Category Archives: Father

Hope and Trust In The LORD

In the beginning of Hebrews 6, we read about those who have experienced and accepted YHWH, experiencing the Holy Spirit, and then have fallen away. It is a good reminder that we should not grow complacent in our faith and relationship in YHWH.

As we continue in Hebrews 6, we see the writer address his audience with a call and encouragement for hope in Yeshua as our high priest, for hope in the promises of YHWH. One can easily conclude that the reference is that they may have been facing difficult times and the writer is encouraging them not to fall away from their faith in YHWH, but rather to hope in Yeshua and remain faithful. They are also encouraged that their good works are pleasing to YHWH and they should continue. They are reminded in verse 9, that our relationship with YHWH is about so much more than just salvation.

These are good reminders for us still today.

Hebrews 6:9-20

Better Things for You

      9But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. 10For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

      13For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.” 15And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

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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.

 

Once Saved, Always Saved?

There is a common teaching among followers of Christ that goes something like this… “once saved, always saved”. This is based largely on John 10:27-30.

John 10:27-30

27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30“I and the Father are one.”

However, this says only that no one can snatch them away, but it does not say that someone can not leave of their own free will. Some who have known the LORD do turn their back on him and reject him, willingly.

While there is room for good discussion and study on the matter, let us consider Hebrews 6:1-8.

Hebrews 6:1-8

The Peril of Falling Away

      1Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3And this we will do, if God permits. 4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. 7For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; 8but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

The most important trap at issue here is that many get complacent. They think if someone (or they themselves) once were in submission to Christ, that now they can do anything and rebel or reject him and go about their lives however they please and still “get into heaven”. This is dangerous complacency. We must remain vigilant and continue to seek and submit to the LORD. Our relationship with him is not a one time decision where we walk down to the  aisle to pray for 5 minutes. It is based on a lifetime of choosing him over and over again.

Also, I must emphasize that our attitude should not be motivated by “how do I get into heaven”, but rather by “how may I best love and serve the LORD my God”. We will then enjoy him in this life and eternity. Can you imagine if we treated a spouse this way? “I want you to provide for me and take care of me in retirement, but I will ignore or rebel against you all my life. No worries, there was that time we said ‘I do’ to get married so we are good, right?”

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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.

Yeshua Is Higher Than The Angels

Hebrews 1 makes a strong statement about the importance of Yeshua as higher than the angels. If we would look to angels to bring us word from YHWH and we would obey, how much more so should we be carefully observing what Yeshua taught and how he lived as our example. Our lives, as faithful followers of Yeshua, should look a lot like his in how we act and treat people, how we obey, teach, and rebuke based on YHWH’s instructions, and yes in how we face persecution for our faith. We should test everything that others wrote about Yeshua and how he wants us to live against the model and example of how he actually demonstrated it. This includes testing Paul’s letter for proper interpretation. What we think we learn from Paul’s letters should not create a new and radically different way of living than Messiah did, but should build upon the law, the prophets, and the life of Messiah.

Hebrews 2:1-4

Give Heed

      1For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

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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.

Celebrating Good Fathers

It is a good thing to celebrate good fathers and to take some time to thank them for their role in the family, just as we do also with mothers. The Lord created the family unit with intent and wisdom… with intelligent design. Each family is intended to have one man and one woman… and of course the children. Not all people get married and not all married people have children… and this is not intended to ignore or discount them. But for father’s day we are taking a day to focus on exactly that… fathers.

Good fathers should pursue after Christ and be spiritual leaders in their family. They should put YHWH first, their wife next and then the children in their priority list and then actually live their lives according to that standard. YHWH has said much about what it means to be a good father. It need not be a mystery.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Psalm 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Luke 11:11-12 “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?

Joshua 24:14-15 “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Perhaps some scripture does not explicitly call out “fathers”, but as in Joshua 24:14-15… he demonstrates the role of a good father as a strong leader for his family committed to serving YHWH even if others refuse to do so. Psalm 127:3-5 shows a good father feels blessed to have received the gift of children.

There are many more such scriptures. I encourage you to do an internet search for “Bible scriptures about good fathers” and invest time to dive deeper.

Good fathers are not perfect… there is only one perfect Father.  So on behalf of all those fathers out there who are trying to lead their families and protect and provide for their families… we appreciate your grace and forgiveness when we get it wrong and we welcome your prayers and encouragement on our behalf so we may become better and better at what YHWH has called us to be… fathers.

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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.

 

Do Not Re-Define YHWH In Your Own Image

Joshua 10 contains some dramatic historical records about Joshua’s conquest of the promised land. Many Christians today may struggle to understand or explain how or why YHWH instructed Joshua to wipe out all the inhabitants. What about grace? What about forgiveness? Why would God do wipe out whole people groups? 

First, let us be sure our mind is set on the right perspective. If this is what God said to do, then it was right. If we don’t understand or agree, that means we are wrong… and not God. Perhaps there is specific context which helps explain it or perhaps our view of God is wrong.

We must always take care not to redefine God in our image or the image of our modern culture. Instead, we should always be seeking to redefine ourselves in his image. While there is surely a place for grace and mercy, let us be clear that the Bible speaks volumes about YHWH also providing righteous judgment.

So if he said to wipe everyone out, then he is right to do so. If we struggle with that, then we should pray to ask him to show us more understanding and we should study more the scripture. We should not simply disregard it because it is confusing. It still tells us about YHWH even today. YHWH does not change.

We should not assume that everyone who breathes is in a relationship with YHWH. Clearly we see Biblical examples where he wipes out whole groups. This is different than when he disciplines his own people. These people did not know him. They lived ungodly lives, offensive to him in his holiness.

Joshua 10:29-43

Joshua’s Conquest of Southern Palestine

     29Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. 30The LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho.

      31And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it. 32The LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah.

      33Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor.

      34And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it. 35They captured it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed that day every person who was in it, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

      36Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it. 37They captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who were in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it.

      38Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it. 39He captured it and its king and all its cities, and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king.

      40Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea even as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon. 42Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.

It is ok to question when we get to difficult scripture. But let us always start with the perspective that YHWH is right and it is our understanding that may need to change rather than starting with the assumption that YHWH was wrong and now he has changed somehow to fit our view of 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.

God 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 and lighting 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 (and imperfect) 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.

Click this link to study more scripture about the Holy Trinity.

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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.

Disobedience and Rebellion Have Consequences

Joshua 7 is a difficult passage for many today. It clearly illustrates that it is a serious mistake to disobey clear guidance from the Lord. It has implications for you and for others around you. In this case it had implications for all Israel to some degree, but dramatic consequences for the offender and his household.

Today we are taught much about forgiveness and grace and mercy. Forgiveness and grace and mercy are not new. The Father did not suddenly acquire them and now never gets angry at his people for disobedience. He has always had these characteristics. That is why he always planned to send Yeshua for our sins. Still, there are clearly things, such as rebellion and intentionally living against his clear instruction, that anger or disappoint him… and there may be consequences.  Think of our Father as just that… a father. He will discipline his children for their own benefit as a whole.

Hebrews 12:4-14

A Father’s Discipline

     4You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

5and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;

      6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”

7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Let us not fool ourselves that somehow now that Yeshua has come, the Lord is never angered or disappointed by the conscious choice of his people to disobey him and instead accept the standards of the world. We even have the example of Yeshua getting angry in the temple and turning over tables as written in Matthew 21.

Joshua 7

Israel Is Defeated at Ai

     1But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.

      2Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. 3They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” 4So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. 5The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

      6Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. 7Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord GOD, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan! 8“O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies? 9“For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?”

      10So the LORD said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11“Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 12“Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. 13“Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the LORD, the God of Israel, has said, “There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.” 14‘In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the LORD takes shall come near by households, and the household which the LORD takes shall come near man by man. 15‘It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”

The Sin of Achan

     16So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I implore you, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.” 20So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”

      22So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the LORD. 24Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. 25Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 26They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.

Prayerfully reflect on your life. Are there areas where you are not fully submitted to the Lord? Are there areas where you openly choose a different path than the instructions he has laid out for his people? Do not assume you are fully pleasing to him in that you say you accept Christ as savior. If you truly accept Christ as savior and lord, that means you submit to him and to his ways. You turn from your own ways and become more like him. Ask the Spirit to show you areas where you need to make a change and to help you with that change.

Repent, seek forgiveness, accept the consequences.

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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.

Yeshua Is The Vine And We Are The Branches

John 15 documents a great visual that Yeshua provided to help us as His followers. Read the scripture and then we can review some key points afterwards.

John 15:1-11

Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches

     1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Let’s review a few key points that jump out to me. You may find others as well.

  • Yeshua is the vine. He is essential to supply the branches.
  • The Father is the vinedresser. He is in control.
  • Disciples of Yeshua are the branches. Our purpose is to bear His fruit. We must stay connected to Him to remain healthy and effective. We can not “go it alone”.
  • The Father will remove branches that bear no fruit. They will be cast aside and burned. This should get our attention as a stern warning.  Arguably He is talking about those who claim to follow Him or did follow Him at one time follow Him. Those who never knew Him would not be branches connected on the vine to Yeshua. We must not grow complacent! Challenge ourselves to keep knowing, loving, and serving our Father… bearing His fruit rather than our own.
  • Even those branches that bear fruit, shall be pruned by the Father so that we will bear even more fruit. Pruning is sometimes a difficult process for the branch, but it helps!
  • Yeshua also, as is common in scripture, ties together our obedience to God’s commandments with our love for Him.
  • He wants us to be joyful! It is His joy in us, not joy we achieve on our own apart from Him.

Prayerfully reflect on this visualization for our relationship with our Father and ask Him to show you areas in your life where you may be able to apply the word. Reflect on whether or not you bear fruit, and if so, if it is the Father’s fruit. When you may be going through difficult situations, consider perhaps that He may be pruning you to bear even more fruit in the future. Seek to understand His commandments so that you may obey them to demonstrate your love for Him. Pray for Him to help you experience His joy in you!

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

The Father Has Sent Us A Helper, But How Does He Help?

As Yeshua was preparing to leave His disciples, He spoke to them about another Helper whom the Father would send. He says the world cannot receive this Helper because it does not see Him or know Him, but Yeshua’s disciples would receive Him.

He gives encouraging words to them about Him being one with the Father and the disciples will see Him again, even while the world can not. I am sure they may have struggled to understand exactly what this means, but how encouraging that though Yeshua would depart, they would not be alone. He encourages them to be peaceful and not fearful.

Read through the scripture and reflect on what the Helper is there to help them with as you read and we can meet again on the other side of the scripture.

John 14:16-31

Role of the Spirit

      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. 27“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28“You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30“I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

As I read this scripture, it seems to me the Helper is there to help them live according to the teaching and instruction of Yeshua, which is totally consistent with the law and the prophets provided by the Father previously. The Helper is to help them understand scripture so they can live it out according to YHWH’s commands. He does not, as some seem to believe, make us do everything right without the need to study scripture anymore. Nowhere will you find Yeshua say that the Helper has replaced the need for God’s law or our obedience to it. Rather He helps us understand it and helps us to live it more than we could do on our own.  He brings teaching back to our minds to help us.

      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.

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.”

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.

In fact, Yeshua sets the example and holds Himself to it. He shows His love for the Father through obedience as well.

31but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.

How we view the Holy Spirit is important. We can rejoice in this Helper, but let us take care not to fall into the trap of believing that we can go on auto pilot and no longer study or live according to the instructions of the Father. We must still study and seek the Lord and try to live for Him His way. The Spirit is a wonderful gift, but He is only a Helper. He will not prevent us from doing wrong if we are bound and determined to ignore God’s written instruction and do things our own way or the way of the world around us.

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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.

Who Has Seen Yeshua, Has Seen The Father

For any who continue to say that Yeshua was a good teacher or prophet, but not God (yes, people actually claim this, such as Muslims)… you have to really be creative to redefine this scripture (and many others). Yeshua claims to be one with the Father, that He is in the Father. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, Jesus is either a madman, a liar, or God as He said. I am convinced He is God. That is where the evidence leads.

John 14:7-15

Oneness with the Father

      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. 12“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. 13“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14“If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

      15“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Also, let us not lose verse 15 in this context. In the context of a discussion where Yeshua is making a point about being one with God, He then says that those who love Him will obey His commandments. This is not a new set of commandments. He is referring to the same commandments that so many Christians dismiss today… the law of God as taught by Moses.

For more information, read:

Understanding The Law – What Does It Mean Today? 

Is God’s Law A Burden?

Focused Ministries – Understanding Hebrew Roots

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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.