Category Archives: His Ways Are Not Our Ways

Yeshua Sets A Powerful Example For Servant Leadership

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

John 13:5-20

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

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

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

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

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

For The Glory Of God

We have a tendency to think about what we encounter in life by how it affects us personally. However, with the Lord’s help, we can begin to accept that many things that happen in our lives are not just about us.  He sometimes allows difficult circumstances for His own purposes, so that He may be glorified. One such example is recorded in John 11 with the death of Lazarus. Yeshua could have healed Lazarus, even without being physically with him. But instead, the sickness and subsequent death was to be used for the glory of Yahweh… even though the people living through it felt much pain and sorrow in experiencing the event.

John 11:1-46

The Death and Resurrection of Lazarus

       1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. 7Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?” 9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10“But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11This He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” 16Therefore Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, so that we may die with Him.”

      17So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off; 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 20Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house. 21Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22“Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”

      28When she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to Him.

      30Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. 31Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, 34and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept. 36So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?”

      38So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42“I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

      45Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.

Let us trust in the Lord and ask Him to help each of us to see how our experiences, good and bad, can be used to glorify Him.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

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

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

Deuteronomy 31:23-29

Joshua Is Commissioned

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Worship The Lord His Way, Not Your Way

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

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

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

Exodus 32:1-10

The Golden Calf

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deuteronomy 12:30-32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Do You Walk In Light Or In Darkness?

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

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

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

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

John 8:12-30

Jesus Is the Light of the World

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

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

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

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

The Parable of the Widower Who Remarried

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Choose Life

We have the same offer today from YHWH, the same choice. He has set before us each a choice. It is up to us to choose life and blessing over the curse. However this means we must choose Him, we must choose to love Him, walk in His ways, and keep His commandments, His statutes, His judgments… rather than our own or those devised by man. The source of truth is not what is taught in churches. The source of truth is God, Himself and He has provided to us a written record of His instruction in the Bible, which is available to all.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Choose Life

     15“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17“But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

To choose God and the ways of man is not to truly choose God. We can each have only one master. Choose and choose wisely. There are eternal consequences in addition to the trials and / or joy we can experience in this world. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. To do so, we realize that we must be open to change our understanding of His instructions as we study further the Bible and learn more of the ways in which the instruction found in churches today does not line up in many cases with the Bible itself and God’s instruction. Praise the Lord, we find His instructions are not burdensome, but draw us nearer to Him.

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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.

To Whom Shall We Go?

Sometimes God’s word is difficult for us to fully understand. That does not make it wrong, but rather reveals our own lack of full understanding. It should be an opportunity for us to humbly admit we have more to learn and to seek the Lord in prayer and study of His word. Instead, all too often people who claim to follow Yeshua instead start to assume that if scripture does not make sense to them, it is wrong and God is wrong, and instead that they are correct. In some cases they just call scripture “dated” and ignore it as if it can be come obsolete. God’s word is no more obsolete because of its age than the law of gravity.

Too many just accept public opinion or their own opinion in place of the truth of God. Are we to seek refuge in ourselves rather than God?  We must decide if we will follow the Lord or not. If not, to whom shall we go?

John 6: 59-71

Words to the Disciples

      59These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.

      60Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” 61But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? 62What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?63“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64“But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. 65And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Peter’s Confession of Faith

      66As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. 67So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” 68Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. 69“We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” 70Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” 71Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.

We must recognize that only those who are called by the Father will be able to see and come to Yeshua. By definition, not all will accept Him. Let us not be surprised by this, nor should we feel it is our failure when we can’t convince someone to accept Christ. We should certainly resist, at all cost, watering down the truth or changing it just to make it more acceptable to people. Yeshua Himself stuck by hard teaching and let it, intentionally, drive away those who were not sincere in seeking Him. Those who remained with Him and sought to understand more were rewarded richly by relationship with Him… by learning from Him. They knew they did not have the answers. Thus if there was hard material to deal with, they accepted that they had more to learn and put their trust in Yeshua. They changed their beliefs and understanding based on ongoing revelation of God’s word. They never redefined God’s word to fit their understanding. Humility is required. Trust and faith in Christ are required.

Ask yourself… if you will not follow Christ and follow the Word of God fully, then to whom shall you go?

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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.

God Is Sufficient For Any Circumstance; We Should Trust Him No Matter The Outcome

No matter what situation you face, know that Yeshua is sufficient to address it. He may provide supernatural healing, He may remove great obstacles, or sometimes He may have reasons for choosing other outcomes which we do not understand. However, we can know that He is able to heal and address every circumstance and that He hears His righteous followers when they pray, those who have truly accepted Him as Lord, repented of sin, and been cleansed of sin through His sacrifice.

John 4:46-54

Healing a Nobleman’s Son

      46Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. 48So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” 49The royal official said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. 51As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. 52So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”; and he himself believed and his whole household. 54This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

I am often reminded of the mindset that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had when confronted by the Babyonian king. They were confronted with a different type of challenge. They knew the Lord could save them, they thought the Lord would save them, but they were prepared to trust the Lord even if He chose not to. Truly this is a great model for faith and seeking the Lord in the face of great adversity.

Daniel 3:15-18

15“Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?”

      16Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18“But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

God is sufficient for any circumstance we may face. We should trust Him with any outcome, even if it is one we did not expect.

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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.

An Unlikely Audience

Yeshua was willing to go through Samaria (Jews generally avoided dealings with Samaritans) and stop and talk with someone that Jews did not typically associate with. This was intentional, not accidental. He knew what He was doing and what would happen next. He chose to reach out to people who Jews generally avoided.

He started a conversation about something very basic, a drink of water, but quickly transitioned into sharing the truth that He is the anticipated Messiah, son of YHWH. He started with a metaphor about thirst and painted the picture of how accepting Christ as Lord satisfies us permanently, like living water. It is a great example of how we may engage someone to speak of Yeshua and how He has transformed our life. We may begin perhaps without a full theology lesson and start with the human aspect of how it affects our lives and will affect theirs should they choose to follow Him. Yeshua also demonstrates sharing truth with those whom we may not normally expect will be open to hear it, those who many Christians may often avoid talking to.

John 4:1-30

Jesus Goes to Galilee

      1Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2(although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. 4And He had to pass through Samaria. 5So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; 6and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

The Woman of Samaria

      7There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.9Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12“You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

      15The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” 16He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” 19The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

      27At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” 28So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, 29“Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” 30They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.

Let not overlook, however, that this should not be the end of the journey toward Christ for this woman. She told others and they came to Yeshua. It is easy to conclude that He continued to teach them as they came. Further, for those who truly accept Him as Lord, they will want to learn more and understand more over time in their new walk with Him. To stop seeking Him after only declaring you will follow Him (as if all were complete and finished at this point) would be folly. It would be like starting a long journey to a wonderful destination by opening a gate that leads to the path, and then sitting down at that point inside the gate and never going any farther. We must seek to know, love, and serve Him more as we continue forward.

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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.