Sunday, June 03, 2018

GOING FURTHER....







The apostle Paul says, "... I try to please everyone in all I do. For I am not seeking my own good, but the good of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also [imitate] Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:33, 11:1
I believe this is an example of an inappropriate chapter break. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians as a single book. No chapter and verse numbers. The Bible was first broken up into chapters in around A.D. 1227. The Wycliffe English Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use this chapter pattern. The Hebrew Old Testament was divided into verses by a Jewish rabbi by the name of Nathan in A.D. 1448. Robert Estienne, who was also known as Stephanus, was the first to divide the New Testament into standard numbered verses, in 1555. Stephanus essentially used Nathan's verse divisions for the Old Testament. Since that time, beginning with the Geneva Bible, the chapter and verse divisions employed by Stephanus have been accepted into nearly all the Bible versions. (Source: "Who divided the Bible into chapters and verses? Why and when was it done?" @ Got Questions dot com)
So considering that Paul was the inspired writer and didn't divide his book into chapters and verses, we need to look at the above verses as most likely connecting. And we see an incredible statement being made by Paul who then adds to it, :"Imitate me Just as I imitate Christ." and "just as I try to please everyone in all I do. For I am not seeking my own good, but the good of many, that they may be saved."
This is what I've been meditating on today.
Late last night I was looking at the Greek word, μιμητής (Strong's # 3402. mimétés - the root of the English term, mimic, "one who imitates, emulates"). This Greek noun has 6 occurrences and is always used positively in the New Covenant writings – spoken of followers of Christ emulating a God-approved example. The supreme model is God Himself (see Eph 5:1).
"I exhort you, be imitators of me...." 1 Corinthians 4:16
"Be imitators of me, just as I also Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1
"Therefore be imitators of God,..." Ephesians 5:1
"...you became imitators of us and of the Lord," 1 Thessalonians 1:6
"...became imitators of the churches..." 1 Thessalonians 2:14
...that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those..." Hebrews 6:12
FOUR TIMES Paul tells us to imitate him and Jesus! He uses the verb form twice in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 to say the same exact thing.
"For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not undisciplined among you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. Instead, in labor and toil, we worked night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you. Not that we lack this right, but we wanted to offer ourselves as an example for you to imitate."
If we have the Spirit of God, this needs to be our goal. We need to strive for this. We must strive for this. Why?
for "the good of many, that they may be saved." 1 Cor 10:33b
That's why. We can make an eternal difference in someone's life.
Paul told Timothy, "Be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to your life and to your teaching. Persevere in these things, FOR BY DOING SO YOU WILL SAVE BOTH YOURSELF AND THOSE THAT HEAR YOU." 1 Timothy 4:15, 16
Paul says, "Though I am free of obligation to anyone, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the Law I became like one under the Law (though I myself am not under the Law), to win those under the Law. To those without the Law I became like one without the Law (though I am not outside the law of God but am under the law of Christ), to win those without the Law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all possible means I MIGHT SAVE SOME OF THEM. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings." 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
Are we hearing Paul? Are we hearing the Spirit. Are we convicted yet for falling so short? I am!
We can make a difference in people's lives. An eternal difference. Not only in the unsaved, but the saved as well. We can positively or negatively impact a born again brother or sister. We can cause them to stumble, or we can help correct them.
James says, "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, consider this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and cover over a multitude of sins." James 5:19, 20
Amen. Thank God for His written word.
When it comes to serving Christ, I feel its good and right to challenge myself to go further. I then like to provoke others to challenge themselves. Paul was that way, because the Lord is that way. And I want to be like them. Paul also instructed the congregations to be like him as he followed Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). Paul knew he was serving God. He was being obedient. That is why God "found him faithful" putting him in the ministry (1 Timothy 1:12). Paul was incredible. He compared everything to serving God. Like
Running a race ~1 Corinthians 9:24
Competing in all athletics ~1 Corinthians 9:25
Boxing ~1 Corinthians 9:26, 27
Being a soldier ~2 Timothy 2:4
Paul made these comparisons in his own personal walk with God. And it helped him. He saw that it helped him and he then shared these little spiritual exercises in his letters.
Paul saw things from Christ's view. Incredible, he was. God gave him so many revelations of God's power in Christ, and the utterance to express these things in words.
Paul saw this was available to ALL, through Christ. And when you see that, as Paul did, you can't keep quiet about it.
Paul brought some heavenly instruction for serving God which no one on earth would ever be able to give for any other activity. It was God-specific. Like this verse here,
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us," Ephesians 3:20
Please read that again, slowly. Nobody can fulfill this work in any endeavor on this earth, unless they were going to be putting it into practice by serving God, and only by the power God offers through Christ, in our spirit (those who have been born again).
Now we have to realize, God has always said these kinds of things through His holy prophets and apostles. Christ said many similar things. Christ never told people what they did was good enough. Christ always told them to go further. Why. Because in Christ, more and more is always possible.
We need to grasp this. Like Paul did. We need to challenge ourselves. And then challenge ("provoke to love") our brethren (Hebrews 10:24). Paul used the word ἀγωνίζομαι. Yes, that is the exact word Paul used. As he wrote his letters in Greek. That Greek word is often translated into English as "strive". But what does that mean? This is what it means, "I am struggling, striving (as in an athletic contest or warfare); I contend, as with an adversary.... like engaged in an intense athletic contest or warfare." Jesus used this word too. Jesus said, "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Luke 13:24
If we go to Christ, "take" His yoke upon us, and learn of Him and strive, all these things are possible for us. Paul did not write those things to the church so the church would say, "wow, that sounds awesome!" No, he, by the Holy Spirit, wrote these things for the church to put into ACTION. And we have this same opportunity right now, as anyone ever did. If we take God's word seriously. And we take His yoke upon us and "strive", then the resurrected CHRIST will bring us into unimaginable spiritual territory! Just like Paul said.
THAT is where I want to go. Who wants to come with me?
I hope this little message blessed you. If so, please share it with everyone. Don't be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, "because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes".
All praise and glory belongs only to God the Father by His Anointed Son Jesus. Please read my other recent messages on my wall and share those too!
Thank you. And "May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ." 2 Thessalonians 3:5 Amen
We are God's creation. And we all will be judged by Him. That is simply the truth and we have to deal with it. We cannot put this off. We do not know when it will be our turn to stand before God for judgment. It can happen at any time. All who have died in this world have already met their fate. God makes sure we all are given plenty of chances before that day comes.
"For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2
Because tomorrow may never come.
The Bible says,
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13
And,
"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
If you read this message and you feel like God is calling you to turn from your sinful life right now and accept His precious gift of salvation through Christ, then say this prayer:
Say, "My Lord and my God, Have mercy on my soul, a sinner, I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and is listening to my prayer right now. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You into my heart Lord Jesus."
God bless, and if something happened to you when saying the above prayer, please drop me a message here on FB. And kindly like my page and comment on and share my posts in groups or with loved ones acquaintances and even your enemies. Maybe they will receive Jesus and not be your enemies anymore! You can also join our group here: SpirituallySmart.Com (Job 28:28) Group
I pray that God the Father bless you through His Son Jesus the Christ, as you seek Him wholeheartedly. Amen.

Monday, May 14, 2018

THE PROMISE

"Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs to you and to your children and to all who are far off, to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself.” With many other words he testified, and he urged them, “Be saved from this corrupt generation.” Acts 2:38-40
Peter says things in a certain order here, but elsewhere in the same book it is stated by Peter in the opposite order (Acts 10:44-47. The answer? You can be baptized in the Spirit before or after water baptism! I was baptized in Spirit before water baptism.
The point is, repent and receive the *HOLY SPIRIT* which will happen if we truly believe on Christ!
"Whoever believes in Me, just as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’” (He was speaking about the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive. For the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)" ~John 7:38, 39
"Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my Spirit on you; I will make my words known to you." Proverbs 1:23
"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him to His right hand as Prince and Savior, in order to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” Acts 5:31-33
"obey" here is literally "persuaded" (Strong's G3980). We obey when we are persuaded by God. And we are persuaded and obey when we believe!
"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13
“So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Luke 11:9-10 (HCSB)
Dear God our Father and our Lord Jesus, open our ears, eyes and hearts to receive Your precious truths! Only through the righteousness, promises and mercy You provide through your Anointed Son, Jesus the Christos!
Amen, and amen!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The "Name of God" ....

I think sometimes people get too caught up with the "name of God" topic. Jesus simply referred to Him as "Father" and told us to do the same (Matthew 6:9). Jesus, His name is the Greek translation of Joshua (or Yahoshua. Yeshua, Yohoshua). And He is the "Anointed" or "Christos" (in Greek). In Hebrew it's Mashiach or Messiah. And Jesus is Lord or Master (of all things). Simple!
On Pentecost when the disciples first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the power from on high and the promise of the Father (all are synonymous), representatives of all the surrounding nations were present and "heard these people speaking IN OUR OWN LANGUAGES about the wonderful things God has done!" Acts 2:11
Right there, GOD ordained the TRANSLATION of His Word into ALL languages (caps for emphasis only). This translation also includes the names and titles of God and our Lord Yeshua!
Languages change over time. Meanings of words change over time. So it is important for us to study the original words underneath the translations (by studying CONTEXT) so we can get a better and clearer picture of what God is saying to us through His written Word. Over the past 200+ years there have been incredible works provided for us to do just that. Strong's concordance is one of those works. However, there are Lexicons that also show HOW each and every Greek and Hebrew word was used in context throughout ALL ancient writings. Scripture and secular. Some Greek words are only used once in the entire Word of God. The ancient philosophers and poets (professional writers) give us more of an insight of what that word meant in the context they used it. Fascinating field of study. Nothing is more fascinating in my opinion than the study of God's Word.
My point is, EVERYONE can verify a translation by studying the Greek and Hebrew text underneath the English translation. For 20 or so years I didn't understand how to do this and was intimidated to look at other versions of the Bible beside the King James Version. (If you already know what I am saying, you are blessed. Do not take this knowledge for granted! ) Finally, about 15 months ago I experienced a break-through in my walk with God. And that was the ability to study the Greek so I can verify ALL the English translations MYSELF! And now I am studying the Septuagint as well and it is wonderful. I know a lot of professing believers attack the validity of the Septuagint and I find that very unfortunate. Please study the Septuagint for yourself. You will see exact phrases taken from the Septuagint and spoken by Jesus the Christ and His servants throughout the whole New Covenant. Verbatim quotes from the Old Covenant Greek in the New Covenant Greek. This has increased my faith and edified me greatly. The Greek Orthodox church still uses the Septuagint. The western church broke off from doing so for perhaps insidious reasons. But Charles Thomson, who was a friend of George Washington and member of the continental congress even translated the Septuagint into English in the early 1800s and was a popular translation! You can read it online. I personally love the Apostolic Bible (Septuagint) translated by Charles Van der Pool. He is the very first one to provide Strong's numbers with the Old Covenant Greek Septuagint. A truly epic work! That is online as well, but I recommend you buy a physical copy from his website. And my other favorite online Bible tools I use all the time are studybible.info, biblehub.com, studylight.org, lumina.bible.org, and blueletterbible.org. These tools are invaluable. And I would even venture to say that God allowed the internet to exist so we could study His word using these tools!
Let me cut this short here and just praise our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ and His Father for giving us His word and allowing us to deeply study it in Greek which may be the most incredible language ever! Amen. And may God the Father bless you all in Yeshua the Anointed One!

Forgiveness

Forgiving someone who has wronged us is for our own benefit. It has nothing to do with them, but everything to do with our walk with God. If we understand how WE have all wronged God, partook in the death of His Son Jesus the Christ on the cross, and yet God forgave us in such a powerfully profound way, then it should be easy for us to forgive and even pray for that soul. In most cases, what someone has done to us does not deserve them suffering an eternity in hell for instance.
And forgiving someone doesn't mean we have to subject ourselves to their abuse either. I have forgiven people I will probably never talk to again. Because they are poisonous to my well being. However, I had to forgive them because I know I needed forgiveness from God for all my shortcomings. And EVERYONE has these shortcomings to where we NEED forgiveness from God. Staying angry at someone takes energy. That energy is supposed to be used on serving the Lord. The unforgiveness turns into an idol. Because according to God's word we can't have God AND unforgiveness in our hearts. If we are seeking God with all our heart, there will be no room for unforgiveness anyway. It only hurts ourselves. It only causes anger and bitterness and the works of the flesh. Our eye must be "single" Jesus said. When our eye is "single" then "your whole body also is full of light;" (Luke 11:34, 35) That means all our focus on Jesus and His Word. Just pray to Jesus and tell Him you forgive everyone and ask the Father to forgive you. And just forget about them and focus on God's word and our own growth and need for forgiveness on a daily basis. The forgiving others "their trespasses" is part of what is often called "The Lord's Prayer" and is a fundamental part of serving God! This is part of walking in the light as 1 John 1:7 says, "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." And we NEED this. Not doing this only hurts ourselves.
This may sound hard. Well, we are in a fight. And this is definitely part of that fight. If we fall short in any way, don't give up. Keep fighting and keep asking God for power and grace to overcome and grow into the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Print out the verses you need the most as hang them where you will see them everyday. Knowledge is one thing, we may all know the Word of God. But walking in that knowledge is love. And can be done only by God's holy Spirit within us which He promises to give us freely if we ask....
May God the Father bless you all in the wonderful name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Anointed One. Amen

Unity in the FAITH

This is something that is urgently needed among believers today. UNITY. And I'm talking about under the guidance of the ONE Jesus the Christ and ONE God the Father by the ONE Holy Spirit. Paul spent a lot of time talking about Christ's ONE body being perfectly united with ONE mind in Christ Jesus. This isn't about compromising. It's about NOT compromising God's holy Word and following Him with ALL our heart. You know about Paul right? The apostle? Everything he did and everything he suffered? Well do you know Paul called everything he did a "light affliction" compared to the glory that was to come (2 Corinthians 4:17). He was a SOLDIER for Christ. And he exhorted US (true believers) to emulate him as he emulated Christ. We need some FIRE to get everyone going here and get together and "strive together" for the cause of CHRIST and the souls He DIED for, Amen? Please read this message for more and share if you are inclined to do so. May God the Father and the Lord Christ Yeshua bless you all! Amen
Gospel of Lord Yeshua Messiah Yehoshua Hamashiach Logos of God
spirituallysmart.com

Good commentary on Romans chapter 9 from the Wycliffe Bible Commentary.

Fruits of the Spirit and the definition of love (agape)


Saturday, December 09, 2017

The Greatest Commandments MUST be kept by His Spirit within us

Or we will NOT be allowed into heaven...

Monday, July 31, 2017

There is "One Lord..." (Ephesians 4)

Unity in the Faith


Written July 31 2017


"Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;" Philippians 1:27

In my last post I discussed the word "striving" (agónizomai - See Here).

In Philippians 1:27 (above) is another Greek word, "sunathleó", which adds "together" with the word "striving" translated into English as "striving [together]" (KJV 1x) and "laboured [with me]" (KJV 1x). Only 2 usages in the whole Bible. See here: http://biblehub.com/greek/4866.htm

Except this word sunathleó means "striving together". The Strong's concordance says, "I compete together with others, cooperate vigorously with."

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance:

labor with, strive together for.

From sun and athleo; to wrestle in company with, i.e. (figuratively) to seek jointly -- labour with, strive together for.

The second and only other usage in the whole Bible, also by Paul, says:

"Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who "have shared my struggle" (NASB) or "laboured" (KJV) (sunathleó) in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life." Philippians 4:3 NASB

See Paul was striving to unify the church in the Holy Spirit. Seeking to unify the church under Christ and God the Father. He says often throughout his writings how important this is. And he boldly called out those who were causing divisions. Paul called them "fleshly" (KJV- 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9)

"Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1 Corinthians 1:10

This exhortation stands firm today. So why then are there so many divisions among professing followers of Christ?

Paul boldly says, "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:1-6 http://biblehub.com/nasb/ephesians/4.htm

There is only ONE LORD. ONE FAITH, ONE CHRIST, ONE BAPTISM. Christ is not divided! And yet we are fractured beyond repair. Like the tower of babel. All speaking different things. Different teachings, different doctrines.

Jesus clearly warned us "a house divided against itself will fall." (Luke 11:17) What I am saying here from God's Word shows clearly that MANY professing followers of Christ are wrong. As they cannot ALL be right. And I by no means am saying for people to compromise sound doctrine. But those of us who have been born from above and fathered by God Almighty in Messiah, we have MUCH to pray about. We need to break through to God. And we need to pray to God and ask Him to present His people to this world. His true servants in a clear and powerful way. And one way this can be done is by signs and wonders being done at the hands of His servants. And I'm not talking about all these false signs done in their phony services on TV. I'm talking about verified and bonafide MIRACLES.

But this can only be done though those who are have truly humbled themselves before God and are seeking Him and are striving with Him for the cause of souls. I ask you to strive together with God's Spirit through Christ. To seek Him yourself and not depend on anyone else. WE must walk with Christ. We must be in fellowship with Him. He must be our Shepherd. And this He promises to do through His Spirit within us. Read and study John chapter 14.

I will end this message here but I ask you to strive together with me (sunathleó) in prayer to our LORD and ask Him to unify His church under HIS leadership. Just as Paul taught and teaches today by the words God spoke through him to the churches of Christ.

In Yeshua's Name Amen

Your brother in Christ, Thomas Richards

if you have never repented of your sins and been saved and feel the desire to do so now please say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully saved 20 years ago!


Say,


"My Lord and my God, Have mercy on my soul, a sinner, I believe Jesus the Messiah died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe God raised Jesus from the dead and Jesus is now on the right hand of God and can hear my prayer at this moment and wants to live through me and give me power to keep His Word. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You into my heart Lord Jesus. Please be my Lord and Savior in every aspect of my life. Thank you God for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen"