Letters of Faith
Letter 17: Living as Disciples
“For the love of Messiah constrains us, having concluded this:
that if one died for all, then all are dead; and He died for all,
so that they who live might no longer live unto themselves,
but unto Him Who died for them, and rose again”
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ENB).
Your latest letter was an inspiration, and I am delighted to hear of your work for our Messiah. I am also delighted that the ‘older’ letters are proving useful to your teaching ministry, and that you are reaching others for Elohim’s glory.
The seeker process is increasing for many souls, as you now know, and it is my fervent prayer that all these messages might somehow quicken the search, and glorify Yehoshua. Continue your efforts, my friend, and continue in your prayer life, because the fruit you are bearing today will shine for eternity, and your joy will overshadow whatever pain, grief or anguish you might experience in this life.
We must remind the brethren to remain focused on their walk with Elohim, for it is in applying the Word of Elohim to everything we do, that we will be guided toward reaching our eternal goal. I am confident The Holy Spirit will smile sweetly upon you as you do these things, and that you will maintain the faith regardless of your circumstances.
While our discussions have included practical applications to many of the instructions we find throughout Scripture, your new teaching assignment leads me to talk a bit more about the traits of a Disciple, because this might help you point the way to those things which should “mark” the disciples of Yehoshua as well.
I believe that it is in the doing of these things that our actions will silently testify to the world – that we are Elohim’s children. Furthermore, the doing of these traits also proves the sanctification we have already received thru our loving Messiah.
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Despite Our Human Frailties:
For whatever reason, I began writing a list of adjectives that describe a Disciple, as depicted and portrayed throughout Scripture. As I contemplated these matters I was confronted with the realities of our humanness in this ‘fallen’ state.
While I acknowledge the power of Elohim in our lives, which enables us to overcome all evil, I am also very realistic as I consider our human frailties, mannerisms and habits. Evil is like a violent vacuum, beloved, and it desires to suck us toward the wide path to destruction. Conversely, The Holy Spirit is blowing a gentle breeze toward the path of righteousness, and our senses must be keen and attuned (only) to His moving.
As anticipation for the return of Yehoshua heightens, and as excitement for eternity future with our Master and Heavenly Father is to be expected, we need to patiently endure whatever Yehoshua asks of us for the time remaining.
We must be prepared to live throughout whatever tribulation confronts us, and faithfully witness to this dying world.
We must be prepared to sacrifice everything, including our lives, in order to serve Him.
Together we will enter the kingdom of Elohim; together we will reign with Him, but together we must first prepare the bride to meet the Bridegroom.
In view of these things, I want to offer some thoughts for living in the world today as Disciples of our Master Yehoshua, because just like the apostles and prophets who went before us, we must put on the full armor of Elohim and stand firm against the forces of evil.
We must also move toward the upward call of Elohim in Yehoshua, and, as we draw near to the conclusion of these writings,
We must consider the fullness of the fact that Elohim desires great things for us, and that Elohim also desires great things from us.
In His power, in faith, we will accomplish His will.
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Trait of Humility:
The first adjective on the page before me, describing the traits of Discipleship, is a topic we have already discussed many times, but is worthy of multiple considerations. That trait of a Disciple is: Humility.
As I ponder the realities of humility, my mind turns to the competitive drive and must win attitude that I have displayed throughout my life. While I know that as a Disciple of YEHOSHUA, I am different today than I was in my youth, I still find pleasure in winning; I still have a desire to succeed. Where is the humility?
Am I being humble when I always play to win?
Am I humble when I push myself to achieve?
Am I humble when I stand against a false pastor, prophet or teacher, and know that I might have been gentler in my approach?
Am I humble in defying the Babylonian religious institutions?
Truthfully, I am incapable of answering these questions; I am incapable of judging myself – or anyone else.
What I do know though, is that Elohim tells us that as long as we are growing in faith and bearing His fruit, and as long as we are striving to live as unto Yehoshua, these other matters are insignificant because humility before Elohim is present. As long as we continue to bow unto Him, acknowledging Him as Master in our lives, and continue seeking His guidance in our daily walk, humility unto Elohim is evident…
And I do find humility in my life whenever I bow to the throne of Elohim.
I also find humility in my heart as I look into the faces of the people the Master has brought into my life to teach, and with whom I am to witness.
I find it as I bow to the gifts The Holy Spirit has given His children, myself included.
I find it whenever I consider this creation: how the hand of Elohim did all these things, by fiat, knowing that I cannot create anything.
I find it as I consider you, and the fact that you study the ramblings of another man who is simply striving to glorify Elohim.
Somehow, the life of a Disciple is to exemplify humility, and through our humble heart, Elohim finds us useful.
But how do we apply humility in the midst of tribulation, when we must confront an evil society?
How do we maintain a humble heart when we know what awaits humanity at the end of the path they have chosen?
How do we remain humble as we see the spirit of opposition unto Yehoshua, present itself throughout the world today – taunting the very Messiah we love?
While we must hold our heads proudly before the jeers of our enemies, in our hearts we must be humble before Elohim. That is important!
We are to be humble, therefore, in the same way Yehoshua was humble before the Chief Priest and Pontius Pilate.
We are to remain humble as Yehoshua was humble – even unto death.
If they hated Him, they will hate us as well. He promised us that!
If they persecuted Him, should we not anticipate the same?
Do we offer ourselves unto Elohim in pride, or in humility?
Paul said, “I am made all things to all, so that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22 ENB).
The humility of those words must impact us today!
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Traits of Thankfulness and Contentment:
Two other traits on the page before me, describing a Disciple are, Thankful and Content. We certainly know that a Disciple is to be these things, but:
How can we be thankful when we are terminally ill, and worry about the future care of our spouse and children?
How can we be content when we are out of work and unable to find gainful employment?
How can we be thankful when our spouse commits adultery and abandons us?
Or how can we find contentment when our child is addicted to drugs?
How can we be thankful when the pain and grief being experienced worldwide is increasing every day, and humanity is headed toward destruction?
Oh, beloved, the first thing we must realize is that Being Thankful and Content Surpasses Circumstances.
The Disciple of Yehoshua has The Holy Spirit abiding within, and can therefore be thankful for all things, knowing that our suffering is neither unique nor everlasting.
We can be content in all situations, knowing that Elohim loves and desires us.
We can be thankful at all times in the understanding of His predetermined plan for us, because Elohim has a special purpose for each and every one of us.
Whatever happens, therefore, is meant to accomplish His purpose thru us.
Through our faithful acceptance of His plan, we glorify our Messiah, Master and King, and thru Him, we Glorify our Father in Heaven.
We can then be thankful for His predetermined plan, which included the sacrifice of His Son for our souls.
And, we can be content in the knowledge of an eternity of joy prepared beforehand for us.
Scripture says, “In everything give thanks, for this is Elohim’s will in Messiah Yehoshua for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ENB), and then adds, “I will praise the Name of Elohim with a song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving, and please YEHOWAH better than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs” (Psalms 69:30-31 ENB).
Elohim is glorified whenever we give thanks, in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, because our circumstances always fall within His will for us. In this alone we can be thankful and content – and even joyful.
Six months before my Dad died, I had occasion to travel back home for a visit. During my stay, in response to his questions, I spoke with him and my family about the Messiah I had found.
One night, just before I had to leave, my Dad and I had an uninterrupted opportunity to share our thoughts. As we sat on the steps outside his house, I poured my heart out to him regarding the true Gospel (not the junk that had cluttered our lives for all those years).
To my utter joy, he received Yehoshua as his Messiah and Master that night.
That was the last time we actually spoke face to face.
The next time I saw my Dad was in an intensive care unit, following a surgery. He was incapable of talking, but we prayed. He died later that evening.
I was, and remain, eternally Thankful to our Elohim, for his salvation, and for the moments Elohim gave me to share Yehoshua with him.
I was, and remain, Content in knowing I will see my dad again in our Father’s Kingdom.
Praise be unto our Messiah, Master and King!
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Trait of Obedience:
Being thankful unto Elohim, thankful and content in His will, is solely a matter of faithful obedience, isn’t it? Not surprisingly, therefore, as I scan the list of adjectives before me, I find Obedient prominently displayed.
Truly, this word is descriptive of a Disciple, is it not? As children of Elohim, we can all respond with a nod at the mention of that word. But how do we really apply obedience daily in our lives?
Are we obedient unto Elohim when we knowingly deceive someone?
Are we obedient when we curse somebody for the way they drive?
Are we obedient when we don’t study the Word of Elohim, or when we deny ourselves time to pray?
Is our obedience displayed when we consistently place work ahead of family – or anything ahead of our Elohim?
Or is obedience a factor when we turn our backs to the poor, homeless, widowed and orphaned?
Being thankful comes through acknowledging His presence and plan, and being content is a product of obeying that plan.
True obedience, therefore, is blind! Obedience has to be blind!
When we know something is true, everything contradicting that truth must be removed from sight, sound or consideration.
For example, we know Elohim created man in His image. True?
If true, how can any Disciple of Yehoshua ever explain personal racial or sexual bias or bigotry?
Sadly, hatred between professing ‘christians’ rages on just these basis, and because of these prejudices, the name of Yehoshua is blasphemed.
Everything contradicting Elohim’s truth must be rebuked, and in purity of heart we must blindly obey the will of our Master and Messiah.
Obedience is also faith in action, because only in faith can we please Him; only in faith can we overcome this world for His glory.
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Trait of Faithfulness:
And the truth that obedience is faith in action brings us to another adjective describing a Disciple, because, as another listed adjective denotes: we are to be Faithful.
It is a sad, but true, statement, that a very small percentage of professing ‘christians’ really know what faith is. Inasmuch as faith exceeds all known limitations, how many of us are living as if we believe that?
Are we faithful when we worry and fret (actually, about anything)?
Does faith include double mindedness and complaining?
Where is faith when we sit like robots in ‘church pews’ and let others tell us what they believe Elohim wants us to hear?
How is faith displayed when our laziness and apathy keep us from becoming politically active, even if that only means voting?
Is faith displayed in electing unrighteous men and women to decision-making positions in the government?
Or is faith present when we vote our wallets instead of our convictions?
How is faith being shown in the abortion clinics or in the laws of the nations that uphold ‘abortion on demand’ – at taxpayer expense?
Is faith even being exercised in our prayers about these matters?
If obedience is faith in action, how obedient have we been as children of Elohim?
Powerful faith will be displayed once again throughout the world, though, beloved!
As the world turns its hatred toward the Disciples of Yehoshua, which is inevitable, either faith or apostasy will be seen. Don’t be deceived, beloved, and do not allow anyone to tell you differently: your faith will be tested – physically, mentally and spiritually.
As we draw near to the return of our Messiah, the lines in the sand will become exceedingly evident, but we must not cross those lines. Although unrecognized, the world is seeing the spirit of the deceiving opponent quite clearly today, which necessitates that the world must also see true faith displayed by the Disciples of Yehoshua.
Even though many are being deceived at this time, the harvest shall come through our faithfulness, and Elohim will be glorified in wondrous and powerful displays of Faith.
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Traits of Integrity, Honor and Truthfulness:
Elsewhere on my list describing a Disciple, I see the words, Integrity, Honor and Truthfulness, and I am again overwhelmed. The world is aflame with the mind-set to achieve – everything – anything – at all costs.
Do the preachers and teachers within Babylon (the religious institutions) display integrity, honor and truthfulness when their ambitions are empire building, program prioritization and financial gain?
How many politicians can you name who exemplify the traits of integrity, honor and truthfulness?
Do you know many industrial leaders who are concerned with these matters?
How about employees and employers? Are integrity, honor and truthfulness witnessed today in the work place?
If the life of a Disciple is to exemplify these three traits, then where are the Disciples? Aren’t there any Disciples of Yehoshua in the rolls of our industrial / political leadership, or in the rank and file of the employees of industry and government?
Oh, our Master knows that we can find professing ‘christians’ everywhere, but somehow they seem to reserve integrity, honor and truthfulness for Sunday mornings.
The world needs to see the Ekklesia today, and that means the Disciples of Yehoshua must stand firmly – with Integrity, Honor and Truthfulness – wherever they may be, doing whatever it is that our Master has determined for us to do!
As Yehoshua’s Disciples deal one-on-one with people, these characteristic traits must be evident.
And this is true, regardless of whom those Disciples are dealing, and regardless of the position or organization from which we deal.
We must always maintain honor, truthfulness and integrity, no matter what.
In the last days, people’s hearts will turn to Elohim when the faithful and obedient children of Elohim remain constant in their walk – regardless of the cost.
We are children of Elohim; we are heirs to the throne; we are a royal priesthood, how should we act toward the world?
Read Psalm 82 again, beloved, and see – Can Elohim identify us as His children by the way we are behaving, or shall we die as the rest?
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Traits of Reverence, Wholeheartedness and Submissiveness:
As I browse the list further, I am confronted with words like: Reverence, Wholeheartedness and Submissiveness, and again I consider the ills of society.
Nearly three million people are imprisoned in the United States today, and even more criminals are running loose on society. How does that speak of a ‘Christian’ nation?
Furthermore, over Sixty Three Million unborn babies have been slaughtered in the United States since abortion was legalized. How does that witness to the unsaved world?
The educational proficiency of our children slips every year. What sort of testimony will these children present to the world when they cannot even read the Bible?
Please Absorb This:
In the same newspaper, on the same day, two separate articles appeared, which fully and utterly define the United States of America today:
The first article declared:
“EXPRESSIONS OF HATE RULED CONSTITUTIONAL”.
The Article goes on to say that the Supreme Court of New Jersey has found that, “Expressions of hate, as offensive as they may be, are a constitutionally protected form of speech and cannot be banned by the government.”
The ACLU, naturally, hailed the decision.
The second article declared:
“SIGNED ABORTION BILL SOCKS IT TO PROTESTERS”.
This Article then describes how anyone exercising their constitutional right of free speech and assembly – in front of an abortion clinic, will face prison terms from six months to life, and fines of up to $250,000.00.
Naturally and predictably, An ACLU statement called the legislation, “A milestone in congressional protection for reproductive freedom.”
Tell me, beloved, where are reverence, submissiveness and wholeheartedness unto Elohim in our tolerance of these hypocrisies?
How do we as a nation justify a life sentence for protesting abortion, while murderers, rapists and thieves freely walk the streets?
I fervently pray against these things daily, beloved, and ask you to join me in this vigil.
Are we being reverent as we silently capitulate to extremists who are bent on destroying this nation, which has been dedicated to the very Elohim whom we serve?
Are we wholehearted in our love for Elohim, as we remain apostate in our approach toward our local, state and federal government?
Are we submitting to Elohim, as Elohim requires, in our spiritual and civic apostasy?
Does our silence and inactivity please our King?
Reverence – the fear of Elohim – is not lazy or apostate. Reverence is applying every effort to please the One revered.
Wholeheartedness, being single-minded and being devout in our approach to the matters of Elohim, is extremely broad.
Wherever we labor and whatever we do, we are to accomplish our assigned tasks wholeheartedly.
Our Elohim expects His Disciples to represent Him wherever and whenever we can.
Is He being represented today?
Submission, as we have already discussed, is never easy. As tribulation abounds, and the return of our Messiah nears, we will be called upon to submit in ways we have never imagined. Don’t forget though, beloved, Elohim will always provide for His submissive servants.
Even though we have been directed to submit to many authorities, we can never “cross the lines in the sand”.
If the Mark of the Beast is literal, and it is, we must not submit to the pressures of society, or to a materialistic spirit. We must never submit to evil.
As we assemble to glorify Elohim, we can submit unto Him, and unto each other, and in this, Elohim will be glorified!
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Traits of Being Prayerful, Seeking and Merciful:
My descriptive list of a Disciple continues with expressions like, Prayerful, Seeking and Merciful, and I recognize the mercy of Elohim as He allows me to seek Him and talk with Him.
Yet, we must recognize that mercy received is void unless mercy is displayed.
How will Elohim judge our apathy in light of the slaughter and ethnic cleansing(s) occurring around the world, including that taking place within these United States of America?
How will Elohim view the testimony presented to the world by the Catholics and Protestants of Ireland, who profess to be ‘christian’, but whose actions over decades have displayed pure hatred?
People are being massacred around the world, and people are starving everywhere. Where is mercy?
Inasmuch as we have already discussed the differences between mercy and pity, we do not need to cover that again, but another question begging to be asked about mercy is, “If we prayerfully seek Elohim and find Him, and if in the finding we also find eternal deliverance, how should we behave toward others who have as yet not discovered the truth”? (See Matthew 18:21-35 as you ponder this matter).
Simply, only the children of Elohim will ever hear the voice of Elohim. Yehoshua said, “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27 ENB). The rest are not of Elohim, and will never hear Him!
Seeing as we can never judge another soul, we must approach each individual in prayer, with love and mercy in our heart, because those who will hear – will hear – and those who remain – are dead already! Truly, mercy must abound in our hearts!
And, consider the power of prayer for a moment:
The slaughter that is taking place around the world testifies that not many have believed the Gospel of Yehoshua.
MOST do not know the Truth.
Therefore, the Disciples of Yehoshua must be in prayer for this world, seeking a merciful outpouring of Elohim’s grace upon His heretofore deaf, dumb and blind children.
Victory only comes through prayer, beloved, and Yehoshua deserves a wondrous victory through His Ekklesia!
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Traits of Being Singing, Productive and Joyful:
My list also includes some adjectives that are unusual. Traits like Singing, Productive and Joyful, are to be evident in the life of a Disciple of Yehoshua. As I looked at these words, I was reminded of the dream I had – about the crate with humanity inside. It is a strange association, to be sure, but as I considered these adjectives, my heart turned to the work that needs to be done, and I started to sing a song of praise.
Anyone who has ever experienced adrenaline rushing through their body will testify to its life changing affect. My time in Vietnam was laced with periods of extreme adrenal power, and, until I met Yehoshua, I had not experienced anything like it since.
There have been times in my walk with Yehoshua though, that an opportunity to plant a seed about Him in someone’s heart has excited me more than adrenaline.
There have been other times when Elohim allowed me to water a seed already planted by another brother or sister, and the excitement heightened.
Then there were moments of harvest, when Elohim permitted me to participate in the repentance and rebirth of a soul.
Adrenaline does not compare with the excitement of these moments.
As I looked at the adjectives, singing, productive and joyful, I could not get past the crate with humanity trapped inside, because of anticipation in my heart for the work before us.
I do not know how Elohim is going to assemble the surgical teams necessary to free the Ekklesia from its bondage, I just know He will.
I cannot imagine my involvement either, but as we work together in His harvest, I am certain that regardless of the circumstances, our hearts will be singing joyfully.
We have become so engrossed in earning a living that we have forgotten what it means to live; to be truly productive.
We are so intent on maintaining our lifestyles, that we have surrendered our very lives, and in that surrendering, our joy is gone as well.
We have been deceived so completely, and are so involved in our status, caring more what others think, than what Elohim thinks, that there no longer remains a song in many hearts.
World financial markets will be crashing soon, yet every Disciple of Yehoshua must be joyful.
Wars and rumors of war will abound, and slaughter will increase, but the Disciples must sing the praises of Elohim.
Hatred and bigotry will be commonplace, but His Disciples must remain steadfast in the fields; productive in the great harvest.
Whenever we find ourselves downcast and foreboding, we must remember that Elohim wants us to be joyful, productive and singing.
Could there be a relationship between Joy, Singing, & Productivity in our lives, and faithful obedience? YES, unquestionably there is!
Charlie hums when she is happy, and she doesn’t even realize that she is humming, because she is busy doing something for someone else… I love hearing her hum!
I often sing in my sleep, and awake with an abounding joy that is indescribable!
I wholeheartedly pray these things for you, my friend. May your heart be filled with joy and singing as you abide productively in Yehoshua our Messiah…
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Traits of Being Prepared, Enduring and Wise:
A few other adjectives that describe a Disciple are; Prepared, Enduring and Wise, and as I look at the definitions of these words, I run directly into the disease called apostasy.
Apostasy is the desertion of one’s faith.
Apostasy certainly casts a shadow across the lines of wisdom, and undoubtedly causes failure and a general lack of preparedness.
Apostasy contradicts wisdom, stops us from being prepared, and insures we are unable to endure.
If, “The fear of YEHOWAH is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalms 111:10 ENB), then defying YEHOWAH is the path to error.
If only the wise are spiritually prepared, then those in error are incapable of preparation.
If endurance comes from Elohim, abandoning Elohim will certainly bring failure.
Aren’t these the failures we are witnessing today throughout society; throughout the world?
The Word of Elohim says, “Now…Concerning the coming of our Master Yehoshua ha Mashiach, and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken in your understanding, or be troubled, either by a spirit, or a message, or a letter, as if from us, that the day of the Master has come. Let no one by any means deceive you, for that day shall not come until the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed; the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 ENB).
This passage speaks directly toward preparation, endurance and wisdom:
Wisdom to discern truth from lies, and to know adequately the plan of Elohim.
Endurance to withstand tribulation; withstand the revealing of the “son of perdition”, and to patiently wait for the coming of the Master.
Preparation, because much work must be accomplished before the day of the Master. The bride must be prepared to meet the Bridegroom!
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Things That a Disciple IS NOT:
Before discussing the last three adjectives that describe the Traits of a Disciple: Being Dead to Self but alive unto YEHOSHUA; Being Imitators of Elohim, and Loving, I want to show you some other adjectives that describe what a Disciple is Not.
As we disciple and teach others about YEHOSHUA, it is equally important that we remind each other about these works of the flesh and heart, because they all stand against the holiness of Elohim.
In so reminding them of these things, we must do so without judgment. Therefore, as each one searches their heart regarding these matters, I offer this list without comment:
“For this is the will of Elohim, your sanctification; that you abstain from fornication; that each of you should know how to possess your own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passions, like the Gentiles who do not know Elohim; that none go beyond and defraud their brethren in any matter, because the Master avenges for all these things, just as we also forewarned and solemnly testified. For Elohim has not called us to uncleanness, but to purity. Those therefore, who reject this, are not rejecting man, but Elohim, who gives His Holy Spirit to you” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 ENB).
“But flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call upon the Master from a pure heart. But avoid foolish and stupid questions, knowing that they give birth to conflicts. The Master’s slave must not fight, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient; in humility instruct those in opposition; lest Elohim grant them repentance unto the acknowledgement of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:22-25 ENB).
“But now you also put away all anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and shameful language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its deeds” (Colossians 3:8-9 ENB).
“Therefore, putting away all malice, and all deceit, and hypocrisy, and envy, and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the sincere milk of the word, so that by it you may grow” (1 Peter 2:1-2 ENB).
“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters” (1 Peter 4:15 ENB).
“For everyone who commits sin also transgresses the law; for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4 ENB).
“Do not follow that which is evil, but that which is good” (3 John 11 ENB).
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contention, jealousy, rage, strife, dissensions, heresies, envying, murder, drunkenness, reveling, and such things like these, of which I warn you, just as I have warned you in the past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim” (Galatians 5:19-21 ENB).
“Know this also, that in the last days perilous times will come. For mankind will be lovers of their own self, covetous, boastful, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, without natural affection, implacable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, despisers of those that are good, traitorous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Elohim, having a form of reverence, but denying its power; avoid such as these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ENB).
In case you were unaware, the sorcery in Galatians 5:20, is the Greek word
PHARMAKEIA, from which we get the word, pharmaceutical.
The word is used four times in the New Covenant, and each use speaks specifically of
drug use, drug abuse and drug trafficking. See Revelation 9:21, 18:23 and
21:8. (And many do not think Elohim’s Word is relevant today!)
“But the fruit of The Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23 ENB)…
And it is for these things, beloved, that we must be known!
As we have discovered throughout these letters, Yehoshua has already won the spiritual battle. In these last days, therefore, we must provide evidence of His victory to the world. That is our function as ambassadors and Disciples of Yehoshua, and that is the power and authority He has already given us.
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Traits of Being Dead to Self but alive unto YEHOSHUA, Being Imitators of Elohim, and Loving.
Finally then, the list of adjectives describing a Disciple, includes the phrases: Being Dead to Self but alive unto YEHOSHUA, Being Imitators of Elohim, and Loving. And here is where everything we have discussed so far finds rest.
Being dead to self but alive unto Yehoshua is certainly submission on the grandest scale.
Is there a price too high for immortality?
What is eternal joy and happiness worth? Yehoshua tells us to die to self and live unto Him. He also tells us that through our faithfulness – speaking of joy and happiness, that He will give you all these and more. We either believe that or not!
Is it easy to be dead to self?
Let me answer that this way:
If I put my hand near a fire, my natural reaction is to recoil from the flame, protecting the life of the nerves and surrounding tissue.
A drowning person will push anything near them, down into the water, in their attempt to clamber upward toward air and life.
The natural inclination of all life is to live. Yehoshua said, “Those who find their life shall lose it, and those that lose their life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39 ENB).
Spiritually speaking, therefore, everything our natural tendency dictates as true, about living and dying, is in fact a lie!
Our every inclination is for self-preservation, but Yehoshua says we must lose our life for His sake, in order to have eternal life with Him.
So, is it easy to be dead to self? No, it goes against everything we think is right.
Ephesians 4:15 speaks directly to this point, for therein Elohim says, “We may grow up in all ways into Him, who is the head, Messiah” (ENB), therefore, we cannot be growing “unto self”.
The maturity of a Disciple comes as we fully die to self in Him, because our eternal life is in Yehoshua.
Whenever I pray to draw nearer to Elohim, He allows it. Funny thing about the process though – it is painful! What we imagine to be pleasant: getting nearer to Elohim, initially sends us into spiritual shock.
The only way we can draw near to Elohim is to die to self. Every time a part of me dies, I recoil; I pull back. I hate that!
Oh, I can look back at the road I’ve traveled and see parts of me laying here and there, but an honest look in any mirror shows that a lot of Larry still exists; too much of “me” is still there.
Am I giving up in my quest? Absolutely not! I want to see more of Yehoshua in the mirror, and I trust Him to help me make that happen.
Fortunately, Elohim will never test us beyond what we are able to endure, and this includes the pain of death.
As we seek to draw nearer, He paces our growth in Him (death to self) at a rate that not only pleases Him, but also allows us to survive spiritually.
The faithful in Yehoshua will eventually draw so near; Elohim will personally place us upon His lap and dry our tears.
I can die for that!
Another thing I notice though, as I look back at my life with Yehoshua, are those moments when I really imitated Him. So, so sweet are those scenes of righteousness, holiness, faithfulness and power. And O, so rare!
I can see the fruit of The Holy Spirit, but I am not so blind that I do not also recognize the works of the flesh.
We can only pray and trust that the works of the flesh will be less frequent, as the fruit of The Holy Spirit becomes more prominent, because that is what bearing fruit, dying to self, and living as unto Him, means.
Discipleship; dying to self and living for – and unto – Yehoshua, and imitating Elohim, are a process.
I am unable to determine when any part of me dies, because its final death is imperceptible to me.
As we determine to be Disciples, however, we imitate Yehoshua as we surrender our self to Him. Over time, portions of us simply fade away.
Giving up smoking for Him was a type of dying for me. Although I know the day I quit, I do not know when I overcame my dependency of nicotine.
Today, though, Not Smoking has become as much a part of me as smoking once was.
Amazing transformations are possible in Him, and we are called to be transformed!
And then there is love. I remember saying in one of my first letters, that I could not conceive writing one letter to you, that did not, in some way, speak of Elohim’s love.
Has that standard been met, my friend? Oh, if only the world could see the fullness of Elohim’s love.
Ever-So-Sadly, the Scourging, Torture, Crucifixion and Death of our Messiah is a blur to most people today, and His Resurrection and Ascension mean even less!
I recall telling you about the time I sat with a cousin and my brother, about two days after our Dad had died, and I tried to discuss YEHOSHUA with them. They could not understand my attitude about my Dad’s death, and I tried to explain his deliverance to them.
I knew where he was!
I knew I would see him again.
Although I was saddened by his departure, I was not mortified.
They could not grasp what I was saying. It was not time.
They laughed as I spoke, and as they laughed, I prayed. I listened as they ridiculed my words, but I praised my Elohim in heaven.
Then, at one point, my brother said something in his jesting that I will never forget. He laughingly pointed at me and declared, “You’re shining. You radiate a glow around you. You’re going crazy with all of this stuff.”
After a while I excused myself from the table, drove to an Aunt’s house where I was staying, and cried.
I knew the love of Elohim had been displayed for them, but they could not accept it – yet.
The simple point to this is that we are capable of representing Yehoshua – He said so!
Not only that, He wants us to represent Him here – NOW!.
He gives us gifts, talents and abilities to accomplish the task.
As we draw near to Him, we will begin to reflect Him back to the world.
As we die to self, Elohim will be glorified and magnified, and in our dying to self, we will truly find His life.
And in the fullness of THAT LIFE, we will till some soil, plant some seeds, water some seeds, and maybe even join in the harvest in our Father’s fields.
Consider Moses, having to hide under a veil.
We are children of Elohim, and just as Elohim is love, we too must become love.
The veil has been removed through Yehoshua, and we are free to display the fullness of Elohim – for humanity to see – whenever we choose.
Power and Proclamation are fulfilled in love.
The veil was miraculously removed for my brother and cousin on that day, and my prayer is always – that it would be removed for them permanently!
“Love is patient, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not brag, and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But if there are gifts of prophecy, they will vanish; if there are languages, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will vanish” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 ENB).
This is how Elohim defines Love, beloved, and by any standard, Elohim’s Love is a far cry from what mankind understands it to be.
Love is not romance or sex.
Love is not compassion or pity.
“Elohim is love” (1 John 4:8), and as His children, we are capable of imitating our Elohim!
Letter 17: Living as Disciples – Closing Thoughts:
As you consider the adjectives I have listed in this letter, seek guidance from The Holy Spirit, beloved, and review your life. Humbly acknowledge His holiness and your desire to imitate Him. Confess those areas that miss the mark, but do so rejoicing in your heart, knowing that Elohim forgives.
Our Master wants all these Traits to be evident in our lives, but He knows that growth is not immediate; growth is a process – His Process. If we are progressing in our walk, though, faithfully abiding as He directs, then the fruit of The Holy Spirit will be evident too, and as Elohim is glorified, we can have peace in our faith.
We have found the will of Elohim, beloved!
We have found many things that our Master desires from us – and for us.
Joyously, in the finding of His will, we can ask for fulfillment.
And, better still, we can anticipate and strive for the power and authority that is forthcoming to attain that fulfillment. We already have our requests approved!
We are His children. He will not deny us any good thing – ever!
May His love, peace and joy abound in your life, and may your spirit rejoice as you imitate Yehoshua in all power and authority.
I remain faithfully your servant and brother in Yehoshua our Messiah and Master,
Letter 17 Topical concordance:
Born again: (Apply along with: Dead to self, alive to YEHOWAH).
Old Covenant: 1 Samuel 10:6; Psalms 143 (all); Ezekiel 18:31-32 (A).
New Covenant: Matthew 12:43-45, 16:24-27, 18:3-4; Mark 2:20-21, 10:15; John 3:1-8, 8:31- 32, 12:24-26, 15:1-2; Romans 6:17-18; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20, 5:24-25; Ephesians 4:15,20-32, 5:7-10; Colossians 2:13-14, 3:3-11; 2 Timothy 1:7; Philemon 1:10-11; Hebrews 12:7-13; 1 Peter 1:3,23, 2:24; 1 John 3:9-10,14, 4:4.
Old Covenant: Psalms 37:7, 145:7-21; Proverbs 15 (all); Ecclesiastes 2:24, 4:6, 6:9, 7:14; Habakkuk 3:17-19.
New Covenant: 1 Corinthians 7:17-24; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Titus 6:6; Hebrews 13:5-7; 1 Peter 1:1.
Dead to self, alive to Messiah: (Also see Born Again).
Old Covenant: Numbers 17:13; Psalms 45:10-12, 116:15; Daniel 3 (all).
New Covenant: Matthew 10:34-39, 16:24-27; Acts 20:24; Philippians 3:7-16; 2 Timothy 2:3-5.
Old Covenant: Psalms 37 (all), 138 (all); Yeremiyeh 32:40; Hosea 12:6.
New Covenant: Matthew 10:22; Romans 8:37-39; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Timothy 2:1-3,10-12; Hebrews 12:1-17; James 1:4,12,25; Revelation 2-3 (all).
Old Covenant: Exodus 14:14; Numbers 14:8-9; Psalms 37 (all), 101 (all), 107 (all); Isaiyeh 58 (all); Yeremiyeh (all).
New Covenant: Mark 9:23, 11:22-26; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:16-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Philemon 1:6; Hebrews 11 (all); James 1:27.
New Covenant: Romans 2:7; 2 Corinthians 8:21; Philippians 4:8; Hebrews 5:4, 13:8.
Old Covenant: Numbers 12:3; Psalms 37:11, 113 (all), 138 (all), 145:14-16; Proverbs 11:2, 15:33, 16:19, 22:4, 25:6-7; Isaiyeh 66:1-3; Yeremiyeh (all) see 45:5; Daniel 4:37, 9:3; Micyeh 6:6-9; Zephaniyeh 2:1-3.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:5, 18:2-4, 19:25-28, 20:26, 23:2-12; Luke 14:8-11, 18:14; John 13:5-15, 17:4-5; Acts 14:9-19, 18:24-26; Romans 12:1-3, 10, 16; 2 Corinthians 3:1-6, 4:44-11, 7:6, 10:12-13,18, 12:9, 13:9; Ephesians 4:1-2; Philippians 2:3-10; Colossians 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:10; Hebrews 5:1-2; James 2:1, 4:6-10; 1 Peter 3:8-12, 5:5-7.
Imitators of Elohim:
New Covenant: Ephesians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:14-16, 5:4-8; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; Hebrews 6:12; 2 Peter 1:4-11, 3:10-14; 1 John 1:6-7, 2:6.
Old Covenant: Deuteronomy 16:19; Psalms 15(all), 24:1-6, 26(all); Proverbs (all); Micyeh 6:8.
New Covenant: Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 7:2; Philippians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 1 Peter 2:4-12.
Old Covenant: 1 Chronicles 15:16; Psalms (Throughout) see, 21:1-6, 126 (all); Proverbs (Throughout); Isaiyeh 51:7-11, 52:7-10, 56:6-8.
New Covenant: Matthew 25:14-23; Acts 8:4-8; 2 Corinthians (all), 8:1-3; 1 Peter 1:3-9; 1 John 1:1-4.
Old Covenant: Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:19; Psalms (all); Proverbs (all).
New Covenant: Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-33; Luke 6:31-35; John 13:34, 15:12; Romans 12:9-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 16:13-14; Galatians 5:13-14; Ephesians 5:2,25-27; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 1 John 4:7-8; 1 Peter 4:8.
Old Covenant: Exodus 25 (all); Psalms (all); Proverbs (all), Isaiyeh 63:9; Micyeh 6:8.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:7, 23:23; Luke 6:36, 9:22-24; Romans 9 (all), 12:8; Colossians 3:12-13; Hebrews 9:5; James 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3-2:10.
Old Covenant: Leviticus 19:36-37, 20:22; Deuteronomy (all); 1 Samuel 15:22-23; 2 Kings 17:37; Ezra 7:23; Psalms 106 (all); Ecclesiastes 12:13; Yeremiyeh 38:20; Daniel 7:27.
New Covenant: Luke 11:28; Romans 6:17; Ephesians 6:6-8; Philippians 2:5-18; 1 Timothy 6:14-18; 2 Timothy 1:7; James 1:22, 2:10; 1 Peter 1:14.
Old Covenant: Psalms 37:3-7, 116:1-2; Isaiyeh 44:24-26.
New Covenant: Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; James 5:13-18.
Old Covenant: Daniel 6:5.
New Covenant: Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-40; 2 Timothy 2:15.
New Covenant: Ephesians 5:15-17; Titus 3:8-9.
Old Covenant: Psalms (all); Proverbs (all); Isaiyeh 45:9.
New Covenant: 1 Peter 1:17-19.
Old Covenant: Psalms (all); Hosea (all); Micyeh 6:8.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:10,13-20,48: Mark 4:24; Luke 16:1-13; Romans 6:4, 13:13; 1 Corinthians 15:33-34; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Ephesians 4:1-3; Philippians 1:9-11,27-29; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 1 Timothy 4:8-9.
Old Covenant: 1 Chronicles 16:11; Psalms 105:4; Proverbs 2:1-5; Isaiyeh 26:8; Amos (all); Zephaniyeh 2:3.
New Covenant: Matthew 6:25-34; Colossians 3:1-2; Hebrews 11:6; Revelation 22:17.
Old Covenant: Psalms 5:11-12, 27:6, 147:7; Yeremiyeh 31:7.
New Covenant: Ephesians 5:19-20; Philippians 4:4-9.
Old Covenant: Yehshua ( Joshua) 4:1-10.
New Covenant: Titus 3:1-2; Hebrews 13:17; James 4:7.
Old Covenant: Psalms 7:17, 9:1-6, 30:10-12, 50(all), 57:7-11, 75(all), 97:10-12, 100(all), 106:1, 107(all), 116-117(all), 119(all), 136(all), 138(all), 140(all); Ecclesiastes 7:14; Jonah 2:9.
New Covenant: Acts 24:2-3; Philippians 4:6,11-13; Colossians 1:9-12, 3:15-17, 4:2; 1 Timothy 6:6-12.
Old Covenant: Psalms 117(all); Jonah 2:9; Zechariyeh 8:16-17.
New Covenant: John 3:2,20-21, 16:13-14, 17:17; 2 Corinthians 13:5-11; Ephesians 4:25-32; Colossians 3:9; Hebrews 6:17-20; 3 John 1:3-4.
Old Covenant: Yehshua (Joshua) 24:15.
New Covenant: Matthew 19:27-30.
Old Covenant: Job 28:12-19, 32:9; Proverbs (all), 2:1-20, 3:13-26, 7:4
New Covenant: Matthew 7:24-25; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13:11; Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 4:5-6; James 3:13-17
Other significant passages:
Old Covenant: Psalms 119(all); Hosea (all).
New Covenant: Ephesians 4:14-16; Colossians 3:8-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, 4:1-8; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 2:2-13; 1 Peter 1:14-16, 2:1-3, 4:15-16; 1 John 3:4-11; 3 John 1:11.
Letters of Faith™
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD.
All Scripture used within The Letters of Faith are taken from
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD. Used with permission.