Jesus was A Jew ?
A Murder of Crows Salvation Download the first chapter by clicking on here
Brother Ray has continued to expand his earlier look at Scriptural "genealogies". We have regrouped them in sequence. As he says, it is an ongoing study, a work inj progress. If you haven't look at the "genealogy" article lately, there is more there now. It's good stuff.
WHAT I NOW KNOW ABOUT 'PEACE' THAT I DIDNT BEFORE.
by Brother Ray
We all generally know what peace means. No war. No enmity. The presence of love and generosity.
The New Testament almost always begins by saying PEACE BE UNTO YOU. It is said so often the reader can often glide right over it and not ponder on this word.
In the middle east, in Yeshua's day as today, the standard greeting is SHALOM ALEICHAM and the standard response is ALEICHAM SHALOM. Peace be unto you and unto you peace (as well). It is the same in Hebrew and Arabic, two sister languages.
We thought we had a pretty good handle on peace and its dimensions. UNTIL. One evening several years ago, we were truly blessed and taken up "in the spirit". We were taken to a place unlike any other. It was unearthly. The colours were unlike anything one can describe to a person on this earth. We saw a river of living water. We didn't hear singing or voices unless you can hear the swaying grass sing praises. The place was quite literally "heavenly". We did NOT want to leave then or ever. There was a definite and clear sense of PEACE in this place. We did not know how long we were there, why we were chosen for this glimpse of God's world, of what at least an element of eternity might be like.
In scripture, John was taken "in the spirit". Paul. Ezekial. Isaiah, Jeremiah. We are told they were in the word and the word does not lie. Have others been taken up "in the spirit"? Did being taken up "in the spirit" cease at the end of the apostolic age?
We have always been sceptical of those who claim to have been taken up (or down) "in the spirit". There is the quite compelling story of the New Zealand surfer. And of the believer who spent "23 minutes in hell". We knew of them but still, there was an element of question.
Were we taken up in the spirit? We think so. Were we given a glimpse of something utterly important? God has saved my life many times on this earth, several times when doctors said there was no reason we were still alive. Were/are we to keep this wonderful (see Isaiah 9:6. for unto us a child is born. His name is WONDERFUL. The Hebrew word for Hebrew is PELE and the root of that word wonderful means INCOMPREHENSIBLE. and what we saw is virtually incomprehensible to a human being still on this earth, on this side of paradise. Also see 1st Corinthians 13:12.)
Has the Lord given me continued life so many times FOR A PURPOSE? We think so. Did He send us back form our glimpse of eternity (the glimpse might have been a matter or minutes or hours or more but eternity is outside time as we know it so we are uncertain how long we were in the spirit) for a reason? We think so. Did God desire we keep this journey to ourselves? We think not. When Yeshua told John to write down all he saw, it surely was not to keep it to himself.
We were hesitant at first to talk much about our journey. Our denomination church does not believe in such things. But over time given the choice between the word and what is of God versus what is of a denomination or a church or the world, we have come more and more dedicated to the Word of God and things of the Kingdom. All the rest is, as the Word says, merely as filthy rags.
So what does this business about being taken up in the spirit have to do with peace? EVERYTHING.
The overwhelming thing we sensed and felt, so much we could taste it, was the absolute (and non worldly) sense of calm and serenity, of lack of fear, of a perfect place, a place as we said we never wanted to leave. It was PEACE. Something we have never had on this earth since the garden. The peace was real and palpable.
As we pondered our trip into the spirit over time, we also began to ponder about what was NOT there: there was NO evil. No sin. No problems. No Satan. None of the things that beset us here in this world. No sickness. No pride. It was such a perfect place there could be no feeling other than the joy of having benefited form God's mercy. Did we earn the trip? No. Were we worthy? No again. When Yahweh commanded Moses to give to his brother Aaron the words of the Aaronic blessing, it begins with My peace unto you.
We, again over time, took special note of the hundreds and hundreds of times in the Word where "peace" was mentioned. We will never ever be able to understand the word in my "old way" as now having been given a glimpse of that real peace means. On days when we struggle in our sin nature and are want to wander, we go back to that glimpse and in the words of the popular hymn "it is well with my soul".
We are partial to David Stern's Complete Jewish Bible for any number of reasons. Dr. Stern has also written a companion commentary on the new testament (how we wish that he had had the time and calling to also write a companion commentary on the old testament as well). In one of his commentary notes on the word peace, he gives these dimensions of the word: Peace. Tranquillity. Safety. Well being. Welfare. Health .Contentment. Success. Comfort. Wholeness. Integrity.
In our journey, the peace we felt contained all of these elements. And that was only a beginning. When the scripture writers say peace be unto you, they mean all those things. Stop a minute and think about the opposite of each of those words. The world, while the evil one has dominion, has a substitute for each element of peace. The substitute, like all the blandishments of the evil one, sound good or desirable as he did to Eve.
So now, when we go to the word and see the word peace, we stop and meditate. We think of our journey. We think of the only one who has all the components of peace and who is peace itself. Only through Yahweh and His son Yeshua can we find peace. (The is no such peace in Hinduism or Islam or any other man made world view because all lack peace and the most important element of peace, is love. So, when you read the word and encounter the word peace, stop and think about it. Praise God for it.
The Hebrew word for peace is SHALOM. The city of God is YeruSHALAYIM. That great psalm commands us "to pray for the peace of Jerusalem". When you see Yerushalayem in the word, think of peace. Pray for peace. Peace in all its elements and manifestations.
We have never seen in this world the peace we saw in the spirit. But it has been close many times. Once when we viewed our good friend Sister Margarita round the corner walking through the dangerous gypsy ghetto in Varna on her way to minister to the children. There was an aura of peace around her head like a halo. Another when we joined Brother Tony and Sister Rita giving testimony to a room full of very poor Bulgarians, women who had little of anything but a magnificent and radiant love for the Lord. Peace was there. It is interesting that we found many evidences of peace in poor Bulgaria than we ever had found here in our land of plenty, America). So my dear brothers and sisters, peace be unto you.
by Brother Ray
In recent years, the Lord has mercifully blessed us with any number of truly holy songs of praise.
Most can be found free of charge on Google or YouTube on any computer. They can be "saved" into your favourites column easily.
A great deal of praise music comes to us through Messianic believers.
It is hard to find a more uplifting song than THESE ARE THE DAYS OF ELIJAH by the brilliant and holy Paul Wilbur. If you haven't watched it, stop everything and do so. It puts the Lord of Lords and King of Kings and His Kingdom in its proper place (see Deuteronomy 6:4).
THESE ARE THE DAYS OF ELIJAH is simply wonderful.
After you have listened to Wilbur you will immediately be drawn to his other songs most found on either Google or YouTube. Many are from either one of two major concerts, one in the Holy City.
On our personal list, next we return again and again to HE'S ALIVE by Larnell Harris and Sandi Patty. This is an American song written by Gloria Gaither. It is not a hymn one can hear only once. If you haven't already, listen to it.
On days when we are particularly beset by the evil one and our own weakness, we listen to both - and it does the job.
Another wonderful singer of praise is any song by the magnificent tenor David Phelps. He is easily found. Often he sings in the Gaither Quartet but there are also singles of his own available. David Phelps. Try him and you will be blessed.
As one dedicated to the Hebrew roots of our blessed saviour, we must admit to a growing affinity with Messianic music. Those familiar with Revelation TV already know of Barry and Batya Segal. Their music in the holy tongue of Hebrew strike at your heart and bring one closer to the Lord, which should be our constant goal.
Now in our seventies, there are days our eyes get weak (For some reason they remain strongest when reading the Word. Accidental or coincidental? We think not.). But when the eyes fail, the ears can still hear. How often we are urge in the Word for those who can see, see and those can hear, hear.
Take an hour once or twice a week. Listen to the Messianic music of Paul Wilbur. Then revisit Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patty. Include David Phelps. And round off your evening with Barry and Batya Segal. The spirit is indwelled in each one of us. These hymns prepare us to listen to the spirit and then to end each day in the proper frame of mind to communicate with Our Lord and Master.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.