Category Archives: Father

A Clean Start… God Is Ready Anytime, Not Just in January

It has become very common for people to view the start of a new year as a means of getting a “clean start” with regards to making changes in their life to improve their situation. Sometimes people take this time to commit to stopping a bad habit or undesirable behavior and sometimes a start of something desirable. Somehow they come to feel as if a new year means their past mistakes are behind them and they have a clean start. If they tried to exercise regularly and failed, somehow now the past failure is forgotten. Unfortunately, seeking a “clean start” in the powerless framework of December turning to January usually falls apart quickly and by the end of January people have lost any momentum in their “New Year’s Resolutions”.

There is a way to make a true clean start, one that comes with power to help us… and it is available to us any time, not just in January. Through Christ, our sins can be forgiven. We repent of our sins, ask forgiveness, believe that He died for us and submit ourselves to the Father. He is waiting for us, looking on the horizon so to speak for our humble return to Him. There is no sin too big to be forgiven, no previous disrespect of God that we can not repent from.

Luke 15:11-32

The Prodigal Son

     11And He said, “A man had two sons. 12“The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13“And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14“Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15“So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16“And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17“But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18‘I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21“And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22“But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

      25“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26“And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27“And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28“But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29“But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31“And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

God waits for us to return home to Him, as the father waits for the prodigal son. He will run to greet us and welcome us. He will not, however, force us to come home. He will allow us to remain separated from Him if we choose to do so.

It is hard for us to get our minds around this type of forgiveness, because we can not imagine granting it to others, but He is God and we are not. Come home to Him now, without delay. He is always ready to receive you… not just in January.

When He receives us as His children, He also gives us a helper in the Spirit to bring His power to bear on our repentance and our fresh, clean start. We are not on our own. We have the power and help of God Himself.

John 16:5-15

The Holy Spirit Promised

     5“But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6“But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; 11and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

      12“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15“All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Some may still be asking, does God really forgive all my sins if I repent and submit to Him in Christ? … yes and He speaks a lot about it. But to be clear, do not expect forgiveness if you continue in rebellion toward Him and do not live according to His word.

Isaiah 1:18-20

18“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.

      19“If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;

      20“But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Daniel 9:7-14

  7“Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8“Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9“To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. 11“Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him. 12“Thus He has confirmed His words which He had spoken against us and against our rulers who ruled us, to bring on us great calamity; for under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what was done to Jerusalem. 13“As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Your truth. 14“Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.

Acts 3:19-21

19“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

Ephesians 1:3-14

    3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Colossians 1:13-14

     13For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1 John 1:9-10

9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Psalm 103:1-13

1Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.

      2Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;

      3Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;

      4Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

      5Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

      6The LORD performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.

      7He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.

      8The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

      9He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.

      10He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

      11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.

      12As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

      13Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

And there are plenty more scriptures about forgiveness… a clean start can be yours, in Christ, in January or any other time of the year. You don’t have to do it alone, but the power and guidance is in God and not in the turn of a calendar from December to January and not in what our culture or society says is good and to be valued.

To learn more about following Christ, continue reading The Message of the Cross.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

The Lord Is A Loving Father, A Provider, A Protector

Our Lord is the Creator of the entire universe in all its magnificence, in all its grand size and scope, in all its infinite detail. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. He is present everywhere at all times. Yet He loves us as His children. Who are we that He should be mindful of us, but He is gracious, loving, and kind towards us.

Let us devote ourselves to Him and come before Him with supplication and thanksgiving as we would a loving father.

Psalm 116

Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death.

     1I love the LORD, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.

      2Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.

      3The cords of death encompassed me
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.

      4Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”

      5Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.

      6The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.

      7Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

      8For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.

      9I shall walk before the LORD
In the land of the living.

      10I believed when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted.”

      11I said in my alarm,
“All men are liars.”

      12What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?

      13I shall lift up the cup of salvation
And call upon the name of the LORD.

      14I shall pay my vows to the LORD,
Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.

      15Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His godly ones.

      16O LORD, surely I am Your servant,
I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,
You have loosed my bonds.

      17To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And call upon the name of the LORD.

      18I shall pay my vows to the LORD,
Oh may it be in the presence of all His people,

      19In the courts of the LORD’S house,
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD!

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Who Is Your Father? Whom Do You Really Follow?

John 8 includes a very tense interchange between Yeshua and those who were wanting to kill Him. He makes a striking point. Our actions will clearly reflect our hearts and reflect the desires of the one we follow. The one whom we truly follow is not revealed by what we say alone, but by what we do. What we do reveals if we follow our Creator or the father of lies.

For those that believed in Him, Yeshua said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine”. He goes on to highlight how they will know the truth and it will truly set them free. It does not set them free from the law. It does not set them free from physical bondage. It sets them free from the power of sin over their life.

For those who seek to kill the One sent by the Father, their rejection of Christ reveals that they do not know or follow the Father. Yeshua highlights that they are in fact following Satan, albeit unwittingly. The same is still true for us today. We are either sons and daughters of God or of Satan. Only Christ can set us free from the power of sin and reconcile us with our Creator.

John 8:31-59

The Truth Will Make You Free

     31So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

      34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38“I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”

      39They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 40“But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 41“You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.” 42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43“Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45“But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46“Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47“He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

      48The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50“But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53“Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?54Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” 59Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

You can ask yourself whom you really serve. However, we often rationalize our own actions and beliefs. Seek a godly friend you can trust. Ask the Spirit to reveal to you the answer. Read the Bible critically and challenge what you do to see if it is really consistent with God’s word. Pursue the Creator as Father. Change yourself to become more in line with His image rather than redefining Him to your image.

     31So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

      34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

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.

In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was With God, and the Word Was God

Yeshua is God. I am surprised sometimes that people claim the Bible does not say so. They claim Yeshua never said… “I am God”. However, it is stated explicitly and implicitly throughout the New Testament in the testimony of Yeshua. It is precisely why Yeshua was crucified… because He claimed to be God. In the gospel of John, it is explicitly stated. Yeshua is the Word. The Word is with God and the Word is God.

John 1:1-5 and 14

The Deity of Jesus Christ

      1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

      14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

It is also very interesting to consider verse 3 carefully. As Christians we often think of YHWH, the Father, creating all things as if it happened apart from Christ. However, this is not the case. Christ is one with the Father. At creation, Yeshua was one with the Father.

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Take time to pause and reflect on the truth of the Word. Yeshua is the Word made flesh. The Bible is the word written for us. They are consistent with one another. One does not contradict the other. Similarly Yeshua is one with the Father. They do not contradict one another. The Old Testament does not contradict the New. Quite the opposite. Yeshua referred constantly back to the Old Testament scriptures. He explicitly stated He did not come to abolish the law, not even a jot (that’s small grammatical markings).  To correctly understand His word and His will, we must look to His example and understand that all of the Bible is still true and applicable today. If there is confusion it is not with God, but rather with our own understanding.

Always approach the word from the perspective that it is consistent and timeless. It will not contradict itself. God does not change. It all fits perfectly together, but often we don’t understand many of the details. Instead we try to dismiss parts of the Bible based on assumptions that it no longer applies or as if Yeshua suddenly changed all that God valued when He came in the flesh. There was no change in what God said is good and what is bad. That is timeless. If something does not seem to fit right, it means we don’t understand it correctly. Study and prayer are the approach rather than just assuming our initial view or position is correct based on our understanding from today’s culture or what is taught in churches today.

Seek truth in God’s word revealed in the Bible. Invest time yourself, not just reading books about the Bible, but the Bible itself. Of course you can read other books also but they are not a substitute for the Bible. Pray and spend time on it. You can not grow closer to God if you spend no time with Him or His word.

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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.

I Will Raise Up A Prophet From Among Their People

YHWH first addressed all the people in Horeb, until the people were scared and asked to have an intermediary. He has since sent many prophets to guide us. Much of what they taught has been recorded in the Bible. We see also, however that we are not to just accept prophets at their word, but to judge them based on whether or not their prophecies come true. Note also that YHWH lays out consequences for prophets who disobey Him and speak out of turn on their own or in the name of other gods.

The true prophets spoke as intermediaries on YHWH’s behalf to communicate with His people. We should study what is recorded in scripture and regard it as very valuable instruction from our Lord and Creator. This was symbolically reflected in the construction of the tabernacle and temple in which there was a holy place where only the high priest would come on behalf of the people. There was a curtain separating this place from the rest of the tabernacle and temple.

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

   15“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 16“This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 17“The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. 20‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21“You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ 22“When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

So also, YHWH sent Yeshua to die for us. When Yeshua was crucified, the curtain separating the holy place was torn… symbolizing that now those who follow Yeshua are once again invited to come into YHWH’s presence even without a prophet as intermediary. Our relationship with our Creator is restored through Yeshua and our submission to Him as Lord.

Matthew 27:50-51

50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.

Let us study what YHWH has communicated with His people through prophets as documented in the Bible. Let us test those who claim to be prophets today. This should not be offensive to a true prophet for they should encourage us to test against the word of YHWH and if they are a true prophet, then their prophecies will come true. Let us also not miss out on the invitation to come directly into YHWH’s presence and build relationship with Him. He is not just our Creator, but also our Father.

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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.

We Can Bring All Our Desires Before The Lord

The Lord invites us to bring all our concerns and desires before Him. He knows them already anyway. Better to bring the request for vengeance before the Lord than to execute it yourself. Let us be truly honest and open in our relationship with the Lord. The Lord is a righteous judge and will not err in a passionate moment.

Better still would be to pray for your enemy… ask the Lord to help defeat their wicked plans but guide them to repentance and relationship with Him. Ask the Lord to help you forgive and not be bitter.

Psalm 109

Vengeance Invoked upon Adversaries.

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.

     1O God of my praise,
Do not be silent!

      2For they have opened the wicked and deceitful mouth against me;
They have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

      3They have also surrounded me with words of hatred,
And fought against me without cause.

      4In return for my love they act as my accusers;
But I am in prayer.

      5Thus they have repaid me evil for good
And hatred for my love.

      6Appoint a wicked man over him,
And let an accuser stand at his right hand.

      7When he is judged, let him come forth guilty,
And let his prayer become sin.

      8Let his days be few;
Let another take his office.

      9Let his children be fatherless
And his wife a widow.

      10Let his children wander about and beg;
And let them seek sustenance far from their ruined homes.

      11Let the creditor seize all that he has,
And let strangers plunder the product of his labor.

      12Let there be none to extend lovingkindness to him,
Nor any to be gracious to his fatherless children.

      13Let his posterity be cut off;
In a following generation let their name be blotted out.

      14Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD,
And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.

      15Let them be before the LORD continually,
That He may cut off their memory from the earth;

      16Because he did not remember to show lovingkindness,
But persecuted the afflicted and needy man,
And the despondent in heart, to put them to death.

      17He also loved cursing, so it came to him;
And he did not delight in blessing, so it was far from him.

      18But he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment,
And it entered into his body like water
And like oil into his bones.

      19Let it be to him as a garment with which he covers himself,
And for a belt with which he constantly girds himself.

      20Let this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD,
And of those who speak evil against my soul.

      21But You, O GOD, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name’s sake;
Because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;

      22For I am afflicted and needy,
And my heart is wounded within me.

      23I am passing like a shadow when it lengthens;
I am shaken off like the locust.

      24My knees are weak from fasting,
And my flesh has grown lean, without fatness.

      25I also have become a reproach to them;
When they see me, they wag their head.

      26Help me, O LORD my God;
Save me according to Your lovingkindness.

      27And let them know that this is Your hand;
You, LORD, have done it.

      28Let them curse, but You bless;
When they arise, they shall be ashamed,
But Your servant shall be glad.

      29Let my accusers be clothed with dishonor,
And let them cover themselves with their own shame as with a robe.

      30With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD;
And in the midst of many I will praise Him.

      31For He stands at the right hand of the needy,
To save him from those who judge his soul.

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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.

YHWH Is A Loving Father

My loving wife gave me a card this morning. I opened it just after praying for my wife and children and for our nation and Christian brothers and sisters around the world. There were two scriptures, one from Psalms and one from Proverbs that really struck me as if from the Holy Spirit Himself. They were in part a direct confirmation of some of the things I pray for daily. Guidance and obedience for me in leading my family under God’s authority and for my children that they would know the Lord and know Him joyfully.

Proverbs 14:26

    26In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.

All of us who are parents and love the Lord want our children to have refuge in Him, to have relationship with Him. Our first step in this direction is to fear the Lord ourselves. This does not mean to fear Him as a scary and mean person, but rather as one might fear a father whom we know will discipline those He loves when they do wrong. Yet at the same time, He will give us and our family refuge.

Psalm 37:23-24

      23The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.

      24When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.

No matter how much we may think we are in control of our own steps, for those of us who submit to YHWH, our loving Father, He establishes our steps and delights in us. When we make mistakes, we have a loving Father holding our hand so we do not fall headlong but rather He helps us recover from our stumble.

What a beautiful picture of our loving Father and example of the type of Father He wants us to be to our children.

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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.

YHWH Reveals Himself Through The Holy Trinity

Many struggle to fully understand how one God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some even fall away from true faith over their lack of understanding in this issue, or hesitate to follow Jesus because of it. Others may simply dismiss it. Blessed are those who accept it on faith and those who study God’s word to gain a clearer understanding of it. Whatever your understanding, scripture is clear… God reveals Himself to us in three key relationships… that of God the Father, Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16-18 16After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove andlighting on Him, 17and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Matthew 28:18-19 18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Take note of the importance of the Holy Trinity by its explicit mention by God in both the beginning of Jesus’ public earthly ministry at baptism and the end after He has died and been raised from the dead. The fact that God finds it important to express Himself to us in this way is undeniable. He  does not shy away from it. It is front and center and important.

We could do well to conduct a detailed Bible study on each aspect of the trinity, and I encourage you to do so as you read through the Bible and study. I encourage you also to prayerfully ask God to reveal Himself clearly to you. For the purposes of today’s devotion, I will summarize at a high level.

Let me first begin with a simple example that may help remove some of the mystery, and then we will explore Biblical insights into the persons of the Trinity through which God reveals Himself to His people.

Try not to get hung up on someone revealing themselves through three persons. It seems impossible at first, but consider even God’s humble people. I am a servant of God. So too am I a husband and a father. Further, I am a neighbor and a citizen of a city and a nation. I am an employee and also a leader. I am a son and a brother. I could go on. I am one person, but through many different roles I reveal myself in different relationships with people I meet. I am the same person, yet the way I act to my children is different in some ways to the way I act to my employer. Each relationship is consistent with the person being revealed, but each may show a different aspect or part of that person. So it is likewise with God.

God the Father

God the Father is the Creator, the Alpha and Omega… beginning and the end, He is our Father, our Provider, our Protector. He is sovereign. Respect and honor who God is. Take a few moments and be still before God. Contemplate the character of God:

  • The Great I Am
  • Creator of All
  • All Knowing (omniscient)
  • All Powerful (omnipotent)
  • Present In All Places At All Times (omnipresent)
  • The Beginning and the End (Alpha and Omega)

God’s name is to be separated from the world. To do this, we must separate from the world and focus on God. Focus on the Old Testament names for God.

God the Son, Jesus Christ

The word of God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ and dwelt among us. He showed us how to live in relationship with God the Father and our fellow man. He suffered and died and was raised from the dead so our wrongs could be forgiven.

John 1:1-5 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:14-18 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

John 14:6-11 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

      7“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

      8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

God The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a helper that God sends for each of us who believe in Him through the person of Jesus Christ and submit our lives to Him. The Spirit represents God living inside of each believer to help comfort, counsel, teach, and guide us.

John 14:16-26 16“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

      18“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” 22Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

      25“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Embrace God’s word and allow God to more fully reveal Himself to you through each of these relationships He has chosen… God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

What Does The Lord Require From You?

An interesting point in scripture for those of us who want to know what the Lord expects from His people.

Deuteronomy 10:12-22

      12“Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good? 14“Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. 15“Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. 16“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. 17“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. 18“He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. 19“So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. 20“You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. 21“He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen. 22“Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.

We often look at God’s instructions as punishment or keeping us from “having a good time” or “being free”. Perhaps children feel this way as well about some rules that parents make for them. However, any good and rational parent will immediately recognize there are instructions and boundaries we need to put on our children for their own good, not just for the good of the parent (e.g. don’t play in the street, don’t stick something in the electrical socket, etc.). What is more, good parents expect obedience from their children… the rules should be followed and the parents need to be respected. It is the same for us with God as our loving Father.

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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.