Metanoia

by David Cook

 

For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,

Isaiah 30:15 NASB

 

Metanoia is an ancient Greek word (μετάνοια) that means “changing one’s mind”, as in repentance.[1]  God invites us to have a change of mind and to enter into His rest and find salvation.  To be still, and know that He is God.  And to trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and not to rely on your own understanding.

Yet so often, we are not willing.

 

Metanoia Definition

So where are you on your spiritual journey?

Have you come to a point of metanoia?  Have you had a change of mind, a change of heart and discovered a new way of life?

metamorphosis-monarch-butterfly

Monarch caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly – by Renee Dawson

Have you experienced a metamorphose and been transformed into a new creation? Have you been transformed from a larva crawling upon the earth to a butterfly who can now spread your wings and fly empowered by the Spirit of the Lord?

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away,
in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”
Acts 3:19 NASB

God’s ambassadors invite us to repent and return to the Lord so you can find forgiveness and peace with God and be refreshed.  The early apostles, “solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2]

Baptism

Baptism is a visual representation of our transformed life.  As we go under the water it demonstrates a death and burial to our sinful self and our sinful ways.  As we come up out the water it reminds us that we have been given a new self that loves to please God and walk in new life in Christ.

The apostle Paul wrote about this to believers living in Rome;

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:1-14 NASB

The apostle Peter reveals God’s heart towards the people He created;
The Lord is not slow about His promise,
as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,
not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 NASB

[1] Metanoia an ancient Greek word that means “changing one’s mind”.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metanoia

[2] solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  Acts 20:21 NASB

 

Trust in God

Moses Red Sea

Moses at the Red Sea from the Ten Commandments Movie, Paramount Pictures

By David Cook

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

Sometimes you are waiting at the edge of the Red Sea in need of a divine  miracle.  But the miracle you are asking God for doesn’t come.  Sometimes the answer your seeking isn’t given, at least not in the way or time you expected and hoped for.  So what can you do?

We have been given numerous examples in the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) and in the New Testament where at times God showed up in answer to prayers and the faith of His people.  There are times when heaven is silent and seemingly His people are left alone to suffer or wait on God’s timing.

We read in the book of Exodus how God’s people suffered in Egypt while they were afflicted, “enslaved and oppressed four hundred years” under the harsh treatment of the  Pharaohs.[1]  After many years, God sent a deliverer…Moses.

God worked through Moses to do several miracles in Egypt to demonstrate God’s power and so Pharaoh would let the Hebrew people go.  The final plague against Egypt and the miracle to protect the Hebrew people was God sent the destroyer to kill all the firstborn of the Egyptians.  Yet Yehovah passed over the Hebrew homes that had the blood of a lamb placed on the door post and lintel of their home.  This event is celebrated each year at the Passover Seder.[2]  Finally, Pharaoh set the Hebrew people free from slavery and let them go into the desert to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians,
and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts,
the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer
to enter your houses to strike you.
Exodus 12:23 ESV

The Passover in Egypt was an event that foreshadows a future event God would do for His people.  Later at the right time; God sent His Son Yeshua who was born of a virgin in Bethlehem.  He is a descendant of King David.  Yeshua became the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world.[3]  Messiah Yeshua was killed at 3:00 PM on the cross on “the day of Preparation of the Passover”, before the high day miqra Sabbath began at sunset.[4]

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
Isaiah 53:5-6 NASB

Through faith in Him, when His blood is applied by faith to cleanse you from your sins; then the death angel passes over your life.  By God’s grace through faith you can receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life!  Messiah is our Passover Lamb.

Since Messiah our Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us.
-The Apostle Paul
1 Corinthians 5:7 HSV

Finally, Pharaoh set the Hebrew people free from slavery and let them go into the desert to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  But Pharaoh changed his mind and decided to bring them back to Egypt as slaves.  So the Hebrews were a people on the run.  They saw God miraculously part the waters of the Red sea so they could escape the Egyptian army and flee into the Arabian desert.

At times we face events that test our faith, such as the loss of a loved one.  Lauren Daigle was faced with this just before she went into the studio to record her “How Can It Be” album.  Out of this time of grief and loss the song “Trust In You” was birthed.

Your faith in God, pleases God:  Trust is another word for faith.  To trust in God is to have faith in God.  We read in the book of Hebrews about the patriarchs and some of the heroes of the Tanakh.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” 19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.   Hebrews 11 NASB

We read in Proverbs 3 to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”. Trust in the Lord with your all.  Yeshua the Messiah taught us to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[4]  On earth, we have various trials, tribulations and disappoints, some minor and some are major.  But at ‘the end of day’, certainly at the end of the age when Messiah Yeshua returns for His people; those who trust in the Lord will not be disappointed.

[1] God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.” Genesis 15:13 NASB, and also see Acts 7:6.

[2] The first Passover in Egypt, Exodus 12:1-13.

[3] the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29 ESV.

[4] Mark 15:34, John 19:14 & 31, Exodus 12:6, miqra (the Hebrew word meaning ‘called assembled’) Sabbath.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Sabbaths

[5] Messiah Yeshua taught on the greatest commandment written in the Torah.  We can read this teaching in the gospel of Matthew 22:37.

The Story of Marriage

by David Cook

Marriage is a divine idea. God instituted marriage when there was just one man and one women on earth. Their marriage was a match made in heaven.

Then the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone;
I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Genesis 2:18 NASB

 

john-lisa-photo

For John, it was love at first site when he saw Lisa in her “customized short, shorts” and beautiful legs at Purdue University.  After 32 years of marriage they have learned a few lessons along the road.  You’ll be enriched by this enlightening and fascinating interview of John and Lisa Bevere as they share their courtship, romance and life as a newly married couple and the difficult adjustments they faced.

You may want to listen to all three of these insightful and transformative talks in one day or over a few days.  God wants a husband and wife to be intimate allies not enemies. In this talk Lisa Bevere gives us some “real talk”, true stories about their early marriage. At the onset of their marriage Lisa and John tried to change each other into the perfect spouse each had envisioned for themselves. As opposed to accepting one another and loving one another and allowing God to work His transformation in each person in His time and in His way. Lisa and John learned that they could be giving each other the grace and space they needed to be all that God has called them to be at that time.

Jesus said you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free, and you will be free indeed.  My heart and prayer is as you listen to John and Lisa share about their story of marriage you can learn from their life lessons and be set free to have a marriage where you can love courageously and enjoy the life God has given you with your spouse.

“If you continue in My word,
then you are truly disciples of Mine;
and you will know the truth,
and the truth will make you free.”
–Jesus the Messiah, John  8:31-32 NASB

Deep & Wide

Deep As It Is WideAmy Grant, Eric Pasley and Sheryl Crow
perform “Deep As it Is Wide”

…the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ
which surpasses knowledge

Ephesians 3:18-19 NASB

“Deep As It Is Wide” written by Eric Paslay.
Performed by Amy Grant, Eric Paslay & Sheryl Crow
How Mercy Looks From Here album by Amy Grant.

By David Cook

When I was young I attended Vacation Bible School and sang a song called “Deep & Wide”.  The song was about a fountain flowing deep and wide.  I really didn’t comprehend what the song was about.  A water fountain?  Hard to say, but hey; I liked the song anyway.

We sang that we could plunge right in and lose your sin in the fountain that is flowing deep and wide.  As I grew older I began to comprehend more of what the song was really about.

In the sanctuary we sang a song in the Hymnal called “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.”  The fountain filled with blood flowed from Emmanuel’s veins; and us sinners can plunge beneath that flood to lose all our guilty stains.

God loved us so much that He sent His own Son Jesus to die on a cross for our sins. Jesus allowed His own blood to flow so that we could be redeemed by His blood.  God’s Son paid for the penalty of all of our sins with His own blood.  So now we can be completely forgiven of our sins and began a relationship with God our Father in heaven.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.   Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB


“If I Stand” performed by Rich Mullins

Once in a while we hear something that deeply challenges the beliefs that we hold tightly about ourselves, others or even beliefs we hold about God.  Sometimes our beliefs are true, sometimes our beliefs are skewed.  Sometimes our beliefs are only slightly skewed other times we may well be holding onto false presuppositions.

Sometimes we need a shift in our thinking based on new light, based on the truth.   Sometimes we need a paradigm shift in our thinking.  Today may well be that day.

This talk by Brennan Manning on God’s unconditional love and mercy may well challenge some of your beliefs about yourself, others and God.  For some of you this talk will only reinforce the truth you already hold onto but it may well help you look at it in a fresh new way.

 “Be who you is,
cause if you ain’t who you is,
you is who you ain’t.”

Out of the Mouth of Babes

And they said to Him, Do you hear what these children are saying?
And Jesus said to them, Yes, have you never read;
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise?
Matthew 21:16 HSV

AGT Heavenly Joy

By David Cook

All good gifts come from above.  Heavenly Joy is no doubt a gift from heaven to her father and mother, Rodney and Joy Enriquez Jerkins.  And now, thanks to America’s Got Talent her gifts and talents are bringing joy and laughter to many around the world!

Heavenly Joy is an adorable talented child.  Her vivacious personality is contagious. Jesus said that “out of the mouth of babes” would come praise to God!  I would imagine her mother Joy Enriquez Jerkins has taught her about God’s love and all that Jesus has done for her.

After Heavenly Joy’s stellar  performance Howard Stern was inspired and reminded of the child star Shirley Temple.  He commented; “You know, I think Shirley Temple is living somewhere inside of you. Is that possible?”  She wisely replied; “Not Shirley Temple, Jesus.”  Heavenly knew she is not embodied by the departed spirit of Shirley Temple, her temple is filled by the Spirit of Jesus!

To them God chose to make known
how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery,
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:27 NASB

Heavenly Joy’s Dad is Rodney Jerkins who is an American record producer, songwriter and musician. Rodney has collaborated with many popular artists, including Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Luther Vandross, Toni Braxton, Destiny’s Child, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears.  He is responsible for over 160 million record sales worldwide and the winner of four Grammy Awards, Mr. Jerkins is one of the most successful producers in the history of popular music.

The fruit normally doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Watching Joy Enriquez Jerkin’s music video “Hallelujah” you begin to see how Joy has poured her life and love into her children and husband building a home of love for the glory of God while singing His praise!

Heav’s Mom, Joy Enriquez is a music artist and actress herself.  Joy began establishing a name for herself as a rising child star in her hometown of Whittier, California at the age of 5.  She sang a solo at her kindergarten graduation, she was destined to take center stage.  Joy was 15 when her dream began, the talented Latina singer entered the national television airwaves in 1995. Ms Enriquez appeared on the Star Search series, and won the female vocalist category for 11 consecutive weeks!  Then she went on to sign with Babyface and LA Reid at LaFace/Arista Records. Her excitement grew in 1997 when she lent background vocals to the single “When you Believe” the pairing of Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey, for the Prince of Egypt (1997) motion picture soundtrack.  And in 1999, she recorded the ballad “How Can I Not Love You” for Anna and the King (1999) soundtrack, which was nominated for two Golden Globes.  Joy was paired up with Latin Pop superstar, Carlos Ponce for Disney’s Lady and the Tramp II (2001) soundtrack singing the all-time favorite spaghetti kiss song “Bella Notte”.  Joy released her self-titled debut album on Arista Records.   Co-produced by Babyface along with other writers and producers such as, Beyonce Knowles, Rodney Jerkins, Fred Jerkins and Soulshock & Karlin.  Ms. Enriquez landed a major role as “Joy” on Spelling Television’s critically acclaimed family drama 7th Heaven, that aired on the WB Network and was rated number one.  So there is a lot of musical talent in Heavenly Joy’s family tree, both on her Mom and Dad’s side of the family.

Have you seen HOUSE OF JOY yet?  One of the most talented (and hilarious) families on television today! Starring Joy Enriquez, the reality series follows the singer/actress as she balances her busy career with family life. Also starring Joy’s husband, Grammy® Award-winning producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, who has worked with a who’s who of singing stars including Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga, and NUVOtv’s own, Jennifer Lopez.  The HOUSE OF JOY cast also features Joy and Rodney’s three kids — RJ, Heavenly, and Hannah — plus, Joy’s parents, Randy and Helena, and her brother, Josh, and sister, Tiffany. Between Joy and Rodney’s creative conflicts in the studio, and all of the hijinks in their house, the series showcases one of Hollywood’s most fun-loving families.

Freedom Time

by David Cook

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
–Yeshua the Son of the living God

John 8:36 NIV

Everybody knows they are guilty of something, it could be stealing a cookie out of a cookie jar.  Or could be something more serious than stealing a cookie that haunts your conscience, day and night.

cloudsofgod

The prophet Moses wrote in the Jewish Torah;

And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”

21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

Exodus 20 NIV

Ten Commandments

God gave His people ten commandments.  God gave us eight things not to do and two things to do.  Two to do and eight not to do.  Let’s take a look at them.  Don’t have any other gods, only serve YHVH (Yehovah).  Don’t make any images to bow down to worship or serve as your god.  Don’t misuse the name of the Lord your God.  Do remember to keep the Sabbath day holy. Do honor your father and your mother.  Do not murder.  Do not commit adultery.  Do not steal.  Do not give false testimony (perjury) against your neighbor.  Do not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, car, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

When you obey the ten commandments given by God,

you’re showing your love for God and your love for your neighbor.  

Have you broken any of the ten commandments given by God?  Are you suffering from any guilt as a result?  How can we get set free from guilt?  How can we get set free from our sin?

Are you free or are you a slave to something?  Is there an addiction that you run to for comfort that you think will make you free but now your caught?  You’re a slave to the thing that you thought would set you free.  Perhaps it’s alcohol, cocaine, “ecstasy”, pornography sex, or gluttony.  The thing that you think will bring freedom, an escape, temporary ecstasy instead gets you hooked, ensnared and you become a slave to your own sins.

What are you a slave to?

Facing the truth is the first step towards freedom.

It’s Time to Repent

What does it mean to repent?  To turn away from evil and do good.  To turn away from your sins and turn to a loving and merciful God for mercy and forgiveness.  Judgement is coming, but there is still time to repent.

The list of sins is long.  In the book of Proverbs we read of seven sins that are detestable to the Lord.

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV

Pride, lying, murder of the innocent, wicked schemes, quick to rush into do evil, perjury, stirring up strife.  Perhaps these are some of your sins, perhaps you’re a slave to other sins.

Messiah Yeshua Came to Set Us Free

How can we get set free from guilt?  How can we get set free from sin?

31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:31-36 NASB

God has a plan.  A plan to save us from our sins.  The apostle Paul explained it to believers in Messiah Yeshua living in Rome;

22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  — Saint Paul

Romans 3:23-26 NIV

Believe in Yeshua & Receive New Life

It’s time to get real.  It’s time to face the truth.  It’s time to believe the truth.  It’s time to get free!  It’s time to come to Yeshua (Jesus).