Category Archives: Faithful

Review Your Journey With The Lord

Numbers 33 is perhaps an easy passage of scripture to quickly pass over on the thought that it is simply a recap of what we have already read. It does provide some historical evidence to the story to help demonstrate the reality that the Bible is not a “made up book” or a book of stories like Aesop’s Fables, but an actual historical account of YHWH’s relationship with His people. If simply making up a book of stories, who would bother to include detailed historical accounts such as this one?

More than that, I am struck by the feeling that YHWH is encouraging us to periodically look back at the journey we have traveled when we follow Him. Moses was reviewing a journey that was both physical / geographical and also spiritual as the people journeyed from slavery to freedom… from bondage to Egyptians to freedom to serve our Father and Creator.

For me, I can reflect on the journey the Lord has led me on over the past 20 years in particular. There were battles (not literal warfare), there were times of victory and defeat, there was a growing relationship between myself and my Father. There were changes in how I lived my life and what my priorities were. There were changes in how I spent my time and my money. There were changes in how my family lives our daily lives and how we celebrate holy days now according to YHWH’s instruction rather than traditions of men. There are changes in how we help and support others in the body of Christ more joyfully.

While we still have further to go with the Lord, it is good to reflect on how far we have come with Him and His patience and lovingkindness to lead us along the way as we learn and change with His help.

Numbers 33:1-49

Review of the Journey from Egypt to Jordan

     1These are the journeys of the sons of Israel, by which they came out from the land of Egypt by their armies, under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2Moses recorded their starting places according to their journeys by the command of the LORD, and these are their journeys according to their starting places. 3They journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the next day after the Passover the sons of Israel started out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians, 4while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn whom the LORD had struck down among them. The LORD had also executed judgments on their gods.

      5Then the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses and camped in Succoth. 6They journeyed from Succoth and camped in Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 7They journeyed from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol. 8They journeyed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness; and they went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah. 9They journeyed from Marah and came to Elim; and in Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there. 10They journeyed from Elim and camped by the Red Sea. 11They journeyed from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin. 12They journeyed from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah. 13They journeyed from Dophkah and camped at Alush. 14They journeyed from Alush and camped at Rephidim; now it was there that the people had no water to drink. 15They journeyed from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai. 16They journeyed from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah.

      17They journeyed from Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 18They journeyed from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah. 19They journeyed from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. 20They journeyed from Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah. 21They journeyed from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 22They journeyed from Rissah and camped in Kehelathah. 23They journeyed from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 24They journeyed from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah. 25They journeyed from Haradah and camped at Makheloth. 26They journeyed from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 27They journeyed from Tahath and camped at Terah. 28They journeyed from Terah and camped at Mithkah. 29They journeyed from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah. 30They journeyed from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth. 31They journeyed from Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan. 32They journeyed from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. 33They journeyed from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah. 34They journeyed from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah. 35They journeyed from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 36They journeyed from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin, that is, Kadesh. 37They journeyed from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, at the edge of the land of Edom.

      38Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the LORD, and died there in the fortieth year after the sons of Israel had come from the land of Egypt, on the first day in the fifth month. 39Aaron was one hundred twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

      40Now the Canaanite, the king of Arad who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the sons of Israel.

      41Then they journeyed from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42They journeyed from Zalmonah and camped at Punon. 43They journeyed from Punon and camped at Oboth. 44They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, at the border of Moab. 45They journeyed from Iyim and camped at Dibon-gad. 46They journeyed from Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim. 47They journeyed from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48They journeyed from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho. 49They camped by the Jordan, from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.

Take time to reflect on the your journey with YHWH. You may even want to write it down in a journal. Don’t rush it. Set aside time to prayerfully and reflectively go through it. Share it with someone you trust. Give thanks to Him for leading you and waiting on your progress. Ask Him what changes you need to continue to make and ask Him for His grace to help you make those changes. Continue the journey to grow closer to the Lord.

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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

A Parable For Those Who Reject YHWH… You Can Return. He Is Waiting Eagerly For You.

Don’t overlook this parable because you know it well. Take time to read it and really dwell on it. Pray for God to really open your eyes to its core message in a personal way.

YHWH is the forgiving Father. Many of us are or have been the prodigal son. Many openly and consciously choose to reject and leave our Father for what they think is a better life. They may leave with the utmost of disrespect to Him. This is different than simply being lost and not knowing the way. The prodigal son made a conscious choice to leave and seek something else he thought was better.

The Father lets us go. He will not chase us down and beg us to stay. We are granted freedom. However, for those who are fortunate enough to realize later how bad the choice is that they made… if they repent and come back to the Father, He will run to meet them. He is always ready to accept us back, no matter how much disrespect we showed Him by our leaving Him. But we must choose to humble ourselves, repent from our selfish and wicked ways, and return to the Father asking forgiveness and committing ourselves to obedience to Him.

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.’”

What amazing grace and love our Father has for us! Praise Him and come with thankful heart.

Psalm 84:10

       10For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

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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.

He Seeks That Which Is Lost

Rejoice that we serve a loving and kind Lord and master than loves each of us enough to pursue us. We are each important to Him. No matter how many or how few are the people who follow Him, He loves us and pursues us… even when we are not (or were not) pursuing Him.

Luke 15:1-10

The Lost Sheep

     1Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

      3So He told them this parable, saying, 4“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5“When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6“And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

The Lost Coin

     8“Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9“When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ 10“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

He loved us when we were yet sinners. Let us be thankful. Let our praises ring out as we worship YHWH.

Romans 5:6-11

     6For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

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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.

Seek First The Kingdom Of God

A simple but revolutionary instruction. Yeshua tells us not to focus on money but on our relationship with the Father. Do not covet what others have or put your faith in large sums of money. Trust in the Lord and He will meet your needs. Set your finances aside to honor God and store up treasure in heaven and your heart will follow.

Luke 12:13-34

Covetousness Denounced

     13Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” 16And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17“And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18“Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21“So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

      22And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26“If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28“But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30“For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

      33“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Pray the Lord helps you with this as it truly is against what we are taught growing up in this world. We are taught that money, not God, represents security and self reliance. We should not seek to be self reliant but rather dependent on the Father. Whether or not we realize it, we are dependent on the Father already… as with the man in the parable starting in verse 16, above.

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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.

When God Says “Go Do”, He Will Provide The “How To”

It is incredible sometimes how hard it is for us as followers of Christ to change the way we think. We are naturally drawn to think of how we solve problems and what our limitations are. When we try to do something or even when God tells us to do something, we often default to evaluating the request based on whether or not we can do it in our own power. We do not naturally think about God’s unlimited power and that if He asks us to do something, then He will provide the power needed to make it happen. It is hard for us to obey without thinking about our strategy to get it done. That is where faith needs to come in.

Luke 9:12-17

Five Thousand Fed

     12Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.” 13But He said to them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.” 14(For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, “Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each.” 15They did so, and had them all sit down. 16Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. 17And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full.

I certainly can identify in my life a strong tendency to plan out whatever I am trying to do. When I plan it out, I do not know how to figure in the power of God, so I tend to look for how I can make it happen on my own. Over the past years, however, the Spirit has really been working on me and helping me grow in this area. I am so grateful that our Lord, Creator of all, cares enough about each of us to get involved in our lives and help us. He loves us and is worthy of praise and obedience!

Now when He asks me to do something challenging, I am getting much better at praying for Him to show me how and when and relying less and less on my plans to make it happen. Sometimes the “ask” is so simple and within my own power it is easy to go make it happen. It just takes willingness to obey and put His desire over mine. Of course even giving us the willingness to submit to His will is something we can ask the Spirit to help us with.

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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.

Praise for the Lord’s Goodness

I, for one, do not praise the Lord enough. I praise Him, yes. But how can one ever praise Him enough. It is so easy to get distracted and busy and even when we talk to Him to focus on what we are asking or even thanking Him for. But just to dwell on His glory as our Father is something I do not do enough.

Psalm 92

Praise for the LORD’S Goodness.

A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day.

1It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

      2To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,

      3With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp,
With resounding music upon the lyre.

      4For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.

      5How great are Your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep.

      6A senseless man has no knowledge,
Nor does a stupid man understand this:

      7That when the wicked sprouted up like grass
And all who did iniquity flourished,
It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.

      8But You, O LORD, are on high forever.

      9For, behold, Your enemies, O LORD,
For, behold, Your enemies will perish;
All who do iniquity will be scattered.

      10But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
I have been anointed with fresh oil.

      11And my eye has looked exultantly upon my foes,
My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me.

      12The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

      13Planted in the house of the LORD,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.

      14They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,

      15To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Praise the Lord, indeed! Let us praise Him daily and enjoy the character of our loving and holy Father. Let us take time to focus on who He is and on His mighty works rather than our own perspective.  Let us find joy in our relationship with the Father as we bask in the glow of His goodness.

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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.

 

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.

Approaching the Lord With Respect and Humility

David was a man after God’s own heart. God raised him up and sustained him. David also made mistakes at times and created separation between himself and the Lord. Psalm 89 focuses on the Lord’s lovingkindness, faithfulness, eternal nature, righteousness, justice, power, etc. and recognizes Him as the source of salvation. It focuses on uplifting and praising the Lord first. This is a great way to start every prayer and consistent with how Jesus taught His disciples how to pray the “Lord’s Prayer” in which we first start with focus on the Lord… hallowed by Thy name, Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come… before it turns to ask anything. It goes on to call out how blessed are those who serve the Lord.

Then it highlights in verse 30 a pivotal and important topic. If we refuse to obey His law, His statutes, then He will punish us. He will discipline us like a good father disciplines children. However, He will not break His promises or His covenant.

Thus the psalmist continues to transition into a call for help from the Lord to deliver Israel from its afflictions. One would presume from the tone of the psalm, there is a repentant heart on behalf of Israel seeking forgiveness and reconciliation with the Lord and once again renewing submission to Him.

Then it ends with a very positive tone lifting up once again the Lord, “Blessed be the Lord forever!”.

It is quite a good example of how we should approach the Lord. Let us focus on Him and appreciate and praise Him. Let us recognize it is our sin that separates us from Him. Then let us seek reconciliation through submission and obedience, seeking Him once again. Let us recognize that His promises endure through even our disobedience and He will always be willing to receive us back again as the father did in the parable of the prodigal son. However, we also realize that there are consequences to our disobedience and sin.

Read slowly and thoughtfully. Seek for the Spirit to help you apply in your life.

Psalm 89

The LORD’S Covenant with David, and Israel’s Afflictions.

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

1I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever;
To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.

      2For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever;
In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.”

      3“I have made a covenant with My chosen;
I have sworn to David My servant,

      4I will establish your seed forever
And build up your throne to all generations.”

Selah.

      5The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.

      6For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD?
Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,

      7A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
And awesome above all those who are around Him?

      8O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.

      9You rule the swelling of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.

      10You Yourself crushed Rahab like one who is slain;
You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.

      11The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them.

      12The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.

      13You have a strong arm;
Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted.

      14Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.

      15How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance.

      16In Your name they rejoice all the day,
And by Your righteousness they are exalted.

      17For You are the glory of their strength,
And by Your favor our horn is exalted.

      18For our shield belongs to the LORD,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

      19Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones,
And said, “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.

      20“I have found David My servant;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,

      21With whom My hand will be established;
My arm also will strengthen him.

      22“The enemy will not deceive him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

      23“But I shall crush his adversaries before him,
And strike those who hate him.

      24“My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him,
And in My name his horn will be exalted.

      25“I shall also set his hand on the sea
And his right hand on the rivers.

      26“He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’

      27“I also shall make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.

      28“My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.

      29“So I will establish his descendants forever
And his throne as the days of heaven.

      30“If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,

      31If they violate My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,

      32Then I will punish their transgression with the rod
And their iniquity with stripes.

      33“But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him,
Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.

      34“My covenant I will not violate,
Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

      35“Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David.

      36“His descendants shall endure forever
And his throne as the sun before Me.

      37“It shall be established forever like the moon,
And the witness in the sky is faithful.”

Selah.

      38But You have cast off and rejected,
You have been full of wrath against Your anointed.

      39You have spurned the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown in the dust.

      40You have broken down all his walls;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.

      41All who pass along the way plunder him;
He has become a reproach to his neighbors.

      42You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.

      43You also turn back the edge of his sword
And have not made him stand in battle.

      44You have made his splendor to cease
And cast his throne to the ground.

      45You have shortened the days of his youth;
You have covered him with shame.

Selah.

      46How long, O LORD?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?

      47Remember what my span of life is;
For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!

      48What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?

Selah.

      49Where are Your former lovingkindnesses, O Lord,
Which You swore to David in Your faithfulness?

      50Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Your servants;
How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,

      51With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.

      52Blessed be the LORD forever!
Amen and Amen.

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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.