The Messiah’s Hearld ~ Part 10

I want to share something exciting with you from the book of Mark. The title of this segment in the Holman bible is, The Messiah’s Herald. Herald indeed! Do you recall from last week’s post regarding the portion concerning the watchmen? God’s watchmen should not only warn people about sin but speak the truth of His Gospel. The good news of the kingdom would be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony (Matthew 24:14). The word ‘proclaimed’ means ‘to herald’ as a public crier. Remember the title for the beginning segment of Mark? The Messiah’s HEARLD.  (Do you realize that what you and I write here is being proclaimed through whatever parts of the world the Lord desires?  Glory!  Outside of the United States, these are the areas I recall seeing readers:  Australia, India, Greece, Spain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Mexico, Canada, United Kingdom, and Egypt.  With this in mind, please don’t hesitate in your commenting – who knows where your proclamation might be heralded!)

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1

Please take this in and make it stick. The word ‘gospel’ is the Greek word euaggelion. It means ‘good news’ or ‘gospel’. This is not just any sort of good news spoken of here. In classical Greek this word refers to the news of a military victory. One scholar proposes that the most literal translation of the word gospel would be “good news of victory from the battlefield.” (Belief A Theological Commentary on the Bible, William Placher) Is this euaggelion significant to you?

Rewind back to the days when villages battled each other. There were no electronic communication devices available to inform other villages of a victory or to warn them of defeat so they could prepare themselves for the enemy’s advancement. Picture a ‘Paul Revere’ type rider who was responsible for ‘heralding’ the euaggelion to the awaiting villages. This is just what Mark is doing! He is opening His book with the words, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ”. In other words, “I am not just writing to tell you of the great works of Jesus. I am writing to tell you of great news of a military victory from the battlefield!”

Hallelujah!! There was a great battle between the kingdom of heaven and the forces of darkness. But euaggelion! Mark is informing us of the great news from the battlefield, “victory HAS BEEN secured!”

Here is an example of ‘battle’ in scripture:

“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” Ephesians 6:12 The word ‘battle’ here is interesting. It means wresting; a contest between two in which EACH endeavors to THROW the other, and which is decided when the victor is ABLE to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his NECK. (Strongs, my caps.) Wow!!!! The euaggelion is this, the victory has been secured, we just enforce it.

I was told once in the face of assured uncertainty and most certain death, “This is no time to be a shrinking violet!” This phrase typically explains a person who is very shy or modest and does not like to attract attention. She rightly had me figured out. She knew exactly how to handle the situation and obviously knew I did not. Her plan was to give me step-by-step instructions and for me to notify her immediately upon their completion. It worked. To this day I am amazed at the Lord’s graciousness in providing me with her wisdom. So, I lovingly say to you in your battle, “This is no time to be a shrinking violet!”. This is how you wrestle and ‘throw’ your enemy. Know that he is doing all he can to ‘throw’ you off by confusing your mind and complicating your steps (I think he tries to taunt us by belittling us). 1) Know that Euaggelion has been secured by Jesus Christ himself, 2) Stand in confidence as a child of God, 3) Know your Scripture, 3) Repeat identified Scripture over your situation and use as prayer, 4) EXPECT victory! (understand it may not look like what you might expect), 5) Pray, Praise, and LIVE in thanksgiving!

As we are working on getting rid of a bad habit and replacing it with one that brings glory to our Father, we MUST refuse to get discouraged when we are confronted with what our senses might reveal as defeat. PRESS ON. God knows before we do when our ‘wresting match’ with the enemy is coming to a close. Don’t you know that as we stand firm, continue to praise, and repeat Scripture that ‘throws’ our enemy! He expects us to cave, accept defeat and behave as if we are wounded. In the name of our victorious King, let it NOT be so!! Listen for the sound of the spiritual trumpet because the rider Himself is coming soon (Revelation 19:11) and I know you so desire to be found ready (Revelation 19:7) and full of faith (Luke 18:8). Glory!!

Heads up sweet things, enforce your victory your King has secured for you and spiritually THROW your bad habit in the face of your foe. While your are at it, put your hand on his NECK for the final blow. DO NOT GIVE UP. The goal is to be standing on solid foundation because make no mistake, your false one WILL be shaken.

THIS is about victory. If you are in Christ, you share in His victory, but you must enforce it in your life. Isn’t this the bottom line of the entirety of Scripture? Victory? What’s more, this is not just about your victory it is about you bringing others to know their victory!! It is TIME to stand on the true foundation. You WILL throw down your bad habit and you will move in it as a testimony that others can be victorious as well. AMEN!!! Times are upon us sweet thing. Learn to be victorious over the flesh so that you are ready to reign with Jesus in heaven (Revelation 20:6).

Are you prepared to be a watchman in your generation and share the euaggelion while your feet are planted on the solid foundation? As a Christ-follower, you are well suited for the task.
In His grace,
Amanda

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Trumpets…Ties From the Past ~ Part 9

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“When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand in the presence of God; seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel with a gold incense burner, came and stood at the altar. He was given a large amount of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the gold altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up in the presence of God from the angel’s hand. The angel took the incense burner, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it to the earth; there were rumbling of thunder, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.” Revelation 8:1-6

Will you join me in a prayerful consideration?

All seven seals are opened and there is silence in heaven for about half an hour. Silence. Another reference to silence is found in Zephaniah 1:7, “Be silent in the presence of the Lord God, for the Day of the LORD is near.” Most interpreters understand the silence to refer to the awesome silence before the great storm of God’s wrath on the earth. A kind of Sabbath pause might be thought of here. (Expositors)

The Day of the Lord begins with the trumpet judgments. The seals were opened by the Lamb but the judgments are carried out by seven angels. Next week, we will look at the other components of these verses but today we will prayerfully consider the trumpets. Let’s look at some other verses where a trumpet is utilized because its use as an eschatological signal of the day of the Lord (or return of Christ) is well established.

The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to make two trumpets of hammered silver to summon the community and have the camps set out. When both trumpets were sounded in long blasts, the entire community was to gather before Moses at the entrance to the tent of meeting. If one blast was sounded, only the leaders were to gather before Moses. Short trumpet blasts were sounded to inform the camps to set out. When Moses called the assembly together, long trumpet blasts not short ones were to be sounded. Who blew the trumpets? The sons of Aaron, the priests. The Lord told Moses that this was to be a permanent statute throughout the generations. (Numbers 10:1-8)

The Lord also told Moses when they entered into battle in their land against an adversary who was attacking them, they were to sound short blasts on the trumpets and the Lord would remember them and deliver them from their enemies. (Don’t you just LOVE that! When in line with God’s commands they could sound the trumpet and He would deliver them!! Hallelujah! We might not be blowing trumpets in our day but we certainly raise holy voices to the One that can deliver!) They were also told to sound the trumpets over their offerings, sacrifices, festivals, beginning of months and on joyous occasions. The trumpets would serve as a reminder for them that Yahweh was their God. (I don’t know about you but I want nothing more than to raise this voice of mine right now and shout out a reminder that Yahweh is MY God! What about you?) This whole section is intriguing to me because Yahweh told Moses HOW and WHEN he wanted the trumpets used. They summoned the people AS WELL AS Himself. Glory! He used the trumpets then and He will use them again soon. Are you listening with anticipation? LORD, unstop our ears for your sound!

“Then you are to sound a trumpet loudly in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month; you will sound it throughout your land on the Day of Atonement.” (Leviticus 25:9 The trumpet calls the people to prepare for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippuror). This Feast of Trumpets is an annual feast and it was to be a day of compete rest, commemoration, and joyful shouting (Lev. 23:23, Psalm 81:1-3). This was also a day to hold a sacred assembly (reading of the Word together) and to practice self-denial.

“On the third day, when morning came, there was thunder and lightning, a thick could on the mountain, and a loud trumpet sound, so that all the people in the camp shuddered.” Exodus 19:16

“As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder.” Exodus 19:19

Today Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 6:20) and we are not required to blow trumpets. However, God instructed His watchmen to warn His people regarding sin (Ezekiel 33:7-9) and to raise their voice like a trumpet (Isaiah 58:1). Do you consider yourself to be one of God’s watchmen? Not only warning people about sin but speaking the truth of His Gospel as in Matthew 24:14?  You are!

“This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) The word ‘proclaimed’ means ‘to herald’ as a public crier. “In the East today every village even has its public crier, selected for his loud or penetrating voice, and appointed to give notice of the fresh orders or mandates of the mudir (“governor”) or other authorities.” They were preceded by trumpeters who made official proclamations. (from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) Remember Isaiah 58:1? “Cry out loudly, don’t hold back!” Fascinating!

“Blow the horn (trumpet) in Zion; sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the residents of the land tremble, for the Day of the LORD is coming; in fact, it is near – “ Joel 2:1 (see others Zep 1:16 and Isaiah 27:13)

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16

“Listen! I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the blind of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

“He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Matthew 24:31

This Psalm is so delightful to me I have to include it in its entirety! “Hallelujah! Praise God in His sanctuary. Praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His powerful acts; praise Him for His abundant greatness. Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with flute and strings. Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise hIm tie clashing cymbals. Let everything that breathes praise the LORD. Hallelujah!” Psalm 150

Let’s review the parallelism of the verses in Matthew and Seals 1-6.

Matthew 24:6-29      Parallelism to the six Seals

Matthew 24:4           1st Seal

Matthew 24:6           2nd Seal

Matthew 24:7           3rd Seal

Matthew 24:7           4th Seal

Matthew 24:9           5th Seal (Mat. 24:9-28)

Matthew 24:29         6th Seal

Father, as Your watchmen, may our voice be used as a trumpet today.  Holy and pleasing to Your ears.

Recall the challenge to break a habit in three weeks (post dated Feb. 9).  You will know you have broken the habit when it no longer is your knee-jerk response in a situation.  You may occasionally respond similarly in the future but don’t think you have failed in breaking that specific habit.  Repent and continue moving forward.  The same example can be see with sin in the Christ-follower.   Just because you are a Christian does not mean you will never sin again.  Chin up DIVAs – God is for you!  Please post successes!

In HIs Grace,
Amanda

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End the Bad Habit and STAND on the Solid Foundation ~ Part 8

Psalm 26

Vindicate me, Lord, because I have lived with integrity and have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Test me, Lord, and try me; examine my heart and mind. For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth. I do not sit with the worthless or associate with hypocrites. I hate a crowd of evildoers, and I do not sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence and go around Your altar, Lord, raising my voice in thanksgiving and telling about Your wonderful works. Lord, I love the house where You dwell, the place where Your glory resides. Do not destroy me along with sinners, or my life along with men of bloodshed in whose hands are evil schemes and whose right hands are filled with bribes. But I live with integrity; redeem me and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; I will praise the Lord in the assemblies.

Greetings in the Lord DIVAs! Shall we start off here and now with a resounding shout of praise and glory to the One who makes all things possible?! Not the kind of praise that stays inside your head but the kind that expels from your mouth causing your holy hands to spring up in unison! Let us not only bend the knees but bend the heart to the King of Kings that would BOLDLY call us His own. Does your spirit confirm this truth? Countries boldly stick a pole in the ground and raise their flag on it claiming ownership. God allowed people to stick their cross in the ground and He raised his Son on it claiming ownership of ALL who would come to Him for salvation! Because He has been bold with us, let us live unashamed of the freedom He has procured for us through His Own Son! Hallalujah! He has bridged the gap between Himself and our desperate quest to find our purpose. After running for endless days we can fall breathlessly at the feet of our purpose (Him) and find meaning!! The season has come for us to drop our pathetic robes of pride by seeking the acceptance of man for our own gain and stand exposed before our one True Love and wear His robe of righteousness He has always had in provision for us. Let’s step our feet on the solid foundation (level ground) of His Kingdom and THRIVE!!  Amen!

Far too long DIVAs we have believed the outrageous lie that Satan has whispered in our ears and our flesh has taken hold of with a vengeance. We have lived our days pinned under the idea that we are worthless, shameful, incapable, unholy, unaccepted, and far too gone to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13) to anyone, besides the notion of impacting EVERY SINGLE person we come into contact with from sun up to sun down! It is TIME for a change.

As we have discussed before, it takes three weeks to change a habit. We are not only going to drop a debilitating habit, we are going to form a new one in its place based on the relentless Word of our unfailing God! We are going to believe God’s Word in our situation as powerful and unstoppable. Take the lie your heart has chosen to believe and do not allow it permission to proceed. Wash it throughly every time it dares to make an appearance with the Fear of God which will steady you on a firm foundation, allowing you to stand!!  I love this song.  I wrote a few paragraphs of this post as I was being blessed by its anointing.  It is incredibly inspiring in this way 1) He calls us to places were our strength may fail but our faith STANDS strong, 2) You are inspired to KEEP your eyes on Jesus who is ALWAYS ABOVE your trial, 3) He has never failed and HE WONT START NOW – you can trust Him!!, and 4) Call upon His name as He leads you to victory over breaking your habit and STANDING on His solid foundation.  Praise God!

This is how we will do it. Identify one bad habit (negative thoughts, anger, harsh words, pride, addiction, criticism, unthankfulness…Focus on one habit at a time.) and as soon as the habit begins to manifest, take it captive (do not allow it to proceed) to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:5) by putting it to the test of the Word. If it is not in harmony with the Word, put the sword (Word) to it.  We are not stopping there.  Replace the bad habit with the truth of the Word so that you begin forming a new habit. We must stop doing wrong and learn to do right (Isaiah 1:16-17). In doing this, we will be moving our feet off the world’s foundation and on to God’s foundation.

When our King returns we must be made ready. One way to do this is to have a pure heart (let’s get rid of these BAD habits!!!) and be standing on a sure foundation. Last week we looked at the 6th seal and how the people of the earth hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains because they wanted to be hidden from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. The question posed was, “who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17) I have included some verses that answer that question.

“Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy.” Jude 1:24

“This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” Ephesians 6:13

“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye.” Malachi 3:2

“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say? I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great!” Luke 6:46-49

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:27-28  We are putting the Sword (God’s word) to our bad habit and following Him.  We must know the cost to following Him is crucifying the flesh.

“But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near!” Luke 21:28

“Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36

You can do it DIVAs! Include your name if you are participating and please post an encouraging comment for those who are already on their second week! I praise God in advance for your desire for further sanctification!

In His grace,
Amanda

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What is Your Foundation? ~ Part 7

“I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places. Then everyone – the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person – all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hid us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the Great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?” Revelation 6:12-17

Wow! Does this provoke feelings of fear or do you rest easy knowing your Heavenly Father knows best?

In Genesis 1:14 God tells us the lights in the sky (sun, moon, and stars) were given for signs and seasons. Following the great earthquake (from Rev.) these celestial lights will undergo frightening alterations as a sign of a profound season of change. Are you prepared for such a thing? It will be so frightening that leaders, great men, and military commanders, regardless of wealth, position, or status will all instinctively hide. Those abounding with material resources will no longer find comfort in their possessions and means of control because it will all be of no avail! The methods of leadership kings utilize to motivate their corps is based on a false foundation (worldly techniques) and they will use their remaining influence to command people into caves (shelter used as a hiding place). Governors, mayors, police, and firefighters also escape to caves (or shelters), instructing others to follow. Commanders of thousands of soldiers see caves as their only means of escape. Those who boast about their mighty strength will use it as they run for cover.

I find it interesting that the word used for ‘caves’ here in Revelation is also the same word used for a place of burial in John 11:38.

Everyone here has the same predicament – a reliance on false foundations for comfort and protection. This is evident by the crying out to the mountains and rocks to save them! Everyone’s bedrock is violently collapsing yet people continue to seek the earth’s foundations (rocks) for protection – even as the rocks crumble! In God’s mercy, He allows people a final chance to repent and call on the only true Foundation and Rock that exists. We are told from Revelation 7 verses 9 and 14 that a vast multitude which no one could number do just that.

We as a people are in grave danger when we rely on created things (whether created by God or by us). I remember a friend told me when violent storms threatened her family they would gather together and pray for the Lord’s protection and they were always safe. They recently built a house with a storm shelter and when violent storms threatened they would all run to the storm shelter. While there they would play games, have snacks, or maybe even nap. She began to realize their trust had shifted from the Lord’s protection to now relying on the storm shelter to shield them. This godly woman realized they had misplaced trust in a false foundation and lamented for things to be the way they once were when they ultimately trusted God for His hand in their safety. (Storm shelters are not evil but they will never replace God’s ultimate provision of safety.) Thank you Lord for their precious hearts and for honest appraisals of our lives and choices which serve as a bold witness for others! Hallelujah!!

Here are some Scripture that are similar to the verses were are studying.

“All the heavenly bodies will dissolve. The skies will roll up like a scroll, and their stars will all wither as leaves wither on the vine, and foliage on the fig tree.” Isaiah 34:4

“For My people are fools; they do not know Me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good.” Jeremiah 4:22 In verse 23, Jeremiah looked at the earth and it was formless and empty. He looked to the heavens and their light was gone. He witnessed the quaking mountains and the shaking hills.

The events regarding the sun and moon and the Great day are very similar to the events mentioned in Joel (and quoted again in Acts) and Matthew. “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and awe-inspiring Day of the Lord comes.” (Joel 2:31) “Immediately after the tribulation of those days: The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the celestial powers will be shaken. “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31) “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:20-21)

In the last portion of the verse we are told the people tell the mountains to fall on them so they will be hidden from the judgment and wrath of God. Oh yes, the mountains will quake (Isaiah 64:1) and the earth will tremble (Nahum 1:5) but NOT because man tells them to! These things will happen because of the authority of HIS presence! Amen!

What a blessing indeed to have Deanna always ready to worship with a song! Thank you Lord.

DIVAs, since we know the foundations will quake, lets make sure our precious feet are standing squarely on the right One. Lets make certain we do what is necessary now while there is opportunity and we are not caught with even a toe on shaky ground! Let’s remember that God shakes foundations that are in need of shaking but yet He remains compassionate towards us! Hallelujah!! Thank you Lord! Come! DIVAs, let’s move our feet to solid ground! “Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you and My covenant of peace will not be shaken, says your compassionate Lord.” Isaiah 54:10

In His grace,
Amanda

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