Exodus

My hubby and I recently went to two  prayer meetings.  Both stirred our hearts. We are thankful we can still publicly gather to do so. It is not possible in many countries around the world. In the evening meeting, people gathered and  one woman came in with a cell phone and Bluetooth speaker. It was a small crowd and there were many pressing, overwhelming needs and  requests. This woman (Nicole) had prayer concerns also, but before mentioning any of that, she quietly set up her phone, complete with playlist and speaker. The songs she played directed our minds to Gods past miracles and His character. Her simple act of obedience accomplished more than she probably realized. Not a band, just a little speaker– but it was powerful. Simple, anointed. We praised God for answers because we believed they would come– and they did. In the background of our requests, fueling our faith,  were songs of deliverance, and praise. We are free to worship, but do we? God says to The Israelites and also to us today, “Let my people go—so they can worship!”  All that effort in Egypt  and we  sometimes still think of worship as “song service”  one hour on Sunday.  The events in Exodus were reminders that God (even in a wicked culture with a wicked Pharaoh) is POWERFUL and ABLE. 

Four hundred years had passed since the people of God had come into Egypt, and they started to be perceived by the people around them as too much and too many.  The locals forgot that these “unwanted interrupters” were the reason they had been blessed. Where were the altars of remembrance? Who forgot to recount the stories of Gods faithfulness to Josephs family? Seriously, how could anyone forget all that the Israelites had added to this now very ungodly system? The foreigners were outnumbering the locals and fear spread in the camp. Someone had not carefully watched the new brothers or the borders and most of the locals had not remembered this Joseph guy with his colorful threads. Salvation stories had become a thing of the past. Oh the importance of passing God stories down to our children and grandchildren!  Recounting His provision, miracles and encounters  builds our faith. Pour some coffee and get your “Share” on!

Pharaoh, the revered power broker “disregarded humanity”  one commentator says and even worse, had killed babies. His priorities were skewed. God was not any part of his leadership agenda. Even Pharaoh’s closest advisors began to worry about the violence and started  leaving his side. Things were dark politically and spiritually. Sometimes we think God turns a blind eye to our circumstances, but we will see in this book that there is no such thing as any occurrence happening –without God noticing.  God sees and hears  it all.

So, Moses becomes the new leader. He wasn’t known for his theology at that point, he was known for murdering a local. No wonder they couldn’t believe God had sent him. A most unlikely first pick, yet God knew exactly who He needed in that position, and despite his human failings, God used Moses.

Gods purpose in choosing Moses is seen throughout the entire book. We remember that as a baby his parents trusted God so much that they put him in a basket and placed him in the river. Imagine that parental conversation. It was not exactly covered under “what to expect when your child is a under a year”. Under threat of death, they sent him down the river.  Such a picture of salvation. First rescued we see is by midwives but here we see Moses rescued by Gods oversight.  Wild animals, Crocodiles, snakes, hot sun, and a number of other factors could have taken him out – but didn’t. The Sovereign God that protected Moses at an early age, continued to protect and lead him in his old age. Is it possible, that the same God, can protect and lead us? Our children? It seems to be Gods’ trademark. The end game is the same – called out to worship  the living God.

The injustices that were experienced by the Israelites at the hand of Pharaoh increased. This is where the story gets wild – civil unrest erupts and there is violence in the streets. Servants became slaves as more work was required with less straw. We’ve all read the story. But maybe in this distant hour or year, we have forgotten Gods response? He was angry – very angry at injustice.  God wasn’t upset just by the  hard work expected without resources in the hot sun, but that some slaves were getting mercilessly beaten. It’s not just a Bible story, it was their news in that day. Evil appeared to prevail. So God, in His powerful, majestic way, —shows them all His divine justice.  Then step by step God carries out a plan to bring His precious people to Himself.

Salvation is not just about a John 3:16 sign held at a football game or pesky Bible thumper at your door. Salvation is also when a holy God shows up and says, “ENOUGH”. He gave them a warning – ten actually. Without CNN, FOX or MSNBC, God makes a statement and then waits for someone, anyone to understand that He is the all-powerful LORD.

Maybe today we need to read, repeat, and remember this? When praying about our circumstances or watching the news, we can easily forget how God moves. God doesn’t sit back and scratch his ol beard and worry like some forgotten grandpa too weak to intervene. He doesn’t look away and insist on sacrifices of gold or food like some deaf and  dumb idol. The God who saw the injustice, heard the injustice, felt the injustice –planned HIS justice and then slowly, methodically moved so ALL could see His power. It’s so memorable, that generations later– we still tell the story. TEN PLAGUES. Each one more impressive than the one before it. There was no Super bowl –but the plagues would have been the biggest event in their lifetime! It was a tug of war, Until the death angel touched down….

For space sake, I won’t write about each plague, but I cringed when reading about the locusts.  It reminding me of swimming in a lake.  You can feel the weeds, a few bugs, under the water.  I don’t like dead (or living) insect bodies bumping into me no matter where I am. Reading Exodus this year, I realized that the locusts (hundreds of thousands) didn’t just disappear in thin air. They somehow were blown into the Red Sea! Yes, that sea where all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots later get captured.  Imagine sinking deep in the water, trying to swim out and then  waves of hardened bug parts float past your eyes, lips, and teeth. It somehow makes the victory of the Israelites sweeter. No wonder they danced and sang! Complete annihilation with a twist. The horse and rider, thrown into the sea– That crunchy, bug filled, thick sea. Death by water and insect juices and parts. Yuck. God has a way of making His point and taking care of our enemies. He wants nothing to hinder our worship and did everything to set them free.  

The commentator Huang Sabin tells us that the book of Exodus can be summarized by this:

“Exit to exalt.”

We see the plagues, –God sees justice and the promised land. God did not just want to stop injustice, or violence by the  officers of Egypt. He did not just want to do some light and frog show for His peeps. It was part of a larger plan to bring them to Himself.  That is still His plan today. What beauty to realize we are taken from being  just “workers” to being a special treasured people (see Ex.19:5) as they (and we) obey Gods voice and commands.  New identity, new journey, new song.

The blood was the last sign to show us Gods thoughts on Divine Justice. These visual lessons led the people then and us today to Gods sacrificial love and the reason for why we worship. We have been bought with a price, a hefty price.

Bethel, Maverick city, Elevation, Hillsong are awesome, but they cannot worship for us. They cannot tell our individual stories of healing and deliverance. Our worship leader recently paused to stare at the cross, then continued to sing. It was powerful and caused us to remember the focus of our worship. Exodus shows us the actions and requirements of the Covenant God who brought us out and gives us His presence. Doug Stuart in Reading the Bible for All Its Worth said Gods presence is what distinguished them from all other people of the earth as well as Gods protection (miraculous deliverance). We live by worshipping Him for past deliverance, present relationship, and future victory.

Grab an index card and write down a praise report, or grab a Bluetooth speaker  and praise Him in all sorts of places—church, streets, homes. Gather with others and share your stories of  why you put your trust in God. Whether you use a harp, or a playlist – let’s share Gods incredible story and heart. We can remind those around us  that He still hates injustice. We can follow the Israelites example and worship Him. He still promises to be with us. We no longer need a tent for God to show up. May the music rise in our hearts and nation as God brings His people out to worship HIM.

RenaeRoche2023

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genesis

Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me. “John 5:30

When my family moved to North Carolina we lived in a wooded area and were blessed to experience nature in all its beauty. As a spiritual discipline we engaged in the Lord’s prayer and for that season focused on “Gods’ will.”  It was transforming. Seeking Gods will, should be a habit or focus of every believer’s life yet the more we sought to do Gods will the more we wondered what we had been doing up to that point. Gods will is His intention for a believer and is formed through prayer and study. It cannot be discerned from a book or another’s life. It is not a one size fits all kind of thing. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that giving thanks is the will of God for our lives and that is the crux of it – not so much specifics but living in relationship with the God who calls us.

Doing a month-to-month study is time consuming. It requires over 3 years of intense word by word study. The first time I did it, I focused on each character in the Bible and what I could learn from their lives and mistakes. The second time I went through, I concentrated on Gods character and getting to know about Him through the narratives and books of scripture. It was my teenage sons who requested we continue the book-by-book study over the next three years. I was leaning toward doing a year plan, but they want to deep dive and understand it. Getting “through it” was not their goal. This is having an effect we did not realize.

The scripture that comes up as I pray over this year is this:

“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to COME to me to have life.” John 5:39-40.

More than doing a ritual, we need to hear the heart of God. More than “achieving” yet another badge of Christian accomplishment we need to become familiar with His ways. More than proving our scholarly skill, we need to know the Author of this book. It is a heart posture. In the scriptures we find God, we find life but if we do not moor our study to John 5:30 – doing Gods’ will, then our efforts are mere lists of checked off things to do. If the word does not bridge our hearts to Jesus, if the word does not oil the ligaments of our steps into a darkened culture, then it is just an exercise in reading literature.

In Genesis – what if we considered Adam and Eve attending our school? What insights could they bring? What if Noah visited our church with his family? Would he bring pets, and would we allow that? How do these characters impact our outreach? Our prayer?

One of the marvelous things we adapted from the Covenants in Genesis is this: The Lord longs for fellowship with us and His preference is to celebrate with us on a full 24-hour cycle. When we slow down and pause to thank Him and hear His voice it lets Him know we are still interested, still wanting to be in covenant.

My husband said he loved me on our wedding day and when we recently renewed our vows. I wear a wedding ring. I am in covenant with Joseph Roche. Our weekly dates let me know he is still interested, and his heart is still wanting to be with me. Covenant is a big concept in Genesis. We get to investigate many great men and women of the Bible and their covenants with God. But if we only study them, their strengths and weaknesses and never covenant with God for ourselves, it becomes a wasted lesson.

The God of the universe that made everything in it beckons us to not only come near, not only come close in relationship and delight, but He also invites us to be in covenant with Him. See the personal rest page on this website if you would like information on how to begin that covenant with God. He also invites us weekly to push out the world and come near in friendship. He gave us a world to live in, a son to love and see Him and gives us a way to covenant with Him through that son. Weekly we can renew that covenant through spiritual sabbath. We can renew that covenant through communion. We can refresh that covenant through prayer, but we cannot let it remain dormant – we must walk out that covenant with this living God.

This year – put aside the desire to get a “I read through my Bible” sticker, reject the notion that we are somehow more spiritual because we followed a reading plan. This year and for the next three, lets cognitively get to know this covenant maker and practically, experientially get to know this covenant keeper in every day, real life situations. Oh, His preference is that you let Him know somehow weekly or even daily that you love Him and desire to stay in covenant with Him.

He created it all and called it good, very good. (That includes you which is incredible). The One who flung the stars in the sky, thinks we are amazing and desires relationship (covenant) with us. What is He creating in your life, your sphere of influence, family, and neighborhood today? Be fruitful and multiply. John 15 reminds us of the way we do that is to stay connected (in covenant) with God.

Ask Him – what are you creating in my life Lord and how do I get in line with that? What do I need to take dominion over? His plan, purpose and power are in the beginning, a very good place to start. Covenant – its at the heart of Genesis.

Seeking with you, Renae Roche 2023

 

 

 

Revelation

This past week the news cycle has been especially gruesome. It felt like being in a horror movie, to read the details of various crimes all over the country. Each story was gorier than the one before, detailing shootings, stabbings, and bizarre, cruel events. Then yesterday, was very different when many things came to light. Motives, criminals, hidden information got uncovered. It was odd to experience the difference. Eventually, all things will be unveiled and come to light.

Let me invite you to a “revealing” of a different kind. After the crucifixion and ascension of Jesus, His disciples recorded what took place. A man named John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos and wrote the book of Revelation. This “disciple Jesus loved” was numbered among the twelve, there when Jesus did miracles and his own brother James – was killed, because he was also a follower of Jesus. Serious suffering and pain marks this man’s life. He was the only one brave enough to stay at the cross. If anyone needed a new revelation of Jesus, it was him. He experienced great persecution personally and also lost his brother James and best friend Jesus.  

While many read this book for end time prophecy or signs of the time, the main intent is not to reveal that but the Christ, the suffering Lamb and coming Lion. Warren Wiersbe tells us that Revelation means an “unveiling” and apocalypse simply means to “reveal”. More than a book of symbols and fulfilment of scripture, more than keys to the end times, more than intense living creatures, we are going to see the One who holds the power of death and life, the One returning soon – Jesus, the Christ.

This is the month of December.  There are twenty-two chapters of this amazing book. While we anticipate Christmas and opening presents, this year we are going to open, carefully and expectantly each chapter of this wonderful book. We will seek the best gift from the beginning (The Alpha), and the One to come (The Omega). He is the FIRST and He is the LAST. I will post on this blog, on Facebook and via text message to anyone who wants to join in.

Before you go to sleep tonight, and every night thereafter – read a chapter in Revelation. We will see Him as more than just a baby in the manager, when we read the rest of the story.

The purpose of this book was “to encourage first century Christians who were experiencing great suffering.”[1] Know anyone who is suffering? This book will help them. That purpose continues as we experience chaos in our homes, culture and nation today. In His sovereignty, God knew we would need encouragement. The One who faced death and war for us will eventually triumph.  We need to see and hear that God is STILL IN CONTROL, caring about our lives here and now. This book will help us with that. Rev.1:7-8 gives us the good news that Jesus is returning to defeat all evil and to establish His reign. That is more than just a revelation – it is a promise.

Not only is there a blessing given when we read this book but Revelation 1:3 tells us that reading it ALOUD will also bring a blessing, so read away! This is one of the things that delights the Fathers heart.

Flash back to the hills of Bethlehem when Christ was first revealed publicly. A bunch of Shepherds were chillaxing late one night, and an angel showed up. Perhaps they were the only ones whose schedules were not filled with other things? Perhaps they were the only ones listening that silent night? Hear the narrative in Luke Two: “And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid with fear. And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid; for behold (an imperative meaning really look and see), I bring you good news[2] (glad tidings of joy that  instructs men pertaining to salvation)[3]A great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day, in the city of David, A Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign (mark, token, miracle) for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” [4]

This was a revealing and unveiling. The One Mary delivered– would be the One who brings deliverance – the seed would be the Savior, born in the city of David, the King of Israel. The Manger baby would be revealed as Messiah. His birth would cause wicked King Herod to murder many babies in that region. The angels revelation before that took place was that He would bring salvation to ALL – not just short term comfort but everlasting joy. This was not the first time a swaddled baby was followed by infanticide because of its birth.

Another deliverer had come when a kings paranoia ran rampant. Parents Jochebed and Amram defied the kings decree and placed Moses in swaddling clothes and laid him in a basket.  Many infants died. The enemy in both scenarios raged because they were losing their captives. Today parents have gender reveal parties and tell everyone the child’s name and their hopes for that child.  Moses and Jesus were hidden away in obscure settings. When the Shepherds were visited by the Angel, they revealed a baby that was anticipated since the foundations of the world.

The root and source of all Joy is not a happy explosion of feeling – He is A joy, THE joy that will change life forever. Not an example of joy, but the source of Joy.  The Shepherd was revealed to the shepherds that night. The One prophesied from David’s line was come.  “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” had come. The “I will fear no evil for thou art with me” was now with them! The Shepherd that Isaiah prophesied about had arrived! He came in as a lamb, small and approachable. Our pastor said He came as a baby because “babies are safe”. The reveal did not just end there. Luke two tells us, And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising[5] God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace (harmony, rest, shalom), good-will (benevolence, delight) among those with whom He is pleased!”

Jesus was revealed to those who were watching for Him, those awake, looking to the sky. The angels could have come to the Rabbis- but they did not. They could have come to the leaders, but they did not. They could have come to the Bankers – but they did not. They came to those watching their flocks by night, guarding the lambs, feeding the sheep. In a day when technology did not exist, and “lights, camera, action” were not yet invented, the angels came with their own marketing skills, flash, wonder and music. They did not come on ladders or on stages but in the air – revealing the Lord of all Lords and the King of all Kings.

The book of Revelation is the culmination of all these things, the great reveal of Jesus. It will reveal to us, in our broken society, who Jesus is. We will note the suffering around those living at that time and in our today. We will look up to A Joy that promised salvation and deliverance. We will hear His promises, see His symbols and continue on in Hope. We will look for His return with expectation and anticipation.

Robert Coleman, author of Songs of Heaven encourages this search for the Revelation of Jesus:

That which claims our deepest attention makes us what we are. If we concentrate upon what happens around us and become absorbed with the affairs of men and nations, we inevitably become cynical and disillusioned with life. If we turn inward and direct attention upon ourselves, we shrivel in our own little sphere of experience, ultimately becoming enslaved to the dying flesh. But if we focus attention upon God and the greatness of His being, seeking to interpret all that is, in the light of His word then our minds and spirits pulsate with the heartbeat of the universe and existence takes on deathless, joyous meaning. [6]

So, it is time to open our hearts, ears, eyes, and minds and let God reveal to us this season, the best gift He ever gave us- His son, Jesus. His presence is our finest, greatest present, waiting to be unwrapped.

“O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord. “For He alone is worthy, For He alone is worthy, For He alone is worthy, Christ the Lord.”

May your Holiday bring The Revelation that brings JOY and PEACE everlasting. May you meet Christ in the text of Revelation this season. May His presence be in your heart and your home. Hear His invitation to you, not just today but for the entire season, “Come up here”. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.

Renae Roche 2022

Kari Jobe – Revelation Song
Jason Upton – Come up Here
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – Worthy is the Lamb
Chris Brown and Brandon Lake- LION

 

[1] Wiese, Be Victorious. David Cook Publishing. Colorado Springs, Co. 1985.

[2] Euangalizo – glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ and of what relates to this salvation. Information of things that pertain to salvation. Blueletterbible.org

[3] This is where we get the word evangelism.

[4] Luke 2. Note it does not say comfort, that is from a Christmas carol.

[5] More than Hillsong, Bethel, Elevation, this holy, Heavenly choir would have been off the charts!!!

[6] Coleman, Robert. Songs of Heaven. Fleming, Revell Co. Old Tappan, NJ. 1980.

 

Jude– NIV

Most people think of the Beatles when they hear this name, yet it is one of the most powerful books in the Bible and probably, closest to representing our culture today. Hey  – obeying the instructions will make our lives better. This letter is written from a bondslave, a servant of Christ which means he understands not only Christs message but Christs actions and suffering. This is a firsthand account, authored by one who had lost a brother on a bloody cross. Not religion, not theology – true love, devotion and great sacrifice to offer these words of instructions for our lives. These brothers did not believe in Christ when He was on earth working miracles among them (John 7:5). Jesus was not accepted in his ministry by his family – he went anyway, and now this precious author speaks to us thru the scriptures.

For those of you who are pastors you celebrated Pastor appreciation this past month. All of the cards and well wishes are gratifying, and some received big gifts and some warm handshakes – yet none of those things can ever equal the sacrifices one makes when a loved one dies or the full cost of living for God. Jude and this little blog writer encourage you to keep pressin in – your shepherd/ pastor skills are needed now more than ever. Matthew 19:29 seems to suggest that there will be heavenly rewards for those sacrifices. Jude calls them and us to  live in love and hope. This is no ordinary YouTube chump, penny for your thoughts podcaster – this was the half brother of Christ, and James. When we read this book we must remember the context of the one writing to us these warnings and exhortations – he knows firsthand the great cost of ministry and  risk of falling away.

Michael Green in his commentary on Jude states, “Jude’s letter constitutes a stirring call to awake to moral integrity, intellectual humility and spiritual sensitivity.” The basis of this is not to be “wiser, smarter or more spiritual” but awaken to the very person and presence of Christ. It is a letter written to those who are loved, called and kept. Those are very good pronouns by the way. LOVED, CALLED, KEPT.  They are labels we need today and every day.

Jude’s prayer is that those who have been called, loved and kept will receive mercy and peace and love – exponentially, in abundance. Not as a mere theological concept in a textbook but that they would “own it” above and beyond. That must be the stuff that strengthens martyrs, and ministers and men seeking Gods will.

Yes, I intentionally left women out. Here is why –Its absence can be heard from the page to you if you have known Him- if you are called, loved and kept by God, peace, love and mercy are poured out on you (from the Father) and the Spirit will increase it exponentially. That does not come from a human source. Thus it cannot be hindered for the one who seeks God. At a recent conference, Tim Hill, overseer of the Church of God made note that there are many “camps” in America today, too numerous (and even possibly dangerous) to mention here. He called ALL of the body to keep the focus on keeping people out of hell. While there are disagreements in all camps, I believe our main goal should be to fill Heaven. God will take care of the rest. Are there specific injuries or frustrations blocking your view of Gods mercy? There should be if you’ve fought any battles in the last years or days. Its part and parcel of being in Gods army. Let’s fill Heaven and if there is time left….

(Disclaimer: there are thousands of women reading this page who need encouragement in this hour. This is not a camp statement but an encouragement to move on in spite of challenging viewpoints—for men and women.

This book points out that in the midst of a culture filled with ungodly people (then and now), God still has a plan. We must do our part — content/ read/ obey. Here are three things that stirred me this month from this book:

  1. An admonition to not let People separate into divisions, distinctions and parties
  2. A call to remember (imperative) Gods word and love
  3. A request to pray and contend for the faith

The separations were not just parties it also meant the lesser and greater ones. If one is brighter, better and greater– than someone else has to be least, last and lost. James speaks to this. The false teachers were “spiritual” and leaders, but not necessarily filled with Gods spirit.  Ungodly people were reigning and chaos abounded.  There’s much that could be said here but I’ll sum it up this way – we need much more love and much less opinions. Spiritual should look like serving and loving others, in reciprocal harmonious relationships. Paul said we see in part (1 Cor.13). If that’ is true, then we need the WHOLE body. If each have a different gift, then the value is placed on the giver of all gifts and the product to the body, not the one with the gift.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. Contend means “to contend about a thing, as a combatant” (epi, “upon or about,” intensive, agon, “a contest”), “to contend earnestly,” The word “earnestly” is added to convey the intensive force of the preposition. To Struggle. [1]  How are we contending for the faith today?

The many warnings in this book are frightening. They bring us to remember Cain, Balaam and Korah. If you don’t know those stories, I encourage you to read them. Those who do not heed these warnings are bound to repeat them. Hear Jude’s exhortation to his audience then and to our hearts now:

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.20 

This is his solution; the way he suggests we keep strong at this time:

“But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”   That is sound, good advice. Lord, I’m gonna wait on you. In your love, in your mercy.

We have a responsibility to build ourselves up. It does not say our parents, our mentors or pastors. We must build. How do we do that? Through reading, through loving, through remembering, through obeying… If faith comes by hearing, we might ask ourselves if hearing Gods word is more important than five hours of Netflix a week? You can insert anything else there- sports, shopping, anything that is a higher priority than stocking up your faith.

My readers know I appreciate preppers and the wisdom they bring to us.  Many are filling pantries today for hard times coming tomorrow. Today I would like to encourage you to stockpile some word, faith, worship – what do you have in reserve as a soldier in Gods army? Are your spiritual bags full from pouring in spiritual podcasts, reading  the Word and devotions and worship or are you walking through life famished and parched? We need to prepare our hearts FIRST so we will be built up and ready.

.22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

This letter is very personal to me today for reasons I can not mention here but let me say this: the ones you snatch from the fire – they are someone’s daughter, son, parent, kid, best friend. It may be you someday. In Gods army – all are needed in this hour and necessary. Jude states we are in the end times and that there is a battle raging. The way to get through that is to keep in Gods love, to remember the examples in the word, to remember we are called, loved and kept and pray in the Holy Spirit. (This is a battle training, not just something sweet just for the altar).

“Lord Jesus, I sign up (or re-sign up) today to be in YOUR army, Save me, fill me and use me I pray.” Forgive me for being AWOL. Cleanse me, renew me and send me.

Call your pastor or ministry leaders and ask for ways to build up your faith, then ask for ways to serve. Dig in the word and get Gods instructions and heart for your assignment. A friend of mine went on a 25 hour prayer retreat this week – that is someone who is serious about knowing Gods marching orders for his life.

24 To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Praying for you all today!  RenaeRoche2022

[1] Blueletterbible.org

  LOVE ONE ANOTHER                                                                                                                                                     LOVE ONE ANOTHER

The new school year is off to a great start. Students are in classes, teachers are teaching, and a handful of people are still wearing masks, reminding us that Covid was real, lest we forget all those we lost. The curriculum in some schools has changed drastically, while courts debate what history should be rewritten. Names have changed, genders have changed and in Florida, living situations have changed as houses washed into the ocean during Hurricane Ian.

It is a different generation than when I went to school. So many things have changed. I’m reminded of many things now that my kids are older and ask questions. Did anyone feel confused when you found out the Underground Railroad had no train or that the Whitehouse plumbers never worked on any sinks? Hmm. Many students struggle to understand the difference between the words red and read and wrestle with other oddities in the English language. I would bet that modern students would also be flummoxed at the long list of narratives to wade through in American politics. Education is anything but simple these days. So, what does this have to do with 2 and 3rd John. Quite a bit.

Whether you are talking the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Pentagon Papers or something smaller, fraud is a part of our everyday life. It gives truth a run for its money. Lies range from why someone is late for work, to “I’ll be ready in five minutes” to Santa is bringing you presents –or coal for Christmas. The world spins around these bigger and lesser lies. Young people get their “cues” from adults who tell them how things really work.

“What is the world’s greatest lie?” the little boy asks. The old man replies, “It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”[1] This truth – Its innate to our very being. God is the One who controls and guards over us. God loved us then, loves us now and will love us to the end. That’s true. If we doubt that, then we live in opposition to the God who created us. It’s a big deal. It is core to our being and the basis for our belief about love. It also impacts how we love one another.

Boundaries and legitimate warnings were given to Adam and Eve, yet they still fell for the lie given them that affects all of humankind today. Love echoes all the way back to this couple – did God really say? Do we forge our own way, trust in Gods’ love and care? Or do we look out for ourselves only and grab the apple as Adam did, defending ourselves, providing for ourselves and looking out for me and mine? Our belief system is core (pun intended) to how we receive and give love.

In these tiny little letters at the back of our Bibles, John points out sound advice for the churches he was writing to. He was the beloved disciple who knew Jesus’ best. In the time of persecution, he could not get too detailed. He says the word TRUTH eleven times. That is a lot of times for such short letters. They were to walk in truth, live truth. It is foundational for Christian lives, theology and in order to have a relationship with God.

I recently heard a story about a friend that did not seem accurate. When I traced it back, there were about 30 people who had heard the story, added to it, debated and discussed it but not one person had gone to the source – in person. Speculation had molded over the main issue. Literal hours had been spent dialoguing about this person, but they were left out of the discussion entirely. Research demands that you go to primary sources. If we base arguments, assessments or opinions on hearsay rather than firsthand verification we will never get to the truth. It seems people like to spin a tale for amusement rather than embrace veracity. That’s serious. It also blocks love – for individuals and congregations.

I was looking into lies told in our country, while researching this month. Truth in advertising came into the legal realm after many people had been sued or injured because of lies. One Mexican fast-food restaurant was found to have put oat filler in their meat – it wasn’t seasoned goodness; it was horse food – oats. Volkswagen had the Diesel gate lawsuit, Activia said its yogurt would help with gut bacteria even though they had not run any scientific studies and Red Bull was sued because they told consumers their drink would “give you wings.” [2] Imagine thinking you would get wings from drinking a beverage and then suing to prove you couldn’t. They won. 

Truth is the root and foundation for love. Without it – love is just a feeling or a fad. Small lies, white lies and mistruths do not protect, they block. Changing, misrepresenting and not being forthright makes people give up and will build mistrust. Remember when a man’s word was his bond? A woman’s word should be so guaranteed, you could take it to the bank and cash it? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone’s love was so solid? Love is defined, according to the Bible, as walking in the truth.

John goes on to tell the believers:  LOVE one another. Sounds gooey, nice. But then he defines love – walk in love and this is love that you walk in His commandments. John is not talking about the worlds love; your neighbors love or cultures idea of love. Gods’ love is defined by following His precepts, ways, commandments. What are they?

  1. You shall have no other gods
  2. You shall not make any graven images- idols
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath – to keep it holy (set apart for God time).
  5. Honor your father and Mother
  6. You shall not kill
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not bear false witness
  10. You shall not covet

Remember when these were posted in every church, every school? It was a standard, a paradigm all were to follow – a definition if you will. Whether a visual reminder or discussion starter it impacted how we thought and carried out our lives. True love is –true. It brings rest, it represents the living God, so it is not dull, stagnant or a lie. It represents the very person of God because God is LOVE.

Truth is a litmus test for love. No masks, no fraud, no deception.

Perhaps that is why the enemy is frantically trying to get us to lie about what we know is real. You can say a goat is a sheep all day long, but the reality is not going to change. If we learn to deceive ourselves, the truth is not in us. Twisting truth, rewriting history, ignoring facts, and using unjust balances are things God addressed in His word from day one.

You can’t love someone if you are slandering them. You can’t walk in truth towards someone if you fill your conversation with lies and half-truths – “my phone is dead, my schedule changed, I didn’t know you needed me”, etc. When we walk in honesty and Gods will – love will abound.

Whether in ministry, homes, workplaces or school settings, our integrity is foundational to our relationships and growth. Love is living because God is living. If you do shady business or deceive people, God knows that. If you exclude, gossip, cheat, steal to get your own way or hide your sin, God still sees that, and love grows cold. Ouch, this is even difficult to write – it is so antithetical to modern day Christianity. White lies cover things that make us nervous. White lies smooth over half truths and politically correct leading. White lies prevent truth. Still serious.

I no longer think these two little letters are little. Their message is HUGE. I think they are placed before the book of Revelation for a reason – Jesus is coming back for a pure Bride, a spotless Bride and John wanted to get us ready. Really ready. Love one another and watch yourselves- John made it clear.

We can apply this book by being honest with ourselves and those around us. Say what we mean and mean what we say. The ten days of Awe celebrated by the Jews before Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) was a ten-day spiritual discipline of looking inward, repenting and examining one’s life. Where there are spots and blemishes, we can confess. Where there is gross darkness and sin we can turn around and go the other way. Where there are fractured relationships, we can do the hard work and reconcile. Some observe Lent, some make confession, some do a daily introspection – – however you do it, do it. Because without truth we cannot genuinely love ourselves or others.

Having a love deficit? Check out the level of truth in your inward parts. Are you bathing your heart daily in scripture? Are you refreshing your prayer muscles in worship? Are you allowing the God of the universe to saturate your mind and life in His presence? Real love comes from The Real Love and walking in His ways. It can not be fabricated or mimicked.

Love defined by walking in the truth requires intentionality, prayer and absolute devotion to God and His ways. It reveals the Hoax of the enemy, it grows the church. We must be like Demetrius and prefer others, faithful and full of charity. Where does love come from in a home, church, nation? From Gods heart, His word and commandments. It comes from being right with Him and having a heart that is renewed daily. Do you want to love without guile, pretense or falsehood? Hear David’s prayer:

1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive  me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right  spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.  Psalm 51

We cannot muster up love or manufacture it. We cannot force it on others to perform because we want more of it. We can only give what we have first really received. We can point them to the God of all love and encourage them to love like He loves. We can foster love by staying close to this One who has shown us perfect love. LOVE one another is more about living in truth and Gods presence than it is a command to do extra good deeds. When we lay down our good for Gods best – there is room for love– Jesus’ style. Living love is a breeding ground for miracles, Holy expectation, and much joy. It is very opposite of temporary, fading love.

I pray that you press into God today. Let Him cleanse your heart, heal your spirit, help you walk in His word and ways. That’s the spiritual condition for love to grow and thrive. It is also the foundation for loving one another.  Like John, may we love, truly love one another and look for His appearing.

Loving Him and you,

Renae Roche 2022

  1. In discussion with others after reading this blog, it came up that to truly love someone you must truly know them. To love them in the way most meaningful to them you must know their love language and how they receive love which requires time, investigation and truth. We also processed comments about facing our true selves and acknowledging the lies we live with and those we refuse. Jesus said, “I am the truth”, so to embrace truth ultimately is to embrace Him.

[1] Source unknown

[2] Julien Rath. Business Insider. Eighteen False advertising scandals that cost some brands millions. Feb.27,2017. BusinessInsider.com  Accessed 10/1/22.

 

 

These are my thoughts after studying 1 John during the month. They are highlights that stirred me. I want to wrestle with the text – not just debate it. To understand this book it must be read and experienced in real time. This blog is intended  for discussion and prayer. Dig deep….  

 

What are we supposed to tell them? 

Exodus 19

 3 Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myselfNow if you obey ME fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” 

Wow. Powerful words from the Lord! There are many words spoken today. Look further in 1 Peter 2:9 (New Testament): 9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession…”

WHY? It is not to be elitist, exclude others or be a clique, but for this reason:

“That you may declare the praises of Him who called you (out of darkness} and (into His wonderful light).“ Special for a purpose, a reason. IF you are Gods  chosen priests, then  you will praise,  worship, and  proclaim Gods praises. That is the defining activity or mark that you are His, chosen and His treasured possession. We praise not because we like to sing, we praise because we are aware of where we came from, aware of our great need, aware of the much, much better life He has given us.

Darkness of sin, ignorance, circumstances, spiritual blindness, all of that can be painful. Coming out of that is praiseworthy. We are called out of that and into Gods wonderful light. We do not praise God because we are special, we praise God because we were living in sin and the coming of His light (Jesus) made things so much better. We received salvation, redemption, deliverance. We were not just saved from something, but we were saved TO something – living in Gods wonderful light. Its not enough to be saved from, we must be saved for His purpose and walk that purpose out in our daily lives.

John explains this further in his letter 1 John when he tells us that God is light:

This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

In the post covid era this may be more challenging, but it is still relevant today. Fellowship is not around a doctrine or church group – fellowship is getting together with the redeemed and celebrating our collective redemption and salvation. It is not a church gathering but a redeemed soul gathering. It is a blood bought blessing that no germ or sickness can prevent. It is a drive, a need, an essential part of every believer’s life.

God is light. In His light we see our darkness. His light exposes our sin, our excuses, our relationships. We also see what is true in the light. Fakes, frauds, and replicas are hard to spot – until the light shines on them. We just moved into a new place with new carpeting. It looks great at night but when I pull up the blinds in the  morning, my big, beautiful windows pour in light. That light exposes every paper clip, lint, and piece of dirt possible. Perhaps that is why some  avoid the light, fellowship, other Christians, or church? It does not mean there is no dirt — it just means if you stay in the dark – you cannot see it. It is time to come out of the shadows….

The early Christians used light to remind them of God’s presence. When they had olive oil, their lamps burned brightly. When they did not -it represented a crisis of both a physical reality and absence of God. Hanukkah, which is coming in the months ahead is a reminder of this. On our own, we can not shine. We need Gods presence, the oil of His Holy Spirit to illumine. God is light. To live in light is powerful – not just a verse in 1 John.

I was shopping with my oldest son in NC a couple of months back. While standing in the men’s department while he was trying on clothes, I heard a song on the overheard speaker. The lyrics of the song basically said “you are not enough and need to buy new stuff to be accepted. ” I remember the controvery in the 80s about songs that brainwashed  kids and the fury to prove songs were back maskedd. This however was not played backwards, and it was not in some shady bar where I heard this. I was shopping in a store. I was shocked. It was blatant. It was not true – the words were not true; the message did not ring true. The message blaring over the overhead speaker was opposite of the truth yet no one was listening. It was lulling them into a belief system while they shopped. The sales rep agreed with me when I pointed out the lyrics. She said she hated it, but I was the only one who said anything about it. Our minds need to fight against false messages and agendas. Truth must be in our minds and inward parts if we are to resist the world. Light in our minds (truth) illumines our dark, twisted, and incorrect thoughts.

What else is not true? Well, some would say that makeup masks the true look of women. Fragrance can mask the true scent of a man. Clothing can make older people look younger. Holes in jeans make them look old even when they are new. TRuth has become relative. Photo shopping can alter anyone. What is real ?  Not all of this is bad but where we used to have “true” religion we now have syncretism, masked idolatry. Where there were true politicians, we now have paid lobbyists. Other categories can be blurred  –too flammable to name here.  How does this adjust our trust level, confidence? What is real, genuine true? My pastor stated recently that America is no longer a melting pot, but a boiling pot and he is correct. No longer are people blending together. They are rigid and sometimes even hostile. How can we live in the truth, in light when we do not see or even understand? Is God aware of this darkness, does He have a plan?

While studying this passage I was also reading in the Biblical book called Judges – how they had disobeyed God and were living in a wicked culture. “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountains.“

Note how they got there, it was not cultures fault or folly, but their disobedience. Yikes! In the midst of the story of Gideon we learn much about the character and nature of God. He can be known and in spite of our flaws, He will be with us. God is not surprised or caught off guard by any of this. Also note that He saw the character of Gideon – true valor in a very untrue culture.

Over forty times in 1 John, we are told to know God. How does that helps in times of darkness? God, today and in Biblical times was often mis- marketed. Then and now people who do  not know Him and His character make up stuff about Him and then question Him and His treatment of His people. We expect the world to misrepresent God, but it is sad when even the church has forgotten who He really is. There are also those who have maligned Gods person – those who have studied Him at great length but have not known Him experientially. While many profess to know God, many have never experienced life in Christ or seen Him in action in their lives, churches or on the streets. They know about Him, but do not know HIM.

John 5: 39-40 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me,  yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”   Coming to God is relational. Scripture is a bridge to God, not God.

Taking the truths of scripture and applying them to our prayer life, family life and ministry will give us insights not possible thru a mere study or research of Gods word. I want you to know today that He is light, He is love and He is true. Not just in the Bible but in our hearts, on the streets.

1 John 5:20 says, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”

In a world that is vying for power, fighting for relevance, and postured towards division, we can find comfort that we know the One True God. No fight, no fury, no chaos. True. That true God can be known and, in that relationship,  knowing the One True God –we can experience His light, love and fellowship. We can see Him for who He is, and He can see His children for who they are. We can know TRUE love and community. It is the litmus test, the standard by which all other loves and relationships should be measured.

We are not that light, but we can reflect and shine forth that light. We can get to know God not just by study, but by knowing from experiential relationship. We get to know God only as we walk in love and fellowship. Not thru Sunday School, research or degree. Those are starters – not the finished product. That makes our walk of the utmost importance because it leads us closer to the One who walks with and within us. 

God is light – we are not light but if we remain in Him, He will illumine our lives. We are not true but if we embrace the One who is, we will see ourselves and others more clearly and have fellowship with Him. It may sound simplistic but that is what our world needs now – Light. Love. Truth. Not the kind that divides– but the kind that unifies as we walk in Him.

John kept  this book sweet and short — but its the core of Christianity. He knew Jesus. 

You saw the light? Go share it.

You see someone in darkness – bring love and  light.  ASK God to show you where He wants to bring love and light.

Do you know someone in chaos, stress, or confusion? Introduce them to the One that is true.

My husband works with solar panels. They store light during the day and then at night they give back electricity and power. The light does not come from the panels – it comes from the sun but if it is received and stored it can be useful when its dark outside. You do not wait until its night to store light – you store it in the panels while it is still day. Soak in God’s word – night is coming.

Those who have been taking in the light – are now shining in the darkness. They are purposed for that reason. Not to sell socks or take naps — they are to do one thing – take in the true light, then shine.

Dear brother, sister– we are  a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation—not just to know the true light but “that we should show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. “ Its not enough to know God is light, we must praise Him for it and bring that same light to others in truth and fellowship.

The sun is setting, night is only minutes away.

Know Him, praise Him and walk in His light – it is the “truest” thing we can do.

Renae Roche 2022

This great Light of Gods’ – I’m gonna let it shine, this great light of Gods’, I’m a gonna let it shine, everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine… Jesus gave me the light, I’m gonna let it shine, Jesus gave me the light….

This is how we GROW in GRACE and KNOWLEDGE >>>>>>>

 

2 Peter

This book will address issues inside the church while the first letter addressed issues outside the church. Watch for words like holiness, diligence and walking according to Gods kingdom rather than one’s own will. Following Gods voice is the mark of a Christian and walking after the flesh is a sign of unbelief. 2 Peter is an excellent book to study as a church group. It is easy to compare to those “out there” rather than do the hard work of  looking within and conforming to the character of Christ. As the days grow darker, this book will help the believer to stand and have hope.

One of the main exhortations is in the first chapter: “ His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” Everything we need – that is good news. Peter goes on to say that in addition to one’s faith we need to add virtue which is  moral goodness or purity. That is a different standard than the world which simply proposes that all you have to have is faith and love without any standard of holiness. Virtue alone is not enough either, to that we need to add knowledge – something many churches today seem to shun, to their own detriment. We all have much to learn until the Lord returns. Learning is a sign of humility and education is much less expensive than ignorance. In this day we need to be the best we can be to reach the most people we can. Learning from others is imperative. We fully see Christ when we see Him in other people. The modern church is severally limited when we do not listen to children, poor, men, women, disabled or those from other generations. Add to your faith – knowledge both of Christ and those He wants to reach.

 Peter goes on to say that he is telling them the truth, especially concerning the return of the Lord in power. “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” What a testimony and it was firsthand! Peter saw the risen Lord, he heard God declaring that Jesus was His son. Peter promises that this same Lord will return – in power.

Chapter Two

Peter exhorts the early Christians to not follow after false prophets. These were not people with different opinions – they were actively denying Christ and promoting heresies. The word righteous appears many times in chapter two. It was a name given to Noah, it guided people in the right way. Note that righteous Lot was tormented by seeing and hearing the lawless deeds of the people around him. It  must have been pretty public for that to occur because there was no CNN or MSNBC. When the righteous flourish the wicked go inside. When lawlessness abounds, the wicked do their evil deeds in public, there is no shame. We mindlessly take in the behavior of the prevailing culture- to our detriment. Lot recognized that watching these things was impacting his mind and soul. Whether its real life, television or on our phones – are we guarding what vexes our souls?

As we ponder what those deeds are we can add something else to that list – despising, disdaining, and talking against those in government. Ouch. Those are not my words – they are Peters. In our day bashing politicians seems to be acceptable behavior, but it was not to Peter, nor is it to God. The Bible clearly calls us to pray for those in authority and government leaders. “Go Brandon” is daring (the definition of disdain)– it is also considered sin. Mocking, scoffing at leaders in any camp does not produce honor. Whether it is Obama, Trump, your pastor, Bishop, or  Sunday school teacher – God wants us to pray for and support those in authority, so it may go well with us. Polls and popularity do not change Gods opinion on these matters. We must be short on opinions and long on love. God sees leaders and knows if they are doing wrong or hurtful things, He is a faithful judge. We are still called to keep in Gods path. Open rebellion or scorn does not promote unity. It can be difficult, but God is still sovereign and will deal with those not walking in righteousness.

There are two national situations I would love to write about on this blog but do not want to use this platform for a soap box. What I can say is that public fighting over leaders who are not acting right may feel good in the moment but at what cost? There are unbelievers watching, there are depressed people calculating, there are hopeless people waiting for any excuse to give up. My mama used to tell us to be loyal and not “air our dirty laundry in public.” Still wise advice. Yes, there are concerns when racism, sexism or other issues go unaddressed, but we become like these people when we start branding all of “them” as blind, arrogant or uninformed. If we are all left blind by  infighting –who will see the coming Christ or His bride that He is preparing? Prayer, mutual submission, humility, and Peters list in this book (faith, virtue, kindness, love) are all good steps to walking in Christs kingdom. Some will loudly demand their rights; some will passively shrink in silence– but there are others waiting on the Lord to give guidance and continuing to walk in His will and voice. God will ultimately have His way.

Three

There are some scholars who continue to question this books authorship but in chapter one, vs one as well as here in chapter three, Peter tells us that he wrote it. “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinkingI want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

Peter desires they have wholesome thinking. Righteous thoughts lead to righteous actions. He also wants them, as a solution for their stress – to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by Jesus through the apostles. Reading and understanding the holy prophets words will require study, reflection and knowledge. Those who love Jesus will invest the time to get to know Him. It is a heart posture – not a gender issue. The word of God calls us to do this. Rather than share  my thoughts, I will ask the question, “how do these words comfort us?” We are exhorted to recall them, so they are important. Please email me your thoughts regarding Peters instruction. Peter does not leave the Old Testament on a dusty shelf but tells us that these words are still very important for our consolation and hope.

God is reserving the scoffers for judgement. The ungodly may deliberately forget God is creator, but God will not forget His creation. My favorite verse in this letter is in vs. nine, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” ALL. Are welcome and ALL are needed to impact the Harvest. ALL.

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” Heaven will be filled with righteousness and holiness – not everyone’s rights and preferences. I am not sure everyone will still want to go there if they know that, but nevertheless, it is Gods dwelling and He is righteous. Votes, Polls and news reports do not change Gods righteousness.

14 “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this,

make every effort (be diligent with speed, effort, and promptness),

to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” Peace means tranquility, harmony, and rest.

17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard (beware) so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.”

If this were not possible, Peter would not warn against it. We must do our part to resist the devil and lawlessness, trusting in Christ. It is an imperative that we stay alert and on guard against the temptations and evil around us. 

 18 But grow (another imperative, meaning to become larger, augmented, become greater and increase)

in the GRACE  (favor, benefit, reward, kindness)

and KNOWLEDGE (moral wisdom and understanding)

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

These nuggets of wisdom from Peter who knew Christ, was an eyewitness of Christ and heard the voice of His father declaring this was His son are priceless. Study them, reflect on them and apply them. If we do that, we will understand how to navigate the stress and frustrations of our culture. We will have hope for the coming of the Lord and stand strong in the midst of a crooked generation.

Continuing to HOPE in the One who is Righteous and His return,

Renae Roche 2022

 

         

Jacob Morse photo 6/22  Steele N.D. Lenticular Clouds –  Twitter/ FB

 

In the book of the Bible titled First Peter, an apostle of Christ is writing to the church and letting them know that not only are they precious but chosen. Gods’ foreknowledge knew who would be called and who would answer that call. He knows also how to keep them. That is in the first chapter – in Calvinist and Armenian Bibles. The point – is not to debate that verse, but rather live it.

Are we living in the awareness that God has set out our steps to glorify Him? That we are chosen and have a purpose and plan before us every single morning, when and if, we wake up? Powerful thought and Peter will keep that thought before his audience until it works itself out in their congregations.

Here are some verses that were especially meaningful to our family this month:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. ( 1 Peter 1:3-6)

Kept -–  Means providing protection against the enemy, i.e. He kept the city, “with a garrison.” It is used of the security of the Christian until the end and that sense of security that is his / hers when he puts all his matters into the hand of God. Phil. 4:7 is the same word “shall guard” which is not merely that of protection but of inward garrisoning as by the Holy Spirit. It means  a benevolent custody and watchful guardianship, in view of worldwide idolatry (cp.Isa.5:2) BLB.

God will keep us in the midst of storms and dangers – inside, internally. When we turn to Him, He will garrison and guard. In a culture that is producing fear at every turn it is easy to forget that God keeps us and our inheritance. In our church, we have enjoyed loving people in the streets and doing outreach in our city this past year. Recently there have been a number of  shootings,  robberies and one man was even found to have weapons of mass destruction. We definitely need to pray for our cities and their protection. Even when we were unaware of the danger around us, God has still kept us. We have walked through many things, often not knowing until days or months later, that real threats were present. God has saving  and keeping power. 

Dead men are not afraid. Dead women do not count the cost. Our lives are surrendered for His purposes. Peter was well acquainted with these issues. I wonder, when we exchanged our lives in the waters of baptism, if we realized we would be living out the bidding of a holy God. Would we still sign up?  Gods will can feel risky if we forget His character. The greater risk is staying home in fear. The greater risk is letting the enemy win. The greater risk is allowing a culture to go on believing that they are not important or that no one loves them. If our lives are not our own –why are we living them out in our houses or even our churches?

A missionary told my parents  (before my sister went on a mission’s trip) that ” hundreds of people die every year in their showers. Very few die on missions’ trips. If you really want to be safe – don’t shower.”  We  laughed, my sister went on the trip of a lifetime and our perspective changed greatly. There are calculated risks and then accidental risks. We rely on the prayers of those who love us and pray – it makes a difference. My husband often reminds me that the safest place to be is “in the will of God.” The cross was not safe –but it was necessary.

In verse 13, Peter will go on to call the church to prepare or “gird up the loins of their minds”. Prepare, and let your mind know that it is not boss. Francis Chan shared on Tik Tok recently (Gods Thoughts are Higher 6/22) that he was afraid for the younger generation. He said, “I think one of the most destructive practices of your generation is that you value your own thoughts way too much. When God says my thoughts are not the same as  yours and you want to look inside and tell everyone what you’ve been thinking and how you’ve been feeling, rather than opening up the word of God and saying these truths are way beyond mine.”  Wow. Our minds need to be saturated with Gods mind and heart, so we are ready for His will. Dead people do not sit around weighing their ideas or calculating their next move. They no longer do their “own thing” but the will of the father. We lean into God, and He keeps us –internally and externally.

God is able to save, keep and send.

Jesus was manifest in the last times – for us. The Holy Spirit was given for us to walk out the will of God. That is amazing – but we will only see it as we walk it out. It is designed that way. These words are so essential. Hear vs. 21:

21 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps:   Following Jesus means we are going where He went and is going. He did not go to Starbucks and sit around and evaluate the culture and leaders. He did not do a top ten songs tour or start a 501c3.  He did find the poor, the uninvited, disregarded, and frightened – and did not leave them that way. You have big shoes to fill Jesus! May we walk today where you would walk if you were physically here. Be here among us, with us.

When Covid struck, many churches shut down and many leaders quit. Those already stressed out could not navigate the new ways to do things. Things were in a state of unrest when 1 Peter was written also. Some were persecuted, some beheaded and many were scattered. and Peter reminds us that when things get really tough –we have a Heavenly Bishop, an eternal Shepherd to call on, who always hears and keeps and guides. God does not get Covid. We are never alone because the Chief Shepherd is keeping us. I am so glad God is never blocked, barricaded or prevented from ministering to us. (Listen to You Tube: I am not alone, Maverick city).

Peter does not name names or point out specific issues but gives them a clear, concise roadmap to follow. Chapter 3 tells us, Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”

Isn’t it odd that Peter had to tell them that? The early Christians must not have been as sanctified as we imagine. ONE mind means they would be worshipping ONE God and being fit by HIS will into that ONE body. That would imply that they would not fit together into one holy habitation if they were each doing only their own will. ouch. Peter goes on to define what that looks like: compassionate of one another, loving as brothers and sisters, merciful and courteous. Later he will tell them to have ever increasing, fervent, boiling over love for one another. That is what Christs body looked like then and what it must look like now. In spite of chaos, trial, and persecution. Christs’ church, if it really is HIS church will be known by their unity.  Not uniformity – but unity centered in Him.

Peter exhorts them also to: “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Preparation means we do things in advance so when the opportunity presents itself, we are able to perform the required task. Today – will you sit down and write out what your life was like before you met Christ? How did you meet Jesus? What has he done for you? Why do you have hope? Yes, the Holy Spirit can help you on the spot,  but it will calm your heart  if you are ready. You getting healed – that is a praise. You testify to what God has done for you. You getting a new job – that is a praise .  A persons testimony is what life was like before and what changed to make it what it is like today. It points to Jesus and His transformation power- you are testifying to what God has done IN YOU. The world is hungry and thirsty for hope – and your story of salvation. Peter exhorts us – be ready. Christ will be glorified when you give Him the glory for His work in your life. That is just the beginning.

Peter goes on to talk about God externally keeping the ARK. He constructed it with Noah  – not to sink, but to float. Even the early church knew this was a real man, a real boat, and a real covenant. Peter is telling us that God kept Noah and the boat – externally garrisoned. Inside, outside and in our minds – God will keep those and prepare those (katardizo -greek) who walk in His will. That is not just a cute story – it is essential in our time.Noah was strengthened  on the inside, before he got in the ark. He would need that to complete his task.  Noah built the ark outside, long before the first rain drop. Fortify inside/ outside — because the One who has chosen You requests it and because there are clouds forming.

Before exhorting them to watch in prayer and to love one another ( ungrudgingly hospitable) Peter tells them:

For as much then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind:  for He that has suffered in the flesh, has ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may have allowed us to have done the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, reveling, banqueting’s, and abominable idolatries:Wherein they think it strange that you do not run with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you. Who shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” 

What a powerful passage – and relevant to what we see on the news!

I will leave this as a sweet surprise for you to study: verse fourteen. What happens when things get dark, and we suffer? Something beautiful that comes no other way – not at church, not at school, not from a textbook. It is the supernatural benefit we can look forward to in these days. When one increases (suffering and trials), so will the other. Peter was watching this process take place  firsthand. What a wonderful teaching illustration from the man who walked with Christ. What a promise for those who follow after Jesus today.

We are to commit the keeping of our souls to the one who will keep us – inside, outside and in our minds. An inner witness, an outer garrison of angels, an alert prepared mind with Gods’ word. Peter knew the secret to fortification when Hell was being unleashed. I am so grateful for his instructions in this letter. For the leaders reading this – you have a special blessing promised when the Chief Shepherd appears (Chap.5). I believe it will make your stress, headaches, and sufferings worthwhile. God sees and knows all and rewards accordingly. May the Shepherds rest and love bless you today.

While we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus – the devil is also walking around– seeking whom he may devour. He is merciless. (See John 10:10). The church, however, is also called to walk – in His steps and  to be compassionate, merciful, loving. What if we also started  walking, following Christs footsteps? What if our main goal was asking God for HIS will instead of our own?

Peter ends his letter by saying:

But the God of all grace, who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.“

I know this is a little broken, long but it is important to me, to let you know, that praying these verses outside the four walls of the church, made a difference. Asking God for wisdom, direction and anointing is life changing. Doing ministry with Him instead of for Him is as well. It is time to stop listening to critics (and perhaps even fans) and start listening to the Lord. The clouds are gathering.

Here is a song to sing as you gird up the loins of your mind this week: Yes, Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me – SOW.

RenaeRoche2022

P.S. I shared this blog with some teens and they mentioned that the content reminded them of a Kanye West song, asking the Holy Spirit to come. I listened to it and we discussed the similar themes. I wonder how “one mind” will look in the days to come. Times, people and protocols have changed. Will God bypass those not seeking or doing His will and use those hungry and thirsty for Him? I was surprised at the depth of these teens questions and observations. Lord, help us apply 1 Peter in our lives today. 

 

 

 

What is God Waiting For?

James 5     The Month of June

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer (Husbandman) waits for the (precious fruit of the earth) land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains and (hath long patience for it, until He receive the (early and latter rain).

Recently my oldest son led a devotion on patience. He did an excellent job, and I was convicted. That entire day I was very impatient, and fretting. At the end of the day, I was to go in for what I thought was going to be an awful horrible dentist appointment. It turned out to be so easy and pain free I was shocked – and had wasted all that time on worrying. My worrying accomplished absolutely NOTHING except irritating those around me. When we cannot see the end in sight, we tend to get grumpy and impatient, wanting what we want right now. A week later when I led the devotion, I was directed to this text. We are not the only ones who are waiting. God is waiting, God is long-suffering and patient as He waits for His son to return and bring His Bride home. In this passage He is waiting for fruit, precious fruit.

The Lord is pictured in James 5 as a farmer or husbandman. Fruit can be works, deeds or ones changed in evangelism. Fruit, good character, and deeds bless the Lord. He is waiting for the Harvest and precious fruits. What will be gathered today or tomorrow in our lives?

James goes on to say, “You also, be patient and stand firm with established hearts brothers and sisters for the Lord’s return is near. The Judge is at the door, and He is listening!

My husband planted blueberry bushes in our yard last year. This year we can see a few berries popping up. He chose where to plant them because they are his. He gets to receive the fruit because they are his. We can enjoy the fruit with him, but they are his. Those little berries this year give us great hope that there is more to follow. We rejoiced when we saw them because that means there is movement, growth, and hope.

The book of James details how God wants us to grow and flourish. It is not to be super Christians or an advertisement for the “best church” in town. It is to keep the water flowing and to present to HIM, a wonderful Harvest. While we wait, we continue to break up the fallow ground, plant, fertilize and water. We stay in the process of bearing fruit – together, to present our fruit to the Farmer. (See also John 15)

We recently saw on social media, the tragedy in Texas (Robb Elementary Shooting) and as a nation we were crushed. Evil abounds everywhere. There is no reason or justification for taking others’ lives. I was studying James 1 that day,

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers’ temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I had to put my Bible down. It was to distressing. How can we even use the word like joy on a day like that? How could God ever say we could have joy in the midst of such a horrific event? I know scripture is true, but it seemed insensitive at the time – until I studied it further.

It does not say joy in general but when you are overwhelmed and surrounded by various afflictions and troubles. We are to consider and perceive (have authority over, as leaders to command) ALL circumstances as having the potential of joy to be wrought– that the Sovereign God can rectify, heal and use it. God did not cause this horrible incident, in fact, Gods’ Word warns against such actions. God has a much longer look towards the horizon than we do. His purposes are eternal and not temporary. 

When, not IF– you fall (are surrounded or encompassed) with various sorts of problems, afflictions and trials, knowing (being convinced of) this, that the PROVING of your faith…   The proving of our faith will accomplish or bring about a desired result. God will come into the circumstance and will grow in us steadfastness, constancy, endurance. BLB.org says this, “In the New Testament, the characteristic of a  man (or woman) who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety, by even the greatest trials and sufferings, patiently waiting with perseverance. James goes on to write that:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

When we do not know what to do or how to do it, when we are involved or see horrific things and problems, we have a place to go for answers – God. He answers abundantly and liberally and – does not get angry just because we asked for help. He has promised — when we ask for His wisdom – we shall receive it, it shall be given.” That is good news. We cannot blame God for trials or tragedy.  We can trust His character, His heart and as we see in James 1, we can still have joy because God is on the job- bringing redemption in the situation. He did not cause it, but He certainly will FIX or redeem it and bring mercy into every part of it. We  need to trust Him and keep asking for wisdom. When we do not understand – He is still working.

I will leave what that wisdom looks like right now. I have my own opinions but for the sake of this blog I want to urge the reader to know that nothing escapes Gods’ watchful eye. He warns people and shows them the way to go. He redeems people and situations. He turns ashes into beauty, broken things into whole things– all the while hearing each desperate plea. No, you can not unscramble an egg but that is never the end of the story.  We count it all joy because we know that God has the FINAL outcome and word. As Laura Story sings in “Blessings” the pain reminds us –that this is not, this is NOT our home.  The rest of this chapter is relevant:

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Death comes when we seek our own way, ignore God and His Word. This was the scenario in Texas – This is where the journey began and while other safety measures may need to be in place, this was the one that bore (began) the worst fruit imaginable. Being drawn away means we seek our own way, will, and kingdom, ignoring others or making them of less value in our eyes. That is where the problem, most problems, begin.

18 Of His own will He chose to give us birth thru the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh NOT the righteousness of God.

I do not claim to have the answers or know how to fix all that is broken –but I have been touched by the book of James, reminding me that we can, must still have joy in spite of what is happening around us. Evil is never the final word. We can know that a supreme God still reigns, sees and will prove us–until He receives the intended result that HE wants to see come about. He is not caught unaware because of any situation and will redeem ALL things, for His glory.

The joy is not the circumstance – it is knowing we are not alone or hopeless in its wake, we are not abandoned in its occurrence. Lord means Lord over ALL and that is the context of our joy – that hope remains, in spite of the trial. Only God bring beauty out of pain.

The question to you this month is this – What will you choose to do with your life? Your relationship with God will determine if you are  drawn nigh or drawn away. If we do not submit to God first, we will not be able to resist the devil. Will we bear bad or good fruit, weeds or wisdom? What will grow? The book of James has great advice for our crops. What fruit will we present to the Lord at the end of this day, month, or life? What are you, we waiting for?

 

Wrestling and waiting with you,

Renae Roche 2022

 

 

 

 

Note: the blog was posted Sunday evening after we lost power in a thunderstorm.  We are loving visiting by candlelight tonight but realize how hard it would be to live without electricity daily.  Timely message in many ways. 

This month is officially the start of Summer. The first day and even month,  is celebrated in many countries as May Day which stems from many different traditions. The Puritans banned it; the Jews forbade it, at least during Sabbath. The earliest writings show that it came from the festival “Floralia” which celebrated the Roman goddess, Flora. The people celebrated by offering a sacrifice, throwing beans into the crowds, and releasing rabbits and lambs into the street. They also had dancing and athletic competitions. “Maiouma” [1]was celebrated until the 2nd Century A.D and the nightly revelry were also called  wild parties (another word is used but not appropriate for a Christian website). The revelry continued every three years and the reason we have detailed descriptions of these events is because receipts were kept for all the decorations and expenses. Constantine stopped it, but years later, it resumed. Other nations celebrate this day under various names to bless animals, chant to keep fairies from stealing milk and practice Maypole dancing. It is fascinating to research all the countries that have picked up this “holiday”. In the United States it would be similar to trick-or-treat. People fill baskets of flowers and goodies and leave them on people’s doorsteps. Festivals morph and change in meaning over time. 

What does this have to do with Hebrews? Actually, quite a bit. The Jews and even early Christians had many traditions that impacted their daily lives. The blending of these two cultures was anything but easy. The book of Hebrews contrasts old traditions and rituals with heart issues.  It is a clear description of the New Covenant. When this was written, confusion was at its height and leaders made a huge impact on the culture. Many of the historical writings have been lost, burned, or  were never finished. Many of the saints were martyred. In the midst of that,  many of the Jewish families that were converted took on Christian traditions. There was also a group that tried to maintain their Jewish ones. Like today, families became syncretistic and celebrated their own unique family holidays. The origin of many things got covered and even forgotten. This theological book would point out what was the best “system” or covenant approved by God Himself.

When the author of the Hebrews wrote this letter is was not readily accepted in the Canon. It seems that the politics surrounding its inclusion was so intense they just left it nameless. Paul, the great apostle was possibly already dead.  Now the author reminds the remnant that The APOSTLE sent from God, is still living, active and lives forever. There’s a new high priest  that reigns supreme and his name is Jesus. That would have been comforting to those who recently lost many loved ones. It would have lifted their eyes from the murders, the imprisonments and the theological arguments that had come about after Jesus, was crucified, risen, and then seen by over 400 people.

Great leaders leave big “shoes to fill” when they pass.  I’m thinking of Billy Graham, Elizabeth Elliot, Hollis Gause. These were giants of the faith in my eyes. This past year some Christian leaders have transitioned to other denominations following what they believe is a call to follow Christ. Younger ministers look to the future and question what it will look like for them. It can feel like a time of uncertainty. Two superstar church leaders have been allegedly exposed for living double lives and their young sheep are starting to scatter. It can feel like a time of darkness and confusion. Whenever Paul did pass, it would have been a huge loss to the early church. Paul was the one who set things in order and made sense of the new, early church. They would have felt lost without him. He was the minister par excellence. The author of Hebrews wisely directs us to One greater >>>> than any leader. We are reminded that THE Apostle, that Paul encountered on the Damascus road was now walking the Heavens, interceding, faithful and forever – Jesus. We are pointed to a better Apostle and challenged to look Upward.  The greatest minister, the greatest priest -was, is and shall be Jesus. Kol Yom – Every day. Olam Ed – Forever and Ever.

If I picked one thing to impress on you for this blog, it is this:  Hebrews tells us that Christ is better. Better Defined:  Superior in social class or ability; of a more excellent or effective type or quality. BEST.

The law could not do what Christ could.  The priests could not do what Christ could. The sacrifices were not as good as Christs blood that was once for ALL. The offerings were not as excellent as Christs offering. Christ is greater, better, higher, and able to minister longer than ALL others.  Every sentence, all 13 chapters lead us to the superiority of Christ. He is greater, better than, every offeror or offering. That’s the message of the book of Hebrews.

When I was younger and doing ministry in Haiti, we would join the women washing clothes in the creek. They used washboards and soap, then rinsed with creek water. It was 104 degrees some days. It was unbearable to do anything in that weather. Air conditioning was only a rainstorm with wind. The only thing that could be worse than that, was not having soap or having to wear sweaty, dirty clothes two days in a row. Now that my sweet husband has bought us a new washer, it is a breeze. My washer plays a melody when it is done. So much better! It weighs the clothes and measures the water. I just want to tell others what a relief it is, what a joy it is and what my husband sacrificed to get me that washer. I love him and I enjoy my new washer. Seriously, when we first got it, we watched it spin and felt like royalty. My kids think we are nerds. lol. My clothes have never been cleaner. The New Covenant was promised, it is better than the Old sacrificial system, it was bought with a price. To really  appreciate the new, we first must understand the old. 

If I went back to doing the way I did laundry while in Haiti, that would be an example of legalism. It would be offensive to my husband who diligently worked to provide a better “way”. Sweating in the hot sun may feel like penance but it would not accomplish anything long lasting. Now when I use the new washer, I am fully grateful, appreciative of hubby’s sacrifice and all the extra steps I no  longer have to take. Remembering how things used to be, makes me want to sing a melody! New and improved should be that – new and better, not old, and worse.

We can’t fully grasp that unless we know where we came from, what has changed and how that impacts us today.

The new Priest, the new offerings, the new covenant should bring more freedom, more joy, more rest. Drudgery, effort, striving are replaced by relationship and rest. What does our devotion or fellowship look like? Does it reflect the better covenant?

My family enjoys inviting others to our table and celebrating communion – not to fulfill some law but to celebrate the covenant Jesus provided. Martin Luther said, “Sola Christus- Christ alone” is the source of our salvation. St. Augustine once said, “For grace is given not because we have done great works but in order that we may be able to do them. Ministry flows out of that relationship from people who are grateful for what God has done in their lives. We do not rest or celebrate to get filled up to pour out – that would still be about us and our effort. We draw close to God, celebrating that relationship. Because we are joyful, loved, utterly adored and grateful — we pour out to God and then others.

Festivals are celebrations of people  with common belief systems. We rejoice and rest. Celebrations are easier than being still. People are terrified that if they don’t “do” something they will be unproductive or not needed. Some even resist the topic of rest because it scares them. Some seem to believe that rest is only for the slothful and elderly in our society. The author of Hebrews tells us that there “remains” a rest for the people of God. New Testament rest is not just fulfilled in Christ full stop. It is the beginning of fellowship with the Godhead- entering in HIS rest.

After I was finished writing this blog, my family had communion and a meal. We broke bread, prayed and as we lifted our glasses filled with grape juice, the washer melody began to play, and I was reminded of the enormous sacrifice Jesus made for our sins. In that moment only God understood my tears. I was grateful for being adopted into His family and loved with an everlasting love. Aaagh, so much better. Such a gift, undeserved, full of grace and mercy. No more bulls, goats or mediators.

May I encourage you to dig deeper in history,  your heart, and Gods word to understand this power packed book. May I exhort you to pause, rest and wait on the Lord to hear His voice. Only  the mature can eat solid meat. It takes time, research, rest, and diligent seeking of God to discern Him and His ways. Do not harden your hearts.

Coming out of Egypt (sins, your past) and entering into the promises of God is only the beginning. It is a foundation. Training diligently to know God, to stand firm and rest in God– is a sign of the mature. Do you know what Pharaohs favorite word was? Tomorrow (See You Tube: Tomorrow by the Winans). Many plan tomorrow to seek God and know Him. Today – draw closer to God, today secure your hope and faith, today encourage one another, because tomorrow, may very well– just be to late.

Diligently pursuing God with you,

Renae Roche2022

Ps. Come and Dine  and New Wine are also  beautiful songs  you may like.  

 

[1] Day Pearse, R. The festival of the Maiuma at Antioch. July 2, 2012. Accessed April 30, 2022.