Category Archives: Study the Word

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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Walk In The Light

Yeshua is the Light. He came to show us how we should live in relationship with the Father. He came to die for our sins so we may be reconciled with the Father. He came in order that the Father’s purpose would be fulfilled. Let us seek to walk in the Light. Seek out and understand what Yeshua taught and how He lived.

Let us pray that the Lord would give each of us and others we pray for eyes to see and a heart that is not hardened, that we may receive the message of truth and not a corrupted version of it.

Let us challenge ourselves that if we truly believe in Him, we do not keep it a secret. May we never love the approval of men more than the approval of the Father. It is a harder thing than we would like to admit. The approval of men is vivid and immediate around us in our lives. The approval of the Father is sometimes not immediately visible, especially if we face persecution. However, pray that He would strengthen you and that you would live for Him and His approval rather than that of man.

John 12:27-50

Jesus Foretells His Death

     27“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28“Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 34The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?” 39For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40“HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” 41These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.

      44And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45“He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46“I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50“I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”

Do not be quick to say to yourself, “I walk in the Light” or “I never seek approval of man over the Father”. Instead, pray for wisdom and clarity. Ask the Lord to show you if there are areas in your life where you are doing so.

If we walk in the Light, then we should be seeking the Light more and more, studying, discerning and continuing to learn and change our behavior and attitudes. Who among us would claim we know the Lord fully? We are walking fully and completely with Him in our lives? If we are not, but we seek to walk in the Light, then we should be continuing to study and learn and change our behavior to be more and more in line with Christ. Our attitudes should be changing. Many have found a “comfortable” lifestyle where they have settled in, complacent to accept that this is the way to live in relation with Christ. We should be continuing to learn and change as our understanding grows.

If we truly seek the approval of the Father over that of man, then we should be continuing to experience some form of confrontation or adversity. If we boldly live for Christ, and there are many who stand against Him, or even stand in His name but are living such that they are clearly far from Him, we should be encountering some conflict. If we are encountering no conflict as we live out our faith, even with other church members, we must ask ourselves if we really are living for Christ boldly as a light or if we are blending in with others around us into the darkness. Are we only hanging out with those who agree with us or are we presenting Christ  and our full understanding of Him to others who do not agree? If we are to make disciples, we must bring the truth of His word to bear even for those who may not seek to hear it. We saw this in Yeshua’s ministry clearly. Some accepted. Some rejected.

With help from the Father, what changes do you need to make in your life to walk closer with our Lord?

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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.

 

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Long For Your Spouse and Your Lord

I find Song of Solomon 8 a bit hard to fully digest and understand at first. I believe it is at once showing us a passionate and virtuous love between bride and groom and also an allegory for our love for Christ as the true body of Christ.

It begins with an innocence that seems to wish that her love had not the trappings of being king, so that she could love him more privately and without anyone despising her.

It includes some additional allegories, one in verse 8 about the younger daughter who may soon be of courting age.  The story highlights that should the girl be virtuous and avoid men’s advances, she will be honored. Should she be weak and susceptible to temptation, then they will try to protect her. This can also apply to us in a spiritual sense in our relationship with Yeshua. Let us not commit spiritual sin by participating with other false beliefs or false gods. Let us be pure and set aside for our Lord.

Another allegory begins later in verse 11 concerning vineyards. It would appear a reference perhaps to our being good stewards to all our Lord provides to us to manage in this life. All that we have belongs to Him. Let us use it well and consistently with His desires and instructions. Let us not be greedy and driven only by our own desires.

At the close, we see again how she can hardly wait for her love to come. Oh that we should be so anxious for our Lord to come and be with us… that we should put that focus in our prayer, Bible study, and worship time as priority above other daily activities.

Song of Solomon 8

The Lovers Speak

    1“Oh that you were like a brother to me
Who nursed at my mother’s breasts.
If I found you outdoors, I would kiss you;
No one would despise me, either.

      2“I would lead you and bring you
Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me;
I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.

      3“Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”

      4“I want you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Do not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”

      5“Who is this coming up from the wilderness
Leaning on her beloved?”

“Beneath the apple tree I awakened you;
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.

      6“Put me like a seal over your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the LORD.

      7“Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it;
If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,
It would be utterly despised.”

      8“We have a little sister,
And she has no breasts;
What shall we do for our sister
On the day when she is spoken for?

      9“If she is a wall,
We will build on her a battlement of silver;
But if she is a door,
We will barricade her with planks of cedar.”

      10“I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers;
Then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace.

      11“Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers.
Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.

      12“My very own vineyard is at my disposal;
The thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
And two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit.”

      13“O you who sit in the gardens,
My companions are listening for your voice—
Let me hear it!”

      14“Hurry, my beloved,
And be like a gazelle or a young stag
On the mountains of spices.”

Ask the Lord to help you want more of Him… more worship, more prayer time, more Bible study. Ask Him to make it a desire of your heart and not just another task to be done each day. Let it be exciting to us as if waiting on the one we love to come to see us.

At the same time, for those of us who are married, let us also ask Him to help us continue to long for our spouse in this way that we should cherish our time together and not take it for granted.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Yeshua And The Father Are One

I have heard some say that Yeshua never claimed to be God, that somehow He is just a “good teacher”. There are many places in scripture where He clearly identifies Himself as Messiah, as God. John 10 has one obvious example. If we understand Him to be one with the Father, then we should surely obey His teaching and His example.

The fact is, once we understand that He claimed to be God, we can no longer accept the potential idea that He is a good teacher. Rather we must consider that He is either a madman, a liar, or God… as He claimed.

John 10:22-42

Jesus Asserts His Deity

     22At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; 23it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. 24The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. 26“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30“I and the Father are one.”

      31The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” 34Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? 35“If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 39Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.

      40And He went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there. 41Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.” 42Many believed in Him there.

Some just refuse to believe. They are not His sheep. Some claim to believe, but do not change their lives and do not seek to truly understand what He calls us to do. They are not His sheep either. Others believe and follow Him according to His word. They seek Him out in prayer and study. They change their lives based on what they learn of Yeshua. These are His sheep. Sadly, many can be led astray by poor or incomplete teaching. We should each seek Him by reading the Bible and testing everything against the scriptures ourselves. When we disagree, let us seek answers in prayer and verify in scripture.  This is how we find true joy dwelling with our Creator according to His ways.

*Feast of Dedication refers to Hanukkah.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

There Are Consequences When A Nation Turns From YHWH

This is a message our nation and our world need to hear even today, as they continue to distance themselves from God, worship other gods, and live according to their own ways instead of those of YHWH. He gave us the law as instruction for us in how to live and relate to Him. He sent Yeshua to make a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to Him. However, when we as a nation continue to reject His instruction in how we live we can be sure to expect the same response that YHWH had toward Israel. He will be angry. His blessing will be removed. We will get to live with the results of our own wickedness and He will bring punishment. Let those who have ears to hear, hear and apply our lives today. Let us humble ourselves and repent before Him, praying for our nation and for His grace to deliver our people back to following Him… not according to the teachings of the church, but according to His instruction in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 31:23-30

      23Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

      24It came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, 25that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26“Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. 27“For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death? 28“Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29“For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”

      30Then Moses spoke in the hearing of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were complete:

Deuteronomy 32

The Song of Moses

     1“Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

      2“Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.

      3“For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!

      4“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.

      5“They have acted corruptly toward Him,
They are not His children, because of their defect;
But are a perverse and crooked generation.

      6“Do you thus repay the LORD,
O foolish and unwise people?
Is not He your Father who has bought you?
He has made you and established you.

      7“Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of all generations.
Ask your father, and he will inform you,
Your elders, and they will tell you.

      8“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel.

      9“For the LORD’S portion is His people;
Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.

      10“He found him in a desert land,
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.

      11“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
That hovers over its young,
He spread His wings and caught them,
He carried them on His pinions.

      12“The LORD alone guided him,
And there was no foreign god with him.

      13“He made him ride on the high places of the earth,
And he ate the produce of the field;
And He made him suck honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock,

      14Curds of cows, and milk of the flock,
With fat of lambs,
And rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats,
With the finest of the wheat—
And of the blood of grapes you drank wine.

      15“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked—
You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scorned the Rock of his salvation.

      16“They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.

      17“They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.

      18“You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.

      19“The LORD saw this, and spurned them
Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.

      20“Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end shall be;
For they are a perverse generation,
Sons in whom is no faithfulness.

      21‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God;
They have provoked Me to anger with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,

      22For a fire is kindled in My anger,
And burns to the lowest part of Sheol,
And consumes the earth with its yield,
And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.

      23‘I will heap misfortunes on them;
I will use My arrows on them.

      24They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague
And bitter destruction;
And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them,
With the venom of crawling things of the dust.

      25‘Outside the sword will bereave,
And inside terror—
Both young man and virgin,
The nursling with the man of gray hair.

      26‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces,
I will remove the memory of them from men,”

      27Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy,
That their adversaries would misjudge,
That they would say, “Our hand is triumphant,
And the LORD has not done all this.”’

      28“For they are a nation lacking in counsel,
And there is no understanding in them.

      29“Would that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would discern their future!

      30“How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the LORD had given them up?

      31“Indeed their rock is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves judge this.

      32“For their vine is from the vine of Sodom,
And from the fields of Gomorrah;
Their grapes are grapes of poison,
Their clusters, bitter.

      33“Their wine is the venom of serpents,
And the deadly poison of cobras.

      34‘Is it not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up in My treasuries?

      35‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.’

      36“For the LORD will vindicate His people,
And will have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their strength is gone,
And there is none remaining, bond or free.

      37“And He will say, ‘Where are their gods,
The rock in which they sought refuge?

      38‘Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
And drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you,
Let them be your hiding place!

      39‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.

      40‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven,
And say, as I live forever,

      41If I sharpen My flashing sword,
And My hand takes hold on justice,
I will render vengeance on My adversaries,
And I will repay those who hate Me.

      42‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood,
And My sword will devour flesh,
With the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’

      43“Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
And will atone for His land and His people.”

      44Then Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he, with Joshua the son of Nun. 45When Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law. 47“For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life. And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

      48The LORD spoke to Moses that very same day, saying, 49“Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession. 50“Then die on the mountain where you ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51because you broke faith with Me in the midst of the sons of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not treat Me as holy in the midst of the sons of Israel.52“For you shall see the land at a distance, but you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving the sons of Israel.”

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Humility To Be Teachable and Boldness To Test Everything Against God’s Word

The account of Yeshua declaring Himself to be Messiah, “Son of Man”, in John 9 brings with it some interesting thoughts in the verses that follow. For context, He has healed a man who was blind since birth. The man testified that Yeshua healed Him and thus must have been sent by YHWH before the religious leaders. They put the man out of the temple because they declared him to be wrong, holding fast to their belief that Yeshua is not from YHWH… despite the obvious miracle. They did not have eyes to see. They were not humble enough to consider that their preconceived idea might be wrong and to test it, and Yeshua’s teaching, against the scriptures. That refusal to test what they believe against YHWH’s word ends badly for them. They remain blind.

The man who was healed, on the other hand, was persecuted for standing up for Yeshua. He was willing to look to the evidence around him and stand for Yeshua, even in the face of persecution. He received not only physical, but also spiritual sight because he was humble enough to know he may not have all the answers, and bold enough to test what the religious leaders were saying against evidence rather than simply taking their word for it.

This lesson in humility to be teachable and boldness to challenge and test everything against the word of YHWH is a powerful example to each of us even today.

John 9:35-41

Jesus Affirms His Deity

      35Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” 37Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.” 38And he said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped Him. 39And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

Perhaps the most interesting verse is 41. I am not sure exactly how to understand the context of this verse. Clearly He is talking about spiritual blindness. I believe He is referring to their lack of humility, their stubbornness, to refuse to accept that they don’t have the answers. It closes them off from recognizing and accepting Messiah, even as He stands before them doing miracles and teaching the scriptures properly. Their refusal to “see”, to accept Christ, means they remain in darkness and remain accountable for their sin before YHWH.

We face similar situations today. Many in leadership of “Christian” churches teach things that are obviously and wildly out of line with what the Bible teaches. Many people just want to accept it because it is easy, because the religious leaders say so, because teaching has been changed to encourage believers to just blend with society or accept their sins without repenting and changing themselves. The sermons just tickle the ears and fill the seats.

Pray for YHWH to help you stand boldly to test everything, even teachings you have grown up with all your life, against the word of YHWH. Don’t seek answers only in the opinions of others. Many wise people have many different opinions. Seek answers personally by reading and studying the word of YHWH in the Bible daily. Challenge assumptions of basic doctrine that are taught by finding scripture to back it up rather than just accepting it because someone smart or someone who went to seminary said so.

One simple example… where in the Bible do we find any reference to Sabbath being on Sunday, the 1st day? No where. Man moved that to Saturday to distance themselves as “Christians” from the “Jewish” people. However, Yeshua was a Jew. The Jews are the people of YHWH. Scripture says we are grafted in to the vine (Christ). We were not supposed to start our own vine that is essentially a new plant and different. This is but one example. Scripture said we should base our calendar on the moon and the days in Biblical record started at sundown and went to sundown. Man changed it to midnight. Man changed it to the solar calendar we use today.

Most Christians say the law or instructions given to Moses are no longer valid because of Yeshua. But Yeshua lived according to those laws. He referred back to the Torah and its teachings. What did He actually say about this?

Matthew 5:17-19

   17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Some changes just mentioned are from long ago. Others changes are more recent. In my lifetime I have seen what was left of the Sabbath disappear. Despite celebrating on Sunday instead of Saturday, people used to at least rest. Stores were closed. Families spent time together… not frantically going to and fro… but resting. Now that is all but gone. So too with churches now embracing homosexual and transgender sin rather than helping people find Yeshua and turn from their sin. Did YHWH suddenly change His mind? (Spoiler alert… He is timeless and unchanging so the answer is no, He did not.) These sins are no worse than other sexual sin rampant in our society. They are no worse than coveting, which is our true national pastime if you look at how many people suffer from it.

We will never pull out of this decline in our society unless we start differentiating ourselves as followers of Christ from the rest of society. We need to be different to be a light. We need to focus on serving YHWH His way rather than our own ways. We need to change ourselves to be more in His image rather than change His image to reflect our own so we need not change. We need to give ourselves over to total transformation and submission, not just partial. We can’t say we serve YHWH and then insist on keeping certain traditions and lifestyle choices that are different than what He instructed His people to do.

Wisdom reminds us that we may not have all the answers, we may not be doing everything right, we may need to change, even if painful to do so. For those who want to look to “religious leaders” of today and say… “how could they all have it wrong?” Consider how many of these leaders disagree with each other on even significant issues. All of them may be, but most of them must be wrong about certain issues. Further, if you think there is strength or confidence in numbers, consider the religious leaders during Yeshua’s earthly ministry. They “all” or mostly were on the wrong side. They did not have everything wrong, but they had messed up quite a bit of YHWH’s instruction for the people… just like today.

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

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

All Of God’s Word Is Important For Us To Live By

As Moses was preparing to die and transition leadership to Joshua, YHWH told Him the people would rebel and go their own way. Moses took it upon Himself, knowing this, to write down the law in a book to help serve as a guide to the people for what is right and what is wrong according to YHWH. He knew the people would adopt other customs and traditions and that this book could serve as the unchanging guide to bring them back to YHWH’s ways. The same scriptures serve us today with the same law. More has been added, yes, but only what is consistent with and building upon / referencing the Torah, which is to say the first 5 books of the Bible from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This remains our foundation of YHWH’s instruction. It is not obsolete. It has not been replaced. It is entirely consistent with the teachings of Yeshua, who often referred back to scripture (Old Testament scripture as the New was not yet written) while teaching.

Deuteronomy 31:23-29

Joshua Is Commissioned

      23Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.”

      24It came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, 25that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26“Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. 27“For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death? 28“Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to witness against them. 29“For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”

Ask yourself what is more consistent with a loving, eternal, unchanging God… giving His people instructions and then changing them radically later or laying out a single, consistent foundation of instruction that continues to build upon itself to help guide His people. Most good parents and teachers would understand immediately from teaching children that you do not train them up in one way only to make them do it completely differently later. That is confusing and a waste of time.

Study the whole word of God. Apply all of it in your life today. Live the way YHWH instructed rather than the way you have been raised by parents or by the way the world tells us to or even what is taught in churches (which is also often wrong). Devote time to study it yourself. Do not simply delegate that to a pastor or even spouse. Study it and pray. Dialog and debate the meaning with other Christians. Test everything. Do not simply accept what we have been taught.

Remember that when YHWH set His people free from slavery in Egypt, He called them to change from the ways they were used to in Egypt to His ways. He calls us to do the same as we embrace Him and turn away from a life of sin and self and worldly traditions and guidance.

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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.

 

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

What Can We Learn From Moses’ Last Advice?

Moses was a man who is well regarded by many. He was a man of God. He overcame many personal shortcomings to serve the Lord faithfully and lead the people of Israel through many challenges and victories, out of slavery in Egypt, through the wilderness, and up to the promised land. He had a close and personal relationship with YHWH for decades. Let’s take a look at his parting advice for his people and consider how it may apply to us still today.

Deuteronomy 31:1-13

Moses’ Last Counsel

      1So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. 2And he said to them, “I am a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come and go, and the LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ 3“It is the LORD your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, just as the LORD has spoken. 4“The LORD will do to them just as He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when He destroyed them. 5“The LORD will deliver them up before you, and you shall do to them according to all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

      7Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. 8“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

      9So Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel.10Then Moses commanded them, saying, “At the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts, at the Feast of Booths,11when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place which He will choose, you shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing. 12“Assemble the people, the men and the women and children and the alien who is in your town, so that they may hear and learn and fear the LORD your God, and be careful to observe all the words of this law. 13“Their children, who have not known, will hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess.”

If we pause to break it down a bit we can see some keen insight.

  • Go where the Lord leads, not a place of your own choosing.
  • When the Lord goes before you, you will have victory.
  • Even with the Lord going before you, you will still encounter challenges and you will still need His help to be strong and courageous as you face them.
  • Remember the instructions of YHWH. Read them over and over. Teach them to your children. Put them in a place of honor in your life and in society. Keep them before the people continuously as a light unto their path.

We would do well to heed this advice. Many who claim to follow Christ have disregarded His word. Many are making their own path or following the world rather than following where YHWH leads. It is a path that leads to defeat rather than victory, though Satan is clever enough to make it feel like success at times.

Pray for YHWH to help you to come into right relationship with Him. Seek Him. Study His word. Obey and live out His instructions. Test everything (yes, including what is taught in churches) against the Bible, the unchanging and inspired word of God.  Be strong and courageous in doing so.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Choose Life

We have the same offer today from YHWH, the same choice. He has set before us each a choice. It is up to us to choose life and blessing over the curse. However this means we must choose Him, we must choose to love Him, walk in His ways, and keep His commandments, His statutes, His judgments… rather than our own or those devised by man. The source of truth is not what is taught in churches. The source of truth is God, Himself and He has provided to us a written record of His instruction in the Bible, which is available to all.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Choose Life

     15“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 16in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17“But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. 19“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, 20by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

To choose God and the ways of man is not to truly choose God. We can each have only one master. Choose and choose wisely. There are eternal consequences in addition to the trials and / or joy we can experience in this world. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. To do so, we realize that we must be open to change our understanding of His instructions as we study further the Bible and learn more of the ways in which the instruction found in churches today does not line up in many cases with the Bible itself and God’s instruction. Praise the Lord, we find His instructions are not burdensome, but draw us nearer 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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me

“My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” These are the words of Jesus and should be the focus of all who claim to teach about Him and in His name.

If only all pastors and teachers today would seek only the glory of God rather than their own glory, what a strong church we would enjoy. Rather there are many who are unrighteous and teach (incorrectly) in the name of God. We can only discern wisely who they are by studying the word of God in the Bible ourselves and seeking to understand. Then we are to test and challenge all that we are taught and reject that which is wrong and accept that which is good.

Note that one does not get wisdom by simply attending a fancy or respected university or even Seminary. They are only as good as the person who determines the doctrine they teach, which is sometimes more focused on growing and running a church than understanding fully and teaching the word of God.

John 7:14-18

    14But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” 16So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.17“If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Test everything and everyone against God’s word. You can’t do that unless you study and pray for help understanding God’s word yourself and with other believers. Be teachable… be willing to challenge what you have been told (even growing up in “church”) in light of what you discover in God’s word directly. There are also an amazing number of resources available to help you now more than ever with the internet. Many are bad, but many are also very good and insightful. You have to study and pray and test to gain wisdom.

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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.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.