Attitude Adjustments: A Lesson from Jonah

How should we respond to our disappointments?

What should our attitude be, when things do not go the way we would like?

In the Bible, the prophets of old went through many difficulties, as they learned the ways of Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God]. Sometimes they had to make attitude adjustments in order to maintain their faith and obedience.

Their experiences were recorded in the Scriptures as examples for us, so that we too might learn to make attitude adjustments, as we go through life’s difficulties.

The testings, trials, failings and victories of the prophets of old are written down for our instruction. It is through patience and the encouragement from the Scriptures, that we will gain understanding and hope, and eventually obtain “a good report” (Romans 15:4 and Hebrews 11:1-2).

One of the prophets of old was Jonah (See Jonah 1:1 – 4:11).

What Jonah went through, and his efforts to obey Yahuwah, reveal some important insights for us. The events recorded in the Book of Jonah contain many lessons for our instruction.

One of these lessons teaches us the importance of maintaining a proper attitude.

The Lesson From Jonah

The “Word of Yahuwah” [the LORD] came to Jonah, and told him to go to the city of Nineveh, and warn them of God’s coming judgment on them because of their wickedness. But Jonah’s first reaction was to run away:

1) Now the word of Yahuwah [the LORD] came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2) Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3) But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of Yahuwah [the LORD], and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of Yahuwah [the LORD]. (Jonah 1:1-3)

Jonah was afraid of the Word of Yahuwah, so he fled. As we shall see, Jonah’s fearfulness revealed a deep-rooted reason for running away.

A Well-Known Attribute of Yahuwah Elohim

Yahuwah [the LORD] wanted Jonah to proclaim a warning to the people of Nineveh:

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:2)

Jonah did not want to obey this Word of God, and as a result, he ended up being swallowed by a ‘great fish’!

But after being in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, Jonah, who was in great distress, began to cry out for God’s mercy. God heard Jonah’s prayer, and caused the fish to spit out Jonah onto dry land.

After Jonah’s deliverance from the belly of the fish, Yahuwah told Jonah once again, to go to Nineveh to preach the warning. This time Jonah obeyed Yahuwah, and went to the city to give warning:

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. (Jonah 3:4)

The fact that Yahuwah sent Jonah to warn the people before judgment fell, is an excellent example a particular feature of Yahuwah’s nature:

For Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God] is a merciful God (Deuteronomy 4:31a).

Yahuwah the LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. (Psalms 103:8)

Let us fall now into the hand of Yahuwah [the LORD]; for His mercies are great! (2Samuel 24:14a)

With the merciful, You [Yahuwah], will show Yourself merciful! (Psalms 18:25a)

The above verses are just a few of many Scripture passages that teach us that having mercy on others is one of the heavenly Father’s primary characteristics.

In the matter of the city of Nineveh, it was very merciful of Yahuwah to send Jonah, to warn Nineveh of soon-coming destruction!

We should not overlook the fact that Yahuwah Elohim is absolutely righteous, good, and holy! He is the God of truth, knowing the end from the beginning, and He does no wrong! (Deuteronomy 32:4)

However, it is Yahuwah’s abundant mercy toward us that continually astounds us, drawing us to Him more and more!

But Jonah had a problem with showing mercy toward others.

God Was Merciful and Turned Away His Anger

When Yahuwah saw that the people of Nineveh repented and turned from their wickedness, He then displayed His abundant merciful nature again:

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. And God repented [out of compassion, He turned from] the evil that He had said to do to them, and He did not do it. (Jonah 3:10)

As a result of Nineveh’s repentance, God turned from the calamity He said He would do, and did not do it!!

But Jonah was exceedingly angry at this expression of Yahuwah’s merciful nature:

1) But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2) And he prayed to Yahuwah [the LORD], and said, “O Yahuwah, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in kindness, and repenting [out of compassion, turning from] doing evil!” (Jonah 4:1-2)

Jonah knew that God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in kindness! Yet Jonah was angry that God was merciful and had turned away His anger, and did not punish the people of Nineveh. Jonah did not want mercy given to those wicked people!

Yes, the people of Nineveh were extremely wicked, but they repented! Nevertheless Jonah had an attitude problem — anger and resentment. Jonah did not like it that God decided to spare the city, and turn from His ‘fierce anger,’ as the king of Nineveh had hoped and prayed for.

We do not know if Jonah ever repented of the anger within his heart, but thankfully, he did eventually obey Yahuwah’s Word, and went and preached repentance throughout Nineveh.

Blind To God’s Mercy

Jonah was very angry and greatly disappointed that destruction did not happen. As a result, Jonah went out of the city, fuming with anger, pouting like a spoiled child.

Jonah was angry that the proclamation of soon-coming destruction had resulted in Nineveh’s repentance. Jonah wanted vengeance and punishment to be poured out on Nineveh!

Jonah’s anger blinded him to the great mercy of Yahuwah. Jonah seems to have completely forgotten God’s great mercy toward him by rescuing him from the belly of the great fish!

Sadly, many of us are like Jonah — blinded to the mercy of God that surrounds us in countless ways!

Like Jonah, many of us tend to angrily demand vengeance and punishment to the wicked!

But Jonah’s problem was deeper than mere anger.

Hatred: A Prevailing Attitude

There is a root problem within anger that is often hidden: the problem of hatred.

Anger and hatred, within the hearts of many, is a prevailing attitude within our culture. Such an attitude is a direct violation of the Scriptures:

You shall not hate your brother in your heart (Leviticus 19:17a).

Without realizing it, we can behave toward others with hatred, hidden deep within our heart.

We are all capable of deceiving ourselves into thinking we have no hatred toward anyone. Yet we can probably think of a specific ‘someone’ who really irritates us, who we secretly hate, perhaps without recognizing it.

If we are truly honest with ourselves, and examine our behaviour, we will see that hatred is the root cause of why we think and say and do certain things toward someone.

Hatred within our heart can cause us to be impatient, demanding, and arrogant. Hatred hidden within our heart can cause us to justify our behaviour and evil words as being the right response to offences.

If we deny the hatred within our heart, then we will have no sense of guilt for our behaviour. Our hatred prevents us from having any remorse or empathy for those we are hating. Hatred makes a person blind and insensitive to the abundant mercies from the heavenly Father that surround and protect each one of us.

Hatred is a very dangerous spirit to hold within our heart:

Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1John 3:15)

Hatred, which is the same as murder, disqualifies us for obtaining eternal life. What a dreadful, fearful prospect! Do we really want to harbor a hateful spirit within ourselves?

Notice the result of two other examples of hidden hatred.

First, in Matthew 18:22-35, Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ] described an ungrateful servant who angrily refused to have compassion on his fellow servant. The ungrateful servant would not be forgiving and extend mercy, even though the Master had been merciful to him. As a result, the ungrateful servant was delivered to “the tormentors”!

Second, in 1Chronicles 15:25-29 and 2Samuel 6:16-23, Michal, the wife of King David, “despised David in her heart”. She did not like David’s joyful expressions of “leaping and dancing before Yahuwah”. What was the result of her hidden attitude of hatred? “Therefore Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child unto the day of her death”.

Oh Dear Reader, may our hearts never be so full of anger and hidden hatred!

Patient and Merciful is He!

We all need Yahuwah’s mercy and forgiveness, repeatedly!

Each one of us can probably remember a great remorse when we completely ‘messed up!’ — when we angrily lost our temper and said things we deeply regretted!

But think of how patient and merciful the Father is toward us! He does not immediately punish us whenever we ‘mess up’ and do an ugly, sinful blunder, especially if we are sorrowful and quick to repent of what we did!

Whenever we do some sinful ‘mess-up’, we naturally expect mercy and forgiveness from God whenever we fall short of ‘perfection’, because “Hey, I’m not perfect!” But, would we extend that same mercy to others??

We expect to maintain our usual ‘niceties’ — like being peaceful and quiet in our own home, eating our dinner, sleeping in our own bed. These nice, comforting, ‘little’ things are evidence of Father’s sustaining mercy! For some, such ‘niceties’ are luxuries!

We should open our eyes to Yah’s abundant mercies that surround us! Yah’s mercies toward us are not to be taken for granted! As we saw in Turning From Darkness to Light, we must guard our heart against the darkness of pride and hatred, and not think so highly of ourselves! We need to be grateful for every bit of Father’s mercies that come to us.

Be As He Is

Yahuwah wants us to maintain a humble, merciful attitude, learning to BE as He is — extending mercy to others, as Yahushua taught us:

44) “… But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45) that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45)

There is no one who is free from sin, and yet the heavenly Father extends abundant mercy to each one of us.

All of us are FAR from perfect! Yet, the Father loves us, has mercy on us, and forgives us multiples times!

Can we not be patient and merciful toward others, being merciful as He is merciful??

We exhibit the loving nature of the heavenly Father, when we do for others what He has done for us:

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

Can we be a testimony of the great mercy given to us, through Yahushua Messiah?

Discern Our Heart’s Motives

I do not deny that there are definitely times for instruction in righteousness, for giving correction, reproof, discipline, or counsel!! Correction or chastisement are needed expressions of our love also (Proverbs 13:24 and Proverbs 3:11-12 and Proverbs 27:5).

Yet we must not harbor hatred within our heart and try to justify our behaviour as though we are entitled to being critical, angry, and hateful. We must discern our heart’s motives and condition, confessing any hatred and seek to eliminate it completely!

There is only one remedy for deliverance from the ugly and dark spirits of hatred and anger!

The only remedy for such sinful behaviour is honest, heart-felt repentance, and the cleansing power of the blood of Yahushua Messiah. We must cry out to the merciful heavenly Father, asking for His forgiveness and for the complete cleansing from such wickedness, in the name of His Son, Yahushua Messiah:

3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed (grew) old through my roaring all the day long. 4) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. 5) I acknowledged my sin unto You, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Yahuwah [the LORD]; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalms 32:3-5; see also Psalms 51)

7) But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:7-9)

These Scriptures teach us of our need to confess and forsake the secret sin of hatred.

Thankfully, Yahuwah is tender-hearted and quick to forgive us, when we come to Him with a genuine heart of sorrowful repentance. Experiencing His mercy and forgiveness is indeed humbling, liberating, and restoring!

Oh let us be so very thankful for Yahuwah’s great, great mercy toward us!!

The Aroma of Life

Giving mercy and forgiveness is an aroma of life, not only for us, but also for those who never expect mercy from us.

Extending mercy [or withholding mercy], can be a tipping point in a person’s life. Let us therefore extend mercy to others, showing ourselves to be merciful and forgiving, especially to those within our own family.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for us in offering mercy, is showing mercy to our own family members.

As much as we love our family members, it seems at times, that they are the ones we find hardest to tolerate and forgive. Yet they are the ones we need to extend mercy to the most!

Family members need to experience God’s mercy and forgiveness through us. This is one way to be a testimony of the ultimate mercy given to us through Yahushua Messiah.

We All Need Mercy

None of us are without faults! We all need mercy and forgiveness.

Yahuwah is consistently merciful toward us. His mercy surrounds us, envelops us, guards us, protects us!

Father’s mercy toward us is expressed in countless ways, including the many warnings He gives us in His written Word:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not yourself in any wise to do evil. (Psalms 37:8)

He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool. (Proverbs 10:18)

Harboring hidden hatred is opposed to the Spirit of Messiah that lives within Yahuwah’s children.

We are called to walk as Messiah walked (1John 2:6), allowing Messiah to live His life through us! That includes extending mercy to others, even to the unthankful and the evil!

And this, Dear Reader, is an important lesson from the book of Jonah.

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The Adventure of Growing Up: Love Not the World

Growing up into a mature and responsible adult is a tricky and testing adventure.

It is an adventure that can be full of mistakes and set backs, one blunder after another. The saying, “One step forward, and two steps backward,” frequently describes the process of growing up.

The whole process of maturing, or ‘growing up’, is something many of us would rather avoid!

But . . . it is a fact of life — growing up must happen!

Becoming a responsible and useful adult is the goal of growing up, at least for everyone that is sensible.

But how do we learn to grow up?

Learning to Grow Up

The Bible has much to say regarding this ‘adventure’ of growing up. If we are going to avoid troubles and problems in the growing up process, then taking the advice of the written Scriptures will result in fewer mistakes and grief.

A good passage of Scripture to start heeding is in 1 John:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passes away, and the lust thereof:
but he that does the will of God abides for ever.
(1John 2:15-17)

Why is it that Father God warns us to not ‘love the world’?

Because ‘the world’ [its methods, values, and philosophy] is passing away. It is temporary. The sooner we grasp this truth in our efforts to mature, the better.

This world is just a ‘training ground’ and ‘testing ground’. This world is only a place to refine us, prepare us, and make us ready for the permanent, un-seen, spiritual realm — the eternal Kingdom of Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God].

But this world’s enticements and pleasures are very attractive to young people. Yahuwah knows this.

So He warns us: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world!

Do not be taken in by the earthly and sensual pleasures of this world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life! Such things are defiling, corrupt, and will only hijack our innocence.

And “Friendship with the world is hatred toward God!” (James 4:4)

The Beauty of a Pure Life

The writer of Psalms 119 gives us a major clue in the goal of growing up.

The psalmist asks a question of Yahuwah, and immediately he receives the answer:

How can a young person live a pure life? By obeying Your Word. (Psalms 119:9)

The beauty of a pure life before Yahuwah Elohim begins with, and is maintained by, obedience to Yah’s written Word — the Bible.

This is one of the goals of growing up — to live a life of purity, which is a beautiful and honourable life!

A life of purity is a healthy, thriving, flourishing life, one that promises much fruitfulness.

The world will tell you that a life of purity is a dream, a fantasy — it’s impossible. And yes, if you fall victim to ‘loving the world and the things in the world’, then purity is a fantasy.

But what is our goal in growing up??

Do we want to live a life that commands respect and honour, not only among our peers, put also within our own heart?

Yahuwah’s Word tells us The Way to have a pure and clean life — by obeying His written Word!

A pure and clean life is the foundation of a life that is mature and respectable. A pure and clean life is the groundwork for having a life that is confident and free from misery and shame.

But we need the heavenly Father’s help! We cannot walk in purity in our own strength.

We need to look to Yahuwah for His salvation, for His strength and grace, and rely on Him to help us grow up and maintain a pure life. We must look to Him to help us grow up into mature, responsible, and honourable adults. With His help, we can do what may seem impossible!

When our hearts are trusting in Yah, moment by moment, to bring us into maturity, then we can trust His Word to be fulfilled on our behalf, as Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] told us:

And Yahushua [Jesus] looking upon them said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

Growing up into a mature and responsible adult is a wonderful objective for the energetic and optimistic youth. Father God puts it on the hearts of the young to want the best, and to eagerly search out the adventure of growing up. He tells us it is possible to grow up into a life that is pure, fulfilling, and honourable!

But as I said, growing up is a tricky and testing adventure. It is an adventure that can be full of mistakes and set-backs.

We must grasp the truth that Yahuwah created us according to an eternal design! If we choose to accept His design and follow His instructions and guidelines, then even in the midst of our trials and struggles, Father will guide us through them, by His Holy Spirit.

Yahuwah promises us that things will be well with those who honour Him with their trust and obedience (See Deuteronomy 28:1-14)!! In other words, we will be “blessed”. . .

Blessed [happy] are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the Torah of Yahuwah [the LORD]. Blessed [happy] are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. (Psalms 119:1-2)

The wonderful verses from Psalms 119 give us many clues for achieving the goal of becoming a mature and responsible and honourable adult, as well as avoiding the pitfalls of shame, misery, and disgrace.

I encourage you to read through Psalms 119, and look for those prayers that give insights on how to avoid shame and misery.

Here are just two of them:

O that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto [regard with favor] all Your commandments. (Psalms 119:5-6)

Let my heart be sound in [be complete and undefiled by obeying] Your statutes; that I be not ashamed. (Psalms 119:80)

God Has Plans For You

Being young and energetic is a great blessing that is given to us by our Creator. He delights in our enthusiasm. But He also cautions us in our youth:

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth,…
but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh:
for childhood and youth are vanity [emptiness and vanishing away].
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth….
(Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1a)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God, and keep His commandments:
for this is the whole duty of man.
For God shall bring every work into judgment,
with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

These Scriptures are reminders for us to shun any ‘love of the world’ and to remember that our Creator has plans for each one of us, plans for good and not evil (Jeremiah 29:11). We will know the joy of heaven on earth if we will keep our eyes on Father’s eternal plans for us, always seeking His help to be pleasing to Him.

Let us be diligent to remember, that this world is temporary. This world is passing away! All that is of this natural world — the love of money, personal ambition, natural affections, the appetites of the body — these things must be laid down before Yahuwah. The things of ‘Self’ must be before the Father in same way as that of our Saviour: “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me” (John 5:30b).

This world’s enticements to embrace the lustful passions of ‘carpe diem‘ are lies from the dark and wicked realm of Satan: The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble (Proverbs 4:10).

Father’s warnings to the youth are meant to encourage soberness about this brief lifetime because, there is a Day — a special Day is coming Dear Reader, when God will bring all things into judgment:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or bad. (2Corinthians 5:10)

Central Ingredients

Obedience to Father’s written Word, along with the abundant, enabling grace from the Holy Spirit, are the central ingredients for making it into maturity with honour and respect.

Without God’s help, we are sunk!!

But with His help, and the guidance from His Word, we are strengthened, protected, and encouraged to persevere to the end: “being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be yours at the revelation of Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ]” (1Peter 1:13b).

With His help, we can be His obedient children, maintain a pure lifestyle, and endure through the trials because — He is able to keep us from falling (Hebrews 7:25)!

May each one of us purpose to keep our eyes on the things that are eternal, so that we may be established in fulfilling our Creator’s plans and purposes for us — ordained for us before the world began!

The adventure of growing up, and becoming mature followers of Messiah, is truly an adventure that everyone should desire.

But the first step of our journey into maturity, arriving with gladness, contentment, respect, and honour, begins with . . .

looking to, and trusting in, our Creator, and determining to “love not the world, nor the things that are in the world!”

Thank you Father, for Your Word that is the guiding light for my journey through this life. Help me Father, to rely on You throughout my journey, and not grow weary in doing what is pleasing in Your sight. Help me to honour You with my obedience — honouring You with my whole being — spirit, soul, and body. In Yahushua Messiah’s name I pray. Amen.

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Enlightening the Eyes of Our Understanding: 5 Steps

What does it mean to “enlighten the eyes of our understanding”?

Notice what the apostle Paul prayed:

“That the God of our Lord Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. . .” (Ephesians 1:17-18a)

Father desires to give each of us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. But according to the above passage, the ‘knowing’ of Messiah occurs when the “eyes of our understanding” are being enlightened.

That brings us back to the question: “What does it mean to enlighten the eyes of our understanding”?

From the usage in Scripture, we see that it means to illuminate, shed light on, or instruct our understanding.

To enlighten the eyes of our understanding means to enable us to ‘see’ and understand and comprehend truth.

To enlighten the eyes of our understanding means to illuminate with divine knowledge and truth.

Legitimate Enlightenment

True and legitimate enlightenment that is ‘from above’ is a good and wonderful and liberating gift!

True and legitimate enlightenment that is ‘from above’ is a gift — a divine gift from Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God]:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness [no fickleness or instability], neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

It is possible to obtain this wonderful and liberating gift of true enlightenment ‘from above’.

Yahuwah Elohim [the God of the Bible] is eager to give us good gifts:

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him? (Matthew 7:11)

Yahuwah loves each one of us, and He desires to answer our sincere prayers for wisdom and insight into understanding His ways and walking with Him.

How To Begin

True and legitimate enlightenment that is ‘from above’ begins:

  • when we seek our own personal encounter and relationship with the living God — the God of the Bible,
  • when we have seen for ourselves Yahuwah’s truth, presence, power, and glory:

O God, You are my God; early I will seek You: my soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see Your power and Your glory, so as I have seen You in the sanctuary [the holy place].  (Psalms 63:1-2)

To explain further, we will now look at five steps we can take to help us be more receptive to receiving the wonderful and liberating gift of the true enlightenment that is ‘from above’.

We will look at these five steps, just skimming over the surface of these very significant steps, and then, look at one major warning.

Step 1:  Believe the Written Word of God

The first and most essential step for receiving the true and legitimate enlightenment that is ‘from above,’ is to believe the written Word of God [the Bible] — that it truly is the WORD of Yahuwah Elohim, the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things:

By the word of Yahuwah [the LORD] were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. (Psalms 33:6)

For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder [apart] of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

As these verses tells us, the Word of God is powerful!! It is alive and piercing and discerning! This truth applies to both the living Word and the written Word!

God’s Word is unique from all other writings and sayings! Only God’s Word, the Scriptures, are powerful enough, through the Holy Spirit, to work dramatic and lasting life-changing results in anyone’s life!

But in order for the power and strength of the written Word of God to be fully known and experienced, we must do the second step.

Step 2:  Receive the Written WORD of God As It Truly Is:

For this cause also, we thank God without ceasing, because, when you received the word of God which you heard of us, you received it, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually works also in you that believe. (1Thessalonians 2:13)

The believers in Thessalonica received the Word of God! They welcomed, and respected, ‘the Word’ that was preached to them, as it truly is — the Word of the living God.

As a result, God’s Word worked mightily in them!

There will be no power or effect or true enlightenment worked into our life unless we receive and respect the written Word of God [the Bible], as it truly is — the WORD from the living God, Yahuwah Elohim.

Once these first two steps are taken, then God’s Word becomes powerful in our life!

Only then will the written Word of God become unto us life, enrichment, and en-‘light’-en-ment:

The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple. (Psalms 119:130)

The next three steps to receiving the true and legitimate enlightenment that is ‘from above’ are thus easy, once the first two steps are applied.

Step 3: Ask of God, and It Shall Be Given:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

As these verses teach us, asking of God is how we receive from God. This is how we begin, and how we maintain our relationship with the living God.

Simply talking to God is the start of our own personal encounter with Him and thus, continuing our on-going relationship with the heavenly Father.

Talking with Yahuwah Elohim is easy, once we believe and receive the Scriptures as the Word of the living God. Father is with each one of us at all times, and therefore we can enter into His presence and talk with Him at any time! (See Psalms 139)

Father God has promised to answer our requests, and to give to those who ask of Him in the name of His Son:

Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] said, . . . And whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)

As a side note, we will briefly touch on one important ‘principle’ for how we must enter into Father’s presence:

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. (Psalms 100:4)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Messiah Yahushua [Christ Jesus]. (Philippians 4:6-7)

We enter Yahuwah’s presence by thanksgiving and praise — thanking Him for what He has done for us, and praising Him for who He is.

Step 4: Humble Yourself:

Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. (1Peter 5:5)

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. (James 4:6)

For thus says the high and lofty One [Yahuwah] who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)

These verses teach us that humbling ourselves is how we receive from God.  When we are of a truly humble heart, then Father will pour out His grace, His presence, and ultimately His en-‘light’-en-ment, which comes to us only by His Holy Spirit.

This step is very important, because Yahuwah warns us that He will resist the proud. The proud receive nothing from God.

Our heart must be yielded to God and His Word with a right motive and attitude!

We must have the attitude of submission to Yahuwah and to His written Word (Isaiah 66:2b). We exhibit a humble heart by acknowledging His greatness, His holiness, His omniscience, and by admitting our own unfitness to be worthy of His gifts.

This is why we must bring our requests to God in the name of His Son, Yahushua Messiah — the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ.

Only through Yahushua Messiah do we have access to Yah’s presence, if we come in humility of heart.

We come to God only through the merits of Yahushua Messiah:

For through Him (Yahushua Messiah) we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)

Therefore He (Yahushua Messiah) is able also to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrew 7:25)

We are to approach Father Yahuwah in the name of His Son, Yahushua Messiah (John 14:13-14).

Step 5: Obey Yahuwah’s Commandments

The statutes of Yahuwah [the LORD] are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Yahuwah [the LORD] is pure, enlightening the eyes. (Psalms 19:8)

In the above verse, we can see that our obedience to the commandments of Yahuwah Elohim will result in the enlightenment of the eyes of our understanding!

Obedience to the Scriptures means that we believe the written Scriptures, we receive them, repsect them, and we apply them to our behaviour.

The above verse is confirmed in many places throughout the Scriptures.

Here are just five confirming verses:

You [Yahuwah Elohim], through Your commandments have made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. (Psalms 119:98)

You are near, O Yahuwah [LORD]; and all Your commandments are truth. (Psalms 119:151)

Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)

The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding unto the simple. (Psalms 119:130)

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law [the Torah] is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)

When Yah’s Words enter into our mind and heart, so that by our actions we show that we believe and obey them, the result is ‘light‘ — illumination and understanding of God’s divine knowledge and truth!

It is foundational in our walk with the heavenly Father that we be obedient, being a DO-er, of His written Word.

Yahushua said that DO-ing God’s Word is how we can be assured of building a spiritual house that will not fall:

Yahushua said, … “Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)

Hearing and doing all of Messiah’s words, is the foundational rock on which we build our spiritual house.

We recall that Yahushua’s “sayings of mine” include all the words Messiah has spoken, including those He spoke to Moses!

And let us remember also, that when Yahushua said those words, recorded in the Gospels, there was NO New Testament in existence. So the ‘doing’ of Yahushua’s ‘sayings‘ is referring to the Torah, the Writings, and the Prophets.

I will not go into much detail at this time regarding the ‘doing’ of Yahushua’s Words, since I have written in other posts, here and here and here, about obedience to the FULL ‘sayings’ of Yahushua, which includes what many refer to as the ‘Old’ Testament.

The Warning

And now, we will look briefly at one important warning in our quest for enlightenment.

It is good to desire understanding and enlightenment ‘from above’. The heavenly Father wants us to understand and walk in the things of His eternal kingdom. He wants us to know His divine greatness, which is revealed when we seek Him, through Messiah:

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light [enlightenment] of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ]. (2Corinthians 4:6)

As this verse tells us, Father God wants to shine His light upon us — His truth and glory — through His Son, Yahushua Messiah.

Yet we must be vigilant to learn for ourselves, what the written Scriptures actually say, in order to avoid the dark and deviant pathways of Satan. There is much misery and trouble for those who do not know the written Scriptures (See Hosea 4:1-6).

Satan himself is capable of giving ‘enlightenment’ because he can transform (disguise) himself into an angel of light:

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed (disguises himself) into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed (disguised) as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2Corinthians 11:14-15)

As this passage reveals, it is simple for Satan and his demons to disguise themselves, imitating Yahuwah’s wisdom and ways. Yet Satan’s ‘enlightenments’ are wicked spiritual mixtures — mixtures of false with truth, mixtures of darkness with light — such things that Yahuwah hates:

The way of the wicked is an abomination unto Yahuwah [the LORD]: but He loves him that follows after righteousness. (Proverbs 15:9)

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Proverbs 4:19)

When you are come into the land which Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God] gives you, you shall not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10) There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11) Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12) For all that do these things are an abomination unto Yahuwah [the LORD]: and because of these abominations Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God] does drive them out from before you. 13) You shall be perfect [upright, without blemish] with Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD your God]. (Deuteronomy 18:9-13) 

The dark and wicked pathways of Satan are abominations! But, to the natural mind, they will ‘seem’ to be the wise, rightful, and ‘enlightened’ pathway.

Satan’s spiritual ‘enlightenments’ appeal to our natural, human understanding, and tantalize us with supernatural, mystical manifestations. But in actual fact, Satan’s enticements contradict the pure and incorrupt wisdom that comes from Yahuwah’s written Scriptures. The workings of Satan include manifestations of power, signs, and lying wonders, and are attractive to those who delight in wickedness (2Thessalonians 2:8-12).

We need to be very guarded against accepting any spiritual ‘enlightenment’ or spiritual ‘awakening’ that is a mixture of darkness and light!! We need to cultivate a sensitivity to the type of guidance we encounter. Specifically, we are to test the spirits, whether they are of Yahuwah or not (1John 4:1-3)!

Receiving false spiritual enticements will cause us to stumble spiritually, opening ourselves up to delusion and curses, and thus prevent us from walking with Messiah, who is the true ‘Light of Life’:

Then spake Yahushua [Jesus] again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

We discussed this problem of wicked and false spiritual pathways in A Way That Seems Right and Characteristics of The Wise Virgins: Part 2. We concluded that the only real safeguard is to have a resolute love of the truth of the written Word of God, so that we can avoid the strong delusions of Satan’s spiritual mixtures (see 2Thessalonians 2:8-12)!

By Keeping Them Is Great Reward

In Psalms 19, we see there is ‘great reward’ for believing and receiving and obeying the written Word of God:

7)  The law [Torah] of Yahuwah [the LORD] is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of Yahuwah is sure, making wise the simple. 
8)  The statutes of Yahuwah are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Yahuwah is pure, enlightening the eyes
9)  The fear of Yahuwah is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of Yahuwah are true and righteous altogether.
10)  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 
11)  Moreover by them is Your servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. (Psalms 19:7-11)

As this passage teaches, the Words of the living God, Yahuwah Elohim, are all the Scriptures — His Torah [law], His testimonies, His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments.

These aspects, along with the fear of Yahuwah [the LORD], describe God’s Word:

  • perfect,
  • sure,
  • right,
  • pure,
  • clean,
  • true, and
  • righteous altogether.

These are characteristics of our wonderful, generous, loving, and ever-lasting heavenly Father!

It is only through the written Word of God [all of the Bible] that we come to know Yahuwah [the LORD], and come to know His Exceeding Great RewardHis Son, Yahushua Messiah — given to us as our Saviour, our Redeemer, and our faithful High Priest.

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this Book.” — Abraham Lincoln

The written Word of the living God is powerful!! (John 6:63b)

When believed, received, respected, and applied to our life, God’s Word can change our life for the better, making us wiser than our enemies, making us joyful of heart, and enlightening the eyes of our understanding!

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“I often felt myself weak in the presence of temptation, and needed frequently to hold days of fasting and prayer, and to spend as much time in overhauling my own religious life in order to retain communion with God, and to maintain a hold upon His divine strength to fulfill His purposes.”
— Charles Finney

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Are you satisfied? Or do you want to go further? If you would like to go further, then begin to understand and obey the 2nd Commandment.

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The Son of God:
Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God], Who is the Living, Eternal God, Creator of all things, Who can do whatever His pleases, came to this earth, born into this world through a virgin birth. He did this to communicate His character, His nature, His power, His purpose, and His plans. Only Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] could have accomplished this mission, because . . . He was not an ordinary man!!

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Many hold the idea that the Torah and the Holy Spirit are at odds, and cannot be reconciled. However, the Scriptures reveal that the Torah and the Holy Spirit are not at odds with each other at all — rather, they are in complete unity! They have always worked together, hand in hand, throughout history.

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In all your ways acknowledge Yahuwah [the LORD], and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:6
 
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