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Month 8:29, Week 2:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5937:229 AM
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 1 December 2013
The Divine Embrace II
Four Words for the Very End

    Continued from Part 1


    Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisrael and may the grace of our Master Yah'shua the Master (Jesus Christ) bless this assembly and all those who are following us. I pray you have a blessed week thus far and that Yahweh will cap it for you with what I hope will be some devarim (words), mostly from others, to bless you with today.

    I. The First Davar: A Pakistani Brother Under Siege

    I want to start today by asking you to join with me in lifting up a brother Bhatti in Pakistan, a former military man and minister, with whom I have been praying now for some time. He has been under the constant pressure caused by persecution from his own family and state officials and has lost almost everything, including his family, because of it. The enemy has succeeded in turning almost everyone against him and brought his ministry to a virtual standstill. What he doesn't yet realise, but will after I share this with him, is that this has all happened with the permission of Yahweh for a purpose.

    Opposition and persecution, especially when it is apparently followed by defeat after defeat even after our best efforts - and, as far as we know, our continuing faithfulness - doesn't make a lot of sense and can stretch us to almost breaking point. I use the word 'amost' advisedly because Yahweh never takes us to the point where we completely break. We only break when we attempt to do things in entirely our own strength. After Bfrother Bhatti had poured out his heart to me and asked me to pray for Him Yahweh gave me a Davar (Word) for him:

      "Brother, I am praying for you and asking Yah'shua (Jesus) to strengthen you in this your ordeal so that you may come off the victor as you see Yahweh destroy the enemy's wall brick-by-brick for no combination is too large for Him to break down and bring to nothing. Though you have lost many battles you will not lose the war. Continue to cling on to Him and He will see you justified and victorious." (20 November 2013)

    An awful lot of you have been going through incredible trials and it is to your credit that you have held on faithfull for so long. A lot have not. There are those who flee at the first sign of trouble and others who flee when their carnal expectations are not met. The result is spiritual stagnation and then a persistent regression to the point where one was before one started trusting in Yah'shua (Jesus). From there it just gets worse and worse. Like a mudslide you don't keep slipping until you reach rock bottom. The choice then is to repent or perish. That is the first davar (word) that Ib have for you today as we seek the divine embrace of Yahweh.

    II. The Second Davar: Transforming the Inner Man

    The second Davar Elohim (Word of God) was received by my wife in response to my message two shabbat's ago in which I mentioned John and Paula Sandford in connection with their work in the Ruach Eliyahu or Spirit of Elijah. Diving into my books by the Sandfords has produced, for her, some delightsome fruits. I can only share a little of what she has discovered as she is currently riding a spiritual wave that will likely keep her aloft in the giddy heights for a long time yet! What I'd like to so is share some extracts from John and Paula Sanford's book, The Transformation of The Inner Man, that have strongly impacted her and which I believe are a reminder to us not to neglect one of the nevi'im (prophets) side of the Derech (Way) that leads to Eternal Chayim (Life), and specifically to inner healing (see Bible Study).

      "The [Ruach haQodesh] (Holy Spirit) does not intend to improve us or make us better and better. [She] intends to bring us to fullness of death and make us new".

      "I learned also that the transformation of the inner man does not once and for all fully reform our flesh this side of physical death, but rather slays its power to control us while clothing us with the righteousness of [Yah'shua] (Jesus)".

      "Psychologists would mend our self-images so that we could have confidence in our selves. Christ would slay all our fleshly self-confidence so that our only self-image becomes, 'I can do all things through Him who strengthens me' (Phil.4:13) A self-image is something we build, in which we falsely learn to trust. A self-image necessarily sets us into self-centered striving - to live up to it, to make sure others see and reward it; we must defend it, build and rebuild, etc. But a Christian's indentity is a gift, something Yahweh builds in us, not having to be seen, rewarded or defended."

      "Christian healing comes then not by making a broken thing good enough to work, but by delivering us from the power of that broken thing so that it can no longer rule us, and by teaching us to trust HIS righteousness to shine in and through that very thing".

    Good or bad, whatever of character is built in us must come to death and reformation in Messiah. Sanctification is not a process of removing each spot of corrupt practices until the whole nature shines as something beautiful (as I had thought). Far from knowing ourselves to be perfectly formed, we know ourselves to be perfectly corrupted and have come to rest about that in Yah'shua.

      "'Even when we were dead in our transgressions, [Yahweh] made us alive together with [Messiah]' (Eph.2:5) We are not merely sinners. We have become sin! 'For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it' (Rom.7:18) 'He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of [Yahweh] in Him' (2 Cor.5:21)".

    The result of such comprehension of total depravity is that His nature overshines and glories through all our brokennesses.! What good news! But wait.... he goes on:

      "We would like to feel after all that we are pretty good people. To be sure, we did some aweful things. But [Yah'shua] (Jesus) paid the price for that, and now we can be the "good guys" Yahweh created us to be. Not that way folks! You can't peel it off and get down to the good. The whole thing got corrupted, and now it's 'Leave it there, and put on Him' (Col.3). That is how we have the new nature, by wearing it".

    From birth on, each of us is trying to build a self we can accept. It is the same striving whether we want to be like Yahweh, gentle and good, or powerful, or evil. The attempt is to build a character structure which works the way we want it to. All too many Christians, without being aware of it, are still trying to use [Yah'shua] (Jesus) to build that good self. He does not want us to build a successful self (1.Cor.2:8). That whole search to build something we can accept and rest in is the very thing which was to have died on the cross. Continuing to try to build ourselves is actually based on flight from accepting what we are - as though we could just build something powerful or lovely enough, we might come to peace about ourselves and forget the search to overcome the hidden rotten core. But the simple good news is that the search is already ended. We are already accepted, right where we are, as we are. [Yahweh's] love is unconditional. HE will build us. HE will build us!!!

    It goes on...

      "[Yahweh] wants us to accept ourselves as we are, rotten and unchanged, and then let Him express His goodness and righteousness in us through the [Ruach haQodesh] (Holy Spirit). 'Come to Him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in [Yahweh's] sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Yahweh through Yah'shua (Jesus)' (1 Pet.2:4-5) Note the passive voice, 'be built,' not 'build yourselves.' The call is not to build; the call is to die".

    III. The Third Davar: The Hour of Testing is Upon Us

    The third Davar Elohim (Word of God), by Aaron Herman [1], was sent to me some days ago by one of the brethren in Göteborg (Gothenburg).

      "A short time ago [Yahweh] gave me a word to share as I was reading the book of Revelation. I had just finished reading the following

        "Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My Elohim (God), and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My Elohim (God), and the name of the city of My Elohim (God), the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My Elohim (God), and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches)" (Rev.3:10-13).

      It was immediately after reading this that [Yahweh] gave me this message to share.

        "Tell my people to hold fast to that which they have been given for the hour of their testing will soon be upon them."

      "Whenever I receive a Word like this from [Yahweh] I press in and seek Him as to when and how to deliver His word, and if there is anything else I need to share. It has been nearly a week since I was given this word, but it was not time to share the message until this evening.

      "[Yahweh] has made it very clear over the past couple of days that the message He gave me was given in the context of the hopeful bride candidates of Yah'shua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) and the hour of testing they will soon experience. A significant part of this testing will come in the form of betrayal and persecution coming from the rest of the church. Many folks ministering in Babylon write and speak quite frequently about the war the world is raging on Christians and how the world is persecuting the body of Christ. While that is true, there is a deeper level of persecution and betrayal that will take place and it will be the 'heads of house', the leaders of the Christian community, who lead their people to betray and persecute Yah'shua's (Jesus') Bride.

      "The ministers of Babylon have done a terrific job at convincing their blinded followers that all of the church is the Bride of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). However, that is simply not true and the vast majority will not come to recognize this truth until it is far too late. [Yahweh] has been doing a very special work with a small number of folks that will make up His bride. The bride of Yah'shua (Jesus) will be taken out of the body of the last Adam just as Eve was taken out of the body of the first Adam to be his bride.

      "What [Yahweh] has given me to write to you has been modeled in the Bible, and I encourage you to seek Him for confirmation of what I am sharing with you here.

      "As I sat down to begin writing this, [Yahweh] took me to something Bob wrote quite some time ago called The Testimony of Gethsemane. I have referenced this several times over the course of the last two years, but it is especially relevant now as we have entered into a very special season. As I was reading what [Yahweh] showed Bob all those years ago it became quite clear that [Yahweh] was speaking to me about division, and how the testing that will soon be upon us will serve as a means to separate and divide people into their rightful place in the eternal hierarchy.

      "As I wondered and prayed, it came to me that the very location of the event typified separation. Indeed, even though such a thing is never stated directly, the entire Mount of Olives is a symbol of division and separation. As I checked every mention of this location in the Bible, this signification became very clear. Knowing that the Mount of Olives is always associated with division affords us greater insight, because all that the Bible records as being said and done on the Mount can be considered from that perspective. Though it may seem a small matter, this insight has led me to some very important lessons about [Yahweh's] plans for the latter days of his messianic community (church).

      "Deception will mark the time of the end as His coming approaches. Division will occur as many are deceived by the many who come in the name of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). We continue reading in the context about nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, the turning away of many from the faith, betraying and hating each other, the love of most growing cold but that those who stand firm to the end will be saved, and even the departure of those who are in Judea as they flee to the mountains. Then we read of the prominent separation as two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Could division be more pronounced?

      "Consider how the series of parables found in the balance of the discourse reveals the basis for division between the owner of the house and the ones who watched, the faithful and wise servant and the wicked servant, the five foolish and the five wise virgins, and the various servants who stewarded the master's talents while he was away. Finally, note the son of man's activity as "he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats." Yes, division is so obviously the theme here!

      "In that account, we learned about the sheep being separated from the goats by the shepherd, but in the next, we will learn about sheep that are separated from the shepherd as they fall away on account of him. This, too, is declared while on the Mount of Olives.

        "When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Yah'shua (Jesus) told them, 'This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ''I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered''" (Mt.26:30-31 - similarly Mark 14:26; also see Luke 22:39).

      The Testimony of Gethsemane - Part 1 - (The Mount of Olives)

        "Then Yah'shua (Jesus) went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray'" (Mt.26:36).

      "The word 'Gethsemane' means 'oil-press place.' It was an olive grove on the Mount of Olives with a name that suggests a place where the olives are processed into oil. Oil is a symbol both of the spirit and of understanding. In order to bring forth the liquid (oil) from the olive, an oil press causes great pressure on it. Yah'shua (Jesus) is the olive root according to Romans 11:16, supporting every olive branch and therefore every olive in the tree. Did he experience pressure in that place? Indeed he did! The tremendous pressure upon him can be seen to bring forth liquid in Luke 22.

        "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44).

      "The external fluid came forth like the internal fluid. Gethsemane indeed!

      "I have noted a number of significant instances of separating in the account. First, we see our Master separating himself, Peter, James and John from the other disciples and then further separating himself from those aforementioned three. (Matthew 26 and Mark 14) This curious matter is what initially arrested my attention when [Yahweh] was opening to me the association between the Mount of Olives and the meaning of division. Yah'shua (Jesus) made a point of telling them to stay where they were, insuring that they would remain as he had separated them. Later in the account, Judas singled Yah'shua (Jesus) out by betraying him with a kiss. He distinguished very particularly in this manner, separating him from the others present. Strange, isn't it? As if they wouldn't have been able to recognize him on their own. I believe part of the reason this was noted in the account is because of the primacy of the division theme. It is interesting that the agreed upon sign of betrayal was a kiss, an act of the parting of the lips. At the scene of the arrest, one of the disciples separated a man's ear from his head. In the account given in the gospel of John, the names are given and may therefore be seen as important to know. Simon Peter ('Simon' means 'hearing') used one of the two (the number two signifies division) swords to separate the servant (whose name 'Malchus' means 'kingly') of the high priest's right ear from his head. Note that the cutting off of an ear impairs the ability to hear, and that the ear's healing restores the hearing. In the time of antitypical fulfillment, the 'kingly' of the 'High Priest's servants' whose hearing has been impaired will receive ears to hear because of the use of the 'sword' given 'Simon Peter' to wield. After Yah'shua (Jesus) was arrested, they took him away, separating him from his disciples who themselves were scattered, causing a complete separation among them. Like the mention of the names in the above account, another feature unique to John's record is the recording of a very strange event that dramatically emphasizes the number two (division , separation) by way of repetition.

      The Testimony of Gethsemane - Part 2

      "Just as my Master Yah'shua (Jesus) separated Himself from Peter, James, and John so too will the Bride be separated from the rest of the Messianic Community (Church) during the hour of testing that is nearly upon us.

      "If you find yourself in a state of denial and are unable to believe that the Messianic Community (Church) will be responsible for the betrayal and persecution of the Bride, then I encourage you to consider who it was that was responsible for the betrayal and subsequent scourging and crucifixion of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).

      "Was it the sole responsibility of the world at large? No. It was the religious leaders of the time in conjunction with the political rulers of Rome that were responsible for carrying out the act. Also of great import is the fact that one of Yah'shua's (Jesus') own disciples in His inner circle, Judas Iscariot, betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver. Of course my Master knew what was to happen, but the dynamic modeled between the cooperation of the religious leaders and Rome, and the theme of betrayal are crucially important to understand as what was modeled with them then will come to pass once again in the near future as those who have been chosen to follow Yah'shua's (Jesus') footsteps follow His path.

      "The Master told us that these things would come to pass.

        "And Yah'shua (Jesus) answered and said to them, 'See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved" (Matthew 24: 4-13).

        "But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations. When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved" (Mark 13:9-13).

      "I wrote about enemies in existing within our own household quite some time ago, but it is as it must be and as the Master told us it would be. People who now profess to be our brothers and sisters in Messiah will be the ones responsible for turning us over to authorities, persecuting us, and much worse when our time has come and the Master hands us over. Those who do so will believe that they are acting on behalf of Elohim (God) and serving Him as they carry out the destruction of His Bride people.

        "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to Elohim (God). These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you" (John 16:1-4).

      "[Yahweh] impressed upon me that soon the work that He has done in preparing His bride will begin to bear fruit on an entirely different level as the Bride begins to carry out the role for which they were prepared for during this season of the end times.

      "Using The Harvest Allegory, the Bride represents the Barley harvest, which is a sacrificial crop. As such, the Bride is a sacrificial group of people who will be called upon to lay down their lives, in one form or another, in the service of their Master Yah'shua (Jesus) as He calls upon them to play a part in His plan for the restoration of all things.

      "Quite some time ago [Yahweh] lead me to Zephaniah 1:7 and it has been something very close to my heart and mind ever since.

        "Be silent before Yahweh-Elohim! For the day of Yahweh is near, for Yahweh has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests" (Zephaniah 1:7).

      "[Yahweh] has indeed been preparing His sacrifice as His bride will go the way of the barley crop and will be mowed under in order to enrich the soil and bring about a greater wheat harvest. This will be done as the greatest act of love as the Bride follows the model of their groom Yah'shua (Jesus)!

        "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another" (John 16:12-27).

      "If what I am speaking of here seems completely foreign, then perhaps this message is not for you. However, if what I am saying is speaking to you and confirming what [Yahweh] has been revealing to you then rejoice dear brothers and sisters for the hour is nearly at hand!

      "[Yahweh] has been amazingly generous to share some of His most guarded secrets with those people who have earned His trust, those whom He has called to serve in such a manner. The people who have truly become as servants and subjected themselves to the rule of Yah'shua (Jesus) with obedience and a hearing ear have become like little children, and these are those whom the Master calls His friends!

        "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, 'They hated Me without a cause'" (John 15:7-25).

      "The narrow path walked by those who wish to be the Bride of Yah'shua (Jesus) is one that will require the ultimate sacrifice, in one form or another. A slave is not greater than his master, and [Yahweh] has been most faithful in telling us what will come to pass.

      "The hour will soon be upon us when that which we have been given will be tested, as things will look so horribly bad that some will be tempted to let go of the precious truths the Master has given them.

        "But Messiah was faithful as a Son over His house — whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. For we have become partakers of Messiah, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end" (Hebrews 3:6,14-15).

        "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).

        "Yah'shua (Jesus) answered them, 'Do you now believe? Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world'" (John 16:31-33).

        "For this is the love of Elohim (God), that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of Elohim (God) overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith" (1 John 5:3-4).

      "Hold fast, dear saint! I have written before about what [Yahweh] showed me pertaining to how bad things are going to be and how it will appear that all is lost as the enemy will do everything in their power to convince us that we were deceived and all we have held onto was nothing but vapor.

      "Do not fall for it. Hold fast to that which you have been given!

      Yah'shua (Jesus) had a very special message He shared with the seven assemblies (churches) in the book of Revelation and each message shared a particular theme of overcoming.

        "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of Elohim (God)" (Revelation 2:7).

        "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches). He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death" (Revelation 2:11).

        "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it" (Revelation 2:17).

        "Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches)" (Revelation 2:25-29).

        "He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches)" (Revelation 3:5-6).

        "Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My Elohim (God), and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My Elohim (God), and the name of the city of My Elohim (God), the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My Elohim (God), and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches)" (Revelation 3:10-13).

        "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Ruach (Spirit) says to the assemblies (churches)" (Revelation 3:21-22).

        "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his Elohim (God) and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:7-8).

      "Are you seeing the importance of being one who overcomes? I pray that you are! In closing, I would like to share the words [Yahweh] gave me to share with you:

        "Tell my people to hold fast to that which they have been given for the hour of their testing will soon be upon them."

      "May the Master Yah'shua (Jesus) bless and strengthen us in the days ahead!"

    IV. The Fourth Davar: Are You Wearing a Costume or a Uniform?

    David McCasland [2] recounts a talk on Christian discipleship given by Eunice McGarrahan in which she said:

      "A costume is something you put on and pretend that you are what you are wearing. A uniform, on the other hand, reminds you that you are, in fact, what you wear."

    My children, when they were younger, used to put on a couple of Norwegian and East German army uniforms that I owned, and pretend to be soldiers. At any time they could take them off and the pretending would be over. How very different it was when as a young man I donned a British Army uniform and was given a .303 rifle with live ammunition. There was no pretending then. So long as I was in that uniform I was under the Queen's commission to obey orders and go where I was sent. I couldn't take the uniform off and say, 'I've had enough of this game. I want to do something else'.

    Once you give your life to Yah'shua (Jesus) you're in His spiritual armed forces for eternity unless you mutiny and desert, so you'd better be sure you know what you're doing when you "cast off the works of darkness" and "put on the armour of light" (Rom.13:12, NKJV). For one thing, the moment you put on Yahweh's uniform you become a target of the enemy! Once uniformed by emunah (faith) and surrender, we are given the mitzvah (commandment) to "put on the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts" (v.14). The goal of this "casting off" and "putting off" is a new identity and transformed living (v.13).

    We are called to wear our uniform of service like a new skin that only third degree spiritual burns will ever remove. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life". When we make Yah'shua (Jesus) our Master, He begins the process of making us more like Him each day. It's not a matter of pretending to be what we aren't but of becoming more and more what we are in Messiah.


    These are the four devarim (words) I am to give to you today. I think you will see their connection. May Yahweh bless you as we now accelerate rapidly towards the end of the world as we have known it and to one that will try the emunah (faith) of many. Apply for the uniform of service and never remove it. Amen.


    [1] Aaron Hermann, Hold Fast to that Which You Have Been Given for the Hour of Testing is Soon Upon Us (Revelation of Babylon blog, Tuesday, November 12, 2013)
    [2] David McCasland, Costume or Uniform (Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries, Carnforth, Lancashire, England: December 13, 2013)

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