Systematic Theology Paper

Final Synthesis Paper

 

A Paper

Submitted To:

Dr. Hart

Graduate School of Theology and Ministry

At Oral Roberts University

In Partial Fulfillment of

The Requirements for the Course GTHE 561,

Systematic Theology II

By

Christopher B Walsh

April 26th, 2017

 

1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Here we read of the mighty apostle Paul, near the end of his earthly ministry, refer to himself as the chief of all sinners.

From1 Corinthians 15:9, “I am the least of the apostles…,” to Ephesians 3:8, “I am the least of all the saints…” we see the progression in the apostle Paul’s life, as he is getting closer to the end of his earthly journey, beholding the glory of the risen Savior:

“It’s not so much that Paul wants to draw attention to himself as the “chief” sinner although I am sure he was not speaking hyperbolically here.  Rather, he wants to cast a greater light on Christ and show us the magnificence of Christ, His love, mercy and grace towards sinners!  Paul is calling us all to cast our eyes upon Christ and marvel at Him and the greatness of His saving grace.  As Paul is evaluating his own spiritual standing (i.e. in relation to the grace and glory of God in Christ) he cannot help but see himself as the “chief” sinner.”[1]

I believe this quote sums up the gospel!

Despite all the revelation given to the apostle Paul in writing much of the New Testament, I believe He sees the glory and heart of Jesus – the primary truth of the Word of God – we are all sinners, who need a Savior.

Truly it is written: Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

We are all touched by the traducianistic nature of the fall of the original couple in the garden – we have inherited not only the combined natural DNA of our parents, but also the fallen nature of all humanity – original sin.

From the taste of the forbidden fruit, came an avalanche of the effects of this insidious fallen nature manifested: from Cain murdering his brother, to Lamech taking vengeance upon his enemies, until God Himself can take it no more.

We read in Gen 6: 5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

So we read the account of Noah, saved through the flood, a beautiful picture of Christ, the only Savior of the world.
Why then does a person need to be saved or more importantly: why do I need to be saved?
It’s the eternal ancient story being worked out again, in this, my generation.

The Bible declares:

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This insidious sin nature then, is not just “out there”, so to speak, rather “in here”, as we look in the mirror to discover the greatest enemy of ourselves, to be staring back at us. Each of us must confront our own fallen nature, and agree with God. It is I that has sinned, it is I who must be forgiven, and it is I who am need of a Savior.

So is this Savior?

He is God the Son, The second person of the Trinity!

Who is this Jesus?

Theologians have argued His nature, but the following creed was adopted was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451

Chalcedon Definition,

The Chalcedonian Definition (also called the Chalcedonian Creed) Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us[2]

This is the officially accepted doctrine of the Christian church, but it has not been accepted without controversy. There have been six main heresies:

Ebionism states that Jesus is not God

Arianism – states that Jesus was not fully God

Docetism states that Jesus is not human

Apollinarianism states that Jesus is not fully human.

Nestorianism states that Jesus was two distinct persons

Eutychianism – Jesus has one blended nature.

While each of these positions has extensive reasoning’s of man behind them, they have been fully refuted by the person of Jesus, for has not He Himself declared for all eternity that I AM, the way, the TRUTH, and the life. All lies and deception fall crushed beneath the power of His glory, for He is the God of absolute TRUTH and holiness!

It is written: Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

As we seek to obey this command, we quickly find others who have gone before us in the journey, great theologians and academics that have contributed much to Christian thought and understanding.

Dr. Hart brilliantly and succinctly introduces three of these as we consider the questions:

What is salvation, or more importantly, what is redemption?

We discover three main theologies of redemption.

These are:

Gustav Aulen – The Ransom theory – Jesus is our Victory! “The note of triumph sounds like a trumpet call through the teachings of the early church”

Anselm – Satisfaction theory, the justice of God is fully satisfied in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

Abelard – The Moral Influence theory: It is the goodness of God that leads to repentance, that because God is love, we should automatically want to receive Jesus and serve Him.[3]

As great of each of these theories and lines of reasoning are, none of them is complete enough in and of itself to incorporate the whole gospel, rather each contributes to our understanding of redemption, and it is the study of all three of these combined that gives a more complete understanding of the miracle of redemption.

As I look at the spiritual landscape here in yea even Tulsa, Oklahoma, I see there is ‘nothing new under the sun’

Could the victorious teachings of Aulen, be the heart of the great Victory Christian Center with its far flung mission’s movement and over 1600 International Bible Schools in over 100 nations?

Could the teachings of Anselm be reflected in the Baptist and Holiness churches that teach believers the power of the cross and in living a crucified life?

Could the teachings of Abelard, be the heart of God reflected in ‘the grace movement’ focusing on the love of God, and our identity in Christ that should cause us to desire Him, His holiness, and a life free from sin?
Well then, if we need salvation, and have received redemption through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus, by what means do we receive this great gift?

By Faith!

Faith, – “pistis” What we believe, is the noun.

“Pisteo”, this is the verb, for faith without works is dead.

As a Rhema graduate taught at the feet of Kenneth E. Hagin, one would be tempted to believe that faith is the only topic in the Bible.  Obviously, this is not the full counsel of God.  Yet in light of eternity, faith is the most important for Ephesians 2:8 states: For by grace you are saved, through faith.  Yet faith works by love Galatians 5:6 and it is the love of God that made salvation available.  The text brilliantly makes this distinction between the noun and the verb.  So faith is both the belief and then the action upon the belief.  Since faith only comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, and the Bible says that everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us by these exceeding great and precious promises, so then faith: that is formally developing belief systems in others, must be the heart of every true ministry.  Families need divine order.  So ministers must preach on God’s covenant of marriage, the roles and responsibilities of wives and husbands in the home, the duty of children to honor and obey their parents.  And as these words are preached and people believe and act upon them, God brings great grace, power, and love from Heaven into the lives of those that do them.  This principle is true of every area of life and godliness.  Answers for all of life’s questions can be found in the Word of God believed and acted upon.

The illustrious Dr. Hart expounds on this by both teaching the Scriptures and quoting many, many theologians.  I love his quote “clearly then, faith (pistis), the noun and believing (pisteo) the verb are central to the Biblical doctrine of salvation. [4]

 

Clearly faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus will cause one to call on the Name of the Lord and be saved.  But the road to the cross must continue past the resurrection to Pentecost and the mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus gave the promise of the Holy Spirit, but clearly the promise had a purpose as American Baptist Scholar Howard M. Ervin stated, “The purpose of Pentecost is unmistakably world evangelism[5]” Holy Spirit prayer produces power for Christian service for each and every one of us.  Not only was prayer central to the event of Pentecost; Prophecy also played a major role.  This led to provocation as God deliberately intended that the Pentecostal experience would provoke.  We see the Holy Spirit portrayed as wind, creator, fire, the dove, and water.  He is both the personal spirit as the Paraclete and divine, but there is one work of the Holy Spirit.  We see Him displayed as paschal, purifying and Pentecostal, but Paschal. that is the direct application of Christ-saving work at Calvary is the manner at which He imparts to us eternal life.[6]

I love the way I heard gunnery sergeant USMC Gregory Gill state it while giving his testimony during the flag raising ceremony between veterans and the Navajo nation in July 2014:

“If all we got in receiving Jesus is eternal life, we have been overpaid”.

We see then a new law at work in creation, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  There must be integration between Calvary and Pentecost.  We recognize the work of the Spirit in Spirit baptism but also in leading people into true repentance.  Clearly He is the One that causes people to hear the Lord’s call through the Gospel.  We understand that in Christ we have been grafted into the faith of our father Abraham and that Jesus is the ultimate faith teacher.  Faith alone will move the hand of God and cause us to change as our born-again nature works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure.  It is the cross that reconciles, the Holy Spirit that empowers, and faith that sanctifies, as we embrace the spirit disciplines as the means for sanctification.  We discover that we have been adopted, chosen, into the royal family of Heaven.  And so Dr. Hart discusses the age-old controversy between Calvinism and Armenianism to reveal the straight and narrow way that Jesus Himself promised.

 

Hope for a despairing world

Even the great Sir Winston Churchill looked to Billy Graham for the precious gift of hope.  For hope is a Christian virtue from the pages of Scripture to the lips of Dr. Martin Luther King we discover in the promises of God the great Christian hope laid out in the Scriptures.  The theology of hope may have had its origins in Germany.[7]

Is not Eschatology simply the theology of hope?  “Forward looking and forward moving and therefore revolutionizing and transforming the present.”[8] We see Christian hope in history for “Jews and Christians believe that God has revealed Himself redemptively in history.”[9]  Just as the Jew looks to the historical Exodus account, we look to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So we find hope in our personal mission “the ultimate meaning of history between the ascension of our Lord and His return in glory is found in the extension and working of the Gospel in the world.[10]  Hope also produces assurance (Phil 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ).  Paul was confident for he knew God would complete His good work.  We too can have this assurance, the hope of our salvation.  Christian hope will produce a joy-filled lifestyle.  We can face death squarely as Christians knowing our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life in Christ Jesus!  Jesus is coming again!  We see the signs of the times.  And yet hope has us looking up not fearfully but in joyful anticipation of the second coming of Jesus.  We read about the devil, the beast, and the false prophets, and hear the myriad voices declaring the second coming and the three main positions pre-millennial, post-millennial, and millennial.  Whichever position you choose, know that even as Jesus was raised from the dead, we too shall be raised and given a glorified body.  There will be a great white throne judgment where “we will all someday face judgment before the throne.”[11]  For those of us whose names are found in the Book of Life, eternal glory waits.  To those who are not found there, there is a place of eternal torment awaiting that the Bible calls hell.  This place was prepared, not for human-kind, but for the devil and his angels, yet many will end up there in this place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  “If Heaven is the community of the redeemed, then hell is the community of the damned.”[12]  How can a good God send people into an eternal hell?

So then we walk on our pilgrimage with eyes facing forward looking and longing for the hope of Heaven.  If we really believe in Heaven, then we must also believe in hell.  Dr. Hart shockingly states that no one in his class actually believes in hell anymore. “If we really believed in hell, we would be moved to avert as many as we could from its horror.”[13]  While we shudder to think of our eternal responsibility to share the Gospel, we must also think of the glories of Heaven.  “This is the city, the community, the family, the fellowship, the joy, the perfection, the kingdom, the commonwealth, and the paradise for which we have all been longing!”[14]

If faith is not only what we believe, but also the way that God requires us to live in this covenant, we must understand the workings of faith and faith works by love.  Jesus said I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.  So what is the church of our Lord Jesus Christ?  For a general definition of the New Testament church, it must include all true believers in Jesus Christ at all times and all places and also the local gatherings of God’s people.  In relation to God, we have become both the people of God and the temple of God; in relationship to Jesus, we are both the bride of Christ and the body of Christ.  In relation to the Holy Spirit, we are the fellowship (koinonia) of the Holy Spirit and the ministry (diakonia) of the Holy Spirit.  The Church takes on many forms in its historical dimension and the eschatological dimension, our corporate worship and our home fellowships.  But I am more of a practitioner.  I love Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Church where he set his congregation on a research assignment in the Scriptures to succinctly express the main purposes of the church.  He summarized these into five main purposes which are outreach, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and service.  While there are many particular denominations of the Christian faith, and most were created at a time during history to meet a need of humanity or correct an error in the current institutionalized structure.  I have become firmly non-denominational in my theology embracing the spirit of St. Augustine of Hippo, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

The primary responsibility of the church is ‘martyria’ or (witness); it is this witness that is the root of koinonia (fellowship) and diakonia (service). I agree that Dr. Hart is correct Biblically, and his discussion supports my theology, that faith only comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Therefore, the preacher, the oracle of God, speaks the Word of God, and faith comes, not only for salvation, but for everything required for life and godliness, which of course includes fellowship and service.

So then, the church of the living God is a charismatic, spirit empowered place for both fellowship and service, where believers worship in spirit and in truth. Since God Himself inhabits the praises of His people, Holy Spirit provides heavenly witness to His people, depositing His precious gracelets among His people, His supernatural gifts.

Yet, are the ‘motivational gifts’ listed in Romans 12, any less supernatural?

In Ephesians chapter four we read of the gifts of ministry offices, five-fold ministry; my number one prayer mandate, when I seek to obey Paul’s command to pray for those in authority listed in 1Tim 2:1-5. As goes the church in a nation, so goes the government of the nation, and so I daily pray heavenly offices fully obey God, that there be flaming pulpits in every nations declaring boldly, with authority the uncompromised Word of God, with signs and wonders following, that people can hear and obey, and fully submit to the reign and rule of heaven for that nation.

This verse explains why we pray for those in authority:

1 Tim 2: 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

We then baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in water. I believe there are five baptisms recorded in the New Testament, the text mentions three, but suffice to say that believers should be baptized in water, as an outward sign of being baptized into the body of Christ, and should receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Every should observe the Lord’s supper, for this sacrament is a direct commandment of the Word of God, and a wonderful celebration of God’s covenant, with us, His people.

Who did Jesus come to save? Me and You, and though we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, we have been redeemed, an each given wonderful, diverse and beautiful gifts from heaven to glorify the magnificence of our Savior, God the Son, Jesus King of all kings, Lord of the universe!

[1] https://graceforeachmoment.org/2012/04/25/paul-the-chief-of-sinners/

[2] Henry Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church, (2nd Edition; London: The Oxford University Press, 1963 pp 51-52

[3] P363-67 Truth Aflame

[4] Truth Aflame p. 417

[5] Howard M Ervin, Spirit Baptism:  A Biblical Investigation “Peabody, Mass:  Hendrickson, 1987”p. 38

Hart p.377

[6] Hart p. 388

[7] Hart p. 465

[8] Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope: On the Ground and the Implications of Christian Eschatology. trans.

James W. Leitch (London: SCM, 1967),16.

[9] Hart p. 468

[10] George Eldon Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1959, 133.

[11] Hart p520.

[12] Hart p526-7.

[13] Truth Aflame p528

[14] Truth Aflame p532

Come Out of the Tombs of Defeat and Despair with Shouts of Victory!

“Come Out of the Tombs of Defeat and Despair with Shouts of Victory!”
by Emily-Rose Lewis, Charlotte, NC

This was sent to me on the Elijah List email list, and it bears witness to me, so I am reposting it. Please subscribe to Emily-Rose blog: https://desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/prophetic-word-may-2017-restoration-redemption-and-replacement/

Restoration, Redemption and Replacement!

The Lord says, “I have raised you from the dead. I have redeemed your life from the pit and am restoring to you the things that you have had stolen or forfeited to the enemy.”

“The month of May is a month of restoration, redemption, and replacement. I am giving you revelation into the deeper things of the Spirit to assist in this transfer of power. Rise up. Come out of the tombs of defeat and despair. Cry out with shouts of victory. Remove your grave clothes and stop sleeping among the dead. Come out from among them,” declares the Lord of hosts.

“I am a God of the living. I am breathing life into what was once dead. Speak to the dead dry bones, ‘Arise!’ Speak to the weak and wobbly knees, ‘Be strong!’ Come out. Rise up. Remove and lay aside the grave clothes. I am clothing you with those things that pertain to the abundant life that I have promised you by My Word. Do you believe in My redemptive power, My power to replace that which has been lost or stolen, My power to restore those things that have been destroyed?

“This month is a month of divine replacement. I will replace the old with the new. The dead with the living. What is lacking with overflow. Sorrow for joy. And garments of praise for your former shame. Divine replacement will take place through My Spirit and My Word.

“Respond to this revelation of restoration, redemption, and replacement by faith. Release the dead, the old, the empty, the broken, the loss or lost, the shame, the burden, or the lack with confident anticipation of the divine replacement that I am pouring out over My people in May. Respond with release. Respond by faith. Respond in rest. Begin to praise Me for the victory that has already been won.”

Renew Your Confidence in the Goodness of God

Allow your confidence to rise beyond your former understanding of the goodness of God. Hope has deferred because of prayers that seemed to go unanswered and have challenged your faith. There is a shift happening, even this month, from waiting on God to respond to you, to an understanding that God is waiting on you to respond to His Word and His love. I am seeing long held beliefs about the Lord being shifted in the depths of your consciousness to better align with the truth of God’s heart toward you.

A revelation into the accusations that have been leveled against God’s character by your unbelief will bring repentance, restoration of relationship, and divine alignment with the purposes of God in your life. Those who are determined to trust in and rely on, not their own understanding, but the Lord of Heaven and earth, are going to be receiving an outpouring of His glory and grace. Faces that were formerly covered with shame, despondency, and despair will brighten in the light of His countenance that will be clearly revealed to those that have eyes to see.

Renounce all doubt and wavering. Draw near to God and resist the whispers of the enemy reminding you of your past experiences. Do not look through a faulty lens that is darkened by your refusal to trust in God’s grace and promise to bring good out of all things for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Come Out From Among the Tombs

Tombs marked “regret,” “shame,” “cursed,” “poor,” “neglected,” “rejected,” “ugly,” “weak,” and “broken” are giving up their dead!

“Come out from among the tombs of the past,” says the Lord of hosts, “what was, will never be again. Today is the day of salvation. Forget what lies behind and press on to the good things that are ahead.”

This is a season of harvest. Hard work and faith will yield massive results in May. The rain has come. The rain of the Spirit of God is pouring down for those to receive. The rain of God’s blessing and glory are falling!

Come out from among the dead and walk in the newness of life that Christ Jesus died for you to have. Peace is now! Life is now! Jesus says, “Come out.”

Obedience to His commands will release you. Your will is no longer captive to sin and death. Make up your mind to choose life, and the grace of God will flood your soul, enabling you to live life to the full. The glory and life of God will fill you up and overflow into the lives of others. You are called to be a container of the glory of God here in the earth. (To Subscribe to the Elijah List go here.)

Emily-Rose Lewis
Desert Rose in Bloom Ministries

Email: Desertroseinbloom@outlook.com
Website: www.desertroseinbloom.wordpress.com

Emily-Rose Lewis is a prophetic speaker, author and coach with over 16 years of service in the Kingdom of God. She founded Desert Rose Ministries in 2014 to bring healing and restoration to the Body of Christ through teaching, coaching and prophesying. She has studied dreams, visions and the supernatural, developing deep revelatory understanding into the ways the Lord desires to bring healing, guidance and prophetic insight into peoples lives and futures. Having walked through the process of healing from trauma and brokenness herself, she is a gracious, grounded instructor who has helped countless people achieve a more intimate connection with Holy Spirit and an understanding of how to cause their hearts desires to manifest in the natural realm. Emily-Rose walks in the miracle-working power of God and has seen countless miracles of healing in both body and soul. She imparts the heart of God with messages of faith, hope and love, equipping people with powerful weapons to rise above adversity and apply the victory of the Cross to their everyday lives.

Why Do Jews often prosper more than Christians?

A Paper

Presented to

Dr. Brad Young

Graduate School of Theology and Ministry

Oral Roberts University

rabbi Brad

 

 

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Course

GBIB 688 – Jewish Background of the Gospels

 

 

 

By

Chris Walsh

April 4th, 2017

 

 

Why do Jewish business people appear to prosper more financially than Christians?

This semester, (Spring 2017) I had the privilege of hearing Rabbi Pesach Wolicki from Jerusalem.

rabbi1
He spoke on many things, but the thing that he was invited to speak on was some of the things that affect Christians and Jews from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. I sat enthralled as I listened to him and his incredible consecration to the word of God.

I saw some things in Jewish faith practices, which I believe could help us as Christians.

As many of you know I’ve traveled across North America for many years and I’ve been intrigued with the Christian spiritual practices of many Native Americans.  I have developed relationships with many Native American leaders on purpose, and I found that they hold often deep revelation of truth from the scriptures that I had never heard taught elsewhere.

(https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/reading-the-bible-with-red-mans-eyes/

https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/prayer-as-incense/

https://wordpress.com/post/chrisaomministries.com/13091)

I have also held a weekly Bible study for business leaders on and off for over nine years now.

contractors breakfast

The obvious question for Christian business leaders is how do we prosper financially God’s way?

Deuteronomy 8:18 (AKJV)

18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Clearly, we see prosperity promised in the Scripture but the question is: how do we actually achieve it and implement it in our lives, families and businesses?

I’ve read many, many books on Christian leadership and business ethics seeking the answer to this question (I believe the answer lies in Christian Leadership, and am working on a great book on that topic entitled: Leadership in the River, that I will publish when I’m done).

One little book that was given to me some years ago by the author named Craig Hill entitled: “Five Wealth Secrets 96% of Us Don’t Know[1]”.  It had a very interesting story in at that stuck with me. In the story a minister was interviewing a Christian accountant whose clientele was primarily either Christian or Jewish businessman.
craig hill
I quote from Craig Hill’s book:

“Another friend of mine, Earl Pitts, told me of an interesting conversation he had with his Jewish accountant many years ago.  After discussing his taxes, Earl queried if he might ask the man a personal question.  The accountant was happy to oblige him.

Earl then asked, “I assume that you have both Jewish and Christian clients.  Am I right?”

“Of course,” answered the accountant.

“Tell me honestly, continued Earl, “Who is more prosperous?  Who has larger financial statements; your Jewish clients, or your Christian clients?”

As one might suspect, the accountant chuckled and responded, “My Jewish clients, of course, probably about ten to one in magnitude.”

Earl then asked, “One more question.  Being Jewish yourself what is your personal opinion as to why that is?

The accountant mused for a moment, then picked up Earl’s Christian Bible, which he had with him and said something like the following:  “You Christians tend to live out of the back of this book, while we Jews tend to live out of the front of the book.  Unfortunately for Christians, most of the financial principles are in the front of the book.  So we Jews believe in and abide by these principles, while you Christians seem to ignore them and discount them because they are “Old Testament.”  However, I believe that the adherence to these principles is what causes people to prosper financially.”

Since I first heard this from my friend Earl, I have heard several times from Jewish friends explanations similar to the following:  “I don’t really fully understand your Christian beliefs, but from what I understand, it seems that most Christians have the idea that they can violate the basic principles described in the Bible, and then because of the grace of God extended by the sacrifice of Christ, they are forgiven, and everything will be alright.  Thus it seems to me that most Christians feel that they don’t have to pay any attention to the financial principles explained in Proverbs, or the rest of the ‘Old Testament’ because these are a part of ‘the Law.’ Since Christians are ‘in Christ,’ and no longer ‘under the Law,’ they feel no need to abide by these Old Testament financial principles.  On the contrary, we Jews believe that we actually have to practice and abide by these principles in the Law.  So, in my opinion and experience, abiding by the biblical financial principles produces much greater financial prosperity than ignoring and discounting them.”[2]

 

This story stuck with me for many years as we have sought the Lord for prosperity and wisdom, reading our Proverbs of the day, and doing what we needed to do to see steady financial increase in our day to day business operations, as we did what we felt we had to do in order to survive in the business world during the years that I’ve owned and operated several companies.

Clearly this story is relevant here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Just to name a few Jewish families here: The Kaisers, The Zarrow family, the Siegfried’s and the Schusterman’s, clearly these families have not only become wealthy, but have contributed, and continue to contribute philanthropically to the ongoing development of the city wonderfully! Perhaps there are Christians here as wealthy, but I have not yet been made aware of them.

But like a jigsaw puzzle, God began to put the pieces together on why this truth was working for the Jewish people and didn’t appear to be working as well for Christians.

I’ve been studying faith for many years, and I truly believe that faith will move the hand of God in our lives. (https://wordpress.com/post/chrisaomministries.com/13661)

As I studied faith and confession for over 25 years now, I have been looking for creative ways to see how our personal faith can change the world that we live in.

I had the privilege of hearing Navajo elder Elson Bennett speak at Dr. Negiel Bigpond’s church March 31st of 2016.

Ellson 3-31-16

He spoke on Joshua chapter one, but was I found it very interesting what he saw in those verses.

Lets look at them:

God’s Charge to Joshua

Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ [a]servant, saying,“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.[3]

 

Pastor Ellson explained that in this initial charge given to Joshua, we see the God side of the covenant. [4] God Almighty, the Holy One who inhabits eternity, has spoken, and He cannot lie.

 

Now let’s look at the next couple of verses:

Only be strong and very courageous; [b]be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may [c]have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may [d]be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will [e]have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The man side of the covenant

Notice the ‘man-side’ of these promises here. The promises of God are not automatic, but require an obedient, disciplined life from the person to whom they are given. Joshua was commanded:

  1. To do all the Law of Moses (no small task in and of itself!)
  2. Do not compromise, fully obey. (Do not turn to the left or the right)
  3. Constantly speak the promises (Do not let them depart from your mouth)  2 Corinthians 4:13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” [a] we also believe and therefore speak.  “In other words, what you believe, you will speak.  If you believe the Word, you will speak it.  If you speak it, you will eventually believe it, and if you believe it you will be bold to speak it.”[5]  “Jesus said that whosoever shall say, believe, doubt not, in his heart, but believe what he says will come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he says.” (Mark 11:22-24)[6]

I have taught on this extensively over the years: https://wordpress.com/post/chrisaomministries.com/9174

  1. Constantly think and meditate upon them (meditate day and night)
  2. Do what the law commands (Don’t just think and talk about it)

Without going any deeper into the Word of God, these five things acted upon, will give any person something to do all day long. Clearly it is in DOING these things, will cause God to act in our lives, making our way prosperous, and granting us success. Knowing God is with us, gives us courage, and we overcome our fears.[7]

Pastor Bennett went on to say that this was the problem that many Christians face.

While many of us are very disciplined as we read our Bible and pray every morning, seeking God for His direction and blessing for the day.

Yet, he explained, as the day unfolds, in the business of the day the things that we had actually prayed and believed God for in the morning, we were negating later in the day. Why? Because we became tired, and our words and actions later in the work day were no longer in line with the word of God that we had read, prayed, and confessed that morning.

We were no longer meditating upon the Word of God, and keeping it in our mouths, rather, we were meditating upon our problems, challenges, and responding to the pressures and responsibilities of the moment.

How well I personally understand that principal running a construction company!

I would seek God in the morning and read my Bible carefully journaling my thoughts that came to me in prayer, and I would be peaceful and blessed entering into the workplace.

Suddenly, it was like the law of the jungle would kick in as soon as I set foot on my jobsites and went to work!

Men, equipment and building materials moved rapidly, and problems arose, and had to be solved immediately, if projects were to be completed on time, on schedule.

Thoughts of my prayer and confession of God’s word succumbed to the duty of the moment and the very real responsibilities that need to be fulfilled in order to make sure there was money in the bank for payroll each week and invoices due that week.

Back to the teaching from Rabbi Wolicki: remember I was looking for ways from the word of God that appeared to be causing God to prosper Jewish businessman more than Christians.

Rabbi explained that what was pivotal in the practice of the Jewish faith was the Exodus account where God delivered the Jewish people who had been slaves and bondmen in Egypt from the hand of Pharaoh. And that they remembered this account throughout the day. He said they probably recited it in their various daily prayers and liturgies, at least fifteen times a day!

They did this so often, that they actually saw themselves personally in the Word of God, living out the Exodus story every day.

He explained that orthodox Jews so deeply saw themselves in the account that it wasn’t just a history lesson to them but they saw them self as a people currently that had been delivered practically for the hand of Pharaoh of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 6:12 then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

They saw themselves in the word of God. This is exactly what we seek to do as Christians!

Read with me:

James 1:21 KJV

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Even as the Word became flesh in Jesus, this verse in James shows that the word becomes flesh in us, as we receive the engrafted word.

That as we pray and meditate upon the Word of God over the years, we take on the character of Jesus, as we see ourselves in and through the promises of God.

There is a process in this, as our very thinking processes change that the Bible calls the transformation or renewal of our mind, as Holy Spirit writes His laws deep within us upon the fleshly tablets of our hearts.

I believe this process can be accelerated as we deliberately meditate upon and confess the Word of God, even if we are not yet acting upon the very word we are confessing.

God, who is Holy, hears His Word muttered from our lips in our prayer and meditation, and sees our desire to want to do right, and in His mercy and grace, He first changes us, then in His great love, brings the provision of His promise into our lives, and in gratefulness, we thank Him and give Him glory.

Many of you remember how I’ve taught about the confession of faith versus the confession onto faith, and how Holy Spirit works with His Word in our lives as we confess things that are not currently happening in our life. He takes the truths that are eternally written in heaven and then writes them on the fleshly tablets of our heart and we become changed from faith to faith, strength to strength and glory to glory becoming more like Jesus in character, thought and action, day by day.

Rabbi spoke about the daily practices of a strict Orthodox Jew and he explained the frontlets they wore on their head when they prayed, and upon their right arm. He described the four portions of Scripture inside of these, and how they were made of leather, so well crafted, they appear to be molded plastic. This cause me to research and read of this practice, as one seeking to understand the world Jesus lived in His earthly ministry, as a Jew amongst Gods covenant people. [8]

As rabbi spoke of the liturgical prayers prayed daily by devout Jews, he introduced me to ‘The Amidah Prayer’[9], or as it is sometimes called, ‘The Eighteen’. [10]
Amidah1

As I have continued my research, I came upon this quote by Dr. David Bivin, in his interview on CBN:
“Every Jew was obligated to pray the Eighteen Benedictions daily; however, in times of emergency, one was permitted to pray a shortened form of the Eighteen, such as the Lord’s Prayer.

Rabbi Eliezer, a younger contemporary of Jesus, taught this abbreviation of the Eighteen: “May your will be done in heaven above, grant peace of mind to those who fear you [on earth] below, and do what seems best to you. Blessed are you, O LORD, who answers prayer.” Note the phrases “your will be done” and “in heaven above … [on earth] below” as in the Lord’s Prayer. Also note the parallel between “grant peace of mind” in the prayer Eliezer taught and “deliver us from evil” in the prayer Jesus taught.”[11]

As I read Dr. Young’s precious book on the topic of the Disciples, or “The Lord’s Prayer”, I find this interesting entry in his notes: “The early Christians were instructed to pray the prayer three times daily (Didache 8:2-3)”[12] I find this interesting, as rabbi told us, that devout Jews pray ‘The Amidah’ three times each day, although changes are made, depending upon the calendar of the various feasts and festivals.

Professor Biven succinctly summarizes the prayer into 19 covenant blessings that I would encourage students to study, exactly as rabbi explained to us in lecture here at Oral Roberts University.

 

The Offering Prayer

He said this prayer was called “the offering prayer” because it was to be prayed in the afternoon somewhere between two and four in the afternoon and that the time taken to pray these 19 blessings took about 15 or 20 minutes out of a busy workday. In the business world if one is a lawyer or accountant or executive, time is money: time taken out of the most productive part of one’s afternoon was considered and understood in the Jewish tradition to literally be an offering on to God.

Suddenly answers I sought in the two pieces of jigsaw puzzle of Gods truth, fit together perfectly.

I saw how we as Christians were seeking first the kingdom of God and his way of doing things in the morning but in the business of the day, even though we endeavor to be led by the Holy Spirit we are missing it.

We get weary in well doing throughout the day, so that the things that we had prayed and actively believed God’s direction for in the morning were not coming to pass, because we were just responding to the responsibilities in the pressures of the day.

The orthodox Jews that deliberately, intentionally, on purpose discipline himself and schedule themselves to take time from the busyness of their day to invoke God into their workplace: His presence, His promises, His mercy, His wisdom, His plan, His miracles, His prosperity, His knowledge and understanding, in their business, each and every day, are being radically blessed by God, on a magnitude of ten times more than us Christians!

They do this deliberately and intentionally every single business day!

Sadly I see how we boast in our personal relationship with Jesus and our spirit led lifestyles but truthfully I don’t believe we are as spirit led as we’d like to believe we are.

God and his word are one: He will never break his promises, so in the business of the day as one is beginning to wind down in an attempt to finish each day strong, I wonder what would happen if we deliberately scheduled an appointment with the King just like we would any other business appointment and then took fifteen or twenty minutes between two and three in the afternoon and prayed on purpose the promises of God and the blessings of God or even in faith the Amidah prayer, with all of the eighteen or nineteen covenant blessings that God promised to the Jewish people?

Have we not been grafted into the same covenant? [13]

As I read the Amidah, and learn how the devout would often spend an hour preparing their heart before they would begin to talk to God, I see a radical devotion as dedicated and passionate as my own, and perhaps more disciplined and obedient than I.

Romans 11:17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.

Romans 11:18 But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.

Jesus, through His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead, has forgiven us, adopted us, and grafted us into His covenant with the Jewish people, as branches, not roots. The church in Gods eyes, will never replace Israel and the word of God, rather we clearly are to lovingly respect each other, and clearly it brings Him great pleasure when this occurs. We see in the book of Revelation, twenty-four elders around the throne, could these be twelve elders of Israel, and twelve apostles from the church?[14]

For the purposes of this paper, I have simply included a copy of ‘The Amidah’ to be used for our own personal devotional times.

Since, historically, ‘replacement theology’ has brought historic horrors upon the Jewish people from ‘Christians’ I have not changed it from the way Dr. Young has recorded it in his book.

As a Christian, as I have prayed these prayers before God, I see only one key difference between what they believe, and what we believe. They are praying for Messiah to come, we believe Jesus is the Messiah that He has already come, and will come again to judge both the living and the dead.

Yet, He will come to Jerusalem! The City of God, capital of the whole earth!

I know so little about the ways and worship of the Jewish people, but I began to look for examples in the New Testament of afternoon prayer. I found two:

Acts 3:1 [Peter Heals a Crippled Beggar] Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service

Acts 10:3 One afternoon about three o’clock, he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. “Cornelius!” the angel said.

Acts 10:30 Cornelius replied, “Four days ago I was praying in my house about this same time, three o’clock in the afternoon. Suddenly, a man in dazzling clothes was standing in front of me.

Seems both this miracle, and this angelic visitation both occurred at the time of afternoon prayer.

Conclusion:

So, being as I am, a man of practical faith, I’ve decided what I am going to do with this particular study. It has been said that it only takes 30 days to form a new habit. What I will do, over the next couple of weeks is teach this topic at my weekly breakfast meeting with business leaders, creating a 30 day challenge. Asking the people who attend to set an appointment with God every afternoon at 3PM (It will be 3:30 for me, as  I am in Dr. Young’s lecture Tuesday and Thursdays), and deliberately record what God does in lives this month. Should be exciting!

Let’s pray: Father God I’ve given you my life and Lord Jesus I’ve submitted to your Kingship your Lordship and your Sovereignty. Lead me, guide me. How well I know that I need you. I asked that you would give me the courage to deliberately schedule time with you in the middle of my workday to set an appointment and keep it each and every workday. How well I know I need Your grace to accomplish this.

According to George Robinson, a Jew need not invent his own prayers to God [although there is space within their liturgy to do so at points in the Amidah][15]

They deliberately Maimonides referring to the two most important prayers in the Jewish liturgy, Maimonides writes, “The first thing you must do is turn our thoughts away from everything else when you recite the Shema or Amidah…When you are engaged in the performance of religious duties, have your mind concentrated entirely on what you are doing.” (Guide for the Perplexed, 3.t1).  [16]  In fact, because the Amidah was considered the equivalent of a sacrificial offering for many years [until roughly the 9th century c.e.].
Amidah

THE AMIDAH PRAYER

The prayer is as follows:

 

Acknowledging God’s Character

 

 The God of Creation and Giver of Love

Blessed are You, O Lord our God and God of our ancestors, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, the great, mighty, and revered God, the most high God, who graciously gives loving-kindness.  You create all things; You remember the pious actions of the patriarchs and in love will bring a redeemer for their children’s children for Your Name’s sake.  O King, Helper, Savior and Shield.  Blessed are You, O Lord, the Protector of Abraham.

 

 The God Who Works Miracles.  You are Lord, all-powerful forever, You resurrect                       the dead; You are mighty to save.  You sustain the living with loving-kindness, resurrect the dead with great mercy, support the falling, heal the sick, release the prisoners, and uphold Your faithfulness to them that sleep in the dust.  Who is like You, Lord of mighty acts and who resembles You, O King, who orders death and restores life, and causes salvation to come forth? And You are faithful to resurrect the dead.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who resurrects the dead.

 

 “Holiness” and the Name of God.  We will sanctify Your Name in the world even as they sanctify it in the Heavens, as it is written by the hand of Your prophet:  And they called one unto the other and said, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts:  the whole earth is full of His glory.  Those over against them say, Blessed—Blessed by the glory of the Lord from His Place.  And in Your Holy Words it is written, saying, The Lord reigns forever, you God, O Zion, unto all generations.  Praise you the Lord.  Unto all generations, we will proclaim Your greatness, and to all eternity we will tell of Your holiness.  Your praise, O our God, shall not cease from Your mouth forever, for You are a great and holy God and King.  Blessed are You O Lord the holy God.  You are holy, and Your Name is holy and the holy ones praise You every day.  Blessed are You, O Lord, the holy God.

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Spiritual Insight and Awakening

Request for Understanding.  You favor people with knowledge and teach human beings understanding.  O favor us with knowledge, understanding, and applied wisdom from You.  Blessed are You, O Lord Gracious Giver of knowledge.

Returning to God for Repentance.  Make us return, O or Father, unto Your Torah.  Draw us near; our King, back into Your service, and bring us again in perfect repentance into Your presence.  Blessed are you, O Lord, who delights in repentance.

Request for forgiveness.  Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned.  Pardon us, O our King, for we have transgressed, because You do pardon and forgive.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who is gracious and forgives a multitude of wrongs.

Requesting Divine Help for Personal Needs

Request for Freedom from Affliction.  Look upon our affliction and fight for our cause.  Redeem us speedily for Your Name’s sake because You are a mighty Redeemer.  Blessed are You, O Lord, the Redeemer of Israel.

Request for Healing.   Heal us, O lord, and we shall be healed.  Save us and we shall be saved.  You are our praise.  Provide a perfect healing for all our wounds; because You, almighty Kings, are a faithful and merciful physician.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who heals the sick of Your people Israel.

Request for Financial Prosperity.  Bless this year for us O Lord our God, together with every kind of the produce there is from it, for our wellbeing.  Provide a blessing upon the face of the earth.  Satisfy us with Your goodness, and bless our year like other good years.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who blesses the years.

Seeking divine help for the Jewish People, Society, and Community Needs

Request to Gather the Exiles of Israel to Their homeland.  Blow the great shofar horn of our freedom.  Raise the standard to gather our exiles, and bring us together from the four corners of the earth.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who gathers the dispersed of Your people Israel.

Prayer Seeking the Establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Restore our judges as at the beginning, and our counselors as in former times.  Remove from us sorrow and sighing.  Reign over us, O Lord, You alone, in loving-kindness and tender mercy and justify us in judgment.  Blessed are You O Lord, the King who loves righteousness and justice.

Request for Protection from Enemies.  Let there be no hope for slanders and let all wickedness perish as in a moment.  Let all Your enemies be speedily cut off.  May You root out, break off, bring down, and cause the ruin of the reign of evil speedily in our days.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who breaks the enemies and humbles the arrogant.

Request for Mercy upon God’s People.

 

Seeking Deliverance and Restoration for the Divine Plan and Future Hope

  1. Request for the Rebuilding of Jerusalem. With tender mercies return to Jerusalem, Your city, Your presence will abide in her midst as You have promised.  Rebuild her soon in our days as an everlasting building and speedily establish in her the throne of David.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who builds Jerusalem.
  2. Prayer for the Branch of David. Speedily cause the Branch of David, Your servant, to spring forth.  With your saving power, raise up the horn of his strength because we wait for Your salvation all the day.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who causes the horn of salvation to spring forth.
  3. Request for Prayers to Be Answered. Answer our voice, O Lord our God.  Free us and have mercy upon us, and accept our prayer in compassion and favor because You are God who answers prayers and supplications from Your presence, O our King, turn us not empty away, because You hear with mercy the prayer of Your people Israel.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who answers prayer.
  4. Request to Restore Temple Service. Accept with divine favor, O Lord our God, Your people Israel and their prayer.  Restore the worship to the inner sanctuary of Your house.  With compassion receive in favor both the offerings of Israel and their prayer, and may the worship of Your people Israel be ever acceptable to You.  Let our eyes witness Your return with compassion to Zion.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who restores His divine presence to Zion.
  5. Giving of Thanks to God for His Mercy. We give thanks to You, for You are the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors forever and ever.  You are the Rock of our lives, the Shield of our salvation throughout every generation, we will give thanks to You and proclaim Your praise for our lives, which are committed into Your care, and for our souls, which are under Your charge and for Your miracles which are daily with us, and for Your wondrous acts and your benefits, which are worked at all times, evening, morning and noon.  O You who are all-good, whose mercies do not fail; You who are all merciful, whose loving-kindnesses never cease, we have hope in You.  Because of all this, let Your name, O our King be blessed and be highly exalted continually, forever and ever.  All living beings will give thanks to You, Selah, and they will praise Your name in truth, the God of our Salvation and of our help, Selah!  Blessed are You, O Lord, the Good One is Your name, and so to You it is fitting to give praise.
  6. Request for Peace. Give peace, well-being, blessing, grace, loving-kindness and mercy to us and to all of Israel, Your people.  Bless us, O our Father, even all of us together, with the light of Your countenance because by the light of Your countenance You have given us, O Lord our God the Torah of life, the love of mercy and righteousness, blessing, loving-kindness life and peace.  May it be good in Your sight to bless Your people Israel at all times and in every hour with Your peace.  Blessed are You O Lord, who blesses Your people Israel with peace.[17]

 

Bibliography

 

Foundation, The Lockman. Holy Bible: New American Standard Bible – Nasb 1977 (Includes Translators’ Notes). publication place: The Lockman Foundation, 2013.

Young, Brad. 2007. Meet the rabbis: rabbinic thought and the teachings of Jesus. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers.

Young, Brad. 1984. The Jewish background to the Lord’s Prayer. Austin, Tex: Center for Judaic-Christian Studies

 

Hill, Craig S. Five Wealth Secrets 96% of Us Don’t Know. Littleton, Colorado: Family Foundations International, 2012.

Capps, Charles. 1987. Dynamics of Faith and Confession. Tulsa, Okla.: Harrison House.

Faley, Roland J. 2011. Joshua ; Judges. Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press.

Robinson, George. 2000. Essential Judaism: a complete guide to beliefs, customs, and rituals. New York: Pocket Books.

Maimonides, Moses. 1961. The guide for the perplexed. New York: Dover Publications.

Comfort, Philip Wesley. 2005. Cornerstone biblical commentary. Carol Stream, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers.

DUNN, J. D. G., & ROGERSON, J. W. (2003). Eerdmans commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI, W.B. Eerdmans.

 

Other Sources:

Bivin, David, Jerusalem Perspective, http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/3643

Henshke, David. 2016. “BETWEEN BLESSINGS AND PRAYER: ON THE HISTORY OF THE AMIDAH PRAYER.” Tarbiz 84, no. 3: 7. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File, EBSCOhost (accessed April 22, 2017).

 

 

[1]Craig S. Hill, Five Wealth Secrets 96% of Us Don’t Know (Littleton, Colorado: Family Foundations International, 2012),

[2]Craig S. Hill, Five Wealth Secrets 96% of Us Don’t Know (Littleton, Colorado: Family Foundations International, 2012), p4-6

[3] The Lockman Foundation, Holy Bible: New American Standard Bible – Nasb 1977 (Includes Translators’ Notes) (publication place: The Lockman Foundation, 2013), 1

      [4] “In the beginning of chapter 1, God’s charge to Joshua introduces most of the themes of the book.  God’s sovereignty and God’s initiative are highlighted…The beginning of the charge to Joshua gives three promises (1)all the land would be theirs.  (2) No enemy would withstand them.  (3) God would be with them and never forsake them.”

[4]Comfort, Philip Wesley. 2005. Cornerstone biblical commentary. Carol Stream, Ill: Tyndale   House Publishers.

[5]Charles Capps(1987). Dynamics of faith and confession. Tulsa, Okla, Harrison House. p. 46

[6] Ibid, p. 127

           [7] First, the law (Torah) plays a normative role in the book.  This can be seen from the very outset.  Joshua’s (and Israel’s) relationship to Yahweh is based on the law and is crucial for Israel’s success.  Obedience or disobedience to the law determines success or failure.

DUNN, J. D. G., & ROGERSON, J. W. (2003). Eerdmans commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI, W.B. Eerdmans.

 

[8] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/tefillin

[9]“Thus, the daily Amidah originally consisted of eighteen benedictions (although there appear to be nineteen) – for the blessing for peace was not part of the original Amidah. However, when the blessing of peace came to be considered an integral part of the Amidah, the blessings for the restoration of Jerusalem and the Davidic dynasty were combined into one benediction in the land o f Israel in order to retain the original number o f eighteen, whereas in Babylonia the blessing against heretics was explained as a later addition.” Henshke, David. 2016. “BETWEEN BLESSINGS AND PRAYER: ON THE HISTORY OF THE AMIDAH PRAYER.” Tarbiz 84, no. 3: 7. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File, EBSCOhost (accessed April 22, 2017).

[10] I had to learn about this, so immediately read: Brad Young. Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007.p145-155

 

[11][11] http://www1.cbn.com/biblestudy/the-amidah-prayer

[12] Young, Brad. 1984. The Jewish background to the Lord’s Prayer. Austin, Tex: Center for Judaic-Christian Studies

[13] Ibid NASB

[14] Revelation chapters 4,5,19

[15]George Robinson. 2000. Essential Judaism: a complete guide to beliefs, customs, and rituals. New York: Pocket Books.17

[16]Moses Maimonides. 1961. The guide for the perplexed. New York: Dover Publications.

 

[17] Young, Brad. 2007. Meet the rabbis: rabbinic thought and the teachings of Jesus. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers.

 

Guest Post: Philippines: Jan Michael Prieto

Jan8

Hi everyone, long time no post. As many know, I have had a broken hand with a cast on, making it difficult to type this month, so blogging has been difficult. Thank you for all your prayers! Today, I want to introduce Jan Michael Prieto, missionary evangelist to the nation of the Phillipines. Please support him in prayer and with your finances, simply $10 on Paypal puts gas in his motorbike, and gets him up into the jungle preaching. You can donate directly on his Paypal connected to his email: Janmichaelprieto@yahoo.com


His ministry contact is: Heart Apostolic Philippines Address purok santan malandag,malungon sarangani province philippines 9503
Jan poster

Here is one of His teachings:
God Perceives the Inner Change That Only His Word Can Bring (Luke 15:1 NKJV) Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. Like the returning prodigal, the “publicans and sinners” may have still looked outwardly like sinners, but inside a change had already taken place. This is what God the Father and Jesus were celebrating. They know that permanent outward change begins with a change of heart—that is, a heart open to hear Jesus’s words, believe them, and digest them. Jesus’s words are powerful, creative, and gracious; once they have taken root, they will soon result in a major change of confession leading to a change of actions and lifestyle. Father and Jesus celebrate the most important part—the change of thinking that opens a heart to hear, to process, and potentially to reproduce Jesus’s words. (Luke 8:15 NKJV) “But the ones (word-seeds) that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. This is repentance. This is the Father’s dream for true sons coming to pass. It is also the answer to Jesus’s prayer for God’s kingdom to come. When open, humble hearts receive and value God’s word, they sow it in their heart-soil like seeds. These seeds can then sprout, grow and produce a harvest. This harvest represents God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. We note here that pseudo repentance, which involves the employment of human willpower to change a life, does not produce holy fruit. (Romans 7:15 NKJV) For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. The apostle Paul himself couldn’t make himself holy by merely agreeing that the law was right and exercising his will to keep it. On the other hand, Jesus—the living Word of God—said he would fulfill the law himself (Matthew 5:17). That is to say that only the infinite holy power of the Holy Spirit—acting to fulfill Jesus’s words in us when we receive and believe them—has the ability to produce holy living in and through us. (Romans 8:13-14 NKJV) For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. Are you seeking the inner change that only God’s word can produce? First, you need to sit at his feet, listen to his words, and receive them in a “noble and good heart”. Then love, nurture and protect them until it comes to harvest. When it does, it will overflow through your mouth in living power, releasing the infinite power of holiness resident in God’s Spirit of Holiness. As a result, “you will put to death the deeds of the body”, and you will “live” as a true son of God.

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Here is another:
WHAT ABOUT THE OLDER BROTHER? “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound’.” (Luke 15:25-27 ESV) This passage reveals the heart of the older son. Despite not wasting his inheritance in the “University of Hard Knocks” like his younger brother, he obviously wasn’t his father’s true son at this point either. His values weren’t his father’s values: he clearly didn’t agree with his father’s risky investment into the mere possibility of his younger sibling’s repentance. This was reflected in his attitude, actions, and words: (Luke 15:28-32 ESV) “But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, (29) but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. (30) But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ (31) And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. (32) It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” The father clearly explained his heart and his actions. But Jesus’s parable ends here without saying if this was enough. Did the older brother then “get it” at that point, and come in immediately to the celebration? If so, he would have been becoming more like his father—one of the “righteous” “who need no repentance”; he just needed some more teaching. Jesus said earlier that God rejoices more over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance (Luke 15:7). This would explain why the father had never given the older brother a goat that he might “celebrate” with his friends. Also the father, representing God the Father, knew that if the older brother was truly a son, celebrating with a goat would be insignificant compared to what he was receiving every day. An openhearted son, sitting around father’s table, yoked with him in the family business, was gaining far more of eternal significance than 100 parties could provide. He wouldn’t have been looking for a celebration, but for more information, insight, wisdom and impartation. He would not have been focused on spending what his father had earned, but on gaining what his father had learned. On the other hand, if the older brother did not listen to his father’s explanation, and if he had not gone into the celebration, then he was no more like his father than his younger brother had been. If this were the case, he may have only stayed at home to keep his inheritance intact. He wouldn’t have loved what his father loved, valued what his father valued, or truly wanted what his father wanted. Ultimately, this would have meant that he had the same heart as his younger brother originally had, but that he had a different strategy for how to express it. He may have been merely waiting until his father died before “doing his own thing”. if this was the case, he too was in need of repentance. Can I encourage you to value the opportunity you have “in Christ” at God’s right hand—learning, listening, absorbing and enjoying. He is imparting his values, love, knowledge and wisdom to you so that you are “conformed to his image”. This is of infinitely more value and significance than all the parties, notoriety, and spending that seems to go on the newly repentant. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and no storm of comparison can sink you. God bless you today.Jan8

Clearly Jan is going, where few dare to go:
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The Amidah Prayer

There is much I could say about this, and in time, I will. For now, here it is:

Amidah

THE AMIDAH PRAYER

The prayer is as follows:

 

Acknowledging God’s Character

 

 The God of Creation and Giver of Love

Blessed are You, O Lord our God and God of our ancestors, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, the great, mighty, and revered God, the most high God, who graciously gives loving-kindness.  You create all things; You remember the pious actions of the patriarchs, and in love will bring a redeemer for their children’s children for Your Name’s sake.  O King, Helper, Savior and Shield.  Blessed are You, O Lord, the Protector of Abraham.

 

 The God Who Works Miracles.  You are Lord, all-powerful forever, You resurrect                       the dead; You are mighty to save.  You sustain the living with loving-kindness, resurrect the dead with great mercy, support the falling, heal the sick, release the prisoners, and uphold Your faithfulness to them that sleep in the dust.  Who is like You, Lord of mighty acts and who resembles You, O King, who orders death and restores life, and causes salvation to come forth? And You are faithful to resurrect the dead.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who resurrects the dead.

 

 “Holiness” and the Name of God.  We will sanctify Your Name in the world even as they sanctify it in the Heavens, as it is written by the hand of Your prophet:  And they called one unto the other and said, Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts:  the whole earth is full of His glory.  Those over against them say, Blessed—Blessed by the glory of the Lord from His Place.  And in Your Holy Words it is written, saying, The Lord reigns forever, you God, O Zion, unto all generations.  Praise you the Lord.  Unto all generations, we will proclaim Your greatness, and to all eternity we will tell of Your holiness.  Your praise, O our God, shall not cease from Your mouth forever, for You are a great and holy God and King.  Blessed are You O Lord the holy God.  You are holy, and Your Name is holy and the holy ones praise You every day.  Blessed are You, O Lord, the holy God.

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Spiritual Insight and Awakening

Request for Understanding.  You favor people with knowledge and teach human beings understanding.  O favor us with knowledge, understanding, and applied wisdom from You.  Blessed are You, O Lord Gracious Giver of knowledge.

Returning to God for Repentance.  Make us return, O or Father, unto Your Torah.  Draw us near; our King, back into Your service, and bring us again in perfect repentance into Your presence.  Blessed are you, O Lord, who delights in repentance.

Request for forgiveness.  Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned.  Pardon us, O our King, for we have transgressed, because You do pardon and forgive.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who is gracious and forgives a multitude of wrongs.

Requesting Divine Help for Personal Needs

Request for Freedom from Affliction.  Look upon our affliction and fight for our cause.  Redeem us speedily for Your Name’s sake because You are a mighty Redeemer.  Blessed are You, O Lord, the Redeemer of Israel.

Request for Healing.   Heal us, O lord, and we shall be healed.  Save us and we shall be saved.  You are our praise.  Provide a perfect healing for all our wounds; because You, almighty Kings, are a faithful and merciful physician.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who heals the sick of Your people Israel.

Request for Financial Prosperity.  Bless this year for us O Lord our God, together with every kind of the produce there is from it, for our wellbeing.  Provide a blessing upon the face of the earth.  Satisfy us with Your goodness, and bless our year like other good years.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who blesses the years.

Seeking divine help for the Jewish People, Society, and Community Needs

Request to Gather the Exiles of Israel to Their homeland.  Blow the great shofar horn of our freedom.  Raise the standard to gather our exiles, and bring us together from the four corners of the earth.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who gathers the dispersed of Your people Israel.

Prayer Seeking the Establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven.  Restore our judges as at the beginning, and our counselors as in former times.  Remove from us sorrow and sighing.  Reign over us, O Lord, You alone, in loving-kindness and tender mercy and justify us in judgment.  Blessed are You O Lord, the King who loves righteousness and justice.

Request for Protection from Enemies.  Let there be no hope for slanders and let all wickedness perish as in a moment.  Let all Your enemies be speedily cut off.  May You root out, break off, bring down, and cause the ruin of the reign of evil speedily in our days.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who breaks the enemies and humbles the arrogant.

Request for Mercy upon God’s People.

 

Seeking Deliverance and Restoration for the Divine Plan and Future Hope

  1. Request for the Rebuilding of Jerusalem. With tender mercies return to Jerusalem, Your city, Your presence will abide in her midst as You have promised.  Rebuild her soon in our days as an everlasting building and speedily establish in her the throne of David.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who builds Jerusalem.
  2. Prayer for the Branch of David. Speedily cause the Branch of David, Your servant, to spring forth.  With your saving power, raise up the horn of his strength because we wait for Your salvation all the day.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who causes the horn of salvation to spring forth.
  3. Request for Prayers to Be Answered. Answer our voice, O Lord our God.  Free us and have mercy upon us, and accept our prayer in compassion and favor because You are God who answers prayers and supplications from Your presence, O our King, turn us not empty away, because You hear with mercy the prayer of Your people Israel.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who answers prayer.
  4. Request to Restore Temple Service. Accept with divine favor, O Lord our God, Your people Israel and their prayer.  Restore the worship to the inner sanctuary of Your house.  With compassion receive in favor both the offerings of Israel and their prayer, and may the worship of Your people Israel be ever acceptable to You.  Let our eyes witness Your return with compassion to Zion.  Blessed are You, O Lord, who restores His divine presence to Zion.
  5. Giving of Thanks to God for His Mercy. We give thanks to You, for You are the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors forever and ever.  You are the Rock of our lives, the Shield of our salvation throughout every generation, we will give thanks to You and proclaim Your praise for our lives, which are committed into Your care, and for our souls, which are under Your charge and for Your miracles which are daily with us, and for Your wondrous acts and your benefits, which are worked at all times, evening, morning and noon.  O You who are all-good, whose mercies do not fail; You who are all merciful, whose loving-kindnesses never cease, we have hope in You.  Because of all this, let Your name, O our King be blessed and be highly exalted continually, forever and ever.  All living beings will give thanks to You, selah, and they will praise Your name in truth, the God of our Salvation and of our help, selah!  Blessed are You, O Lord, the Good One is Your name, and so to You it is fitting to give praise.
  6. Request for Peace. Give peace, well-being, blessing, grace, loving-kindness and mercy to us and to all of Israel, Your people.  Bless us, O our Father, even all of us together, with the light of Your countenance because by the light of Your countenance You have given us, O Lord our God the Torah of life, the love of mercy and righteousness, blessing, loving-kindness life and peace.  May it be good in Your sight to bless Your people Israel at all times and in every hour with Your peace.  Blessed are You O Lord, who blesses Your people Israel with peace.

From Jesus and the Rabbi’s, by Dr. Brad Young of Oral Roberts University.
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Hold Truth Tightly!

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A Chinese boy who wanted to learn about jade went to study with a talented old teacher. This gentle man put a piece of the precious stone into his hand and told him to hold it tight. Then he began to talk of philosophy, men, women, the sun and almost everything under it. After an hour he took back the stone and sent the boy home. The procedure was repeated for several weeks. The boy became frustrated. When would he be told about the jade? He was too polite, however, to question the wisdom of his venerable teacher. Then one day, when the old man put a stone into his hands, the boy cried out instinctively, ‘That’s not jade!'”

So it is with truth. When we learn to handle the truth’s of God, holding them tightly in our hands, we cannot be served with a counterfeit. 

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So it is with Jesus, may we walk so closely with Him, in the myriad complexities of life, that we remain pure in heart.

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https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/08/06/the-purpose-of-this-blog/

Eternity?

Eternity?
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Luke 13: 23 ¶ Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

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Mt 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

So many claim, a greasy grace, a sloppy agape, that Jesus loves us, no strings attached. That we cannot do anything to add to the finished work of Jesus on the cross, so why stress ourselves out with trying to do good works?

Yes, it is true:
Eph 2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

In one of his sermons, A.C. Dixon told of an incident that took place in Brooklyn, N.Y. A detective who had been looking for a local citizen finally tracked him down in a drugstore. As the man began to make his purchase, the officer laid his hand on the citizen’s shoulder and said, “You’re under arrest; come with me!”
Stunned, the man demanded, “What did I do?”
The detective calmly replied, “You know what you did. You escaped from the Albany penitentiary several years ago. You went west, got married, and then came back here to live. We’ve been watching for you since you returned.”
Quietly the man admitted, “That’s true, but I was sure you’d never find me. Before you take me in, could we stop by my house so I can talk to my family?”
The officer agreed. When they got to his home, the man looked at his wife and asked, “Haven’t I been a kind husband and a good father? Haven’t I worked hard to make a living?”
His wife answered, “Of course you have, but why are you asking me these questions?” Her husband then proceeded to explain what had happened and that he was now under arrest. He apparently had hoped that his record as an exemplary husband and father would impress the officer. Even so, he was still an escaped criminal. Though he was “right” with his family, he was all wrong with the state of New York.
Source Unknown.
One Way
Truly, it is by faith that we are saved, not by works. It is a finished work that Jesus performed upon the cross, that we cannot earn or deserve. Salvation is a free gift, that can only be believed, received, and accepted, by faith. Jesus died for our sins, rose from the dead, and He ever lives to bear witness of that fact: yet, read the next verse:

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Our faith will produce good works! He Himself, Jesus, the risen God the Son, will prepare these works, for us to walk in them, if we are striving to serve Him.
God has a work for each of us to do, and I am endeavouring to grow in my gift, my calling, and the wonderful works He allows me to do.

The mighty apostle Paul, who wrote this verse, began his life as the chief of apostles, and yet, as the Lord dealt with him, over his life, he realized that although salvation is a free gift, walking it out, takes everything, as God deals with us throughout our life.

2Ti 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
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Notice, who does the purging here: the man!

God expects us to receive His grace, and He will judge us, on what we do with what He gives us:
Re 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
There is a work of salvation to be worked out, in each of our lives. I cannot do it for you, you cannot do it for me.
Let’s pray:
Father God, anywhere I have strayed from the straight and narrow way, please correct me, and bring me back on track, now! I ask you for grace to perform the good works you have for me to walk in today, in your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen’
need-prayer

https://chrisaomministries.com/2016/08/06/the-purpose-of-this-blog/