D’vorah and her husband are co-founders of Bless Israel Network, a media organization based in Israel. The focus is to provide programming designed to inform viewers of the rightful prophetic role of the Jewish people and Israel in God’s prophetic plan.
D’vorah writes and hosts “Heartbeat of the Torah,” where she connects the beauty of the Torah of Moses to the teachings in the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament), assisting in understanding the Jewishness of the Scriptures, the Gospels, and the Messiah. In addition, she is a weekly contributor to “Gift of Thorns”, a Facebook community spreading hope, good news, and comfort. Her series is called “Getting Down to the Root.”
In today’s episode, I have Aaron Eime. Rev. Aaron Eime is a Deacon at Christ Church, Jerusalem, Bible Historian, and teacher for CMJ Israel. Aaron studied at the Hebrew University in the Master’s Program, focusing on Early Jewish and Christian Interpretation of the Bible. He also studied Psychology and Sociology at Queensland University in Australia. He is a dedicated Bible teacher exploring the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith and has taught internationally including in Europe, North America, Hong Kong, and China. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and 3 children.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…
Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV
Have you ever had a dream about Heaven? Do you think about what it will be like? With all the bad news we have had in the last year and a half, we need some good news. What could be better than being in the heavenly places? Nothing!
When Jesus taught about the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God here on earth, He was referring to the Kingdom being in our hearts. The only way to experience the Kingdom of God is to know His Son. I believe Paul, in Ephesians, was basically speaking of the same thing as Jesus but referred to it as the Heavenly Places.
In this two-part series, we will first look at the “Heavenly places” and next week we will discuss the New Heaven and Earth.
I love the above verse in Ephesians 2. Only Ephesians uses the phrase “In the heavenly places.” We will discuss all five times Paul used it in Ephesians and what it means to us.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 1:3 ESV
The phrase “In the Heavenly places/realms” is unique to Ephesians. It is the Greek phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις or epouránios meaning, heavenly, referring to the impact of heaven’s influence on the particular situation or person.
In the Ephesians 1:3 passage, God gives all our blessings, including our gifts and talents to us through Jesus from the heavenly places. The heavenly places are our source of spiritual blessings.
Above allRulers and Authorities
And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe… that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Ephesians 1:19-21 ESV
God seated Jesus in the heavenly places long before time began. HE is far above every name, king, president, power, authority, or demonic ruler on earth in every generation–past, present, and future. The heavenly places are a place of all authority and power.
The heavenly places are a place of all authority and power. #ThisSideofHeaven #TheHeavenlyPlaces #Biblestudy
But God…made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
God seated us with Jesus. As He sat Jesus in the heavenly places, God has seated us as believers and followers of His Son, with Him as well. How can we be seated with Jesus in the heavenly places when we are still very much a part of this world? Like the Kingdom of Heaven, it is in our hearts.
We live where the natural and the spiritual intersect. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us when we repent of our sins and accept Jesus as our Savior. We are now in direct communion with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us in John 15 when we abide with Him, He abides with us; and Hebrews 4 tells us we can approach God’s throne and receive mercy and find grace…
How do we approach God’s throne? How do we abide in Jesus? By being in a relationship with Him. We pray and read God’s Word; we tell Him what we are thinking, how we feel (the good, the bad, and the ugly) what we need and desire. We talk to Him. We depend on Him. We seek Him.
My good friend, J.D. Wininger has a great relationship with the Lord. God talks to him. They have conversations–many of which he records on his blog Around the Cross-Dubya (https://jdwininger.com/). I believe this is what Jesus meant by “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
How often do we talk to God–just to talk? Not wanting anything but to know Him better? He seats us with Him (spiritually) to have a relationship with us. Someday we will see Him face to face!
The heavenly places are a place where we are raised and seated together.
So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Ephesian 3:10 ESV
Through the Church, or community of believers both Messianic and Christian, God’s wisdom is made known to all. As the Church, we are to spread the Gospel of Christ and God’s love, mercy, and grace to all. We display this to all rulers and authorities both spiritual and human. The Church is a witness to all rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
The Church is a witness to all rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. #ThisSideofHeaven #IntheHeavenlyPlaces
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 ESV
Without the Kingdom of God within us, we would have no power over the forces of darkness. Only with the power from the heavenly places where we are seated with Jesus Christ our LORD, can we fight these battles in His Name.
Before Jesus, people had little if any power over the spiritual realm. They were captives in prisons and bondage to satan and spiritual principalities. Jesus freed them–by showing His power over the demonic forces and death. With the power of the Holy Spirit within us, God gave us this power as well.
Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize it or use it because we lack belief in the power within us. We fight demonic and spiritual forces in the heavenly places.
We fight demonic and spiritual forces in the heavenly places. #IntheHeavenlyPlaces #ThisSideofHeaven
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
John 14:12-14 ESV
What is the stipulation in the verses above? That the Father may be glorified! We don’t ask to glorify ourselves but God through the Son. Use the power God has given you to glorify Him.
God has seated you with Christ and blessed you with everything you need for this life–all your giftings and talents come from Him to use for Him.
Today, I have guest blogger–Penny Cooke. She is an author, Certified Biblical Life Coach, and has been a women’s ministry leader for over 25 years. Her passion is to encourage and equip women with the Word of God and see them empowered by His Spirit through prayer for this battle we call life. I met her at a writers conference a couple of years ago when she won an award for her book, Pursuing Prayer—Being Effective in a Busy World.
I will include her social media links and the Amazon link to her award-winning book on pursuing prayer. Please enjoy her post today!
Pray then like this… Matthew 6:9
Do you ever find it difficult to pray, find the time to pray, or know what to pray? Do you know people who seem to pray all the time? Who has time to pray like that when there’s so much else to do? Shouldn’t we just be able to pray once and see results? It all seems so mysterious.
Jesus’ disciples must have wondered some of those things too, because they asked Him, “Teach us to pray.” In response, He gave them what is called, “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13). Did He give us this prayer to recite, one and done? I don’t believe so. Besides, He had just told them not to recite vain repetitions (v.7 NKJV).
The Lord’s Prayer is beautiful, but I think there’s more to it than we grasp when we recite it. Perhaps Jesus wasn’t teaching us a prayer, but how to pray – the elements to include in prayer. What are those elements and why are they important to us today? The book, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World, teaches those elements using an acrostic for prayer. Here is a brief overview of that acrostic:
P – Proactively Pursue Prayer
Jesus left us an example of intentionally getting away from it all to pray (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:28). Scripture urges us repeatedly to proactively pursue prayer (Matthew 26:41, Luke 18:1, Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, and 1 Timothy 2:1).
In today’s busyness, we need to be proactive about a lot of things if we’re going to get everything done. It is no different with prayer. And if we have so much to do, shouldn’t prayer be on the top of our list?
Jesus told them, “Pray then like this…”
In today’s busyness, we need to be proactive about a lot of things if we’re going to get everything done. It is no different with prayer. @penny_cooke #PursuingPrayer #ThisSideofHeaven
Jesus began His prayer with worship, “Hallowed by thy name.” Worship helps us remember who God is and what He has done for us. It builds our faith and also our faithfulness. God repeatedly warned Israel, “…beware, lest you forget the LORD…” and “…you shall remember well what the LORD your God did…” (Deuteronomy 6:12, 7:18)
Psalm 100:4 tells us, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving…” Remembering generates thankfulness and thankfulness produces worship.
A – Acknowledge Sin
This is the “forgive us our debts” piece of the Lord’s Prayer. This does not suggest a brief and general, “Forgive my sins,” but a time to acknowledge and confess specific sins in our lives, and to repent. To repent is to adjust our lives to the ways of God.
Confession is a vital part of prayer, which is often overlooked when we pray short, on-the-go prayers. David recognized, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:28).
Y – Yield to His Will
This covers the “Your Will be done” part of the Lord’s Prayer.
To yield is to submit, to surrender or relinquish control and trust Him whose ways are best. When we pray this part of the Lord’s Prayer, we welcome His will and His kingdom into our lives. It is to, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Then the promise: “…all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
E – Enjoy His Daily Bread
Praying for daily bread is about knowing where our provision comes from and trusting God to provide. It is to have faith that He will do what He said He will do, pertaining to daily bread or any other promise He has made to us (John 14:14).
Ultimately, God longs to give us Himself. He gives us Himself through Jesus, the Bread of Life. He provides daily physical bread for our physical life, but He also provides daily spiritual bread for our spiritual life.
R – Rest in the Waiting
We want quick, instant everything nowadays. We expect things to happen now, and we’re always in a rush. We’d do well to hurry up and slow down.
God is never in a hurry. He sees the end from the beginning and knows exactly what and when things need to be done for our prayers to be answered. And He is much too concerned for our spiritual wellbeing to give us anything one minute before its time.
When we trust and wait patiently with thanksgiving, our anxiety is replaced with His peace. We can rest when God’s peace guards our hearts and minds, no matter how long it takes our prayers to come to fruition (Philippians 4:6-7).
When we trust and wait patiently with thanksgiving, our anxiety is replaced with His peace. @penny_cooke #PursuingPrayer #ThisSideofHeaven
How much more effective do you think our prayers could be if we proactively prayed this way more often? That’s not to say there aren’t times when all we can squeeze out is a weak, “Help me, Lord.” I’ve certainly had those times, and I’m sure you have too. I assure you, He hears those prayers. Psalm 34:18 (ESV) tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
But in general, when you look at our world today, wouldn’t you say we need more prayer, not less? How do you think our families, our country, and our world could be changed if more of us prayed more like this more often?
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16b NKJV
Would you like to enrich your prayer life? Would you like more power and more answered prayer? Penny’s Six-week Bible study, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World is ideal for group or personal use. Pursuing Prayer uses the acrostic for prayer to help us understand more deeply what Jesus taught when He gave us The Lord’s Prayer and how important its elements are in our prayer lives today. This book will inspire and motivate us to more fervent and effective prayer.
Penny is the author of Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World, a multi-award-winning Bible study (New Hope Publishers, 2019), most recently a First Place 2020 Selah award (Bible Study category). She has been a contributor to Heart Renovation – A Construction Guide to Godly Character (Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2018), and Let the Earth Rejoice devotional (Worthy Inspired, 2017). She has written for CBN.com and Thoughts-About-God.com and has been a columnist for Blessed Living Women’s E-Magazine. She also enjoys blogging about things of life and faith at pennycookeauthor.com.
Penny and her husband live in Florida and have three grown children and seven grandchildren.
If you had lived in the Garden of Eden, what do you think your offering or gift to God would’ve looked like?
Would the offering have been the most beautiful flowers from your flower garden, or vegetables from your vegetable garden, or maybe the most perfect animal you raised? Have you ever thought about why God had a problem with Cain’s offering in Genesis 4? Why did He react one way towards Abel’s gift and the opposite towards Cain’s? What was different about the offerings?
We read in Genesis 4:3-5 ESV:
In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, he had no regard.
Genesis 4:3-5 ESV
In the Hebrew language, like other languages other than English, there are masculine and feminine pronouns.
In the verse above, the pronoun his is masculine because it is Abel’s flock, but the pronoun their is feminine because Abel’s flock’s fat portion was from a female lamb or goat. Why does that matter?
My husband and I have raised both sheep and goats. When they are pregnant, we hope for female offspring because we can either breed them one day for more lambs or kids or sell them as breeders to another farm.
Unfortunately, you don’t need a lot of male offspring on a farm. They end up fighting over the girls and get aggressive towards the humans. Farmers need a few males for breeding, but other than that, they have no other purposes except for food. In the time of the Temple sacrifices, God allowed the Jewish people to bring their male animals to be sacrificed…bulls, bucks, and rams. They kept their females to grow their herd.
However, sometimes you can have a half dozen animals give birth and have more than half born male. This is not what we hope for…it thrills us to see little girls being born, but too many boys, and we know we must castrate them to sell them for pets or they will be food. Abel brought God a female sheep or goat offering. This was a genuine sacrifice. He gave God a perfect lamb or kid that would have been an excellent breeder for him. God knew his offering was good.
For this reason, I believe Cain’s offering was not a true sacrifice. He sees God’s displeasure with it and becomes angry.
So, Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
Genesis 4:5-7 ESV
Freedom from Strongholds
At the end of verse 7, we see two pronouns—its and it. The word Its is feminine—the word sin is feminine in Hebrew. Sin’s desire is to control Cain. The pronoun It is masculine. The word angry is masculine. That it is referring to Cain’s anger.
God told Cain to rule over his anger, not his sin. Sin is always waiting for an opportunity to use our emotions against us. We may not always be able to control sin, but sin will control us through our anger or jealousy if we do not control it.
God gave us His Son, the Perfect sacrifice, whose blood can free us from the power of strongholds of anger, lust, fear, rage, and rejection to name a few. Freedom comes when we ask for it.
God gave us His Son, the Perfect sacrifice, whose blood can free us from the power of strongholds of anger, lust, fear, rage, and rejection. Freedom comes when we ask for it. #ThisSideofHeaven #TheOffering #Biblestudy #Devotion
Like Cain, God does not want our strongholds to rule over us. He made a Way so they wouldn’t.
Let go of the strongholds that hold you captive and allow sin to crouch at your door. Ask Jesus for freedom, fall out of agreement with satan and his lies, and forgive those you need to forgive (especially if they don’t deserve it).
Dear Heavenly Father, we ask you to help us forgive those who have wronged us. Help us let go of the pain, wounds, and anger we hold on to with our unforgiveness. Free us from our hurt and strongholds that open doors to sin. Forgive us as we forgive others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.