Category Archives: Grace / Forgiveness

With Faith And Repentance, No Sin Is Too Great To Forgive

None of us are too far gone to turn our lives around and put our faith in the Lord. The Lord can use even those who are not honorable for His purposes. Which one of us will say that we are unworthy to serve the Creator and Father because of our sin… that He will not want us to serve Him? He uses many unlikely persons. He used a harlot, or prostitute, to help Joshua’s spies. She put her faith in the Lord (Hebrews 11:31) and then put faith into action by helping the spies at risk of her own life. She ends up in the lineage listed in Matthew 1 for Christ. No sin is too big to be forgiven when we turn to the Lord and submit to Him.

Joshua 2:1-14

Rahab Shelters Spies

      1Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lodged there. 2It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.” 3And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” 4But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. 5“It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” 6But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.

      8Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, 9and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. 10“For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11“When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. 12“Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth, 13and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14So the men said to her, “Our life for yours if you do not tell this business of ours; and it shall come about when the LORD gives us the land that we will deal kindly and faithfully with you.”

No matter what your sin, turn to the Lord and ask forgiveness. The fact is that none of us is worthy of Him. All of us are sinful (Romans 3:10-12). Put your faith in Him and put your faith into action to live for Him. You will find an abundance of forgiveness.  and grace.  As I reflect in my own life and in that of others, I am in awe of the sin He will forgive if we seek Him wholeheartedly. We are never righteous in our own right, but through Christ.

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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.

Yeshua Loved His Own Who Were In The World

Our heavenly Father chose Yeshua to die for our sins because He loves us. He wants us to be reconciled to Him, but recognizing our sin separates us from His holy presence, there needed to be payment for our sin to cleanse us.

He chose for Yeshua to die at Passover for good reason also. This was not random. All of our Father’s holy days (Leviticus 23) are set out with intent and clear purpose. They may seem unfamiliar to most Christians today but that is because the Christian church has separated from God’s holy days and created their own set of holidays. Passover is a beautiful celebration. It reminds us of our Father leading His people out of slavery in Egypt and again it reminds us of Yeshua setting us free from slavery to sin through His death on the cross. It is clearly an important holy day to our Father for His people to celebrate.

John 13:1-4

The Lord’s Supper

     1Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

Yeshua “loved His own who were in the world”. This is not the same as saying He loves everyone, including everyone who rejects Him and lives in disobedience. This is upsetting to hear for many, but it is what the scripture says here. John was obviously making a distinction intentionally with regards to what he was saying.  It is not unique in scripture either. Yeshua says clearly elsewhere that the way is narrow and few find it and that many will say they prophesy in His name or cast out demons but He knows them not. You hardly say to someone that you know them not and tell them to be gone if you love them.

Matthew 7:13-14

      13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7:21-23

     21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Perhaps one verse that is very much overlooked is Matthew 7:23. He did not say to them “Depart from Me, you who did not claim to follow me.” He says “Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”… these people did claim to follow Him. They did miracles in His name. However, it appears that many who claim Him do not abide in God’s law and instruction. That is not to say the law saves us. It does not. But if we know Him and love Him, we should seek out His instructions and live by them. Rather than being quick to reject this significant verse and quickly move to a comfortable platitude about the law being obsolete and not saving us, I suggest we all pause and reflect on the words of Yeshua very carefully and test if we perhaps have something to learn and change in our lives.

Yeshua still loves HIs own who are in the world. He willingly died for them. Let us do our best to live for Him. Let us pray the Lord helps us to know, love, and serve Him more fully. Let us never grow complacent in our walk with the Lord so that we assume we understand it all and are living it all without any additional need for change to grow closer to Him. We should be constantly growing in our understanding of His word and adjusting our lives to reflect it.

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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.

Pray for the USA to turn back to God and become again a true light to the nations

The United States of America was founded based on Christian ideals and beliefs, but over the past few hundred years has largely turned their back on God and now embrace worship of self, worship of money, and many other sins. The word of God is tossed aside in favor of the wicked desires of men. God’s word shows us that when the people turn from God, He releases His blessing from that country. That does not mean He gives up on His people there, but rather that the country will suffer. There are consequences. The USA has great potential to serve God across the world if even those who profess Jesus with their lips would genuinely  turn toward Him and change their behaviors to be a light to the nation and the world.

2 Chronicles 7:12-22

     12Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16“For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’

      19“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21“As for this house, which was exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22“And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.’”

Please take some time to pray for repentance and mercy for the USA as leader of the free world but also for other nations globally in which there still remains a remnant of true disciples seeking to follow the Lord’s will.

Psalm 85

Prayer for God’s Mercy upon the Nation.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

     1O LORD, You showed favor to Your land;
You restored the captivity of Jacob.

      2You forgave the iniquity of Your people;
You covered all their sin.

Selah.

      3You withdrew all Your fury;
You turned away from Your burning anger.

      4Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

      5Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

      6Will You not Yourself revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?

      7Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.

      8I will hear what God the LORD will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.

      9Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.

      10Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

      11Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.

      12Indeed, the LORD will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce.

      13Righteousness will go before Him
And will make His footsteps into a way.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.
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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.

Give Thanks To The LORD, For He Is Good; For His Lovingkindness Is Everlasting

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 118

Thanksgiving for the LORD’S Saving Goodness.

     1Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

      2Oh let Israel say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      3Oh let the house of Aaron say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      4Oh let those who fear the LORD say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      5From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.

      6The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?

      7The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

      8It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.

      9It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.

      10All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      11They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      12They surrounded me like bees;
They were extinguished as a fire of thorns;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      13You pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the LORD helped me.

      14The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

      15The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

      16The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

      17I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the LORD.

      18The LORD has disciplined me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

      19Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.

      20This is the gate of the LORD;
The righteous will enter through it.

      21I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation.

      22The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.

      23This is the LORD’S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

      24This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

      25O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!

      26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

      27The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

      28You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.

      29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

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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.

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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

The Adulterous Woman

In John 8, Yeshua is confronted by scribes and Pharisees who bring a woman who they say was caught in adultery. There was a trap here. They were not interested in His opinion. They wanted to catch Him in some error. Perhaps they wanted to draw Him into denying or rejecting the law given to Moses so they could condemn Him. Perhaps they tried to trap Him by only bringing the woman? Should not the man be there also for punishment? We also don’t know what Yeshua wrote in the ground. There is much speculation. Was it about the sins of the accusers? We don’t know.

What we do know…

  • Yeshua in no way denied or rejected the law given to Moses. If He had, the accusers would have had what they wanted and seized Him.
  • Yeshua did not say it was ok to commit the sin. He did not excuse the sinner from the associated guilt.
  • Yeshua did not rebuke the accusers for confronting the woman in her sin. He rebuked them for the hardness of their hearts to use her life as part of a trap for Him. They were seeking neither justice nor God.

All who were there, seemingly even the woman accused, accepted that the behavior was wrong and she was guilty. Yeshua pointed out the hypocrisy of those who had come to trap Him. He brought to their minds their own guilt for their sins… their need for asking God for forgiveness.

John 8:1-11

The Adulterous Woman

      1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court,4they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5“Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]

The last guidance He gave to the woman was to go and sin no more. Repentance, not acceptance of the sin, which is demonstrated truly when we stop repeating the sin.

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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.

Our God Is A God Of Forgiveness And Restoration

Deuteronomy 30 surely seems to apply to God’s chosen people, Israel. He prophetically foretold that they would sin and separate from Him, face the tough consequences, but that they would return to the Lord and be restored, even gathered back to the promised land… and they have been. It remains powerful evidence to the reality of God and the truth of His word.

We can also reflect that we serve the same God. One who offers us a choice of the blessing of obedience or the curse of disobedience… as a nation but also as individuals. Though we may choose poorly and make many mistakes, He is ready for us to return to Him, with humble and repentant heart… in obedience to Him and on His terms. What a wonderful God we serve!

Deuteronomy 30:1-14

Restoration Promised

      1“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, 2and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 3then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. 4“If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 5“The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

      6“Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. 7“The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.8“And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. 9“Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 10if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.

      11“For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 12“It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 13“Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 14“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.

What He asks of us is not too difficult. It is not out of reach.  Our God has made it very achievable to do as He asks and don’t let the world tell you different. However, He does require us to come to Him on His own terms, not our own. We can not submit to Him halfheartedly and expect His full approval and embrace.

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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.

Doors of the Bible

Today I want to share an interesting perspective I gained from the Ark Encounter in Kentucky. I am sharing their material, which can be found at arkencounter.com/about/good-news/. I am grateful for the ministry and outreach efforts of that organization. I would encourage you to consider it for future family vacation plans. My family greatly enjoyed it and it supports a ministry that shares the truth of God’s word in a powerful way.

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Why Did God Send the Flood?

The pre-Flood world was exceedingly wicked and filled with violence. The Bible states that all flesh had corrupted its way on the earth. God sent the global Flood to judge the evil world while preserving Noah’s family and representatives of land animals.

The Ark’s Door

One of God’s specific instructions for Noah was to build a door in the side of the Ark. Noah and his family entered this door to be saved from the Flood. Everyone outside of the Ark perished.

What’s Wrong with This World?

God created a perfect world, but our first parents, Adam and Eve, chose to rebel against their holy Creator. Their sin brought suffering and death into creation, and since all people are descendants of Adam, all have inherited a sin nature set against God. Furthermore, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We live in a fallen, sin-cursed world where men love darkness rather than light.

Will God Judge the World Again?

The Bible states that God will judge this wicked world once again, but this time it will be by fire. In fact, Jesus compared the days of His return to the days of Noah. People were caught unaware by the judgment because they were so focused on the things of this world, such as eating, drinking, and marriage. Similarly, Peter prophesied that skeptics would come in the last days and would mock the biblical teachings of creation, the Flood, and the coming judgment. We see these things happening in our day, and God always keeps His promises—judgment will come.

Another Door

Noah’s family entered the Ark’s door to escape the physical destruction of the Flood. God has provided another “door” to save people from the coming eternal judgment. Jesus Christ said, “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7). In that culture the shepherd really was the door to the pen—they would rest in the entryway, ensuring that the sheep would be kept safe. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the door through which we must enter to be saved from our sin.

The Substitute

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a man, lived a sinless life, and then willingly died on the Cross as a substitute. As man’s sin brought death, the Son of God died to redeem man from his sins. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, showing that He held power over death and demonstrating God’s acceptance of Christ’s payment for sin.

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

Who Needs to Be Saved?

The short answer is “everyone.” Since God is holy and perfect in every way, He must judge sin. As such, each of us deserves to face God’s justice because we have broken His laws. If you stop and examine your own heart, you will recognize times where you have lied, stolen, coveted, and failed to honor God as He deserves. On our own each of us stands condemned to suffer eternally because of our rebellion, and we need someone to save us from God’s wrath.

How Can I Go Through This Door?

We cannot earn God’s forgiveness as manmade religions teach—it is offered freely through the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We receive God’s forgiveness only through faith in what Christ has done. This means that we repent of our sins, trusting in Jesus and believing that He died for our sins and rose from the dead. In faith, we acknowledge our guilt before God and plead with our Creator to forgive us and save us from our sins.

That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Have You Entered the Door?

Have you placed your faith in Christ alone to save you from your sins? If not, we urge you to turn from your sins (repent) and call out to God for His merciful forgiveness. Enter the door of salvation today.

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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.

Sin In A Community or a Nation Is Serious Business

Many reject the law as obsolete or meaningless. Some are even less kind. However, Paul reminds us that all of the scripture is good. When he wrote 2 Timothy, the only scripture was the Old Testament. The New Testament had not yet been written.

2 Timothy 3:16

 16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

I openly admit that sometimes I am more challenged than others to find the value in some of the scriptures as it would still apply today. That said, just because I don’t understand it does not change the fact that it is meaningful. My lack of understanding should lead me further in study and prayer rather than simply dismissing it.

Deuteronomy 21 documents expiation of a crime. Expiation is the act of making amends or reparation for guilt or wrongdoing. I am not sure how to process the specific activity that is done for expiation in this case and apply it for life today. However, I am struck by the seriousness with which they were instructed to confront sin. Even if they did not know who committed the crime, they still considered it a serious matter. It was not just a serious matter for the “police” to investigate, but for the community to seek forgiveness from before YHWH. I believe we have lost this in our culture today for the most part. The people no longer come together in prayer before YHWH to confront sin and ask forgiveness.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

I believe we would do well to routinely humble ourselves and pray for our nation. This is not just something for “those guilty people” to do. This is a call for YHWH’s people to humble themselves and pray. As His people, we can do this even for a nation with many who reject YHWH. We are all sinners. We are a common people… one nation. Let those of us who serve YHWH humble ourselves and pray and seek Him and turn from our wicked ways. Let us try to lead others to turn from their wicked ways as well. We must not simply be “silent Christians”. That is an oxymoron, a contradiction. The disciples and prophets and Yeshua all took bold positions to share truth even when others opposed them and rejected the message. So should we.

Deuteronomy 21: 1-9

Expiation of a Crime

      1“If a slain person is found lying in the open country in the land which the LORD your God gives you to possess, and it is not known who has struck him, 2then your elders and your judges shall go out and measure the distance to the cities which are around the slain one. 3“It shall be that the city which is nearest to the slain man, that is, the elders of that city, shall take a heifer of the herd, which has not been worked and which has not pulled in a yoke; 4and the elders of that city shall bring the heifer down to a valley with running water, which has not been plowed or sown, and shall break the heifer’s neck there in the valley. 5“Then the priests, the sons of Levi, shall come near, for the LORD your God has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the name of the LORD; and every dispute and every assault shall be settled by them. 6“All the elders of that city which is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley; 7and they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it. 8‘Forgive Your people Israel whom You have redeemed, O LORD, and do not place the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of Your people Israel.’ And the bloodguiltiness shall be forgiven them. 9“So you shall remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the eyes of the LORD.

Sin in a community or nation is serious business and we should address it before YHWH on His terms.

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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.