Category Archives: Holy

Yeshua Is The Passover Lamb

As the final days of his earthly ministry were passing, Yeshua led His disciples to prepare to celebrate Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Think about that for a few moments. Yeshua, God himself living among us, chose to spend some of the closing moments of His brief earthly ministry in preparation of Passover. It was clearly important to him and for good reason.

The timing is not coincidental that Yeshua would be sacrificed for our sins at Passover time. It was intended that way by our Creator. Passover not only reminds us of deliverance from bondage in Egypt but also foreshadows our deliverance from the bondage of sin through the sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross. Yeshua was sacrificed as our Passover lamb… dying for our sins so we can be set free from sin and death.

Mark 14:12-21

The Last Passover

12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 13And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; 14and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15“And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there.” 16The disciples went out and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

17When it was evening He came with the twelve. 18As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me—one who is eating with Me.” 19They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, “Surely not I?” 20And He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl. 21“For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

These celebrations are not “Jewish” tradition. They are not just somehow a meaningless or obsolete instruction from our Creator either. Now we who believe in Yeshua as Messiah have more reason to celebrate it than ever before! Passover and Unleavened Bread are part of God’s tradition for celebrating and remembering our deliverance from sin through Christ! It is a wonderful way to teach our children about the Creator’s relationship with His people.

Exodus 13:6-10

6“For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. 7“Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders. 8“You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9“And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. 10“Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.

We should enjoy taking part in our Father’s appointed times rather than creating our own based on the traditions of men. It is not just that He tells us to… that got me started to look into it. Now I see how powerfully these celebrations tie into the core element of my faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and what a wonderful way it is to teach my children. As I reflected personally in this regard, it occurred to me. God has some pretty good ideas. (That is quite an understatement!)

I invite you to take some small steps even today to learn more about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread and how it is not only a celebration of YHWH* freeing His people out of slavery in Egypt, but also a celebration of our being freed from bondage to sin through the death and resurrection of Yeshua!

*Note: YHWH is the four letter name of God in the Bible derived from the Hebrew. Because the Hebrew did not record vowel sounds, we no longer know how to pronounce it for sure. It is often pronounced Yehovah or Yahweh today. Interesting history if you want to study it.

For more information about Passover or the Hebrew Roots of our faith in Yeshua…

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Celebrate God’s Holy Days

YHWH set forth some instructions for celebrating holy days. These are not largely taught or truly practiced in our culture today. We seem to have unlimited appetite for declaring a celebration or recognition day for almost anything under the sun, but we often fail to focus on celebrating what God instructs us to do. Many may point to Easter or Christmas, but in truth neither was instructed as celebration by our Father and both are steeped in deep pagan roots in much of how they are celebrated. Other’s include Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Presidents Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Ground Hog Day, Read Across America Day… and we could go on. Some of these may be fine and worthwhile, but we should start first with the celebrations our Father has instructed us to recognize.

The first in Leviticus 23 is familiar… the Sabbath day of rest. Many of us are familiar with it, but most do not actually recognize it anymore. It has become just another busy weekend day for most. They may have a day off their normal job (though many do not), but the day then becomes a busy work day for chores and responsibilities at home.  I can tell you though, as one who was there and has now embraced Sabbath with my family, God has some really good ideas! A day of rest to focus on God and family rather than just another day to work is fabulous and has opened up time for me with God and with my family and just to pause and reflect from a busy week.

Celebrating Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are great ways of ensuring we take time to reflect on and give thanks for our Passover lamb, Jesus, and to better understand how the Old Testament (Passover in Egypt) foreshadows the sacrifice of Jesus we are familiar with in the New Testament. Once again we see God’s focus for additional Sabbath rest days. It is an important concept for Him. We are called to rest at times, rather than run busily here and there during holidays as many do…often getting distracted in busyness from the intent of the holiday.

Counting 50 days… Pentecost.  We can again see the foreshadowing of the New Testament in the Old. We can give thanks to God for His provision as with harvest and again for providing us the Helper in the Holy Spirit, who came on Pentecost to the gathered believers in a powerful way as documented in Acts, after Christ returned to heaven. Our Father also reminds us that His provision is bountiful enough to share with others… hence the reminder not to harvest everything in verse 22.

We are called again to a Sabbath day of rest for Feast of Trumpets, and as we continue further in Leviticus we will come next to the Feast of Atonement as the subject of an article another day.

Leviticus 23:1-25

     1The LORD spoke again to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The LORD’S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:

      3‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the LORD in all your dwellings.

      4‘These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. 5‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover. 6‘Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7‘On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. 8‘But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.’”

      9Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11‘He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD. 13‘Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. 14‘Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

      15‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. 17‘You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD. 18‘Along with the bread you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD. 19‘You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20‘The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21‘On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.

      22‘When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.’”

      23Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25‘You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.’”

There is so much to study and celebrate laid out in this scripture, but to truly understand it and appreciate it, we each need to take time in prayer and study to seek to learn more about these festivals our Lord has instructed us to participate in. I encourage each of you to begin on this journey, as I have over the past few years. Do not try to get it all in one step. Pray, seek, study, and try to implement in steps. I have found this to greatly enrich my relationship with the Lord as I submit to and seek His instruction rather than just “going along with what everyone else expects you to do with the broad spectrum of holidays defined by man.

I would encourage you to consider learning more about the Hebrew roots of Christianity at Focused Ministries – Understanding Hebrew Roots. For holy days, I recommend starting with Bible.org – The Lord’s Appointed Times (Leviticus 23), 119Ministries.com, TheMoedim.com, Hebrew4Christians.com and SetApartPeople.com.

 

 

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

A Righteous Judge Holds People Accountable For Wrongdoing

There is a purpose to YHWH’s judgment and the coming times of suffering. YHWH has not suddenly lost His temper irrationally. He has given all of us a path to righteousness through Yeshua. Yeshua died for our sins and rose again. He extends the offer of salvation to those who would submit to Him, acknowledge they are in need of a savior because of their sin, acknowledge Yeshua as Messiah, and repent of their wicked and sinful ways.

For those who continue to do wrong and refuse to accept Yeshua’s death to pay for their sins. Some may ask, “why make it so long and drawn out… so painful”. That would seem important and worth celebrating. We can observe that Revelation 7 indicates a multitude who were saved by turning their lives to Christ after the initial suffering described earlier in Revelation. Clearly some will not repent regardless of what YHWH does. Ultimately, we must trust the LORD. He is in control.

We should remember however, that all will face judgment. Those who die before the tribulation and those who face death in the tribulation. All will face judgment before the almighty and He is a holy, just and righteous judge. A penalty must be paid for our sin. But He is also merciful and gracious. We can come before Him now and accept Yeshua as our savior. We can be forgiven.

Revelation 9:13-21

The Sixth Trumpet—Army from the East

      13Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. 16The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 19For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.

      20The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

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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.

What Is Mardi Gras and Should Christians Celebrate It?

What is Mardi Gras and why do so many Christians celebrate it? I grew up in a Catholic church and never could quite figure out how people could say that Mardi Gras was a “Christian holiday”. People broadly seemed to have accepted the concept that Christ wants us to embrace wild parties, drunkenness, public nudity, gluttony and other sinful behavior as a precursor to a period of repentance which follows. If it is not obvious enough that celebrating Mardi Gras is not a way to edify, honor, or lift up Christ then try a more academic exercise. Where in scripture did Jesus demonstrate or teach that we should sin greatly before a period of repentance? It’s not there. In fact, the opposite.

The call to repentance is real, but not the call to sin before it.

This does not even begin to touch on the focus that Mardi Gras puts on pagan gods associated with parades and other events.

Matthew 4:17

      17From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Romans 6

      1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.

      8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

      12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

      15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

      20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are called to righteousness and not to sin. How then can those in the church widely accept and embrace sin as a “Christian holiday”? The answer is that we have not followed the Lord’s instructions. He commands us not to learn the ways of the pagans and not to celebrate as they do. But all too often our common cultural holidays have been greatly influenced by pagan celebrations. The church has chosen to accept and blend pagan practices alongside or in place of how the Lord wants us to worship Him.

Mardi Gras is a tradition that dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia.

When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England.

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mardi-gras

Deuteronomy 12:1-5

   1“These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. 2“You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3“You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4“You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God. 5“But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.

In order to choose to follow the Lord His way, which is the only true way to follow Him, then we must turn away from and reject pagan celebrations which have been blended with or replaced God’s instructions for how we are to worship Him and how we are to live. Let us not make excuses, accepting the lifestyle of the pagans as our own, no matter how long the family traditions have been established. When we start making exceptions, we often end up with things like Mardi Gras… many who claim to be Christian accept it and would defend it… but none can justify it based on scripture or God’s word. It has become part of the culture based on a historical choices and family traditions. Let us seek the Lord and the Lord’s way alone to live submitted to Him. Let us not blend with the ways of the pagans but rather turn back to our Lord wholeheartedly and without hesitation.

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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.

 

Blessings, Honor, Glory, and Dominion Forever – YHWH and Yeshua Rather than Man

I will honestly say I do not take time to just stop and praise YHWH and Yeshua often enough. I mean for who they are and what they have already done, not just when they give me a personal victory. Our God is amazing. He is creator of all. He rules over all. He became man and died for us. Who are we that He should be concerned with each of us!?

Blessings, honor, glory and dominion for YHWH and Yeshua indeed. Let us not seek the glorification of man or his creation in His place.

Revelation 5:11-14

Angels Exalt the Lamb

      11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
13And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

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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.

Only the Lion of the Tribe of Judah Is Worthy

Only Yeshua is worthy. He has died and purchased us with His blood. It is too easy to overlook that in our day to day. We can somehow drift into thinking we are “good enough” or we are “doing our best”. But YHWH is a righteous judge who judges against a firm standard. Only through Christ are we forgiven. Holy is He! Worthy is He!

Revelation 5:1-10

The Book with Seven Seals

1I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. 4Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”

6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

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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.

A Prayer of Supplication And Trust

A beautiful prayer… pray with me for yourself, other followers of Christ, and the nations.

Psalm 86

A Psalm of Supplication and Trust.

A Prayer of David.

     1Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy.

2Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;
O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.

3Be gracious to me, O Lord,
For to You I cry all day long.

4Make glad the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

5For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.

6Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
And give heed to the voice of my supplications!

7In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You,
For You will answer me.

8There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.

9All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And they shall glorify Your name.

10For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God.

11Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.

12I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.

13For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14O God, arrogant men have risen up against me,
And a band of violent men have sought my life,
And they have not set You before them.

15But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.

16Turn to me, and be gracious to me;
Oh grant Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your handmaid.

17Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

For more Biblical examples of prayer, and for personal prayer requests, please visit our Prayer Requests page.

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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.

Doors of the Bible

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

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Why Did God Send the Flood?

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

The Ark’s Door

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

What’s Wrong with This World?

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

Will God Judge the World Again?

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

Another Door

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

The Substitute

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

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

Who Needs to Be Saved?

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

How Can I Go Through This Door?

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

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

Have You Entered the Door?

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

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

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 worshiping 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 worshiping 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 worshiping 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. Do not be like Lot’s wife who looked back at Sodom while leaving, but rather leave behind the past things without looking back on them.

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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.

The Parable of the Two Fathers

This is not a biblical parable, but one based on biblical teaching and in fact it is a true story many times over.

In a certain town there were two fathers who were neighbors, each of whom had a son. Both men wanted to honor God. They both went to church every Sunday and prayed with their sons every night. They both read the Bible with their sons.

The first father truly wanted to submit his life and that of his family to God, even if it was difficult at times. The father was sometimes mocked for being different from those around him when he was standing up for God, and his son noticed. The father refused to lie to his son, and his son noticed this also. This father always remained clear that there is only one God, whom we can know through Jesus Christ. He taught his son that God has already defined what is good and bad and there are real consequences for sin, which is to say… rebelling against God’s instruction and authority. As the son grew older, he sometimes wondered how he could know Jesus was real since he could not “see” him or “touch” him but accepted it because his father was always honest with him. He learned to stand for Jesus even when it was hard, because he learned by watching his father.

The second father was content to continue living his life in the traditions of his parents and grandparents. It felt comfortable, most of his friends and neighbors lived their lives in a similar manner so there was no conflict. He did not feel that God really cared that much about some areas of how he and his family led their daily lives. He told his son that Jesus was the way to God, but he also liked to tell his son seemingly harmless made up stories about make believe characters. He enjoyed telling his son about the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and of course Santa Claus. He continued the stories for many years until finally his son would learn on his own that each story was not true. The father even went out of his way to provide false evidence that the stories were true… like money under the pillow for a tooth, or telling his son that the bunny hid the eggs and brought him a basket, and of course having lots of presents at Christmas… all from Santa.  He even ate cookies and milk on behalf of Santa. After all, it’s just a bit of fun. What harm can it do?

As the son of the second father grew older, he was confused. The son sometimes wondered how he could know Jesus was real since he could not “see” him or “touch” him. He loved his father, but throughout his life his father had lied to him and even gone out of his way to fake evidence in many make believe characters. He could not help  but wonder if Jesus and the Bible were like the rest of the made up stories and he had many doubts.

Ask yourself about each of the made up stories that you may tell… “Is lying to my children about this really honoring God or teaching God’s message effectively?” (To be clear, lying is when you convince your child the made up story is true… not just telling them a fictional story.) But let’s go further, beyond even lying to your children and the possible mistrust that creates for more important issues later.

Let’s take the story of Santa Claus as a representative example and see what it teaches. I will name a few, you can probably think of more.

  • The focus of Christmas, especially for kids, is “What stuff do I get?” With Santa, the story does not even focus at all on giving but rather only on getting. Trying to tell a child Christmas is about Jesus, but then overwhelming them with presents and made up stories about Santa is like telling a child to eat a carrot and then putting in front of them a table full of cookies, brownies, cakes, and ice cream. At the very least, the table of desserts is a major distraction. In most cases, the children will remember the desserts long after they forget the carrot.
  • Gifts are not received from parents out of love, but rather you receive gifts because you deserve them. You were “good”.  Rather than a sign of love and sacrifice from parents who worked to earn money and chose to spend it on presents… it is a right to get gifts.
  • Supposed accountability for “bad” behavior (e.g. coal in the stocking) never really happens. There really is no punishment for poor behavior… or perhaps we just need to do more good than we do bad… and then the bad is ok.
  • There is another person, different from God, that has god like powers. He is essentially all knowing, very powerful, and can be in many places at the same time. He is eternal. He judges who is good and bad.
  • After spending years lying to children and convincing them that Santa is real, even when they start to recognize it and ask questions, we will then tell them it was all in fun… but trust me about Jesus.

Santa is in fact accepted around the world by many because he is absolutely not pointing to God, but rather distracting attention away from God or replacing God completely. Christians and non-Christians alike  accept him. In one very recent example, Santa’s picture was used as a spokesman for a billboard campaign by atheists basically saying we can be good without need of God. “Go ahead and skip church! Just be good for goodness sake.” (link to article here). [How an atheist can define “good” while claiming there is no God is an interesting conversation for another day.]

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 10:32-39.

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? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.