Category Archives: Faithful

Trust In The Promises Of The LORD

Joshua records how the LORD provided and then divided the promised land amongst his people. Joshua 21 records the cities given to the Levites in which to live amongst the rest of God’s people. At the very end is a significant statement which we should not overlook in verses 43-45.

      43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

We can always trust in the promises of the LORD.

Joshua 21

Forty-eight Cities of the Levites

     1Then the heads of households of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 2They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.” 3So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD. 4Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin.

      5The rest of the sons of Kohath received ten cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim and from the tribe of Dan and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.

      6The sons of Gershon received thirteen cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Issachar and from the tribe of Asher and from the tribe of Naphtali and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

      7The sons of Merari according to their families received twelve cities from the tribe of Reuben and from the tribe of Gad and from the tribe of Zebulun.

      8Now the sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

      9They gave these cities which are here mentioned by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon; 10and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, for the lot was theirs first. 11Thus they gave them Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron), in the hill country of Judah, with its surrounding pasture lands. 12But the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession.

      13So to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Libnah with its pasture lands, 14and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands, 16and Ain with its pasture lands and Juttah with its pasture lands and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands; nine cities from these two tribes. 17From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, 18Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities. 19All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

      20Then the cities from the tribe of Ephraim were allotted to the families of the sons of Kohath, the Levites, even to the rest of the sons of Kohath. 21They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands, 22and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities. 23From the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities. 25From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities. 26All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath were ten.

      27To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. 28From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities. 30From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities. 32From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities. 33All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

      34To the families of the sons of Merari, the rest of the Levites, they gave from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands and Kartah with its pasture lands. 35Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities. 36From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands, 37Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities. 38From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all. 40All these were the cities of the sons of Merari according to their families, the rest of the families of the Levites; and their lot was twelve cities.

      41All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands. 42These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities.

      43So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. 44And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. 45Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Caleb Was A Righteous Servant, Faithful and Patient

We hear a lot about Joshua as a loyal follower of YHWH, but often Caleb can be overlooked. Caleb stood firm with Joshua in faith when they spied out the land. The Lord recognized the faith of Caleb and Joshua both. He rewarded them by letting them see the promised land while they were still in good health. Take note, however, that their reward was delayed quite a bit, and they still had to endure wandering in the desert due to the sins of their peers. Let us remember that we don’t always get instant gratification and feedback from the Lord when we do well. That does not mean the Lord is not pleased or will not reward us… only that it is sometimes delayed.

Joshua 14

Caleb’s Request

     1Now these are the territories which the sons of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel apportioned to them for an inheritance, 2by the lot of their inheritance, as the LORD commanded through Moses, for the nine tribes and the half-tribe. 3For Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half-tribe beyond the Jordan; but he did not give an inheritance to the Levites among them. 4For the sons of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and they did not give a portion to the Levites in the land, except cities to live in, with their pasture lands for their livestock and for their property. 5Thus the sons of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they divided the land.

      6Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. 7“I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. 8“Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. 9“So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.’ 10“Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11“I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12“Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken.”

      13So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. 14Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully. 15Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.

Caleb was a righteous servant, both faithful and patient. Let us follow his example.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Reflect on the Victories YHWH Has Delivered

Do you ever stop to reflect on the victories that YHWH has given you in your life? Do you record them in a journal? These are things that are worth considering. It serves as a record for the many victories that our Father has given us, and yes, we should start with his creating us as special individuals, fully unique, and his sending Yeshua to die as sacrifice and payment for our sins. Let us not overlook these basics.

There are always more challenges we will face. However, I am encouraged to look back and reflect on (with thankful heart) the many times that YHWH has already provided for me and given me victory. It helps remind me how blessed I am and how he is not some far away being, totally detached from our personal lives.

I see an example of this in Joshua 12, where the Israelites recorded the many military victories he had given them in taking the promised land. To reflect on this list surely must have encouraged them as they would face more enemies and challenges in the future.

Joshua 12

Kings Defeated by Israel
     1Now these are the kings of the land whom the sons of Israel defeated, and whose land they possessed beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the valley of the Arnon as far as Mount Hermon, and all the Arabah to the east: 2Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, both the middle of the valley and half of Gilead, even as far as the brook Jabbok, the border of the sons of Ammon; 3and the Arabah as far as the Sea of Chinneroth toward the east, and as far as the sea of the Arabah, even the Salt Sea, eastward toward Beth-jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah; 4and the territory of Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei, 5and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of Sihon king of Heshbon. 6Moses the servant of the LORD and the sons of Israel defeated them; and Moses the servant of the LORD gave it to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh as a possession.

 

      7Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even as far as Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir; and Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions, 8in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arabah, on the slopes, and in the wilderness, and in the Negev; the Hittite, the Amorite and the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite: 9the king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one; 10the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one; 11the king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one; 12the king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one; 13the king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one; 14the king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one; 15the king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one; 16the king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one; 17the king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one; 18the king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one; 19the king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one; 20the king of Shimron-meron, one; the king of Achshaph, one; 21the king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one; 22the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one; 23the king of Dor in the heights of Dor, one; the king of Goiim in Gilgal, one; 24the king of Tirzah, one: in all, thirty-one kings.

If you don’t feel you have many victories, then start with a check on your attitude and focus and submission to the Father and to his ways. Yeshua had victory in his death by his obedience. Victory does not always look like a battle won to man’s eyes. We are created. We have life and joy, friends and family. We have an opportunity for relationship with our Creator! Let us find the victory in his dying for us and our sins so we could be reconciled to the Father. If we don’t worry about where our next meal comes from or our shelter to keep us safe… these are all victories that we may often take for granted. If he speaks to us and leads us through his Spirit… victory and reason to celebrate… even if the missions he sends us on is not a “glorious military victory” but often humble acts of service. Consider it victory if we face persecution for him and his name and we do so in a way that glorifies him. In this way we may lead others to him.

Seek him in study of the Bible. Seek him in prayer and worship. Submit your will to his. Repent and turn from your sins and turn toward his ways rather than man’s ways. If you have done this and are doing this… count it as victory he has delivered for he must call us before we can accept him.

I encourage you to share a victory or two in the comments section of this post and forward to others to encourage them.

Also consider the following additional teachings:

Message of the Cross

Learning to Pray Effectively

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

If YHWH Is For You, Who Can Stand Against You?

Let us seek to ensure the battles we face are those YHWH wants for us to fight. Then let us prepare and embrace them for his glory. Finally, let us ask for his help and put our faith in YHWH rather than ourselves for victory. If YHWH is for you, who can stand against you?

Joshua 10:1-15

Five Kings Attack Gibeon

     1Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land, 2that he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. 3Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4“Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel.” 5So the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it.

      6Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us.” 7So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. 8The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you.” 9So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal. 10And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11As they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.

      12Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,
“O sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”

      13So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.
Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

14There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.

      15Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp to Gilgal.

As a side note, Joshua and the Israelites were angry with the Gibeonites. They had tricked them before YHWH into making a truce when the Israelites were supposed to wipe them out. It would have been easy for Joshua to say… the Gibeonites are getting what they deserve, let us just let them defend themselves and we will take no action.  However, having taken an oath before YHWH, they took it seriously, even if tricked into doing so. They mobilized quickly and YHWH was with them. Don’t miss that he even held the sun in the sky beyond normal timing and sent large hailstones against only the enemy to enable resounding victory. The Israelites fought, but the glory and the victory belong to YHWH.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Arise, O Lord!

We live in a fallen world. It is filled with sin and rebellion against God. There will be many times when we need help and deliverance from our heavenly Father. Let us turn to Him wholeheartedly and call out for His help. He is sufficient to handle any situation, no matter how dire it seems.

However, we should also take note… David highlights some important concepts to expecting God to answer our prayers. He has a just cause and he has dedicated himself to God and living according to God’s ways. David also expresses confidence… faith in the Lord as his deliverer. He even concludes indicating he is satisfied or content with the Lord, who has not yet addressed the prayer request. We should not necessarily expect God to answer our prayers if we live in disobedience and rebellion to Him… at least not until we genuinely and wholeheartedly repent from that rebellion and submit to Him.

Psalm 17

Prayer for Protection against Oppressors.

A Prayer of David.

1Hear a just cause, O LORD, give heed to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.

2Let my judgment come forth from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look with equity.

3You have tried my heart;
You have visited me by night;
You have tested me and You find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.

4As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips
I have kept from the paths of the violent.

5My steps have held fast to Your paths.
My feet have not slipped.

6I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.

7Wondrously show Your lovingkindness,
O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand
From those who rise up against them.

8Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings

9From the wicked who despoil me,
My deadly enemies who surround me.

10They have closed their unfeeling heart,
With their mouth they speak proudly.

11They have now surrounded us in our steps;
They set their eyes to cast us down to the ground.

12He is like a lion that is eager to tear,
And as a young lion lurking in hiding places.

13Arise, O LORD, confront him, bring him low;
Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword,

14From men with Your hand, O LORD,
From men of the world, whose portion is in this life,
And whose belly You fill with Your treasure;
They are satisfied with children,
And leave their abundance to their babes.

15As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness;
I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Prayer of Supplication And Trust

A beautiful prayer… pray with me for other yourself, other followers of Christ, and the nations.

Psalm 86

A Psalm of Supplication and Trust.

A Prayer of David.

     1Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy.

2Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;
O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.

3Be gracious to me, O Lord,
For to You I cry all day long.

4Make glad the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

5For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.

6Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
And give heed to the voice of my supplications!

7In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You,
For You will answer me.

8There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.

9All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And they shall glorify Your name.

10For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God.

11Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

12I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.

13For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14O God, arrogant men have risen up against me,
And a band of violent men have sought my life,
And they have not set You before them.

15But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.

16Turn to me, and be gracious to me;
Oh grant Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your handmaid.

17Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

For more Biblical examples of prayer, and for personal prayer requests, please visit our Prayer Requests page.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Be Humble, Inspired, and Thankful… Reflecting on the Life of Yeshua

I am humbled, thankful, and inspired each time I read the historical account of Yeshua as he faced trial and punishment, remembering that he went willingly and fully aware of the suffering he was to endure… and he did so for our sins. What he experienced, we deserve and he did not.

He did not make up excuses or try to convince Pilate to let him go. He did not lie. He calmly endured each step of the process. Surely it must have hurt to hear the people call for release of a robber and call for Yeshua to be crucified.

John 18:28-40

Jesus before Pilate

     28Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. 29Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” 30They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.” 31So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,” 32to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die.

      33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” 35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. 39“But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?” 40So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.

I am reminded how wicked our world can be. Pilate crucified Yeshua after finding no guilt in him. The crowd was incited to call for release of a robber rather than Yeshua. I know it had to happen this way and it was YHWH’s plan, but it still reveals the wickedness of the human heart.

Yeshua went willingly as our Passover lamb, sacrificed for us and for our sins. Take a few minutes and give thanks to the Father. Ask for forgiveness.  Let us seek to live according to the example of Yeshua in facing adversity as we live in obedience to YHWH.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Put The Will Of The Father Ahead Of Our Own Desires

Yeshua is truly a perfect example of putting the will of the Father first and obeying, even knowing it will end in a painful death for Him. He does not whine or complain to His disciples. He willingly and courageously does the will of the Father. I appreciate the love and loyalty the disciples had toward Him also. They were not perfect. They often made mistakes or did not fully understand. However, they were genuine in their desire to follow and learn, even when they did not understand. They gave their full trust and support to Yeshua. We can all use fellowship like that to help us through hard times.

John 13: 21-38

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

     21When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” 22The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

      31Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33“Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

      36Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 37Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

Let us seek the Lord’s help to put His will above our own in our lives. Seek friends that would support us in this pursuit, rather than discourage us.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

A Clean Start… God Is Ready Anytime, Not Just in January

It has become very common for people to view the start of a new year as a means of getting a “clean start” with regards to making changes in their life to improve their situation. Sometimes people take this time to commit to stopping a bad habit or undesirable behavior and sometimes a start of something desirable. Somehow they come to feel as if a new year means their past mistakes are behind them and they have a clean start. If they tried to exercise regularly and failed, somehow now the past failure is forgotten. Unfortunately, seeking a “clean start” in the powerless framework of December turning to January usually falls apart quickly and by the end of January people have lost any momentum in their “New Year’s Resolutions”.

There is a way to make a true clean start, one that comes with power to help us… and it is available to us any time, not just in January. Through Christ, our sins can be forgiven. We repent of our sins, ask forgiveness, believe that He died for us and submit ourselves to the Father. He is waiting for us, looking on the horizon so to speak for our humble return to Him. There is no sin too big to be forgiven, no previous disrespect of God that we can not repent from.

Luke 15:11-32

The Prodigal Son

     11And He said, “A man had two sons. 12“The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13“And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14“Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15“So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16“And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

      25“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26“And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27“And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28“But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29“But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31“And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

God waits for us to return home to Him, as the father waits for the prodigal son. He will run to greet us and welcome us. He will not, however, force us to come home. He will allow us to remain separated from Him if we choose to do so.

It is hard for us to get our minds around this type of forgiveness, because we can not imagine granting it to others, but He is God and we are not. Come home to Him now, without delay. He is always ready to receive you… not just in January.

When He receives us as His children, He also gives us a helper in the Spirit to bring His power to bear on our repentance and our fresh, clean start. We are not on our own. We have the power and help of God Himself.

John 16:5-15

The Holy Spirit Promised

     5“But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6“But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

      12“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15“All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Some may still be asking, does God really forgive all my sins if I repent and submit to Him in Christ? … yes and He speaks a lot about it. But to be clear, do not expect forgiveness if you continue in rebellion toward Him and do not live according to His word.

Isaiah 1:18-20

18“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.

      19“If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;

      20“But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Daniel 9:7-14

  7“Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8“Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9“To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. 11“Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. 12“Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. 13“As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. 14“Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

Acts 3:19-21

19“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

Ephesians 1:3-14

    3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Colossians 1:13-14

     13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1 John 1:9-10

9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Psalm 103:1-13

1Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

      2Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;

      3Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;

      4Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

      5Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

      6The LORD performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.

      7He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.

      8The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

      9He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.

      10He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

      11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

      12As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

      13Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

And there are plenty more scriptures about forgiveness… a clean start can be yours, in Christ, in January or any other time of the year. You don’t have to do it alone, but the power and guidance is in God and not in the turn of a calendar from December to January and not in what our culture or society says is good and to be valued.

To learn more about following Christ, continue reading The Message of the Cross.

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

The Blessings Of Moses

I really appreciate that Yahweh has a blessing for each of His tribes. Each is different, unique. Each receives a unique blessing. Moses takes time to address each one. He is not rushing through it. It is important. The other aspect that I find striking is that Yahweh just told Moses that the people would turn from Him in the future, but He still has a blessing for each of them now. Yahweh knows what will happen, but He will not break the covenant He makes with us… though if we choose to break it, the covenant is broken in its entirety.

Deuteronomy 33

The Blessing of Moses

     1Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the sons of Israel before his death.

     2He said,
“The LORD came from Sinai,
And dawned on them from Seir;
He shone forth from Mount Paran,
And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones;
At His right hand there was flashing lightning for them.

      3“Indeed, He loves the people;
All Your holy ones are in Your hand,
And they followed in Your steps;
Everyone receives of Your words.

      4“Moses charged us with a law,
A possession for the assembly of Jacob.

      5“And He was king in Jeshurun,
When the heads of the people were gathered,
The tribes of Israel together.

      6“May Reuben live and not die,
Nor his men be few.”

      7And this regarding Judah; so he said,
“Hear, O LORD, the voice of Judah,
And bring him to his people.
With his hands he contended for them,
And may You be a help against his adversaries.”

      8Of Levi he said,
Let Your Thummim and Your Urim belong to Your godly man,
Whom You proved at Massah,
With whom You contended at the waters of Meribah;

      9Who said of his father and his mother,
‘I did not consider them’;
And he did not acknowledge his brothers,
Nor did he regard his own sons,
For they observed Your word,
And kept Your covenant.

      10“They shall teach Your ordinances to Jacob,
And Your law to Israel.
They shall put incense before You,
And whole burnt offerings on Your altar.

      11“O LORD, bless his substance,
And accept the work of his hands;
Shatter the loins of those who rise up against him,
And those who hate him, so that they will not rise again.

      12Of Benjamin he said,
“May the beloved of the LORD dwell in security by Him,
Who shields him all the day,
And he dwells between His shoulders.”

      13Of Joseph he said,
“Blessed of the LORD be his land,
With the choice things of heaven, with the dew,
And from the deep lying beneath,

      14And with the choice yield of the sun,
And with the choice produce of the months.

      15“And with the best things of the ancient mountains,
And with the choice things of the everlasting hills,

      16And with the choice things of the earth and its fullness,
And the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush.
Let it come to the head of Joseph,
And to the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.

      17“As the firstborn of his ox, majesty is his,
And his horns are the horns of the wild ox;
With them he will push the peoples,
All at once, to the ends of the earth.
And those are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
And those are the thousands of Manasseh.”

      18Of Zebulun he said,
“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going forth,
And, Issachar, in your tents.

      19“They will call peoples to the mountain;
There they will offer righteous sacrifices;
For they will draw out the abundance of the seas,
And the hidden treasures of the sand.”

      20Of Gad he said,
“Blessed is the one who enlarges Gad;
He lies down as a lion,
And tears the arm, also the crown of the head.

      21“Then he provided the first part for himself,
For there the ruler’s portion was reserved;
And he came with the leaders of the people;
He executed the justice of the LORD,
And His ordinances with Israel.”

      22Of Dan he said,
“Dan is a lion’s whelp,
That leaps forth from Bashan.”

      23Of Naphtali he said,
“O Naphtali, satisfied with favor,
And full of the blessing of the LORD,
Take possession of the sea and the south.”

      24Of Asher he said,
“More blessed than sons is Asher;
May he be favored by his brothers,
And may he dip his foot in oil.

      25“Your locks will be iron and bronze,
And according to your days, so will your leisurely walk be.

      26“There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.

      27“The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
And He drove out the enemy from before you,
And said, ‘Destroy!’

      28“So Israel dwells in security,
The fountain of Jacob secluded,
In a land of grain and new wine;
His heavens also drop down dew.

      29“Blessed are you, O Israel;
Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD,
Who is the shield of your help
And the sword of your majesty!
So your enemies will cringe before you,
And you will tread upon their high places.”

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.