Butterfly

How beautiful are butterflies? Their gorgeous wings all the different colours of nature. So delicate and light as they float from one flower to the other. All the many colours and sizes. Amazing.

I think they are such a beautiful sight. But, the little butterfly doesn’t see itself as beautiful, if it even cares about what it looks like. Does it see the colours? Does it see the beauty that everyone else sees?

Are you like the butterfly? Beautiful but can’t see it? All around you can see your beauty, you seem to look in a different mirror or look through clouded glasses. Walk your life journey without realising how stunning and colourful you are. All who have their lives touched by your quiet spirit will remember it. 

You are beautiful. More than butterflies. No one is like you. You are bought by the King of Kings. He has clothed you in His glory. 

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The SHEMA

So as we saw in the last message, Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, and He replied in Matthew 22:36-40:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

To see these verses in context, we looked at Deuteronomy 6:4-9…..

We looked at the Pharisees and how they looked from the outside that they followed the law, but on the inside they were still sinning and hadn’t taken the law into their hearts. Outward religious observance without a changed heart is not what the Lord looks for.

I want to look a bit more at the Shema and what it means and look a bit more at the meaning of each word@

“SHEMA YISRAEL ADONAI ELOHEINU, ADONAI ECHAD.”

So, the Shema is a section of the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible, written by Moses in the wilderness at the creation of the 1st temple Israel had to worship their Lord in. It is a prayer that serves as the centrepiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. For many Jews this is stated as “receiving the kingdom of heaven”. These words are seen throughout the new testament, and the word heaven is used by Jewish people as a metaphor for God.

The 10 commandments were said at these times as well as the Shema but were removed from the daily prayer books during the years 70-200ce. The Shema prayer is seen as an opportunity to commemorate the 10 commandments.

It is thought that the recitation of the Shema shows that they are a living witness testifying the truth of the message of the Shema itself. Some of the more Kabbilistic schools, (which is a form of Judaism – seen as a cult) teaches that when their members recite the word Echad meaning “one”, he is to intend that he is ready to die into God.

Judaism does not speak or write the actual name of God. Out of respect and honour to Him, they replace it with Adonai or Lord. This is why in the Shema, the name God was changed to Adonai.

So if we look at the words of the Shema

Shema – This word means to listen, to hear, to do. It is an active word not passive

Yisrael – Israel, the people or congregation of people, not the land on its own

Adonai – trandlated Lord from YHWH. Interestingly, Samaritans, who the Jewish people despised in bible times, they say Shema, which is Aramaic for the “divine name”. We know Jesus spoke Aramaic and therefore would have know this and was able to speak to the Samaritan woman at the well with her own tongue and words that she worshipped with.

Eloheinu – A plural word. Meaning our God.

Echad – Unified and cardinal number 1

The Shema relates to the kingship of God. It is the confession of belief in the One true God. There are other translations which say the same thing but with words mixed around. They are

Hear O Israel! Adonai is our God! Adonai is One!

Hear O Israel! Adonai is our God! Adonai alone!

There is an addition, which is expanded. It was added rabbinically, and is used for silent congregation worship, except during the time of Yom Kippur where it is recited aloud together as worship. Yom Kippur means to atone. It is the day of atonement and is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, and for Jesus Himself. It is a day of atonement and repentance and the Jewish people even now spend the day in the synagogues worshipping and spending time with God. This is such an important day, even for us. It foreshadowed Jesus and His death and resurrection.

Baruch shem kvod l’olam was added which means blessed be His glorious name.

Over time, the words Malchuto, meaning His kingdom, and va’ed meaning forever and ever were added. Malchuto was added during the time of the Romans, as a counter claim over the land of Israel against the Roman emperors. Va’ed was introduced at the time of the 2nd Temple as a contrast to those who believed there is no life after death, which we can see around the times of Ezra and Nehemiah.

I was brought up in a messianic fellowship, which is a merge of Jewish and non Jewish believers, who come together as a congregation to worship the same Lord and risen Christ. There are many of the old traditions practised together with new and ground breaking songs and styles of worship. We were all taught the Shema in its full added to form which is:

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinh, Adonai echad.

Baruch shem kevod, malchuto

L’elom va’ed

So, today. These words from the Shema are straight from the Bible, and are correct. We have open eyes to see their true meaning, and have had the veils taken away by the blood of Christ. Sadly, most of the people who love God and say these words in worship every single day, have still got the veils over their eyes, and can’t see the risen Lord. They are still in darkness. They can’t see the joy and wonder of all that Jesus has done for us, or the Holy Spirit given as a gift for us, and who is at work within us all the time making us more and more like Jesus. I think it is time that more of the church prayed for these friends. Pray for the Lord to show Himself to them, so they may join us as brothers and sisters on the same vine, worshipping together with freedom.

I looked up the word Messianic and found these definitions

  • Relating to the Messiah “the messianic role of Jesus”
  • Inspired by the hope or belief in a messiah “the messianic expectations of that time”
  • fervent or passionate “ an admirable messianic zeal”

or these definitions

  • the promised and expected deliverer of the Jewish people.
  • Jesus Christ, regarded by Christians as fulfilling this promise and expectation. John 4:25,26
  • Any expected deliverer
  • a zealous leader of some cause or project

If only every eye could see who Jesus really is and how He really is the deliverer and saviour of the whole world and all peoples. We could give the whole earth back to God and live as we should have done in the first place, as it was meant to be before sin.

Captivated

Psalm 113:4-6 says,

“The Lord is high above all nations,

His glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God,

Who dwells on high

Who humbles Himself to behold

The things that are in heaven and the earth?”

LaMar Boschman says in his book A heart for worship, that he wanted to look for new words to describe the Lord. Words we don’t use normally, that we havn’t repeated so many times we forget how awesome our God is. He found these words, and I think they truly do describe God in new and exciting ways. LaMar uses them before services and shouts the to the Lord as part of his worship.

Lord, You are unrivalled, unparalleled, unequalled and unsurpassed.

You are peerless, matchless, faultless and flawless.

God, you are choice, fine, elite splendid,

marvellous, glorious, fabulous and wondrous.

Phenomenal, sensational, spectacular, majestic, fantastic and terrific is my King.

Your presence is amazing, awe-inspiring, astonishing, outstanding, stirring, stimulating and electrifying.

You are so large, grand, great, immense and massive.

You are magnificent, brilliant, radiant, resplendent and transcendent.

Your Person is superior, superb  and sublime.

I have discovered you to be excellent,  exquisite, exceptional, extraordinary, remarkable, incomparable,

impeccable, irreproachable and unimpeachable.

There is absolutely none like You.

You stand alone.

How good is it to be able to recognise the Living God in all of those words. He does indeed stand alone as the only One worthy of these descriptions. Thank you God.

Be still my soul

Be still my soul

The Lord is on thy side

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain

Leave to thy God to order and provide

In every change He faithful will remain.

Be still my soul: thy best, the heavenly Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul

Thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still my soul; the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still my soul

The hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord

When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, loves purest joys restored.

Be still my soul; when change and tears are past

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

1752 Katharina A. von Schlegel

Apologies

I am so sorry for how long it has been since I last wrote anything. It has been so crazy busy in our home and I just havnt had time to think.

Our church are looking at revival, and it has been a burning prayer for some of us for a while now. We are not interested in the numbers game, but desperately want to see souls saved, especially those around us within our friends and family circle. It is a cry from our hearts, but is it something we are willing to get our hands dirty for? It is a question I have been asking myself and this is not aimed at anyone but me first. What am I willing to do or say to bring those I love to Gods mercy seat? Am I willing to be laughed at, to be derided, to be a fool for Christ? Am I willing to put the hard work in place to be there whenever anyone needs me to be? These are very serious questions I am asking myself, because I need to make sure I am not putting my own needs first, not putting my feelings or fears before telling those around me the gospel.

I see a worrying trend within the Church of allowing the World in. Our conversations are full of it, our love of things, of money, of power, of position. It is on our lips more than God and His Word are. We are getting to the point of more interest in the world than seeing our loved ones saved. Can this really be true? Can all our topics of conversation be that lacking in heavenly things?

Watchman Nee says in his book, Love not the World, “Never in this sphere of things have we needed to know the power of the Cross of Christ to deliver us as we do at the present time”. And he goes on to say, “When we are faced with alternatives and a choice of way confronts us, the question is not: Is this good or evil? >Is this helpful or hurtful? No, the question we must ask ourselves is: Is it of this world, or of God? For since there is only this one conflict in the universe, then whenever two conflicting courses lie open to us, the choice at issue is never a lesser one than: God…or Satan”.

Now Watchman Nee wrote this a long time ago, and my book of it was copywritten 1968. It seems to us that he lived in a different time than the 21st century, but if so, then how is it that what he wrote is so relevant to us today? He could have written those words this week! We need to ground ourselves in Christ and His Word to us. Do we want to see more souls saved and if so how much? Do we long to see it? Is it something we are desperate for? Is it our hearts cry? If not, then why not?

I feel it is time for the Church to be seen in communities, to make ourselves visible. I think it is a wrong attitude to expect the community to come to us for answers. We need to show that we have the answers already within us, our changed lived are the proof we need. With God on our side, what do we have to fear? Living for God is our answer to any question.

Amen Lord, come Lord!!!

Feeling Worship

I am not too sure if it just me, or something that happens to us all at some point in our walk with Christ. I can worship anywhere, and no matter how good or bad the worship band are, or how well or badly led the service is. Its not the outside influences that lead me to worship, its how much I want to be in the throne room of my God, praising Him and knowing He is hearing my voice as well as every other person in the world praising Him at the same time. My prayers and praise rises to Him as incense in a world full of chaos and for many of us sadness and stress.

Worship takes me to a place of intimacy with my Lord which drowns out the stress and noise of life, and I love to be there. In a way, it is where I get refreshed and find a peace and calm I don’t feel anywhere else. I miss those times so much, even if I only miss one time of worship, whether in rehersal with my Husband or in my fellowship during the week or on a Sunday. I can feel it inside if there is a time that is missed, even if by illness. I feel the intimacy go ever so slightly. It takes a good praise time to place myself back where I know Christ is.

I feel that God waits for our praise. He watches us as we go about our days and weeks, and waits. He sees us get up and sees us go to bed. He inhabits our praise and loves to hear us and sing with us. We dont have to set a time apart to have a ‘quiet time’. We can praise Him anywhere, and everywhere. We can praise in our work, our friendships, our family and our church. If God Himself wants our praise and us to be intimate with Him, then what is stopping us? What could ever be more important than this? How can we put anything before the Lord of Hosts who wants time with each and every one of us? How would we act if the Queen of England or the Prime Minister wanted a personal time with us, and to just sit and talk and have fellowship with us? How would we feel? Really important? Privileged? Better than others? The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Maker of Heaven and Earth wants just that. He wants to be intimate with us, to be our friend and Father.

Next time you really worship, stop and think about how the Spirit brings you closer to God. Do you feel like you can touch God Himself and at times can hear the very angels join with you? I think its the best place to be, and want to stay there for eternity.

The praise that John saw

We read in Revelation that John was taken up to heaven, and he wrote down what he saw and heard. The book is amazing and one of my favourites. To see eternity and where we will be going, must have been breathtaking. I can’t wait for eternity and spending it with my Father God.

As well as all John saw, he writes down what he heard as well. He listened to the angels praising and the sounds of heaven.

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come…”

This is reality. This isn’t some dream John had. This is what goes on 24 hours a day, as a constant praise to God going on in the heavenlies. We hear lots of noise, lots of bustle and business. To go somewhere where there is total quiet to sit and wait on God is near impossible. There is music everywhere, but not the music of God. Not the music that praises Him alone.

The best we have is the praise and worship songs that are written by those who love God and some lived many centuries ago. Fill your mind with these songs of worship. Fill your mind with words of praise from the Word of God. Take your focus away from the world that is full of self pleasure and brokenness. Redirect it towards heaven and fill yourself with the images of glory that we can read in Revelation. It may cause you to fall face down in total worship and honour to the Heavenly God. He reigns in heaven and earth, and deserves our devotion.

As we worship Him more and more, we become less like the world, and more like Him who we worship. We become more like Jesus the more we devote time and pleasure to reading His word and face down in front of Him.

When we get our priorities right and put God and the worship of Him first, then everything else falls into place in our lives. As soon as that priority changes away from Him, then things can start to fall apart.

Keep your eyes focused where they should be. On the Most High God.