Category Archives: Rebuke Wrong Behavior

Freedom In Christ

Many in the USA celebrate freedom as a key part of the heritage of our July 4 national holiday. It commemorates independence for the USA from England and the policies of the government there for which the colonies were not represented. We can be reminded to value our freedom and not take it for granted. Fireworks and parties are commonplace. The birth of a free nation is celebrated. We do not celebrate this freedom by rebelling against the very nation that protects and provides our freedom. We do not declare that our freedom means we are no longer subject to any laws.

This day is a good opportunity for us to reflect deeper on one who is greater than us who also allows us the freedom to make our own choices. Our Creator made us in His image and allows us the freedom to follow Him or live in rebellion to Him, choosing instead to honor and follow the desires of our flesh and sin nature. All of us are inherently sinful. Babies at birth need not be taught to scream when they want something. Young children need to be taught to share, taking what they want comes naturally. We must learn to focus on the needs of others just as we must learn God’s ways in order to be set apart and different than the world.

Our Father, YHWH, provided us instructions to follow as any good father does for His children. Often the instructions are for the benefit of the children themselves, even if they don’t understand that fully. The instructions have been communicated through thousands of years and neatly compiled into the Bible we have so readily available to us today, so long as we choose to open it or click the link to it. We need only pray for enlightenment from the Spirit and read with a desire to learn and change our behaviors to follow God’s instructions. We should not read with a desire to justify all of our current actions and attitudes… that is redefining God in our image rather than redefining ourselves in His image.

We talk often in Christian community about freedom through Christ. It is amazing, but sadly many get confused by false teaching about this freedom. What are we set free from?

The short answer is that all too often people essentially say we are set free from all boundaries and can do anything and God will be pleased. This is false. This would be akin to saying we are free in the United States and then pretending that there are no laws or boundaries governing what is acceptable behavior and what will land you in prison. God has established guidelines and instructions for us to follow to help us, as a father does for his children. Are we to use our freedom to rebel against the one who gives it to us? No. Christ sets us free from the law of sin and death. He sets us free in that we can be reconciled to YHWH even when we do not live out his instructions perfectly to his standard. This means, simply that we can be forgiven for our sins, because Jesus already paid the price required by the law for our sins. We can be set free from condemnation and guilt, but we are to repent from the sinful ways and do things according to God’s instruction. We are to follow Christ.

Romans 8:1-4

1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Many teach that we are set free from the law, from God’s instructions, but this is absurd. Jesus followed God’s instructions throughout His earthly ministry and so did His disciples. In fact, he was judged righteous in that he lived perfectly according to the law. He never taught against following God’s law, only against following the man made traditions of the Pharisees and Sadducees that were overburdening people with meaningless traditions and distracting from or even contradicting God’s law. We must ask ourselves… “Is Jesus our example to follow? or our excuse to live how we want rather than how God tells us to?”

Throughout the scriptures, God’s law is highlighted as good, as worthy of love, of setting us free from the lure of sin by showing us what is right. It is a light unto our path to guide us. I have included a few excerpts from Psalm 119, but you should click the link and read the whole Psalm. Many others have similar content. The law of God is to be obeyed. Jesus did not come to set us free from it.

Psalm 119 (excerpts – I encourage you to read 119 completely)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would it make sense that Jesus came to set us free from wisdom, delight, truth, and peace? Certainly not. This would be absurd. Jesus came to set us free from the law of sin and death. Yes, we all sin, and thus deserve death. However, Jesus sets us free from that guilt and condemnation and judgment because He already paid the price for us. What He calls for in return as part of this freedom is that we submit to God, repent of our sinful ways, and seek after God. True repentance transforms us to be different from the world and to become more and more like Jesus as we continue to grow in wisdom and maturity in our faith over the course of our lifetime.

Just as we see so obviously in the physical world, freedom brings responsibility and accountability for the choices we make. It is similar with our Father in heaven. Freedom comes with responsibility and accountability. There are spiritual consequences in our relationship with God and ultimate destination when we die from this life and go into eternity to heaven or hell. There are also physical and emotional impacts in our lives today based on how well we follow the instructions He has provided. After all, the loving Father and Creator knows how best to guide His creations. He gives us the answers, but we need to listen and obey… even when we don’t understand fully.

Learn more:

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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.

Test Christian “Norms” Against the Biblical Text

Much of what is taught in churches today has drifted far from the early church and the followers of Christ… from those like Paul and the written record we have in the Bible. I think in many cases, it is hard for us to accept it because so many of us just accept what we are told by others around us, by our parents, by people at the local church. How often do we really test it against what is actually written in the Bible? The following develops only one example. We should test everything against the absolute truth of scripture.

2 Thessalonians 3

Exhortation

1Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

16Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Reflect prayerfully on the following, some of which may seem contradictory to what many Christians teach or how they act.

  • We are not to hang out with others who lead an unruly life, even if they claim to be Christian and come to the same church we do.
  • Work hard to support yourself and your family. Seek not to be a burden on anyone. Do not take or demand handouts on a recurring basis if you don’t need them, even if you could justifiably ask for them.
  • Do not continually support and feed those who refuse to work for themselves. This does not mean those who can not work, but those who choose not to work. Let them eat their own bread. While this may seem offensive to some, think about it. If we screen out the lazy who could support themselves, we will have more to help those who really need it and can not help themselves. Charity is not intended to support sloth.
  • Shame has a place. It is useful and appropriate at times for someone to be or feel shamed when they are doing something wrong. Our world tries to teach that no one should be “shamed”. This is false. Shame can help lead to repentance. We are to separate ourselves from those who claim to be Christian but live as the pagans do. They are not enemies, but they are to be admonished. This includes pastors and churches teaching false doctrine which is not consistent with the Bible.

These are not my opinions… these are the words of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit and included in the Bible for our reference from YHWH Himself. They are intended both to protect us from drifting away from Him and also to help encourage others to avoid drifting away from Him to be more like the culture around them. These instructions lead to helping the body of Christ shine as a light to others, different from the world around them and lead to glorifying God. We never glorify God by simply adopting the ways of the pagan culture around us and blending in.

As we close, spend time praying and reflecting on the following:

  • Pray that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.
  • The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one if you seek Him and submit 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.

Seven Men Hanged for the Sins of a Family Member

2 Samuel 21 records a difficult series of events to digest.  YHWH puts a famine on the land because of the sin of Saul against the Gibeonites. David seeks to make things right after three years because the LORD is rebuking Israel. I find it curious, and a bit disappointing that David asks the Gibeonites what to do to reconcile. I would have preferred if he would have asked YHWH. Maybe he did and YHWH did not answer. The answer seems pointless and unfair to the descendants of Saul. They were not the ones at fault and they are executed. Saul was already dead.

Ultimately after some additional actions and prayer, the LORD removes the famine. However, I can’t help but wonder if there could have been another option on how to repent and make things right. My opinion does not matter, however, in this account. We are left to reflect on the recorded events and decide how to apply in our lives.

For me, I want to be close to the LORD and know when I am being rebuked, like David was close to Him. I want to seek His guidance on what actions to take, even if they are hard. I do not want to seek opinions of people per se, except to better understand what YHWH may want us to do. I also want to recognize that sometimes my sin may be revisited upon my sons or daughters. I want to walk with righteousness as best I can and seek grace and forgiveness along the way.

2 Samuel 21

Gibeonite Revenge

      1Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD. And the LORD said, “It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” 2So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah). 3Thus David said to the Gibeonites, “What should I do for you? And how can I make atonement that you may bless the inheritance of the LORD?” 4Then the Gibeonites said to him, “We have no concern of silver or gold with Saul or his house, nor is it for us to put any man to death in Israel.” And he said, “I will do for you whatever you say.” 5So they said to the king, “The man who consumed us and who planned to exterminate us from remaining within any border of Israel, 6let seven men from his sons be given to us, and we will hang them before the LORD in Gibeah of Saul, the chosen of the LORD.” And the king said, “I will give them.

      7But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them, between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. 8So the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Armoni and Mephibosheth whom she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Merab the daughter of Saul, whom she had borne to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9Then he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the LORD, so that the seven of them fell together; and they were put to death in the first days of harvest at the beginning of barley harvest.

      10And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until it rained on them from the sky; and she allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. 11When it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12then David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the open square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them on the day the Philistines struck down Saul in Gilboa. 13He brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been hanged. 14They buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the grave of Kish his father; thus they did all that the king commanded, and after that God was moved by prayer for the land.

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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.

Those Who Seek the LORD Understand All Things

Those who seek the Lord understand all things. Take time to read, consider and pray about each verse in today’s chapter of Proverbs. No matter how far I am in my walk with the Lord and how many times I read, I always find something, or many things that apply in my life and can serve as a guide to light my way… if I am humble enough to admit I need guidance and that Jehovah provides it and if I am willing to study and apply it in my life.

Proverbs 28

Warnings and Instructions

1The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.

2By the transgression of a land many are its princes,
But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.

3A poor man who oppresses the lowly
Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.

4Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But those who keep the law strive with them.

5Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all things.

6Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than he who is crooked though he be rich.

7He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.

8He who increases his wealth by interest and usury
Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.

9He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.

10He who leads the upright astray in an evil way
Will himself fall into his own pit,
But the blameless will inherit good.

11The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding sees through him.

12When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves.

13He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

14How blessed is the man who fears always,
But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

15Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear
Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

16A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding,
But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

17A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood
Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him.

18He who walks blamelessly will be delivered,
But he who is crooked will fall all at once.

19He who tills his land will have plenty of food,
But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.

20A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.

21To show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.

22A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth
And does not know that want will come upon him.

23He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue.

24He who robs his father or his mother
And says, “It is not a transgression,”
Is the companion of a man who destroys.

25An arrogant man stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.

26He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

27He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

28When the wicked rise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase.

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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.

It Is Difficult to Show Grace and Mercy to the Unrepentant Who Continue to Attack Us

War is ugly. While David was still re-establishing his authority as king, there were some who did not accept it. Joab was a faithful and, perhaps brutal, friend and general to David. He seems fiercely loyal and effective. It is interesting to notice the absence of a rebuke for the killing of Absalom in prior chapters and now Amasa.

We also see a certain amount of wisdom in a wise woman at Abel Beth-maacah. She sees the destruction coming in war for the city and reaches out to Joab to understand what he wants. She gets the job done also, though perhaps in a way that seems brutal to us today. She saves a lot of lives and destruction of the city by executing a rebel that stood against the king anointed by YHWH.

I suppose we could conclude that it is difficult to show grace and forgiveness to the unrepentant that continually come against us, and we must be able to defend ourselves from their attack to the point of defeating them and not just setting them up to attack again later. This is consistent with a sinner’s need to repent and submit to YHWH to be saved by grace. One cannot continually reject and come against Yeshua and YHWH and expect to be forgiven.

I can’t help but reflect also on how many people are impacted by the punishment for David’s sin. Definitely a reminder to pray for our national and local leaders, that they would turn to YHWH and not away from Him. Pray they would be righteous and not wicked and that YHWH would defeat the plans of the wicked and raise up the righteous.

2 Samuel 20

Sheba’s Revolt

      1Now a worthless fellow happened to be there whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew the trumpet and said,
“We have no portion in David,
Nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse;
Every man to his tents, O Israel!”

2So all the men of Israel withdrew from following David and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah remained steadfast to their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.

      3Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows.

      4Then the king said to Amasa, “Call out the men of Judah for me within three days, and be present here yourself.” 5So Amasa went to call out the men of Judah, but he delayed longer than the set time which he had appointed him. 6And David said to Abishai, “Now Sheba the son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lord’s servants and pursue him, so that he does not find for himself fortified cities and escape from our sight.” 7So Joab’s men went out after him, along with the Cherethites and the Pelethites and all the mighty men; and they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri. 8When they were at the large stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was dressed in his military attire, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; and as he went forward, it fell out. 9Joab said to Amasa, “Is it well with you, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him.

Amasa Murdered

      10But Amasa was not on guard against the sword which was in Joab’s hand so he struck him in the belly with it and poured out his inward parts on the ground, and did not strike him again, and he died. Then Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri. 11Now there stood by him one of Joab’s young men, and said, “Whoever favors Joab and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab.” 12But Amasa lay wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway. And when the man saw that all the people stood still, he removed Amasa from the highway into the field and threw a garment over him when he saw that everyone who came by him stood still.

Revolt Put Down

      13As soon as he was removed from the highway, all the men passed on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.

      14Now he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, even Beth-maacah, and all the Berites; and they were gathered together and also went after him. 15They came and besieged him in Abel Beth-maacah, and they cast up a siege ramp against the city, and it stood by the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab were wreaking destruction in order to topple the wall. 16Then a wise woman called from the city, “Hear, hear! Please tell Joab, ‘Come here that I may speak with you.’” 17So he approached her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” And he answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your maidservant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” 18Then she spoke, saying, “Formerly they used to say, ‘They will surely ask advice at Abel,’ and thus they ended the dispute. 19“I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?” 20Joab replied, “Far be it, far be it from me that I should swallow up or destroy! 21“Such is not the case. But a man from the hill country of Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, has lifted up his hand against King David. Only hand him over, and I will depart from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head will be thrown to you over the wall.” 22Then the woman wisely came to all the people. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they were dispersed from the city, each to his tent. Joab also returned to the king at Jerusalem.

      23Now Joab was over the whole army of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24and Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25and Sheva was scribe, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26and Ira the Jairite was also a priest to David.

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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 Does God Say About Homosexual Behavior?

Since the United States supreme court ruling that same sex marriage is now legal, many seem in an uproar on one side or the other. Many act as if those people in black robes have some godly power to define what is morally right and wrong in the eyes of the Lord. They do not. They simply have power over the laws of one increasingly pagan nation that is far from YHWH. For those of us who follow Yeshua, the answer is not dictated by one or more governments but rather by the very words of YHWH himself. We can point to countless examples of governments throughout history that reject his instruction and choose to endorse immoral behavior as legal. What’s more, just like with the Supreme Court decision, the decisions and opinions of man shift and change over time. However, there is an absolute standard of what is right and wrong and it is defined by the Lord. It does not change. Man does not have the authority to change it, only to rebel against it.

[Matthew 9:4-6] 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’[a] 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’[b] 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

[1 Corinthians 6:9-11] 9Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

[Romans 1:25-28] 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. 28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

[Leviticus 18:22] 22 “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.

Genesis 19:1-13 tells of the wickedness of sexual sin that led to God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Despite many governments or cultures throughout human history that try to re-define what is moral… YHWH is very clear and consistent on the issue of homosexual behavior. Throughout Old and New Testament He confirms the same message, that it is a sin… an act of rebellion and rejection of God. He does not establish rules arbitrarily or to punish us. He establishes and provides His guidance knowing what is best for us, as He is the one who designed and sustains us. He wants His children to flourish.

To highlight a rather silly example… my DVD player does not work well if I stick pizza in it. It was not designed that way. It is intended for a specific purpose… a DVD. It would be silly to knowingly put something in that is not according to its design and then expect it to work as designed. This is true as well with the design of the human body, both physical, emotional, and spiritual. We flourish best when in proper relationship with the Lord and when we act in accordance with our design.

The story does not have to end with condemnation for any sinner. Yeshua loves sinners and through YHWH’s grace has made a way for us to come back in relationship with him. Repent from your sin, turn to YHWH and seek him wholeheartedly, and ask forgiveness. Pray the Spirit would fill you and guide you as you turn from sin toward YHWH. Then separate yourself from those influences which would pull you back to your old ways and make new connections with followers of Christ who can help encourage you to grow closer to Him. Yeshua can set you free from your sin!

We have to recognize for those of us who want to help those who are lost in this sin, the world has tried to change the narrative. No longer is it “helping” them but now the world says we are intolerant and mean or bad to not accept them as they are. The world tries to redefine what is good and what is bad. However, YHWH does not change. His word does not change. It is better to stand with Him and try to help others, than to please men and let others perish in their unrepentant sin. Don’t let the world silence the word of YHWH.

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

Like An Ornament Of Fine Gold, So Is A Wise Reprover To A Listening Ear

Ask the Spirit to enlighten the meaning and relevance of scripture to you each time you sit to read and reflect on scripture. He is counselor and guide. All scripture is still relevant and worthy for use in teaching and rebuking.

Proverbs 25

Similitudes, Instructions

1These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed.

2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

3As the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.

4Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;

5Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.

6Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;

7For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,”
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.

8Do not go out hastily to argue your case;
Otherwise, what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor humiliates you?

9Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,

10Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.

11Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.

12Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.

13Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.

14Like clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.

15By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaks the bone.

16Have you found honey? Eat only what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.

17Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.

18Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow
Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.

19Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot
Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.

20Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda,
Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.

21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

22For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the LORD will reward you.

23The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.

24It is better to live in a corner of the roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

25Like cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a distant land.

26Like a trampled spring and a polluted well
Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

27It is not good to eat much honey,
Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.

28Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.

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

How We Respond to YHWH’s Correction Largely Defines Our Relationship with Him

When it comes to submitting our lives to YHWH and becoming His people, none of us will be above rebuke. Not even King David was above rebuke. This is a good thing. We are all accountable to YHWH.  He is a loving father who will rebuke and discipline those He loves. We may not like being rebuked, but it helps us remain close to Him and as such, is a very good thing.

How will we respond to the rebuke? That is what will truly define our relationship with our Father. Will we accept it, ask forgiveness, and repent or will we deny and make excuses, rationalizing what we did as acceptable because of the circumstances?

Repenting, even genuinely, does not mean there will not be consequences for our sin. But it will help to guide us back in good relationship with YHWH after.

2 Samuel 12

Nathan Rebukes David

      1Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said,
“There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.

      2“The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.

      3“But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb
Which he bought and nourished;
And it grew up together with him and his children.
It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom,
And was like a daughter to him.

      4“Now a traveler came to the rich man,
And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd,
To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him;
Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

5Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. 6“He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”

      7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8‘I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these! 9‘Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. 10‘Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ 11“Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. 12‘Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’” 13Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. 14“However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” 15So Nathan went to his house.

Loss of a Child

       Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. 16David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. 17The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them. 18Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was still alive, we spoke to him and he did not listen to our voice. How then can we tell him that the child is dead, since he might do himself harm!” 19But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” And they said, “He is dead.” 20So David arose from the ground, washed, anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate.

      21Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” 22He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ 23“But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Solomon Born

      24Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him 25and sent word through Nathan the prophet, and he named him Jedidiah for the LORD’S sake.

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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.

Ever Heard Proverbs Compared To Nesting Dolls?

Have you ever seen the set of wooden dolls which fit one inside another inside another inside another… and so on. There may be ten stacked inside one another. They are called matryoshka nesting dolls.  They do not look like much when they are stacked inside one another, but watch how much is there as you unpack it and spread them out. Proverbs strikes me much the same way. If we are not careful, we may just read quickly over a chapter of Proverbs, saying… “that is nice” or “that is clever” and never really internalize the wisdom it contains. We should take our time to prayerfully consider the warnings and wisdom contained in each chapter. Carefully unpack each verse and consider it. Do not hurry. Appreciate each one for the wisdom it contains and take a few moments to consider how it applies to your life.

Proverbs 24

Precepts and Warnings

         1Do not be envious of evil men,
Nor desire to be with them;

2For their minds devise violence,
And their lips talk of trouble.

3By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;

4And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.

5A wise man is strong,
And a man of knowledge increases power.

6For by wise guidance you will wage war,
And in abundance of counselors there is victory.

7Wisdom is too exalted for a fool,
He does not open his mouth in the gate.

8One who plans to do evil,
Men will call a schemer.

9The devising of folly is sin,
And the scoffer is an abomination to men.

10If you are slack in the day of distress,
Your strength is limited.

11Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.

12If you say, “See, we did not know this,”
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul?
And will He not render to man according to his work?

13My son, eat honey, for it is good,
Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;

14Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;
If you find it, then there will be a future,
And your hope will not be cut off.

15Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous;
Do not destroy his resting place;

16For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

17Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;

18Or the LORD will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.

19Do not fret because of evildoers
Or be envious of the wicked;

20For there will be no future for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21My son, fear the LORD and the king;
Do not associate with those who are given to change,

22For their calamity will rise suddenly,
And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?

23These also are sayings of the wise.
To show partiality in judgment is not good.

24He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,”
Peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him;

25But to those who rebuke the wicked will be delight,
And a good blessing will come upon them.

26He kisses the lips
Who gives a right answer.

27Prepare your work outside
And make it ready for yourself in the field;
Afterwards, then, build your house.

28Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause,
And do not deceive with your lips.

29Do not say, “Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me;
I will render to the man according to his work.”

30I passed by the field of the sluggard
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,

31And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles;
Its surface was covered with nettles,
And its stone wall was broken down.

32When I saw, I reflected upon it;
I looked, and received instruction.

33“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,”

34Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.

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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.

One Who Follows YHWH Appears Unconventional

One who follows YHWH is unconventional by worldly standards. David is an example. Most men would thank and reward those who killed their adversary in war. David … not so much. David wanted righteousness even in battling his enemies, at least his enemies which were part of YHWH’s chosen people. I am not sure he held the same standard for others.  We should take heed. David was a man after YHWH’s own heart.

2 Samuel 4

Ish-bosheth Murdered

      1Now when Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel was disturbed. 2Saul’s son had two men who were commanders of bands: the name of the one was Baanah and the name of the other Rechab, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, of the sons of Benjamin (for Beeroth is also considered part of Benjamin, 3and the Beerothites fled to Gittaim and have been aliens there until this day).

      4Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son crippled in his feet. He was five years old when the report of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and became lame. And his name was Mephibosheth.

      5So the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, departed and came to the house of Ish-bosheth in the heat of the day while he was taking his midday rest. 6They came to the middle of the house as if to get wheat, and they struck him in the belly; and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. 7Now when they came into the house, as he was lying on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and killed him and beheaded him. And they took his head and traveled by way of the Arabah all night. 8Then they brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, “Behold, the head of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; thus the LORD has given my lord the king vengeance this day on Saul and his descendants.”

      9David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said to them, “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, 10when one told me, saying, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. 11“How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood from your hand and destroy you from the earth?” 12Then David commanded the young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hung them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the grave of Abner in Hebron.

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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.