Circumcision of the Heart

One of the definitions of circumcision in the dictionary is a spiritual purification. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is akin to circumcision of the heart! In the Greek, the word originates from peritome and means to be set apart from the sinful masses and Truly devoted to God.

But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. (NKJV) No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people. Romans 2:29 (NLT)

Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. Romans 3:1&2

 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:12

By allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, we are grafted into the Jewish birthright through the Holy Spirit and receive the revelations of God. To be truly devoted to God, we must follow him with our whole heart and not keep back certain parts.  To be able to discern the scriptures and gain understanding requires forgiveness. Not only must we forgive others, we must forgive ourselves. God has already forgiven us by sending his son. When our hearts are not pliable, we don’t allow the Holy Spirit in to work through us. We lead others away from the gospel instead of to the open heart and arms of our wonderful and loving Heavenly Father.

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:11-13

Peter’s problem was not in eating with the Gentiles but later refusing to socialize with them. He was trying to make them follow the law and not rely on their faith in Jesus Christ. It is only by faith and believing in Jesus Christ that we Are made right with God. When we shun people based on their stature in life, the way they look, their lack in any area, we become a stumbling block to others. No wonder so many run from the gospel! Why would they want to associate with hypocrites (people who pretend)?

Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. Galatians 5:2&3

We cannot rely on a ceremonial act to make us ‘right’ with God. We cannot live a just life by our own practice, we must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in everything we do. What area of our lives are we not allowing God to work in? What ‘law’ or act is our stumbling block to others? What religious rite are we performing to gain holiness? Unless the Holy Spirit is working in our lives, we are just make-believe Christians.

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:16 & 25

Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. Ephesians 2:11

Are we uncircumcised heathens who cannot get into the kingdom? Are we the non-believing Jews who only put on an outward show of following God and didn’t have a heart for Him?

When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. Colossians 2:11

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. 1 John 2:27

God sent us the Holy Spirit to allow us to love others and to discern truth. It is through our pliable heart that we hear his voice and see with his eyes.

And he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. 2 Corinthians 1:22

Prayer: Father help me to keep my heart submissive to the Holy Spirit working in me to hear your voice and see with your eyes. Help me to share your love which has no classifications or categories to do Your perfect will. Help me be able to pour out Your love and peace on others. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.

Credits: mbaum heart with mouth

Wedding Bliss

My fiance and I have shared our story to anyone who will read or listen. I will share my version.

I used to write a political blog through a publication which I enjoyed. I made many friends through the years and have kept loosely associated with some of them. My moniker was ‘Str8_talk.’ (Not associated w/McCain!) One of the other bloggers I met was Jonathan Alligood, known as ‘Good Al.’ I occasionally read his posts. I had gone through a very anguished  relationship and I wasn’t looking to marry again or date anyone. At first I was adamant that I wouldn’t marry again but later I said “God will have to show me if I am to marry again, then I will know it is meant to be.”

I was writing from Kansas City, MO when I first encountered Jonathan through blogging. We found out that each of us were on Facebook, so we connected in that venue just before I moved in with my daughter in VA. I was looking to converse with someone who shared similar beliefs to mine. We shared what we both learned or believed in our faith in God’s Word and we had some very lengthy discussions on the Bible. We agreed on just about everything and we grew in the Lord together.

Fast forward to my son-in-love’s transfer to North Carolina, which is Jonathan’s home state. Jonathan had shared with me about a church in a suburb of Jacksonville, NC. I really enjoyed what he said about their beliefs and it felt right in my spirit (the spirit that I received through my salvation). I told him I would visit there because I would be looking for a home church.

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. Ephesians 1:13 (NLT)

The day I walked into Kingdom Life Fellowship (then known as Praise Tabernacle) I knew I had a church home. It was good, the worship and the message were phenomenal and I knew I had found rest for my soul. I am not a bystander though and I plugged in wherever I could. I worked a couple of times through the food bank and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting those people. If it weren’t for the generosity of my daughter I might have been one of ‘those people.’ I also helped with other areas, and served two days in the soup kitchen. I want to share the joy and peace God has given me. I love people of all types, isn’t that what we are encouraged to do?

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:1

I met another guy through a different ministry who asked me “What are you looking for in a man?” I told him “I am Not looking for a man, I am in a relationship with God and it is the most important relationship in my life.” I have continued to seek God first in my life. I wasn’t looking for a relationship or someone to marry. I just wanted to know God more; if and when I was meant to be involved with someone God would show me.

In December, I met Jonathan face to face. In the past, he had been at our church to hear teachings and the theatrical performances by the drama team. He came to see a play that our drama team put on which I was privileged to be a part. The next day he came over and visited for a few hours. By this time we were good friends and we shared more of the Lord. We knew each other better than friends we’ve had for most of our lives because we had a strong spiritual connection.

In January, I attended a seminar at his church three hours away with another friend from my church. This was not to see him but to continue on my spiritual journey and learn more about God. There were two sessions on Saturday and one on Sunday morning. During the praise and worship portion of the service, I felt like God told me “Jonathan will be your husband.” It was quite a shocking revelation but I had said all along that God would show me who, when, and IF I was to marry. I said “Okay God, you will have to show him as well, then I will know it is from you.” I didn’t change in the way I acted towards Jonathan but God was working on my heart in how I viewed him, moving from friend to eventual partner in life and ministry. I continued to be his friend, knowing that if God was in it, He would work on his heart as well.

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 

Obviously, if you know us or looked at the title, you know that God did start revealing to Jonathan that I might be the woman for his life. In April I mentioned to Jonathan that I wanted to go somewhere and shoot some photography. I asked his advice on the state parks since NC is his home state. He told me he might not be available on that Saturday and I asked him why he said this. I hadn’t been hinting for him to go, I just wanted his perspective as a native Carolinian. He said he needed to get out and he would like to go. We spent the day together at Raven Rock State Park hiking the beautiful trails with the dogwood in peak bloom. That evening we went to an authentic Italian restaurant where the song playing when we walked in was “I Can Only Imagine.” This seemed to set the tone for the day. 

        

After dinner, we went back to the park for more hiking. We ended up getting caught in a thunderstorm together and walked back in utter darkness except for the occasional lightning strikes and light from the small flashlight which I had grabbed before we set out on our second hike. We managed to get back to our cars by making all the right turns.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We have had many dates since April and feel very blessed to be in each other’s lives! On July 23rd, Jonathan proposed to me at my church. We will be getting married on August 20th! We look forward to a shared ministry together.

You may read Jonathan’s version of our story here: 

Good Al is Getting Married to Kimberly


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TRUST

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. John 14:1

What a wonderful exhortation that Jesus gave us. Trusting in God is such a key to our lives that we are admonished all through the Bible not to trust fellow-men, money, or the things of the world. Mankind will fail us, even those we admire because none of us are perfect and none of us have the power to save others.

Don’t put your trust in human leaders. Don’t trust in people. They can’t save you. Psalm 146:3 (NIRV)

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. I Timothy 6:17

We have even been admonished not to trust our own thoughts or knowledge.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones. Proverb 3:5-8

We are given so many promises when we put our trust in God. He gives us wisdom and directs us daily if we seek His will. He gives healing and peace beyond measure. He will give us strength for everything we face in life, when we Trust Him.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

When we trust in God through his son Jesus Christ we know His deep love. Our trust should only be in God who will embolden us through the Holy Spirit. If we trust God fully each day, we will learn to love with his love and walk in peace and He will supply all of our needs (not wants unless they align with His will for our lives).

 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:16-18

Prayer: Father help me to put all of my Trust in you wherever I go and in whatever I do. I know that when my Trust is in you, I am not troubled by the cares of this world. I give you my whole heart and I know you give me your love so that I may show your love to others. I have peace, understanding, wisdom, strength and health. Thank you. Amen.