Five Days Of Encouragement – Day 1

I have recently discovered some older writings from my journal that I wrote several years ago, and they have never been shared; so I thought I’d create several days worth of encouragement for those that may need it. Even if you don’t necessarily “need” it, in my humble opinion, everyone needs encouragement! Let’s begin with the subject of a pure heart. I could write a book on this subject, but I’m just going to share this small portion of what I wrote back in December of 2014:

“Having a pure heart is not the easiest to achieve. Striving for purity brings us through trial and error, hardships, mistakes, and is a huge learning process. However, in the end it is well worth it. In order to have a pure heart, we must first have a passionate desire to change and be set apart rather than just saying that you want God to give you a pure heart. Second, it is important to audit your life and let go of the ungodly things that you’re still holding on to. Rid yourself of any lust, deceitfulness, immodesty, anger, bitterness, rebellion, etc. How do you let go of these characteristics that are from the enemy? After you recognize these things in your life that you need to let go, you must repent before your Almighty King first and foremost with a sincere heart. Pray and ask God to heal you from these diseases that you’ve unintentionally allowed the enemy to spread. Ask Him to replace the old and dead spirits with HIS fruits of the Spirit! And last but not least, let go! After you release what has stolen the purity from your heart, you will begin to feel His peace and shalom overtake you and fill in those cracks within your heart to heal it. Then you will begin to have more of a desire to seek after a pure heart – HIS heart. He will help teach you along the way what it means to walk in purity if you stay faithful to Him.”

This process is not easy to go through. Many of you have been lost, broken inside, and have a shattered heart. Maybe this is the time for you to allow God to pick up those broken pieces so that you can be healed and no longer broken. You are strong, and surely capable to get back up again! Don’t let the enemy win the victory; claim that he has been defeated! Declare that nothing will hold you down any longer, but rather, you will rise up on those wings like eagles and take the steps it takes to heal your heart. Allow God to do His healing inside you to refine you into a pure silver and gold so that you can shine bright for His glory.

Yeast In the Soul

During this feast of Unleavened Bread, we take the time to truly reflect on the depth and meaning that goes into why we observe it. We have a full week to reflect. A full week of not eating any leaven. Why? “You must not eat leavened bread with it. For seven days you are to eat unleavened bread with it, the bread of hardship — because you left the land of Egypt in a hurry — so that you may remember for the rest of your life the day you left the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 16:3 The Hebrew word for leaven is chametz. Leaven, or chametz, is symbolic of sin and bondage. The definition of matzah is “bread or cake without leaven”. Matzah is the Hebrew word for unleavened bread. Why did God instruct the Israelites to eat unleavened bread for seven days? He wanted them to be reminded of their deliverance from bondage when they were working under Pharoah. The matzah is a symbol of God’s deliverance and freedom from bondage. Matzah can also represent purity; in this story, it represents Yeshua’s body. Yeshua held up unleaded bread (matzah) at the Last Passover supper, representing His perfect purity, reminding the people that He was without sin and we are to follow after His example.

We are human beings, and unfortunately we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But fortunately He is WITHOUT sin, and provides forgiveness and mercy upon His people. During these seven days of not eating leaven, we are to dig deep into our souls and root out any “leaven” that exists. Over time, the leaven plants itself, and grows, puffing up into something that we wished hadn’t rooted. I read something that said, “yeast in the soul is essentially pride that manifests itself in idolatrous desires and lusts.” This is sadly the truth. And many times it happens without us even knowing. Praise God that He has set aside such a time each year for us to reflect and really get rid of the leaven (sin and selfish desires) in our lives. For just a little bit of leaven leavens the whole dough! (1 Cor. 5:7) Even if we have just a little sin in our life, it will spread and grow if you don’t dig it up! I think of it as a weed. Some weeds disguise themselves as beautiful little flowers. Perhaps you decide to leave them, thinking that they are harmless. Until a few weeks later your whole yard is overgrown by weeds disguised as flowers; except there are now other weeds that you can barely see beneath the flowers that you didn’t expect to grow alongside them. So as it can be with sin. There may be things, situations, or even people that are fogging your view to really see the sin. It may “appear” as if you are living your life purely. Let me encourage you to check again through a lens, or perhaps a magnifying glass, into your heart and do some soul searching.

Let us truly strive for that perfection through Yeshua Himself. It’s not easy going seven days without leaven. It’s not easy digging up those “sins”. It’s not easy crushing your pride to even admit that you have sin in your life. It’s even possible that it’s not your fault that a particular sin is in your life; maybe it was generational. But let me assure you that you HAVE the power and authority to BREAK those curses to free yourself! I encourage you to fall on your face! Get right with God and seek to follow His example and walk out your life with a pure and set apart heart, being completely humble in everything you say and do. There is power in your words an actions. Choose wisely what you let into your life. It can have a huge impact.

Obtaining a Sound Mind

Preparation

     If we ever need to do something, normally one will prepare for it. Sometimes we need to physically prepare and other times we may need to prepare emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. In either instance, it is important to start off with preparation. Without it, in most cases, nothing will happen! Spiritually speaking, however, it is important to prepare your mind and heart. When you enter into your church building, be mindful and aware of your surroundings, both physically and spiritually. When faced in a difficult situation regarding the demonic realm, prepare your mind and spirit for what you are about to face. You don’t have to do it alone, because God is with you every step of the way. But you do have to take the first step of preparation.

Speak Positivity

     This step is very important. Often, in the middle of a situation or instance, things turn for the worst and we lose all hope. Unfortunately, because of the fall of mankind, we tend to go downhill and think negative very quickly rather than thinking the positive. HOWEVER, because we believe in the Almighty true God, Yahweh, He gives us the ability to think and SPEAK out positivity! When faced in a troublesome situation, THINK before you speak … speak out God’s promises, and proclaim His good works for you. You will be surprised how you feel and how things may turn out just by the change of an attitude. This brings us to our next step to obtaining a sound mind …

Take Every Thought Captive

     Take every thought captive. Oh, how difficult this can often be! Being humans, we think SO much, and go back and forth on our thought process, and perhaps think things we shouldn’t! From the beginning of Creation, we were meant to think, speak, and live a PERFECT life. We wouldn’t have to worry about obtaining a sound mind, and taking every thought captive. It would be in our very nature. But because of the sin that took place, we are no longer have that opportunity. However, we have a King, Lord, and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah, who IS perfect, and we can surely follow after His example! We need to learn how to think before we speak. Not only to think, but to THINK about our THOUGHTS! How silly does that sound! It’s true; take control over those thoughts – whether good or bad – and decide whether they are thoughts coming from Yeshua or thoughts coming from the enemy. There are way too many ways that the enemy can get into our head, and deceive us; even in just the slightest way. If we let it consume us, we slowly become devoted to the enemy rather than to our Creator.

“Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth.” Colossians 3:2

“For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ”. 1 Corinthians 2:16

Stand Firm

         We must learn to stand firm on what we believe! We know that we are connected and devoted to our Heavenly Father, correct? So anytime those thoughts of failure or depression sneak in, cast them out in Yeshua’s name, and speak out loud who you are, and Whom you belong to! “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 Do your best to stay in the will of God, acting out how He would act, speaking how He would speak, and thinking how He would think. Our goal should be to be in sync with His every move; but we first need to establish a firm foundation and know who we are.

Obtain

     Now that we have established these four steps,  you should have gathered to have a sound mind. A sound mind does not just mean to go in your closet and gain some meditation time. It also does not mean just a prayer or two a day will keep your spiritual life okay. In my opinion, obtaining that sound mind is key to a healthy spiritual walk. Make it a mindful decision to think before you speak, and to take those thoughts captive. Speak out loud God’s promises and scripture. Be in tune and one with God, so He can be one with you. He wants your mind, heart, and spirit to be at peace. He desires to grant you a gentile and calm spirit. He does not want you to experience pain, stress, and heartache. But sometimes that is the only way to lead you to Him. I pray that you all seek for a healthy living and active mind. I pray you will be able to discern the enemy when he gets inside your head. May you feel the pull and tug on your heart to grow more and more spiritually, causing you to obtain a sound mind within the guidelines of His Spirit.

Necessary Praise

Psalm 145:18-19 says, “The Lord is near all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry for help and saves them.”

The definition of integrity is: “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” In addition, the definition of fear in this instance means, “reverential awe, the fear of God. Respect, reverence, veneration.” So breaking this verse down, it starts by saying, “The Lord is near ALL who call out to Him…”. Even when we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, He will still draw near to bring peace and comfort. The next part of the verse, “all who call out to Him with integrity…” means God is near to you, and hears your heart if you call out to Him with sincerity and honesty wanting something more that you simply cannot get in the physical. He wants to draw near to you, but you first must draw near to Him. Don’t make it to only call out and pray to Him when you are in distress or in dire need in the midst of a trial or disaster. Make it an effort to call out to Him during times of affliction and times of plenty and good. The next part of the verse, “He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him…”. We should possess such a reverence and respect; a fear of God. He deserves our utmost respect. He has freely given us so much, why should we dare think we are worthy enough and deserving of His love! Well, perhaps maybe because we are! As much as we may think how undeserving or unworthy we are to receive His love and care, we are absolutely wrong! HE created us, and WE were made in His image. “He hears their cry for help and saves them.” Be sincere in all you ask and do and He will hear you! Praise Him for His help in times of trouble and praise him for all the blessings He has given you. Praise Him for what hasn’t happened yet; speak as if it will happen if it’s in His will. Give Him glory in the midst of trial. He deserves it ALL, even if we don’t think He does.

Every single day, every moment of the day, there are angels fighting by your side, fighting off the demons that are trying to attack. There is a constant battle in the spiritual realm. It is absolutely necessary to give God the praise He deserves. He is ALWAYS interceding on your behalf, always fighting so that you can be safe and protected through His Spirit. Something that may seem so simple; giving praise. But in my humble opinion, I don’t think the people of God understand or perhaps realize the importance of praise! “My soul, praise Yahweh, and all that is within me, praise His Holy name. My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion. He satisfies you with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5 There are many verses like this one, describing the wondrous works that God does for us! We simply do not give Him enough praise and thankfulness for all that He does! He deserves the credit; because of HIM, we were created.

My point? Well, if you haven’t caught on already, it’s something so simple, yet so unrecognized. Don’t let the small and big blessings go unnoticed. Don’t take them for granted. Praise where praise is due! He is worthy! And because He is worthy of our praise, it makes us worthy to do and say anything through His name. Without His name, we are nothing. In conclusion, my friends, be on guard, and praise His name in the good and also in the bad. Speak as if it is going to happen, rather than not. Speak that is has already happened. Praise that it is happening! And praise when it’s not. In either situation, praise is necessary.

Stay True

This week’s Torah portion is full of regulations and commands that were given to Moses to be given to the people of Israel. They were additional laws, aside from the Ten Commandments. However, there are some Jewish rabbis that believe these laws were initially given to the 70 nations. Most every nation did not accept the laws and regulations, somehow finding a way out; or perhaps it didn’t agree to their standards. So they chose not to follow certain laws, and choose what was right and what was wrong. However, when the laws were presented to Israel, before even hearing of its content, they all said together, “All the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do.’” (Ex. 19:8) They trusted the Word of God, and agreed to follow all the laws and commands, knowing that He is a good Father, true to His Word. Now if this is true what they say, then think about it! How often do we deny and possibly unintentionally disobey a command from God? Or how often do we look past what He has already written and said? Our heart should be in the place of acceptance and have the humility to willfully say, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do”. Take for example, His promises. I know in my personal walk, there have been times when I have doubted in certain moments His promises. His Word is written and so true. How could I doubt it? God does not lie! They are not meant for us to question or doubt! Look at a child and his parent. A parent may instruct his child to hold his hand while crossing the street, but he does not have to explain the why. It is simply for the child’s safety. This is the same concept with our Heavenly Father. When He gives an instruction or promise, it is not our job to make an excuse to dismiss or doubt it, but rather, to stand FIRM on what He says. Those laws and commands are there to protect us from harm and to help us grow and learn. If we fail, thank God, because He also gives us the free gift of grace and forgiveness. Sometimes it’s just a trial and error process.

If you take anything from this short article, please glean this: if the Lord gives an instruction, command, or promise, don’t be sure to neglect, forget, or abandon it! Stand firm on the Word of God and trust what it says! It is sure to come to pass if you believe. Allow yourself to believe and trust without having to see what it all entails. Be willing to accept what comes at you without knowing everything that comes with it. It is worth it. He is worth it.