Category Archives: Holy Spirit

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

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

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

Luke 15:11-32

The Prodigal Son

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

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

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

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

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

John 16:5-15

The Holy Spirit Promised

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

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

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

Isaiah 1:18-20

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

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

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

Daniel 9:7-14

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

Acts 3:19-21

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

Ephesians 1:3-14

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

Colossians 1:13-14

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

1 John 1:9-10

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

Psalm 103:1-13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

The 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.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

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

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

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.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

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.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

YHWH Reveals Himself Through The Holy Trinity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God the Father

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

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

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

God the Son, Jesus Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

God The Holy Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

The Gospel Is Preached

Ask the Spirit to help you share with boldness the truth of Christ. Give thanks for those who bring the truth of God’s word to people. Recognize, however, that there are many who teach it from false motives and sadly, many of them do not preach it in truth, but rather tell people what they want to hear.  Test everything you hear against the truth of scripture and keep that which is good and true.

Philippians 1:12-20

The Gospel Is Preached

     12Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

Rejoice that the gospel is preached. Pray for discernment in understanding the truth of the gospel. Do not just accept whatever is said about Christ, but test everything against the Bible. False teaching tickles the ears but leads people away from Christ, all the while they believe they are following Him.  Pray for the Spirit to be with those who share the gospel and give them wisdom and discernment and boldness and courage. Pray for Yeshua to be shared with the world boldly and truthfully, without filtering the message for fear of offending people with truth. Pray that the Lord would use even our personal suffering to His glory and the glory of the gospel of Christ.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Yeshua Sets The Example In Submitting Fully To God’s Will

Reading in Luke 22 about Yeshua’s arrest in the garden, we see that He went voluntarily, without fighting or resisting. Yeshua was committed to obeying the will of the Father. He was to fulfill the plan YHWH had for our salvation by suffering for our sins and dying on the cross. Once again in Luke 23 we see this attitude reinforced.

Luke 23:1-7

Jesus before Pilate

     1Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate. 2And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” 3So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.” 4Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” 5But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”

      6When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.

Yeshua had been explicitly asked about paying taxes to Caesar and His answer was to pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. He did not tell people to avoid paying taxes. Those who wanted to destroy Yeshua lied. This should not surprise us.

Mark 12:13-17

 13Then they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement. 14They came and said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15“Shall we pay or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at.” 16They brought one. And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.

Yeshua ignores the lies and responds only to the question from Pilate, and not in a way that appears to be trying to defend Himself or get released from punishment. Even still, Pilot found no guilt. None the less, YHWH used Pilate and others to facilitate His plan. Rather than releasing the man in whom he found no guilt, Pilate sent Yeshua to Herod.

Yeshua sets the example for us to follow in submitting to the will of the Father, even when it seems not in our own perception of our best interest. YHWH’s plans are bigger than any one of us. His vision and wisdom far exceed anything we could hope to achieve. He is infinite…without limits and boundaries. We are certainly not.

Let us submit to YHWH and seek His will. Pray for the Spirit to guide us and work to develop a relationship with YHWH through time together in prayer, worship, and study of the scriptures. Ask also for the courage and conviction to submit and obey even when it is hard. In this way we become holy, which is to say set apart for YHWH’s use.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Shall We Strike With The Sword?

Even as Yeshua was betrayed, He had compassion on those coming against Him. He takes time to heal one who is cut. It is an incredible example for us to consider!

Luke 22:47-53

Jesus Betrayed by Judas

     47While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. 52Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? 53“While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

The fact that His followers carried swords for defending themselves certainly implies that Yeshua approved of it and their use for self defense at times. We need only look further up in Luke 22 to see preceding dialog about swords to defend themselves.

36And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. 37“For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘AND HE WAS NUMBERED WITH TRANSGRESSORS’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” 38They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”)

So Yeshua was not generally directing His disciples not to defend themselves, but specifically for this engagement. He knew the Father wanted Him to be taken into custody to carry the penalty for our sins. He submitted to the will of the Father and showed compassion on even those we would consider enemies as they came for Him.

Let us pray the Spirit would guide and strengthen us to be obedient to the Father even as we face difficult trials. Sometimes we may be called to defend ourselves and sometimes we will be called to lay down arms and submit to difficult situations. We need to remain close to the Father to know which situations call for which approach. Yeshua set an incredible example in His prayer relationship with the Father for us to follow.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Focus Your Efforts Where The Spirit Is Already At Work

Yeshua was never one to be intimidated or pushed around. He was always keenly aware whether the questions He received were a trap or genuine. He answered accordingly and with great cleverness. Yeshua was indeed wise and practical. He was definitely “in touch” with the people around Him and well aware that many would reject Him. He focused on those who were genuinely seeking to know the Father and did not waste time on those who were not. He looked for those in whom the Spirit was already working and then joined the work of the Father already in motion.

Luke 20:1-8

Jesus’ Authority Questioned

     1On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, 2and they spoke, saying to Him, “Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority?” 3Jesus answered and said to them, “I will also ask you a question, and you tell Me: 4“Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?” 5They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6“But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7So they answered that they did not know where it came from. 8And Jesus said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Pray the Lord would help you see those around you in whom He already has the Spirit at work. Then focus your time and effort where the Spirit is already at work rather than trying to do it on your own.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.