Category Archives: Consistent / Unwavering

Instructions To Titus on Elders

We should often remind ourselves as we read Paul’s letters, that they were not written to a broad audience in the same way that the gospels were written. These letters were written privately to specific audiences that were dealing with specific issues. We must take care to discern which elements were applicable to the specific situation and which are applicable still to us today.

Titus 1

Salutation

     1Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, 3but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,

      4To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Qualifications of Elders

     5For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

      10For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

As we see Paul’s salutation, we should take care not to overlook even that as providing insight. He identified himself as a bond-servant of YHWH. That mean he was dedicated to the work of YHWH and doing it according to YHWH’s ways rather than Paul’s ways. We would do well to take a similar attitude in our lives. He also reminds us that we get grace and peace from the Lord, not from our own efforts or accomplishments.

As YHWH’s people, especially the leaders, must be beyond reproach. Let that sink in. There are specific characteristics listed upon which we should focus, including the behavior and attitude of our children. We also see that seem to always be people coming to attach the body of Christ, often from within. They need to be rebuked appropriately.

It is good to close with the following verse, and prayerfully consider if we ourselves need to repent and change in some way.

15To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

—-

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.

Guard the Treasure Which Has Been Intrusted to You

It must have been hard for Paul. Not only was he put in prison, but some of those who followed him turned from him. Perhaps they turned from him  because they were uncomfortable that he was in prison. We see Paul strongly urging Timothy to remain true to what he has been taught and to not be ashamed of Paul for being in chains. Christians still today face much persecution around the world. Some studies show they are the most persecuted group globally. We must be willing to put YHWH first, before even the laws of the government. People will come against us. In many countries, and even to an increasing amount in the USA, even the local, state, or national government will try to come against you for living out your faith boldly.

We are encouraged to stand strong and speak truth and live according to the teaching and life of Yeshua. We are to guard the treasure which YHWH has entrusted to us, the knowledge of him and relationship with him, the truth of the gospel… even if it means facing personal persecution such as being put in jail.

7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

I admire Paul’s faithful service to Christ. In many ways, he can serve as an example to us all still today.

2 Timothy 1

Timothy Charged to Guard His Trust

      1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,

      2To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

      3I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, 4longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 6For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

      8Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

      15You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me— 18the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.

Pray the Lord would help you and other followers of Yeshua to

14Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

that we would be bold for the Lord, even in the face of persecution.

7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

—-

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.

Would You Risk Your Success or Comfort To Honor God?

Many in our society try to compartmentalize their faith. Satan has convinced people that it is ok to keep your faith not only private, but invisible. In this way our faith will not hinder our careers or other pursuits where people may persecute or harass us for our faith. This is in direct contradiction to Christ calling us to be a light to others to shine and draw them to Him. We must not keep our faith invisible or entirely private.

Matthew 5:14-16

    14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

For the most part, in the US, we don’t see the levels of life threatening persecution that are common in some majority Muslim countries in the Middle East or in atheist countries like China. Our brothers and sisters in Christ certainly need our prayers. They face true difficulty for their faith. They stand strong. If someone claims to be Christian there, you know they mean it. There are few lukewarm Christians there, because it is not worth the cost unless you really believe.

However, even here in the US we face some level of cultural backlash against openly living out our faith in business. There are law suits or rebukes that we may offend someone. We each must decide what we are willing to do for Christ. What are we willing to risk to honor and obey Him? It is better to decide ahead of time, before the persecution comes to avoid rationalizing why we can accept a little more private faith… really an invisible faith… because we want to protect our “success” or comfort.

Daniel stands as an excellent example. He was successful at his job. He was liked by the king. He not only stood to lose these things, but also he knew he faced the lion’s den. He prayed anyway. He could have closed his window perhaps or blocked it. He could have prayed when he knew no one would be around. He refused to change his prayer behavior because of outside pressure. He did not let “it’s illegal” become an excuse to stop praying to God or to hiding his relationship with God. Daniel was a man of great faith, whom I admire.

How many of us avoid praying or have almost no prayer time even with no persecution? How many of us just allow ourselves to get “too busy” for prayer? We let the daily concerns and activities of the world choke out our prayer life with YHWH.

I hope and pray I would do like Daniel, while admittedly hoping I never have to face a situation like that one. I have, however, made conscious choices to not hide my faith at work, even if that would be more easily accepted. I am increasing my prayer time and asking YHWH to help me truly enjoy and look forward to prayer time. I pray YHWH gives me courage and boldness to live for Him and I encourage you to do the same.

—-

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.

Fond Memories of Holiday Traditions

I have many fond memories of holiday traditions growing up. As a child my family participated in many common traditions such as hunting for Easter eggs. My family has celebrated this way for generations. It is quite difficult even to consider changing these ingrained generational traditions.

Is that reason enough for me to continue these traditions? What does God have to say about common holiday traditions? If we are honest with ourselves, most of us never even think about it. We just continue with what is “normal” and “traditional” based on how we have been raised on based on culture around us.

The truth is that if we have really decided to model our lives after Jesus, then we should take time to explore and study what He celebrated and also the origins of what we may be celebrating. Don’t assume traditions are pleasing to God just because “everyone else is doing it” or even because “everyone else at the church is doing it”. Test everything against the truth of God’s word. Challenge yourself to truly seek to honor Him without bias toward rationalizing and accepting certain traditions because they are associated with fond memories or because it would upset your family to change. After all,  what is more important… pleasing people or pleasing God?

Easter is coming in a few weeks. I encourage each of you to take some time now and really study the origins of the common traditions and celebrations you take part in. Many are based on pagan worship which have been adapted with “new meaning” whereby people basically have accepted copying and participating in what was once a pagan worship rituals, only now they just call it something else. If you put lipstick on a pig… it is still a pig. Studying now can give you time to shift or transition away from some of these traditions without surprising people at the last minute and making it more difficult later, or increasing the pressure on you not to change because it is hard rather than deciding what is right and pleasing to God.

Ask God for help and then challenge yourself to really seek the truth. You can start with any number of sources like online encyclopedias or web search. If there is conflicting information… seek out the truth objectively. Do not just seize upon the rationalization that supports your current practice. Also decide which way you will lean if you are not sure… will you lean toward pleasing God or pleasing man? In other words, like in a trial, if you think there is reasonable doubt as to whether or not your current traditions are pleasing to God, will you continue in them or change? One such study I found helpful was from Psalm 119 Ministries (Sunburned – Part 1, Sunburned – Part 2).

God does not want us to worship Him in the way that the pagans worshipped their gods. Jehovah has provided specific information on how He wishes to be worshipped… we must study the Bible and pray to learn and understand.

Deuteronomy 12:1-8

    1“These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. 2“You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3“You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. 4“You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God. 5“But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come. 6“There you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 7“There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.

      8“You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes

Deuteronomy 12:28-32

      28“Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.

      29“When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’ 31“You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

      32“Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

We are to be set apart and holy, different from those that do not worship YHWH. We are not to follow after Him and worship Him in the way that others worship their gods. We are not to simply do what everyone else is doing or what our parents did… but rather what our Lord instructs us to do.

—-

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.

How Shall We Respond When Facing Conflict Over Yeshua?

As the book of John records Yeshua being brought before the priests by the Roman cohort, there are a couple points that catch my attention in today’s scripture passage. Read with me and let’s reconnect on the other side.

John 18:12-24

Jesus before the Priests

     12So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, 13and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

      15Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. 17Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.

      19The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21“Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” 22When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” 24So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Simon Peter and another disciple were bold enough to follow with Yeshua to where he was being questioned. When they did, Peter found himself confronted by some who recognized him as a follower of Yeshua. He flinched under stress and made a mistake in denying Christ. Let us not be too quick to condemn Peter, but rather recognize how easily we may find ourselves even under less dramatic circumstances remaining quiet when we should stand up for Christ or even denying our allegiance to him or not defending the full truth of scripture to a hostile audience.

We also see, in contrast, that Yeshua remained calm. He spoke truth and made no excuses when confronted. He spoke boldly and directly. What he said, made sense and actually comes across as a bit of a rebuke toward the priests for arresting him in such a secret manner when he preached publicly throughout his ministry. They did not like being rightly rebuked and reacted poorly, as those in authority sometimes do when they feel challenged.

I have never before thought to contrast specifically the example of Christ compared to Peter in this scripture. They contrast one another in striking fashion. Even when directly threatened and knowing he faced painful death, Yeshua reacts boldly and calmly and in truth. Peter, though bold in coming this far, experiences fear and flinches, denying Christ… as many of us may be apt to do from time to time in conflict. Once again, Christ shows us the proper standard by how he lived. Of course, we also see that even those who stand boldly for him will make mistakes and need both his forgiveness and grace… both of which Peter receives later.

—-

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.

Let Us March In Unity Under The Direction Of The Lord

When we as God’s people stand (or march) together consistent with God’s clear direction and with Him to lead us, we are unstoppable. It is not because of our glory or goodness, but because of His.

Joshua 1:10-18

Joshua Assumes Command

     10Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’”

      12To the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13“Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest and will give you this land.’ 14“Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them, 15until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

      16They answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17“Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you as He was with Moses. 18“Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”

We see God has started to give parts of the promised land to several tribes to begin to occupy, but they are still to march and fight with their brothers to help them achieve victory. They are not to get complacent only because they have been provided for.

Let us reflect on this in our own lives. Many of us have tremendous comforts in this world. We have hot and cold running water, indoor toilets, heat to cook at our fingertips, plentiful food, and safe from attack. In fact, we live in some ways more luxuriously than kings of old. Let us not get complacent to just settle into our own lives and activities. Let us seek God’s direction for how He wants us to gather together as one body and what He wants us to march against and defeat. There are some things which should be obvious from scripture… abortion, the move to normalize homosexuality and transgender. These are fundamentally leading many people away from God to their own sorrow and troubles. What about the decline in the family structure? There are many broken marriages and broken families. Many families which have a wife and husband have both working so many hours that neither is really home to raise the children, who are raised by the school systems (often godless). Consider those who follow Christ and face severe persecution around the world in the Middle East or other locations. Consider God’s chosen people, Israel, who face enemies on all sides. Let us stand with them, we who are grafted in to the same vine (Romans 11).

Pray that those who follow Christ would humble themselves and pray for our nation. Pray for repentance and genuine seeking of the Lord. Pray for His Spirit to move across our nation and lead us to unity and victory to take back our own “promised land” of the United States for Him. Just because we can have rest personally, does not mean we should settle down and get comfortable and quietly live within our own small circle of influence and friends.

—-

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.

Be Strong And Courageous Living Obediently For The Lord

I find the record in scripture regarding Yahweh’s charge to Joshua to be fascinating. I have read it several times over the years and the Spirit continues to reveal more depth each time. On the surface we may simply summarize it in passing as Yahweh told Joshua to lead the people into the promised land and they would have victory.

Joshua 1:1-9

God’s Charge to Joshua

     1Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3“Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4“From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. 5“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

If we go a little deeper, there is more. Notice the focus is not on the leadership of Moses or Joshua. The focus is on the fact that Moses was the servant of the Lord and Joshua was the servant of Moses. This is entirely consistent with Yeshua’s teaching about who is truly great and contrary to how most people think.

Luke 22:24-27

  24And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26“But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27“For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

The next thing that strikes me is that the Father tells Joshua that “no man will be able to stand before you…” and that He is giving him victory. Even with this promise, Yahweh then goes on to tell Joshua several times to be strong and courageous. Most of us have a tendency to think if the Lord is with us everything will go smoothly and easily. Then why would He need to encourage Joshua to be strong and courageous? Even when the Lord is with us, especially when the Lord is with us sometimes, we will encounter difficult circumstances and need to be courageous and have strong faith to remember God’s promises and direction. This, also, is consistent with the teaching of Yeshua.

Matthew 7:24-27

      24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27“The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

What builds the foundation for us to endure difficult times? Yeshua points to the hearing of His teachings or words, not to Himself. It is our hearing and our living out the instructions and commands of Yahweh that put us on a solid foundation for what we face in the world. And we see in Joshua 1 that Yahweh gives this same direction to Joshua… 7“Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Let us not overlook that Yahweh specifically told Joshua to be strong and courageous in following the Law. I think it is reasonable to assume that this implies that sometimes when we live out the Law or other instruction from God, we can expect others to come against us. In Joshua’s case, no enemy was going to stand against Him and certainly not going to challenge following the Law. So it likely then points to being strong and courageous leading his people to follow the Law even when they begin to stray from it and do not want to follow it. (This a situation we face today throughout Christianity. People continually redefine God and His instructions rather than redefining themselves to align with what His word says.) How many of us do as Yahweh told Joshua to do?

8“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Indeed, Yahweh felt it important to emphasize that even with Him promising victory, Joshua would face difficulties and would need courage. He would need to stand on the Law and commandments of Yahweh. Then He would be prosperous and have success. It is the same for us.

Pray for the Lord to help you and other followers of Christ. That we would have eyes to see and understand His glory and to live courageously according to His ways rather than blending in with our society and living according to man’s ways. Pray we would have ears to hear His instruction and courage to follow it and go forward where He sends each of us for His glory rather than our own.

—-

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.

Seek The Light; Reject The Darkness

It is interesting that Nicodemus came to Yeshua by night, as if to avoid being seen, and yet claims he knows that Yeshua has come from God as a teacher. But none the less, I will give Nicodemus some credit for coming to Yeshua to learn more when his peers would likely have pressured him to reject Yeshua all together. We will sometimes have to make similar decisions if we are to learn more about and grow in relationship with Yeshua. Many of those around us will pressure us not to do so.

Though we may struggle, like Nicodemus, to fully understand being “reborn”, it is none the less a real experience and an important one. Yeshua clearly states that we must be born of water (natural birth) and of the spirit (spiritual birth or rebirth) if we are to see the kingdom of God. Being born of the Spirit has to do with our submitting to Christ as Lord and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us as helper for us to experience the kingdom of God, to see things the way God sees things rather than just from our own perspective focused on self.

We must look to Christ and believe He died for our sins and rose again. He came to create a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to God… it is the only way and not one of many. We must love the Light (aka Christ) more than the darkness (aka sin and self).

John 3:1-21

The New Birth

      1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

      4Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

      9Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12“If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

      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.”

Do not be content to simply claim with words that you follow Christ. Test yourself against your life choices and attitudes. Ask YHWH to help you. Our actions will reflect truly whether or not we seek the Light of the darkness more than our words. Our behaviors and actions do not save us, but they certainly reflect our heart and whether or not we believe in Christ as savior and submit to Him.  Do not fool yourself into thinking you are submitted as it is your own salvation at risk. Test yourself against the truth of scripture… against your actions and attitudes.

Ask the Spirit to guide you and be willing to recognize you need to change to be more like Christ. It is not a journey we complete in this life, but rather one we continue on throughout our life. So if you have found yourself complacent and satisfied that you are as much like Christ as you “need to be”, then take that as a warning and check yourself. As with any journey, when you believe you have arrived, that is as far as you will ever go.

—-

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.

Be Built Up In Christ And Established In Your Faith

Let us build ourselves up in Christ and Christ alone. He, and nothing else, is the path to forgiveness and salvation. Pray and study the Bible to fully understand how Christ calls us to live, how He lived as example to us. Test everything against scripture, as much incorrect doctrine and interpretation is taught today, even widely so in many churches. Then walk in His ways.

Colossians 2

You Are Built Up in Christ

     1For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. 5For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.

      6Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

      8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

      16Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 18Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

      20If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

—-

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.

Are You Prepared To Honor Christ When Others Are Mocking Him?

It probably took some amount of courage for Joseph to ask Pilate for the body of Christ. He did not dally long in making this decision. He made it quickly and boldly. He made the decision to honor Christ the same day Christ hung and died publicly, with the soldiers and crowds mocking Him and abusing Him.

Luke 23:50-56

Jesus Is Buried

     50And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51(he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; 52this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. 54It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes.
And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

We may all find ourselves in a situation where others are mocking and rejecting Christ. How will we respond? To whom does our loyalty and love belong? Whom do we fear, God or man?

Are You Prepared To Honor Christ When Others Are Mocking Him? Deciding ahead of time and playing it out in your thoughts can help prepare you for such a time. Of course, praying the Lord would strengthen your faith and give you boldness is very important.  Do not wait for the moment of trial to decide whom you serve… decide to stand for Christ ahead of time.

—-

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.