EXTREME MAKEOVER – THE SPIRITUAL EDITION – PART ONE – TRUTH

Did you ever watch Extreme Home Makeover? In this reality show starring Ty Pennington, a team would swoop down upon a house desperately in need of rehab, and transform it into a structure that was barely recognizable.  The renovation team’s first step was to determine the goal.  What were the needs of the family they were working with?  What was the desired end product? 

Next, they must evaluate.  Everything from the foundation up would be carefully assessed.   Without a good foundation, nothing above it would remain standing long-term either!  Then the walls, interior, plumbing, electrical, and all other components of the house would be scrutinized.  Once the team had determined what could be salvaged and what must go, a plan of action could be developed.

With the goal in mind and plan in hand,  the strenuous and dirty work of demolition could commence. Perhaps the most challenging part of the process, it was muscle straining, messy, and backbreaking labor.  A walkthrough at this stage might give the impression that no progress was a being made. In fact, things appeared worse rather than better!

Once demolition was complete and debris removed, construction could begin. By the end of the process, the structure had been completely re-invented!

Might this brief description of the process of  renovating a physical structure offer insight into the  Extreme Makeover of the spirit and mind? As it is in the physical, so in the spiritual.

  After all, the Bible does reveal that our minds must be renewed, or we could say “renovated.”.

Rom_12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 Having become a new creation in Him, a process of deconstruction and reconstruction commences. First, a goal must be established.  Is a right relationship with God on your shortlist?  Is your goal to become a godly person, friend, and parent?  Is your desire to walk in step with Him instead of against Him? Would you like Him to lead you each step of the way?

Whatever your goals, you will need to review them often. During Extreme Home Makeover, blueprints and schematics were posted prominently at the worksite. It was crucial for the plans to be readily available to ensure the project remained on course. Not everything would be happening at once.  The foundation must be laid and cured before walls could go up.  Walls must be up before electrical and plumbing could be run. Spiritual renovation happens in phases as well.   Although we have a Master Builder Who far outshines Ty Pennington, posting our spiritual renovation plan will be reassuring. Especially during the uncomfortable deconstruction phase,  we may need to be reminded that our Builder has a goal and a plan and is doing what is necessary to ensure the integrity of the finished product.

Along the way, there will be fatigue, sadness, discouragement, and even tears. Breaking away from your familiar past is never without discomfort;  much like birth is not without pain. But the result in both cases is  – LIFE!  Just as labor pains signal that birth is imminent, the pain and discomfort you will experience during this spiritual reset are not only okay but signal that you are moving away from the old and towards the new!  Being squeezed in the birth canal is not comfortable, but it is profitable! It’s all part of the demolition process before rebuilding can begin!

Then, step two – evaluate. What is salvageable, and what must go? Are the thoughts that regularly course through your mind pure? Are they tearing down or building up others? Could they be rightly considered righteous and yet not self righteous?  Are they  moving you closer to your goals?  What about what you view via videos or online? Are you being exposed to things of Light, or elements of Darkness? Have you reviewed the language you use and the friendships you maintain?  Remember your goals. Are you supporting and protecting those things that are compatible with your desired outcome? Are you tearing down unhealthy strongholds?

Some determinations will be easy to make.  Ty Pennington’s team could quickly establish that the broken down front door was built using inferior materials in the first place and should be discarded. Likewise, you have always known that some elements of your former lifestyle were not constructed with quality materials. They have no place in your renovated heart and mind.

In some cases, not much is found to be worth keeping. Even that which is determined to be salvageable will need to be carefully inspected and sanitized and/or repaired before it will be suitable for use in the renewed structure. Allowing unholy content to take up residence in our hearts and minds without challenge is no less deadly than turning a blind eye to aggressive cancer cells rapidly multiplying in our bodies. Years of spiritual junk food and ungodly living will eventually culminate in a diseased soul! And yet, do not despair!  God is an expert at redeeming that which seems hopelessly lost!  His specialty is transforming trash into treasure! 

 One of the most critical steps, as we move forward, is to inspect our foundation.  If our life is not built upon God’s Word, it rests upon a crumbling base and will not hold up under stress.  (Matthew 7:24-27) The old cracked and sinking foundation must be broken up and hauled away before a new one can be laid. This process of tearing down the former begins by listening to the Holy Spirit as He convicts us about building materials that must go! We begin to build a new structure by developing a habit of not only reading God’s word but meditating upon it.  “Meditating on the Word”  should  NOT conjure up an image of sitting cross-legged on the floor with eyes closed and fingertips touching, clearing your mind of all thoughts as you hum and invite a spirit guide in! Don’t ever forget that spirits of darkness exist also!  The only “spirit” you should invite into your heart and mind is God’s Holy Spirit! And “clearing your mind can be dangerous!

Luke 11:24-26 24″When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”

Do not just remove the ungodly. REPLACE it with the GODLY!  Meditating on the Word means to read a passage slowly and consider what it means for you and how you are to incorporate its instructions into your life.  Turn it over and over in your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. That is His job, after all.  (John 16:13)

To begin our Extreme Mind and Heart Makeover, we will use Philippians 4:8 as our foundation.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report. If there be any virtue,  and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Starting with truth, we will proceed through the passage as we learn what the King of the Universe says we should concentrate upon. This will help us evaluate where we are and what renovation needs to take place.  The more we think upon a thing, the more it becomes part of who we are. And that results in the renewing of the mind!

This week, let’s begin by looking at a few verses about truth. You might even consider memorizing one or two and meditating upon them as you evaluate what is is in your heart and mind and coming out of your mouth.

Mat 15:18  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 

VERSES ABOUT TRUTH:

Psalms 25:5   Lead me in your truth and teach me: for You are the God of my salvation. On You do I wait all of the day.

Psalms 51:6   Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden parts You shall make me know wisdom.

Psalms 86:11 Teach me Your way, O Lord.  I will walk in Your truth.  Make my heart fear Your name.

Psalms 119:30   I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments have I laid before me. dlocked0 List T

IN ALL THINGS

It’s taken me a long time (like maybe 55-60ish years), but I finally understand what Paul meant about being content.  We humans like to be in control, mainly because we really don’t trust anyone  quite as much as we trust ourselves. After all, why would we allow anyone else the power to make decisions for us that could affect the rest of our lives? 

But … what if we could turn the control over to someone who would ALWAYS make BETTER choices for us than we would for ourselves?  EVERY time?  What if it was someone who arguably might love us more than we love ourselves?  Say…like…a Father? In fact, THE Father?

What if, instead of asking that my house sell, I ask for His favor, whatever that might be?  Even if  His favor means I am to stay put?  What if, instead of asking for that new job or a promotion in the current one, I ask for His favor (without defining for Him what “favor” would look like in my mind)?  Even if His favor does not include a new job or higher pay? What if, instead of pleading for the desires of my heart, I ask Him to change the desires of my heart to match what HE desires?  (a win-win situation for sure). Could that possibly be the true meaning of Ps 37:4  “Delight yourselves in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart?”  What if? ?? (Interestingly, the word translated as “delight” actually means to be soft, pliable. So, perhaps if I am soft and pliable to Him, he will implant within me (give me) the desires of my heart) . Just something to consider.

Well, I am definitely not perfect, as anyone who knows me well can confirm.  I admit I’m still learning. However, I can tell you this.  Turning ALL of my ways over to Him has resulted in incredible freedom and contentment.  I am learning that when I subdue my own thoughts and ways in favor of His (which are always higher), I WIN!   It results in freedom from worry. Freedom from stress.  Freedom from overworking my figure-er-out-er  ( smile).  I am learning that even closed doors can be favor!  It’s not rejection…it’s simply direction! As one of my old adult Sunday School teachers used to say “God’s will for your life is exactly what you would want if you had all of the information.”

I’m so grateful that the One Who sees around corners and through walls is willing and oh-so-able to take on the job of managing me!

Oh, Paul, I finally understand!

Php 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 

WHAT’S YOUR BELLA COOLA?

 

Friday evening (Erev Shabbat – evening of Sabbath), “Donna-the-racewalker” came to dinner.  You remember Donna. I introduced her earlier. She is my nearest fellow student/neighbor, and the fastest walker I have ever known.  Now do you remember?  Well, Donna is here in Israel for the year without her family also, and so Friday evening I invited her for Sabbath dinner.  Spaghetti sauce had been simmering in the slow cooker most of the day, and Donna brought a lovely salad.  We had a nice dinner, good conversation, and dug into the Scriptures together.  It was the perfect Erev Shabbat.

Among other things, Donna and I talked about our families and our homes.  With the exception of the two families from New Zealand, none of us knew each other before arriving on Israeli soil. Getting to know this special group of like-minded people from 8 nations, all of whom heard God’s whistle calling us to the Land, has been a most important and fascinating part of our education.

During the evening, Donna seemed quite teary-eyed at times and later she shared the reason. She said it would be so easy to grumble, and she does not want to disappoint her heavenly Father with grumbling.  You see Donna feels that Yahweh/God may intend for her to stay here for an extended period of time.  She senses Him telling her to attach to this land.  She says she feels Him letting her know this in her spirit and there is a struggle taking place.  A struggle…because of Bella Coola.

Bella Coola is where Donna makes her home. Bella Coola, British Columbia, is a small community of 2000 residents nestled in a green, lush valley.  It is a valley blessed with beautiful waterfalls, majestic views, deep rich soil, cool pure water, blue skies, tall green trees, and wildlife wandering into your yard.

You can see the struggle, can’t you?  Compared to Bella Coola, the land of Israel is….well….less….desirable.  In Bella Coola, you do not have to conserve water by not flushing each and every time… or by wetting yourself down and stopping the shower while you lather up or wash your hair before turning the water back on to finish your shower.  In Bella Coola, a cool breeze invigorates you and green is not a color you have to struggle to find.  In Bella Coola, construction does not require weeks upon weeks of hard labor and the use of heavy equipment to dig down through unending rock.  In Bella  Coola, you do not need to shake the sand out of your shoes when you reach your destination and in Bella Coola, you do not feel you need a shower when you arrive at that destination.

I can grasp her struggle.  We each have our own Bella Coola, don’t we?  It has always been so.  Why, even when God’s chosen people had been redeemed, freed from the evil slavery of Egypt through great signs and miracles…even then, they found it difficult to stay away from the “cucumbers and leeks” of Egypt, their Bella Coola.  Even in the face of the miraculous grace extended to Lot and his family, with angels actually taking them by the hand and escorting them out of harm’s way before Sodom was leveled….even then, Lot’s wife turned back to her Bella Coola. Whether that was her children or her home would only be a guess.

Over the last six years, since Leo has been gone, Yahweh/God has gently had me deal with some of my Bella Coolas.  At first, I thought I couldn’t give up any of Leo’s belongings.  Over the years, he has gently taught me the difference between Leo’s “things” and his “legacy” and I’ve been able to begin releasing the “things.”  Then I thought I would never be able to part with the home we built together.  Again, He has removed my heart from the “cucumbers and leeks” and helped me focus on those things that will pass through eternity.  Though He has not required me to give up the home at this time, He has at least taught me that IT is not precious.  If He had not helped me deal with this Bella Coola, I could never have come here, leaving it for even a time.  Part of Yahweh’s reason for sending me here, I am convinced, was to help me deal with my most tenacious Bella Coola – my precious daughter, Jessica.

I could NEVER leave her.  She needs me. I need her.  We need each other.  What if…what if...what if???

So, He has required me to start my education on dismantling this Bella Coola also.  Not dismantling my love for her or my concern.  Just agreeing with Him that I must be willing to say…”Blessed be the Name of the Master/AdonaiThy will be done.”   He still has work to do on me, this I know.  Why, just last night I had a strong case of Bella Coola-itis.  I missed my daughter so very much. I had not been able to talk to her in a couple of days and I really wanted to board a plane and fly home.  But alas, I really do want to learn the lesson of Lot’s wife.  Desiring to return to what we are suppose to release to Him, leads to our being totally paralyzed.  It results in forfeiting the opportunity to move forward, and alas, not even able to go back.  And if we did go back….we would share in disaster.

Which brings to mind another Scripture.  In Genesis 16, after Hagar has become pregnant by Abraham (you remember the story) she and Sarah are on the “outs”, and Hagar runs away.  When in the wilderness, she is visited by an angel of Yahweh/God who asks her a very interesting and important question “Hagar, where have you come from and where are you going?”

Now why would the angel ask this question?  Does the One and Only Almighty, omniscient God not know?  Or perhaps He did not communicate with His messenger.  No, of course not.   Perhaps this is the question He asks of each of us.  Perhaps He is teaching us what we need to evaluate. Where have we come from? Where are we headed?  In this case, Hagar was headed away from where she should be and towards….disaster.  Perhaps she had not thought it through.  She had just reacted based on emotion…hurt feelings…fear….pride. She was instructed to think it through and then make teshuvah (repent)… returning to where she had left. Sometimes, when things get tough….as with Donna and me longing for our Bella Coolas, our first response is to run away from where we have been placed and return to “it.”  This would be the time to do the evaluation test….what is our goal?  Where are we headed?

What is in our rear-view mirror?

In Lot’s wife’s case, she was instructed to leave evil Sodom behind and not return.  Perhaps, had she evaluated what she was leaving (evil and certain death) and where she was headed (to the place these angels were hand delivering them) she would not have looked back, longing to return to her Bella Coola.  Perhaps if she had done the where have you come from and where are you going test, her legacy would not be….well, what it is; a woman given an amazing gift of grace…an opportunity to flee from disaster..an opportunity to live out a legacy of miraculous delivery…but who squandered it, trading it for being paralyzed in time, no longer able to positively affect her children…or anyone for the Kingdom.  Just perhaps.

Donna has a pure heart that is inspiring to me.  She misses her Bella Coola. She mourns at the thought that she may be required to leave it for good and relocate…to barren desert sand and rocks and water shortages, sporadic hot water, and ever-present threat of war. Yet she has done the evaluation test and she knows from whence she came and where she is headed.  She has found that her overriding desire is to be faithful to her Bridegroom and to do what He desires. She still fights her fleshly emotions, but her goal is clear.

I looked up Bella Coola on the net. You might want to take a look yourself.  You’ll easily see why Donna loves it. Surely it is a bit of the Garden of Eden. Perhaps Donna will not be required to give it up after all.  Perhaps, like Abraham’s “sacrifice” of Isaac…she must just be willing to go up the mountain and bind her Bella Coola so it may no longer grasp her, and there lay it on the altar.  Perhaps then He will tell her (as He did Abraham), to take it off the altar and return to her place. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I’m still working on my Bella Coola, and I suspect I may find I have even more to work on.  I need to remember to be mindful of where I have come from and where I am headed.

In the meantime, I’m interested.  Do you have a Bella Coola?

Until later, I am

Purposing not to look behind,

Jacquetta

Originally penned in 2010 while living in the “West Bank”

 

 

SURVEY – PLEASE PARTICIPATE

Please, PLEASE, PUHLEEEZE participate in this short survey.  It is not necessary for you to provide your name if you don’t wish to and, believe me, I cannot identify you through your IP address if that is a concern.  Your input will greatly help me with a project upon which I am currently working. Lord willing, it will be published on this site in the future.

In these first questions, please answer from the perspective of when you were a child.

1.       What kinds of things did you talk to your parents about?  Were there particular topics or situations about which you desired their input? List some examples.        

2.       What sorts of things did your parents REQUIRE you to ask their permission before proceeding?

3.       If you can remember, what did you think about  your parents’ requirement for you to ask for permission to do what you wanted? At the time, did you have an opinion about why they had these rules?

4.       If your parents are now deceased, what questions do you wish you could ask them now?

Next, if you are a parent, please answer these questions from your perspective as a parent.

1.       What kinds of questions do your children ask you?

2.       What sorts of things MUST they ask you about before proceeding?

3.       What is your purpose in requiring your children to come to you for your input? What advantage do you have over your children that would make your input important?

4.       If your children are now adults, what do you WISH they would ask for your input about?

5.       When your children were young, did you spend individual time with them?   If so, why did you believe this to be important?

Next, if you are, or have ever been, an employer or supervisor…

1.       Are your employees allowed to make unilateral decisions in all matters?  If not, what sorts of decisions require your approval?

2.       Why is your approval necessary? What advantage do you have over your employees?

3.       Do you have an open door policy?  If so, what is the goal of such a policy?

Lastly…

1.       Do you have a regular physician?  Why?

2.       Can you write your own prescriptions?  Why do you think it is necessary for prescriptions to come from a licensed physician? What advantage does he or she have over you?

Okay, that’s it.  I’m sorry I do not know how to make this a fillable form.  You might want to just write your answers using a word processor program and then copy/paste them into the comments section.  Or, you could just write them in the comments section. I can probably figure out what you are answering, or you can identify them by section one, #1, etc.  Your answers will really help me and will be greatly appreciated.

And, one more question, just for fun.  Can you guess the project I am working on?

 

 

 

THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO

A small Bible study group recently met at the house that God owns but I inhabit : ). During the time that we were sharing prayer requests, a dear friend (who is pushing 80 while caring for her 90 something husband), said something like “I feel so helpless. At this point in my life, the only thing I can do is pray.”  And I can’t tell you how many times I have said something similar.  But, over the last few years I have spent some time considering that, and so I was able to reply.

“Oh, how sad that the ONLY thing you can do is enter the presence of the Most High, Creator, Defender, Mighty Fortress, Holy One of Israel, Ancient of Days and Mighty Warrior! You can only enter the very Throne Room at the lifting of His scepter, where the train of His robe fills the Temple and the prayers of the saints rise like incense continually. Where angels attend Him crying “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Are you telling me that you have a standing invitation to enter His presence? You get an audience with the King of Kings Who hung the moon and stars in the sky and beckons the waves to the shore?

What an enormous honor for me and kindness to me if you would enter the Throne Room with my name on your lips!  Even if you could personally provide all the needs for which we pray today, that physical provision would pale in the face of entering the Throne Room on behalf of those in need.  Do you realize how many times you may have been instrumental in the provision of finances, peace, healing, and the return of  prodigal sons because you did the best thing first? Please, don’t ever think of it as the only thing you can do when you have the ear of the King.”

The longer I have been on this journey, the more I realize something else about the petitions we bring before the King. If you are mentioning my name in the Throne Room (which, oh how I hope you will), more than my physical provision, physical healing, physical peace and physical favor, I would treasure your petition for  my spiritual food, spiritual healing, spiritual protection, spiritual guidance,  spiritual peace, and spiritual favor. Please implore the Master of the Universe to forego giving me what I want in favor of providing what He knows I most need.

And if you sometimes see DIScomfort in my life after you have presented your petitions, please don’t think that He did not hear or is slow to act. In fact, assume He HAS heard and is acting in response.  The seed must decay and break open before the new growth appears  just as there is struggle in a bird exiting an egg, a butterfly a cocoon, and a baby a womb. If the seed, the bird, the butterfly or the baby avoids discomfort, they will never experience life! And, after all, the physical will one day pass away. But the spiritual remains.

So, please PLEASE, don’t feel bad if the ONLY thing you can do is mention my name in the throne room. It is the most POWERFUL and LOVING thing you can do and I am most grateful.

Love,

Jacquetta

 

 

Isa 6:1  In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2  Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3  And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

When I posted Survivor Part One, I mentioned that Part Two would follow in a couple of days.  And here it is a week later, and it has yet to be posted.  Life has happened. The house God owns but I live in was finally placed on the market after much preparation. At the same time, work has been incredibly busy.  Tomorrow I will begin working four ten hour days for a couple of months before  returning home full-time.  Lord willing, I will be investing more time in this site, learning how to communicate more effectively the exciting information He is teaching. The goal  will remain that of magnifying His name.

With His help, Survivor Part Two – Food, will be posted later this week.  Food certainly plays a major role in every human’s life. In fact, a good part of each day centers around selecting, preparing or purchasing, and consuming food! It should, therefore, come as no surprise to us that we will discover much treasure hidden within its design!

In preparation for our consumption of Survivor Part Two – Food, please consider the following questions.

Is it even remotely possible that God created Adam, watched him walk across the Garden and collapse, before He recognized that man would require a power source?

Is God required to obey the rules of nature? Or are the rules of nature required to obey Him?  Did He drop us down onto this Earth with rules already in place?  Or were the Laws of Nature part of His purposeful design from the get-go?

Was it possible for God to create man without the need for a power source? Or perhaps He could have designed man with a solar panel, providing a continually renewable energy source without any effort required by man?

One might respond that the Creator gave us food as an energy source because He knew we would enjoy it. However, isn’t it also true that He programmed within our design the things we would enjoy?

Why would the Great I am create some foods, only to then make them off limits to His people?

What do you think food might represent spiritually?

If we gain understanding of His design of food physically, might it give us spiritual insight as well?

Well, that’s it for now. Chew on that (pun intended) for a few days and Lord willing, I will post Part Two next weekend. If I come to your mind, please pray for me as I traverse the many changes occurring in my life right now.

Until next time,

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

SURVIVOR PART ONE

When I first sent this out to an email group several years ago, a friend expressed concern that I was “playing into the fear.” I believe she was so sick (as am I) of fearmongering, that she did not read past the first few paragraphs and thus got the wrong impression of where I was going with the post.  Let me ask you to read on a bit before you make that determination. All may not be as it at first seems.

 I don’t know about you, but it seems that once or twice every year, I receive emails warning of some end-of-times event predicted to happen “soon.”   I’ve noticed that these warnings generally precede Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).  It seems some are always on high alert, anticipating the “last thing” to happen before the Messiah returns.  And there do seem to be more and more signs almost daily.  Personally, I do not know when it will actually happen.  I do know that it will happen eventually. I do know that we are one day closer today than we were yesterday and tomorrow we will be one day closer still. SOMEDAY, it will be THE day, but perhaps it will not be this year or next, or even this decade.  I do, however, see the following in Scripture.

Proverbs 22:3     The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

To that end, I have been compiling a list of what I believe to be the essentials of survival.  Indeed, even if no shaking takes place in the immediate future and we continue on as per usual, I am convinced that obtaining these supplies will mean the difference between life and death to us in the future and we should make them our top priority. 

Here is an admittedly non-comprehensive list of what one would need to survive through a disaster.

Water

Food       

Shelter

Communication device  

Basic clothing         

Antibiotics

Emergency Medical Supplies     

Light source  

Money       

Air source

Protection from enemies      

Waste disposal system

Leadership         

Rallying point

Green (no, I am not using this as a synonym for money)

Okay, let’s get started.

From livescience.com I quote

“If you’re ever stuck out in the wilderness, remember what survival experts call ‘the Rule of Threes’. You can live 3 minutes without air, though we don’t recommend trying. In a harsh environment — it’s snowing, say — you have 3 hours to survive without shelter. After 3 days, you need water, or you’ll perish. You can make it 3 weeks without food, though we promise you that won’t be fun. Despite this possibly helpful rule, some people have survived 8 to 10 days without water. Again, leave such shenanigans to the truly desperate.” 

As 65 percent of the human body, water is essential to people. Water flows through the blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and flushing wastes out of our bodies. It cushions our joints and soft tissues. Without water as a routine part of our intake, we cannot digest or absorb food.

In light of the above information revealing that we can survive only 3 minutes without air, we will move an air source to the top of the list followed by shelter (3 hours in a harsh climate), water (3 days), and then food (3 weeks). Now it will begin like this…

Air source           

Shelter

Water

Food

 AIR SOURCE

With only 3 minutes to survive without it, it seems that we should first make certain that we have  access to an air supply. Otherwise, no other preparations will matter. We will not be here to benefit from them. Once ,my husband and I were on a dive trip in Cozumel when the unexpected happened.  My husband, an expert diver, was typically able to stay under much longer than other non-expert level divers, certainly including me. Nervous and inexperienced divers tend to breathe more rapidly and thus consume more air. So, it was surprising to me when, on a diving excursion with a group of divers exploring a ship wreck, and somehow having found ourselves separated from our group, Leo grabbed me by the shoulders, turned me around, and showed me his air gauge. He was out of air.  OUT OF AIR!  We were more than 100 feet below the surface!!!!! Thankfully we were equipped with octopus rigs and Leo and I shared “my” air as we made our slow ascent to the surface with several acclimation stops along the way. I am thankful there is no video to document this terrifying excursion. I feel certain my eyes belied the terror I was feeling. So, I can tell you from experience, air is of the utmost importance. And it is interesting to note that He has designed it so. After all, did we need to need air?  Or did He purposely design us with this need? And if He did want us to need air, why would that be so?  Selah (pause and think about that).

Here’s a quote from Nobel prize winner, Dr. Warburg, extracted from an article about the body’s need for oxygen.

Cancer cells cannot grow in an oxygen rich environment. So, says Dr Otto Warburg, Nobel prize winner. Dr Warburg says that when oxygen is deficient within our cells and fermentation is exchanged for a cell’s energy, the pathway to cancer is opened. When the normal respiration of body cells is replaced by cell respiration deficient in oxygen, the road to cancer has been opened.

All functions of our body are regulated by oxygen. It must be replaced every moment because 90% of our lives depends on it. Oxygen energizes cells so they can regenerate. Our body. uses oxygen to metabolise food and to eliminate toxins and waste through oxidation. Our brain needs oxygen each second to process information. All of our organs need a great deal of oxygen to function efficiently. The ability to think, feel, move, eat, sleep, and even talk all depend on energy generated from oxygen.

Oxygen is the only element capable of combining with almost every other element to form the essentials components necessary to build and maintain our body. For example oxygen + nitrogen+ hydrogen= protein : oxygen+ carbon+ hydrogen=carbohydrates : oxygen +hydrogen=water.

How important is oxygen to a healthy body? Many experts conclude that a lack of oxygen in human cells and tissue is linked to a vast variety of and quite possibly all health problems and disease, and that supplemental oxygen therapies have remarkable physiological benefits. It plays a very important role in the body acting as guardian and protector against unfriendly bacteria and disease organism. Most scientists and doctors reiterate that metabolic disorders are the result of blood deficient in oxygen.

One might conclude, therefore, that God created us with a need for oxygen in order that our bodies might be equipped to carry out all of these functions. But wouldn’t that assume that God was problem solving – figuring out how to give us a way to get rid of cancers and such?  But wait!  Why didn’t He just get rid of cancer from the beginning? He had no need to problem solve with an “after market” solution!  Simply fix the glitch and no more cancer and disease! There could have been no such thing! Couldn’t the Almighty Creator, the Great I Am, have “figured out” how to create us with no possibility of disease at all? 

So, if He did want us to absolutely HAVE to have oxygen, what would be His purpose?  What could He be trying to communicate to us?

If you have been following this site for – well, for ANY length of time, you know by now that most, if not all of the postings reflect the belief that He purposely designed all things physical, to mirror spiritual truths. Will we find that to be the case with our requirements for survival as well?

The word used in Scripture for air is ruach. Here it is from the Strong’s Lexicon.

רוה       roo’-akh   H 7307

From H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): – air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y). Total KJV occurrences: 378

 Some of you may recognize this word, ruach, as being part of the phrase Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit) or Ruach Elohim, (Spirit of God) in the Scriptures. It first appears in the second verse of Genesis.

Gen 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit (ruach) of God moved upon the face of the waters.

 Gen 6:3  And the LORD said, My spirit (ruach) shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.  

Exo 31:3  And I have filled him with the spirit (ruach) of God, in wisdom, and in nderstanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

 In the Greek of the New Testament, the word is pneuma.

G4151   pneuma    pnyoo’-mah

From G4154; a current of air, that is, breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively a spirit, that is, (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy spirit: – ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Compare G5590. Total KJV occurrences: 385

 Now perhaps we can see why He might have wanted us to require air! Air is the picture of the Holy Spirit! Air (Holy Spirit) starvation means death. We see that his physical design of the human being which includes our vital requirement for air or breath teaches us a very important principal. We cannot survive without His Ruach!

And, miraculously, this air/breath/wind/ruach/pneuma is readily available near you. Anyone can afford it.  In fact, Yeshua Himself has told us where we can go to immediately receive our life-sustaining supply of Ruach!  He has already paid the bill! 

 Without the Ruach, your survival will not be worth the taking. Oxygen/ruach deprivation results in death of the brain and descent to life in a vegetative state and eventually death of the entire body. Please make certain that you have secured your supply of ruach! (Please scroll back up to the above information regarding the body’s requirement for air. Read again, replacing oxygen with Holy Spirit.  I think you will find it interesting and exciting!) I have bolded some of the functions of air that we can readily see relate also to the Holy Spirit. – guardian, protector, provider, removes waste and toxins (sin), etc.)

 And, astoundingly, within His design of “air” in the physical, our Magnificent Creator has also hidden the secret to keeping and even increasing the Ruach spiritually!  Remembering that His design is meticulous and purposeful in absolutely every aspect, and that absolutely no minute detail is arbitrary, consider this question with me. What is necessary for the earth to maintain its supply of oxygen? Plants! If we can discern how plants produce oxygen, perhaps we will have a better understanding of where the Ruach comes from and how to maintain our supply! After all, haven’t you had periods of life when you could feel the Spirit so strongly and then others when you struggled to feel it at all?  What causes the Spirit to wax and wane and what can be done to keep the waning to a minimum? Let’s see if studying the physical can shed some light on the spiritual.

 Plants produce oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Simply put, photosynthesis occurs when the plant takes in energy from the sun and water to produce sugar. At the end of this process, the waste product is oxygen. Interestingly, this process cannot happen during the dark, nor can it occur without water. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that man is compared several times in Scripture to plants.  Psalms 128:3 and 144:12 both compare our children to plants. And in 2 Kings 19:26, people are compared to green herbs, vegetation, and grass. We’re also compared to trees, olive shoots, branches, etc. Righteousness, Word of God, and God Himself, are referred to as seed, plants, and the Tree of Life.

 I guess it should therefore come as no surprise that within the design of physical plants, God has hidden treasure. We need oxygen because HE wants us to need oxygen and for no other reason. Within the physical requirement which He ordained for the production of oxygen, He has pictured for us the fact that without the Light of the World, there will be no Ruach. Without the Living Water, there will be no Ruach. Since the Scripture several times compares man to plants (the grass of the field, wheat, trees, etc.), perhaps His design reveals that the Holy Spirit is produced when we spend time in His Light combined with the Water of cleansing.

 Growth?  My mother used to say, “When you’re green you grow; when you’re ripe you rot.”

There is much profound truth in that little saying.  Whenever we think we are “done,” we are both done and dying!  Continuing to learn and grow through reading of Him, studying Him, spending time with Him, having intimate conversations with Him, keeps our oxygen/Ruach supply coming. Just as plants produce oxygen, so our growth and putting on fruit produces more Ruach. Don’t end up with an empty tank!  Growth and oxygen/ruach are dependent upon one another and our survival is dependent upon both! During the treacherous times in which we live, being 100 feet beneath the surface with no Ruach would be devastating!!!

 Now that we have secured an air supply, let’s turn to the next item on our list.

SHELTER

This shelter must be mobile/portable as we may indeed need to be moving from place to place. It must be durable, affordable, and practically indestructible. Exposed to the elements without shelter for protection, we would surely perish. Let me recommend a Shelter that is mobile/portable, inexpensive, readily available near you and nonperishable. 

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change; And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. Psalms 91:2   

“The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’ Exodus 33:22   

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Psalms 31:20   

You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. Psalms 46:1   

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalms 71:3   

We could all go out and empty the superstores of super tents and foldable shelters. We could “invest” in underground home shelters constructed from culverts and/or storage pods, and yet, if we are not in the Shelter of the Most High, all would still be for naught.  

Mat 16:26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  

Last in our list for today is…  

WATER

Again, I quote from lifescience.com.

“After 3 days, you need water or you’ll perish. You can make it 3 weeks without food, though we promise you that won’t be fun. Despite this possibly helpful rule, some people have survived 8 to 10 days without water. Again, leave such shenanigans to the truly desperate. 

As 65 percent of the human body, water is essential to people. Water flows through the blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and flushing wastes out of our bodies. It cushions our joints and soft tissues. Without water as a routine part of our intake, we cannot digest or absorb food. “

Wow!  Do you realize how important water is!?!  Even if we had food, without water the nutrients could not nourish our bodies. Without water, even if we had air, the oxygen could not reach our brains and the rest of our cells.  Without water, even if we had oxygen and food, the wastes could not be removed and this alone would result in our death by poisoning!  Without water…OH WITHOUT WATER!! 

Devastation!!!!

Thankfully, the particular kind of Water you desperately need can be obtained without cost and is readily available near you. It has stood the test of time, is non-perishable and weightless which makes it very easy to transport when needed.

Joh 4:10  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

Joh 4:14  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Again, we should ask ourselves, why did He create us with this insatiable need for water? Why has man always had to settle near a source of water? Why did He design us in such a way that if we have no water, we die? Did He design water (as we have seen that He did air), to mimic aspects of Himself that He desperately wants us to grasp? Can we then look at the design of water and learn about Him?  I am excited to show you a few exciting spiritual/physical parallels implanted within the design of water! 

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Water is the only element on earth naturally occurring in three forms; liquid, gas, and solid. If any of the three forms was to disappear, the hydrological system would not operate as it does today, and life would be drastically changed, if not impossible.

As rainwater travels through the atmosphere, it picks up dirt and toxins which are then carried beneath the ground with the waterAs the Water rises back up through the ground, the impurities are filtered out as the Pure Water rises from the ground and returns to the heavenlies through the process of evaporation.

Can you BELIEVE how perfect the picture is????? Didn’t Yeshua, our Living Water, descend from the Heavenlies, pick up our “impurities,” pass beneath the ground where the impurities were filtered out, and then return to the Heavenlies spotless, to come again??? And here’s more!

The same amount of water (and indeed the same Water) exists on earth today as at creation!  And now we see that even physical water is “everlasting” and “unchangeable.”  It/He is the same as it/He was in the Garden of Eden! 

Water can come in the form of judgment or blessing.

Of all nutrient laden food and liquids that humans ingest, water, salt and honey are the three which have a peculiarity in common. They never spoil. All three are used to cleanse and heal and all three have significant roles in Scripture. Selah (pause and think about that).

It is interesting to note that scientists indicate that the maximum amount of time humans can survive without water is three days.  Thank God that our Living Water, Yeshua, rose pure and imperishable after three days in the ground or we would have all perished!

Do you see the parallels He has implanted within His design?  Do you see why He desired us to need Water?  Do you see what He has been communicating since the Garden?  We MUST have access to water or we will not survive!  We MUST have access to water or we cannot be cleansed!  We MUST have access to water or we will not be able to use any (spiritual) food we might obtain!  We MUST have WATER! 

Today we will leave it here and continue on with the rest of the list in a day or two. It is impossible to know what the coming days and weeks will bring. But no matter what, with His provision of our Air, our Shelter, and our Water, we have nothing to fear.   

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name (strength, power, character) of the LORD our God.     Psa 20:7

May we all learn to lean on the Everlasting Arms and rest in the Prince of Peace, the Mighty Warrior and the King of Kings. Sam’s and Wal-Mart and the local gun shop will never provide for or protect us, and they certainly do not love us enough to die for us (or at all, for that matter). Thankfully, we have access to a Provider and Sustainer for that!

And with that, we can all be

SURVIVORS!

 

MYSTERY WOMAN CCF – CONCLUSION – FRINGE BENEFITS

 

Okay, Mack, now that you have your coffee, I think we’re ready to begin.

As we discussed yesterday, it seems almost certain that our Mystery Woman would  have heard whispered stories about “Yosef and Miriam’s son” for most of her life. But it is likely that it wasn’t until he began his ministry, and rumors of miracle healings and even the dead being raised started circulating, that she began to take true interest. At first, it was all about her. After all, she had a dire need, and dire needs often make us more apt to be interested in a Savior. In fact, Mack, during my investigation, I noted that  many of those who experienced miracles had one particular thing in common.  They were all desperate and out of options.

 Presumably , Rabbi Yeshua could have healed them at any time, whether or not the person needing healing was in his presence.  In fact, two of Yeshua’s  disciples, Matthew and Luke, record just such an instance. A centurion came to Rabbi Yeshua asking Him to heal his servant who was not present.  He indicated that he believed Yeshua could simply say the word and the servant would be  healed. Yeshua commented on the great faith of this centurion.  It is interesting to note that it was the centurion’s faith which resulted in the healing of his servant. I guess that could be comparable to intercessory prayer. In any case, it does appear that an important component of the miracle was that the person needing the miracle was no longer seeking rescue from any other source.

Mack, I think it is important that we document our recent discussion regarding this.  I told you that I was struggling with the notion that our mystery woman could have been spared her twelve years of pain and grief, and yet He allowed her to suffer. During our discussion, you asked me a question which  kept me awake but did eventually lead me to a better understanding. Do you remember what you asked?

“I believe I asked if faith could possibly be genuine faith (conviction of truth) as long as a back-up plan remains active.”  “That was it” I replied.  “And your question harassed me for a couple of nights. I turned it over and over in my mind until the light finally flickered on.  The answer is no.  No, faith is not genuine faith if you are still holding onto a backup plan.  Either you truly believe or you don’t believe at all. Faith doesn’t allow for a plan B.  Now, that’s not to say that we always know the will of God.  However, once we have come to  the point of conviction of truth, all other plans are deleted. A backup plan actually is evidence that no authentic faith exists. Abraham, Noah, Moses, Daniel, and the others in the Hall of Faith, did not have back-up plans.  Their faith was so complete that there was no question to be entertained. No wavering back and forth or trying to figure out what to do. Their faith had made their decisions and they waited  for as long as it took. even if that was for HUNDREDS of years – and sometimes it was!

This investigation has given me a lot to think about personally. It certainly would have been to the advantage of our mystery woman (and in fact for ALL of those we encountered during our investigation) to give up their  own solutions sooner rather than later.  And now, shall we get started?

“Okay, M.J., we’re finally here!   We are ready to conclude this investigation.  When Minus assigned this cold case to us a few months ago, we would never have dreamt that there would still be this much information to be discovered after so many years.  I think we both believed the case would be open and shut in a matter of days. But that has not been the case.  With the help of those who have gone before us, I believe we have indeed been able to add value to the file. I know I personally will never look at the mystery woman in the same way. Nor will I understand my personal relationship with the Messiah in quite the same way. All that is left is to conclude and file our last report. Are you ready?  Minus has already been in here this morning asking when he can expect it on his desk. I told him it was our intention to finish well and finish today. So, let’s begin our final day. Tell me what you’ve got.”

“Okay, Mack. First of all, before I present what I believe would be a plausible scenario, let’s again set the scene. Some of this will be a review for the file “

“As we have discussed It seems probable to us that our Mystery Woman would have heard rumors about “Yosef and Miriam’s son” for most of her life.  After all, claims of a virgin birth, angels visiting shepherds to announce this birth, wise men arriving from the East approximately two years later being led by a star, all would have been such outlandish tales that they surely would have garnered attention. It is not difficult to imagine that some saw these things as miraculous while others most likely dismissed or even mocked these claims. Still, our mystery woman probably was at least familiar with some of them.  Once the rabbi’s ministry began, when he was approximately 30 years old, we see a huge uptick in new rumors regarding him. This would certainly have led to the resurrection of the old stories. As miracles followed him throughout the region, his notoriety grew, and speculation must have run rampant. In fact, this point at least can be proven.  The file contains multiple witness reports documenting that his fame was rapidly spreading and large crowds (greater than 5000 people strong at times) were known to be congregating to hear and see him.

It is interesting and important to our investigation to note two things – 1) Even though the mystery woman had most likely been hearing about the miracles that followed him for at least weeks, if not months or years, until this particular day, she continued to seek rescue elsewhere.   2)  Presumably, if he indeed was omniscient and omnipotent, he could have spared her twelve years of suffering and healed her before she sought him out, and yet He did not.  Why would these two things be so? We will discuss this later as we summarize our report.

It appears that it wasn’t until widespread rumors of miracles of healing, raising the dead, and feeding the hungry began circulating, that she began to take true interest. At first, it was most likely all about her. After all, she had a dire need, and dire needs often make us more apt to be interested in a Savior. She had done everything she could do and was out of options. Therefore, it is not difficult to imagine that her initial interest was completely self-serving. She would have flocked to ANYONE who might offer hope of healing. But somewhere along the line, she had experienced a change of heart. She was ready to receive what had been waiting there all along. Perhaps she ceased grasping for physical healing, and instead became focused on accepting spiritual healing –  His grace, the divine influence upon her heart. Responding to this divine influence, as she heard and evaluated the rumors, she left the Grace station and began traveling along spiritual train tracks headed towards the station of Faith.

And now, the foundation has been reviewed and we are ready to set the scene that I envision.”

To get the most out of this exercise, we will need to return to the scene. As you will recall, we previously concluded that she very likely would have been at the well daily and at the marketplace every couple of days, where she would have been exposed to whatever chatter was taking place.  In the days or weeks leading up to the incident, surely excitement was building in the region as more and more reports surfaced. As this rabbi and his entourage drew closer to their village, the population of the region would have ballooned.  People came from every direction, traveling through the desert heat from one well and one community to the next, hoping to see this miracle-performing rabbi from Nazareth.  It is probable that as she made her way to the market every few days, she heard ever-increasing snippets of conversations.

Look with me out over the marketplace, now swollen with groups of men all along the dusty road. Do you see her lingering just past that group of men, pretending to search through her money pouch, giving her the opportunity to “overhear” their animated conversation?  Do you see her sitting under the lone tree, pretending to rest, her ears turned towards another group deep in discussion?  Do you note that she lingers at the vendor tables far longer than usual? 

Surely, she must have encountered both those who were excited to see the rabbi and those who scoffed.  Let’s listen in. “Isn’t this just Yosef and Miriam’s son?”  “Don’t you remember the wild stories circulated at his birth?”  “Certainly, someone has an agenda!”  “Messiah, shemiah”  “Swinewash!”  “But he did raise that dead man, and the ruler’s daughter!”  “And there are many here who claim to have been part of that crowd 5000 strong who ate the bread he produced out of nothing!” “It does seem as though almost all who encounter him experience a miracle!”  “But the NERVE of him!  The things he is saying in synagogues!”  “A messiah – from Nazareth?  Never!”

As we observe her “listening in” on countless conversations, we notice that she is becoming more and more agitated. Or is it excitement? She seems to be experiencing a struggle of mind and spirit. While she desperately wants to believe that he could and would heal her, this inexplicably is not the question foremost in her mind!  Instead of “Can He heal me, the question has become – ‘Might he actually be the long-awaited, anxiously-anticipated Messiah of Israel?’

Her heart beats wildly in her chest as she considers the possibility as well as the ramifications. Do you see her remove herself from the fray and go to the well?  She is pacing there, mumbling under her breath.

What had she learned by listening to her father over the years about the Messiah?  What had she heard the righteous men discussing as she purposely passed slowly through the city gates on many occasions?

Bethlehem (Beit Lechem – House of Bread) rang a bell. Oh, yes, the Messiah was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem.  And, as a matter of fact, although he might have been RAISED in Nazareth, Rabbi Yeshua was BORN in Beit Lechem!

And it was said he would be born of a virgin.  Ahhh, that was ANOTHER of the rumors that had circulated after Rabbi Yeshua’s birth. It was claimed that Miriam had never known a man and found herself pregnant.  Everyone had thought it ridiculous at the time. But now, with the recent developments, might it be true?

The Messiah would cause the blind to see, the lame to walk, the dead would be raised. That was straight from the prophets!  Hadn’t she just heard a group of men talking about rabbi Yeshua, as they addressed that very prophesy?

Luk 7:18  The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19  calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20  And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21  In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22  And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23  And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” 

He was surely referring to the prophet Isaiah! He was answering John’s question. He was identifying Himself as the Messiah prophesied of by Isaiah!

Isa 29:18  In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. 19  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. 

And reports were widely circulated and confirmed by many that Rabbi Yeshua was doing these things!

What else did she know about the prophesied messiah?  She paced under a tree next to the square as she tried to digest all she had heard as well as that which was vying for space in her heart and soul!  Was He?  Was it possible? As she paced, she recited under her breath all the things she had heard.   Born in Beit Lechem.  Of the House of David. Born of a virgin.  Miraculous healings followed Him.  He had even been reported to on more than one occasion raise the dead! The blind DID see. The lame DID walk.  

And then, as she wavered between possibility and truth, I believe it happened.  She had acknowledged His divine influence upon her heart and had reached the next station on her journey – the station of Faith. She was convinced and convicted of Truth. She believed! All the evidence agreed!  He WAS THE MESSIAH!

And now that she had come to the conclusion that Rabbi Yeshua was the Messiah, something else nagged at her. There was another prophesy she had heard talked about over the years and it had something to do with the Messiah and healing.  Was it from the old prophet Malachi?  She was so excited to have identified Messiah in her heart that it was difficult to remain focused. Just to think, soon she would see the Messiah in person! 

Malachi. Malachi. Malachi whose name means “my messenger.”   What did Malachi have to say about the Messiah? Oh, yes. Now she remembered!

Mal 4:2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  (calves that have their every need provided).

“And right there, Mack. Right then and there is when it clicked, and she decided what she must do!” I believe that, based upon her actions, there was no doubt that she had been thinking about the words of Malachi!

“Alrighty then, M.J. You have officially stumped me.  What on earth are you talking about?  Yes, I do see that by the time directly preceding his arrival in her area, she would have heard the reports of the miracles following him. And, because of this alone, she would have been drawn to him. After all, she needed a miracle.  And I would even concede that there could be the slightest POSSIBILITY that she had recognized that He was the Messiah. But I don’t think you have come near to proving that. It is obvious that she would have heard the reports, and yes, she most likely heard some discussion of this Messiah theory. And I can also concede that it is reasonable to conclude that she may have known enough about prophecies in the Tanakh (Old Testament) to see a connection, if indeed there was one. But what brings you to the assumption that this prophecy by Malachi influenced her at all? I think you still have some convincing to do! And, I definitely do NOT recall seeing any reports (during this investigation or otherwise) of this rabbi or any other rabbi having wings! This, to me, is ridiculous! You have taken it too far! I am totally confounded that you see in this verse something that would cause her to do what she did! So, WHAT are you talking about and what does Malachi’s prophecy about the Messiah having wings have to do with this case! In fact, if anything, you would think that this prophecy would DISqualify him as Messiah. Again, I have thus far seen ZERO descriptions of Yeshua with wings!”

“Oh, no, Mack.  You are wrong!  The evidence on this one is abundant! He certainly DID have wings and she without doubt knew it! It is actually what demonstrates that she DID believe him to be the Messiah! And I believe I can prove it! Take a look at this. Be patient for a few minutes more.  You won’t be sorry.

First, we can agree that this passage from Malachi is a Messianic passage, right?  I mean, if you read the entire passage in context, it becomes obvious.  So, let’s start with that as a foundation.

Now I can’t wait to show you the passage with the Strong’s numbers.”

Mal 4:2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;H3671 and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

“You’ll notice that I have highlighted the Strong’s number associated with the word translated into English as “wings.”  We’ll come back to that. First let’s find the same word in another verse. Remember, to locate the same original language word, we will need to search for the Strong’s number associated with it, as it might have been translated into English as a different English word.  In this case, we will search for H3671.  And when we do, the following verse is located.”

Num 15:38  Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders H3671 of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders H3671 a ribband of blue: 

“Do you see that? This time, instead of being translated as “wings”, the same Hebrew word has been translated as “borders.”  Let’s see what the definition of H3671 actually is!”

H3671        כָּנָף       kânâph       kaw-nawf’

From H3670; an edge or extremity; specifically (of a bird or army) a wing, (of a garment or bed clothing) a flap, (of the earth) a quarter, (of a building) a pinnacle: –  + bird, border, corner, end, feather [-ed], X flying, + (one an-) other, overspreading, X quarters, skirt, X sort, uttermost part, wing ([-ed]).  Total KJV occurrences: 109

“Now, do you see Mack?   Do you see?   He DID have wings!  And if, as in the scenario I am proposing, she now identified Him as the Messiah (the Sun of Righteousness spoken of by Malachi), she KNEW that He would have healing in his “wings!” She had already experienced His grace (divine influence upon her heart) and that divine influence was reflected in her life as she wrestled with the notion of Who He was. This divine influence then leads her to the station of Faith (conviction of truth), and her Faith was completed by action as a natural response. Her natural response action – grabbing hold of the fringe attached to his wings. Grasping His wings was proof that she knew Malachi’s prophecy and recognized Him as Messiah. There would have been no other reason to do so.  Since He was Messiah, healing would be in His wings!

And THAT’S what started the miracle, Mack!  Grabbing hold of the fringe attached to His wings amounted to her confession of her belief! It completed some kind of a spiritual circuit and released power that immediately stopped the flow of blood and saved her life!”

“Wow, M.J… I have to say I am impressed!  Amazing work!  And I am quite sure you didn’t stop there because, now that we know the significance of the wings, there is another obvious question in my mind.”

“Why the fringe? Is that it?”  Without waiting for a response, I continued.  “When you see pictures of orthodox men, what do you notice?” I pulled a photo from my briefcase and pushed it across the desk to Mack.

 

“Orthodox men, even today, always wear four-cornered garments with fringes (or I think I have heard them called tzit tzit or something like that) attached to each corner or, I guess, “wing” of their garment.” Most of the time this garment is worn under their shirts.  Their prayer shawls also have fringes on the four corners. 

“But do we know why?”

“Yes, indeed!”  As noted, and as documented in the Scripture cited above, the people were to place “fringes” on the wings of their garments. One of these fringes is what the documentation shows our mystery woman grabbed hold of. 

Let’s look at that Scripture again but we will now include the previous verse as well as a couple of subsequent verses to get the whole context.”

Num 15:37  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 38  Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: 39  And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that you may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that you seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to go a whoring: 40  That you may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.

This is only one of several verses that connect these fringes with remembering and, in fact, doing the commandments. So, it appears to me, that first of all, grabbing hold of the wing of his garment was testimony to the fact that she believed He was the Messiah. Otherwise, she would have had no reason to expect that doing so would have any effect. Secondly, symbolically, she was presenting a picture of grabbing hold of the commandments of the Messiah! She was demonstrating both! She reached for the corner of His garment demonstrating her understanding that He was the Messiah. She took hold of the tzit tzit demonstrating that she understood that it is through His commandments that the circuit is completed and healing, life-restoring, power is released! One without the other would not have been effective.  No miracle would have ensued if she merely saw Him as Messiah but disregarded His commandments.  After all, if she REALLY believed Him to be the Messiah, would there be any question about following His instructions? Wouldn’t this be the natural outcome – the reflection in the life, of having conviction of the truth of His identity?  And yet, following His commandments without recognizing Him as Messiah, ALSO would have had no result.”

Luk 6:46  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 

Joh 5:46  For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

And, lastly, this next verse is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled and talks about the Bride of the Messiah.

Rev 12:17  Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea. 

Whoa, M.J.!  I’m stunned! This is quite impressive!  I would have to say that, although your suggested scenario of how it may have happened, cannot be proven, the “bones” of your theory resonate as truth and perhaps COULD be proven!  At least, I believe you have proven the connection between the wings and healing of the Messiah.  And I believe you have also presented proof for the connection between the fringe (which would have been on the wings) and following the commandments!  You have also provided at least circumstantial evidence that she likely would have known much of what He had been doing in the region. And you have demonstrated that He often said things that amounted to a claim of Messiahship!

“And just one more thing to top it off, Mack. Are you aware that others were subsequently healed by taking hold of the fringes of His garment?  Take a look at these witness statements from witnesses Matthew and Mark!”

Mat 14:36  and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. 

Mar 6:56  And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. 

“Wow!  I don’t remember ever having seen that!  I must say, M.J., that was EXCELLENT investigative work!  The only other question I believe we promised Minus to include in our report had to do with the number twelve. Did you discover anything about the number twelve?”

“Yes, I did.  The number twelve has historically been associated in Scripture with governmentTwelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, twelve disciples, twelve entrances into the New Jerusalem, etc.  So, looking at it that way, perhaps the information given in this case study regarding the twelve years she had been having this issue, might hint at the fact that she had up until this point been under the wrong “rule.” And I believe this has been proven as well.  After all, Holy Writ insists that we should –

Mat 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 

“I don’t know about you, Mack, but this is another verse that I believe I had grossly misunderstood for years.  I always thought seeking the Kingdom of God was about winning souls for the Lord. But is it?  A kingdom is a place where He is King, and we are not!  It is the place where He owns everything, and we do not. It is the place that we are subjects and He is Master. After doing my own extensive investigation of this verse (in another case called The Bondservant), I have come to the conclusion that we are each to first be about turning all that we “own,” “do,” and indeed “are” to His control.  Once we do that, HE is responsible to care for His subjects and we have but to obey.

Up until now, we know that she had NOT made this transition from self-appointed master of her own destiny to bondservant of the Messiah, because witness statements document that she was attempting to accomplish her own healing through many physicians.  As long as she had not come under His kingship and turned over ownership of even her health and resources, He had to allow her the free will to do so.   It was only when she saw these other “saviors” (doctors) for what they were, powerless to help her, that she was able to seek the True Physician. She was no longer “Master of her own fate” but had become His subject, His bondservant, willing to accept whatever fate He determined for her. It was only after she had given up all control, and truly accepted Him as Master, that He was able to do that which He had always wanted to do – restore life.  It was only then that she could kneel before Him in repentance, reach through the crowd to grab hold of the corner of her Messiah’s garment and be made whole!

Made whole. Oh, that reminds me. The last thing He said to her.

Luk 8:48  And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: your faith has made you whole; go in peace. 

As we conclude this last report, let’s break that down.

Daughter, your conviction of truth completed by action has delivered, protected, saved you. Go in shalom.

Shalom is a common Hebrew word even today.  It is used for both hello and goodbye and is often translated into English as the word “peace.”  And yet, it means more than that.  Shalom does not merely mean lack of chaos or friction. Shalom, in its purest form, means completeness. Rabbi Yeshua’s parting words with our mystery woman encouraged her that she had not only been saved, delivered, and protected, and healed, but that when His grace connected to her faith, she had also been made whole through her connection with Him.

Mack, I believe that completes this file.  I believe we have moved this cold case file forward in several ways. We have determined that:

The mystery woman remains unnamed in order for each of us to see our own reflection within her struggles and triumphs.

Blood is central to this account in order to highlight its importance not only physically but spiritually. And we ALL have a blood issue that can only be healed by His touch.

Faith is not a feeling or emotion but a deep conviction of truth which naturally includes actions that are the natural outcome of that conviction.

Grace is not ONLY unmerited favor but is the “divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life.” Stated another way, it is God’s wooing of the human heart, calling all people to repent and turn to Him.

God sets us on a track that will lead from His grace, through conviction of truth and on to salvation, protection, healing. However, we are the switch operators and can choose to switch directions. If we choose to move from His default track, we will not reach our desired destination of salvation/protection/completeness.

Connecting to Him by reaching for his “wings” evidences our bowing to Him as Messiah.

Grabbing hold of the fringes indicates our understanding of the importance of connecting to Him through remembering and doing His commandments and its ability to release power and miracles.

And lastly, He desires us to be shalomcomplete.

Claiming he had something in his eyes, Mack cleared his throat and wiped his eyes with his shirt sleeve as Minus walked through the door applauding.  “I’ve been in the hallway for a bit.  I just didn’t want to disturb your train of thought.  You two have done an excellent job.  If you never hear it from another investigator, I want you to hear it from me. Well done! I think one of the most important aspects you have uncovered is the parallels between the mystery woman’s journey and our own!  I believe this is a cold case that will not eventually go away.  It will continue to be investigated by other cold case teams and I believe they will benefit from your work. Well done!  Now, let’s get that report filed!”

 

 

Final report filed this 12thth day of May   by Mack and M.J. — Cold Case Investigators

 

MYSTERY WOMAN CCF 5-6 RUMORS

 

“Ok, M.J.  I know the reconstruction is the part you love and the part at which you excel.  Therefore, I also assume that you have been laying awake nights constructing scenarios that you believe would have worked with the known facts. So, first of all, what facts and/or questions are we working with?”

“Well, I answered, “let’s begin with the questions I believe we have sufficient evidence to answer with confidence.”

How did our subject know where to find this rabbi?

What made her think he could heal her?

What was the significance of touching the fringe on his cloak?

What was the significance of his last words to her?

Where had the rabbi been and what had he been up to in the days preceding this incident?

“Mack, as I have already stated, these are all questions that I believe we have sufficient evidence to answer with confidence.  In fact, there was SO much available evidence that I decided to simply provide a somewhat brief overview and attach links to proof documents.” 

“Take a look at this, Mack,” I said,  motioning to three stacks of papers, each 10” high, on the end of my desk. “These are just SOME of the documents I have reviewed or at least scanned. Mack, the files are HUGE!  The historical record is absolutely FULL of witness statements and documented incidents regarding who he was and what he was up to in the days surrounding the day of her miracle healing.  There is NO way we can include all of it in the report. With that reality in mind, I have separated some highlights and I think we should provide a link to the more comprehensive report that Minus or any other investigator can access at any time.  Now, Mack, I know how you feel about technology, but believe me there is no other way to be both somewhat brief and concise in this case.”

Mack looked unconvinced but motioned for me to continue.

“REMOTE WITNESS STATEMENTS – These are statements gathered from people not necessarily at the scene that day, but which testify to the whereabouts of the rabbi in the days both prior to and after the event in question. Now, it is important to remember that many of these witness statements are contained within what is now referred to as the New Testament.  These books/letters had not yet been written or included in Scripture at the time our mystery woman experienced the miracle, but they do record the information we need to know.  After all, the event could not be recorded before it occurred.”

“IDENTITY CRISIS – As I conducted the research, I was somewhat surprised to find that much could be garnered about the identity of this rabbi, often using ancient writings of the prophets, which WERE available and well circulated at the time.’

“LIFE AND TIMES – this file contains information of typical daily activities of the people living during this time period at this location. It gives us insight into what our lady’s life might have been like. It basically confirms what we already discovered on our original “stakeout.”  She most likely would have gone daily to the well and at least a couple days a week to the town square market to purchase food.”

“Okay, M.J.  Let’s see what you have in your REMOTE WITNESS STATEMENTS file.”

I opened the file and spread the papers on the desk.

“Mack, I found that rumors and accounts of his life began circulating soon after he was born!”

“And you believe our mystery woman would have heard these rumors?” 

“I do.  But you be the judge.”

Luk 2:8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 7  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  

“Well, I see what you mean.  It does say that it was made known abroad and that all wondered at it. But, we don’t even know how old our mystery woman was.  How do we know that she was even born at this time? Couldn’t she have been so much younger than this rabbi that the reports of the miraculous events surrounding his birth would have long since stopped circulating?” Mack queried.

“I thought of that too, Mack.  We know she had an issue of blood for 12 years. If we assume the youngest scenario, supposing that she may have started cycling early at perhaps 12 years old and never stopped, the youngest probability would be 24. Because we know Rabbi Yeshua began his ministry around age 30 and continued for approximately 3-3-1/2 years, that would make her approximately 6-8 years younger than the rabbi. Perhaps even ten.  And of course, she could have been much older than this calculation also. In any case, even if this story of his birth was not being told as she grew up, it certainly would have resurfaced during the period in which her miracle took place.  

There are several points I hope to demonstrate with the evidence I am presenting.  1) His deeds were well published throughout the region making it likely that she would have been exposed to their report.  2) What these deeds were.  3) Who did he claim to be?

Now, it is important to note that there were other witnesses aside from the shepherds around the time of his birth, but I will leave that to the attachment.  The next statement I want to point out is with regards to an incident which occurred when he was 12. The family had traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem for Passover (and most likely his bar mitzvah) and the boy became separated from his parents.”

Luk 2:46  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.  

“There is also an account of the Satan himself taking this rabbi out into the wilderness and tempting him. Afterwards, we find this.”

Luk 4:14  And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. 15  And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. 

“This next one took place in a local synagogue where he had just read a Messianic prophesy from the Isaiah scroll.”

Luk 4:21  And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 22  And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? 

“And next, our witness, Luke, records that he is seen healing and casting out demons. Yes, demons!”

Luk 5:13  And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him. 14  And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 15  But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

Luk 8:33  Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. 34  When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country

“And forgiving sins! And this one is a big one.  Others “might” be able to heal, but no one but God could forgive sins!”

Luk 7:46  My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47  Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48  And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49  And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50  And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace

“Mack, honestly, I was shocked at how much evidence is available regarding his whereabouts and actions!  What I have shown you only scratches the surface. I hope I have at least been able to demonstrate that the things He did were widely discussed, so much so that large crowds gathered. We could spend literally days and not see it all!  There are numerous reports of healings, teaching in synagogues and other places, raising the dead, etc.  After a time, he was unable to go anywhere without a crowd gathering! So, I think it would be ILLOGICAL to think that our mystery woman had not heard of Rabbi Yeshua and the things He had been doing.  I also believe that the closer he drew to her community in his travels, the more excitement would have been evident in the town square. This will fit in to the scenario I am developing.

We have already deduced in our last report that EVERY human will receive the default of Grace that God has implanted in the human heart. All day long, he cries Behold me, behold me.”

“So, M.J., am I hearing you say that you believe that this rabbi was indeed the Messiah and the very son of God Himself?”

“Mack, after reviewing the evidence of his own claims, the miracles that followed Him, and the fulfilment of Messianic prophesy, I see no room to NOT believe! I have traveled from divine influence upon my heart (grace) and have already passed through the station of conviction of truth (faith). I believe our mystery woman did the same, and the result was power and a miracle!

And with that, I would like to present to you a scenario that I believe allows for all the known facts and perhaps will help us fill in some blanks.

“Well, hold on just a minute, M.J. I know you’re excited to begin the home stretch, and I’m looking forward to hearing what you have come up with.  But I think you have given me enough to digest for today, and probably the right amount for a report. Let’s file this with Minus and we will finish out our Cold Case Investigation with your scenario tomorrow.”

“Okay, I know you’re right.  I think I need a night of rest anyway. We’ll finish up tomorrow. I’m looking forward to introducing you and Minus to the conclusion!”

 

Filed this 6th day of May                         M.J. and Mack – Cold Case File Investigators

 

 

MYSTERY WOMAN COLD CASE 4-29 – THE PUZZLE

 

I barely slept at all last night. The implications of the shift we had made yesterday with our new understanding of faith and grace raced through my mind and pulsed through my veins. It wasn’t only about the case.  It was personal. It was affecting my whole understanding of Holy Writ.  As I tossed and turned, trying to convince myself that it was time for sleep, verse after verse surged through my mind with the true definitions inserted.  Yet, even in the midst of this incredible excitement that was bubbling up from somewhere deep within, there was one thing nagging at me and I needed to put it to rest. I determined to get to the office early and find something I remembered having seen in the evidence box.

And so, it was that I arrived at the top of the stairs before dawn, only to find our office door ajar, and the sound of Mack mumbling to himself and rifling through papers coming from within. Why could I NEVER beat Mack to the smoking gun!

He had his back to me when I entered the room.  Piles of papers were stacked on his desk and on the work table against the wall. He was elbow deep in the evidence box mumbling “I know it’s here!”  Judging from the two cups of cold coffee on his desk, I would guess he had been here for some time.  In fact, I was almost certain he was wearing the same clothes I had left him in yesterday, and considerably more rumpled.

“Mack? Did you stay the night?” I asked, at the same time that he exclaimed “HERE it is” triumphantly lifting the yellowed index card into the air. He answered my question without turning in my direction with a “Yea” as he tossed the card onto the middle of his desk.

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them

I looked up from the card on the desk to Mack, mouth open.  “It’s what I came in to find.” I said.  “Why were YOU looking for it?” he asked.

“Probably for the same reason you were.  I remembered seeing that card in the box.  Our next task is to reconstruct the scene on the day of the miracle. We will need to attempt to get into the head of our mystery woman. We need to know how she understood grace and faith, if that was indeed how the miracle was accomplished. I wanted to look at the verse in Greek and confirm that we are about to plug in the correct definitions.  Is the Greek word for faith used in this verse indeed pistis?  Is the word for grace charis? If so, let’s substitute the correct definitions and see how it reads!”

“Exactly” Mack replied.  “And I also have some thoughts about verses 9 and 10 as well that I’d like to bat around with you.”

And then, without skipping a beat, in true Mack fashion, he began to rant. “Why are you so late?  Let’s get to work!  First of all, the words are pistis and charis, but confirm that for yourself. I found this in the storeroom,” he said as he dropped another heavy Greek/English Bible Lexicon ont0 my desk. “You take the words grace and faith and write the definitions on these.”  With that he opened a desk drawer, withdrew a stack of index cards bound with a rubber band, removed a few, and tossed them onto my desk as well. “I’ll look up the words by, through, and saved and we’ll reconstruct the verse.” He was a man on a mission.

Pushing the Lexicon out of the way, I switched on my computer and waited for it to boot up.  I could never convince Mack to move into the 21st century where information is at your fingertips. He said he still preferred to let his fingers do the walking. I accessed an internet Bible study site and before Mack had located his first word, I was already copying and pasting. I searched for Ephesians 2:8 and chose the option that would show the Strong’s numbers for each word. The Strong’s numbers are a system in which every English word is assigned a number, and that number is linked to a particular Greek (or Hebrew) word. This is how I could confirm which Greek words were used in Ephesians 2.  Over the years, we had found on more than a couple of occasions, that the Bible translators were not always consistent in the way they translated a Greek or Hebrew word into English.  What if we had been too hasty yesterday, and the specific Greek word translated as grace in this passage did indeed simply mean unmerited favor after all?  It was difficult to believe that it could be possible that we had been taught wrong for all these years! It was important to know before we started running full speed ahead in the wrong direction!

Below is the result of my initial search. You can see the Strong’s numbers displayed next to the English words they represent.

Eph 2:8  ForG1063 by grace G5485 are G2075 ye savedG4982 throughG1223 faith;G4102 andG2532 thatG5124 notG3756 ofG1537 yourselves:G5216 it is theG3588 giftG1435 of God:G2316

I now know that I am looking for G5485 (grace) and G4102 (faith).  Now, by simply hovering over the Strong’s numbers in question, the definitions will be displayed.

And just that fast, it was easy to confirm that the same Greek words we defined yesterday, charis and pistis, are the same ones used in Ephesians 2:8! Wow!  I can’t wait to see it all laid out together! Plugging these definitions into this verse may change everything we thought we knew!  Ephesians 2:8 is, after all, one of the primary verses cited as a proof text for separating grace from works, and we haven’t even had the definitions right!

I wish Mack would hurry, so we can put the verse back together. However, since I have the time and the passage already pulled up in the study program, I think I’ll just go ahead and look at the other words too.  Kind of double checking him, if you will. Although, I must say, Mack is generally pretty meticulous in his research. Within less than 2 minutes I have looked at Mack’s words as well and know what he should be writing on his cards.

Now, I’ll transfer the definitions for grace and faith onto the index cards and wait for Mack to finish with his. (By the way, Ole Mack is still thumbing through the 5” thick Lexicon searching for his second word, grumbling under his breath with each page turn.  I’ll just bake a cake while I wait.)

When he was finally finished, Mack came over to my desk cards in hand, mumbling something about mine being cleaner than his (true statement that!), and the reconstruction began as we assembled our index card puzzle.

With all the pieces in the right places, we stood back in amazement, staring at the reconstructed verse on the desk.  It all made so much sense.

For indeed, it is by divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life (grace) channeled through the conviction of truth combined with obedience/yielding (faith) that you are delivered, protected, preserved, made whole, healed.  (saved).

This confirms that a mathematical process is at work. The grace (His part) must pass THROUGH faith (our part) in order to result in a miracle!

It is more than likely that, during the timeframe of this miraculous healing of our mystery woman, no discussion with regards to the meaning of these words would have been necessary. It was only in relatively recent years that the definitions have become polluted and now require research and explanation. As in our H2O analogy, the formulas for both grace and faith have been altered, with vital elements removed, thereby depriving them of their life-giving power!

Excitedly, Mack wanted to move on to the rest of the passage, stating that he now believes that these verses have been grossly misunderstood as well, resulting in Paul having been misquoted. “Now M.J., Mack began.  “I’ve been thinking about this most of the night, but I still am not sure I can communicate it well. So, please just be patient and hear me out before coming to a conclusion yourself.  Let me try the best I can to explain.

Paul was NOT warning us against associating works with these miracles of preservation, protection, or healing. In fact, I believe he was telling us that works WOULD be associated with these miracles” He quickly wrote the rest of verse 8 as well as verses 9 and 10 on a card and deposited it on the desk.

and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

I know I must have looked puzzled, because I was!  “What, Mack?  What are you seeing?”

“Look, M.J., look!  We’ve always been taught that this is a warning against associating works with salvation or redemption or healing. But is that what He is saying?  Or is He pointing out Who it was that ORDAINED or pre-programmed the works? For instance, if someone tells you that you have pretty blue eyes and you blush and say thank you, for what are you accepting credit?  Yes, the eyes are in your head, but did you have anything to do with producing or even choosing their color?  Could this be a similar situation?  There are works associated with both grace and faith, but He is the one Who preprograms them to occur! Look again at verse 10 where He says that we are His creations and were created unto good works before ordained that we should walk in them.”

I wasn’t following but I continued to listen.  Sometimes it takes a bit for Mack to fully explain a concept. (Or perhaps, more likely, it sometimes takes ME a bit to fully comprehend a concept).

Mack continued, “I think He is pointing out that we cannot divinely influence our own hearts because, well, because we are not divine!  And along with that divine influence comes works which he has before ordained that we should walk in them.  Perhaps we could compare it to the fight or flight response implanted in the human psyche before any human was created.  It is an automatic (pre-programmed) response to a particular kind of stimulus, and this protective response will occur unless purposely overridden. One example of this would be bungee jumping.  When coming too close to the edge of a cliff, our automatic, preprogrammed fight or flight response activates.  It is only through a conscious decision to override this protective response that people will strap on a bungee cord and catapult themselves over the edge of a cliff.”

He took a swig of cold coffee before continuing.  “I believe that in much the same way, God has preprogrammed the human heart to automatically respond to His wooing (His divine influence upon the heart – his grace).  That includes EVERY human heart, even the ones not seeking Him. That is why it is “not of ourselves, lest any man should boast.”  He is no respecter of persons. He didn’t divinely influence our hearts more than that of anyone else because he “liked” us better, or we did something to “deserve” His attention.   He is not willing that ANY perish! He has placed this “homing device” (preprogrammed to respond to Him), within EVERY human heart!”

Seeing the look of bewilderment still on my face, he turned and started searching for something in one of the disheveled piles on his desk. Finding what he was looking for, he turned back to my desk and placed it there. Now look at this, M.J. This one, THIS one is special!

Isa 65:1  I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. 2  I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; 

“See, He is always wooing all people, passionately desiring them to come to Him.”

“Imagine this process like a train trip.  God is the conductor and you are the switch operator.  As switch operator, you are responsible for making certain that, when coming to a junction where two tracks converge, the train stays on (or changes to) the correct route. The tracks are built with a default and, if no action is taken by the switch operator, the train will stay on this default track. However, when approaching a switch, the switch operator has the opportunity and the ability to change the direction the train is traveling.

God starts you off at the train station on the route that has been preprogrammed to lead from Grace (divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life) to Salvation/Preservation/Healing. However, if you make the decision to forever remain at the Grace (divine influence) station, you will never reach your destination of Salvation. (Note that in this example the divine influence has now been altered and no longer includes the reflection in the life- thus removing all of your responsibility) Your journey has prematurely ended and can never reach its destination because there is another stop on the journey from Grace to Salvation. His divine influence, SHOULD lead you to the next stop – Faith (conviction of truth completed by obedience/yielding). If you ever want to reach your destination and be made whole, you will first have to stop off at the station of Faith!!  Isn’t that what the verse says “By grace THROUGH faith are you saved?? And, remember, faith is not just a word or a feeling. This type of conviction of truth is, by its very definition, accompanied by the works/actions that are a natural, inseparable part of it!

Now that first part, the divine wooing – the grace part – you have no control over (“that not of yourself” lest any man should boast).  It will happen.  God will woo your heart and set you on the right track that will take you right through Faith and to Salvation/Healing. The prophet Isaiah explicitly records that Yahweh was found by those not looking for Him.  This is because Yahweh woos ALL hearts for He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9). However, this is where free will comes in. Before you come to the station of Faith, you will encounter a switch where two tracks converge.  You can pull the switch and change courses, completely bypassing the station of Faith. Alas, in so doing, you have changed destinations. You are no longer on the way to Salvation and healing!   You are on your way to some other destination, not chosen by God!

SUMMARY – THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

The good news is that God has preprogrammed you to come to the point of Faith – conviction of Truth.  The bad news is that you can choose to override this protective automatic response, pull the switch, buckle a spiritual bungee cord around your waist, and plunge off a spiritual cliff instead, ignoring God’s wooing –  His divine influence upon your heart – His Grace.  No one will perish by accident. It will be their own decision.  And neither can we boast about the wooing or the response to it, because the Creator Himself has preprogrammed them both as a default! (the works that He before ordained that we should walk in them). All we must do is respond to His wooing and let Him choose our course, staying on the “track” He chooses.

“Ohhhh,” I gasped as the lights finally began wildly flashing like neon signs in my heart and soul.

And now we have discovered at least two more facts about our mystery woman.  Her heart was divinely influenced, and His Grace did pass through her faith.  Otherwise, her miracle healing could not have taken place!

I am excited for tomorrow!  Perhaps our reconstruction will reveal how she had been wooed as well as how the touching of the fringe was a demonstration of her faith.  We also hope to discover what truth she was convicted of! Was it a conviction of truth that she would experience healing? Or was it something else?

(Sorry, Minus. This is not the short report you had requested.  I hope you will let it slide this time.  It has been a long couple of days and we have a full day planned for tomorrow).

Report filed 04/29 by Investigators MJ and Mack