Category Archives: Jesus

Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 4 of 4)

This post is the last in a series about Psalm 119. To view part one, select Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 1 of 4).

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It was written originally in Hebrew in a literary style that begins one section after another, each with the next letter of the aleph bet (Hebrew alphabet). It is beautiful and passionate. It focuses on the law of God. Read and digest all that it claims about the Law of God and then ask yourself, does it describe the law as burdensome? difficult? harsh? or does it describe it as quite different than that? Put aside what you think you know about the law from those who do not understand it and listen to how it is described by one who understood it well and loved our heavenly Father very deeply.

Psalm 119:137-176

Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God.

Tsadhe.

     137Righteous are You, O LORD,
And upright are Your judgments.

      138You have commanded Your testimonies in righteousness
And exceeding faithfulness.

      139My zeal has consumed me,
Because my adversaries have forgotten Your words.

      140Your word is very pure,
Therefore Your servant loves it.

      141I am small and despised,
Yet I do not forget Your precepts.

      142Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
And Your law is truth.

      143Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
Yet Your commandments are my delight.

      144Your testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live.

Qoph.

     145I cried with all my heart; answer me, O LORD!
I will observe Your statutes.

      146I cried to You; save me
And I shall keep Your testimonies.

      147I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I wait for Your words.

      148My eyes anticipate the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.

      149Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your ordinances.

      150Those who follow after wickedness draw near;
They are far from Your law.

      151You are near, O LORD,
And all Your commandments are truth.

      152Of old I have known from Your testimonies
That You have founded them forever.

Resh.

     153Look upon my affliction and rescue me,
For I do not forget Your law.

      154Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word.

      155Salvation is far from the wicked,
For they do not seek Your statutes.

      156Great are Your mercies, O LORD;
Revive me according to Your ordinances.

      157Many are my persecutors and my adversaries,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies.

      158I behold the treacherous and loathe them,
Because they do not keep Your word.

      159Consider how I love Your precepts;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.

      160The sum of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.

Shin.

     161Princes persecute me without cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your words.

      162I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.

      163I hate and despise falsehood,
But I love Your law.

      164Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances.

      165Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

      166I hope for Your salvation, O LORD,
And do Your commandments.

      167My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.

      168I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You.

Tav.

     169Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding according to Your word.

      170Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.

      171Let my lips utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.

      172Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.

      173Let Your hand be ready to help me,
For I have chosen Your precepts.

      174I long for Your salvation, O LORD,
And Your law is my delight.

      175Let my soul live that it may praise You,
And let Your ordinances help me.

      176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.

Just to reflect on a few of the things God’s word says about the law in today’s scripture: Your word is very pure and therefore your servant loves it, Your law is truth, Your commandments are my delight, I will observe Your statutes, I meditate on Your precepts, the wicked are far from Your law, revive me according to Your ordinances,  every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting, I love Your law, I praise You because of Your ordinances, those who love Your law have great peace and do not stumble, all Your commandments are righteousness, Your law is my delight, Your ordinances help me

None of this sounds like the description of a burden, or something I can’t wait to get rid of, which is how many Christians describe or talk about following the law. It sounds like a beautiful set of instructions from the Lord, which I want to understand more… both in their original context and with regards to how they still apply to my life today. Psalm 119, if we let it, can really be a testimony for the law of God as a wonderful gift and guide that helps us to know how God thinks we should live and what He values. Obviously to fully understand the depths of what is in the law and how it may still apply, we need to study the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible).  Some of the elements of the law (e.g. ceremonial law) can no longer be carried out as God specified while there is no temple and no Levitical priesthood, but that should not discourage us from understanding and following God’s law as much as we can. Should we walk away from doing as Christ taught just because we can’t do it perfectly? If we do, what then will be our standard?

The Torah is a great place to start for any Christian, many of whom have been taught to really focus only on the New Testament. Spoiler alert… if the New Testament is the building, the Old Testament is the foundation that holds it up. They are not contradictory, but rather complementary.

Pray with me that our Creator and Father would open our eyes, and the eyes of His followers around the world, that we may behold wonderful things from His law. Give us understanding, that we may observe His law and keep it with all our heart.

To learn more:

—-

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.

Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 3 of 4)

This post is the third in a series about Psalm 119. To start with part one, select Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 1 of 4).

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It was written originally in Hebrew in a literary style that begins one section after another, each with the next letter of the aleph bet (Hebrew alphabet). It is beautiful and passionate. It focuses on the law of God. Read and digest all that it claims about the Law of God and then ask yourself, does it describe the law as burdensome? difficult? harsh? or does it describe it as quite different than that? Put aside what you think you know about the law from those who do not understand it and listen to how it is described by one who understood it well and loved our heavenly Father very deeply.

Psalm 119:89-136

Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God.

Lamedh.

89Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven.

      90Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations;
You established the earth, and it stands.

      91They stand this day according to Your ordinances,
For all things are Your servants.

      92If Your law had not been my delight,
Then I would have perished in my affliction.

      93I will never forget Your precepts,
For by them You have revived me.

      94I am Yours, save me;
For I have sought Your precepts.

      95The wicked wait for me to destroy me;
I shall diligently consider Your testimonies.

      96I have seen a limit to all perfection;
Your commandment is exceedingly broad.

Mem.

      97O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

      98Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
For they are ever mine.

      99I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.

      100I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.

      101I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.

      102I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.

      103How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

      104From Your precepts I get understanding;
Therefore I hate every false way.

Nun.

     105Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.

      106I have sworn and I will confirm it,
That I will keep Your righteous ordinances.

      107I am exceedingly afflicted;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word.

      108O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD,
And teach me Your ordinances.

      109My life is continually in my hand,
Yet I do not forget Your law.

      110The wicked have laid a snare for me,
Yet I have not gone astray from Your precepts.

      111I have inherited Your testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.

      112I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, even to the end.

Samekh.

     113I hate those who are double-minded,
But I love Your law.

      114You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.

      115Depart from me, evildoers,
That I may observe the commandments of my God.

      116Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live;
And do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

      117Uphold me that I may be safe,
That I may have regard for Your statutes continually.

      118You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes,
For their deceitfulness is useless.

      119You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.

      120My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Ayin.

     121I have done justice and righteousness;
Do not leave me to my oppressors.

      122Be surety for Your servant for good;
Do not let the arrogant oppress me.

      123My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation
And for Your righteous word.

      124Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness
And teach me Your statutes.

      125I am Your servant; give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.

      126It is time for the LORD to act,
For they have broken Your law.

      127Therefore I love Your commandments
Above gold, yes, above fine gold.

      128Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything,
I hate every false way.

Pe.

     129Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul observes them.

      130The unfolding of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.

      131I opened my mouth wide and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.

      132Turn to me and be gracious to me,
After Your manner with those who love Your name.

      133Establish my footsteps in Your word,
And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.

      134Redeem me from the oppression of man,
That I may keep Your precepts.

      135Make Your face shine upon Your servant,
And teach me Your statutes.

      136My eyes shed streams of water,
Because they do not keep Your law.

Just to reflect on a few of the things God’s word says about the law in today’s scripture: forever you word is settled in heaven, I would have perished if Your law had not been my delight, You have revived me by Your precepts, oh how I love Your law!, Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, Your words are sweeter than honey, Your word is a lamp unto my feet, teach me Your statutes, give me understanding, I love Your commandments above gold, I esteem all Your precepts, the unfolding of Your word brings light and gives understanding to the simple, I longed for Your commandments

None of this sounds like the description of a burden, or something I can’t wait to get rid of, which is how many Christians describe or talk about following the law. It sounds like a beautiful set of instructions from the Lord, which I want to understand more… both in their original context and with regards to how they still apply to my life today. Psalm 119, if we let it, can really be a testimony for the law of God as a wonderful gift and guide that helps us to know how God thinks we should live and what He values. Obviously to fully understand the depths of what is in the law and how it may still apply, we need to study the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible).  Some of the elements of the law (e.g. ceremonial law) can no longer be carried out as God specified while there is no temple and no Levitical priesthood, but that should not discourage us from understanding and following God’s law as much as we can. Should we walk away from doing as Christ taught just because we can’t do it perfectly?

The Torah is a great place to start for any Christian, many of whom have been taught to really focus only on the New Testament. Spoiler alert… if the New Testament is the building, the Old Testament is the foundation that holds it up. They are not contradictory, but rather complementary.

Pray with me that our Creator and Father would open our eyes, and the eyes of His followers around the world, that we may behold wonderful things from His law. Give us understanding, that we may observe His law and keep it with all our heart.

To continue the series: Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 4 of 4)

To learn more:

—-

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.

Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 2 of 4)

This post is the second in a series about Psalm 119. To start with part one, select: Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 1 of 4).

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It was written originally in Hebrew in a literary style that begins one section after another, each with the next letter of the aleph bet (Hebrew alphabet). It is beautiful and passionate. It focuses on the law of God. Read and digest all that it claims about the Law of God and then ask yourself, does it describe the law as burdensome? difficult? harsh? or does it describe it as quite different than that? Put aside what you think you know about the law from those who do not understand it and listen to how it is described by one who understood it well and loved our heavenly Father very deeply.

Psalm 119:41-88

Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God.

Vav.

     41May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LORD,
Your salvation according to Your word;

      42So I will have an answer for him who reproaches me,
For I trust in Your word.

      43And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
For I wait for Your ordinances.

      44So I will keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.

      45And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.

      46I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings
And shall not be ashamed.

      47I shall delight in Your commandments,
Which I love.

      48And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes.

Zayin.

49Remember the word to Your servant,
In which You have made me hope.

      50This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me.

      51The arrogant utterly deride me,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law.

      52I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O LORD,
And comfort myself.

      53Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked,
Who forsake Your law.

      54Your statutes are my songs
In the house of my pilgrimage.

      55O LORD, I remember Your name in the night,
And keep Your law.

      56This has become mine,
That I observe Your precepts.

Heth.

57The LORD is my portion;
I have promised to keep Your words.

      58I sought Your favor with all my heart;
Be gracious to me according to Your word.

      59I considered my ways
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.

      60I hastened and did not delay
To keep Your commandments.

      61The cords of the wicked have encircled me,
But I have not forgotten Your law.

      62At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You
Because of Your righteous ordinances.

      63I am a companion of all those who fear You,
And of those who keep Your precepts.

      64The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O LORD;
Teach me Your statutes.

Teth.

65You have dealt well with Your servant,
O LORD, according to Your word.

      66Teach me good discernment and knowledge,
For I believe in Your commandments.

      67Before I was afflicted I went astray,
But now I keep Your word.

      68You are good and do good;
Teach me Your statutes.

      69The arrogant have forged a lie against me;
With all my heart I will observe Your precepts.

      70Their heart is covered with fat,
But I delight in Your law.

      71It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.

      72The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

Yodh.

     73Your hands made me and fashioned me;
Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.

      74May those who fear You see me and be glad,
Because I wait for Your word.

      75I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous,
And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.

      76O may Your lovingkindness comfort me,
According to Your word to Your servant.

      77May Your compassion come to me that I may live,
For Your law is my delight.

      78May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie;
But I shall meditate on Your precepts.

      79May those who fear You turn to me,
Even those who know Your testimonies.

      80May my heart be blameless in Your statutes,
So that I will not be ashamed.

Kaph.

     81My soul languishes for Your salvation;
I wait for Your word.

      82My eyes fail with longing for Your word,
While I say, “When will You comfort me?”

      83Though I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
I do not forget Your statutes.

      84How many are the days of Your servant?
When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?

      85The arrogant have dug pits for me,
Men who are not in accord with Your law.

      86All Your commandments are faithful;
They have persecuted me with a lie; help me!

      87They almost destroyed me on earth,
But as for me, I did not forsake Your precepts.

      88Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth.

Just to reflect on a few of the things God’s word says about the law: I trust in Your word, I will keep Your law continually forever and ever, I will walk at liberty because I seek Your precepts, I shall delight in Your commandments which I love, I will lift up my hands to Your commandments which I love, I have remembered Your ordinances and comfort myself, Your statutes are my songs, I shall give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances,  the earth if full of Your lovingkindness teach me Your statutes, I delight in Your law, and better than gold and silver.

None of this sounds like the description of a burden, or something I can’t wait to get rid of, which is how many Christians describe or talk about following the law. It sounds like a beautiful set of instructions from the Lord, which I want to understand more… both in their original context and with regards to how they still apply to my life today. Psalm 119, if we let it, can really be a testimony for the law of God as a wonderful gift and guide that helps us to know how God thinks we should live and what He values. Obviously to fully understand the depths of what is in the law and how it may still apply, we need to study the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible).  Some of the elements of the law (e.g. ceremonial law) can no longer be carried out as God specified while there is no temple and no Levitical priesthood, but that should not discourage us from understanding and following God’s law as much as we can. Should we walk away from doing as Christ taught just because we can’t do it perfectly?

The Torah is a great place to start for any Christian, many of whom have been taught to really focus only on the New Testament. Spoiler alert… if the New Testament is the building, the Old Testament is the foundation that holds it up. They are not contradictory, but rather complementary.

Pray with me that our Creator and Father would open our eyes, and the eyes of His followers around the world, that we may behold wonderful things from His law. Give us understanding, that we may observe His law and keep it with all our heart.

To continue the series: Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 3 of 4)

To learn more:

—-

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.

Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 1 of 4)

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is written originally in Hebrew in a literary style that begins one section after another, each with the next letter of the aleph bet (Hebrew alphabet). It is beautiful and passionate. It focuses on the law of God. Read and digest all that it claims about the law of God and then ask yourself, does describe the law as burdensome? difficult? harsh? or does it describe it as quite different than that?

Does it makes sense that the Christian church has completely turned its back on the law of God? Even today, the church continues to turn its back further and further on even the last remaining of the 10 commandments. Some pastors now even want to simply define God’s instruction to “love each other”. Let us explore what scripture says rather than what others may teach that it says. Put aside what you think you know about the law from those who do not understand it and listen to how it is described by one who understood it well and loved our heavenly Father very deeply. Don’t worry for now about what is the full content of “the law”, but instead let us just try to better understand if scripture reveals it to be burdensome or something else.

Perhaps we start with what Yeshua said about the law and then proceed to the first part of Psalm 119. All of the law is based loving God and loving others. The law shall not pass away before heaven and earth pass away.

Matthew 22:34-40

  34But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 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 also clearly stated that He did not come to abolish the law and that heaven and earth shall pass away before the law. He emphasized that we are to not annul even the least of these commandments.

Matthew 5:17-19

  17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

With this in mind, that Yeshua said the law is not abolished nor does any of it pass away until heaven and earth pass away, and that the law is based on loving God and loving one another, let us read through and try to fully digest what else His word says about the law in Psalm 119. Due to the length of this Psalm, and the fact that I want you to be able to reflect meaningfully on the content, I will break it up into a series of posts. Obviously you can read the whole thing by clicking the embedded link to Psalm 119 below.

Psalm 119:1-40

Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God.

Aleph.

     1How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the LORD.

      2How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.

      3They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.

      4You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.

      5Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!

      6Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Your commandments.

      7I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.

      8I shall keep Your statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!

Beth.

     9How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.

      10With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.

      11Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.

      12Blessed are You, O LORD;
Teach me Your statutes.

      13With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.

      14I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.

      15I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.

      16I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.

Gimel.

     17Deal bountifully with Your servant,
That I may live and keep Your word.

      18Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.

      19I am a stranger in the earth;
Do not hide Your commandments from me.

      20My soul is crushed with longing
After Your ordinances at all times.

      21You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed,
Who wander from Your commandments.

      22Take away reproach and contempt from me,
For I observe Your testimonies.

      23Even though princes sit and talk against me,
Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

      24Your testimonies also are my delight;
They are my counselors.

Daleth.

    25My soul cleaves to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.

      26I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.

      27Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
So I will meditate on Your wonders.

      28My soul weeps because of grief;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

      29Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law.

      30I have chosen the faithful way;
I have placed Your ordinances before me.

      31I cling to Your testimonies;
O LORD, do not put me to shame!

      32I shall run the way of Your commandments,
For You will enlarge my heart.

He.

     33Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall observe it to the end.

      34Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.

      35Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.

      36Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.

      37Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.

      38Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.

      39Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.

      40Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.

Just to reflect on a few of the things God’s word says about the law… you could add quite a few more even from this first section of Psalm 119: righteous, blessed, do not be ashamed, teaches me, meditate on it, do not forget it, do not go astray from it, keep statutes, pure, treasured, rejoice, delight…

The law sounds wonderful as described here. It is not a burden that we need to be free of it, as so many teach today. If it were, would not Yeshua have said so? Would not Yeshua have told us the law was abolished? obsolete? The law described here is something which helps us, something in which we can rejoice and delight, something we can treasure. It is not followed out of obligation or for salvation anymore than obeying any other instructions of Yeshua.

It sounds like a beautiful set of instructions from the Lord, which I want to understand more… both in their original context and with regards to how they still apply to my life today. Psalm 119, if we let it, can really be a testimony for the law of God as a wonderful gift and guide that helps us to know how God thinks we should live and what He values. Obviously to fully understand the depths of what is in the law and how it may still apply, we need to study the Torah (1st 5 books of the Bible).  Some of the elements of the law (e.g. ceremonial law) can no longer be carried out as God specified while there is no temple and no Levitical priesthood, but that should not discourage us from understanding and following God’s law as much as we can. Should we walk away from doing as Christ taught just because we can’t do it perfectly?

It is hard to consider this for many as it contradicts so much of what is taught in churches today. However, we must decide what is the unchanging record of God’s instruction… the Bible or the word of man?  We can be sure that Yeshua referred to the scriptures as the source of truth for the law of God, not the laws of the Pharisees.

The Torah is a great place to start for any Christian, many of whom have been taught to really focus only on the New Testament. Spoiler alert… if the New Testament is the building, the Old Testament is the foundation that holds it up. They are not contradictory, but rather complementary.

Pray with me that our Creator and Father would open our eyes, and the eyes of His followers around the world, that we may behold wonderful things from His law. Give us understanding, that we may observe His law and keep it with all our heart.

To continue the series: Is God’s Law A Burden? (Part 2 of 4)

To learn more:


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 Covenant Requires Both Sides To Abide To Remain Valid

Joshua 2 documents how Rahab, a harlot, rescues the Israelite spies from capture by the forces of Jericho. As they part, they strike an agreement to save her family. It is not surprising to most of us, but there are conditions for both sides to obey in order for the agreement to be valid. If either side breaks the agreement, then the whole agreement is null and void. This is very common in our culture and has been common throughout human history. Very seldom is there a one-sided promise. There are almost always conditions on both sides.

Joshua 2:15-24

The Promise to Rahab

     15Then she let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall. 16She said to them, “Go to the hill country, so that the pursuers will not happen upon you, and hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you may go on your way.” 17The men said to her, “We shall be free from this oath to you which you have made us swear, 18unless, when we come into the land, you tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window through which you let us down, and gather to yourself into the house your father and your mother and your brothers and all your father’s household. 19“It shall come about that anyone who goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be free; but anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20“But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be free from the oath which you have made us swear.” 21She said, “According to your words, so be it.” So she sent them away, and they departed; and she tied the scarlet cord in the window.

      22They departed and came to the hill country, and remained there for three days until the pursuers returned. Now the pursuers had sought them all along the road, but had not found them. 23Then the two men returned and came down from the hill country and crossed over and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and they related to him all that had happened to them. 24They said to Joshua, “Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us.”

The agreement of Rahab and the spies is not surprising to most readers. The fact that both parties had responsibilities is normal. Why, then, do people who claim to follow Yeshua seem to assume so plainly that His offer of forgiveness is unconditional? It is not. It is a covenant whereby both sides agree to terms. If one side breaks the terms, than the whole covenant is broken.

Let’s look at one of the most quoted scriptures by Christians.

John 3:16-21

     16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

There is a clear distinction between those that believe and those that do not believe in Christ as Messiah. Not all are saved. But let us take care, that “believe” is not taken out of context. If I believe in Christ as an historical figure, sort of like believing in Greenland as a land mass, but it has no effect on my life, then we have missed the point. Rather, we see reference to those that do not believe doing evil deeds and loving darkness to remain hidden in their sin. Thus we can clearly see the reverse is implied. Those that believe in Him seek the Light. Their love is reflected in their actions and deeds. This is believe more along the lines of “I believe in gravity”. It affects how I go about my daily life. I know that if I step off a building, I will fall. I hold handrails going up and down stairs so as not to fall. I watch my steps so as not to trip, believing that if I do I will fall rather than fly.

We are called to believe in Christ in more than an historical context, but in a very personal way that influences our daily lives. We are to believe in Him as Messiah. If we do, then our whole lives change. We should desperately seek out what He taught and how He lived. We should not just limit ourselves to church once a week or prayer 5 minutes a day at a meal. We should be in awe of the opportunity to walk through this life (and beyond) with our Messiah…our God.

Let us not fail to embrace Christ fully in our belief, lest we miss out on the offer He graciously has extended.

It is not enough to acknowledge Him in name only, or even do miracles in His name. Let that sink in. Let’s make sure we are truly walking with Him fully in our belief in Him as Messiah. There are consequences if we do not.

Matthew 7: 13-23

The Narrow and Wide Gates

     13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

A Tree and Its Fruit

     15“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20“So then, you will know them by their fruits.

      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 ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Let us consider carefully the words of Christ as He turns many away… “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ If we claim Him in name, but do not live according to His ways and in relationship with Him, than we have not truly believed and He will not receive us.

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

Yeshua Sets A Powerful Example For Servant Leadership

Leaders in this world most often want to be treated well by those they lead. Yeshua turns this upside down. He is the servant and the leader. He sets a powerful example to show us how we should serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

John 13:5-20

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

     5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

      12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Are there areas in your life where you should make changes to lead more like Yeshua did? As you reflect on leaders around you, even in the church, are there some who do not follow the example of Christ? Take care to vet those whom you follow and test them against God’s word and His example. You do not seek perfection in leadership, but you should seek to discern the wolves from the shepherds.

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

Yeshua, Hailed As King, Rides A Donkey’s Colt In Fulfillment Of Prophecy

Our Lord, Yeshua, came in fulfillment of multiple prophecies provided by the Lord through prophets hundreds of years in advance of His coming. One such prophecy is referenced in John 12.  This should comfort us and remind us that our Father is in control, He knows what will happen and when and how, He is not surprised but rather always has a plan for His people. Yeshua was always intended to come and live among us and die for our sins so we could be made right with the Father by grace, through faith.

John 12:12-19

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

     12On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” 14Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15“FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEYS COLT.” 16These things His disciples did not understand at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him. 17So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. 18For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”

He not only came with signs and wonders, but He came consistent with prophecy and fully aligned living out the Law provided by the Father as the standard for us all to follow. We can know that His word and His example are true. However we must remember that He spoke to a culture very far away from our own, to the Jewish culture. We must seek to understand the Jewish culture of that day to fully understand His teaching and how it applies to us today.

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

How Will You React To Yeshua’s Miracles?

Face with the miracles that Yeshua has done, we each must decide how we will react. Will we accept the evidence… accept the miraculous? or will we just be disturbed by it and become afraid that it will be disruptive to our lives if we believe. It is not only individuals, but also churches and organizations and people groups as a whole which must ultimately grapple with this decision. In many cases, people refuse to see or cannot see the evidence right before their eyes. We see one such example in John 11 as the Pharisees hear about Yeshua raising Lazarus from the dead.

John 11:38-53

      38So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42“I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

      45Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.

Conspiracy to Kill Jesus

     47Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48“If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.

Are you ready to accept the evidence of Yeshua in scripture? Evidence around you still today? Or are you going to resist and dismiss or ignore the evidence such as miracles that still happen around us?

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

Yeshua And The Father Are One

I have heard some say that Yeshua never claimed to be God, that somehow He is just a “good teacher”. There are many places in scripture where He clearly identifies Himself as Messiah, as God. John 10 has one obvious example. If we understand Him to be one with the Father, then we should surely obey His teaching and His example.

The fact is, once we understand that He claimed to be God, we can no longer accept the potential idea that He is a good teacher. Rather we must consider that He is either a madman, a liar, or God… as He claimed.

John 10:22-42

Jesus Asserts His Deity

     22At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30“I and the Father are one.”

      31The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” 34Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? 35“If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 39Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.

      40And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there. 41Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” 42Many believed in Him there.

Some just refuse to believe. They are not His sheep. Some claim to believe, but do not change their lives and do not seek to truly understand what He calls us to do. They are not His sheep either. Others believe and follow Him according to His word. They seek Him out in prayer and study. They change their lives based on what they learn of Yeshua. These are His sheep. Sadly, many can be led astray by poor or incomplete teaching. We should each seek Him by reading the Bible and testing everything against the scriptures ourselves. When we disagree, let us seek answers in prayer and verify in scripture.  This is how we find true joy dwelling with our Creator according to His ways.

*Feast of Dedication refers to Hanukkah.

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

Who Sinned That This Man Was Born Blind?

Who sinned that this man was born blind? This is a question that the disciples asked Yeshua about a man who they encountered. It is a real question people struggle with still today. Why is there suffering? Why is there pain?

These are good questions. Sometimes pain and suffering comes from our own poor choices to go our own way instead of following YHWH. Sometimes our struggles are the result of the destructive and poor choices of others that impact our lives (e.g. could be parents or spouse, etc.) Then there are sometimes when it is simply for YHWH’s own reasoning, as in the case in John 9, so that the works of YHWH might be displayed in and through them.

We may not fully understand all the “why’s” of our Creator, but let us start by trusting Him rather than rejecting Him. Let us pursue Him! Let us seek Him when we are in difficult times, for we know He can deliver us like no other can.

John 9:1-12

Healing the Man Born Blind

     1As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4“We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” 6When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, 7and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. 8Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” 9Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” 10So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went away and washed, and I received sight.” 12They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”

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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.