Romans 12:1-2 says this,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
First, notice that it is your responsibility to present your body to God. God will not do it for you. You have to do it. But Scripture doesn't leave us there. We are shown how we are to do that in verse 2 above.
First, when it says, Do not be conformed, that word conform means to be pressed into a mold by outward pressures. Instead of being conformed we are told to be transformed. That is actually the Greek word from which we get our English word metamorphosis. It means to let what is on the inside come to the outside.
One day many years ago, my kids came home from school with some silk worms. We were supposed to put them in a box and feed them mulberry leaves. I couldn't believe how many leaves these worms ate! They ate leaves until they turned a translucent green!
Then they wove cocoons and went through a metamorphosis. They went from being these ugly ol' fat green transparent worms, to the most beautiful fuzzy huge white moths. It was amazing to see!
My friend, you renew your mind by feeding on God's Word, the same way that those silk worms fed on the mulberry leaves. As you are filled with His truth, it causes a metamorphosis to take place. It brings what is on the inside—God's nature—to the outside.
So feed on God's Word and watch your life be transformed.
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Kaphtor: "Tops of the Columns"
5 Iyar 5771 - Amos 9: 1-4
“1 I saw Adonai standing beside the altar, and he said, "Strike the tops of the columns until the thresholds shake! Smash them to pieces on the heads of all the people! Those who remain I will kill with the sword; not one of them will succeed in fleeing, not one of them will escape. 2 If they dig down to Sh'ol, my hand will haul them out; if they climb up to heaven, I will bring them down. 3 If they hide themselves on the top of the Karmel, I will search them out and capture them there; If they hide from me at the bottom of the sea, I will order the serpent to bite them there. 4 If their enemies herd them into exile, I will order the sword to kill them there. I will fix my gaze on them for harm and not for good."
I know it has been a long time since I have written to you. I do not have an explanation. But, recently while I was journaling the L-rd told me to begin writing again, so here I am writing. And then Saturday in synagogue we had a guest speaker from Zambia. It reminded me of a subscriber from Zambia. It was interesting to see his world from his perspective. I want to share a little about his world and then some things about this scripture.
Zambia is a country of a little over 12 million people. Their unemployment rate is 95%!! Their National GDP is 1/10 of my city’s GDP. They have 1.2 million orphans and a large majority of those orphans have HIV/Aids. Those numbers alone are staggering. There are a couple of perspectives here about them. One is that he has a messianic Jewish ministry there. There are pockets of Jews all over the continent of Africa. Most are in South Africa, but there are other countries with Jewish populations. The problem is, often when they profess faith in Yeshua and become messianic, they live in-between lives.
In Ethiopia, for example, many Jews left their homes to emigrate to Israel. Once Israel found out they were messianic, they were told they could not emigrate. So they are living in refugee camps until something can be done. The other idea here, though, is that these Zambian orphans are dependent on others to provide for their needs. Ya’akov – James – tells us in chapter 1 of his book “religious observation that the Father considers faultless is to care for orphans and widows in their distress.” I have to admit, this is one of the things I struggle most with in life. Somehow, we as believers must get a handle on this and find a way to take care of them. And it is not just in Zambia – they are all around us. And if you wonder why I am relating it here as the object of G-d’s judgment, read chapter 8.
The Hebrew word used here in Amos for “tops of the columns” is kaphtor. As the body of Messiah, Shimon Kefa says in 1st Peter 2 we are “living stones.” The tops of the columns are translated also as “capitals.” This refers to the leadership structure. In other words, G-d is passing judgment and he says to strike the leadership structure first. That is where judgment will fall first. But no one will be spared, and it will go on from there. G-d tells us through Amos that no one will be spared; no matter where people flee, G-d can get to them.
Whether we view ourselves as kaphtor or not, we will be judged for how we served others, especially those who cannot help themselves. How will we be found? Will we be lacking in our efforts to serve others, or will we be rewarded for what we are doing? We know that Dad is a loving G-d. We know that He loves us beyond what we can possibly imagine. And He also loves those who are in great need – orphans and widows in their despair. And He has given us the task of being His hands to take care of them. Yet we keep being selfish all the time and doing things for us instead of for them.
So will His patience in waiting for us to do what is right last forever? Does He love us more than them? Will He allow us to pursue our selfish living while they starve and die? Or will His love for them rise up with His sense of mercy and justice and overflow in judgment for those who are not cared for. Time is running out on what He will do to correct this. His mercy will not go on forever. His justice will be recalled. My desire is to be found walking in His will. Whether they are literal orphans and widows or those poor in spirit whom I might work with – will I be found righteous in the way I serve them?
--Copyright Info--*Scripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Publ. by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distr. by Messianic Jewish Resources. www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Give You Peace - Echoing Angels
This song by Echoing Angels from their self-titled "Echoing Angels" album is what Jesus can do for all of us, give us His peace. I especially wanted to honor mothers and and all women who are given sorrows to bear and joys to cherish. I've included images of Queen Esther, Ruth and Naomi, Hagar and Ishmael, Rahab, Hannah and Samuel, the widow with her mite, the woman caught in adultery, and Mary.