Thursday, March 31, 2016

Leadership in Love, Love in Leadership

It's been awhile since my last post.  I went to visit some friends in Reno, and then we went to Canada in search of the northern lights.  I want to resume my study on Yeshua/salvation in the Old Testament, but I would like to share with you something I did just before I left.  It was an assignment that I worked on for a leadership training class.  The question posed was, how does you incorporate Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians to a leadership role?  Here is my answer.

God is love. It is the operating force in the universe. It is like gravity or electricity—His love operates unseen but is ever present.

Jesus brought His Father’s love down to me, and it flows within His blood.

I am washed in that blood.

I have the greatest force in the universe in me now.

The Divine equation is thus: HIS LOVE + my surrender = operational power every day!

If I speak in angelic tongues—or tongues of men that sounds heavenly and love is missing? If I advise all I want with wise words and HIS LOVE is not present in my heart, or I am motivated by pride and a “Listen to me!” attitude, then I am only touching the person’s mind or heart, and not the person’s spirit. I must allow HIS LOVE to operate in me in everything I say.

If I walk strongly without HIS LOVE present in my heart, and wow people with what I know, and seem to be mighty in my faith, my nothing will yield nothing for His Kingdom. I must see others as Christ see them and how He sees me. I have been forgiven much. I must forgive much. I must allow HIS LOVE to operate in me to tell me who I am.

“Look at me!” is no substitute for “Look at Him!” What I do in HIS LOVE is to point only to Jesus. Thus, only to Him will the glory go. Not to me, my works and my need for approval. I must allow HIS LOVE to operate in me in everything I do.

HIS LOVE (in me) is patient with me, so I must be patient with others. His timeline for me and other people is just that: His timeline. I am in the process of working through the cross, with some areas still needing healing on one side; on the other side, where the victory is won, I find some of myself there. I am still in a process. So are others. I can be patient with myself and others only if His love is operating in me.

HIS LOVE (in me) is kind. Of all the people He talked to, He only excoriated the Pharisees, for kindness left them long ago and had been replaced with scorn. I must commiserate with those I come across, for someday, I may need that cold water in the desert. I can be kind only if His love is operating in me.

HIS LOVE (in me) does not envy. Why? God alone is my Provider. I have access to Him every day, every minute. I have it all if I have Him. Others may have more, or may have less, but I need to be content with my lot. He is good. I can cease to envy only if His love is operating in me.

HIS LOVE (in me) does not boast. Why? What I am today is because of Him and not because of me. When I speak, let it be about “Christ and Him crucified.” I can ignore the need to have others approve of me and not promote myself only if His love is operating in me.

HIS LOVE (in me) is not proud. Why? I am nothing without Him. If I “boast” and act “proud,” let it be to shout of His great love. I can ignore the “What about me?” only if His love is operating in me.

HIS LOVE (in me) does not dishonor others. Why? They equally bear the image of the Heavenly Father and Jesus died for them as well. The Golden Rule rules. I must love my neighbor as I love myself, and I must love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and spirit. I can serve others and Him only if His love is operating in me.

HIS LOVE (in me) will not seek to elevate myself. Why? If God is for us, who can be against us? If God is for us, why would we feel insecure? I can know that these are His doors opening and I need not fear only if His love in me is operating.

HIS LOVE (in me) will not fly off the handle. Why? He sees beyond the stupid/childish/negative/sneering/judgmental/hopelessness and sees the deeper cause: fear. He overcame this world. My anger is a sign that I am not trusting Him to sort it out. I am serving fear. I can overcome the world and its provocations only if His love in me is operating.

HIS LOVE (in me) doesn’t keep track of every knife in the back, every harsh word spoken, and every deed done in malice or ignorance. Records are kept for retaliation and recrimination, not for restoration. I can keep one record: what He did for me on the cross. I can have a selective memory only if His love in me is operating.

Evil = no God, no love. Truth = know God, know love. This is pure (washed by His blood) and simple (His wisdom, not mine). Just desserts? Justice? Just us? No. Just Him. I can only see His hand in the victories and in the trials only if His love in me is operating.

HIS LOVE (in me) always protects. Why? To quote the band Switchfoot, “Love alone is worth the fight.” He is fierce in His love. I cannot explain the cross any other way. I can guard the precious things of God (starting with each person He sends my way) only if His love in me is operating.

HIS LOVE (in me) always trusts. Why? That despite sin’s hard icy crust over the planet, His love, justice and mercy will melt that permafrost like a meteorite strike. His will shall be done on earth as it is now being done in heaven. Until then, I can trust the outcome even when I cannot see it only if His love in me is operating.

HIS LOVE (in me) always hopes. As long as I draw a breath, as long as anyone draws a breath, hope says that He will keep seeking to show Himself. Love is the seed under the snow, the sun behind the clouds, the joy behind the pain. Emily Dickinson said it best: “Hope” is the thing with feathers – That perches in the soul - And sings the tune without the words - And never stops - at all – Hope sees what He sees, and I can only have His perfect vision if His love is operating in me.

HIS LOVE (in me) keeps on keepin’ on. The race of faith must be run. It is not a walk, lest we do it in our power. It is not a crawl, lest our knees become so bloody we lose sight of the goal. It is not a dance, lest the music carries us off the track and into a world filled with our imagination. It is a race: forceful, fierce and shoed with faith. I will run it with joy only if His love in me is operating.

HIS LOVE (in me) never fails. “Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever.” I can only succeed in bringing this love that has the cross under it and the Savior over it only if His love in me is operating.

HIS LOVE will fill in the gaps until we meet Him face to face.

HIS LOVE will allow me to know Him here, and I will be in HIS LOVE when I go home.

Faith is the wind in our sails.

Hope is our northern star.

Love is the very ship we are in.

Our Captain calls.

He only asks me to surrender my heart and get on board!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Is Jesus Named in the Old Testament? Part 3

Let us review from previous blogs where our journey so far has taken us.  The position I am taking is if Jesus is the Messiah, His name would be found throughout the Old Testament.  That is a reasonable assumption to make given the enormous significance of this claim of Jesus being the Messiah. 

The angel announces to Mary the name of the Baby she carries, which will be Yeshua.  It means "the LORD saves."  Mary and Joseph did not select the name of their firstborn--He was already named in the courts of Heaven.  His name designated His office and His mission.  His name designated His office, that of being the "Anointed One," the King of kings and Lord of lords.  His name also captured His mission:  to save people from their sins.  How this would be accomplished is not revealed in the name;  it is enough that He is appointed and anointed to do what He will do, once He enters the world as that wee Baby.

The first use of the word yeshuw'ah in the Old Testament is recited in what is called "Jacob's blessing."  Jacob is on his deathbed, looking at his sons, who are the future of his family and the nation that will bear his name: Israel. Israel is Jacob's God-given name. 

It is God Who calls us, and the name He gives is His confirmation of His calling. Do you know what your name is? Beloved! But we will get to that in the near future!

As Jacob looks over his sons, he sees the light and the dark of what they've done and who they are. When he gets to fourth son, Judah, he describes him as a "lion's whelp" and his preeminence before his enemies and his brothers. Then Jacob goes into an interesting prophecy: "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his." (Gen. 49:10)

The scepter is what kings carry, but Judah will not be a king in his lifetime. But he will be the family's keeper of the symbol of royal rule (metaphorically speaking) and he will keep it until the One Who will carry it, ruling over all the nations.  The King to come is named "Shiloh." 

Here is an interesting sidelight on the name Shiloh:  "The Messianic name Shiloh is then, with quite a substantial bit of poetic lenience, said to mean He Whose It Is (according to BDB Theological Dictionary). The main literary defensive argument for this view comes from Ezekiel 21:27, where the prophet speaks of Him who shall come and whose right it is to own everything. In this statement the section between "until the coming of..". and " the right, and I will give it" is spelled אשר־לו, which looks a lot like the expanded version of our name. Add to that the detail that both Genesis 40:10 and Ezekiel 21:27 deal with Judah and the government or ownership of that tribe, and the argument becomes quite compelling." (

So, Judah is the keeper of the Messianic keys, so to speak.  How so?  His tribe will be the Messiah's.  The only king whose dominion will be over the nations (not only his own) would have to be the Messiah, whose government is universal.  Isaiah, Chapter 6, speaks to this.

After the 7th son, Jacob invokes the first use of the word yeshuaw'ah.  After looking at his sons, and then looking ahead, he sees the need for salvation on a deep and grand scale.  He invokes the Name of the only Son Who can lead uprightly and forever, Yeshua to come. 

The next time we come across the word is in Exodus 14:11-14:

"And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.

11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the yeshuw’ah (salvation) of the Lord, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. 14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."

You can just picture the scene: the sons and daughters of slavery are now the sons and daughters of the One True God.  But they are standing with their backs to the sea and Pharoah's army bearing down on them.  They are so afraid that they are very willing to trade in their freedom for bricks without straw and the lash of the whip.

Back up, children of Israel...You have seen plagues that have judged the gods of Egypt.  The last one, where the blood of a lamb kept away the Angel of Death from you and yours, smote down the very son of the Pharoah, who was supposedly a god and his son, by extension, would be also.  The mighty God, the LORD, has led you out and do you think the waters of a sea and the army of a king could stop you? 

It is salvation that they are longing for, and yeshuwa'h is coming.  Moses is reminding them of what is coming...not an army but a complete and utter rescue.  How so?  The Egyptians are going to go completely away.

So, if Yeshua is our salvation, what army do we face? The army of sin and death, pure and simple. Both are terrifying. Hebrews 4:9-11 says, "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience." Yeshua is our peace and rest.

Yeshua stood and fought for you the day He mounted up on that cross. He satisfied completely and forever the justice that God demands for our sins.  He knows the terror of death and being overwhelmed by the army that charges at us every chance it has.

Hebrews 4:14-16 is the ground we stand on:  "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Our sin, just like that Egyptian army, is drowned forever in His blood.  He remembers it no more and wants us to instead focus on what is to come:  the Promise Land of His Father.  No sin, no death, just eternal life with Him.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Is Jesus Named in the Old Testament? Part 2

We are exploring the very real possibility that Jesus is named throughout the Old Testament. The question that I am pondering is, Could it be that His very name echoes throughout the Old Testament whenever the word "salvation" was spoken or written?

Jesus’ name in Hebrew is translated as Yeshua in Matthew 1:21. The angel tells Mary what the Baby's name is to be: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  Yeshua means “the LORD saves."

It thus follows that if the Baby to be born is the Messiah, and His office is to save people from their sins, then Yeshua embodies that very idea that the LORD saves.

Let's look at Strong's Concordance on this.  Here is the entry:

Yeshuw’ah: (yᵉshûwʻâh, yesh-oo'-aw) something saved, i.e. (abstractly) deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity:—deliverance, health, help(-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare. 
The word is used for salvation, deliverance, welfare, prosperity, deliverance, salvation (by God), victory. (emphasis mine)

Now, let's contrast this with another Hebrew word that is translated "salvation."  It is teshuw'ah.  Let's again look at Strong's:   

Teshuw’ah: ( tᵉshûwʻâh, tesh-oo-aw') in the sense of rescue (literal or figurative, persons, national or spiritual):—deliverance, help, safety, salvation, victory. The word is used for salvation, deliverance (usually by God through human agency), salvation (spiritual in sense). (emphasis mine)

Do you notice something?  If Yeshuw'ah implies salvation by God versus Teshuw'ah implies salvation through "human agency," we have a profound idea here.  It is the LORD alone Who saves.  yes, he uses human beings to achieve His ends, but here, the very name given to His anointed supports the idea that it is God Who is doing the saving, not just using a man to do it.  I hear the music of Jesus' deity being sung right here.

Let's go a little further.  You notice that Yeshua means "The LORD saves."  Let's look at the two names for God that are illustrative here.

"God" comes from 'elohiym in Hebrew. Strong's says that "God" can be used, in its plural form, for rulers, judges, divine ones, angels, gods. In its "plural intensive - singular meaning," it can be used for god, goddess, godlike one, works or special possessions of God, the (true) God, God.

But notice, Yeshua doesn't mean "God saves," it means "The LORD saves."

So, let's look to Strong's for the meaning here: Yᵉhôvâh: (yeh-ho-vaw') from H1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jeho-vah, Jewish national name of God:—Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050, H3069.

The LORD is God's covenant name, the very name He gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.  Exodus 14:13-14 is God's response to Moses' inquiry as to Whom Moses has been talking, and what name should he presented to the people.   God responds with the name:  "I Am Who I Am."  This is the Name tucked inside of Yeshua:  The One Who covenanted with His people to lead them out of sinful Egypt to a land of freedom and blessedness.  He would set the captives free.  In fact, Isaiah beautifully outlines what the Messiah's liberation and restoration truly means:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."  (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Yeshua began His ministry by reading the very two verses from this passage.  He stopped at "the Lord's favor" because the "day of vengeance of our God" will come with His second coming.  His first coming would be like Moses leading the children out of Egypt, and like Joshua (yes, that's translated Yeshua) He will lead His children into the Promised Land.

In a sense, the Promise Land harkens to a  return to the Garden of Eden, where God walked among His children.  Yeshua walked among us, bringing us back to that Garden moment.

Yeshua leads us out of slavery to sin, to a Land filled with milk (the Word) and honey (the sweetness of His presence).

His name and His mission echo that the Lord is with us, fighting for us and reminding us how much He loves us.

We will continue to search Yeshua out through the Old Testament.  We will find that name again with Moses.   The echoes of the Lord's Son are just have to listen carefully.

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