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Fighting for the Heart Part V – Prevention and Maintenance

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Fighting for the Heart Part V – Prevention and Maintenance

Children need to be protected. When they are protected and guided, they grow up to be well-adjusted and emotionally healthy. When they are not protected, problems abound. Early experiences produce feelings. Feelings are there long before there is any vocabulary to explain them. Feelings continue even when memories are repressed. Those feelings can control people long into life.

Love and unconditional acceptance, joy and peace and all the other fruit of the Holy
Spirit need to be displayed for children in order for them to grow and develop secure relationships and boundaries. This includes self-control. They need to see these characteristics lived out in adults so they perceive them as viable options for life.

People need to laugh – an instructor in class about sexual addiction told us of the need for hurting people to laugh. They experience so little joy and happiness. Make them laugh. Allow them to laugh. Life is serious enough without being sad about everything. Laugh. Not frivolous, giddy hilarity but real, genuine joy in laughing about what is truly funny.

Church should be a place of safety and comfort and guidance. Many times well-meaning religious structures do not provide Spiritual and emotional security and safety. They can if they will follow Jesus care for the flock. They must if they are to bless those who attend.

Mind control does not answer the questions of the heart – it only makes people feel OK because they are obedient to the system. But, it does not provide Spiritual health, security and joy. It eventually replaces maturity and Holy Spirit direction in life.

Children grow up in what they, of course, consider to be normal. Their “normal” may not be healthy. (Hopefully it is but is not always so.) Life can begin to become difficult for them: relations with parents, church, school, marriage, children, etc. It is easier to raise a healthy child than to repair a struggling adult.

Diligent, consistent and caring discipline is useful but falls short of healing if relationship is not there. Truth and love must be the foundation of everything. Early detection of struggle is valuable. Intervention is critical for development of healthy living.

Many times struggling people believe that they are worthless and unlovable. Into their lives enter counselors: some formal, some informal, some wise, some not and life gets complicated. They are part of church struggles, church splits, family issues, etc. They switch churches, jobs, and other parts of life that make life very insecure. Without finding peace and rest, the problems are passed on to the next generation.

All people need care. We are here to bless and guide each other. As God shepherds us, we shepherd each other.

We are in Debt

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We are in Debt

If you spend and spend and spend and never pay off, you will be in debt. You will owe more than you can pay. It is a hopeless feeling. It can be a hopeless experience.

We have spent and spent and we are in debt – in Spiritual debt. Now we are trying to pay off and we are broke. We are Spiritually bankrupt – across the Anabaptist spectrum, we are Spiritually bankrupt.

We are still living on the image created by the illusion of wealth by living on credit cards. We pass the debt on to more cards and the companies continue to issue credit. They own our souls.

Historically we built a huge investment of spiritual capital. We believed and trusted the written Word and the Living Word and the Holy Spirit and we built capital. We passed that on to our children and our children’s children. They decided that they could live on the interest on the investment. They did not continue to contribute to the capital fund. That fund is now nearing depletion.

Our children are attracted to the many options available in the religious world. They sense our bankruptcy and are seeking real value elsewhere. Where will they find it? Maybe nowhere? There is too much play money that looks real. It is only spendable in a Money game. It has no real value.

Some of our groups have created a currency of cultural capital. Culture is its own investment. It is powerful but it is not real money. It is a created currency that has its own life and existence. It is currency not backed by the Creator.

Our original investment was in the written Word directed by the Living Word; the Holy Spirit living in us as we placed our lives under His control. We have now created a currency to replace that original investment. It is not working. It will not work. Our only hope is to return to the original source of value.

Men who have sold themselves out to God and His Kingdom must once again, at the price of death of self and body, return to the Creator and seek His face and forsake all other options and reject all other illusions and remove all other possibilities and all other answers, throw themselves on His mercy and grace and believe and follow without question.

We are broke but we are not broken. Only brokenness can cure broke-ness. Can we be broken? How can we be broken? Just as the disciples were broken. Just as the early Anabaptists were broken. (OK, I know that they were not a monolithic unit and some were downright dangerous.)

Broken before God means that we only receive pleasure in what gives Him pleasure. Means that our hearts are broken with what breaks His heart. Means that we look not on things that perish but at that which is eternal. Means that we invest in gold, silver, precious stones and not in wood, hay and straw.

We will make mistakes but we will, as sheep, not linger in the mud but will rush out and find health and healing from our sins. We will punish our bodies so they learn to serve us instead of us serving them.

There is a Kingdom Currency. It is the talents God gives us. We use our talents to build the Kingdom and they increase in value – Spiritual value. Most of us are hiding our Spiritual Currency and burying it to keep it safe. Only as it is used to build the Kingdom will it increase in value – value that will grow into eternity.

Culture has replaced faith and religion. Anabaptist groups are now primarily culture. Business and farming are our religion. That is broke-ness, not brokenness. That cultural currency will never fund our faith. We are broke – Spiritually broke.

Time to return. Return to Michael and Menno and Marpek and Mack. Return to where they returned. Return to Jesus. Return to the Lord, Jesus, Christ. Return to God: His written Word, His Living Word, His Holy Spirit.

Be broken. Invest in Kingdom Currency. Place God first. Hear His Word. Follow His Spirit. Invest in eternity. This is our only hope.

We owe.  We owe more than we can pay. We cannot pay. He paid. Fall at His feet. Accept His payment. Invest His currency. Seek His face. Place your body on His altar and you will be consumed by the fire of His Spirit. Our debt is paid.

Church Truth

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Church Truth

Yeshua to Nicodemus
(Paraphrase of John 3:1-21)

Nicodemus,

Thank you for your visit. Sorry you are only comfortable to do so under the cover of darkness. I am available everyday as I move among the people. But, however and whenever you want to talk to me, I am available.

Your greeting was very impressive. Such speeches are not part of my Kingdom. I can only respond as YHVH speaks to me. Nicodemus, you think that you are part of the Kingdom of YHVH but, unless you are born again you will never see that Kingdom.

Your response to my call for rebirth was very sad. As a true politician you switched from insincere flattery to sad mockery. You know very well that is not what I am talking about. You have already done that. You are already born of your mother. You cannot do that again. You are born of the flesh. But, Nicodemus, you also need to be born of the Spirit!

That which is born of flesh is flesh!
That which is born of Spirit is Spirit!

YHVH’s world is full of examples of that principle.

You are asking, how can these things that I teach be true. Nicodemus, are you a master in Israel and do not know the things I am telling you? You have Ezekiel and Jeremiah and all the writings and the prophets. You should know these things.

You came to me saying, “WE know that YOU…” You set up a ‘WE and YOU polarization.’ You are correct. There is a ‘WE and YOU’ situation.’ Truly, I say to you, ‘WE speak and know and testify and YOU do not accept OUR testimony. There is indeed a ‘We and YOU’ situation. You are right about that. Make sure you are on the right side of that.

There are examples from your own written tradition that speak of me. In fact, I was promised all through your Scriptures.

Nicodemus, YHVH loves you. He sent me here to show love to you and to all the world. Your scriptures are filled with that message. I am not here to condemn you but to bring YHVH’s salvation to you. If you believe on me you will not be condemned. If you do not believe my simple message you are already condemned!

You have a decision to make. Accept the light that YHVH sent through me or live in darkness. You can hate the light or love the light but you cannot replace the light.

If you are willing to love and live and obey the Truth of YHVH, your life will show that you are born again of His Holy Spirit.

Nicodemus, you cannot know this now but, I know that in my death for you, you will see the light and you will come to YHVH and be born again of the Holy Spirit of YHVH.

Eternally,
Yeshua haMashiach

(Source unknown)

Church Politics

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Letter from Nicodemus to Yeshua

Yeshua,

One side of my conscience tells me to leave well enough alone while the other side won’t allow me any peace until I’ve given you my perspective. The only thing I know for certain is you have created quite a stir in Jerusalem.

Yeshua, I really wonder if you realize the harm you’ve caused by your provocative actions of late. I know you felt obligated to upset the applecart, but do you really think your approach is effective? You know that inwardly I agree with everything you teach. You also know, based on the conversation we had a couple years ago, that I honestly believe you are a true Rabbi. No one can accomplish the signs and miracles you have accomplished unless YHVH is with him. I haven’t changed my opinion. I know much of what you say is true, but your approach is too abrasive. Quite simply, Yeshua, you are causing more harm to your own message than good; not to mention the confusion you’re causing in our culture.

I would be the first to admit, Yeshua that we have many, many things we need to change. I would also admit that I think the merchandising at the temple around Passover has gotten a little out of hand lately. However, I (and a small group of concerned council members) have been taking steps to change this. We are being effective, little by little. I even noticed marked improvement this year. Of course, you wouldn’t have noticed since you didn’t take much time to look around when you arrived. You seemed like you already had your mind made up when you walked through the temple gate.

Yeshuah, you have given yourself a bad name. Solomon said we should desire a good name yet it seems like you’re insistent upon ruining your own reputation in an attempt to expose our Jewish system as hypocrisy. There is no such thing as a perfect religion. Surely you would know that, Yeshua, with all the travelling you’ve done. We don’t even claim to be perfect but we’re doing the best we know how. Do you not believe that we spend time reading and studying the Torah in an attempt to make sure all we’ve been taught is accurate and preserved in its purest fashion? You seem intoxicated by change for the sake of change. Yeshua, as I’ve stated to you before, I don’t believe change is bad but we must move carefully. We have rabbis and elders who have lived this way all their life. Are you saying they’re wrong?

Another thing you may have missed seeing during your episode yesterday was the children. Yeshua, they were thoroughly confused. I personally saw one group of boys who had just come through the Bar Mitzvah ceremony within the last week watching. Soon afterwards I overheard them talking. They understand the disrespect you blatantly showed toward (ultimately) YHVH, but also our temple, our customs, the feast, the priests. Yeshua, what if every young Jewish male decides to take matters in his own hands from now on? Can you imagine the confusion and chaos that will result? We have these things in place for the purpose of maintaining order. You should know as well as anyone that YHVH Himself set these things in order when He spoke it to our brother Moshe. Yeshua, why do you think you should single-handedly lead a revolt against such long established customs? Also, why do you seem to gravitate to the largest gathering of people to make your scenes? Do you need a crowd’s attention in order to feel as though you’re making your point, and what’s the point in randomly misquoting the Torah? Yeshua, examine your heart, are you sure it’s pure?

Also, do you realize that many, many people had to leave the temple after your tirade yesterday? There were people who had travelled many days to reach Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, but when they finally came to the court of merchandising they found no lambs, no doves and no grain. Yeshua, they couldn’t bring their own animals for the sacrifices; they intended to purchase a sacrifice here. You, Yeshua, have robbed them of the opportunity to obey YHVH’s direct command. Quite simply, you have caused them offense. You have caused them to sin. Do you really believe you’re being effective? Must you always use such disrespectful behavior to make your point? Do you realize that it will be impossible to restore order in the temple in time to offer the sacrifices this year?

Another thing I’ve never mentioned is your tendency toward disrespecting the Shabbat. After yesterday’s episode I heard many people talking about your many episodes of healing, travelling and even harvesting grain on the Shabbat. Do you honestly believe we have been doing it wrong all these centuries?

Yeshua, I’m pleading with you. Please reconsider your approach. Not only are you causing confusion and contention among the common Jews, you’re also creating a nightmare for the elders and priests. Give us some time, Yeshua, I can see positive changes being made. We each need to exercise patience with one another. I sit on the Sanhedrin council, trust me, Yeshua, good things are happening. No, they’re not happening rapid enough to suit your desires (or even mine for that matter), but good things are happening, nonetheless!

I care for you, Yeshua. I respect you. I know that much of what you say to and about us is true. I also know that if you continue on the path you’ve chosen you will find yourself on the unfortunate end of an execution stick. Then what, Yeshua? Wouldn’t it make more sense to calm down a little and work within the system guidelines to reveal truth? Don’t you think that will be more productive in the end? Doesn’t it seem more consistent with the nature of YHVH to move slowly, cautiously, intentionally rather than impulsively and recklessly?

Yeshua, I’ve only written this because I care. I want to see change as bad as you do. I DO see change and I thank YHVH for it! Please consider these things.

May YHVH bless you and keep you, Yeshua.

Nicodemus

(Source unknown)

He Washed My Eyes With Tears

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He Washed My Eyes With Tears

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see,
The broken heart I had was good for me;
He tore it all apart and looked inside,
He found it full of fear and foolish pride.
He swept away the things that made me blind,
And then I saw the clouds were silver lined;
And now I understand ’twas best for me,
He washed my eyes with tears that I might see.

He washed my eyes with tears that I might see,
The glory of Himself revealed to me;
I did not know that He had wounded hands,
I saw the blood He spilt upon the sands.
I saw the marks of shame and wept and cried,
He was my substitute for me He died;
And now I’m glad He came so tenderly
And washed my eyes with tears that I might see.

By Ira Stanphill

God the Holy Spirit 47

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God the Holy Spirit 47

Isaiah 59:20-21 “The Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the LORD.

“As for Me,” says the LORD, “this is My covenant with them:
My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth,
Shall not depart from your mouth,
Nor from the mouth of your descendants,
Nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,”
Says the LORD,
“From this time and forevermore.”

God’s Spirit upon you and God’s words in your mouth is God’s covenant with you. As you continue to speak of His word, His promise will continue for generations. Thus says the LORD.

Faithful Father, Thank you for your promise ansd thank you for Your Holy Spirit which is upon us and now in us. Thank you for the promise that Your Spirit will be in the voices of our children and their children. Now and forevermore.
Amen

God the Holy Spirit 46

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God the Holy Spirit 46

Isaiah 59:19 So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.

We are weak and frail. What can we do? We can fear the name of the LORD! His glory will rise like the sun. Even when the enemy attempts to overwhelm us.
Even when we cannot fight against sin and wrong.
The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against our enemies!

O Father, Your Spirit is so powerful. In our weakness we are so dependent on Your Spirit. Thank you that we can and do fear Your name and that we have nothing else to fear. Thank You that we can rest in your promise. Your glory rises in our lives and Your Spirit defeats our enemies!
Amen