Category Archives: Love

O My God, In You I Trust!

Psalm 25 is an inspiring prayer for protection, guidance, and pardon. Don’t just read it, but pray it before almighty God with a genuine heart.

1To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

2O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.

3Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

4Make me know Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.

5Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

6Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.

7Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

8Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.

9He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.

10All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

11For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

12Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

13His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.

14The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.

15My eyes are continually toward the LORD,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.

16Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.

17The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.

18Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.

19Look upon my enemies, for they are many,
And they hate me with violent hatred.

20Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.

21Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

22Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles.

Share this prayer with others you care about!

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

Blessed Are Those Who Dwell In The House Of The Lord!

Let us find joy in worshiping and praising our Lord and dwelling with Him in this life and the next!

Psalm 84

Longing for the Temple Worship.

For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

1How lovely are Your dwelling places,
O LORD of hosts!

2My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD;
My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

3The bird also has found a house,
And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,
Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
My King and my God.

4How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!
They are ever praising You.

Selah.

5How blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion!

6Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring;
The early rain also covers it with blessings.

7They go from strength to strength,
Every one of them appears before God in Zion.

8O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob!

Selah.

9Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.

10For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

11For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

12O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

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

What is Love?

What is love? This is a very old question with many answers. Context is important. We may “love pizza”, but that is different than when we say we “love our spouse”. Today, the world even steals the word “love” as a replacement for “sex”, which is completely incorrect. These are certainly not the same meaning. Greek, the language in which the New Testament was largely written, had multiple different words for different types of love. In English, we have one word and we must therefore pay close attention to context.

Many put a lot of time and focus into the highly marketed cultural holiday of Valentines Day. Candy makers will tell you that you must buy chocolates to show you love your spouse. Greeting card makers insist you must “care to send the very best” and thus spend $5 or more on a card, and send one to everyone you know. Flowers are a must, right? But now they even sell gold dipped flowers. Wow. Of course, not to be outdone, Jewelers insist that you are a buffoon if you don’t buy diamonds for that special someone in your life. We do well to remember that this is marketing intended to sell things and get our money. This is not how God tells us to show love to one another.

God calls us to show love to one another daily, not once a year, or on a few annual special occasions!

1 Corinthians 13

The Excellence of Love

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

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

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

If you want to give a gift, and it is wisely within your budget to do so, go ahead. But don’t do so because you “have to” or are “expected to”. These gifts mean little and will ultimately have a very limited impact if you do not show love the way God tells us to. Often times just giving gifts on designated marketing holidays comes to be expected and not appreciated as much. If you choose to give an expensive gift, don’t do it because it is Valentines Day, do so because you want to give a gift and can wisely afford it within your budget. Consider intentionally giving it at some other time besides the widely marketed holidays for an even greater impact.

Warning… if you come to make changes in how you celebrate these marketing holidays, discuss it openly with your spouse ahead of time! Don’t surprise someone by not giving them something they already expect from years of habit.

When you are ready to truly grow in maturity, turn towards God’s definition of love and begin showing it today to those you love. No warning necessary. They will greatly appreciate how you treat them. However, you may consider sharing the scripture with your spouse and helping one another as you both make the effort to shift focus from the world’s definition of love to God’s.

You can also ask yourself, if I am celebrating love, would it not be right to celebrate loving God as well as loving one another? And to come in thanksgiving to Him for all the love He has shown, shows, and will show us? If we are to focus on love in the Biblical sense, Valentines Day just does not match up very well at all. If you explore the origins of this celebration you will find that once again the Catholic church embraced this festival, but it was based first on a pagan celebration. As followers of Christ, we are better off separating from these pagan festivals and loving one another His way instead of man’s way.

World Religion News: Pagan origin of Valentines day

One last parting thought… we can love YHWH and love others because He has first shown me love. Yeshua died for us to make a way for us to be forgiven our sins.

John 15:12-13

      12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

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

A True Friend Is Closer than a Brother

A true friend is closer than a brother and infinitely more valuable than a large collection of companions or those who would call themselves “friends”.

Proverbs 18:24

   24A man of too many friends comes to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

David and Jonathan were true friends. We should all consider praying for such a friend for ourselves and for others. So, too, we should strive to be that friend for others who are truly seeking the LORD in their lives. If you are fortunate enough to have that friend, give thanks to YHWH.

1 Samuel 20:1-29

David and Jonathan Covenant

     1Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” 4Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 6“If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the whole family.’ 7“If he says, ‘It is good,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, know that he has decided on evil. 8“Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the LORD with you. But if there is iniquity in me, put me to death yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?” 9Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I should indeed learn that evil has been decided by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you about it?” 10Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11Jonathan said to David, “Come, and let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out to the field.

      12Then Jonathan said to David, “The LORD, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there is good feeling toward David, shall I not then send to you and make it known to you? 13“If it please my father to do you harm, may the LORD do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And may the LORD be with you as He has been with my father. 14“If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the LORD, that I may not die? 15“You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 17Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.

      18Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. 19“When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself on that eventful day, and you shall remain by the stone Ezel. 20“I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 21“And behold, I will send the lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come; for there is safety for you and no harm, as the LORD lives. 22“But if I say to the youth, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you,’ go, for the LORD has sent you away. 23“As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the LORD is between you and me forever.”

      24So David hid in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25The king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26Nevertheless Saul did not speak anything that day, for he thought, “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” 27It came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28Jonathan then answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, 29for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

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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 Wants Us to Do Good Deeds and Reject Evil

As I continue to read the different introductions to the letters to each of the seven churches, I begin to notice that Yeshua introduces Himself a bit differently in the letters. In one He highlights the sword (word of YHWH). In another, He highlights the eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. I am almost sure there is significance there to be unlocked through further study and prayer. The symbolism has meaning. I have not conducted a truly deep study of Revelation, however. If you feel led to do so, I encourage you to test multiple sources and ultimately test everything back to scripture itself.

Revelation 2:18-29

Message to Thyatira

      18“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:

      19‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23‘And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. 25‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; 27AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28and I will give him the morning star. 29‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Yeshua reminds the people that He knows their deeds and that their deeds matter to Him. He wants more than just acknowledging Him with words! That goes for us as well.

He is not pleased that the people are tolerating a false prophetess among them, who teaches them to do things which are displeasing to Him. Notice she is not a witch, who outright claims to follow Satan. She is a “prophetess” who would seem to present herself as part of the church. He gave her time to repent and now judgment will follow. He offers the same to those who follow after her.

Let us not miss that He searches our minds and hearts, but also gives us according to our deeds. Living for Christ is so much more than a short sinner’s prayer and coming to the altar once. There is an expectation that we change and live according to His ways. We should not tolerate false teaching. We should not mix and mingle or blend good with evil.

Yeshua clearly tells us here that it is not enough that we live according to His word, but we also reject those who are leading fellow believers astray. We are not to just sit on the sidelines, but speak against and separate ourselves from them.

Those who hold fast to His teaching and overcome the world will be rewarded. There is a blessing of obedience and a curse of disobedience, which is consistent throughout scripture.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68 ESV

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …

Deuteronomy 30:19 ESV

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

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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.

Walk in the Truth

 

I find the introduction of 3 John to be interesting indeed. John is reaching out to a community of fellow believers, and there is conflict. There is a difference of opinion and approach. We should not be surprised that we see such things even today if it was so even when Yeshua’s disciples were leading the people.

We must seek to walk in the truth. We must recognize that not everything taught or said by a leader in the church is correct. We must test everything against the Bible.

We are also encouraged to help our brethren, even when they are strangers.

3 John 1

You Walk in the Truth

     1The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

      2Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. 3For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. 4I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

      5Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; 6and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.

      9I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. 10For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

      11Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. 12Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

      13I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink;

14but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.
15 Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

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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.

Walk According to His Commandments

Truly it is not hidden, but in plain sight. Yet many Christians and Christian churches act as if Yeshua redefined God’s instructions when he became man. Yeshua lived and was judged perfect according to the standard of God’s commandments. We are not talking just about the top 10, but about all of the law and the prophets. Yeshua lived them and taught them. He warned people he did not come to do away with any commandment and those who teach that he did will be least in the kingdom, while those who continue to teach obedience to his commands will be great. Yeshua was not abolishing or changing the law, but fulfilling many prophecies of the coming of the Messiah.

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.

It really makes no sense that we would look at Yeshua’s example to obey the law, the Torah, and his teaching that we do the same and then we suddenly change everything and act like there is a new standard he never spoke of that means the law, or most of it, is no longer relevant. People even teach about loving one another as if this was a new commandment. We see in 2 John 1, that it is not. This is after Yeshua died and rose again. He speaks of walking according to the commandments and of loving one another and that these are not new instructions, but what has been since the beginning. Loving God is walking in his commandments and this is not new.

2 John 1

Walk According to His Commandments

      1The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: 3Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

      4I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.

      7For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

      12Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.

      13The children of your chosen sister greet you.

This is a powerful reminder that we are not to make up our own way of living or try to redefine God’s instructions on the basis of man’s teaching on how things have changed. We should study and understand all the commands of God as written in the first five books of the Bible, the Torah. We should not quickly cast any aside without careful consideration and study. Many we can no longer do as prescribed, such as any involving the Levitical priesthood and the temple. Hebrews 10 states the case that Yeshua’s sacrifice in blood is sufficient for cleansing the sins of those of us who accept him as Savior and Lord and thus  one can make the case we no longer need to do animal sacrifices for remission of sin. This is surely so, in particular since the temple and priesthood no longer exist and are part of that process.

However, I encourage each of us to reject the commonly taught notion that the law in its entirety is not relevant. Obeying God’s commands is how we love God and others. John reminds us this in 2 John 1:6 and Yeshua also told us this himself in Matthew 22.

Matthew 22:36-40

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

Let us remember that God, not man, defines how we show love for one another and for God properly. He has given us these instructions and we should strive joyfully and eagerly to learn them, understand them, and apply them in our lives.

Do not be unteachable and foolish, clinging only to what man has taught you in church. Much doctrine that is taught is wrong and always has been. We are repeatedly warned about false prophets and teachers and instructed to read and understand God’s word directly to ensure the teachers we follow are teaching God’s word and not their own. These warnings are found in Deuteronomy and in Paul’s letters and in 2 John 1, above. Let us take them seriously and test every teaching and spirit against the written word of God. Let us pursue learning and knowing God’s ways as we would to please a loving father or to court a spouse. Dig. Search. Seek. Do not be complacent where you are in your relationship with him, wherever that is 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.

 

The Parable of the Widower Who Remarried

Just to be clear, this is not a biblical parable, but one based on biblical teaching and one that is true many times over.

There is a story about a young man who was happily married. He loved his wife very much. To show it, he learned her favorite flowers, favorite candy, learned how to help around the house the way that she liked, he even bought her the style of clothes she liked to wear. Of course, holiday celebrations were no exception. He honored her in the ways that she told him she appreciated and she knew that he loved her. They were married many years and many of their ways became strong habits and  traditions.

After a time, his wife grew ill and died. He truly missed her. He grieved for a time and eventually remarried.

His second wife did not like the same things or do things the same way as his first wife. He would tell his new wife how much he loved her but than continue in the old habits and traditions he created for his first wife, even buying the same style of clothing for her and giving her the flowers that his first wife enjoyed instead of the ones she liked. His second wife asked him gently many times to change how he tried to honor her and explained what she liked and did not like. Despite her many efforts to communicate clearly, the man refused to change from his habits and traditions to learn to show love and honor his second wife the way she appreciated and desired.  He simply would tell her that he was doing it for her to show his love and that it was all for her. She was deeply hurt and at times very offended. She grew to doubt whether he loved her at all or rather she was just a replacement because the one he still loved was no longer there.

How obvious it must seem to all of us that the man is making a big mistake and certainly not showing love by insisting he do things his way or the way of his first wife. How is the parable going to end? If it is to end well, the man must admit he was wrong and decide to visibly repent of, or turn away from, his ways and learn the ways of the one he wishes to love and honor.

In a way you get to finish the story… you see many of us treat God the same way as the man in the parable treats his second wife. We have learned and accepted certain ways of doing things. In some cases they are now traditions with happy memories that have been accepted for hundreds or thousands of years. None the less, God has clearly communicated what He likes and does not like… what is good and bad in the holy scriptures.

Not being aware that we are doing what is bad makes it no less offensive to Him. Why did we not take time to learn what He values…what He wants from us?

Claiming we can take something that is bad in God’s eyes and make it into something that is good is like saying we can give someone a weed, but call it a rose and everything will be great.

We must each decide if we are to cling to our traditions of man, like the Pharisees and Sadducees who came against Jesus, or if we are to stand up and do things God’s way as Jesus and His disciples did, even if we are mocked for it.

Would it surprise you to know that Christmas trees, evergreen wreaths, mistletoe, gift exchange, even celebrating on Dec 25 are all  based on pagan worship practices which the church originally banned but later accepted because people would not stop doing them? Of course much of Easter celebration also has origins in pagan worship as well. The church decided if we can’t get people to stop their detestable pagan worship, then we will join them but make up a new story to explain the items previously used in pagan worship. They took a weed and called it a rose.

If you truly love God, and submit your life to God… take the time to learn more about what He wants and not just stick to traditions of men that are offensive to Him. You can easily study online even using Christian encyclopedia’s like Zondervan or other encyclopedias. The origins are not secret, only that it has been accepted to celebrate God in ways that were developed by pagans for their gods.  119Ministries.com is putting together an effective summary in video form you can watch, but the project has not been completed yet (The Christmas Question). They have previous teachings already available you may consider as well (Sunburned – Part 1 and Sunburned – Part 2).

I recognize that this is an emotional subject for many and admitting that we should change is very hard. Even if we accept it and change our behavior, there will be much difficulty among family. This is to be expected when we stand for Christ above all others. Jesus said so himself in Matthew 10:23-39.

32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.

34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.

35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36     Your enemies will be right in your own household!’[l]

37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

We each must decide whether or not we submit to God fully or hold tightly to the traditions of man. By the way… study of the new testament clearly shows that clutching to the traditions of man was the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees, not the way of Jesus.

God wants his people to be holy (set apart for God’s use) and righteous (living according to God’s commands rather than the world’s). He wants us to put Him first, above everything else.

Challenge yourself to objectively evaluate your traditions and seek first the kingdom of God. Do not dismiss this quickly but rather prayerfully seek God to show you the truth of His word and how to apply it in your life.

Pray that God would give you courage and boldness to pursue him with how you live.

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

God Is Love, But How Do I Love Him And Others?

God is love. Let us take care to understand this properly. Many take this to lead into error in lifestyles today. God is love, yes. But how? Is he love in that he accepts everyone as they are without repentance and without change? Absolutely not. He loves us enough to send Yeshua to die for us so our sins can be forgiven. He loves us enough that Yeshua reinforced the teaching of the Torah and prophets as the core standard by which we should live. He did this by word and action. He loves us enough to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us as believers as guide and counselor to help us turn away from sin and the ways of the world and live God’s way.

1 John 4:7-21

God Is Love

     7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

      15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 19We love, because He first loved us. 20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

A few more points John makes in today’s scripture… God loved us first, before we loved him. our love is perfected by abiding in God (living his way and in relation with him). There is no fear in love. In his perfect love, if we abide in him, we need not fear the day of judgment. John also emphasizes we love our brother.

Two questions come to mind for clarification… who is our brother? and how do we love God’s way?

Yeshua addresses the first question in Matthew. It is not “everyone who breathes”. He is focused on those who love and accept and submit to the Father, not just in words, but in “doing” the will of the Father.

Matthew 12:46-50

  46While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. 47Someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” 48But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 50“For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

How do we love God’s way? Some claim it is to accept everyone how they are and have no expectation of repentance or change in their lives. This is man’s way, not God’s way. The entirety of the Torah and the prophets is based on loving God and loving one another. We love God and people God’s way when we live according to the law of God, which is documented in the Torah and the prophets. Who said so? Yeshua himself.

Matthew 22:36-40

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

Let us take great care not to use “love” as an excuse to encourage people to remain in sin and separated from God. True love shines a light on truth and invites them to follow us to the Father through the Son… to change and be less like the world and more like Yeshua.

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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.