Churches that can be classified as full of "baby" Christians.

If we all work together in love through walking in the Holy Spirit and using our gifts (instead of being a Christian couch potato)- we will not be distracted by non-biblical ways of Christianity, we will speak the Truth (based on God's Word) with love, and WE WILL GROW in Christian maturity into the fullness that is Christ.

Obviously we will not be perfected until we go to heaven, but the process of growth can move much further along than is exemplified in most Christian bodies now here on earth.

The picture of the body at the end is so good at describing the Body of Christ. Each body part, each ligament has a purpose for the body. without it - the body will probably survive - but with it being utilized to its fullest - the body grows into maturity the way God intended.

Isaiah 45

From yesterday's post:
This is an amazing prophecy because it was written 150 years BEFORE Cyrus's birth. The name in the text is of Persian origin so the people reading it would go "Huh?". At that time the Babylonians were the world power, and the Persians had not begun to rise in prominence.
======================================================
Is 45:22-23
"Turn to me and be saved,
all you ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.

23 By myself I have sworn,
my mouth has uttered in all integrity
a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
by me every tongue will swear.

Here Isaiah seems to be not just talking about Israel but about the whole world.

What is the Call? Turn back to the Lord - the prophets constantly declare it to the people. John the Baptist preaches it - it is to REPENT. Quit going your own way, quit thinking you are doing it, quit thinking you can earn salvation.

In Gospel of John The call is to repent, and Jesus comes and completes the message - REPENT and BELIEVE (know, believe, and trust all wrapped up in the Greek word for belief).

When we do this we will be saved. Easily said, but hard to do because of our pride, unless God is drawing us to Him.

In services a few weeks ago at Communion pastor said there are different types of rebels in the building. Those that rebelled against God - but repented and believed. Those that are still rebels and out and out reject God and his gift of salvation, and those that are too apathetic to even ask questions - those rebels that just drift along and think life is ups and downs and I will get by - never contemplating eternity.

No matter which rebel - ALL in the end will be on bended knee, and ALL will proclaim Jesus as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Just not all will be spending eternity with God - that is for the first category of rebels.
======================================================
Is 48:11
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed?
I will not yield my glory to another.

Just another place where God tells us "what He is up to". This is not about us - it is about God's glory.

We have done nothing to earn His blessings, grace or mercy. He does it for His names sake - so that the infinite grace and power can be seen - which glorifies God.

God will not yield His glory to another - God is immutable - God does not change. [If he changed was he less perfect before or was he perfect and now less perfect. NO - God does not change. The God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament. He would not share His glory then , and He will not now.]

As soon as you accept this then it is easy to see why the Scriptures must be in line that:
- it is not grace and works, but grace that gives faith (belief) that saves us, and maintains our walk. If works were involved - if man could be a part of the process and boast - God's glory is diminished.

- there can be no purgatory where someone is in some place suffering to pay off his/her sins. If there were God's glory would be diminished in that we have a part in getting to heaven.

- there can be no dead human raised to deity or near-deity status. There is one God - one Trinity - there is no other. If someone was elevated to exalted status - it would diminish God's glory.

- there is only one mediator between man and God - that is Jesus Christ. No earthbound person can mediate with God for us (that died at the cross). No dead human whose spirit in heaven can intercede for us with God. If either could then Gods glory is diminished.

GOD DOES NOT SHARE HIS GLORY WITH ANYONE.


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