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Breaking Covenant with the Almighty: Having Relationship with God!


Because God REQUIRES covenant relationship just as he had with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.....it has NEVER CHANGED!



"Behold the Covenant!"



The Lord's Church has lost the meaning of Covenant, first revealed to the people of Israel as they traveled to the promised land with Abraham.

It is this kind of relationship that God REQUIRES OF ALL HIS PEOPLE, nothing less will do!



MAN'S RELIGION CANNOT FILL THE VOID THAT EXISTS IN YOUR LIFE!



Think for a moment.....what good is worthless religion?

If God himself hates its foundations of SAND, then why would you waste your life in self-service when the Bible commands us to HIS SERVICE?

Through out the scriptures God tells of his disdain for MAN-MADE ideas of worship, of service and of prayer performed by a whim of external pomp and hypocrisy!


Hypocrisy is the act of persistently professing beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that are inconsistent with one's actions.

Hypocrisy is thus a kind of lie.

Too God, it is the worst of all Lies, a lie born from a false concept of who God really is and what is required to serve him, hypocrisy at the very heart of God


 

A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible "between God and his people in which God makes certain promises and requires certain behavior from his people in return (conditional covenant.)"

It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith (ברית Tiberian Hebrew bərîṯ Standard Hebrew bərit) as it is used in the Tanakh 135 times , thus it is important to all Abrahamic religions.

The equivalent word in the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament is διαθήκη/diatheke (Strong's G1242).

In theology and Biblical studies, the word "covenant" principally refers to any of a number of solemn holy agreements made between God and the children of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, as well as to the New Covenant, which some Christians consider the final fulfilment of these, Likewise, some Christians use the term "Old Covenant" to collectively refer to the covenants described in their "Old Testament".

The problem with the Church is that we have separated from our end of covenant agreement and replaced it with a weak religious copy of love that is founded upon idol worship and self-service. We think we love God with our dogmatic habits of bible reading and prayer but one day God might just look at us and say "I never knew you", WHY?

The foundation of the Torah is the belief that God chose the children of Israel, in his wisdom and for his purposes, and made his covenant with them.

This covenant requires the children of Israel not to practice ( or Live as if any god will do, any service is o.k., any empty worthless words are good enough to praise God....this is ) idolatry and to live their lives according to the commandments. [Lev 26]

This covenant is essentially one-sided, since its terms are dictated by God, although performance is left to the free will of each person who responds.

But it is in stark contrast, that at many points in the Hebrew Scripture, human covenants are made, and in such covenants, the terms are agreed upon mutually.

Psalm 113:3 says:

"From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised"

To understand God accurately one must become familiar with the eight BIBLICAL covenants.

They fall into two classes:

(A) A CONDITIONAL COVENANT

A covenant which guarantees that God will do His part when the human requirements stipulated in that covenant are met.

(B) AN UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT

Distinguished from a conditional covenant by the fact that its ultimate fulfillment is promised by God and depends upon God's power and sovereignty for its fulfillment.

1. The EDENIC covenant (conditional), Gen. 1:26-31;2:16-17

Made with Adam in which life and blessing or death and cursing depended on the faithfulness of Adam.

Adam and Eve failed, died spiritually and physically and their sin plunged the whole human race into its pattern of sin and death.

2. The ADAMIC covenant (unconditional), Gen. 3:16-19

Here God declares to man, after the fall, what his lot in life will be because of his sin. It includes the promise of the Redeemer.

3. The NOAHIC covenant (unconditional), Gen 9:1-18

Made with Noah and his sons after the flood, introducing human government to curb sin, the normal order of nature reaffirmed (Gen.

8:22; 9:2) and the permission for man to eat the flesh of animals. Also His promise never to destroy all flesh again by water.

4. The ABRAHAMIC covenant (unconditional), Gen. 12:1-4;13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8

This covenant is one of the great revelations of God concerning future history.

Abraham would have numerous posterity, personal blessing, his name would be great, and he, personally, would be a blessing.

Through Abraham would come a great nation (Israel) and through him (via that nation) all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Messiah).

Through Abraham's descendents (the Jews) came the prophets of God, the writers of God's written Word (the Bible) and Christ/Messiah according to the flesh.

5. The MOSAIC covenant (conditional), Ex. 20:1 - 31:18

It is contained in Exodus but amplified in many other portions of Scripture.

It was given through Moses as its mediator for the purpose of governing Israel's (national) relationship with God.

It was mainly made up of (a) the commandments, the express will of God, (b) the judgments, the social and civic life of Israel, (c) and the ordinances.

It was temporary and would terminate at the cross of Christ.

Though it had gracious elements it was basically a covenant of works.

It could not impart life to the sinner in Adam (Gal. 3:21) but it served as a tutor which would lead those who were under its jurisdiction to the only One who could impart LIFE (Christ Jesus, Gal. 3:24).

6. The LAND covenant (unconditional), Deut. 30:1-10

It is erroneously called by theologians the "Palestinian Covenant."

However, the Bible does not recognize the land by that name.

It is the land of Israel because it was divinely covenanted to Abraham's descendents through Jacob (Israel).

It is an unconditional promise regarding Israel's final possession of their ancient land.

7. The DAVIDIC covenant (unconditional), 2Sam. 7:4-16; 1Chron. 17:3-15

God promised David an unending, royal lineage, throne, and kingdom.

Though God reserved the right to interrupt the actual reign of David's sons for chastisement, the perpetuity of the covenant cannot be broken.

The Abrahamic covenant guaranteed the nation and the land.

The Davidic covenant guarantees an everlasting Throne, King and Kingdom connected to that people (the Jews) and the land.

Jesus Christ, the Son of David, is the rightful heir of this promised Throne (Matt. 2:2; Lk. 1:32-33) and on it He will reign over this literal, promised, earthly, future Messianic Kingdom from Jerusalem at His second advent.

8. The NEW COVENANT (unconditional), Jer. 31:31-40

It is a new covenant with Israel in contrast with the old (Mosaic, "which they broke," Jer. 31:32).

Christ Jesus is the Mediator (in His blood) of this new covenant which was inaugurated at the cross and is described in Scripture as, "enacted on better promises" (Heb. 8:6).

The Mediator of this covenant has become, for all mankind, "the source of eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:9) to all who obey Him; as well as the cornerstone and Head of the Church (Eph. 2:20-22; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23) which is being built during this dispensation; individuals called out from both Jews and Gentiles alike.

Ultimately and literally, this new covenant with its unconditional and eternal blessings will be established with NATIONAL Israel at Christ's second advent to earth.

Written by: Gary Nystrom HERE!

What is exchanged in a Covenant with God?

The benefit's to you and too God!

Remnants of Covenant (Found Here!)

Clay Trumbull in his book The Blood Covenant has a section subtitled "The Bond of Covenant" in which he describes the obligations of covenant partners in oriental countries...

Blood-covenanting and bracelet-binding seem—as already shown—to be intertwined in the languages of the Oriental progenitors of the race. There are, likewise, indications of this intertwining in the customs of peoples, East and West. For example, in India, where blood-shedding is peculiarly objectionable, the gift and acceptance of a bracelet is an ancient covenant-tie, seemingly akin to blood-brotherhood. Of this custom, an Indian authority says :

"Amongst the rajput races of India the women adopt a brother by the gift of a bracelet. The intrinsic value of such pledges is never looked to, nor is it necessary that it should be costly, though it varies with the means and rank of the donor, and may be of flock silk and span­gles, or of gold chains and gems.

The acceptance of the pledge is by the `katchli,' or corset, of simple silk or satin, or gold brocade and pearls. Colonel Tod was the Rakhi-bund Bhai [the Bracelet-bound Brother] of the three queens of Oodipur, Bundi, and Kotch; as also of Chund-Bai, the maiden sister of the Rana, and of many ladies of the chieftains of rank. Though the bracelet may be sent by maidens, it is only on occasions of urgent necessity and danger.

The adopted brother may hazard his life in his adopted sister's cause, and yet never receive a mite in reward; for he cannot even see the fair object, who, as brother of her adoption, has constituted him her defender."' ('Cited from "Tod's Travels, Journal Indian Archipelago, Vol. V., No. I2," in Balfour's Cyc4 of India, s. v., "Brother.)

"The...'Bracelet-bound Brother ' feels himself called upon to espouse the cause of the lady from whom he has received the gift, and to defend her against all her enemies, whenever she shall demand his assistance.

"Thus, the Great Mogul, Hoomayoon, father of the yet more celebrated Akbar, was in his early life bound, and afterwards loyally recognized his binding, as "the sworn knight of one of the princesses of Rajasthan, who, according to the custom of her country, secured the sword of the prince in her service by the gift of a bracelet."

When he had a throne of his own to care for, this princess, Kurnivati, being besieged at Cheetore, sent to Hoomayoon, then prosecuting a vigorous campaign in Bengal and he, as in duty bound, "instantly obeyed the summons" and although he was not in season to rescue her, he "evinced his fidelity by avenging the fall of the city.". (Trumbull, H. Clay: The Blood Covenant. Impact Christian Books) (Bolding added)

In another description of a remnant of covenant in an ancient culture, Trumbull writes that...

Yet again, this covenant of blood-friendship is found in different parts of Borneo. In the days of Mr. Ellis, the Rev. W. Medhurst, a missionary of the London Missionary Society, in Java, described it, in reporting a visit made to the Dayaks of Borneo, by one of his assistants, together with a missionary of the Rhenish Missionary Society.'

Telling of the kindly greeting given to these visitors at a place called Golong, he says that the natives wished

"to establish a fraternal agreement with the missionaries, on condition that the latter should teach them the ways of God. The travelers replied, that if the Dayaks became the disciples of Christ, they would be constituted the brethren of Christ without any formal compact.

The Dayaks, however, insisted that the travelers should enter into a compact [with them], according to the custom of the country, by means of blood. The missionaries were startled at this, thinking, that the Dayaks meant to murder them, and committed themselves to their Heavenly Father, praying that, whether living or dying, they might lie at the feet of their Saviour.

It appears, however, that it is the custom of the Dayaks, when they enter into a covenant, to draw a little blood from the arms of the covenanting parties, and, having mixed it with water, each to drink, in this way, the blood of the other.

"Mr. Barenstein [one of the missionaries] having consented [for both] to the ceremony, they all took off their coats, and two officers came forward with small knives, to take a little blood out of the arm of each of them [the two missionaries and two Dayak chiefs]. This being mixed together in four glasses of water, they drank, severally, each from the glass of the other; after which they joined hands and kissed.

The people then came forward, and made obeisance (bowed) to the missionaries, as the friends of the Dayak King, crying out with loud voices, `Let us be friends and brethren forever; arid may God help the Dayaks to obtain the knowledge of God from the missionaries!'

The two chiefs then said, `Brethren, be not afraid to dwell with us ; for we will do you no harm ; and if others wish to hurt you, we will defend you with our life's blood, and die ourselves ere you be slain. God be witness, and this whole assembly be witness, that this is true.'

Whereupon the whole company shouted, Balaak! or "Good"' "Be it so." "

Yet another method of observing this rite, is reported from among the Kayans of Borneo—quite a different people from the Dayaks. Its description is from the narrative of Mr. Spenser St. John, as follows :

" Singauding [a Kayan chief] sent on board to request me to become his brother, by going through the sacred custom of imbibing each other's blood. I say imbibing, because it is either mixed with water and drunk, or else is placed within a native cigar, and drawn in with the smoke. I agreed to do so, and the following day was fixed for the ceremony.

It is called Rcrbiang by the Kayans ; Bersabibah, by the Borneans [the Dayaks]. I landed with our party of Malays, and after a preliminary talk, to allow the population to assemble, the affair commenced. . . . Stripping my left arm, Kum Lia took a small piece of wood, shaped like a knife-blade, and, slightly piercing the skin, brought blood to the surface; this he carefully scraped off.

Then one of my Malays drew blood in the same way from Singauding; and, a small cigarette being produced, the blood on the wooden blade was spread on the tobacco. A chief then arose, and, walking to an open place, looked forth upon the river, and invoked their god and all the spirits of good and evil to be witness of this tie of brotherhood.

The cigarette [blood-stained] was then lighted, and each of us took several puffs [receiving each other's blood by inhalation], and the ceremony was over." 1 This is a new method of smoking the " pipe of peace "—or, the cigarette of inter-union ! Borneo, indeed, furnishes many illustrations of primitive customs, both social and religious.

(Trumbull, H. Clay: The Blood Covenant. Impact Christian Books)

This study of the symbolism of the exchange of weapons and belt will give you a deeper understanding of the Word of God as seen from the perspective of God's blood covenant with His sons and daughters.

Amplification of the truth that God defends those with whom He is in covenant: In one of many examples of God's defense of His people with whom He was in covenant recall that when Aram, Israel's enemy, came against King Jehoshaphat, the king responded by seeking his Covenant Defender, Scripture recording that

Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD; and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah...and he said, "O LORD, the God of our fathers (this description appeals to the covenant Jehovah had cut with their "fathers", Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), art Thou not God in the heavens? And art Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations?

Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee...Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before Thee (for Thy name is in this house) and cry to Thee in our distress, and Thou wilt hear and deliver us...O our God, wilt Thou not judge them?

For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee." (2Chr 20:3, 4, 5,6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11, 12)

In response to the King's plea to Jehovah, Israel's Covenant Defender, God sent an answer via a prophet who said...

"Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's...You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD (your Covenant Defender) is with you." (2Chronicles 20:15, 16, 17)

God defended His people and destroyed the Aramean army. This is one of many Old Testament examples in which God showed Himself to be Israel's Covenant Defender and Protector.

The binding nature of being a "covenant defender": Joshua & the Men of Gibeon:

In Joshua 9 we see the principle of covenant and how covenant binds one to take on the other covenant partner's enemies. Joshua had entered Canaan which by virtue of God's promise in the Abrahamic Covenant was to be Israel's permanent possession. Joshua strategizes to take defeat the enemies occupying the land with a three‑pronged attack.

The people in Canaan are trembling because they have heard about the defeat of Jericho by Joshua's army (really by Joshua's God). The iniquity of the Amorites is full and the children of Israel are going in to take the land. It is right that they do so because God is judging the land of Canaan for their sins (cf Genesis 15:16). After they go in there is a group of people, the Gibeonites, who are very much afraid.

Joshua 9:3-27 records this fascinating but sad interlude in Israel's history...

When the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,

(4) they also acted craftily and set out as envoys, and took worn-out sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended,

(5) and worn-out and patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and had become crumbled.

(6) And they went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant."

(7) And the men of Israel said to the Hivites, "Perhaps you are living within our land; how then shall we make a covenant with you?"

(8) But they said to Joshua, "We are your servants." Then Joshua said to them, "Who are you, and where do you come from?"

(9) And they said to him, "Your servants have come from a very far country (Note: they are lying) because of the fame of the LORD your God; for we have heard the report of Him and all that He did in Egypt,

(10) and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon and to Og king of Bashan who was at Ashtaroth.

(11) So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provisions in your hand for the journey, and go to meet them and say to them, "We are your servants; now then, make a covenant with us.

(12) "This our bread was warm when we took it for our provisions out of our houses on the day that we left to come to you; but now behold, it is dry and has become crumbled. (Note: they are deceptive)

(13) And these wineskins which we filled were new, and behold, they are torn; and these our clothes and our sandals are worn out because of the very long journey."

(14) So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD. (Note: The leaders acted independent of God which is the very essence of all sin. How many times would this verse be appended to our words and actions?!

Not only that, but God had clearly commanded Israel not to make a covenant with any pf the inhabitants of Canaan (cf Deut 7:2). Instead, they were to drive them out lest their corrupting influences cause them to stumble and worship their idolatrous gods.)

(15) And Joshua made peace with them and make a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them (Note: the common elements of covenant - peace, swearing of an oath).

(16) And it came about at the end of three days after they had make a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land.

(17) Then the sons of Israel set out and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon and Chephirah and Beeroth and Kiriath-jearim.

(18) And the sons of Israel did not strike them because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD the God of Israel (Note: the solemn, binding nature of covenant, even cut under such questionable circumstances.)

(18) And the whole congregation grumbled against the leaders.

(19) But all the leaders said to the whole congregation, "We have sworn to them by the LORD, the God of Israel, and now we cannot touch them. (Note: in fact Israel was now the "covenant defender" of the Gibeonites!)

(20) "This we will do to them, even let them live, lest wrath be upon us for the oath which we swore to them." (Note: The leaders understood the binding nature of their covenant and knew that they dare not break it lest God bring retribution against them.)

(21) And the leaders said to them, "Let them live." So they became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation, just as the leaders had spoken to them.

(22) Then Joshua called for them and spoke to them, saying, "Why have you deceived us, saying, 'We are very far from you,' when you are living within our land?

(23) "Now therefore, you are cursed, and you shall never cease being slaves, both hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God."

(24) So they answered Joshua and said, "Because it was certainly told your servants that the LORD your God had commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land (Note: this is "remnant" of covenant, for the unconditional promise of the land of Canaan was given initially to Abraham not Moses), and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you; therefore we feared greatly for our lives because of you, and have done this thing.

(25) "And now behold, we are in your hands; do as it seems good and right in your sight to do to us."

(26) Thus he did to them, and delivered them from the hands of the sons of Israel, and they did not kill them. (Note: because of the covenant)

(27) But Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the LORD, to this day, in the place which He would choose.

As we have noted, remnants of truth about covenant were known throughout the peoples of the earth. The Gibeonites knew about covenant though they did not know the Covenant Keeping God. And yet even though they were pagans, they knew that covenant was a solemn, binding agreement. They knew that if they duped the leaders of Israel into cutting a covenant that Israel would be bound to protect them as their covenant partner and would would not be able to destroy them as God had decreed.

Did Joshua fulfill his promise to be the covenant defender of Gibeon? When the Gibeonites were attacked by Adoni-zedek the Amorite king of Jerusalem along with 9 other kings, the men of Gibeon appealed to the solemn covenant with Israel, Joshua 10 recording that...

"the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it.

Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not abandon your servants (Note: here they appeal to the binding covenant with Israel that she would be their defender and their enemies would be Israel's enemies); come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us."

So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. And the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you." So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal. And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.

And it came about as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, that the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword. Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon."

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies (Note: Gibeon's enemies were now Israel's enemies). Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel."

Joshua remained true to his covenant vow and experienced a supernatural victory (brought about by Jehovah Israel's Covenant Defender!), relieving the besieged city, pursuing the attackers down the ascent of Beth-horon and winning decisively.

How serious and long-lasting was Israel's covenant with Gibeon?

Saul appears to have broken this covenant, and in a fit of enthusiasm or patriotism to have killed some of the Gibeonites and devised a general massacre of the rest. Israel would reap the consequences of Saul's failure to keep covenant with Gibeon, the consequences of which would include a 3 year famine in Israel and the death of 7 of Saul's descendants at the hands of the Gibeonites. God is serious about keeping covenant. This tragic story is recorded in 2 Samuel 21:1-6 where we read as follows...

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death."

(Note: God used the famine to bring Saul's disobedience the attention of David.

Note carefully that Saul's sin was "personal" but it was not "private" in the sense that the consequences had broad ranging effects.

The same principle applies to our personal sins.

Saul must have known that Joshua had promised the Gibeonites immunity from the extermination decreed for the other inhabitants of Canaan but in his unbiblical "zeal" he broke the covenant) So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel make a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah). Thus David said to the Gibeonites,

"What should I do for you?

And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?"

(David asked the Gibeonites what they would accept as settlement for the injustice) Then the Gibeonites said to him, "We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.

" And he said, "I will do for you whatever you say." So they said to the king, "The man who consumed us, and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD." And the king said, "I will give them."

When David tried to arrange matters with them they stood upon their ancient covenant rights, claiming life for life, which is in keeping with the solemn nature of covenant when it is broken by one of the parties. The Gibeonites would accept no "blood money" but instead demanded blood from the family of the slayer of their people. And so seven men of Saul’s descendants were given over to the Gibeonites, who hung them “before Jehovah”—as a kind of sacrifice—in Gibeah, Saul’s own town! God is serious about keeping covenant!

A three years’ famine in the days of David was attributed to God’s anger at the crime of Saul in slaying the Gibeonites. He did this “in his zeal for .... Israel and Judah” who may have fretted at the inconvenience of having the Gibeonites among them. The latter believed that Saul’s desire was to destroy them utterly. This demand David could not resist, and handed over to them seven sons of Saul (2 Sa 21:1 ff).

God's enemies are the world, the devil, the flesh.

The whole WORLD SYSTEM is against God by its very nature.

The Greek word for "world" is kosmos which in this context describes this present evil man-centered (humanistic) world-system ruled and directed by Satan. John writes that the whole world lies in the hands of the evil one (1Jn 5:19). Kosmos is the world apart from God and opposed to Him.

God called to Himself a covenant people out of this world to live distinctively different from everyone else on the face of the earth (this idea is the inherent in the root meaning of "holy" or "saint"). That puts them at enmity with the world. Why? The world does not love God. It hates Jesus Christ because the world lies in darkness and in the hands of the evil one.

John 15:18-22 (Jesus speaking)

"If ("If" is a first class condition which signifies that what follows is true) the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

21 "But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

22 "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

23 "He who hates Me hates My Father also.

We are called out of the world to live as Christ lived. We have exchanged robes. We have put an the identity and the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, and so not surprisingly our righteousness (His righteousness shining forth from His temples our bodies) condemns the unrighteousness of the world. We are in the world. We are SALT. Salt is a preservative from evil. We are LIGHT. Light dispels darkness. Therefore, the world hates us.

We feel out of step with the world and are tempted to stand with one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity which is only to compromise. We are tempted to become friends with the world so that it is easier to live in the midst of them. Our temptation is to compromise, but, the world is God's enemy. Therefore we must stand against it. Jesus made it very clear that...

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Mt 6:24-note)

We are in covenant with Jesus and we expect God to come to our defense. Are we willing to stand against the world or are we going to be adulteresses?

James 4:4 "You adulteresses (Greek word moichalis = one unfaithful to marriage vows. Figuratively as in this verse of one who is unfaithful toward God as an adulteress is unfaithful toward her husband. In the Greek OT it is used mainly of those who forsook God for idols)! Don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity against God. Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy with God."

The Amplified version rendering is even more direct...

James 4:4-note

You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy?

So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.

When we become friends with the world while waiting for the heavenly bridegroom to come you are acting like a harlot. Paul picks up on this picture of those who are in covenant with Christ, betrothed to Him as our bridegroom and we as His bride forever, writing...

"I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed (Greek = harmozo = from the noun meaning "joint" and so to fitly join together) you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin." (2Corinthians 11:2)

The Biblical concept of betrothal unlike our modern idea of engagement was a much more serious matter and was essentially analogous to a covenant. To break that pre-nuptial covenant, a bill of divorcement was required. If impurity (any unfaithfulness was considered adultery) was found in the bride, then the bride could actually be put to death.

Paul is acting like a Jewish father who is giving his daughter, the Corinthian believers (and by analogy all believers), to their bridegroom, Christ.

Betrothal lasted for about twelve months, during which the home was to be prepared by the groom, and the wedding clothes would be prepared by the bride. In summary, as those in who are in covenant and betrothed to Jesus Christ, we should hate our Bridegroom's enemies and so keep ourselves

"unstained (literally without spot or blemish...on our "bright, fine linen" wedding gowns, the new clothes we are in by virtue of our betrothal to Christ) by the world." (James 1:27-note)

If the world is God's enemy, we must understand that we are in the world but not of the world. Paul summarized this idea of separation in his letter to the Corinthians writing...

14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

17 "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.

18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.

7:1 Therefore (term of conclusion), having these promises (What promises? see preceding context), beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (How important is a healthy fear of God? cp 1Pe 1:17-note). (2 Cor 6:14-18, 2Co 7:1-note on 7:1)

Romans 12:17-21

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

Paul concludes the chapter with the most lengthy, and perhaps the most difficult to manifest, evidence of being a living sacrifice. Not taking revenge when wronged. Since it takes two to fight, if believers do not seek revenge, there will be a greater possibility of establishing peace. (Ro 12:17, 18, 19, 20, 21-See notes on Ro 12:17; 18; 19; 20; 21)

David's Example of not taking his own revenge but leaving room for the wrath of God.

David understood the principle of covenant. David was pursued by Saul who wanted to kill him because of the favor David had attained with the people of Israel as a result of his victories over the Philistines. Saul was filled with anger directed against David and had twice tried to pin David by throwing his spear at him.

1Samuel 26:6-11

records the story in which David took Saul's spear and water jug while Saul slept. He had opportunity to kill him, but would not touch God's anointed.

(Context:

Saul came down to the wilderness of Ziph when informed by the Ziphites David in hiding. David however had sent out spies and knew that Saul was coming for him.)

1Samuel 26:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

"David then arose and came to the place where Saul had camped.

And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was lying in the circle of the camp, and the people were camped around him.

Then David answered and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, saying,

"Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?"

And Abishai said,

"I will go down with you."

So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping inside the circle of the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him. Then Abishai said to David,

"Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time." (Note: Abishai is presenting David the seemingly logical view.

"Take your revenge. It's clearly the Lord's will. Why else would you have been able to walk into his camp undisturbed and unnoticed".

This is the natural man's view and it does seem quite logical. After all David could have justified his actions reasoning that God had already appointed him to be king and this must be the time the Lord had orchestrated for him to take his throne. But David is not a "natural" man.)

But David said to Abishai,

"Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be without guilt?"

David also said,

"As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go."

David understood and respected covenant. He knew that the promises of God that he would one day reign as king were Yea and Amen. He knew that if God had anointed him to be the king of Israel, then he would be the king of Israel.

David also knew he had a mighty Covenant Defender in whom he would place his very life. For example when he fled from his own son Absalom David acknowledged..."

Thou, O LORD, art a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. (Psalm 3:3 - Spurgeon's comment)

In the beautiful Psalm 18 David acknowledge God as His Covenant Defender...

1 (For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who) (spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD) (delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And) (he said,) "I love Thee, O LORD, my strength."

(Note: "exchange" of strength is a covenant concept. Click discussion on exchange of belts) (Spurgeon's comment)

2 The LORD is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer, My God, my Rock, in Whom I take refuge; My Shield and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold. (Spurgeon's comment)

3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies... (Spurgeon's comment)

6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.... (Spurgeon's comment)

16 He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. (Spurgeon's comment)

17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. (Spurgeon's comment)

18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my Stay. (Spurgeon's comment)

19 He brought me forth also into a broad place. He rescued me, because He delighted in me. (Spurgeon's comment)

In short David sought his Covenant Partner's will above his own will and his own personal ambition.

David had presented himself to Jehovah as a living sacrifice and desired respected what was right in the sight of all men and as much as was possible sought to be at peace with Saul, ever refusing to take his own revenge but to leave room for his Covenant Keeping God Who promised "Vengeance is Mine. I will repay." And so David's conscience was clear.

What a great example to emulate.

Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength

The Amplified Version renders Isaiah 40:31-note...

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Ed note: the Septuagint (LXX) the translates the phrase "mount up like eagles" as "they shall put forth new feathers like eagles")

John MacArthur comments that...

There is a general principle here that patient, praying believers are blessed by God with strength in their trials (cf. 2 Cor 12:8, 9, 10). The Lord also expected His people to be patient and await His coming in glory at the end to fulfill the promises of national deliverance, when believing Israel would become stronger than they had ever been. (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)

Warren Wiersbe has an insightful comment on Isaiah 40:31 writing that...

If we trust ourselves, we will faint and fall, but if we wait on the Lord by faith, we will receive strength for the journey. The word "wait" does not suggest that we sit around and do nothing. It means "to hope," to look to God for all that we need (Isaiah 26:3; 30:15). This involves meditating on His character and His promises, praying, and seeking to glorify Him.

The word "renew" means "to exchange," as taking off old clothing and putting on new. We exchange our weakness for His power (cf 2Cor 12:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). As we wait before Him, God enables us to soar when there is a crisis, to run when the challenges are many, and to walk faithfully in the day-by-day demands of life. It is much harder to walk in the ordinary pressures of life than to fly like the eagle in a time of crisis.

"I can plod," said William Carey, the father of modern missions. "That is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything."

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The greatest heroes of faith are not always those who seem to be soaring; often it is they who are patiently plodding. As we wait on the Lord, He enables us not only to fly higher and run faster, but also to walk longer. Blessed are the plodders, for they eventually arrive at their destination! (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos) (Bolding added)

Sir Humphry Davy has a beautiful description of mounting with wings like eagles writing that...

"I once saw a very interesting sight above the crags of Ben Nevis. Two parent eagles were teaching their offspring, two young birds, the maneuvers of flight. They began by rising from the top of the mountain in the eye of the sun.

It was about mid-day, and bright for the climate. They at first made small circles, and the young birds imitated them. They paused on their wings, waiting till they had made their flight, and then took a second and larger gyration, always rising toward the sun, and enlarging their circle of flight so as to make a gradually ascending spiral.

The young ones still and slowly followed, apparently flying better as they mounted; and they continued this sublime exercise, always rising till they became mere points in the air, and the young ones were lost, and afterwards their parents, to our aching sight."

F B Meyer in Our Daily Walk (February 9) writes a devotional entitled "CHANGING OUR STRENGTH"

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."-- Isaiah 40:31 (context Is 40:28, 29, 30).

IT IS more than probable that these lines will be read by some who have lost heart. They are fainting beneath the long and arduous strain of life, and ready to give up in despair. It seems as though God had forgotten to be gracious, and in anger had shut up His tender mercies. To all such, Isaiah says: God is not tired: you think He is because you are. Wait upon the Lord, and change your strength.

The question is not as to altering your environment, but altering your courage, your power of endurance, your assurance of victory; then, notwithstanding every hindrance and difficulty, you will mount up on wings like eagles, you will run without being weary, you will walk without being faint.

The inevitable order. Mounting up--running--walking! We should have supposed that it should have been walking in the beginnings of religious experience; then the walk breaking into the run; and finally the runner leaping on wings into the azure, like the eagle a black speck against the blue! But experience confirms the prophetic order. Isaiah is right! We mount, we run, we walk!

Let us claim the promise--"They that wait on the Lord shall change their strength." Too often in the past we have depended on the stimulus of services, sermons, conventions which have made the embers glow again on the heart's altar.

We have gone back to our homes, to our daily calling, with a new zeal and impulse that has lasted for weeks or months. Then we have found ourselves flagging again; we have run and got weary; we have walked and become faint.

To all such comes the word; if you would once more mount up and run and walk, you must change your strength. Time tells on us! Moods influence us! Circumstances impede us! Satan blows cold blasts on our heart-fires and cools them! Sins pile up their debris between us and God! From all these let us turn once more to Jesus and wait on Him.

"My soul, wait thou only upon the Lord, for my expectation is from Him." Look not back, but forward! Not down, but up! Not in, but out! Never to your own heart, but keep looking to Jesus, made near and living by the grace of the Holy Spirit. So shall you change your strength, as you wait upon the Lord.

PRAYER

Thou knowest, Lord, how often I am sorely let and hindered in running the race which is set before me. May Thy bountiful grace and mercy come to my help, that I may finish my course with joy, and receive the crown of life. AMEN

2Corinthians 12:9, 10 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in your weakness." (See in depth commentary on 2Corinthians 12:9; 12:10)

Jesus is saying to Paul and you dear covenant partner "My grace is enough for you...it will suffice in any and every weakness, insult, distress, persecution or difficulty you might encounter." Peter in [see 1 Peter 4:10-note] explains why God's grace is enough for every situation, every need, every trial, writing that it is ''the manifold (variegated) grace of God.''

God's grace is variegated so that whatever "color" trial we are facing, God has a hue of grace perfectly matched to our need. Jehovah Jireh: The LORD Will Provide is His name, the God Who provides. Solomon prayed...

And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires. (1Kings 8:59)

THE TWO SUFFICIENTS

Evil shall pass with the day that brought it,

As the sea is stayed by the barrier land;

When the Giver of Good shall say, "No farther,"

And bid the foeman restrain his hand;

But the grace of the Lord outstays the evil,

Outlasts the darkness, outruns the morn,

Outwatches the stars in their nightly vigil,

And the foe that returns with the day re-born,

As he left it unwearied, shall find it unworn.

--Annie Johnson Flint (click for more poems)

What is the lesson we need to learn (and re-learn)?

Is it not to learn to thank God for whatever we are experiencing.

He is El Elyon: Most High God - Sovereign Over All and whoever dwells in Him will abide in the shadow of the Almighty, El Shaddai (Psalm 91:1 - see Spurgeon's commentary).

And that knowledge is enough for any contingency.

Paul was afflicted with a thorn in the flesh (whatever that was is not important...it "pricked" him in some way and afflicted him - note at this time he had been afflicted 14 years, most of his time in NT ministry!

2Co 12:2 - So how was Paul able to minister so powerfully for the Lord? Do you think the "thorny experience" had anything to do with it?) and he asked God to remove it (3x - cp 2Co 12:7, 8) and Jesus told him

'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' (2Co 12:9-note)

We would not have known this truth if Paul had not persevered in the midst of the furnace. Praise the Lord. The Lord more uses our weakness more than our strength: our strength is often His rival; our weakness, His servant, drawing on His resources, and showing forth His glory.

Man's extremity is God's opportunity;

Man's security is Satan's opportunity.

God's way is not to take His children out of, but to give them strength to bear up against trial. The story of martyr Thomas Hauker (England, 1555) illustrates this principle in the hour of need. This story is entitled "I Have to Know"

"Thomas", his friend lowered his voice so as not to be heard by the guard. "I have to ask you a favor. I need to know if what the others say about the grace of God is true. Tomorrow, when they burn you at the stake, if the pain is tolerable and your mind is still at peace, lift your hands above your head. Do it right before you die. Thomas I HAVE to know."

Thomas Hauker whispered to his friend, "I will." The next morning, Hauker was bound to the stake and the fire was lit. The fire burned a long time, but Hauker remained motionless. His skin was burnt to a crisp and his fingers were gone. Everyone watching supposed he was dead. Suddenly, miraculously, Hauker lifted his hands, still on fire, over his head. He reached them up to the living God & then, with great rejoicing, clapped them together three times. The people there broke into shouts of praise and applause. Hauker's friend had his answer."

Trouble and the grace to bear it come in the same package. Annie Johnson Flint (see more poems) put it this way...

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,

He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;

To added affliction He addeth His mercy,

To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. --Flint

F B Meyer in his devotional Our Daily Homily comments on "When I am weak, then am I strong" writing...

We need not discuss the nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. It is enough that he calls it “a stake,” as though he had been impaled. It must have, therefore, been very painful. It must also have been physical, because he could not have prayed thrice for the removal of a moral taint, and been refused. It came from Satan, permitted by God, as in the case of Job, to buffet his servant.

It is not unlikely that be suffered from weak eyes, or some distressing form of ophthalmia; hence the eagerness of the Galatian converts to give him their eyes (see Galatians 4:15).

God does not take away our thorns, but He communicates sufficient grace. He always answers prayer, though not as we expect. Let the music of these tender words soar unto thee, poor sufferer! “My grace is sufficient even for thee.”

Sufficient when friends forsake, and foes pursue; sufficient to make thee strong against an infuriated crowd and a tyran nical judge; sufficient for excessive physical exertion and spiritual conflict; sufficient to enable thee to do as much work, and even more, than if health and vigour were not impaired, because the very weakness of our nature is the chosen condition under which God will manifest the strength of his.

Do not sit down before that mistaken marriage, that uncongenial business, that physical weakness, as though thy life must be a failure; but take in large reinforcements of that Divine grace which is given to the weak and to those who have no might.

It is clear that Paul had reached such a condition, that it was a matter of deep congratulation to him to be deficient in much that men hold dear, and to have what most men dread. He rejoiced in all that diminished creature-might and strengthened his hold on God.

F B Meyer in his devotional Our Daily Walk (June 5) comments writes about GLORYING IN INFIRMITIES!

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."-- 2Corinthians 12:9.

THE APOSTLE seems to have enjoyed wonderful revelations of God. Not once or twice, but often he beheld things that eye hath not seen, and heard words that ear cannot receive, and God felt it was necessary for him to have a make-weight lest he should be exalted beyond measure (2Cor 12:7).

What the thorn or stake in the flesh was it is impossible to say with certainty. He may have suffered from some distressing form of ophthalmia. We infer this from the eagerness of the Galatian converts to give him their eyes (Gal 4:13, 14, 15,16, 17), and from his dependence on an amanuensis.

His pain made him very conscious of weakness, and very sensitive of infirmity, and kept him near to the majority of those to whom he ministered, who did not live on the mountain heights, but in the valleys, where demons possess and worry the afflicted.

Be willing that your visions of Paradise should be transient, and turn your back on the mountain summit, where the glory shines, as our Lord did, in order to minister to souls in anguish (2Co 12:4; Mt 17:14, 15, 16, 17, 18).

On three separate occasions the Apostle besought the Lord for deliverance from his infirmity, and finally received the assurance that though the thorn could not be removed, yet sufficient grace would be given to enable him to do his life-work, and he was more than content.

On the one hand, there was the buffeting of this messenger of Satan; but on the other, there were the gains of meekness, humility, and of greater grace than would have been possible if he had not needed it so sorely--and he gladly accepted an infirmity for which there were such abundant compensations.

Do not sit down baffled by your difficulties and infirmities, but rum from them to claim Christ's abundant grace and strength, that at the end of life you may have done all that was set you to do, and more, because the greatness of your need made you lean more heavily on His infinite resources. "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength."

PRAYER: Help us, O Lord, to look on the bright side of things; not on the dark cloud, but on Thy rainbow of covenant mercy; not on the stormy waters, but on the face of Jesus; not on what Thou hast taken, or withheld, but on what Thou hast left. Enable us to realise Thine all-sufficiency. AMEN.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. (Php 4:11, 12, 13)

Click for more commentary on Philippians 4:11-13.

Christ continually ''pours'' His supernatural power into Paul to enable him in each circumstance.

J Vernon McGee recommends some caution when interpreting "I can do all things" writing

When Paul says all things, does he literally mean all things? Does it mean you can go outside and jump over your house? Of course not. Paul says, “I can do all things in Christ”—that is, in the context of the will of Christ for your life. Whatever Christ has for you to do, He will supply the power. Whatever gift He gives you, He will give the power to exercise that gift.

A gift is a manifestation of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer. As long as you function in Christ, you will have power...Now Paul is not saying that we can do all things. I can't jump like a grasshopper can jump.

When I was in school I was the high jumper, but I can't jump anymore. You see, I can't do all things, but I can do all things which God has for me to do from the time He saved me to the time He will take me out of this world.

(McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos) (Listen to Dr McGee's Thru the Bible Commentary on this verse)

Through Him is literally in Him (See related study on In Christ and in Christ Jesus), a key phrase here and in all of Paul's epistles for it speaks of the believer's New Covenant union and identification with Christ, so that even as a branch apart from a vine can bear no fruit, even so a believer apart from abiding in the "Vine" can do nothing of lasting import. It is all from Him, through Him and to Him be the glory. Amen.

Because Paul had learned the secret of continually abiding in Christ, Paul justifiably felt that it was impossible for life to confront him with anything that he and the Lord could not handle, no matter how severe or how favorable!

Strengthens (1743) (endunamoo from en = in + dunamoo = strengthen) (Click for detailed discussion of endunamoo) means to enable one to do or experience something. Robertson say it means "to pour power into one" and thus "Paul had strength so long as Jesus kept putting His power into him".

Endunamoo is in the present tense indicating that Christ is continually able to infuse or pour in the power we need for the need of the moment. If we experience a "power outage" or "power failure", it is not because of a failure in the Source but a failure to depend on the Source.

Kenneth Wuest and William Barclay both translate endunamoo as "infuse" an excellent rendering for it gives us a word picture.

For example, Webster says that to infuse something is to to cause it to be permeated with something else (in context of Php 4:13 [note], this would be Christ), the infusion resulting in an alteration which is usually for the better -- this is a good picture of what happens to the believer who is constantly "infused" with Jesus! Ponder another definition of infuse as to introduce one thing into another so as to affect it throughout with the implication that there is a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance!

Let your life be infused with your the life of your New Covenant partner Jesus! This "infusion of strength" is based upon the believer's living union and identification with Christ, our Life.

Galatians 2:20 (see commentary note) brings out the vital nature of this union for Paul declares

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Paul uses endunamoo commanding the Ephesian saints to

be strong (endunamoo = present imperative = continually be empowered via union with Christ) in the Lord and in the strength of His might." (Eph 6:10-note)

Paul used endunamoo repeatedly in his epistles to Timothy, initially writing

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service (1Timothy 1:12).

Knowing the trials that Timothy would experience, Paul exhorted him

You therefore, my son, be strong (endunamoo) (present imperative = be continually empowered; passive voice = so called "divine passive" = God acting on the subject) in the grace (God's enabling power) that is in Christ Jesus." (2Ti 2:1-note)

In the last recorded writing and knowing that his death is imminent, Paul affirms the trustworthiness of the Lord's empowerment, writing to Timothy that

the Lord stood with me (Note: even though everyone else had deserted him! cp Heb 13:5, 6-note), and strengthened (endunamoo) me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth." (2Ti 4:17-note)

From these uses of endunamoo note how from from beginning to end Paul expresses his need for and dependence on the empowerment of His Lord.

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Illustration of Php 4:13 (note): Missionary Dan Crawford had a difficult task—following in the steps of David Livingstone, the missionary who gave his life in ministering the Word of God in Africa.

Crawford didn’t have the imposing personality of his famous predecessor, so at first he had trouble winning the loyalty of the tribal people. Even the people in his church back home weren’t sure he could carry on the work.

With God’s help, however, he did a magnificent job. When he died, a well-worn copy of the New Testament was found in his pocket. A poem, evidently his own, handwritten on the inside cover, revealed the secret of his success:

I cannot do it alone!

The waves dash fast and high;

The fog comes chilling around,

And the light goes out in the sky.

But I know that we two shall win in the end—

Jesus and I.

Coward and wayward and weak,

I change with the changing sky,

Today so strong and brave,

Tomorrow too weak to fly.

But He never gives up,

So we two shall win in the end:

Jesus and I.

(Note: Some have attributed this poem to Corrie Ten Boom)

Beautiful Garments of strength

F B Meyer has a devotional from Our Daily Walk (September 26) which is very apropos to the call to be strong in the Lord's strength not your own strength. Meyer writes in his devotional entitled "Beautiful Garments"...

"Awake, awake; put on (literally "clothe yourself in") thy strength; put on thy beautiful garments."-- Isa 52:1.

"It is high time to awake out of sleep: let us cast off the works of darkness; let us put on the armour of light."-- see notes Romans 13:11; 12

PUT ON strength. We have not to purchase it, or generate it by prayers and resolutions, but simply to put it on.

As we awake in the early morning hour, and have to pass out into the arena of life, which has so often witnessed failure and defeat, let us put on the strength and might of the living Christ.

(Note: our Covenant Partner)

He waits to strengthen us with all power, according to the riches of His glory. Do not simply pray to be kept and helped, but put on the whole armour of God.

"The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"

Put on beautiful garments. The emblem of the life of the Christian soul is that of the bridegroom or the bride decked with jewels; or a garden filled with beautiful flowers (Isa 61:10-11).

We are not only to do right things, but we must do them beautifully; not only to speak the truth, but to speak it in love; not only to give to those who need our help, but to do it graciously and joyously.

We must cultivate the bloom of the soul, which is made up of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, generosity. The beauty of the Lord our God must be upon us.

We cannot weave these beautiful robes, or fashion them out of our own nature, but they are all prepared for us in Christ, who is "made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption." Let us wake up out of sleep, put off the works of darkness, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the armour of Light.

PRAYER: Lord of Power and Love! I come, trusting in Thine almighty strength, and Thine infinite goodness, to beg from Thee what is wanting in myself; even that grace which shall help me such to be, and such to do, as Thou wouldst have me. I will trust Thee, in whom is everlasting strength. Be Thou my Helper, to carry me on beyond my own strength, and to make all that I think, and speak, and do, acceptable in Thy sight, through Jesus Christ. AMEN.

There are two Hebrew words for covenant - Beriyth - a contract made by passing between pieces of cut flesh and Karath - Divide or cut in two, make a covenant. The phrase make a covenant in English Bibles is almost always the Hebrew idiom Karath Beriyth which more literally can be translated "cut a covenant". (Read a Biblical account of this practice in Jer 34:8-22, esp Je 34:18, 19 - see JFB Comments on v18)

Covenant is the most solemn, binding, intimate contract known in the Bible. Even death of a covenant partner would not necessarily invalidate the promises of a covenant.

What happened to the ancestors of the deceased covenant partner? They would be beneficiaries of the covenant promises if so stipulated in the original covenant.

How does the worldwide knowledge of the Biblical Flood compare with the spread of remnants of truth about covenant?

Just as virtually all cultures possess various remnants of truth about the global flood, so too various aspects of truth about covenant permeate virtually all cultures (examples) Be careful to stand on the word of God alone and not extra‑biblical examples.

Extra‑biblical examples do however document the premise that virtually all cultures possess a remnant of covenant truth.

What happens to a person's "spiritual clothes" when they enter into the new covenant with Christ by grace through faith? We exchange "all our righteous deeds (which) are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6) for Christ's "garments of salvation" and "robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10).

What new responsibility does our new identity convey according to Ro 13:12, 13, 14?

12 The night is almost gone (this should motivate a sense of urgency beloved! Are you apathetic and indifferent or urgent and expectant?), and the day is at hand (See Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming).

Let us therefore (motivate by the doctrine of Imminency) lay aside (put off) the deeds of darkness. Put on the armor of light (the deeds corresponding to those who live in the light).

13 Let us behave properly (walk becomingly) as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

14 But (context - think of context as a "change of direction") put on (enduo) (aorist imperative = command with sense of "Do it now! Do it effectively". Can convey sense of urgency) the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision (pronoia - word study) (present imperative + a negative = stop doing this, implying they were making provision) for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

How do we "put on" Jesus?

We lay aside the old "grave" clothes of fleshly deeds (in context Ro 13:13 deeds of the flesh) and Put on the "grace" clothes of Christ's righteous deeds. (Ro 13:12-note, Ro 13:13, 14- notes).

Left to ourselves, we don't even have the "want to" or the desire to lay aside these old "friends" of the flesh, but as we surrender to the Spirit within us (cp die to self [Mk 8:34, 35], yielding our will to His as an act of faith - Gal 2:20-note), He gives us the desire and also "energizes" or enables us to work out our salvationPhp 2:13-note, Php 2:12-note, cp Ro 8:13-note) and as we walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:16-note), and are led by the Spirit (and not a set of legalistic guidelines or rules, see Gal 5:18-note), we will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

The deeds that we carry out will be Spirit empowered and will look like those that the Lord Jesus Christ would carry out (cp the fruit of the Spirit = each aspect of the fruit being perfectly modeled in Christ - Gal 5:22-note, Gal 5:23-note) (Study

Why did Jesus take on our "robe" according to Hebrews 2:9,14, 15, 16, 17, 18?

To taste death for us, so that thru death He might...

(1) Render powerless devil

(2) Deliver those who thru fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives

(3) Give help to the spiritual descendants of Abraham

(4) Become a merciful & faithful High Priest

(5) Come to aid of tempted (see study The LORD my Helper)

Hebrews 2:9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.

17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted. (See notes Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 2:14; 15; 16; 17; 18)

What truths about covenant did Jonathan (Saul's son, heir to the throne) demonstrate when he cut covenant with David and gave him his royal robe? In covenant terms, the robe symbolizes David "putting on" Jonathan.

David took on the identity of his covenant partner Jonathan, so that two became one and there was an end of independent living.

The covenant partners now lived for each other. There was a surrender of self interest for the covenant partner In summary, the covenant between Jonathan and David was...Paternal: Stronger than family ties. Personal: Stronger than personal ambition.

Priority: Covenant takes priority over all relationships

What is one of the primary benefits of God's cutting a covenant with man according to Andrew Murray?

"Covenant was above all to give man a hold upon God as the Covenant-keeping God, to link him to God Himself in expectation and hope, to bring him to make God Himself Alone the portion and the strength of His soul."

Have you been unjustly treated? Are you bitter?

Ask God to open the eyes of your heart to understand the truth concerning His role as your Covenant Defender that this truth might set you free so that you will be free indeed!

Have you ever been afraid? Were you afraid your enemies would overwhelm you?

Have you ever been so weak, so void of strength that you couldn't go on?

You have a covenant partner. He cut covenant with you.

That covenant causes Him to defend you against your enemies and to give you His strength.

ARMOR

What else besides his robe did Jonathan give David as a symbol of cutting covenant? His armor.

What did the exchange of armor symbolize?

When Jonathan gave David his armor, it symbolized that as his covenant partner, he was obligated to protect and defend David, no matter the cost.

Why was this aspect of their covenant so significant at this particular time in David's

life?

David's life was in danger. As Jehovah prospered David (1Sa 18:5, 14, 15) Saul progressively became angry (v8), suspicious (v9), fearful (v12) and full of dread (v15) toward David finally culminating in his desire to "put David to death" (1Sa 19:1)

In (1Samuel 19) Jonathan reassures David he is committed to him and to his safety - he proves it by interceding with his father King Saul which temporarily caused Saul to renege on his desire to put David to death.

How do we see the binding nature of covenant and the putting of the interests of the covenant partner above personal and family interests in 1Samuel 20? Jonathan commits to David "What you say I will do for you".

David asked Jonathan to "deal kindly with your servant" in the context of the fact that he had "brought (David) into a covenant of the LORD" with him.(v8)

Jonathan reaffirms he will tell David of any evil his father plans against him (v9)

Jonathan invokes "the God of Israel (to) be witness" that he will tell David (v12)

How serious is Jonathan about his covenant with David (1Sa 20:13?)?

Jonathan declares in essence may the LORD (Who is the Witness of their covenant) take his life if he does not protect David. Remember that Covenant is solemn and binding - covenant partners are obligated to defend one another even to the death

DOES GOD DEFEND

HIS COVENANT PARTNER

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?

What does Ps 105:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 (see notes) teach about God's defense of those in covenant with Him? God Remembered! The basis for His defense - covenant with Abraham which is forever, everlasting. Based on this covenant He...permitted no one to oppress and reproved kings for their sake

Explanatory Note: God was in covenant with Israel and as they moved, God put a shield of protection around them to protect them from their enemies (cf Nu 21:33, 34, 35). God did not remove His shield of protection as long as Israel walked in obedience to the covenant. (cf "the blessing and the curse" in Deut 30:19 - see Dt 28:1ff, Dt 29:1ff, Dt 30:1ff) When Israel was disobedient, God lifted His shield of protection and let her enemies afflict and chastise her in order to bring her to her to confession and repentance (see Daniel's great prayer Daniel 9:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).

God was the Defender -- of those with whom He had entered into covenant. Being a covenant defender is serious business which is what Joshua discovered when duped by the men from Gibeon, who he should have destroyed but instead cut covenant with, which forced him to be their "covenant defender"! (See more detailed discussion)

Application: As believers in Jesus Christ, we are in covenant with God. How do we treat God's covenant children?

Do we remember that they are also in covenant with God? Do we choose "not touch God's anointed ones"?

Or do you fight with God's Covenant partners?

If we do, God is bound to come to the aid of His Covenant partners!

Chew on that thought the next time you think about demeaning, denigrating or otherwise "touching" one of God's "anointed ones".

1Samuel 26:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 records the story of David taking King Saul's spear and water jug while Saul was sound asleep. Clearly David had an opportunity to kill Saul (who was seeking to kill David) but but would not touch God's anointed, declaring "The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed".

WHAT DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHREGARDING GOD AS OUR COVENANT DEFENDER?

What was Saul (later Paul) doing to the disciples and the Way in Acts 8:1, 2, 3, 9:1, 2? He was...

(1) In hearty agreement in putting Stephen to death,

(2) Ravaging the church,

(3) Putting them in prison and

(4) Breathing threats & murder

Explanatory note: The fact that Stephen was stoned to death does not mean God was not fulfilling His obligations as Stephen's Covenant Defender. As discussed below God is responsible to protect us and He does unless it serves a higher purpose for us not to be delivered. Although Stephen ultimately was delivered into the presence of the Lord, a far better deliverance!

Who did Saul encounter on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3, 4, 5, 6, 7)?

Jesus

Acts 9:3 And it came about that as he journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;

4 and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"

5 And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He said," I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,

6 but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do."

7 And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one.

Where was Jesus and what did He ask Saul?

Jesus although in heaven accused Saul of persecuting Him through his persecution of His covenant partners who now wore His robe and possessed His armor.

So because of the exchange of identities, when Saul persecuted Christians, He was persecuting Christ.

What does this teach about those who have entered the New Covenant with Jesus?

2 become 1 in covenant. If you touch the covenant partner, you are touching the other partner also. Jesus is bound to come to the defense of His partners.

Do you believe this?

Jesus is our Covenant Defender

What was the church at Thessalonica experiencing?

(2Th 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 )

Persecutions, afflictions, suffering. What does God promise those who are experience persecution and affliction because they are in covenant with Jesus? God will repay with affliction those who afflicted them.

He will deal out retribution. He will give relief to afflicted. Does the fact that Jesus is responsible to defend us mean that nothing bad will ever happen in our lives?

Obviously that is not the case.

God keeps His covenant with an eternal perspective in mind. Situations may occur in which we think He has abandoned us, but the fact is we don't have the eternal view He has.

And it may not be until His return that some of the repayment of affliction to us is paid in full.

What do believers not have to do now that they understand Jesus is their Covenant Defender? They don't have to defend themselves anymore

What is to be our response when we experience persecution from our enemies (Ro 12:14 - note)?

Bless ("eulogize them"!) those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

Comment: Bless = is the Greek word eulogeo [word study] from eu = good + lego = speak. Present imperative calls for this to be our habitual action! Literally eulogeo means to speak well of! Only possible filled with Christ's Spirit, not possible by relying on ourselves, for the residual flesh will always seek to be revenged, to "make it right"!

Christ covenant partners are called to recall His example and to "follow in His steps" (1Pe 2:21-note) and while being reviled, not to revile in return. While suffering to utter no threats, but to keep entrusting our selves to Him Who judges righteously (1Pe 2:23-note) Curse not is in also in the present imperative which combined with a "negative" signifies "stop an action that is already going on", the implication being that the saints at Rome were responding that way to persecution.

Paul says "Stop cursing them!"

What else are covenant partners commanded to do (Ro 12:17-note, Ro 12:18-note)?

Never pay back evil for evil. Respect what is right. Be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge. Leave room for wrath of God -- see (Note). Why do this (Ro 12:19-note)? Or how can you do this? Knowing that... Vengeance is God's and He will repay (David's Example)

Beloved, you can be absolutely certain that God will repay those who have wounded, hurt, abused or mistreated, even tried to destroy you.

How else should we respond to our enemies (Ro 12:20-notes)?

"Feed and water" them. "Heap burning coals" on head. Do not be overcome by evil. Overcome evil with good

How are believers to respond to their enemies in light of the truth that Jesus is our Covenant Defender (Mt 5:44 see notes)?

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute. Respond As Jesus Would: Strengthened by His Spirit, Each time you are "tempted" to take revenge, Die to self. A key to living the so-called "victorious" Christian life is living in light of truth that the battle is the Lord's

Comment: (click) Since God will defend us and will repay every evil deed, we are to stand firm in this truth but not with the attitude that ‘I'll be kind to you now because I know God will get you later!’ Our attitude is to be that of Stephen (Acts 7:60) and of our Lord (putting "on the Lord Jesus Christ") (Lk 23:34) Who said Father forgive them for they know not what they do.

WHO AREGOD'S ENEMIES?

What does Jesus say will be true of those in covenant with Him (Jn 15:18, 19, 20, 21)?

The world hates Jesus. And the world hates His covenant partners - because they are not of the world. So the world persecutes them (See related notes from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount regarding the meaning of salt and light - Mt 5:13, 14, 15,1 6-see notes Mt 5:13; 14; 15;16)

John 15:18

"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.'

If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

What do believers have to do now?

They must "wear His robe" by being "Salt" to preserve from evil and "Light" to dispel darkness (Which causes world to hate us)

For completeness note that God's enemies include the world, the flesh and the devil. The whole world lies in the power of the evil one (1Jn 5:19, cp Acts 26:18, Ep 2:2-note)

TAKING ONGOD'S ENEMIES

How are we as God's covenant partners to respond to His enemies? (1Jn 2:15, 16, 17)?

Do not love the world and Do not love things of the world

1John 2:15 Do not love (agapao) (present imperative + negative = stop doing this) the world, nor the things in the world.

If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

(See notes on 1John 2:15 1John 2:16 1John 2:17 )

What is it specifically that we are not to love about the world? (1Jn 2:15, 16, 17)?

Lusts of the flesh, Lusts of the eyes, Boastful pride of life.

Why else should we not love these things (1John 2:17)?

The world is passing away, even its lusts.

What does James teach about taking on God's enemies (Jas 4:4)?

Don't be friends with the world

James 4:4-note

You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?

Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Why not?

We would be adulteresses and Friendship with the world is hostility toward God.

The Amplified Version of James 4:4 is even more direct:

You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]!

Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy?

So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.

What is the message?

Believers in covenant with the Living God, Who is Holy and set apart from the profanity (common things) of this world, cannot choose to be a friend of the world and at the same time expect that they will be a friend of Jesus (cp Mt 6:24-note).

Remember that now that we are in the new covenant, God's enemies are our enemies (cp Jn 15:18, 19, 20, 21)!

What then is a believer's relationship with the world to be now that we are in covenant with Jesus?

In the world but not of the world (cp Gal 6:14-note)

A boat in water is by design.

Water in a boat is a disaster.

ASK YOURSELF...

Are there some ways I have been siding with God's enemies

and therefore siding against God, my Covenant Partner?

BELT

What is the symbolism of Jonathan giving his belt to David? The belt was a symbol of man's strength and Jonathan was symbolically giving David his strength to his covenant partner

What does Isaiah 40:31 teach about what we can expect from our Covenant Partner?

We will gain new strength. There is an exchange our strength for God's strength. (Read Devotional)

Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

See in depth notes on Isaiah 40:31

Explanatory Note:

"Gain" is Hebrew verb (chalaph) which is more literally translated change or renew. In Genesis 35:2 Moses writes "change (chalaph) your garments" Using the analogy of clothes, we are to put off our weakness and put on His strength!

The LXX has allasso which means to exchange one thing for another. In sum, we are to exchange our weakness for His strength, which is implied in Isaiah 40:28, 29 where God asks

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired" and then explains that He "gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might he increases power." (Listen to the Song - Do You Not Know?)

Not a bad exchange!

Isaiah 52:1 is a call directed to Israel but is applicable in principle to those who are now Abraham's offspring (Note however the church however does not replace Israel - see discussion Israel of God)

Awake, awake, Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. For the uncircumcised and the unclean Will no more come into you.

What is the result of this strength exchange?

Mount up w wings ~ eagles, Run & not get tired, Walk & not become weary (See Note on eagles). What is the condition we need to fulfill? Wait for the LORD

Explanatory Note:

"Wait" is the Hebrew verb (qavah) which means to "hope for", not with the attitude of "I hope so" but with the idea of patiently looking for or eagerly expecting God to do good, which clearly translates into one's trust and confidence in His promise.

This verb invites the trusting reader to look ahead eagerly with confident expectation and also calls for patience, reminding us that the fulfillment of hope lies in the future. Are you waiting or wilting under the burden you are having to bear?

Asaph understood this vital principle exclaiming

"My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Ps 78:26-Note)

What did Paul learn after entreating the Lord to remove the "thorn in his side" three times to no avail (2Cor 12:8, 9, 10)? (See in depth notes)

God's grace was sufficient for his need.

2Cor 12:8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

How do we know Paul truly trusted ("waited for") in his Covenant Partner (2 Cor 12:8-10)?

I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. I am well content (think well of) with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties (tight situations, no escape), for Christ's sake.

Why?

When I am weak then I am strong - I exchange my weakness for His strength!

How does Paul explain the exchange of our weakness for Christ's strength in Php 4:11, 12, 13?

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means & I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance.

I have learned the secret of being filled & going hungry, both of having abundance & suffering need. I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me. (See note on meaning of "strengthen")

In short, the confidence to declare Philippians 4:13 is a learning process. Don't give up...keep on keeping on even though you stumble... seek to learn the secret... then you too can say "I can do all things...." (See notes on Philippians 4:11, 12, 13)

What was Paul's predicament in (2Ti 4:16-note)?

At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. How did Paul experience his Covenant Partner's strength (2Ti 4:17, 18-notes)?

The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me (on the inside), in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth.

And our Covenant Partner will stand with us in our hour of trial.

What was Paul attitude toward the ability of his Covenant to protect and defend him (2Ti 4:18-note)?

The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Does Scripture describe any way in which we can give the LORD God Almighty our "strength"?

Jesus declared that the foremost commandment is...

'HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE

LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND

WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'

"The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'

There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30)

The audience understood what Jesus was calling for, one of the scribes remarking that

to love God with all... the strength..." "is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mark 12:33)

In sum, we can give the Lord our strength when we love Him supremely!

The Power Of Two

- In G. K. Chesterton's novel The Man Who Was Thursday, an undercover policeman infiltrates a lawless group that is dedicated to throwing the world into chaos. He is gripped with fear until he discovers an ally within the group.

Chesterton writes of the policeman's feelings at finding a friend

Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and there are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.

When David was being pursued by the jealous and irrational King Saul, he had a friend who risked great danger to stand with him. Jonathan, Saul's own son, pledged his loyalty to David and warned him of his father's intention to kill him (1Sa 20:31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42). Later, when Saul pursued David into the wilderness, Jonathan "arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God" (1Sa 23:16).

What a wonderful gift we give by standing faithfully with a friend in need!

There is incredible encouragement and power when two people are allied in life.

Whose hand can you strengthen by being a friend today?—David C. McCasland

( Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, help me be the kind of friend

That makes my friend secure;

So he can find new strength and hope

His trials to endure. —D. De Haan

A true friend helps you keep going when you feel like giving up .

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What the Occult teaches you children!

Great Info concerning the Craft!

Wicca and Witchcraft: Holidays in Wicca and Witchcraft

By Mike Nichols

Wicca and Witchcraft: Holidays in Wicca and Witchcraft

Despite competition from twentieth century 'life in the fast lane', the awesome spectacle repeated in the patterns of the changing seasons still touches our lives. During the ages when people worked more closely with nature just to survive, the numinous power of this pattern had supreme recognition. Rituals and festivals evolved to channel these transformations for the good of the community toward a good sowing and harvest and boutiful hunting.

One result of this process is our image of the 'Wheel of the Year' with its eight spokes -- the four major agricultural and pastoral festivals and the four minor solar festivals commemorating seasonal solstices and equinoxes. In common with many ancient people, most Witches consider the day as beginning at sundown and ending at sundown on the following day. Hence a sabbat such as November Eve runs through the day of November 1st. Solstice and Equinox dates may vary by a few days depending on the year.

October 31 -- November Eve -- Samhain

Samhain means 'summer's end', for now nights lengthen, winter begins, and we work with the positive aspects of the dark tides. In the increasing starlight and moonlight, we hone our divinatory and psychic skills. Many Craft traditions, and the ancient Celts, consider this New Year's Eve. It is the one night when the veil that separates our world from the next is at its thinnest, allowing the dead to return to the world of the living, to be welcomed and feasted by their kin. The Christian religion adopted this theme as 'All Saints Day' or 'All Hallows Day' (Nov. 1), celebrating the eve as 'All Hallows Eve' or 'Halloween'. The alternative date of November 6 ('Martinmas' or 'Old Hallows') is sometimes employed by Covens.

December 21 -- Winter Solstice -- Yule

'Yule' means 'wheel', for now the wheel of the year has reached a turning point, with the longest night of the year. This is the seedpoint of the solar year, mid-winter, time of greatest darkness when we seek within ourselves to comprehend our true nature. In virtually all Pagan religions, this is the night the Great Mother Goddess gives birth to the baby Sun God, because from this day forward, the days begin to lengthen, light is waxing. The Christian religion adopted this theme as the birthday of Jesus, calling it 'Christmas'. The alternative fixed calendar date of December 25th (called 'Old Yule' by some Covens) occurs because, before various calendar changes, that was the date of the solstice.

January 31 -- February Eve -- Imbolc

Actually, this holiday is most usually celebrated beginning at sundown on February 1, continuing through the day of February 2. 'Imbolc' means 'in the belly (of the Mother)' because that is where seeds are beginning to stir. It is Spring. Another name for the holiday is 'Oimelc', meaning 'milk of ewes', since it is lambing season. It was especially sacred to the Celtic Fire Goddess, Brigit, patron of smithcraft, healing (midwifery), and poetry. A Coven's High Priestess may wear a crown of lights (candles) to symbolize the return of the Goddess to her Maiden aspect, just as the Sun God has reached puberty. Weather lore associated with this sabbat is retained by the folk holiday of 'Groundhog's Day'. The Christian religion adopted a number of these themes, as follows. February 1 became 'St. Brigit's Day', and February 2 became 'Candlemas', the day to make and bless candles for the liturgical year. The 'Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary' adapts the Maiden Goddess theme. The alternative date of February 14 ( 'Old Candlemas', Christianized as 'Valentine's Day') is employed by some Covens.

March 21 -- Vernal Equinox -- Lady Day

As Spring reaches its midpoint, night and day stand in perfect balance, with light on the increase. The young Sun God now celebrates a hierogamy (sacred marriage) with the young Maiden Goddess, who conceives. In nine months, she will again become the Great Mother. It is a time of great fertility, new growth, and newborn animals. The next full moon (a time of increased births) is called the 'Ostara' and is sacred to Eostre, Saxon lunar goddess of fertility (from whence we get the word 'eostrogen'), whose two symbols were the egg and the rabbit. The Christian religion adopted these emblems for 'Easter', celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the 'Feast of the Annunciation', occuring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 ('Old Lady Day'), the earlier date of the equinox. 'Lady Day' may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venus and Aphrodite), many of whom has festivals celebrated at this time. (The name 'Ostara' is incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca.)

April 30 -- May Eve -- Beltaine

'Beltane' means 'fire of Bel', Belinos being one name for the Sun God, whose coronation feast we now celebrate. As summer begins, weather becomes warmer, and the plant world blossoms, an exuberant mood prevails. It is a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity. Young people spend the entire night in the woods 'a-maying', and dance around the phallic Maypole the next morning. Older married couples may remove their wedding rings (and the restrictions they imply) for this one night. May morning is a magical time for 'wild' water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health. The Christian religion had only a poor substitute for the life-affirming Maypole -- namely, the death-affirming cross. Hence, in the Christian calendar, this was celebrated as 'Roodmas'. In Germany, it was the feast of Saint Walpurga, or 'Walpurgisnacht'. An alternative date around May 5 (Old Beltaine), when the sun reaches 15 degrees Taurus, is sometimes employed by Covens. (The name 'Lady Day' is incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca.)

June 21 -- Summer Solstice -- Litha

Although the name 'Litha' is not well attested, it may come from Saxon tradition -- the opposite of 'Yule'. On this longest day of the year, light and life are abundant. At mid-summer, the Sun God has reached the moment of his greatest strength. Seated on his greenwood throne, he is also lord of the forests, and his face is seen in church architecture peering from countless foliate masks. The Christian religion converted this day of Jack-in-the-Green to the Feast of St. John the Baptist, often portraying him in rustic attire, sometimes with horns and cloven feet (like the Greek god Pan)! Midsummer Night's Eve is also special for adherents of the Faerie faith. The alternative fixed calendar date of June 25 (Old Litha) is sometimes employed by Covens. (The name 'Beltaine' is sometimes incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca, even though 'Beltaine' is the Gaelic word for 'May'.)

July 31 -- August Eve -- Lughnassad

'Lughnassad' means 'the funeral games of Lugh', referring to Lugh, the Irish sun god. However, the funeral is not his own, but the funeral games he hosts in honor of his foster-mother Tailte. For that reason, the traditional Tailtean craft fairs and Tailtean marriages (which last for a year and a day) are celebrated at this time. As autumn begins, the Sun God enters his old age, but is not yet dead. It is also a celebration of the first harvest. The Christian religion adopted this theme and called it 'Lammas', meaning 'loaf- mass', a time when newly baked loaves of bread are placed on the altar. An alternative date around August 5 (Old Lammas), when the sun reaches 15 degrees Leo, is sometimes employed by Covens.

September 21 -- Autumnal Equinox -- Harvest Home

In many mythologies, this is the day the Sun God, the God of Light, is killed by his rival and dark twin, the God of Darkness -- who was born at Midsummer, reached puberty at Lammas, and lives a mirror-image life of the Sun God. From this mid-Autumn day forward, darkness will be greater than light, just as night becomes longer than day. So it is a festival of sacrifice, including that of the Sun God in his aspect of Spirit of the Fields, John Barleycorn -- for this is the final grain harvest. The Christian religion adopted it as 'Michaelmas', celebrated on the alternative date September 25, the old equinox date (Old Harvest Home). (The Welsh word 'Mabon', meaning 'son', is used by some Witches for the name of this holiday, although such usage is recent and not attested historically.)

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Fill your mind with the teachings of Christ your Deliverer!

"The divine Instructor has taken us under his wing and he is putting us through our exercises so that hands which hang down can be lifted up, and feet are straightened out, and a lame man is helped to walk.

The Instructor is saying such things as, now "Keep moving, don't let yourself get stiff, keep the joints moving, keep them as supple as you can. "


Martyn Lloyd-Jones




True Knowledge never stops Learning and Growing!

"Just because the current giant you are facing looks like one you defeated in the past, don't buy the lie that you never really won the first battle!

By the strength of God's grace, you trusted the Almighty and conquered your Goliath.

The first giant is dead.

Satan is masquerading as your former enemy so he can slip past your faith and regain entrance into your life.

Resist him. "


Francis Frangipane

Spiritual Weapons Vs. Failure of the Flesh!

2 Corinthians 10: 3-4

"For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds."


Strengthen your Mind and Body to withstand his attacks!

1 Peter 5: 8-9

"Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset--rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world."

Let God Train you to War!

Psalm 144: 1

"Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my keen and firm Strength, Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight"

Whole Armor for the Whole Devil!

Ephesians 6: 11

"Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil."

Who we are to Fight is not in the Flesh!

Ephesians 6: 12 (NKJV)

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

Hold God's Ground!

Ephesians 6: 14

"Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God."

Grasshoopers TRUMP Giants everytime in God's Math!

Deuteronomy 3: 22

"You shall not fear them, for the Lord your God shall fight for you."

Lay hold of the Ultimate Weapon!

1 Timothy 6: 12

"Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses."

Complete Deliverence

2 Timothy 4: 18

"[And indeed] the Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself from every assault of evil. He will preserve and bring me safe unto His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen (so be it)."