Category Archives: Holy Spirit

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.

—-

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.

Peter Denies Christ, But He Does Not Remain Defeated

Peter famously denies Christ three times after Christ is taken into custody by the Romans and chief priests. He was bold enough to follow as the led Christ away, and he then found himself in a situation where he felt they would perhaps capture him also. It appears he was bold enough to follow as the led Christ away, but still afraid of the consequences he might face as they recognized him there.

We also may face this  type of situation in our lives. Perhaps it will not literally be the same exact scenario, but we will have opportunities to be bold for Christ in our lives. When we take them, we will face more opposition and perhaps some tense situations.

Of course, YHWH wants us not to deny him at all. He wants us to live boldly for him. We can look at Yeshua’s example in this scenario and see someone who faced pain and death and did not compromise or deny. He is again the perfect standard. Peter fell short. We may do the same at times.

John 18:25-27

Peter’s Denial of Jesus

     25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.” 26One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Peter repented. He never again is recorded as denying Christ and even was executed for his faith without denying Christ to save himself. If we stumble in living out our faith, let us take Peter’s example to repent, seek forgiveness, and keep living for Christ. Do not give up because of our own weakness.

Another factor to consider is the Helper, the Holy Spirit. Peter failed before the Spirit was sent to help. One can contrast the boldness of the disciples before and after the Spirit and see a significant difference. When we are struggling, let us remember to ask the Lord to help us in our faith, to fill us with the Spirit.

—-

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 Does The Holy Spirit Do? And How?

Yeshua spoke to His disciples about His impending departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Clearly His disciples were going to miss Him, “sorrow has filled [their] heart”. Yeshua, however, encouraged them that He had to go for the Spirit to come and that would be an advantage to them as His disciples.

But what does the Holy Spirit do and how?

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.

The Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. He guides into truth. He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears from Yeshua, that He will speak.

Some take this to mean we don’t need to study or obey the Bible or the  instructions of the Father anymore because once we accept Yeshua as Messiah the Spirit will guide us in all things. It should be fairly obvious that this is not happening by simply looking around us at the division within the church that all claim to follow Christ. Even if you separate out the false teachers who deliberately teach false or incomplete doctrine… there is still much division and lack of unity on many things amongst genuine believers. This would not be so if the Spirit was fully guiding all those who genuinely follow Christ. There is still a role for us to play!

Keep in mind He is a helper. He does not force you to do everything right. There is still a battle with our flesh or sin nature. Further, Yeshua taught from scripture and referred to it often, as one pointing to the instructions of the Father. So, too, then the Spirit is not here to help us make up new instructions or stop studying the old ones, but to help us follow Yeshua, who followed the Father. There is not a change in the instructions, but rather the Spirit helps us better understand and live according to the instructions.

Nowhere do we find example that Yeshua or His disciples taught that the Spirit means we no longer need to study and understand the scriptures. In fact, the disciples continued going to temple and synagogue on sabbath (where Moses is taught) even after the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. They were still devout Jews after Yeshua’s death, perhaps most notably observed by their gathering together at Pentecost according to the Jewish custom based on God’s instruction.

There is even a specific example where Paul and James discussed the importance of the teachings of Moses to the gentiles that are coming to Yeshua and did so after the resurrection of Christ. In this example, they felt it was ok to begin the Gentiles with some simple starting points to help them begin to come to faith in Yeshua rather than drop on them all at once all of the instructions and the law of Moses. They did so observing that the teaching of Moses is available every week and thus the Gentiles will learn more over time. There was no assumption that the Spirit would come and they would never need to study and learn the ways of YHWH as revealed to Moses. There was no assumption that the teaching of Moses was no longer relevant.

Acts 15:19-21

19“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21“For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

The Spirit helps us to understand as we study scripture and He helps us to remember what we learned as we live our daily life. He does not replace prayer, worship, study of scripture, or any of the instructions of YHWH given to us.

John 14:26

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.

Pray the Lord send His Spirit to help you and other followers of Yeshua everywhere to see and understand His word and how it should guide our steps daily. Study the scriptures to better understand what they say. Seek the help of the Holy Spirit. Do not rely simply on the written accounts of men, but test everything (yes, my teaching also) against what scripture actually says.

—-

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.

How Should We Relate To One Another? To The World?

How should we expect to relate to one another as disciples of Christ? How should we expect to relate to the world? These remain important questions. When people mix up the two, they often end up compromising truth in search of approval by men. To often we try to be loved by the world and are willing to create division amongst followers of Christ to try to achieve this goal. We often get it backwards.

Yeshua answered these questions for us. As disciples, or “learners”, of Christ we should love one another as He has loved us. This is significant. He laid down His life for us.

How we expect to relate to the world is quite different. If we are with Christ, we should expect to be rejected and hated by the world, because we are not of the world. Too often today churches and Christians try to change their beliefs or doctrine to suit society and culture around them so they are more acceptable to others outside the church or so they can face less conflict. This is a trap. We are to be a light, that contrasts with darkness. Those who live in darkness hate the light (John 3:19-21). We are to testify about Him in the face of conflict with the world. Do not expect to follow Christ and be loved or accepted by the world.

John 15:12-17

Disciples’ Relation to Each Other

     12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14“You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17“This I command you, that you love one another.

Disciples’ Relation to the World

     18“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23“He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25“But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

      26“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

To summarize, we are to love one another as disciples of Christ and be prepared to face conflict with the world as we testify to Christ. Let us not lose track of that reality and try to please the world, for if we do, we will lose Christ in the process.

We should also be thoughtful about what “love one another” means. It is not to accept everyone in their sin. We don’t get to define what love means. The Father already has defined it. We need to understand His definition of love.

Matthew 22:36-40

36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ 40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Yeshua points out very directly that loving YHWH and loving one another is the basis of the whole Law and the Prophets. If we are to love one another (fellow disciples of Christ), then we must seek to understand the Law and the Prophets that are recorded in scripture in the Tanakh, or what we more commonly refer to as the Old Testament. This is not my opinion, but the direction of Christ Himself.

I believe that the New Testament is also helpful in studying what love is, but we must take care not to create new meaning that is inconsistent with the Old Testament, lest we untether ourselves from truth and begin to drift. I do find 1 Corinthians 13 helpful.

1 Corinthians 13

The Excellence of Love

      1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

      4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

      8Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

—-

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.

—-

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 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.

—-

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 Spirit, Not Our Persuasion, Will Draw His Chosen To Him

Yeshua was not afraid to teach boldly. He did not hesitate to confront people with the truth in uncomfortable ways. He spoke with power and authority and let those who refused to accept make their choice. Too often today we think in church or personal outreach we must be incredibly sensitive in how we teach and share the message of Christ. We fear we may offend someone and then they will not receive the message. Up to a certain point, this is true and we can be thoughtful about how we share the message. However, there are many occasions today where churches have so watered down the gospel to avoid offending people, that they must surely be offending God instead.

John 6:41-58

Words to the Jews

      41Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” 42They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” 43Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45“It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. 46“Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48“I am the bread of life. 49“Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50“This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

      52Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55“For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58“This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

Many churches are actively redefining or rejecting Biblical truths that make people uncomfortable. Many individuals do the same. They avoid confrontational passages of scripture, such as sharing scripture about homosexuality being an abomination to God, because they fear offending someone. If we as believers will not boldly stand for the word of God, than how shall the lost find their way?

Let us not be afraid to share God’s word directly and without watering it down to make people feel better.  We can do so with gentleness and respect, but also boldness. The Father is the one who woos and draws people to Himself through the Holy Spirit. When He is at work, we need to be sharing the full truth with these people. When He is not at work, providing a watered down, feel good, version of scripture will not help anyone anyway. It is not our job to rationally convince someone based on logic that the gospel is true. We are to pray for people, release the gospel message in its power, and let the Spirit work.

44“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

—-

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.

Lawlessness Is Bad

Many Christians mistakenly believe that the law of YHWH is not meaningful today, that it is obsolete. Christ said He did not come to abolish it. The scriptures say repeatedly the law is good and perfect. It leads us to YHWH.

We should pay attention as Paul speaks about the “man of lawlessness”. Listen to how evil is compared to lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2, below.  Lest you think this limited to one scripture, consider also Matthew 7.21-23.

  21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM MEYOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

YHWH is not pleased with those who practice and teach lawlessness.

2 Thessalonians 2

Man of Lawlessness

      1Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.3Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

I can hardly begin to cover this broad topic in a single post, but I hope it can at least catch enough of your attention and curiosity that you will take time to pray and study more on the topic. Test everything against the scripture. Do not accept something simply because it is taught in churches. Much false and conflicting doctrine is taught. Some things which were taught a generation of two ago are not taught differently in many churches. One by one the ten commandments are lost or left behind. Honoring Sabbath has all but disappeared in my lifetime in our culture. Abortion is accepted broadly and even people professing to follow Christ vote for those who openly support the murder of the unborn. Test everything against scripture.

Lawlessness is bad. If all Christians today were truly and fully Spirit led then they would not be so divergent in their views and teaching and behaviors. The Law leads us to the Lord. It does not save us. Only our faith in Christ saves us if we accept Him as Lord. Our obedience is the fruit of our salvation, not the root of our salvation. If we are truly Spirit led, should we not look like the disciples, the prophets, like Yeshua? All of them followed the Law.

Pray for the Lord to give you a love of the truth so you will seek it diligently. Take no pleasure in wickedness. Study the Lord to know the difference.

For more about the law, review the following to get started:

Understanding the Law – What Does It Mean Today?

Focused Ministries – Understanding Hebrew Roots

—-

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 Does YHWH Say About Homosexual Behavior?

Since the United States supreme court ruling that same sex marriage is now legal, many seem in an uproar on one side or the other. Many act as if those people in black robes have some godly power to define what is morally right and wrong in the eyes of the Lord. They do not. They simply have power over the laws of one increasingly pagan nation that is far from God. For those of us who follow Jesus, the answer is not dictated by one or more governments but rather by the very words of God Himself. We can point to countless examples of governments throughout history that reject God’s instruction and choose to endorse immoral behavior as legal. What’s more, just like with the Supreme Court decision, the decisions and opinions of man shift and change over time. However, there is an absolute standard of what is right and wrong and it is defined by the Lord. It does not change.

[Matthew 9:4-6 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’[a] And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’[b] Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

[1 Corinthians 6:9-119Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

[Romans 1:25-2825 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. 28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

[Leviticus 18:2222 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.

Genesis 19:1-13 tells of the wickedness of sexual sin that led to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Despite many governments or cultures throughout human history that try to re-define what is moral… God is very clear and consistent on the issue of homosexual behavior.  Throughout Old and New Testament He confirms the same message, that it is a sin… an act of rebellion and rejection of God. He does not establish rules arbitrarily or to punish us. He establishes and provides His guidance knowing what is best for us, as He is the one who designed and sustains us. He wants His children to flourish.

To highlight a rather silly example… my DVD player does not work well if I stick pizza in it. It was not designed that way. It is intended for a specific purpose… a DVD. It would be silly to knowingly put something in that is not according to its design and then expect it to work as designed. This is true as well with the design of the human body, both physical, emotional, and spiritual. We flourish best when in proper relationship with the Lord and when we act in accordance with our design.

The story does not have to end with condemnation for any sinner. Yeshua came and died to make a way for us to be forgiven for our sins and come back to right relationship with Him. We can pray for those who suffer in this sin as we would pray for those who are prone to other sins. We can pray for those who are lost to repent from their sin, turn to God and seek Him wholeheartedly, and ask forgiveness. Pray the Spirit would move amongst those who are deceived and living sinfully with homosexual behaviors to guide them to turn from sin toward God.  Pray he would lead them to separate themselves from those influences which would pull them back to their old ways and make new connections with followers of Christ who can help encourage you to grow closer to Him.  Yeshua can set us all free from our sin, but we must surrender our lives to Him completely and not hold back any area of our lives to remain in sin.

—-

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.

Ask That The Gospel Would Come In Power And In The Holy Spirit

It is truly a beautiful thing to behold, to see people not only acknowledging Christ as Lord with words, but to see their lives transformed by the Holy Spirit. Do not be content simply to know His word, though that is good. Instead pray for and welcome the Holy Spirit. Let Him transform your life as a witness to others.

1 Thessalonians

      1Paul and Silvanus and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

      2We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, 4knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; 5for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 9For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.

Pray with me that believers everywhere would invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in them not not be satisfied only to know the word… that we would be transformed so that our lives would serve as a light and beacon to others.

—-

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.