The Violent Take the Kingdom

jesus_mat

This study came about because the Holy Spirit gave me a Rhema early one morning as I was waking up – “the violent take it by force.”

Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

‘take by force’ – G726 harpazo  
Thayer Definition:
1) to seize, carry off by force
2) to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly
3) to snatch out or away  

My first impression of “the violent take it by force” is that it means we are to ‘press into’ the Kingdom; to forcefully take back what the devil has stolen, to make him release his captives, his prisoners (people) through strong, sustained application of the Word, prayer, and promises of God. To appropriate the promises and the Blood of Jesus to the person and/or situation in need of saving (healing, deliverance, etc.).

Luk 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. ‘presseth’ – G971 biazo Thayer Definition: 1) to use force, to apply force 2) to force, inflict violence on.

‘broken’ – G1846 exorusso From G1537 and G3736; to dig out, that is, (by extension) to extract (an eye), remove (a roofing): – break up, pluck. 

Mar 2:2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
Mar 2:3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
Mar 2:4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
Mar 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (See also Luke 5:15 – 20)

The people in this passage demonstate what it means to “press into the kingdom.” They did whatever it took get the sick man before Jesus so he could be healed, even removing a piece of the roof over the place where Jesus and a large crowd was! Jesus rewarded their faith by healing the man. Taking the Kingdom by force, also means plucking out, or up (as if uprooting) that which hinders you from entering the Kingdom of Heaven, or from appropriating Kingdom promises to yourself and others to whom they are given, ie., the children of God. Notice that these action words aren’t passive; they’re ‘violent’ and ‘forceful,’ in the spiritual sense. In Mt 5:29 we see this kingdom ‘violence’ repeated —

Mat 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Mat 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off,

‘pluck’ – G1807 exaireo
1) draw out, root out (Thayer’s Gk Definitions)
‘cast it from you’ – G906 ballo; to throw (more or less violent or intense): cast out, send, strike, throw down, thrust. (Strong’s Heb. & Gk. Dictionaries)

Notice that ‘pluck’ and ‘cast’ it from you, are both more or less violent, intense action words. While we’re not to take Jesus’ words to ‘cut off a hand’ or ‘pluck out an eye’ literally, what Jesus meant was that we should take strong measures to rid ourselves of sin, for it will be far better than finding ourselves in hell!  Another example of determined faith in ACTION, is the woman with the issue of blood —

Mar 5:24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
Mar 5:25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
Mar 5:26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
Mar 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
Mar 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
Mar 5:29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

Despite the throng (large crowd) pressing in to see Jesus, the woman, likely weak from her infirmity, nevertheless pressed through the crowd to get close enough to Jesus to ‘touch the hem of his garment.’ In doing so she was instantly healed.

Are we willing to do whatever it takes to press into and take hold of the Kingdom of Heaven to get our healing, deliverance, or whatever it is we need? God’s promises are for his sons and daughters.

Luk 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

“strive” – G75 agōnizomai From G73; to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or generally (to endeavor to accomplish something): – fight, labor fervently, strive.

Another non-passive, strong action verb which means to struggle, contend, labor, and fight; all of which are involved in entering the Kingdom of Heaven and appropriating God’s provisions and promises, for ourselves and for others.

Our laboring to enter the Kingdom could be compared to ‘child birth’ as we traverse a narrow passageway through many obstacles, trials, and tribulations that squeeze and press against us; yet the rewards for persevering and remaining faithful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will make it seem like nothing when we see Him face to face – Rms 8:18.

Maranatha Jesus!

Debra R. Stout, March 14, 2015

“Time Travel; God’s Way”

timemachine_modernIt is believed that Time is ‘multi-dimensional’ which would explain many mysteries, like the UFO phenomena, and others. From what I gather, we live in what’s called Linear time, which is a straight line with a past, present, and future. Because God dwells in Eternity, outside of time, he’s not subject to its limitations like we are. He’s the “I AM,” the Ever Present (Omnipresent) One; having no beginning and no end – Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.  Because he isn’t limited, we can travel backward and forward through time and space in the Spirit. There are quite a few examples in the Bible of ordinary mortals who were transported to another dimension, like the ‘third heaven,’ incidentally, where Yahweh’s Throne is (Isa 57:15) – 

The Apostle Paul2Co 12:2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven.
2Co 12:3 And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I know not; God knoweth),
2Co 12:4 how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Elijah the Prophet – 2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, which parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Note that Enoch was an ordinary flesh and blood mortal man when he was ‘taken up to heaven.’ What was special about him the Bible says, is that he “walked with God” – Gen 5:24 and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Did you get that? He WALKED WITH GOD! That means he was in God’s Presence every single day!  ‘took’ = H3947 לקח lâqach, to be taken from or out of, to be taken away, be removed;  snatch, take away (Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions)

Jesus’ Ascension – Luk 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.  ‘carried up’ G399 ἀναφέρω anaphero = to carry or bring up, to lead up; to lift up one’s self, to take upon one’s self (Thayer’s Greek Definitions).

And one day, awaiting Christians – 1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming of the Lord, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first;
1Th 4:17 then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. ‘caught up’= G726 ἁρπάζω harpazo 1) to seize, carry off by force 2) to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly 3) to snatch out or away (Thayer Definition)

This is time-travel God’s way, and those who belong to Christ won’t need a time-travel machine, spaceship, or flying saucer to get to heaven. Jesus will beam them up in the “twinkling of an eye!” – 1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Yahweh God is All-powerful (Omnipotent) and reigns over the entire Universe. Once he caused the Sun and the Moon to “stand still” for an entire day – Jos 10:12 Then spake Joshua to Jehovah in the day when Jehovah delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; And thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon. Jos 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, Until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. In another biblical account the prophet Isaiah prayed and God performed a miracle whereby the Sun’s rays turned backward ten degrees on a sundial – 2Ki 20:11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto Jehovah; and he brought the shadow ten steps backward, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz.sundial-istanbul One commentator on this passage states that the ‘shadow’ cast by the sun only appeared to go backward because the Shekinah glory of Yahweh, which is thousands of times brighter than our sun, blocked out all other light sources so that no shadows could be cast.

←Ancient Sundial

See – biblefellowshipunion.co.uk/2008/May_Jun/ Sundial. htm

There are other ways to alter time and events in the Spirit, one is through prayer and forgiving others. This truth was brought home to me in Jan 2014 when I know that my prayers for someone coupled with forgiveness, forever changed time and events; past, present, and future. That sounds a bit ‘out there’ I know, but it happened.  

The Hebrews have a very interesting view of time, they believed time wasn’t a separate creation outside of themselves as did the Greeks, but that time was human events. They also saw time more in terms of ‘quality’ versus ‘quantity,’ something people in modern society’s fast paced life miss. For a mind stretching exercise check out this link, http://ldolphin.org/time.html (Warning: it could blow your mind just a little). 

While our perceptions of time vary, there’s one element of time that every Believer can enter into, but not many do, and that’s eternal time. Eternal time has a different quality and feel to it than linear time. It’s far richer and deeper, and you’ll know you’re in it when you don’t feel rushed, and when it feels like there’s an endless supply of it; more than enough to get all your stuff done! How does one enter into it? By getting into the Presence of God – remember, he lives in Eternity, outside of time. So it’s in and through him that we may enter eternal time. 

On that note, I’ll end wishing every time-traveling believer in Yeshua (Jesus), an endlessly joyous journey to the outer realms of his glorious Kingdom! 

Debra R. Stout, June 6, 2015

 

 

 

GROANINGS & BIRTH PANGS

There are two types of groaning I will address in this article. One is the ‘groaning too deep for words’ which the Holy Spirit prays in us when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray for, and the other is the groaning of the earth before Jesus Christ returns.

Rom 8:26 And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; Rom 8:27 and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

‘groanings’ = stenagmos from stenazo; to make (intransitively be) in straits, that is, (by implication) to sigh, murmur, pray inaudibly: – with grief, groan, grudge, sigh.

There have been times in my life when I was going through difficult straits where I have experienced ‘groaning’ in the Spirit, which is a prayer that’s too deep for words. Once was when I was facing a life-altering decision which affected not only myself, but several other persons. Even though I and others had thought through that decision carefully and prayerfully, I still wasn’t completely sure I was doing the right thing. During the last agonizing moments before my decision would become irreversible, I began to pray with all my heart to God for a sign. In seconds my words were replaced with ‘groanings’ coming from deep within me in waves very similar to birth pangs! I began panting just like a woman in labor!

woman in laborThat was the first time I had ever experienced that kind of prayer, but I knew enough not to stop the Holy Spirit from doing what he wanted to do, so I went with the flow. In about five minutes or so, the prayer abruptly ended just like a woman’s labor pains do when an infant is born. Then a palpable ‘stillness’ came over me followed by a very clear verse of Scripture confirming my decision. As God’s peace filled me, I knew it was all right to go ahead with the plan that was in place. While that decision brought me sorrow, I knew that God was IN IT and that in time, he would work it for my good and the others who were directly affected.

“What mighty God we serve! What a mighty God we serve. Angels bow before him, heaven and earth adore him, what a mighty God we serve!” – Hezekiah Walker

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. – Frances J. Crosby, 1873

God never pressures or tries to force anyone to do anything. He has never and will never violate a person’s ‘free will.’ The Devil and demons on the other hand, pressure and use force to try and make people do what they want. If you’re in doubt about whether God is telling you to do something or not, ask yourself if you feel ‘pressure’ or ‘peace.’ If the latter, it is God, if the former, it’s either your own flesh or a devil speaking to you. Yeshua is the good Shepherd, who firmly yet gently leads his sheep. Before finalizing any major decision in your life, seek and then wait for God’s peace. If you don’t get it, wait until you do.

2Co 5:2 For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven: 2Co 5:3 if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 2Co 5:4 For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life.

‘groan’ = stenazo; to make (intransitively be) in straits, that is, (by implication) to sigh, murmur, pray inaudibly: – with grief, groan, grudge, sigh.

Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. Rom 8:20 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope Rom 8:21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

Creation itself was subjected to DECAY and CORRUPTION when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command in the Garden of Eden – Rom 5:12 Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned: ‘world’ = kosmos, Thayer Def. 3) the world, the universe

Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Rom 8:23 And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

‘groaneth’ = sustenazo; to moan jointly, that is, (figuratively) experience a common calamity: – groan together.
‘travaleth in pain’ = sunodino; to have (parturition) pangs in company (concert, simultaneously) with, that is, (figuratively) to sympathize (in expectation of relief from suffering): – travail in pain together.
‘body’ = soma, Thayer Definition: 3) is used of a (large or small) number of men closely united into one society, or family as it were; a social, ethical, mystical body, 3a) so in the NT of the church.

Glory be to God! Did you get that? The WHOLE CREATION “groans” as in LABOR PAINS, together with the Sons of God, Christ’s Body, for the COMPLETION of their REDEMPTION which is the GLORIFICATION of their physical bodies!

1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Co 15:54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Though our spirits are renewed or saved the moment we receive Christ, our souls need to be sanctified (a process) and our physical bodies need to be FREED from DECAY and physical death which is the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Then will our Redemption be completed, finished. Until that day arrives, all of creation GROANS and travails in pain for the Sons of God (born again believers) to be revealed!!! Hallelujah!!!

Now for the grand finale. You’ve probably heard about those loud, strange NOISES being heard all around the world not long ago. Many were saying that they were either Aliens getting ready to invade our planet, or even more bizzare, God’s trumpets sounding! Hechum, if you listen to a recording of those noises, they certainly do not sound like a trumpet! They sound like grinding, screeching, booming, and….GROANING! Those noises sounded really eery and creepy! Do you honestly think God’s angels would play trumpets that badly? When I heard them via youtube, I got a definite impression (God communicates through impressions too) in my mind of part of a Scripture verse, “the whole creation groaneth…” Then I understood that the STRANGE NOISES being heard around the world were the “groanings” of Creation yearning to be free from it’s bondage to the corruption imposed upon it by man’s sin – Romans 8:22.

Jesus said to WATCH for the SIGNS of the ‘end of the age’ and of his coming – Mat 24:33 even so ye also, when ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh, even at the doors.

Are you ready? 

Debra R. Stout, June 5, 2015

 

 

Fruitfulness; A Time For Purging

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know; fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.” 

After staying up most the night writing a letter to my girl, I sat down to rest in my lounge chair, and I sensed the nearness of the Lord. It felt like he was right there in the room with me. I couldn’t see his face or eyes, but caught a glimpse of his hair, which is dark and not quite shoulder length. He wore a plain white tunic with a sash or girdle around his waist. The collar had a small, shallow ‘v’ in the middle of it. His tunic didn’t shine brightly, but had a soft glow to it. He dims his brilliancy for us in order to accommodate our weak frames, otherwise we would be blinded by his brightness.

I felt so elated, I just wanted to jump out of my skin and fly away with him! My heart swelled with love for my Prince, and I softly sang songs to him, telling him of my love for him, as the words came.  It didn’t matter to me that I had been up all night. When you’re with him, time doesn’t matter. After about half an hour of soaking up his sweet presence, I couldn’t really hold anymore so stopped and got some rest. It was a beautiful visitation from the Lord, one I had been waiting for, one I really needed at this time in my life. For the past five years I have been going through a fiery furnace trial of my faith. gold crown with purple

Before I rested, he brought back to my mind a few lines from a song. First one was, “After every cross he brings a crown.” I knew immediately what he meant; I had borne my cross, and now he was bringing me the ‘crown of life,’ which I could actually feel. I haven’t always noticed the crown immediately upon giving or surrendering something to the Lord, but this time the crown came almost right away. You see, just as we may abide in Christ NOW and don’t have to wait til heaven; we may likewise wear a ‘crown of life’ now, for the crown comes after we have taken up our cross (surrendered our wills and laid down our rights, demands, desires, preferences, and flesh) to follow him wherever he goes.

He then gave me John 15:1-10 “If any man abides not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered…” And, “every branch that beareth fruit, HE PURGES it that it may bring forth more fruit.” (“purgeth”= kathairo; to cleanse of impurities, prune. Metaphorically: expiate from guilt.)  As a husbandman purges trees and vines from useless shoots, so does the Heavenly Husbandman cleanse his branches of impurities and things hindering their fruitfulness.

grape clusters hanging on vineGod purifies all true Christians so that they may be more useful. He takes away that which hindered their usefulness; teaches them; quickens them; revives them; makes them more pure in motive and in life. This he does by the regular influences of his Spirit in sanctifying them, purifying their motives, teaching them the beauty of holiness, and inducing them to devote themselves more to him. He does it by taking away what opposes their usefulness, however much they may be attached to it, or however painful to part with it; as a vine-dresser will often feel himself compelled to lop off a branch that is large, apparently thrifty, and handsome, but which bears no fruit, and which shades or injures those which do. So God often takes away the property of his people, their children, or other idols. He removes the objects which bind their affections, and which render them inactive. He takes away the things around man, as he did the valued gourds of Jonah Jon_4:5-11, so that he may feel his dependence, and live more to the honor of God, and bring forth more proof of humble and active piety. – Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

The message was clear – God was PRUNING ME, taking away from me that which was unhealthy and was hindering my walk. While deeply painful, there’s a sweetness to his pruning because I know he’s doing it for my good, because he loves me – Heb 12:6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:7 It is for chastening that ye endure; God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father chasteneth not? Heb 12:8 But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. It’s also sweet because he’s telling me that I have been ‘fruitful’ in my walk with him. Hallelujah! Well, sometimes I don’t feel like I’m bearing fruit, some days I feel I’m failing the course! Thank you dear Lord for telling me that I’m not as bad off as I thought. Our enemy the Devil works overtime to try and convince us we’ve veered so far off course, we’ll never find our way back again. Devil, you are a LIAR!

On top of that Rhema (living word), he brought back to my mind a line from a song – “There’s a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecc 3:1) And, “As we leave behind the ashes of old sorrows, he leads us on to where his love makes all things new.”

Again, his message was clear. He’s saying to me that it’s time now to leave behind the ashes of my old sorrows, and seek to fulfill his purposes for me. It’s time to stop mourning my losses and get on with my life, for he has something good for me, I just need to be open to it. He will bring it to me as I abide him. 

You see dear saint, the Spirit of the Lord can use whatever he wishes to speak into our lives. He can use a song, a verse of Scripture, a poem, etc. Don’t put God in a religious box of man’s making. You must think and see outside the proverbial box, in order to shama (hear) his voice. Don’t say God can only speak this way or that, he speaks to men in many different ways; in dreams, visions, signs, prophesying, inspired writings and works of art, etc. Be open and always ready to HEAR what he’s saying, for he is ALWAYS speaking to us. Problem is, we all TALK TOO MUCH, and are too busy most of the time to hear his Voice. “Be still, and know that I am God” – Ps 46:10.

Wishing every branch abiding in the Vine, a very fruitful life!

Shalom,

Debra R. Stout, June 3, 2015