God Knows The Heart

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So, the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain” their teachings are merely human rules.” You have not let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”                                                      Mark 7:5-8

As we read in the book of Mark, Jesus’ opponents which was the Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem questioned Jesus about why he and his disciples were not living according to the tradition of the elders. Trying to embarrass him and undermine his authority. When with the crowd he had been teaching, they questioned Jesus about eating with ritually of the elders would never do which is to eat with unclean hands.

The tradition of the elders was an oral interpretation of Israel’s ancestral custom. The Pharisees considered this tradition legally binding all Jews, even through not all followed it. Mark’s gospel of the explanation of the purification ritual demonstrate he is not sympathetic towards the tradition.

Jesus first responded to his opponents by quoting from the Prophets and the Law, sources important than the tradition of the elders. He said his adversaries were people who honored God with the lips but not with their hearts. They taught human laws as divine doctrine which can also be found in Isaiah 29:13 which states “These people come near to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”  Finally, Jesus responded directly to their question about the purification regulation. However, he addressed the crowd, not his opponents, thus resuming his position as a teacher with authority. He told the crown that nothing went into a person could defile them. Rather it was the things that comes out of a person’s mouth that defiles them. In other words, things that a person puts into their mouths such as food could not defile them, it is what comes out of a person’s mouth, which truly comes from the heart  Jesus’ new teaching about inner purity calls us to reexamine our tendency to engage in long-held traditions and rituals rather than the transformation of our hearts. It also challenges our tendency to hold on to human traditions as if they were divinely commanded. Finally, it calls us to reexamine the exclusive stance of our faith communities. This last challenge may be the hardest call of all, if our faith is predicated on a versus then understanding. Just as traditions and purity regulations helped preserve ancient Israel’s religious and ethnic identity and faith is a hostile world, so traditions and purity rules help preserve traditional biblical Christian identity. Are we like the crowds following Jesus or are  we like Mark’s first readers, are confronting Jesus. Do we hang on to traditions and rituals remaining exclusive in our thinking in order to protect our traditional faith and identity? Or do we let God open our hearts-even if such action subjects our faith and identify to change?

We need to remember what Jesus tells us as well as his disciple, God is not interested at our human traditions, which is that we come to church on Sunday mornings and sit in the pew, we then feel that we did our Christian duties until next week. We are called Christians because we are followers (disciples) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we should live our lives according to the teaching of Christ. More important is what God told Samuel in the book of 1 Samuel 16:7 God does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

 

 

 

 

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How To Created A Better Prayer Life (Guess Blogger)

I am so glad you are here! I’m Ashley, I am 26-years young, a coffee-addict, Army wife and future Chaplain’s spouse, INFJ, extroverted introvert and a 2 on the Enneagram. Originally from Indiana but currently in Missouri, I love Jesus, summer nights, ice cream and coffee dates with my husband, comfy sweatshirts and the feeling of finishing a good book.

 

I have a heart for helping other women learn to plant deep roots in Christ and grow in their faith; I struggled for many years to achieve any kind of deep spiritual growth and I have a passion for helping other women who may be struggling too. You are not alone.

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Prayer is one of those basics of our Christian life, but can be one of the most difficult to begin implementing. A lot of Christians say they need to pray more but struggle to make prayer a daily habit.

Prayer was something I really struggled to incorporate into my life when I became a Christian. I had no idea what I was doing or what to say and this kept me from growing in my faith for a long time. Eventually, I learned more about it from watching others and learning from more mature Christians, but it still overwhelmed me.

When you start to think about who you should be praying for and what you should be praying about, it can start to get incredibly overwhelming. We worry about what to say and how long to pray for and a bunch of other things that don’t really matter.

Learning to pray and pray consistently is just like any other positive habit you try to implement; it’s going to feel odd at first because it’s new but the only way to make it part of your life is to just start.

You might stumble a little and miss some days, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Here are some simple ways you can have a better prayer life, starting today!

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Keep It Simple

Praying every day really doesn’t require a lot of time and can be done anywhere. After I realized that, I was convicted pretty hard and made the decision to make prayer a priority in my life.

Simplicity took me a long time to get my head around, because talking to the Creator of the universe made me feel like my prayers had to be articulate and long and full of zealous words. But prayer is really just a conversation, just like if you were talking to a friend about your life.

Some of my most honest, raw and intimate prayers have been the ones with the fewest words. A prayer for safety can simply be “Lord I trust in your protection, please keep me and my family safe as we go. Amen.”

Don’t overthink it; just start talking to God about your life, your hopes, dreams, fears and anxieties. It will get easier over time.

Pray Scripture

Use the Lord’s Prayer found in Mathew 6: 9-13 as a guide if you are unsure where to start or how to pray.

  • Start with Praise;
  • Pray God’s will to be done in your situation;
  • Pray for and thank God for provision over your situation;
  • Confess any sin and pray for forgiveness; ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your heart and shine a light on areas that need forgiveness;
  • Pray for protection, safety and deliverance from temptation.

As you are studying the bible, you can also use any passage or verse as a guide for prayer. The Psalms are a great place to begin if you are searching for words for prayer and praise.

Find Prewritten Prayers

From guided books to blog posts, there are tons of resources out there for people who are unsure what to pray about or what to say during prayer. These are a great way to get you started and build your prayer vocabulary.

Just on Pinterest alone you can find pins with pre-written prayers for just about anything: anxiety, focus, healing, health, safety, your husband, your kids, your family, your finances, your friends, etc.

Start a prayer board on Pinterest and start grabbing some for future use. You can go follow my Prayer Board on Pinterest to get some ideas!

Practice Meditation

This may seem like an odd tip, but part of the reason we struggle to pray is because it requires us to slow down and be still in the presence of God. We feel like we don’t have time to slow down, and thus, struggle to pray.

I am not talking about the meditation you may be thinking about; I am talking about meditation on Christ & who He is, on the attributes of God, on His goodness and faithfulness and on Scripture.

Meditation can help you get into that habit of slowing down. It can put your heart at mind in a primed state to engage in meaningful prayer because you are already still and calm, instead of anxious because of all the things you have to do that day.

A good way to do this is to listen to scriptures while practicing deep breathing or reading through a Psalm. You can also play worship music and meditate on the lyrics. I have even created a playlist of my favorite worship songs on Spotify you can use!

By listening to or reading a short passage of encouraging Scripture, your heart is tuned to the Holy Spirit and speaking to God will feel like the natural next step.

Get Organized

The best way to fight prayer overwhelm is to organize it. Spend some time writing down all of the different areas of your life you want to cover in prayer. For example, your categories could be Personal, Marriage, Family/Kids, Friends, Church, Community, Requests, etc.

Under each category, write specific things you want to pray for. Choose 1-2 categories a day to pray through.

If you are someone who writes a to do list or uses a planner to schedule your day, write in your prayer time! Things that require discipline and forethought rarely occur organically during our day. It is important to make time for it and block it off in your schedule.

Set a reminder on your phone, write it in your planner, or leave post it reminders for yourself.

Use a Prayer Journal

Using a prayer journal completely changed my prayer life. Physically writing out my prayers helped me to focus and keep my mind from drifting.

You can use any blank journal for prayer, but the one I use is a yearly prayer journal from ValMarie Paper. It takes care of the Organizing and Journaling all in one!

 

A big thank you to Ashley for sharing about prayer, you can find more with Ashley at faithfullyplanted.com

The Mizpah Coin (Guess Blogger)

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But it was also called Mizpah (which means “watchtower”), for Laban said, “May the LORD keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each other’s sight. Genesis 31:49

I have always liked these necklaces, I even had a mezzuzah on the door until the sun faded it, though I am not Jewish or Messianic, but grafted in through Jesus. I have a Catholic miracle medallion, and a necklace with water from Lourdes. My faith is not in these objects but in Jesus, they are not talismans or charms but reminders, they don’t make miracles, He does and love does.

The Mizpah coin uses the verse from Genesis, it is Laban’s covenant with Jacob, who was to work seven years from Rachel to be his bride, it was like no time because he loved her. But while apparently Jacob kept his part of the bargain, Laban deceived him with a well veiled bride, Leah, and it was seven more years for Rachel. Jacob goes on to deceive his father.

The Bible is full of covenants and promises, and while there grace in the beginning and a repentant Abraham who has lied ends up rich, and Jacob ends up with sons that become the twelve tribes of Israel, they made a lot of sacrifices. And the day of Atonement covered sin once a year.

The Ten Commandments were given because they wanted to follow them, anything God could command they said. And they could not, they starting breaking them right away. Thankfully, Jesus gave us a better covenant and promises, and like God, He cannot lie and keeps them, even if we don’t always, we are back under grace.

Paul even calls the commandments the ministry of death, and the era of grace with Jesus, the ministry of the Spirit, how much more should we be blessed, favored, healed and protected. The Holy Spirit is in us as believers to teach and guide and settle us in the one commandment given by Jesus to love, then we are not breaking all the others, but if we sin we have and advocate, He is our High Priest on the Day of Atonement, and really year round. His sacrifice was once and for all.

Whether you have a Mizpah coin or not, He is watching to see that you are keeping covenant, like marriage, business deals, ministry. He knows your heart and what you are keeping or neglecting and is there to help. I’m so glad he keeps His word even if we don’t always, whether by commission, or omission.

Mizpah was also a place where intercession was made and a rock was placed there. The Old Testament is full of altars, you can create your own in your home. I used to have a Bible displayed and a nice set of golden cups and a decanter for Communion. I still have a beautiful lion, lamb and dove painting over the mantle, and one called the Invitation, with a dinner table. Some things I have had to move at times because of children.

I even decorated my Victorian Christmas tree, with crowns, crosses, keys, ( to the kingdom ) and angels, family photos and lots of things, doves and feathers, anything to remind me of the reason for the season, maybe, I can add some Judaica, I scaled down Christmas for a while but it might be back bigger and better. You can scroll back to July and see that I’m ready. Hanukkah coins, made of chocolate are called gelt and given to children as gifts. The Hebrew word for coin is matbea, mat bayh ah. Ancient coins were called zuz or zuzzim, and the phrase piece of money would have been silver.

Jesus even mad a point of a lost coin in a parable and sent Peter to get a coin from a fish’s mouth to pay taxes, He mentions widow’s mites, and once had to clear the temple of the money changers, and was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, so you see, coins are significant and not just tokens or so called good luck pieces, I don’t believe in luck, I believe in love. Look at all the coins that have bee found in the sea, they are considered treasure, Jesus is our and we are His, I hope this story is a reminder that He keeps His covenant, and watches while He is apart from us, though He is ever present by His Spirit.

Whatever traditions, jewelry, statuary, paintings or even baubles, whatever the meaning to you, It is important not to just remember the keepsake, but the sentiment and the promise, to keep covenants and promises. God holds them in high esteem, even with grace, it is sacred to Him, intimate, like a marriage vow or wedding ring. May He watch between us until you visit me again. Rebecca Jones / public domain

Thank You Rebecca for you blog post you can read more of Rebecca’s writings at adaughtersgiftoflove.wordpress.com

Abba Dance The Day You Were Born (Guess Blogger)

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Have you heard that expression that angels or God danced the day you were born? Well, He did, and so did angels. ( melakh / messenger ) Abba was certainly proud of His creation. Abba is Hebrew for Father and Jesus died so we could know His, He called Him God, when He normally said Father, from the from the cross, He gave us a Father.
Abba is spelled with the alef and bet in Hebrew and the symbols are for strength and a house. While God intended for men to be the strong and loving head of the house, it is He who should actually be the head of the house. Joshua says that he and his house will serve the Lord.

But what about dancing? We know angels rejoice over the salvation of a sinner but Zephaniah 3:17 says that He rejoices over us with singing and quiets us with His love. Now is He singing without dancing? I think not. Oh, I’m sure He could kick up His heels if He wanted to, but I think He is a slow dancer. You can stand on His shoes and dance with Him like you would an earthly father. Shoes often represent peace in the Christian dream interpretations. Remember, the beautiful ones that carry the gospel is peace.
How peaceful to see a couple glide effortlessly across the dance floor, or the ballet. There are many expressions for dance in the Hebrew language, and at the end of the post I will leave you a few and you can think how He might have danced on your birthday, at your wedding or how He will someday in the future.

I wanted to teach a little Hebrew, as I have enjoyed it for years. I know a little, but unless it’s in a prayer language, I neither read or write it. And I didn’t want to overload it like a college course, just to give you a sense of the beauty of Christ, hidden in the depths of His Word, and they were written in Hebrew and Greek. I know of a church who says they study no Greek, and I imagine no Hebrew, but what a shame to miss out on something. When that something might have deeper revelation of Abba, something lost in translation.
I think it is a beautiful thing to be held in a loving Father’s arms as you attempt to follow in the steps of Christ. How graceful and peaceful is His love, and what a blessing to know He sings over us, perhaps even daily, morning and night, to both wake us and quiet us, and how wonderful to know He wipes away our tears and will one day wipe them forever, you can be sure as a sinner, saved by grace there was rejoicing, and be just as confident that Abba danced the day your were born. Rebecca Jones / pexels

Hebrew words for dance.
chal – to dance in a ring or circle, twirl or whirl, also machol, or machtot.
rakad – to skip or leap, like ballet.
kirker – to spin around,showing great emotion. Pour out your soul.
pizez – to leap, where we get pizzazz.
berach – to kneel. also bless/
gil – to spin around in joy, to rejoice.
Ya Gil – God dancing.

Thank you so much Rebecca for sharing your post here at quietmomentswithgod, you can also follow at adaughtergiftoflove.wordpress.com

The Science of Shhh! (Guess Blogger)

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I was thinking I had read something about saying Shhh! in Hebrew that had spiritual implications, almost like the shofar and driving off the enemy. As of writing this, I have been unable to find it, and for that I apologize.

Shhh! It is a very common way of asking people to be quiet, usually, with finger to the lips, it is a common and worldwide term, understood by most people. While the word,  “chasaah “, is Hebrew for silent, the word, “sheket “, is usually, hush.  “Sheket, yeled. “, is a way parents may tell their children to politely or not so politely, to shut up.

I think the Lord, though He gets angry, and is firm, thankfully, it only lasts a moment, has a soft touch about Him, the calm, stillness, rest, being undisturbed. His ” Sheket, yeled, “, is more of a hush child. Shhh is said to be a variation from the Middle Ages, of hush. There are lullabies with the world hush. Shhh is definitely a word for children and babies. But aren’t we His children? Sometimes, we just need the rest and quiet that draws His peace.

The ” Be still and know, I am God. ” of Psalm 46:10, has the implication of silence, the literal meaning is to sink low. It is like a bending, kneeling, a deliberate letting go of cares, there is healing in this verse as well. Can you really be that still, sure you can.

While Old Testament word, ” charash ” with the k sound means to plow or engrave, as the stripes on His back or being engraved on His palms or wrists, it also is used for deaf, and silent. Jesus was in the lonely places, the quiet or silent, place. He prayed quietly, and did not listen to the mocking or accusation, and did not address all of them, He knew what the Father told Him.

While Psalm 22:2 speaks of not rest, others like Psalm 39:2 and 61:1 use the feminine word , ” dumiyah “, a waiting or repose, the words, help my peace, indicates quiet and still.

Whether or not shhh runs off the devil or not, the rest, the quiet and peace that Jesus offers us does give us the calm, the peace, that  brings us strength and victory. The shaloam or shabbat shaloam, we all need. Also, the word pictures for the letter sheen in Hebrew. like our sh, is teeth or flames of fire.  Maybe, it is the quiet, that kind of shhh, that breaks the devils teeth or sends him to the lake of fire. We could all use a little hushing, and then shhh is nice for a while everyday. That may be the science of shhh, after all. Rebecca Jones / public domain

  • It occurred to me that I heard of a woman, a Pentecostal, I think, who used a certain term in prayer, it may have been a prayer language.  That may be what I am remembering, the exact phrase, I could not say, but the shhh sound was in it. And it made reference to the wicked one, we all need to run him off.

 

Thank you Rebecca, here a little information about Rebecca, I’m a writer, Christian, I love music and art. I am hoping to encourage women to follow their dreams and trust Jesus. I am always working on improving my blog, keeping with the theme of teaching women to rest and be the beloved, may multiply our grace, all for His glory.

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Being Part of The Herd (Guess Blogger)

Hi, my name is Laurie, sometimes I go by the nick-name Lulu. I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and proud of it, yup, I am a Jesus girl. I am married to my first husband, Richard. Richard is an amazing man and father and has been putting up with me since we tied the knot in 1994. We have two amazing boys that are wonderfully amazing young men that have been a pure joy to raise thus far. We also have two fur babies. Ike is a handsome Chawiener (half long hair chiwawa and half wiener dog) and Stella is the sweetest cat I have ever had, she loves kisses and snuggles under the covers with us. I live in the Mid-West where I enjoy 3 of the 4 seasons, I could really be fine with skipping summer. In my spare time I am a writer, reader, quilter, student and employee. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, please leave me comments, my love language is Words of Affirmation and I am not ashamed to beg! Welcome Laurie

Being Part of the Herd

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23 (KJV)
I grew up learning, memorizing and reciting this Psalm. If I had to guess, this is probably one of the most memorized passage in the Bible.
As we continue in our “Little Golden Book” series, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at Psalm 23, and if you have not memorized it yet, I challenge you to do so.

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As a child I remember this Psalm bringing me so much comfort and a feeling of God’s protection over me. I would recite it anytime I was anxious or worried about things. I would dream of walking beside Jesus in a meadow of flowers and resting near a pretty stream. I could imagine Him catching me when I fell, and I could feel His presence with me as I would pray this Psalm.
I never once thought about what it would cost me to be one of His sheep or what it meant to be part of the herd. These thoughts didn’t occur to me until I was an adult.
So, what does it mean to be part of His herd? Why does God repeatedly refer to us as His sheep? Let’s start by looking at what it means to be one of His sheep and why we need Him as our Shepherd:

First, sheep are conformists. They enjoy being in a herd. They find protection in numbers. Sheep are good this way, but people often are not. (Nathan Tabor)
So let’s learn a little more about sheep and how we may be like them. Like sheep, we are a bit dense. While researching sheep I found a story about a sheep that fell off a cliff and the other 400 sheep in the herd followed him to their death. We tend to follow the herd people! Think about it and I bet you can find at least a dozen examples in your life where you followed the herd. We need a shepherd!
Sheep are defenseless. They cannot fend for themselves and they cannot fight off the attacks of other animals. They are the wooly snack food of the wild. Ok, I know what you are thinking right now….YOU are not defenseless. Hmmmm….are you sure? Can you really handle ANYTHING that comes your way?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
But the most dangerous thing sheep do is wander. And they tend to wander off for no good reason. They can have everything they need right where they are but they still wander off.
We as a human race are prone to wander too. The bible is full of examples of people, cities and nations who wander away from God. It has been that way since the beginning, Adam and Eve wander over to the tree of Knowledge. The whole human race wandered so far from God that a flood came and took over the earth.
You see, we are prone to wander in our faith and that is the greatest tragedy we could suffer. I am so thankful that I have a good shepherd who will leave the 99 and rescue me!

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Luke 15:4
I think that it is obvious that we are in desperate need of a Shepherd, someone who will watch over us and protect us from ourselves. Someone who spends all of his time with us, His sheep. Someone whose voice we will be able to discern above all other voices.

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:27
So what does it mean to be part of the herd? It means life, it means freedom from death, it means assurance that we are loved and looked after. It means experiencing goodness and mercy all the days of our life and finally, it means that we will dwell in the house of the Lets end our time now by praying through Psalm 23:
Lord our shepherd, you leave me wanting for nothing. I walk with you through green pastures and lie with you by the still waters. You restore my soul and lead me in the path of righteousness. Your protection is with me as I walk through the valley of death, I fear no evil. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. When the enemy attacks, you prepare a table before me and anoint my head with oil. My cup is running over with your goodness and mercy and I delight in you as I dwell in your house forever. Amen

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Carrying His Peace (Guess Blogger)

I would like to introduce to all you my fellow blogger Rebecca:

I’m a writer, Christian, I love music and art. I am hoping to encourage others, to inspire them to follow their dreams and trust Jesus. I am always working on improving my blog, keeping with the theme of teaching women to rest and be the beloved, and to depend on the mercy and grace of our Lord. It’s all for His glory. Thank you reading or following, blessings. https://www.pinterest.com/beckyspage1916/

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Isn’t it nice to get rid of baggage and exchange it for His peace? It’s not fair is it but the Lord took it for me. I was so desperate for Jesus to heal me, to help me. I never knew what His peace really was. It is a gift, a precious gift. One of many the Lord blesses a believer with. I had been a believer a long time and still had no peace. I don’t think it was because I chose to be disobedient, it was more of a constant oppression and the many rejections I had faced.
Of course, I knew the Word, I knew how it applied to me. I was convinced I was doing something wrong, when, in truth, the enemy was walking off with a lot of blessings, not because I didn’t hold tight to them, or believe Jesus, but because I never knew what was against me.
I knew the Word said that if God was for me then who in the world was  going to stand in His way. Yet, there is that enemy back, sneaking in there with thoughts of unworthiness. The self deprecating sense of humor I used to laugh off the wisecracks made about me, wasn’t making me laugh it off. It was killing me.
Jesus did not see me the way others did. His thoughts are so much higher. I suppose that made me have high expectations of others, and when I did not fully understand grace, I would have held them to a higher account. I still will, but I have to remember that His mercies are new every morning. He never changes but we have to in order to be like Him.
But whether or not we receive it or recognize it, His peace is there. We carry it in us because the Holy Spirit is there, and if you have experienced being baptized in the Holy Spirit, it should be and even more and ever present peace.
It is like the joy Jesus gave us and said that no man takes it from you. It is true. No one can take Jesus from us. He will always be there, it is the enemy, the accuser, the devil, who attempts to derail God’s perfect plan for our lives.
We don’t have to let him if we recognize what he is. Fear, worry, torment, chaos and confusion. The troublemaker, the obnoxious, belligerent and angry one who keeps annoying us in hopes of us losing our joy and His peace.
I know I didn’t always recognize it but I do now. I’m standing firm in Jesus and I will not be shaken, He is my hiding place, my rock and fortress, my sun and my shield, my everlasting love, my eternal life.
Yes, Jesus is all that and so much more. I suppose I can write a blog for eternity if I have to and never sing His praises enough. Never let the wicked one tell you that as a believer in Christ, you are anything less that what He created you to be.
You are worthy, beloved, wonderfully made, God is our Father, He gave His Son freely for us so why would He not lavish love upon us. Stop carrying a cross and understand He was speaking to the disciples before the crucifixion, we are partakers of the resurrected Christ, God will know we are seated in heavenly places and be pleased with us not because of us but because of Jesus.
We can partake of His body and blood through Holy Communion. He carried a cross we could not bear. So we could carry His eternal life, His everlasting love, His joy. And most of all our hearts do not ever have to trouble us, because we carry His peace. Rebecca Jones