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Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; (Song of Songs 1:3 NKJV)

What is fragrance?

What does it do?

Here’s the thing. When our Song speaks of fragrance it is not talking actions. Not the visible actions of a Shepherd King, but rather the invisible features of thoughts and emotions – His passions.

When we talk about God and emotions we (the Church) have a strange box for God. We feel like God has this amazing joy when we are born again, and He spends the rest of our lives angry with us.

There is even a theological argument out there that says that God does not change so He cannot have emotions.

This is all so messed up. We are created in the image of God, emotions and all. If we learn nothing else from the Song of Songs, it is that we have an emotional Father.

There is, however, action in this verse and we don’t want to miss it. The fragrant ointment is poured forth.

Here we see the internal essence of Jesus, His thought life, His emotion, His passion, poured out by the declaration of His name. Last week we looked at His name, but today I want to draw your attention to this idea.

As His name is declared, His passion is revealed. [Tweet This]

Observe:

When He said His name was JEHOVAH-TSID-KENU  "The Lord is our righteousness" He was demonstrating His passion for transforming you into the righteousness of God in Him.

When He said His name was JEHOVAH-SHALOM  - Our perfect peace - He was demonstrating His passion for creating peace between you and God as the Prince of Peace.

When He said His name was JEHOVAH RAPHA  - I am the Lord Your Physician or I am the Lord Your Healer – He was demonstrating His passion for healing you to the uttermost.

Interestingly enough Paul talks about fragrance too.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NASB)

The fact is, as our life declares by word and deed the name of Jesus, His passion is poured forth on our circle of influence, and it has an impact. It may draw some to Christ, and it may push some away. In any case, when you stand for Christ your life will no longer be neutral.

Do you need that ointment poured forth in your life today?

Do you need that healing balm, that peace that defies understanding?

Let the name of Jesus wash over you even now. Declare His name out loud over your circumstances today.

If you are sick say out loud something like “I am yours, Jehovah Rapha – the Lord who heals me”

If you are stressed instead of blessed – declare “I am yours, Jehovah Shalom”

Hey – we are not talking magic words, or secret formulae here. But there is power in the name of Jesus.

That’s good, isn’t it? Share what you learned, or what fresh revelation you received, or even what made you mad here today. Has His name poured out in your life changed your reality? Share!

Come back next week for more of the Song. Believe me, we are just scratching the surface here.

Ben

1

Win--Lose--Draw here is what you can do for your country.

Do what Daniel did.

Pray.

And let's quit the: "Get 'em," prayers, or the, "I'm glad I'm on the right side of history," prayers.

Let's try Daniels method.

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

"O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name." - Daniel 9:3-19 ESV

It's the right choice.

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgGlory to Jesus,

Ben

5

There is no way to
get rid of this kind of
demon except by prayer.
Mark 9:29

Help My Doubts

Father of a Demon-Possessed Boy

I remember the doctor saying to us, years ago, “Keep a record of his bad days.” My son—my eight-year-old boy—Enoch and I visited the doctor often in those first days. It’s been another eight years since we stopped going to doctors. For seven of them, we’ve found it easier to record the good days than count the bad.

The first sign the demonic attack has begun—we now know it’s a demon—is Enoch’s eerie silence. His eyes glaze over and it seems like he has gone away. He can’t hear—or at least he doesn’t respond to sound—and never speaks.

In the beginning, we thought he was sick. My wife, Havah, and I took him to our family doctor in the village. At first, this demon did not awaken while we were with the doctor, so he didn't know how to help. Enoch, couldn’t tell the doctor much. He couldn't remember what happened during his episodes. He just fell—no—not fell—it was like being thrown to the floor. Then he rolled around the ground as stiff as a board,  foaming at the mouth. If there was anything dangerous nearby, like fire, or water, or a steep drop, he’d head right for it.

Our third visit to the doctor was after a furious episode where Enoch found his way right into an open fire. It scorched more than half the skin on his left side. The doctor said he could  treat the burn, but he told us we should see a priest or rabbi. He didn’t think Enoch had any disease.

“This boy is possessed by a devil, and I can’t help you,” he told us as he gave us some salve for his burns.

After that, we went from rabbi to rabbi, each one shrugged his shoulders and wished he could do more.

It’s been seven years of rabbis and priests. We’ve given special offerings at the temple and paid for professional intercessors. We’ve gone to every house of prayer in Judea. Once we even traveled up to the temple at Shechem in Samaria to see if they could help us.

About a year ago, I started hearing stories of a rabbi from Galilee who was casting out demons and healing the sick. At first, I didn’t want Enoch and Havah to get their expectations aroused, but as the stories multiplied my heart began to hope.

One of my neighbors returned from a visit with some family up north near Tiberius. He told me of a pair of Jesus’ disciples going through the town. They were healing the sick and casting out demons in the streets. I’ve know Ari for many years, and he wouldn’t repeat these stories if there were any doubt in his mind. He was there. He saw men and women healed before his eyes, even some possessed by demons like my boy.

That’s when I started planning. I didn’t tell my wife, or even my son, what I was really up to. I didn’t want to lie to either of them. I just told Havah I wanted some time alone with my boy. I started planning for a trip with Enoch to find this Healer. I would tell Him my boy’s story. If He refused or couldn’t help, the disappointment would only fall on me.

I learned that He had been seen teaching and healing near Cana up in Galilee, so I packed our things and Enoch and I headed north.

Traveling with Enoch is no holiday. Everywhere we go, we have to be prepared to deal with his oppressor. This trip was no exception. In fact, the spirit's brutality the first night made me think we were might be headed in the right direction. The vile captor in Enoch’s young body protested more than ever. We didn’t sleep at all the first night we were on the road. Before I even had the fire burning hot enough to cook some dinner, he was flailing around and smothered it, at great cost to his own flesh. It was a grueling three days and two nights.

When we got close, someone told us the Teacher was on Mount Tabor. So we followed the road down from Cana to the east. As we approached the mountain, we found crowds at the base. I expected this. The accounts I’ve heard always have large crowds around this Healer.

It was nearly sundown when we came upon a few of the Healer’s disciples surrounded by dozens of on-lookers. They had just healed a couple of blind men. Next, they were laying hands on a lame woman lying on a sort of mat in the middle of the group. As we pressed our way into the center of the gathering, we saw this woman on the bed getting to her feet. Then she started jumping and running around the circle of spectators.

The disciples looked almost as stunned as the no-longer-bedridden woman. One of these men called out, “It’s the name of Jesus that heals the sick and delivers anyone in bondage.”

We had found Him.

I started waving frantically, crying out “My son, help my son!” I must have looked a little mad myself. I began to tell my son’s story to the one they were calling Andrew. There were three other groups like the one I was in, each surrounding what looked like a few disciples.

"I'm Andrew," said the man who was speaking, "and this is Simon the Zealot."

As soon as I began to describe Enoch’s condition, my son flew to the ground. I had my back to him, so I didn’t see the warning signs. I would have steered him away from the crowd before he went it to the full display of fury that is my son’s daily reality.

He was rocking back and forth, jerking up and down, six inches into the air and then slammed down again, rolling over so the foam covering his mouth was full of the Galilean dirt. Andrew and Simon hurried over to him and began to command the demon to come out.

“In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, come out,” they called.

Nothing changed. They said it a little louder. “In the name of Jesus, come out.”

They asked others in the crowd to hold him still while they prayed for him, laying their hands on his head and chest.

He thrashed and freed his arms. Then began slashing at them with his fists and scratching with his fingernails.

Andrew and Simon called two of the other disciples over to them and they started out the same way.

“In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, come out.”

Nothing.

I have to say, they didn’t give up. The sky grew fully dark and the air chilled as this failed exorcism went on into the night.

Finally, sometime after midnight, I took Enoch away from the crowd and we found a quiet place to get some rest. He had been in full manifestation for hours, and when he finally calmed, he was ready to sleep.

The sun was already well above the horizon when we awoke. The commotion that woke us was the arrival of Jesus and three more of his followers. They had apparently spent the night on the mountain. I’d never seen anything like Jesus. He was glowing—glowing! It wasn’t just the sun shimmering off his robes. The light emanated from Him.

As we approached Andrew called to Jesus, “Here they are Mater. We did everything you taught us and nothing changed.”

Once I realized that Jesus was right there, I said, “Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn’t.

Jesus said “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here."

Andrew took Enoch by the hand and led him to the Master.

The demon in my boy did his worst. He slammed him to the ground with no warning whatsoever. He pushed him right into a nearby fire. He convulsed and foamed and moaned, teeth grinding and eyes wild.

Jesus asked, “How long has this been going on?

Ever since he was a little boy,” I replied. "Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!"

Jesus’s eyes looked eager. “If?” He responded. “There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen."

That brought me up short. “I do believe;” I blurted, but then I wondered if I did, so I added, “Help me with my doubts!

I think the crowd knew something big was about to happen because they started to press in. Some just realizing that Jesus was back, others hearing the conversation. Everyone wanting to see what He would do.

"Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!" Jesus spoke directly to the spirit who had tormented my son—my whole family—for the last eight years.

Enoch cried out, lifted off the ground and then fell back down with a thud. This time not rigid, as in times past, but more like a rag doll, begin tossed away. He lay there for what seemed an eternity. The crowd started murmuring.

He’s dead.”

“He killed the boy.”

Jesus walked over to Enoch, leaned down and grabbed his hand and pulled. At that moment, Enoch’s eyes opened, the color came back into his face. He nearly bounced up off the ground. With his hand in the hand of the Healer, he looked more alive than he had since the evil first took him. The joy was back in his eyes, the joy of a child with a future.

The two days traveling home seemed like a dream to both of us. In every village, at every meal, we shared our story with everyone we met. We were not just witnesses to a miracle. We were changed by our short visit with Jesus. His Words changed my boy and turned my hope into an unshakable faith.

My Havah could hardly believe her eyes. One look at Enoch’s countenance told the whole story. My son was bound, but now his chains are gone. His captivity is over. He’s free!

Messiah truly has come in our day.

~~~
To read the original story, see Mark 9:15-30. Quotes come from the Message Bible.

Copyright - Benjamin Nelson - 2016

Encounters With Jesus - Available Now
Encounters With Jesus - Available Now

If you enjoyed this story you can find forty more in my book Encounters With Jesus. It takes the reader from Christ's conception to His resurrection through the eyes of dozens who were touched by His ministry.

You can get your copy today in paperback or kindle on Amazon. If you want both you can get the Kindle version for only 99c when you buy the paperback on Amazon.

5

cloudswithoutwaterJude uses the phrase “clouds without water” when speaking of those who come into the body of Christ unseen and disrupt the faith. (See Jude vs 12.)

Jude is one of those books you don’t hear much about these days. Most of Christendom has opted for the Christian radio model. You know, always positive, uplifting and family-friendly. This is not one of those books—well—it is if you get to the end. But it pushes hard on those trying to undermine the grace of God.

In any case, the phrase clouds without water got to me this week. I recently heard a speaker use the phrase as an illustration of a Christian who believes in the power of God to do miracles today but has no such signs following.

This stirred me up. 

Yes, I’ve seen many wonders at the hand of God.

I’ve prayed and seen the paralyzed walk, hearing restored, eyesight cleared, demons flee. But I’ve also seen days without number where I don’t even offer to pray for the sick. Weeks where I leave the demons comfortably ensconced in their quarry. Entire months where I don’t even ask the Father in Jesus name to intervene in the lives of those around me. Far too much of life where I don’t pray for rain.

Yesterday, I talked about a river of living water flowing from my innermost being into the world around me. Today—different metaphor—same prayer.

Lord, forgive me for floating through life without raining your love and mercy down on my surroundings. Father use me as a rain cloud of your mercy and grace today.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Rain on!

Ben


Hey - if you haven't checked out my book - Encounters With Jesus - take a look at this sample chapter. This book offers a fresh look at the life of Jesus through the eyes of the ones He touched. You'll love it.

You can order yours here.

9

Here are some red letters that really thrill me.

Join me in Mark 1 today and let’s think about what Jesus said in these three little words. But first ... a little context.

And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." - Mark 1:40-41 NASB

Jesus ran into people every day during His ministry years. It is in fact why He came, to seek and to save the lost, to run into people and bring the kingdom of heaven into their lives. No two of the folks He encountered were alike. It was not as though everyone who came to Him for a miracle came with the same level of faith and expectation.

Some knew deep inside that if they could reach Him, they would find healing, like the woman with the issue of blood.

for she was saying to herself, "If I only touch His garment, I will get well." - Matthew 9:21 NASB

Some were not even sure He had any power whatsoever.

"It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" - Mark 9:22 NASB

Some understood He was not limited to proximity, and could heal across the miles like the centurion.

But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. - Matthew 8:8 NASB

So what about this leper we meet in Mark 1? He had a concern I often hear voiced in Evangelical circles. It’s common thought today that Jesus can still heal and does still heal, but it is linked to some sort of whim or fancy or divine fiat. We come to the Lord in prayer asking for healing as though we hoping He’s in a good mood and might just condescend to do us a little favor and heal our loved one.

This phrase only comes up five times in the NASB and three of them are three accounts of this event. One is when Jesus is talking about John the baptist, explaining that he was Elijah who would come. The only other time we hear this phrase is in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus cries out to the Father:

saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." - Luke 22:42 NASB

Many have adopted this phrase as part of their prayer life.

Here’s the thing.

Jesus answered the question.

He answered this man in no uncertain terms.

He could have simply healed the leper to demonstrate His will without saying a word.

But Jesus—the Word of God—the very Will of God incarnate—the express image of God—Jesus—answered.

I am willing!

And if this doesn’t answer it for you with enough clarity, look at His ministry. He healed all who came to Him. Time after time we see Him heal them all.

The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. - Matthew 4:24 NASB

But Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all, - Matthew 12:15 NASB

We are not calling out to God for something unclear, or something unprecedented.

Jesus, in the Garden, placed Himself into a circumstance we could never see. He was facing separation from the Father, He was facing the cup of God’s wrath stored up against all our sin and the prospected was horrifying.

This is not our case when the come to the Lord Jesus for our healing. He told us His name is Jehovah Rapha - the Lord our Healer.

I understand that when we are talking about our future James tells us to leave it in the Lord’s hands.

Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." - James 4:15 NASB

But James is not teaching us to pray. He’s talking about our attitude toward life.

Jesus Christ who is the same, yesterday, today and forever, said without hesitation:

"I am willing; be cleansed." - Matthew 8:3 NASB

Hallelujah! (That’s a place for shouting!)

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgThanks for coming by today.

Walk in the light.

Ben

1

We have undersold the power of prayer—well, I have.

Prayer seems like a great idea for some of those projects that are beyond our control.

Prayer makes me feel like I’m doing something when I’m in a circumstance where I’m limited to only prayer.

Prayer is our last resort.

But the Holy Spirit tells us through Paul:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. - Romans 8:26 ESV

These are great and encouraging words. It’s wonderful to know that even though I don’t know how to pray the Holy Spirit has it.

But there’s a little word in this bit of encouragement that tells me we’re missing it.

The word? Ought.

Oughts have become rather frowned upon in today’s Christian circles, and I’m not trying to popularize guilt and condemnation again. I’m glad the Church is moving away from the use of guilt to make us behave.

And yet, we have an ought. Thankfully it comes couched in the Lord’s great provision for our shortcoming.

What is the solution for our weakness? Prayer. The fact that ought shows up here implies to me that there should come a point in a Christians life when he is able to pray through some of his own weaknesses.

OK - that’s all good, but I’m not there—right? Are you? Maybe so.

Here’s the ah-ha for me.

When I don’t know how to pray to solve my weakness, what does God do?

And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. - Romans 8:27 ESV

He, by the Spirit searches our hearts and minds and finds the weakness and …

fixes it? - No

sends help? - No

makes us strong? - No

The Spirit prays—intercedes on our behalf.

God’s own solution to our weakness is not the taking of some action but to pray.

I’ve always thought that we pray and God acts. Or we pray and God puts in our heart the courage to act and the wisdom to know how.

But I’m thinking that the whole work is done in prayer. Words passed between mortal and immortal, between man and God. Short of that words passed between Spirit and Father.

And the result of this intercession?

All our circumstances work together for the believer's good.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28 ESV

This most famous of verses is the middle of a paragraph about how the Spirit intercedes on our behalf to deal with our weaknesses.

My circumstance shines the spotlight on my weakness, and the Spirit carries me before the Father and stands as my advocate, pleading for me—for you.

Do the circumstances dissolve? Not necessarily. Do the problems fall away? Maybe yes—Maybe no. Is a great outcome promised? You bet -

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. - Romans 8:29 ESV

Through the intercession of the Spirit, I am conformed to the image of Christ.

So what do I do with that little ought?

My prayer must become—Lord, teach me to pray. Help me partner with the Spirit and participate in my own transformation.

Yes Lord!

Teach me to pray as I ought!

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by.

Have a great 4th of July!

Ben

10

As I ponder the last days of Jesus’ life, there’s one phrase that gets me every time. Jesus is surrounded by a Roman cohort, the temple big wigs, and his own disciples. Melee breaks out. Swords clash and ears fly (OK - ear flies.)

Jesus looks at Peter and tells him to put away the sword. Then He asks Peter one of the most significant and telling questions of His ministry (and He has asked a lot of questions!)

Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? - Matthew 26:53 NASB

Or as I like to translate it - “Don’t you know I could pray?”

In all of Jesus’ healing ministry one thing is lacking - He never prayed for the sick. He took authority over sickness and disease. There were times when He looked to heaven and thanked His Father for what the He was about to do. But Jesus never made an appeal to heaven in the working of a miracle.

It’s not that He didn’t pray though. The way I understand it from Jesus words, He spent time with the Father daily—went off early and often to pray and be alone with the Father. In His time in communion with Abba, the Father would show Him things Jesus would face that day, or in the future, and Jesus would submit to the Father’s priorities. Every day Jesus answered the call afresh and anew—Here am I, send me!

In fact, He had just spent three hours appealing to the Father, and received the resounding “NO” of heaven. He was coming out of the very first prayer He had ever uttered that God denied.

"My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." - Matthew 26:39 NASB

Yet this does not change His confidence. He knew that He knew that a single request—one simple petition—would bring all of heaven to His defense.

I don’t pray like that. My heart doesn’t rise up and say, “Don’t you know I could pray?”

But it should.

Why shouldn’t I have the same confidence in my heavenly Father. Why, when faced with seeming impossibility, don’t I look it in the eye and tell that old liar, “Back off! Don’t you know I could pray?”

I repent!

Lord, from this day, I ask You to forgive my prayerlessness and help me know the Father as You know Him. Grant me the place of prayer. Give me confidence in the power of prayer. Give me the boldness to stand up and say, “Don’t you know I could pray?”

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by.

Walk in the light,

Ben

I'm using Tim and Kathy Keller's daily devotional that goes through the Psalms in a year, The Songs of JESUS. In today's prayer they quote a stanza from a hymn I had never heard of, Approach, My Soul, The Mercy Seat written by John Newton.

Here's the full hymn. The Keller's quoted verse five as a response to the prophetic Psalm 5 which depicts the agony of our Lord on the cross.

1 Approach, my soul, the mercy-seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before his feet,
For none can perish there.

2 Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

3 Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed,
By wars without, and fears within,
I come to thee for rest.

4 Be thou my shield and hiding place!
That, sheltered near thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him, "thou hast died."

5 O wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame;
That guilty sinners such as I,
Might plead thy gracious name.

6 "Poor tempest-tossed soul be still,
My promised grace receive;"
'Tis Jesus speaks, I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.

Thanks to Hymnary.org for these lyrics. They supply a tune to go with it (Ballerma, by François Hippolyte Barthélémon - 1741-1808) in the form of sheet music, but the poem itself is in common meter, so many familiar hymn tunes will work including New Britain, the traditional tune for John Newtons famous hymn, Amazing Grace.

Thanks for coming by

BenHeadshotSee you again soon,

Ben

2

photo credit: Antique Telephone via photopin (license)
photo credit: Antique Telephone via photopin (license)

They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. - Hosea 7:11 NASB

Ephraim is the name given to Israel’s 10 tribes who left the Lord quickly after the nation split. These were people God had called to be His own. He wanted to be a king over them, but they walked away from Him.

Hosea wrote in the last days of the Northern Kingdom. They had prospered greatly for a period after the split from Judea. Hosea was the last prophet to speak to Israel (the Northern Kingdom was know by these three names in by the Old Testament writers - Israel, Ephraim and the Northern Kingdom) before Assyria came and took her captive. Their prosperity was waning, and God was giving them one last chance to repent and turn back to Him.

What strikes me today, is God’s desire simply to hear their voice.

His major indictment in chapter 7 of this short prophecy is that they did not call out to Him.

The chapter starts with God stating - “When I wanted to heal Israel…” (Hosea 7:1)

Then He lists some of there sins, and some of the problems they are facing.

Then in 7:7 He says, “…None of them calls on Me.

Check out these snippets:

Ephraim mixes himself with the nations… 7:8

Strangers devour his strength, Yet he does not know it… 7:9

…Yet they have not returned to the LORD their God,
Nor have they sought Him, for all this. 7:10

They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. 7:11

And they do not cry to Me from their heart
When they wail on their beds… 7:14

The Lord Almighty is saddened by the way the ones He called, His chosen people, didn’t call upon His name, even in times of trouble. They call on the world, Egypt. They call on their enemies, those who would do them great harm, Assyria.

But, “None of them calls on Me.

It’s a clarion call for us to be like Seth the third son of Adam and Eve.

To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. - Genesis 4:26

Today would be a great day to call upon the name of the Lord.

Cry out to Him in your day of trouble.

Call upon Him in your day of prosperity with thanksgiving.

When you’re looking for business advice—don’t look to Egypt, look to the Lord.

When you want provision—don’t negotiate with Assyria, seek the face of Jesus.

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgSelah

Ben

3

Kingdom of Heaven

God’s never going to be dissatisfied with you, once you are in His kingdom. (Need to get  up to speed on the conversation - check out my posts from Monday and Thursday.)

I’m not saying that there is no room for repentance in the life of a believer, but it’s got to stop dominating all our communication with God.

Repentance is near and dear to my heart as you will know if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time. (For instance: Repentance, the Path to Victory)

When Jesus taught us to pray He placed repentance near the end of the prayer. Two-thirds of our prayer life should be giving Him glory and submitting ourselves to His will.

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13 NASB

The truth is that for much of my Christian life, I spent most of my prayer time telling God I was sorry for my failure. It stopped me from moving forward.

It’s like I got myself 1/2 way through Romans 6. I was dead to sin—or at least I hated it pretty well, but I never quite got myself raised again in newness of life. I figured that was for the future—for heaven.

It is for heaven—the kingdom of heaven. But Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth two millennia ago, and didn’t take it back when He ascended to His Father’s right hand.

He deputized His disciples to bring the kingdom of heaven to every corner of the earth. He sent them to a lost and dying world with a message of life—abundant life.

So—are those just words to you—abundant life? Are you stuck?

Let’s begin our prayer where Jesus taught us.

Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:9-10 NASB

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgThanks for coming by.

Shine your light today.

Ben

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