Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rebecca’s Well

Continued from last week

(Jesus’ New Commandment – John 13:34; John 15:12-14)

… “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself (sacrifice himself) and take up his cross and follow me.”
(Matt. 16:24)

The “cup” is the cross-bearing that all of us must experience. It is neither sickness, poverty, or the lack. Excluding abusive co-dependent living, the cross is loving unconditionally and voluntarily sacrificing for Jesus and others. It’s loving the unloveable and those who are difficult to love.
The cross is the bitter cup of a voluntary action on our part that we choose to do because it is the right thing to do. It is the Jesus thing to do. It may cause agony to our spirit, but bearing our crosses will put muscles in our souls and build character for on High.
Yes, all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are His loving disciples. All the world will know us by our love for one another. They will know we are Christians by our love.
We pick up the cross and follow Jesus. “Bear the Cross, Ye Sons and Daughters of Men” – Going into all the world, teaching, preaching, healing and witnessing for Jesus. Jesus says, do it for Him, do it for Him.
On Maundy Thursday Night when He was betrayed, Jesus prayed three agonizing prayers concerning the “cup.” He and three of His disciples, Peter and James and John, his brother, were in the Garden of Gethsemane. This was Jesus’ inner circle.
The 1st Prayer: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this “cup” pass from me: Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
The 2nd Prayer: “O my Father, if this “cup” may not pass away from me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.”
The 3rd Prayer: … “(He) prayed the third time saying the same words.”
(Matt 26: 36-46)

When Jesus had finished praying, He had pulled His humanity up under His Divinity and He was ready to go to the cross.
I refer to these three prayers as the “Nevertheless” and “Thy will be done” prayers. There are times in our lives when prayers are made to God that only His will be done regardless of the cost to us. The bitter cup must be drunk. It is then we pray, not my will, but thy will be done. Now, we never pray like this when we need money to pay the light bill and etc.
This breaking down of self-will (“not my will but thine be done”) is necessary for us to attain higher planes of soul evolution. “Thereby allowing the Holy Spirit to flow out from our inner most being (belly) as springs and rivers of living water into the throne room of our physical body. We thus become Spirit beings.”
(John 7:38-39)
AMP, KJV paraphrased

Amen. (Oh, Yes)

The Reverend Dr. Rebecca R. Rivka, LPC, is former School Psychologist, Portsmouth and Norfolk Public Schools; (ret.) Professor of Psychology, Norfolk State University; (ret.) Licensed Professional Counselor, Commonwealth of Virginia; Senior Local Elder, The Historic Saint John’s AME Church, Norfolk, VA. The Reverend John D. Burton, Senior Pastor. Saint John’s AMEC is the Mother Church of African Methodism in Virginia.

Copyright 2017
All Rights Reserved

Next Week:
The Crucifixion of
Jesus Christ


I. Hosanna’s Out! Crucify In!
Garments spread in the way! Gone!
Palm branches strew in the way! Gone!
The ride into Jerusalem! Ended!
The Temple purified! The Fig tree cursed!
The Olivet Discourse, Parables, Taught!
The Last Passover eaten! The Lord’s Supper Instituted.

II. Upper Room, Last Supper, Feet-washing Maunday Thursday.
Troubling, Agonizing, Gethsemane Maunday Thursday.
Plotting, Betraying, Seizing Maunday Thursday.
Denying, Condemning, Arraignment Thursday.
Six Trials, 18 Hours, Judgment Halls, Thursday.

III. The Year of the Redeemed is now come.
The 70 weeks Determined are now accomplished. (Dan. 9:24)
Transgression Must be Met.
Reconciliation Must Be Made.
Jesus the Messiah King Must Be Cut off. (Dan. 9:26)
Salvation’s Plan is Finished. Tetelestai.
The “New Mandatum” Must Be Ushered In.
(John 13:34)(John 15:12-13)

Jesus’ New Mandatum

The term “Maundy” is derived from the Latin “mandatum” meaning mandate. Mandate is defined as commandment. This is where we get the term Maundy Thursday or New Commandment Thursday. On Maundy Thursday Before The Cross, Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment or mandatum that fulfilled the Ten Commandments given to Moses by Jehovah God. Jesus said:
“A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
(John 13:34)

And again Jesus said:
“This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you.”
(John 15:12-14)

Jesus strikes a hard bargain. He challenges us to friendship by obeying His commandment to love as He loves us. This type of love is sacrificial love. He pushes us beyond all types of love known to mortal man: maternal, paternal and fraternal love; eros, platonic, familial and agape love.

To love others as Jesus has loved us is walking through the valley of the shadow of death love. It’s going to the cross love. Jesus’ love is divine sacrificial, unconditional love. Jesus is God. Jesus, Father God and the Holy Spirit are one God. “Hear O Israel The Lord Our God is one Lord.”(Deut. 6:4)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16)

“We love Him because He first loved us.” (1st Jn 4:19) There exists a tremendous difference between The Ten Commandments of Moses and The New Commandment or Mandate of Jesus Christ. Moses Law demands love (“Thou Shalt love …”). Jesus’ Commandment is love, creates love and exudes love.

Loving others as Jesus Loves us is to drink of Jesus’ “cup.” The “cup” is interpreted by Jesus as the symbol of His sacrificial love – death on the cross when His Holy Soul was made a sin-offering for our sinful souls and bodies. Jesus asks His disciples this question: “Are ye able to drink of the “cup” that I shall drink of…?” Jesus answers His own question. “Ye shall indeed drink of my “cup …”
(Matt.. 20: 22-23)

To Be Continued….

Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved

The Reverend Dr. Rebecca R. Rivka, LPC, is former School Psychologist, Portsmouth and Norfolk Public Schools; (ret.) Professor of Psychology, Norfolk State University; (ret.) Licensed Professional Counselor, Commonwealth of Virginia; Local Elder, The Historic Saint John’s AME Church, Norfolk, VA. The Reverend John D. Burton, Senior Pastor. Saint John AMEC is the Mother Church of African Methodism in Virginia.

“STAY WOKE” is the new Millennial Cry of Young African-American Activist Groups such as BLACK LIVES MATTER and others. The phrase means DON’T GET SIDETRACKED STAY MINDFUL STAY INFORMED. My generation calls this phrase “STAY WOKE” as BE CONSCIOUS OF WHO YOU ARE AND THE WORLD IN WHICH YOU LIVE.


We Christians sing “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war with the Cross of Jesus going on before,Christ the Royal Master leads against the foe; Forward into Battle See His Banners Go! Onward Christian SOLDIERS Marching as to war with the Cross of Jesus Going on before.”

The Bible states”Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light …” (Ephesians 5:14-20) “Walk as children of light … (Ephesians 5:8) “Redeeming the times because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)

“Awake up my glory; awake, awake psaltry and harp: I myself will awake early; I will praise Thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto Thee among the nations. For Thy Mercy is Great unto the Heavens, and Thy Truth unto the clouds. Be Thou exalted, O God, above the Heavens: Let Thy Glory be above all the earth.” (Psalm 57:8-11)

“Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil …” (Eph 6-11) God’s Hand is writing on America’s Wall. “STAY WOKE AMERICA”! “WOE TO THEM THAT ARE AT EASE IN ZION …” (Amos 6:1) Woe to America at ease in a day of unrighteousness. Here is the Biblical Antidote: “IF MY PEOPLE WHICH ARE CALLED BY MY NAME (JESUS) SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES, AND PRAY, AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS; THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN, AND WILL HEAL THEIR LAND.” (II Chronicles 7:14)


(Continued from last week)

Verse 17: “Then Daniel answered before the king, Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. However, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, The Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and greatness and glory and majesty;

And because of the greatness that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up, and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind and spirit were hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him;

He was driven from among men, and his heart and mind was made like the beasts’, and his dwelling was with the wild asses. He was fed with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the heavens, until he learned and knew that The Most High God Rules In The Kingdom Of Men, And That He Appoints And Sets Over It Whomever He Will. And you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart and mind, though you knew all this (knew it and were defiant).

And you have lifted yourself up against The Lord of Heaven, and the vessels of His House have been brought before you, and your lords, your wives and your concubines have drunk wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and The God In Whose Hand Your Breath Is, And Whose Are All your Ways, You Have Not Honored And Glorified (but have dishonored and disgraced).

Then was the part of the hand sent from the Presence Of The Most High God, and this Writing Was Inscribed. And this is The Inscription That Was Written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN – numbered, numbered, weighed, divisions. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingship and brought them to an end; TEKEL, You are weighed in the balances and are found wanting. PERES(singular form, same root as UPHARSIN), Your kingdom and your kingship are divided and given to the Medes and Persians. (Foretold, Isaiah 21: 9… “Babylon is fallen, Babylon is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods lie shattered to the ground.”) DURING THAT NIGHT BELSHAZZAR THE KING OF THE CHALDEANS WAS SLAIN.” (The Amplified Bible)

By The Reverend Dr. Rebecca R. Rivka

“Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king,and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the House of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine and praised the gods of gold, and of silver,of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers, and the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonished.

Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say thy father, made master of the magicians,astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.

Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee … now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be third ruler in the kingdom.”

… to be continued

Continued from December 15 issue

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.”
– John 1:1-2

“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”
– Matthew 1:16

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”
– Matthew 1:21

Mary had a baby. They called “HIS name Jesus.”
– Luke 1:31

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
(The Message Bible)

Jesus the Word, the Christ of God, lives within the house, the personhood of every believer, as the Holy Spirit of God. (Rivka)

We come now to the text: John 1 : 14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”

1) “And the Word was made flesh,” … clears the whole matter up now – of God in man. The incarnation of Spirit in matter is more comprehensible. It makes the historical birth personal for us because the Word became Jesus, a human being like you and me – yet more. Jesus is the God-man. Physician Luke records Jesus’ incarnation in Bethlehem. “And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31). The Word is Jesus; The Logos, the Mind, Purpose and Agent of God’s Self-Disclosure. The world has portrayed God wrongly. He is not a cruel, vengeful Creator who runs rough shod over the human race. Jesus revealed God as love and life, joy and peace.

2) “and dwelt among us” … Christ has come to this lowly world with all its corruption and sin. He who knew no sin put Himself in the position of sinful man. He could have dwelt with angels but He chose us that we might learn of Him and model His nature.

We couldn’t make it – God and man. Jesus had always dwelt among His world as the Christ revealing Himself through the prophets, but we couldn’t understand. We needed a role model in human flesh, a God-man with whom we could identify.

Christ has come in flesh into the world. This places an honor on both the body and the world. It encourages us to be willing to abide in the flesh while God has work for us to do. For Christ dwelt in this lower world, bad as it is, till he had finished His work, until His hour had come.

Jesus has dwelt among us. He dwelt among the Jews and others though many were unkind to him. Sometimes we must pitch our tent among those including family (our supposed calling and environment) that are not kind to us. Jesus gives us hope and courage to tarry on. He dwelt among us not as a wayfaring sojourner, but he had a long residence. He dwelt not in a palace but in temporary housing, for he had no where to lay his head. The homeless have a friend in Jesus today who knows all about their destitution. Our children and loved ones far from home have a friend in Jesus.

3) There is the suffering Savior for the poor. He “dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth).” (John 1:14) Those of us who are intimate with Jesus who lean upon His breast, know that as we get closer to the Lord we see the Beams of His Divine Glory darting through the Veil of His flesh. We see Him as God and we behold His Glory. “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)

Coming from the fountain-head is the Word made flesh and He has dwelt among us full of grace and truth. Grace, God’s grace, marvelous grace, unmerited favor to pardon and cleanse from sin and grace to cover all of our needs. And Jesus reveals the truth of our identity that we are like God, created in love, beauty, peace and joy.

There is divinity in John’s argument, and authority and majesty in his style. Therefore, we have problems with the contention of Corinthus and others that Jesus was not God at his birth.

We have no problem with Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

We have no debate with Job l9:25-27: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

He has dwelt among us. The Spirit does subdue the deeds of the flesh. We know of the amazing working of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, exalting valleys, bringing down hills and mountains, making crooked places straight and rough places plain, revealing the Glory of the Lord. (Isaiah 40:4-5)

Jesus has dwelt among us in the flesh and we beheld His Holiness, Miracles, His Purity, Goodness and Compassion. “To the praise of the Glory of His Grace.” (Ephesians 1:6) All believers can give witness that Jesus Christ has dwelt among us. We are redeemed from the slavery of sin because the Word was made flesh and tucked in our bosom. Christ Jesus through the dispensation of the Holy Spirit is in the world today. He dwells among us, taking care of His own.

Amen. (Oh, Yes!)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Copyright 2016.
All Rights Reserved.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.”
John 1:14 (KJV)

Bible scholars generally agree that the Apostle John, honored as the “disciple whom Jesus Loved” is the author of this Gospel.

John writes as a denial of the popular heresy of Corinthus and others who held that Jesus was a mere man, a morally good homosapien who became “The Christ” at his baptism.

John does not lay again the foundation of the Synoptic Gospels but he goes to the heart of the matter and he writes a universal, spiritual gospel for all people and for all times. He takes advantage of the question – What does it mean to me that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us?

John writes for the believer, for the Christian who abides in Christ and strives to become like him. John writes for the potential convert. He writes for teaching and worship within the church community.

Yes, John even writes for the validation of those who have experienced Jesus in their bodily sense perceptions.

Here in this Gospel, John builds upon the Synoptics, the external facts, the history of our Lord’s birth. John doesn’t bother us with dates, and time and places. He cuts across genealogy, situations, traditions, and customs.

John helps us in our search for the meaning of the mystery of God in man. He is bringing up the rear, he’s the “gathering host” adding what was omitted by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John leads us further into the veil, into an understanding of our divine birth-right – who we are and why we are here.

To obtain the research on the birth of Jesus, John heads straight for Heaven because that’s where the record is. There are three that bear record in Heaven according to I John 5:7: “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” The 8th verse states, there are three that bear record in earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

John sees so clearly the divine and heavenly matter because he was up there in heaven where the record was. You know the ancients say that in John’s vision of the throne of God, when the door was opened in Heaven, that John was one of the four creatures around the throne. The four creatures were regarded as the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. John was that flying eagle.

Every time the voice sounded like a trumpet bidding John to “come up hither and I will show you things,” Eagle John just soared higher and higher until the Spirit told him to write: “In the beginning was the Word …” (John 1:1-2)

… to be continued

Copyright 2016.
All Rights Reserved.

dr.rivkaContinued from last week

“Then Daniel answered and said, my Lord, the tree that thou sawest,which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the Heaven, and the sight thereof to all the Earth … It is thou, O King, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown and reacheth unto Heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.”

“This is the interpretation, O King, and this is the Decree Of The Most High, which is come upon my Lord the King: That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they and shall wet thee with the dew of Heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that THE MOST HIGH RULETH IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, AND GIVETH IT TO WHOMSOEVER HE WILL.

“And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee,after that thou shalt have known that THE HEAVENS DO RULE. Wherefore, O King, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.”
“At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the Kingdom of Babylon. The King spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from Heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; THE KINGDOM IS DEPARTED FROM THEE. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar.”

“And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto Heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I BLESSED THE MOST HIGH, and I PRAISED and HONORED HIM THAT LIVETH FOR EVER, WHOSE DOMINION IS AN EVERLASTING DOMINION, AND HIS KINGDOM IS FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION … At the same time my reason returned unto me; for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.”

Note: “Seven times shall pass over thee” means Nebuchadnezzar went insane or lost his mind for 7 years.

Copyright 2016.
All Rights Reserved.


“I, Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions in my head troubled me. Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream … but they did not make known to me the interpretation thereof … Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.

The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it … and, behold , a watcher and a Holy One came down from Heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, HEW DOWN THE TREE, AND CUT OFF HIS BRANCHES, SHAKE OFF HIS LEAVES, AND SCATTER HIS FRUIT: LET THE BEASTS GET AWAY FROM UNDER IT, AND THE FOWLS FROM HIS BRANCHES. NEVERTHELESS LEAVE THE STUMP OF HIS ROOTS IN THE EARTH … LET HIS HEART BE CHANGED FROM MAN’S, AND LET A BEAST’S HEART BE GIVEN UNTO HIM; AND LET SEVEN TIMES PASS OVER HIM.

This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the Word of the Holy Ones: to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He Will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4: 4-17) KJV
… To be continued

Copyright 2016.
All Rights Reserved.

Life is a ubiquitous (being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time, omnipresent) cycle of paradoxes, contradictions, absurdities, disappointments, successes and failures, living and dying, between the beginning and ending, the Alpha and Omega, the A to Z, and the end of this Christian Life. Thus the Presidential Election of November 8, 2016, is a poignant example of this fact.

However, “The Most High Ruleth In The Kingdom of Men and giveth it to whomsoever He will.” (Daniel 4:25) We do not understand it all right now. But, “ We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, who are the called according to His Purpose.” (Romans 8:28) You, Keep The Faith! We have endured much pain, suffering and hardships in the past and we have survived. Praise The Lord. Hallelujah. Thank You Jesus. Amen.(Oh, Yes!)

“By and, when the morning comes, all the saints of God are gathered home, we’ll tell the story how we’ve over-come, “ We’ll Understand It Better By And By” (Charles A. Tindley, 1851-1933) Be encouraged: “ God Will Take Care Of You” (C.D. Martin, 1869-1948) “Pray Without Ceasing.” Worship The Lord. Love. Love. Love As Jesus Christ Loves Us. God Bless You And God Bless America.

Copyright 2016.
All Rights Reserved.

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