Category Archives: Fear / Reverence for God

What Is Mardi Gras and Should Christians Celebrate It?

What is Mardi Gras and why do so many Christians celebrate it? I grew up in a Catholic church and never could quite figure out how people could say that Mardi Gras was a “Christian holiday”. People broadly seemed to have accepted the concept that Christ wants us to embrace wild parties, drunkenness, public nudity, gluttony and other sinful behavior as a precursor to a period of repentance which follows. If it is not obvious enough that celebrating Mardi Gras is not a way to edify, honor, or lift up Christ then try a more academic exercise. Where in scripture did Jesus demonstrate or teach that we should sin greatly before a period of repentance? It’s not there. In fact, the opposite.

The call to repentance is real, but not the call to sin before it.

This does not even begin to touch on the focus that Mardi Gras puts on pagan gods associated with parades and other events.

Matthew 4:17

      17From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Romans 6

      1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.

      8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

      12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

      15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

      20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are called to righteousness and not to sin. How then can those in the church widely accept and embrace sin as a “Christian holiday”? The answer is that we have not followed the Lord’s instructions. He commands us not to learn the ways of the pagans and not to celebrate as they do. But all too often our common cultural holidays have been greatly influenced by pagan celebrations. The church has chosen to accept and blend pagan practices alongside or in place of how the Lord wants us to worship Him.

Mardi Gras is a tradition that dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia.

When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England.

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mardi-gras

Deuteronomy 12:1-5

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

In order to choose to follow the Lord His way, which is the only true way to follow Him, then we must turn away from and reject pagan celebrations which have been blended with or replaced God’s instructions for how we are to worship Him and how we are to live. Let us not make excuses, accepting the lifestyle of the pagans as our own, no matter how long the family traditions have been established. When we start making exceptions, we often end up with things like Mardi Gras… many who claim to be Christian accept it and would defend it… but none can justify it based on scripture or God’s word. It has become part of the culture based on a historical choices and family traditions. Let us seek the Lord and the Lord’s way alone to live submitted to Him. Let us not blend with the ways of the pagans but rather turn back to our Lord wholeheartedly and without hesitation.

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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.

 

Focus On The Glory and Power Of Our Father

The power of YHWH is incredible. It is enough to really grab people’s attention. While not everything the Lord does will be as dramatic as drying up the waters of the river so His people could cross, there are many miracles that we experience all around us in His creation and in our lives. The more effective we are as His people to give glory to YHWH and point to His work rather than our own participation, the more it will impress upon others to acknowledge Him.

Joshua 5:1

     1Now it came about when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.

Let us always seek to tell of the wonders of YHWH’s power and glory and seek to live in such a way as to put the focus on Him rather than ourselves.

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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 Will Provide True Purpose and Fulfillment?

Ecclesiastes is another book of wisdom, written by Solomon. He records here his thoughts about how the value of many things he has tried in his life and ultimately has an important conclusion for us all to recognize and apply in our lives. Here is a very wise man, given wisdom above other men by the Father. He has lived with great wealth and power. He has been able to do many things seeking fulfillment. His conclusion?

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

This conclusion by itself is a powerful message. I share it as we begin Ecclesiastes for context. We will revisit it again as we go through the scripture, but take a few moments to contemplate it. Then remember it as you read through Ecclesiastes and see all the pursuits which Solomon tried to find fulfillment… and came up empty. Most of us today are still trying to find fulfillment without the Father and we too will come up empty if we continue on that path.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

The Futility of All Endeavor

      1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

      2“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

      3What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?

      4A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.

      5Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hastening to its place it rises there again.

      6Blowing toward the south,
Then turning toward the north,
The wind continues swirling along;
And on its circular courses the wind returns.

      7All the rivers flow into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full.
To the place where the rivers flow,
There they flow again.

      8All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.

      9That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun.

      10Is there anything of which one might say,
“See this, it is new”?
Already it has existed for ages
Which were before us.

      11There is no remembrance of earlier things;
And also of the later things which will occur,
There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come later still.

Let Us Remember The Glory Of What YHWH Has Done

In our world, there are many monuments made to remember the accomplishments of man. There are far fewer which are established to remember the glory of what YHWH has done. As we build monuments and tell tales to our children to remember what has happened in the past of significance, let our focus on the role and glory of YHWH rather than that of men “so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

Joshua 4

Memorial Stones from Jordan

      1Now when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, 2“Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.’” 4So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; 5and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. 6“Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

      8Thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, just as the LORD spoke to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel; and they carried them over with them to the lodging place and put them down there. 9Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day. 10For the priests who carried the ark were standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything was completed that the LORD had commanded Joshua to speak to the people, according to all that Moses had commanded Joshua. And the people hurried and crossed; 11and when all the people had finished crossing, the ark of the LORD and the priests crossed before the people. 12The sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over in battle array before the sons of Israel, just as Moses had spoken to them; 13about 40,000 equipped for war, crossed for battle before the LORD to the desert plains of Jericho.

      14On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; so that they revered him, just as they had revered Moses all the days of his life.

      15Now the LORD said to Joshua, 16“Command the priests who carry the ark of the testimony that they come up from the Jordan.” 17So Joshua commanded the priests, saying, “Come up from the Jordan.” 18It came about when the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD had come up from the middle of the Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up to the dry ground, that the waters of the Jordan returned to their place, and went over all its banks as before.

      19Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. 20Those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. 21He said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ 22then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ 23“For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.”

Many today take exception to “fearing” YHWH. But we should be careful to take heed to the written word. The Hebrew root word for fear used here refers to fear, to respect, to reverence. This is used often in referring to YHWH. One such well known usage is in Proverbs 1.

Proverbs 1:7.

 7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

We need not fear Him as some unpredictable dictator, but rather as in a strong Father and leader, who will discipline those whom He loves and those who rebel against Him, for the benefit of His people. A healthy and appropriate fear of YHWH helps us to believe and live morally, according to His instruction rather than the ways of man.

I can well imagine today, if this miracle of crossing the Jordan had been accomplished people may well make a monument to Joshua, but not to YHWH. Let us not remember history only from the perspective of what man has done, but rather let us remember history from the perspective of what YHWH has done and is doing!

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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 Is The Way, The Truth, And The Life

There is but one way… one truth… one path to true life… it is and always has been through Messiah to the Father.

John 14:1-6

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

     1“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4“And you know the way where I am going.” 5Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Many who feel uncomfortable in conflict want to believe that somehow everyone goes to heaven, or everyone who is “good enough” goes to heaven, or everyone who says they follow Jesus goes to heaven even if they live according to the ways of men. The problem… what they believe does not change the truth. Yeshua is the only path to the Father. Everything else is a deception, an imitation, or an excuse.

For those that truly believe in Yeshua as Messiah, they will not be satisfied to then claim Him but continue living according to the ways of men. Rather, if you really believe that He is the path, then you will want to follow that path, even if it is hard. If you really believe He is God, you will want to seek Him, study His word, pray, worship… you will be transformed.

Take care not to be fooled and complacent. Not all who claim His name, or even do miracles in His name will be saved.

Matthew 7:13-23

The Narrow and Wide Gates

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

A Tree and Its Fruit

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

      21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Pray for Him to strengthen your faith, to give you passion to seek Him and follow Him, to study His word and understand what it really says… rather than just accepting what other people tell you it says. There is much false teaching, even in Christian churches. Sometimes we must get past that false doctrine to find our true Messiah rather than a false image of Him.

But He is merciful and gracious. He lovingkindness is endless. If we truly seek Him, we shall find Him and we shall find joy in this life and beyond regardless of circumstance.

Jeremiah 29: 12-13

12‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Revelation 3:20

20‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

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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.

Put The Will Of The Father Ahead Of Our Own Desires

Yeshua is truly a perfect example of putting the will of the Father first and obeying, even knowing it will end in a painful death for Him. He does not whine or complain to His disciples. He willingly and courageously does the will of the Father. I appreciate the love and loyalty the disciples had toward Him also. They were not perfect. They often made mistakes or did not fully understand. However, they were genuine in their desire to follow and learn, even when they did not understand. They gave their full trust and support to Yeshua. We can all use fellowship like that to help us through hard times.

John 13: 21-38

Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

     21When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” 22The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

      31Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33“Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

      36Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 37Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

Let us seek the Lord’s help to put His will above our own in our lives. Seek friends that would support us in this pursuit, rather than discourage 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.

Give Thanks To The LORD, For He Is Good; For His Lovingkindness Is Everlasting

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 118

Thanksgiving for the LORD’S Saving Goodness.

     1Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

      2Oh let Israel say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      3Oh let the house of Aaron say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      4Oh let those who fear the LORD say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

      5From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.

      6The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?

      7The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

      8It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.

      9It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.

      10All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      11They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      12They surrounded me like bees;
They were extinguished as a fire of thorns;
In the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off.

      13You pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the LORD helped me.

      14The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

      15The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

      16The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

      17I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the LORD.

      18The LORD has disciplined me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

      19Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I shall enter through them, I shall give thanks to the LORD.

      20This is the gate of the LORD;
The righteous will enter through it.

      21I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation.

      22The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.

      23This is the LORD’S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

      24This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

      25O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!

      26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

      27The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

      28You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.

      29Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

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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 Strong And Courageous Living Obediently For The Lord

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

Joshua 1:1-9

God’s Charge to Joshua

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

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

Luke 22:24-27

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

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

Matthew 7:24-27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

You Will Always Have The Poor

Helping the poor is good, and it is consistent with the teaching of Yeshua. However, it is not an excuse to disregard Yeshua as Lord of our lives. We should not place others in a place of higher priority in our lives than we do Yeshua. He must be first.

John 12:1-11

Mary Anoints Jesus

     1Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?6Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. 7Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8“For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

      9The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.

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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.