Category Archives: Repenting from Sin

Seeking Victory Over An Oppressor

Samuel records an important event in the history of the Israelites in chapter 7, one which we can still learn from and apply to our lives today. The Israelites were subject to the wickedness of the Philistines, who did not serve YHWH. By my observation, in some ways this is not very different from our environment today. We may not be pressed upon by another nation in the USA, but we are surely corrupted and pressed upon within our nation by many in power and influence who are against YHWH, even when they claim to follow him. We witness as people claim what is bad to be good and the other way around. They practically worship the environment, but not the one who created it. They worship at the altar of self and convenience and sacrifice their children through abortion and demand that it must be free and unlimited. They demand everyone accept transgender and homosexual disorders rather than help people overcome it or even allow some to express openly a disagreement with it based on YHWH’s word.

How might we get free of this ongoing struggle? Well, we see in 1 Samuel 7 we should seek the LORD, reject idols and other things which we put in priority for our lives ahead of him (e.g. could be money, job, even spouse or kids, church, public opinion).   Come together with prayer and fasting. Admit our sins and ask forgiveness. Change our sinful ways and turn to YHWH’s ways. And yes, we have to rise up and take action when confronted by those who stand against YHWH. In our society that means continuing to teach and evangelize according to the Bible, not public opinion or what many churches teach. We must not let fear of rejection or animosity stop us. We must get involved in local, state and federal government and vote and influence others to vote based on righteousness of YHWH rather than what the news media or social media say.

1 Samuel 7:1-14

Deliverance from the Philistines

      1And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. 2From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.

      3Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 4So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the LORD alone.

      5Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the LORD for you.” 6They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the LORD.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.

      7Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the LORD; and Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel and the LORD answered him. 10Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. 11The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car.

      12Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” 13So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

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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.

Let There Be No Darkness In Us

John brings a strong message in his opening to 1 John. He does not sugar coat it. God is light. There is no darkness. If we walk in darkness, we are not with him… period… no clarifications or exceptions. If, on the other hand, we walk according to his ways, then we not only have fellowship with him, but with each other.

John drives home a second point as well. Let us not say or pretend we have no sin. We do. But let us thankfully acknowledge that he cleanses us from unrighteousness from that sin. However, this does not happen just because we claim Yeshua and keep on sinning, keep on doing things our own way instead of his. That is walking in darkness. It is important for us to admit our sin and ask forgiveness and turn from it and stop walking in darkness. There is also an indication here that makes the case that we don’t need to continue animal sacrifices for forgiveness of sin as Yeshua’s blood cleanses us of all sin. (However, let us not forget that sin offering was only one of several types of sacrifices laid out in the Torah for YHWH’s people. It is an interesting study to consider the others, but not for today.)

 1 John 1:5-10

God Is Light

      5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

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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.

Pray for the USA to turn back to God and become again a true light to the nations

The United States of America was founded based on Christian ideals and beliefs, but over the past few hundred years has largely turned their back on God and now embrace worship of self, worship of money, and many other sins. The word of God is tossed aside in favor of the wicked desires of men. God’s word shows us that when the people turn from God, He releases His blessing from that country. That does not mean He gives up on His people there, but rather that the country will suffer. There are consequences. The USA has great potential to serve God across the world if even those who profess Jesus with their lips would genuinely  turn toward Him and change their behaviors to be a light to the nation and the world.

2 Chronicles 7:12-22

     12Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16“For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’

      19“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21“As for this house, which was exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22“And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.’”

Please take some time to pray for repentance and mercy for the USA as leader of the free world but also for other nations globally in which there still remains a remnant of true disciples seeking to follow the Lord’s will.

Psalm 85

Prayer for God’s Mercy upon the Nation.

For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.

     1O LORD, You showed favor to Your land;
You restored the captivity of Jacob.

      2You forgave the iniquity of Your people;
You covered all their sin.

Selah.

      3You withdrew all Your fury;
You turned away from Your burning anger.

      4Restore us, O God of our salvation,
And cause Your indignation toward us to cease.

      5Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?

      6Will You not Yourself revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?

      7Show us Your lovingkindness, O LORD,
And grant us Your salvation.

      8I will hear what God the LORD will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.

      9Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.

      10Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

      11Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.

      12Indeed, the LORD will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce.

      13Righteousness will go before Him
And will make His footsteps into a way.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with 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.

Be Zealous For What Is Good

Be zealous for what is good, even if you face intimidation and trials. Be ready to give an account for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and reverence. Do not simply be passive or indifferent to the sin around you. YHWH does not want us to accept the sin around us or make excuses for it. We may not be able to stop others from sinning, but we certainly can make the case through our actions and our words that their sin is not acceptable to YHWH and they should repent. We should certainly be living differently than those who do not believe and we should expect them to slander us for it.

1 Peter 3:12-22

     13Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, 15but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 17For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

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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.

Do Not Put Your Children In Higher Priority Than YHWH

1 Samuel 2 is filled with significance. We began 1 Samuel with Hannah praising YHWH for giving her a son as she follows through to dedicate him to the LORD’s service at the temple. Through strong faith she was joyful and trusting in the LORD’s plans for Samuel. She still came to him and provided him new clothes annually and she was blessed with quite a few additional children.

In contrast, we see Eli’s sons committing rebellious and deeply offensive acts before YHWH. Eli rebukes, somewhat lightly, and does not really deal with the situation. At that point, the LORD determines that he is no at fault as well as his sons for not resolving the situation. As the Creator puts it, Eli has put his corrupt sons above YHWH himself. We can read then the repercussions of this in the chapter. They are significant. Though Eli rebuked his sons, he was light and did not stop the offensive behavior. It was not enough. In the end, he did not do his sons any favors either. They would have done better with more consequences from Eli and perhaps had more likelihood to repent.

If there is one message to take from this chapter, and there are actually a handful, let us remember that we are to hold YHWH in higher regard and priority than our children. Of course, we also see the LORD will discipline those of his people who rebel openly against him and defile his name. We do not always see the discipline or identify it as discipline, but all of us face judgment ultimately before him. Many of us also face consequences in our lives as a result of sin and we may not even connect that the sin is the cause. Let us be humble before the LORD, ask him to show us our sin and to help us repent from it.

1 Samuel 2:12-36

The Sin of Eli’s Sons

      12Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD 13and the custom of the priests with the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand. 14Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. Thus they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15Also, before they burned the fat, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give the priest meat for roasting, as he will not take boiled meat from you, only raw.” 16If the man said to him, “They must surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as you desire,” then he would say, “No, but you shall give it to me now; and if not, I will take it by force.” 17Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD.

Samuel before the LORD as a Boy

      18Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD, as a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the LORD give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD.” And they went to their own home.

      21The LORD visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD.

Eli Rebukes His Sons

      22Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. 23He said to them, “Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people? 24“No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the LORD’S people circulating. 25“If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.

      26Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the LORD and with men.

      27Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Did I not indeed reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s house? 28‘Did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to carry an ephod before Me; and did I not give to the house of your father all the fire offerings of the sons of Israel? 29‘Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’ 30“Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. 31‘Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father’s house so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32‘You will see the distress of My dwelling, in spite of all the good that I do for Israel; and an old man will not be in your house forever. 33‘Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar so that your eyes will fail from weeping and your soul grieve, and all the increase of your house will die in the prime of life. 34‘This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die. 35‘But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always. 36‘Everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and say, “Please assign me to one of the priest’s offices so that I may eat a piece of bread.”’”

Glorify the LORD Through Your Actions And Words

Do not continue in the desires of those who do not follow Yeshua, in sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and idolatries. Do not expect them to understand why you do not continue in these things with them. However, remain fervent in your love for Yeshua and live according to the Father’s ways, as Yeshua did. Act in such a way that Yeshua is glorified through our actions and words… in how we treat one another. But do not let this be an excuse to accept sin as we should continue to help one another to move away from our previous godless ways so common in culture around us and move ever closer to the LORD.

1 Peter 4:1-11

Keep Fervent in Your Love

      1Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

      7The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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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.

Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement

Over the course of my life I have spent significant amount of time in Catholic, Baptist, and evangelical churches. None of the ones I attended ever even came close to teaching about YHWH’s appointed times, or Mo’edim. They seem determined to stick to popular man-made holidays commonly celebrated by Christians and non Christians alike. As I have journeyed into deeper relationship with the Lord over many years, the Bible has really come alive to me. It is amazing how much rich heritage is being missed by the Christian church today. They typically do not teach the whole Bible as still relevant and true today. They may say it is, but their teaching leaves much untouched and untaught.

My family and I find observing the Mo’edim, God’s appointed times, to be truly enriching in our relationship with Him. I encourage you to join us. You will have to do some study on your own, however, as churches will just not teach it.

The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur, is a holy day set aside by YHWH annually for us to focus on atonement for our sins. We are to rest and be humble. It is a permanent statute. These holy days are not just for Jewish people and they are not obsolete. They both look back at what the Lord has already done and look forward to what He will do in the future. As a matter of fact, the day of atonement is now even more significant for those of us who follow Christ as we can focus on the forgiveness we receive through Christ and his sacrifice for us.

Leviticus 23:26-32

The Day of Atonement

     26The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 27“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28“You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. 29“If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30“As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31“You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32“It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”

We need not make animal sacrifices for atonement any longer, as Yeshua has paid the price for our sin once and for all. However, we will still face judgment when we die or Yeshua returns. Let us take heed to atone for our sins, repenting and seeking forgiveness from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:10

10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Of course we can say, but we should seek forgiveness all year long, and that is correct, but then why would one object to a day focused on coming humbly before the LORD and seeking forgiveness and asking him to help us know and turn away from our sin.

I still have more to learn about the Hebrew calendar (really the Creator’s calendar), but I am learning more each year. You can research a variety of websites that provide information on the Hebrew calendar, several even focus on it from a Messianic or Christian perspective. Keep in mind, the Hebrew calendar starts at sundown and ends at sundown and not “midnight to midnight” as our western calendar does.

It can be overwhelming when you first get started, but just take it in bite sized chunks and keep seeking to get closer to Him with every step. Because we have changed away from YHWH’s calendar to the Gregorian calendar, there is some debate as to when the feasts are celebrated exactly. They reference the Creator’s calendar and not what we are used to. It is very clear which day in His calendar are to be recognized, but the challenge comes in converting that into the Gregorian calendar most of us use daily. Which exact date you choose is not the most important aspect to get started, in my opinion.  I suggest researching at the sites below or on your own search and picking one of the dates proposed and get started. Do not get overwhelmed by trying to learn all the history at once. Just get started, seek the Lord, study His word, and and start to experience a deeper relationship with Him.

TheMoedim.com – Yom Kippur

119Ministries.com – Yom Kippur

Hebrew4Christians.com – Yom Kippur

SetApartPeople.com – Yom Kippurim

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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.

We Should All Humble Ourselves Seeking Atonement

It is easy for us to embrace celebrations that are “fun”. Often, even holidays that had a significant meaning, like Thanksgiving started as a way to give thanks to God, can be overwhelmed by the distractions of celebrating. Most people really breeze over the original purpose of Thanksgiving and now it is about football and turkey and gluttonous eating. Very little time is spent, if any, giving thanks to YHWH for all He provides as was the original intent.

We would truly benefit in our relationship with our Lord if we would embrace the holy days He instructed. We should all humble ourselves before Him often through the year, but certainly have a day set aside to come humbly before the Lord is a very good idea. It is not focused on football or food, but rather on our relationship with our Father. We are to humble ourselves and contemplate our need for atonement, repentance and forgiveness from sin. He does not want us getting distracted during this holy day, and thus sets aside another Sabbath day of rest for it.

Leviticus 23:25-44

The Day of Atonement

26The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 27“On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28“You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. 29“If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30“As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31“You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32“It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble your souls; on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”

33Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 34“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. 35‘On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work of any kind. 36‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the LORD; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.

I encourage each of you to join me in this holy day in which we humble ourselves before God. We should take this opportunity to focus on the wonderful gift God sent in Yeshua. Yeshua died for our sins. Through His perfect life and then death for our sins He has made it possible for us to be reconciled to YHWH. He was the sacrificial lamb on our behalf. Let us not take Yeshua for granted and miss out on our need for His sacrifice due to our sin.

Romans 3

10as it is written,
“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

On our own we can never be made righteous. It would be like trying to jump the Grand Canyon. One may be able to jump further than another, but none can span the gap. We can be made righteous only through Christ, who in this canyon metaphor serves as a bridge to enable us to come before the Lord and be reconciled.

I would encourage each of you to study more about our Creator’s appointed times. I have provided a few links to help you get started, but you can search on your own, of course.

Bible.org – Leviticus 23 study of appointed times

Psalm 119 Ministries – Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Hebrew for Christians – Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

TheMoedim.com – Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

I hope that studying and learning about our Creator’s appointed times, and then following them, will be as enriching for you and your family as it has been for me and mine.

A Living Hope, And A Sure Salvation

1 Peter, like so many letters and books of the Bible, contains a lot of information if we slow down long enough to reflect on it and ask our Father to open our ears and eyes to be able to more fully understand it. Do not rush through. “Chew” on it awhile.

1 Peter 1

A Living Hope, and a Sure Salvation

      1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

      3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

      10As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

      13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

      17If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

      22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

24For,
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,

      25BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.

Peter writes to those followers of YHWH who have accepted Yeshua as Messiah and are scattered across different lands. They are living as aliens amongst other people who do not believe as they do. Right away I think that this letter applies to most of us who truly seek to follow YHWH through Yeshua today. Most of those who even claim to be Christians are living lives that are blended or mixed and mingled with pagan beliefs. It has been happening for centuries, but you can see it continue to evolve today. Pagan holidays rather than YHWH’s holy days are celebrated. People embrace homosexuality and transgender even within some churches. There are many examples. This of course makes it harder for those who wish to truly follow him according to his ways laid out in his word. Simply put, we don’t really fit in to culture and are more like aliens from another land living amongst the people of the land.

Peter notes that the Father already knows who will obey him. He is omniscient (all knowing). He also comments on the sanctifying work of the Spirit. The Spirit makes us holy over time as we build relationship with YHWH through the Spirit. Of course we also see the role of the blood of Yeshua. Do not overlook the work of the Spirit but rather seek to embrace him.

Even the simple greeting relaying “grace and peace” is worth reflecting on. He does not greet them with “may you be rich and free of troubles”. Rather to be receivers of YHWH’s grace and experience peace that comes with it, these are things to be desired and pursued.

Our salvation is through Christ. It is imperishable and reserved for us in heaven. We should rejoice, even if we experience hardship and trials for awhile in our lives while we wait. As a matter of fact, he does not just emphasize “survive” hardship, but rejoice in the hope of salvation and recognize that our being tested can actually bring glory to YHWH, if we handle it right. (I admit that I sometimes do not handle all my trials well, but I see the Spirit at work over time transforming me and I am closer as time goes by and I continue to mature.)

We are called to prepare our minds for action. Living the Father’s way is not passive, but active. Fix our hope on the grace we receive through Yeshua for forgives of sins. Be obedient, even like children, and be set apart and holy… apart from the former lusts which tempted us and in which we sinned.  Once again we see that YHWH calls us through scripture to change our behaviors and attitudes. We are not to remain the same and say “now I am saved”. We are to change. We are to be holy because the LORD is holy.

We are called to love one another. This does not mean to accept one another in our sin. That is not love. Love drives us to help others find their way to the LORD, not remain in sin and rationalize why they can not or should not change. But how we engage with people should reflect we care about them. This does not mean hang out with sinners who refuse to acknowledge a need to change and seek Christ. We should follow Yeshua’s example… bring the word to people and then our closest circle of friends should be fellow believers and followers of YHWH.

Do not miss at the close. Peter quotes scripture. The word of the LORD endures forever. This is what I preached to you. Once again we see the founding fathers of the Way, of Christianity as followers of Christ, telling us that they taught the unchanging word of YHWH. They did not make up a new set of instructions based on only Yeshua. Quite the opposite. What Yeshua taught was totally consistent with the Torah and the writings of the prophets. This unchanging word of YHWH is what Peter and his fellow apostles taught to followers of Yeshua. We are not to simply disregard what is referred to commonly as the Old Testament and start over. The unchanging word of YHWH endures forever.

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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.

 

 

James’ Exhortation For Followers Of Yeshua

Exhortation… I had to look that one up. The definition is “an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something”. There are many places in the Bible where there are exhortations about how we should act. Let us consider them carefully and without getting defensive.

Be patient waiting on the LORD. Do not complain against one another. Endure well when hard times come. Read through the whole list with an ear for how it could be impactful in your life.

James 5:7-20

Exhortation

      7Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

      12But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

      13Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.

      19My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Perhaps the last one is worth reflecting on. Our culture today seems to value (and bully) Christians to be silent about their faith and leave everyone to their sin. James exhorts us to engage those who stray from the truth and help them find their error and return.He emphasizes this strongly.

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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.