Category Archives: Merciful

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.

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.

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.

He will bless those who fear the LORD

I have grown not only to appreciate Psalms, but to love it. It helps guide me in praising our Father and leads me to celebrate Him when my natural tendency is to study Him and His word. Both are good and Psalms really helps me focus on Him and His glory.

Psalm 115

Heathen Idols Contrasted with the LORD.

     1Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.

      2Why should the nations say,
“Where, now, is their God?”

      3But our God is in the heavens;
He does whatever He pleases.

      4Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.

      5They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;

      6They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;

      7They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.

      8Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.

      9O Israel, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield.

      10O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield.

      11You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield.

      12The LORD has been mindful of us; He will bless us;
He will bless the house of Israel;
He will bless the house of Aaron.

      13He will bless those who fear the LORD,
The small together with the great.

      14May the LORD give you increase,
You and your children.

      15May you be blessed of the LORD,
Maker of heaven and earth.

      16The heavens are the heavens of the LORD,
But the earth He has given to the sons of men.

      17The dead do not praise the LORD,
Nor do any who go down into silence;

      18But as for us, we will bless the LORD
From this time forth and forever.
Praise the 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.

Do Not Miss YHWH At Work Around Us

Some of us will see the miracles of YHWH as they occur before our eyes in our lives and others will simply be so focused in their own worldview that they will ignore and look past them as they continue to miss out on relationship with YHWH.

Yeshua performed a miraculous healing. Some saw it for what it was… a sign from YHWH. Others could only see hate and resentment against Yeshua and missed the miracle in front of them. They were so focused on their rules (not actually God’s law), that they missed it. They tried to punish Yeshua for healing the man and asking him to pick up his mat, rather than stop and ask by who’s power He performed healing.

John 5:1-17

The Healing at Bethesda

      1After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

      2Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. 3In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, [waiting for the moving of the waters; 4for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.] 5A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” 7The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” 8Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” 9Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.
Now it was the Sabbath on that day. 10So the Jews were saying to the man who was cured, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not permissible for you to carry your pallet.” 11But he answered them, “He who made me well was the one who said to me, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk.’” 12They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Pick up your pallet and walk’?” 13But the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away while there was a crowd in that place. 14Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you.” 15The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16For this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

Many of the miracles YHWH does in our lives can be ignored or explained away by those who have already made up their mind that He does not exist. Pray He would open your eyes to His work all around you that you would not miss it. Pray that your walk with Him would be personal and close. Then make choices to pray, worship, study the Bible, and obey His instruction in your life. You will be amazed if you look for Him working around you…you will find Him where previously you looked right past His work.

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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.

Cities of Refuge

Many people believe YHWH’s law to be harsh. They find examples where it is different from what we are used to today and use our cultural norms to somehow explain and justify why His law is wrong. This is backwards. We should start with His instructions and then compare those to our cultural norms and test our cultural norms to see if they are wicked or righteous.

What many fail to see is that YHWH’s law also has great examples of the mercy and grace for mistakes, such as in Deuteronomy 19. He distinguishes between one who accidentally kills someone and one who intentionally murders someone. One is to be forgiven and one is to be executed. It does sound harsh to us today, but the word even says not to pity the one who was evil and intentionally killed another. This clearly influenced the laws we still live by today. We have different punishment for those who killed accidentally compared to those who murder.

The cities of refuge represent to me a fascinating solution to address a real problem of the time. Our Father is both just and merciful.

Deuteronomy 19:1-13

Cities of Refuge

      1“When the LORD your God cuts off the nations, whose land the LORD your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, 2you shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the LORD your God gives you to possess. 3“You shall prepare the roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the LORD your God will give you as a possession, so that any manslayer may flee there.

      4“Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he kills his friend unintentionally, not hating him previously— 5as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live; 6otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously.7“Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside three cities for yourself.’

      8“If the LORD your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give your fathers— 9if you carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in His ways always—then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10“So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you.

      11“But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.13“You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well 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.

There Is No Other Like Christ

Many lose sight of the fact that Christ has always existed. He did not begin to exist when He became man and entered this world for a brief 33 years as a man. He has existed since the beginning. He is one with the Father. Christ is the image of God revealed to us. Through Him all things were created. He is head of the church, the body of believers who follow Him. He chose to die for each of us so that He could bear the punishment for our sin… the punishment we deserve. That is mercy and grace and love. There is none like Christ.

Colossians 1:12-29

The Incomparable Christ

      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.

      15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

      21And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

      24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. 25Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

Let us rejoice in our relationship with Christ… in His sacrifice for our sins. Let us not ignore this incredible sacrifice and gift of forgiveness. Embrace Him, ask forgiveness, change and turn away from sin. Become more like Him and build your relationship with Him. Share the good news of Christ with all whom you have the opportunity. What if no one else will tell them if you don’t?

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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 Rebelliousness And The Lord’s Deliverances

It is easy for us to read Psalm 106 and think something like… “How could the Israelites be so foolish?”, but if we are honest with ourselves we will recognize that to some extent most of us live our lives the same way. We praise the Lord and draw near to Him at times, only to fade awhile later, distracted by what the world says it right. It is very hard to remain focused on YHWH constantly. I believe it is impossible without His Spirit helping us.

Fortunately, YHWH has much grace. Though He holds us accountable for our sin and rebellion, so too He forgives as we repent wholeheartedly because of His lovingkindness.  What a wonderful Father. Ask Him to lead you in your life and seek Him. Seek to know Him and obey Him, rather than living according to the world’s ways.

Psalm 106

Israel’s Rebelliousness and the LORD’S Deliverances.

1Praise the LORD!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

      2Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the LORD,
Or can show forth all His praise?

      3How blessed are those who keep justice,
Who practice righteousness at all times!

      4Remember me, O LORD, in Your favor toward Your people;
Visit me with Your salvation,

      5That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.

      6We have sinned like our fathers,
We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.

      7Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;
They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses,
But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.

      8Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name,
That He might make His power known.

      9Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up,
And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.

      10So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them,
And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

      11The waters covered their adversaries;
Not one of them was left.

      12Then they believed His words;
They sang His praise.

      13They quickly forgot His works;
They did not wait for His counsel,

      14But craved intensely in the wilderness,
And tempted God in the desert.

      15So He gave them their request,
But sent a wasting disease among them.

      16When they became envious of Moses in the camp,
And of Aaron, the holy one of the LORD,

      17The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan,
And engulfed the company of Abiram.

      18And a fire blazed up in their company;
The flame consumed the wicked.

      19They made a calf in Horeb
And worshiped a molten image.

      20Thus they exchanged their glory
For the image of an ox that eats grass.

      21They forgot God their Savior,
Who had done great things in Egypt,

      22Wonders in the land of Ham
And awesome things by the Red Sea.

      23Therefore He said that He would destroy them,
Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him,
To turn away His wrath from destroying them.

      24Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe in His word,

      25But grumbled in their tents;
They did not listen to the voice of the LORD.

      26Therefore He swore to them
That He would cast them down in the wilderness,

      27And that He would cast their seed among the nations
And scatter them in the lands.

      28They joined themselves also to Baal-peor,
And ate sacrifices offered to the dead.

      29Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,
And the plague broke out among them.

      30Then Phinehas stood up and interposed,
And so the plague was stayed.

      31And it was reckoned to him for righteousness,
To all generations forever.

      32They also provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah,
So that it went hard with Moses on their account;

      33Because they were rebellious against His Spirit,
He spoke rashly with his lips.

      34They did not destroy the peoples,
As the LORD commanded them,

      35But they mingled with the nations
And learned their practices,

      36And served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.

      37They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,

      38And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with the blood.

      39Thus they became unclean in their practices,
And played the harlot in their deeds.

      40Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people
And He abhorred His inheritance.

      41Then He gave them into the hand of the nations,
And those who hated them ruled over them.

      42Their enemies also oppressed them,
And they were subdued under their power.

      43Many times He would deliver them;
They, however, were rebellious in their counsel,
And so sank down in their iniquity.

      44Nevertheless He looked upon their distress
When He heard their cry;

      45And He remembered His covenant for their sake,
And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.

      46He also made them objects of compassion
In the presence of all their captors.

      47Save us, O LORD our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name
And glory in Your praise.

      48Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
And let all the people say, “Amen.”
Praise the LORD!

Reflect on the lovingkindness of the Lord. Even in discipline He shows love, just as a parent does for their children.  I discipline my children whom I love. Barring something unusual, I do not discipline someone else’s children, whom I don’t know.

Ask YHWH to lead you in your life and seek Him. Do not be afraid to call out humbly in desperation for mercy and help… even if you have sinned and fallen away more than once. He is a merciful God, filled with lovingkindness. Seek to know Him and obey Him, rather than living according to the world’s ways. Do this and you will find peace and joy in this life and the life to come.

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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.