Blessed are You, LORD our God King of the Universe Who sanctifies us in Your commandments and commanded us to immerse ourselves in the study of Torah. Faithful Father, may You bring forth a bountiful harvest before us as we actively sow the Good Seed of Your Word into our lives and into the lives of others for Your Name's sake. Thank You that You love us too much to allow us to stay the same and walk the way of Cain...And You've provided for us an infinitely better Way through our King and Redeemer Jesus Christ! Thank You, Abba, for creating in us new and clean hearts for Your Name's sake and our good. And I praise You for Your infinite grace and mercy! Amen
Christ's Conduit or Barren, Fruitless Waste?
"Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers (scribes) and P'rushim (Pharisees)! You are like white-washed tombs...full of dead people's bones and all kinds of rottenness. Likewise, you appear to people from the outside to be good and honest, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and far from Torah." ~ Matthew 23:27, 28 You see, I had forgotten the pit from which He heard my cries and rescued me (Psalm 40). Though SAFE WITHIN THE ARK OF CHRIST'S BLOOD, I had grown complacent and dropped a diligent guard over my heart. All too quickly, the weeds of pride, gluttony, idleness and mercilessness began to consume my field. I was appalled to learn that I had foolishly been substituting KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WORD for OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD...a dangerous cancer indeed, in the Body of Christ. We must understand, however, that to find ourselves in 'the pit' is not a shame. The shame is staying there.
THE FATHER’S BATTLE PLAN
Week 4 - Victory Over Mercilessness: OPERATION GIVE
Guard (Hebrew natsar) your heart with diligence against pride, gluttony, idleness, and ultimately mercilessness. That connotes an active position of guarding, protecting, keeping, and maintaining. It is the ultimate weed prevention program!
(Read Numbers 15:37-41) In this week’s reading, ADONAI told Moses that the children of Israel were to create blue fringes on the corners of their garments as a reminder for their forgetful selves. They were to wear visual reminders because sheep are very forgetful and mentally challenged! When they looked upon the blue fringes, they would remember His commandments and ultimately DO them. And if they did not look upon, remember and do, they would inevitably commit the adultery/idolatry to which their wicked hearts and eyes were inclined. Remembering (Hebrew zakhar) is often a verb of action rather than simply thought. In other words, if we do not choose to remember through helpful reminders, we cannot help but forget.
The prophet Jeremiah (17:9) said ‘the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?’ Paul, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, knew very well these passages since childhood, yet it took an ENCOUNTER with the Risen Christ for him to recognize it in himself and repent! Afterwards, Paul zealously exhorted believers to ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2) so that we will know what God’s will is and agree that it is good, satisfying and able to succeed! But first, he said we must ‘present our bodies a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)’ and as ‘instruments of righteousness (Romans 6:13)’.
The natural man has no desire to give. He is only consumed with personal profits and selfish gain. Proverbs 21:29 says, ‘A wicked man puts on a bold face, whereas the upright prepares his ways.’ The Message reads: ‘Unscrupulous people fake it a lot; honest people are sure of their steps.’ Those who walk in the way of Cain are concerned only with appearances, whereas those who walk in the Way of Christ are compelled by thoughts of raising a harvest of righteousness! One lives by sight (wanting it NOW), the other by faith (waiting Expectantly)!
Merciful, abundant, and cheerful giving is as much a sign of the Spirit of Christ as merciless greed OR even resentful giving is a sign of the spirit of Cain. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) simply because He sees the motives and intents of the giver. He knows that the person who gives cheerfully possesses a contented and overflowing spirit of gratefulness toward the Great Gift-Giver Himself. Moreover, that kind of giver bears a striking family resemblance to the Compassionate Father Who gave unreservedly and bountifully His only Son that we might have eternal life!
Everything comes under scrutiny in the believer’s life. And the divine purposes of Christ’s Holy Spirit is never to condemn us for where we are, but always to restore us to where HE is. David cried out in spirit and truth when he said in Psalm 57:2, ‘I call to God, the Most High, to God, Who is accomplishing His purpose for me.’
This final lesson is not simply about giving cheerfully from our material resources to help those in need. Though that is a vital part of the ministry of His Body. Scripture admonishes us to sow bountifully and we shall reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6) in all our giving. God’s heavenly concept of giving goes much deeper than our resources and right to the core of our heart’s motives. A cheerful giver is expected to extend gifts of that which HE has received from the LORD...and that includes a bountiful measure of grace. Proverbs 3:28 says, ‘Don't say to your neighbor, ";Go away! Come back later. I'll give it tomorrow"; when it is there with you.’ The New Covenant believer ALWAYS has in his possession a vast treasure of heavenly grace and mercy in Christ our Debt-Reliever! Therefore, we ought not be reluctant to reach in and extend it to another. This is a sacrifice that is well pleasing to the LORD (1 Peter 2:1-5).
- Do you often present yourself before the LORD for a time of intense self-examination?
- How often do you think your giving is done insincerely and with an eye toward men?
- Are you concerned with appearances or compelled by trusting faithfulness in the LORD?
- Are you quick to forgive an offense or are you in the habit of punishing the offender?
- When someone has offended you, do you insist upon your ‘own rights’ and require that your offender ‘pay’ for your pain? Some ONE has already paid for our pain in FULL. Please dwell in 1 Peter 3:8 - 4:19 if your heart is troubled and you seek to know what your response should be in situations of conflict. For it is to this you have been called that you may receive a blessing (1 Peter 3:9)!
ADDITIONAL TRUTHS FOR EXCELLENCE IN LOVE
- Memorize Psalm 119:34-37 as a prayer for yourself.
- The definition of grace/mercy is love at your own expense.
- One day as I prayed ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’, the LORD’s Spirit convicted me, caused me to do a self-examination and asked, ‘Do you really want to be forgiven by Me in the same way and with the same measure that you have forgiven others?’ I have never forgotten that moment!
- In conflict, if my need to be right outweighs and exceeds His command to be righteous, I can expect to reap a wandering, unrestful and divisive spirit as Cain had.
- If you are sincerely attentive to discovering the true condition of your relationship with your Heavenly Father, the God of shalom, then ask for His wisdom (James 3:17-18) and then take a long, penetrating look at those relationships closest to you.
- We do not have to learn Cain’s ways because they are already encoded within our DNA. However, we must diligently and continually guard and train our hearts against the ‘natural man’ within. (Psalm 51:5-6)
- Since Jesus revealed that ‘if we abide in God’s Word, we will know the Truth and the Truth will set us free’ (John 8:31-32), then no believer can afford a vacation from the Word of God.
- Thankfulness and compassionate giving is merely an expression of the great treasure (HE has imparted) within! Jeremiah 22:16 says: He upheld the cause of the poor and the weak, so everything went well. Isn't that what knowing Me is all about?" says ADONAI.
- Those who do not give become ‘spiritually constipated’...that hurts!
- The business of ‘abiding’ is the only thing that ensures that we will not walk in Cain’s self-destructive ways.
- A study of Romans chapter 1 reveals, in short, that worthless ways of thinking (these are described in Romans 1:29-30) IS the sentence (judgement) given by God to those who ‘did not consider God worth knowing’ (vs. 28) because they ‘worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator!’ (vs. 25).
- “COME!”, says The Savior, “and I will give your wandering spirit REST!” What are you waiting for?
Let the shalom which comes from the Messiah be your heart's decision-maker, for this is why you were called to be part of a single Body. And be thankful - let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts.
~ Colossians 3:15-16 (CJB)
The following image is courtesy of AMY DEANNE OF THE 160 ACRE WOODS
THANK YOU AMY D.!
The Way of CHRIST
All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God's providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil.
~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Discerning between The Way of Cain.. And the Way of CHRIST!
Never-ending Bondage NEW BEGINNING!
Restless spirit REVIVED SPIRIT!
Longs to envy (James 4:5) CONTENT/WHOLE (Psalm 23:1)
Contentment pervades. SHALOM FILLS!
The proud foolishly believes he has already obtained, but hasn't and cannot get.
The gluttonous pines for, but is never filled.
The idle expect without effort, but no harvest returns.
The merciless become more merciless still.
To all my faithful Mereas:
I hope you enjoyed this study. I have been praying for you. I have the confidence that His Word never returns void! Therefore, I look forward with great expectation to that righteous harvest He is bringing into each of your lives!
Did you know that ‘time-savers’ is a heavenly original? Doing things God’s way - the Right(eous) Way) - the first time, saves much time...and pain! I wonder if any of the 10 spies would do things differently. The Israelites turned what should have been an 11 day journey into 40 years of desert wandering. It was not entirely because they did not love God...it was because they did not listen/obey (Shema!) God. They feared man above trusting God. How about you?
Too many times I have taken ‘the long way around to God’s will’. But that is not necessary. Until we are skillfully learning to look upon, remember and do the commandments of God by the Holy Spirit Who strengthens, we will continue wandering in circles.
I would love to hear from you. What did you take out of this study? What insight did His Spirit give to you? What future study/topic would you like to see? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Praying for SHARP blades and a bountiful harvest ...and remembering that iron sharpens iron!
Shalom Aleichem (Shalom be upon you)!
~ Your Merea in Christ Jesus, Carmen Schroeder
The key to living abundantly in the Spirit is learning to die daily to the flesh.
This labor of love and work of God is dedicated to my husband Stacy, who has loved, supported, strengthened and prayed me through! Thank you Sweet Pea!