Category Archives: Guide

Yeshua Sets A Powerful Example For Servant Leadership

Leaders in this world most often want to be treated well by those they lead. Yeshua turns this upside down. He is the servant and the leader. He sets a powerful example to show us how we should serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

John 13:5-20

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

     5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

      12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Are there areas in your life where you should make changes to lead more like Yeshua did? As you reflect on leaders around you, even in the church, are there some who do not follow the example of Christ? Take care to vet those whom you follow and test them against God’s word and His example. You do not seek perfection in leadership, but you should seek to discern the wolves from the shepherds.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Let Us March In Unity Under The Direction Of The Lord

When we as God’s people stand (or march) together consistent with God’s clear direction and with Him to lead us, we are unstoppable. It is not because of our glory or goodness, but because of His.

Joshua 1:10-18

Joshua Assumes Command

     10Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’”

      12To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13“Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’ 14“Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

      16They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17“Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18“Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”

We see God has started to give parts of the promised land to several tribes to begin to occupy, but they are still to march and fight with their brothers to help them achieve victory. They are not to get complacent only because they have been provided for.

Let us reflect on this in our own lives. Many of us have tremendous comforts in this world. We have hot and cold running water, indoor toilets, heat to cook at our fingertips, plentiful food, and safe from attack. In fact, we live in some ways more luxuriously than kings of old. Let us not get complacent to just settle into our own lives and activities. Let us seek God’s direction for how He wants us to gather together as one body and what He wants us to march against and defeat. There are some things which should be obvious from scripture… abortion, the move to normalize homosexuality and transgender. These are fundamentally leading many people away from God to their own sorrow and troubles. What about the decline in the family structure? There are many broken marriages and broken families. Many families which have a wife and husband have both working so many hours that neither is really home to raise the children, who are raised by the school systems (often godless). Consider those who follow Christ and face severe persecution around the world in the Middle East or other locations. Consider God’s chosen people, Israel, who face enemies on all sides. Let us stand with them, we who are grafted in to the same vine (Romans 11).

Pray that those who follow Christ would humble themselves and pray for our nation. Pray for repentance and genuine seeking of the Lord. Pray for His Spirit to move across our nation and lead us to unity and victory to take back our own “promised land” of the United States for Him. Just because we can have rest personally, does not mean we should settle down and get comfortable and quietly live within our own small circle of influence and friends.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Walk In The Light

Yeshua is the Light. He came to show us how we should live in relationship with the Father. He came to die for our sins so we may be reconciled with the Father. He came in order that the Father’s purpose would be fulfilled. Let us seek to walk in the Light. Seek out and understand what Yeshua taught and how He lived.

Let us pray that the Lord would give each of us and others we pray for eyes to see and a heart that is not hardened, that we may receive the message of truth and not a corrupted version of it.

Let us challenge ourselves that if we truly believe in Him, we do not keep it a secret. May we never love the approval of men more than the approval of the Father. It is a harder thing than we would like to admit. The approval of men is vivid and immediate around us in our lives. The approval of the Father is sometimes not immediately visible, especially if we face persecution. However, pray that He would strengthen you and that you would live for Him and His approval rather than that of man.

John 12:27-50

Jesus Foretells His Death

     27“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28“Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 34The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” 39For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40“HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” 41These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

      44And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45“He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

Do not be quick to say to yourself, “I walk in the Light” or “I never seek approval of man over the Father”. Instead, pray for wisdom and clarity. Ask the Lord to show you if there are areas in your life where you are doing so.

If we walk in the Light, then we should be seeking the Light more and more, studying, discerning and continuing to learn and change our behavior and attitudes. Who among us would claim we know the Lord fully? We are walking fully and completely with Him in our lives? If we are not, but we seek to walk in the Light, then we should be continuing to study and learn and change our behavior to be more and more in line with Christ. Our attitudes should be changing. Many have found a “comfortable” lifestyle where they have settled in, complacent to accept that this is the way to live in relation with Christ. We should be continuing to learn and change as our understanding grows.

If we truly seek the approval of the Father over that of man, then we should be continuing to experience some form of confrontation or adversity. If we boldly live for Christ, and there are many who stand against Him, or even stand in His name but are living such that they are clearly far from Him, we should be encountering some conflict. If we are encountering no conflict as we live out our faith, even with other church members, we must ask ourselves if we really are living for Christ boldly as a light or if we are blending in with others around us into the darkness. Are we only hanging out with those who agree with us or are we presenting Christ  and our full understanding of Him to others who do not agree? If we are to make disciples, we must bring the truth of His word to bear even for those who may not seek to hear it. We saw this in Yeshua’s ministry clearly. Some accepted. Some rejected.

With help from the Father, what changes do you need to make in your life to walk closer with our Lord?

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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.

 

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Following Yeshua’s Example In Celebrating Yahweh’s Appointed Times

The Lord’s appointed times are important to Yeshua. He knew some were plotting to kill Him. He no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews. He knew that the religious leaders who wanted to kill Him would expect Him to possibly come up to Jerusalem for Passover and they made plans to seize Him if / when He did. What we see if we continue reading in John 12, is that Yeshua actually went up to Jerusalem anyway to be there for Passover.

The Lord’s Moedim, appointed times, are described in Leviticus 23 among other places. Scripture shows us they were important to Yeshua and His disciples. We should follow our Lord’s example and seek to learn more and celebrate them as He did to the extent we can still do so today. Let us devote our time and efforts to the Lord’s holy days rather than man made holidays.

John 11:47-57

Conspiracy to Kill Jesus

     47Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48“If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

      54Therefore Jesus no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples.

      55Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves. 56So they were seeking for Jesus, and were saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think; that He will not come to the feast at all?” 57Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize Him.

It seems obvious also, but perhaps worth calling out. Yeshua in His obedience to Yahweh was unmatched. He went to Jerusalem where He knew they were looking for Him to kill Him to honor the Father. Let us not be turned away from our obedience by fear of rejection by man just because they don’t understand.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Jesus Is The Door and The Good Shepherd

The teaching of Yeshua continues to set many free from the power of sin and death while at the same time causes many more to argue that it is nonsense, or in the case of John 10, that it is from a man who is “demon-possessed”. The truth is that He is the good shepherd. He lays down His life for His sheep. Satan is real. He is the enemy. He knows He can not win, but He wants to steal, kill, and destroy… separating people from relationship with YHWH.

What a blessing to have a good shepherd to protect us. Let us seek to listen to and obey His voice. A good practice is to confirm that whatever you think He is telling you is consistent with the written word of YHWH in the Bible. Many are misled by their own feelings and perhaps even deception by demons. Yeshua’s voice will line up with scripture just as His life on earth and His teachings did.

John 10:1-21

Parable of the Good Shepherd

      1“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.2“But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. 3“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4“When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5“A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

      7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8“All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

      11“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12“He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. 14“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17“For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18“No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

      19A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” 21Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”

Do not be dismayed that many will reject His word. Many actually say they accept it, but it is in name only. They change the word and make up their own interpretations to live by. They change God to their image instead of changing themselves to His. However, let us rejoice in our good shepherd. He protects us. He makes a way for us to be forgiven. Ask Him for ears to hear and eyes to see the world clearly as if through His eyes and ears. Study scripture yourself. Do not rely solely on a pastor or parent or friend. True teaching lines up with the written word. Pray that He helps you to hear His voice clearly and obey. In this we will find true joy and peace regardless of circumstances that may happen around 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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

All Of God’s Word Is Important For Us To Live By

As Moses was preparing to die and transition leadership to Joshua, YHWH told Him the people would rebel and go their own way. Moses took it upon Himself, knowing this, to write down the law in a book to help serve as a guide to the people for what is right and what is wrong according to YHWH. He knew the people would adopt other customs and traditions and that this book could serve as the unchanging guide to bring them back to YHWH’s ways. The same scriptures serve us today with the same law. More has been added, yes, but only what is consistent with and building upon / referencing the Torah, which is to say the first 5 books of the Bible from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This remains our foundation of YHWH’s instruction. It is not obsolete. It has not been replaced. It is entirely consistent with the teachings of Yeshua, who often referred back to scripture (Old Testament scripture as the New was not yet written) while teaching.

Deuteronomy 31:23-29

Joshua Is Commissioned

      23Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

      24It came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, 25that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26“Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. 27“For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death? 28“Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29“For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”

Ask yourself what is more consistent with a loving, eternal, unchanging God… giving His people instructions and then changing them radically later or laying out a single, consistent foundation of instruction that continues to build upon itself to help guide His people. Most good parents and teachers would understand immediately from teaching children that you do not train them up in one way only to make them do it completely differently later. That is confusing and a waste of time.

Study the whole word of God. Apply all of it in your life today. Live the way YHWH instructed rather than the way you have been raised by parents or by the way the world tells us to or even what is taught in churches (which is also often wrong). Devote time to study it yourself. Do not simply delegate that to a pastor or even spouse. Study it and pray. Dialog and debate the meaning with other Christians. Test everything. Do not simply accept what we have been taught.

Remember that when YHWH set His people free from slavery in Egypt, He called them to change from the ways they were used to in Egypt to His ways. He calls us to do the same as we embrace Him and turn away from a life of sin and self and worldly traditions and guidance.

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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.

 

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

What Can We Learn From Moses’ Last Advice?

Moses was a man who is well regarded by many. He was a man of God. He overcame many personal shortcomings to serve the Lord faithfully and lead the people of Israel through many challenges and victories, out of slavery in Egypt, through the wilderness, and up to the promised land. He had a close and personal relationship with YHWH for decades. Let’s take a look at his parting advice for his people and consider how it may apply to us still today.

Deuteronomy 31:1-13

Moses’ Last Counsel

      1So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ 3“It is the LORD your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the LORD has spoken. 4“The LORD will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. 5“The LORD will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

      7Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. 8“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

      9So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel.10Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths,11when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. 12“Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. 13“Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

If we pause to break it down a bit we can see some keen insight.

  • Go where the Lord leads, not a place of your own choosing.
  • When the Lord goes before you, you will have victory.
  • Even with the Lord going before you, you will still encounter challenges and you will still need His help to be strong and courageous as you face them.
  • Remember the instructions of YHWH. Read them over and over. Teach them to your children. Put them in a place of honor in your life and in society. Keep them before the people continuously as a light unto their path.

We would do well to heed this advice. Many who claim to follow Christ have disregarded His word. Many are making their own path or following the world rather than following where YHWH leads. It is a path that leads to defeat rather than victory, though Satan is clever enough to make it feel like success at times.

Pray for YHWH to help you to come into right relationship with Him. Seek Him. Study His word. Obey and live out His instructions. Test everything (yes, including what is taught in churches) against the Bible, the unchanging and inspired word of God.  Be strong and courageous in doing so.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Worship The Lord His Way, Not Your Way

Most of us who have followed Yahweh for awhile have had the opportunity to see His hand at work in our lives. I have marveled that He takes such an interest in someone so insignificant as me, but nonetheless He does! He loves each of His children. As we get to know Him more closely, we more easily recognize His hand at work in our lives.

We must take heed, however, and not turn away when we feel distant from Him or when we do not feel His presence. At those times, we must continue obeying His commands and His ways, faithfully believing that He is there, even if we do not see His hand at work. Often we can point back to events in our lives where He intervened to encourage us to remember Him. Do not turn from Him.

Consider His people as they left Egypt. Yahweh delivered them from slavery through many mighty miracles. There were ten plagues, parting of the Red Sea, defeat of Pharaoh’s army, God appearing as fire  and smoke to lead them, manna and water miraculously to meet their needs in the dessert. Surely we would think that generation could never turn from God, but they did.

Exodus 32:1-10

The Golden Calf

      1Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 5Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” 6So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

      7Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8“They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” 9The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. 10“Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”

I think we can all see clearly that Yahweh was not pleased with His people for making this idol and worshipping it. He was going to destroy them and start over. Let us consider carefully what happened. If we read to quickly we may conclude, as many have, that the Israelites were worshipping an idol of a false god and that is why Yahweh was upset… but this is not the case.

Look closer. Indeed they had created an idol and began to worship it, but in fact they were using the idol to represent Yahweh Himself. Consider the following verses:

“This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 5Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”

In fact, the people were worshipping Yahweh, and He was very upset! Why? Yahweh does not want His people to worship Him in the way that the pagans worship their false gods. It disgusts Him. He wants us to worship Him in the way He tells us.

Deuteronomy 12:30-32

30beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ 31“You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

      32“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

The Israelites may have been worshipping Yahweh, but they were doing so in like manner to how the Egyptians worshipped their false gods by making idols.

While this may seem like it does not apply today, it certainly does! Yahweh has not changed His opinion on what is good and what is bad. He still does not want us to worship Him with idols or with any of the manners or traditions with which the pagans worship false gods. If we take the time to study our common Christmas and Easter traditions (and other traditions as well), we will certainly find the history of many of these traditions are derived not from God’s word, but from pagan worship practices. Christians have created new meanings for many of these traditions, but they still are derived from pagan worship. Yahweh is not pleased, even if we say it is He whom we are worshipping.

Do not repeat the error of the Israelites, which drew great anger from Yahweh. Instead, learn the history and true origin of the traditions you practice. Reject the ones that are derived from pagan worship. Instead, study and learn the practices and worship that Yahweh instructs us in His word. There is so much to learn!

I feel like I have been on an archaeological dig for a decade to understand and lay down traditions rooted in pagan worship and instead to focus on and adopt practices and traditions that are commanded in God’s word in the Old Testament.

I encourage you to invest time to get to know Yahweh. If He is Lord (and He certainly is!), then we should take time to learn His ways and reject the ways of the pagan worship… even if done in Yahweh’s name. Do not accept something just  because it is a family or cultural “tradition”. Test and explore to understand the true origin and whether or not it may be offensive to our Lord. Choose the Lord’s ways over even dear traditions that may be emotionally difficult to walk away from.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Do You Walk In Light Or In Darkness?

There are two kinds of people in this world… those who walk in the Light and those who walk in darkness. 

Many will argue that there is relative truth. Something is true for me may not be true for you. This is nonsense. The fact that people reject what God says is true does not change the fact that it is true. In fact, if every person on the planet rejected it, it would still be true… just like if everyone on the planet agreed there was no gravity it would still be true that gravity exists. They would just be living their lives with a wrong view of the world, which has bad consequences. It leads to bad decisions. 

Some will accept that there is a single truth, but define it according to the world or their own opinion rather than the word of God. When they see a conflict between what God says in the Bible and their own views, they prefer to redefine God and perhaps dismiss or make up new interpretations of the Bible rather than confronting and changing their own wrong behavior and attitudes. 

The righteous, those who choose to walk in the Light, will choose to believe God’s word rather than their own world view. When they are in conflict, they choose to accept God’s truth and change their own ways. Please take careful note that it is living according to God’s word in the Bible, not just according to the teaching of a particular church. We can easily see the rapid and significant change in the church that reflects opinions of the world rather than the unchanging word of God. There are many false pastors and lost churches who claim to follow Christ. I would not choose to walk in the dark blindly with someone else leading me if I could instead get a flashlight and see for myself… would you? So why do we do this with something as important as instructions our Creator gave to us? Test everything against the truth of the Bible yourself. Spend time to study it. We spend time to get to know new friends or our spouse or children… why would we not do the same with our Creator? 

John 8:12-30

Jesus Is the Light of the World

      12Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” 13So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.” 14Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15“You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. 16“But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. 17“Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. 18“I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.” 19So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” 20These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

      21Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” 22So the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” 25So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? 26“I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” 27They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29“And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” 30As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

Yeshua came to die for our sin. Our sin is created from our choices to live according to our own ways rather than those of God. Let us accept His gift, His sacrifice, and seek to follow Him by changing our lives, even when it is uncomfortable. Let us choose to walk in the Light. It brings us to close relationship with our Creator and to more joyful, righteous living amongst people as well. 

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

The Parable of the Widower Who Remarried

Just to be clear, this is not a biblical parable, but one based on biblical teaching and one that is true many times over.

There is a story about a young man who was happily married. He loved his wife very much. To show it, he learned her favorite flowers, favorite candy, learned how to help around the house the way that she liked, he even bought her the style of clothes she liked to wear. Of course, holiday celebrations were no exception. He honored her in the ways that she told him she appreciated and she knew that he loved her. They were married many years and many of their ways became strong habits and  traditions.

After a time, his wife grew ill and died. He truly missed her. He grieved for a time and eventually remarried.

His second wife did not like the same things or do things the same way as his first wife. He would tell his new wife how much he loved her but than continue in the old habits and traditions he created for his first wife, even buying the same style of clothing for her and giving her the flowers that his first wife enjoyed instead of the ones she liked. His second wife asked him gently many times to change how he tried to honor her and explained what she liked and did not like. Despite her many efforts to communicate clearly, the man refused to change from his habits and traditions to learn to show love and honor his second wife the way she appreciated and desired.  He simply would tell her that he was doing it for her to show his love and that it was all for her. She was deeply hurt and at times very offended. She grew to doubt whether he loved her at all or rather she was just a replacement because the one he still loved was no longer there.

How obvious it must seem to all of us that the man is making a big mistake and certainly not showing love by insisting he do things his way or the way of his first wife. How is the parable going to end? If it is to end well, the man must admit he was wrong and decide to visibly repent of, or turn away from, his ways and learn the ways of the one he wishes to love and honor.

In a way you get to finish the story… you see many of us treat God the same way as the man in the parable treats his second wife. We have learned and accepted certain ways of doing things. In some cases they are now traditions with happy memories that have been accepted for hundreds or thousands of years. None the less, God has clearly communicated what He likes and does not like… what is good and bad in the holy scriptures.

Not being aware that we are doing what is bad makes it no less offensive to Him. Why did we not take time to learn what He values…what He wants from us?

Claiming we can take something that is bad in God’s eyes and make it into something that is good is like saying we can give someone a weed, but call it a rose and everything will be great.

We must each decide if we are to cling to our traditions of man, like the Pharisees and Sadducees who came against Jesus, or if we are to stand up and do things God’s way as Jesus and His disciples did, even if we are mocked for it.

Would it surprise you to know that Christmas trees, evergreen wreaths, mistletoe, gift exchange, even celebrating on Dec 25 are all  based on pagan worship practices which the church originally banned but later accepted because people would not stop doing them? Of course much of Easter celebration also has origins in pagan worship as well. The church decided if we can’t get people to stop their detestable pagan worship, then we will join them but make up a new story to explain the items previously used in pagan worship. They took a weed and called it a rose.

If you truly love God, and submit your life to God… take the time to learn more about what He wants and not just stick to traditions of men that are offensive to Him. You can easily study online even using Christian encyclopedia’s like Zondervan or other encyclopedias. The origins are not secret, only that it has been accepted to celebrate God in ways that were developed by pagans for their gods.  119Ministries.com is putting together an effective summary in video form you can watch, but the project has not been completed yet (The Christmas Question). They have previous teachings already available you may consider as well (Sunburned – Part 1 and Sunburned – Part 2).

I recognize that this is an emotional subject for many and admitting that we should change is very hard. Even if we accept it and change our behavior, there will be much difficulty among family. This is to be expected when we stand for Christ above all others. Jesus said so himself in Matthew 10:23-39.

32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36     Your enemies will be right in your own household!’[l]

37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

We each must decide whether or not we submit to God fully or hold tightly to the traditions of man. By the way… study of the new testament clearly shows that clutching to the traditions of man was the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees, not the way of Jesus.

God wants his people to be holy (set apart for God’s use) and righteous (living according to God’s commands rather than the world’s). He wants us to put Him first, above everything else.

Challenge yourself to objectively evaluate your traditions and seek first the kingdom of God. Do not dismiss this quickly but rather prayerfully seek God to show you the truth of His word and how to apply it in your life.

 

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.