Category Archives: Sin Nature

Be Vigilant To Avoid False Prophets

Make no mistake, there were and clearly still are false prophets. They corrupt the teaching and instruction of YHWH and mix and mingle it with what is unholy. They lead people astray from YHWH’s path, especially those that do not study the Bible to know what it tells us and to test what others say YHWH wants. By definition, a false prophet is representing themselves in some way like they are bringing truth from the LORD. They do not announce that they are teaching things against YHWH. They slowly mislead people, bit by bit, away from the path YHWH has for us.

We must be intentional. We must seek YHWH. Follow the example of Yeshua to be sure. Study and pray and walk out the life according to YHWH’s word, which we have now in the form of Bibles. Do not be idle or lazy or just take the word of men. Test everything, even that which you have been taught by churches and your family against what God’s word actually says. Study it. Pray about it.

Think about it this way. If I love my wife, do I simply listen to what others say about what she values and wants? or do I listen to her words directly? Which is the better source? If someone tells me something which does not sound right, I would test it with her and what she has told me in the past. I would trust her input over that of others if there is a conflict. If I have a point of confusion, I would seek her out to clarify, not the other person. In this way, we should also pursue the LORD.

2 Peter 2

The Rise of False Prophets

      1But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

      4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 5and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, 11whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, 13suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, 14having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; 15forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.

      17These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 18For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, 19promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

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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.

Draw Near To YHWH And Our Fellow Man

James identifies a really targeted list of behaviors and attitudes that help us draw nearer to YHWH and our fellow man. We should carefully read through them and prayerfully reflect, asking YHWH to open our eyes to how they apply in our lives.

James 4

Things to Avoid

      1What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

      11Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

      13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

There is a lot in this list. We should not skip any of it, but I will pull out a few items that may often be misunderstood. Where he speaks about not being a friend to the world, the context is an adulteress. Where he speaks about turning joy into mourning, he is talking about us as sinners no longer finding joy but rather mourning in our sinful behavior and attitudes so we may become humble before YHWH and repent. Where he speaks of “judging”, let us first recognize that he is recognizing the law as the righteous standard of conduct we should follow, even after Yeshua was raised from the dead. He further is emphasizing that we should focus more on obeying the law ourselves and less on judging how others are doing about it. That said, we know from elsewhere in scripture we are to discern or judge right from wrong so we may reject what is bad and embrace what is good. Thus I think his emphasis here is on those who rather than follow the law themselves, just gossip and speak against others who follow it imperfectly.

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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.

Lost and Lawless

Judges 18 continues to record the picture of a lost people, living lawlessly and without a ruler or clear understanding of YHWH and how to follow him. They are practically fighting over idols and a priest that is ok with idols. This is not pleasing to the LORD. I find it curious to note that in both Judges 17 and 18, scripture makes the point that there was no king in Israel. It seems an important point. It reminds us that without clear governance, people just degrade toward anarchy and “might makes right” approach at taking what they want. Of course, a government that operates to take away our freedom is not much better. What a blessing to live in a country like the USA where a constitutional republic form of government is designed to protect our freedoms, even from the government itself.

However, to close on a point, Judges 18 reminds us that it is not the nature of man to be righteous. If and when we drift away from YHWH and his instructions, we drift away from true righteousness and into lawlessness and anarchy. Just as in our society today, the law established by YHWH is intended to protect and guide us in how to live in freedom. It is not to put us in bondage.

We can also be reminded that just following a priest or leader in established religion is no certainty that we are living in a way that is pleasing to YHWH. We have to seek the truth in his word.

Lastly, I find it somewhat telling, that as we read about lawless living in Judges 17-18, we see there is no mention of YHWH acting on behalf of the people. He seems to have left them to their own depravity as they do not seem to be seeking or following him.

Judges 18

Danites Seek Territory

      1In those days there was no king of Israel; and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in, for until that day an inheritance had not been allotted to them as a possession among the tribes of Israel. 2So the sons of Dan sent from their family five men out of their whole number, valiant men from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to search it; and they said to them, “Go, search the land.” And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned aside there and said to him, “Who brought you here? And what are you doing in this place? And what do you have here?” 4He said to them, “Thus and so has Micah done to me, and he has hired me and I have become his priest.” 5They said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous.” 6The priest said to them, “Go in peace; your way in which you are going has the LORD’S approval.”

      7Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were in it living in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure; for there was no ruler humiliating them for anything in the land, and they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone. 8When they came back to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?9They said, “Arise, and let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. And will you sit still? Do not delay to go, to enter, to possess the land. 10“When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land; for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”

      11Then from the family of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men armed with weapons of war set out. 12They went up and camped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan to this day; behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim. 13They passed from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

Danites Take Micah’s Idols

      14Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod and household idols and a graven image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you should do.” 15They turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. 16The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took the graven image and the ephod and household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war. 18When these went into Micah’s house and took the graven image, the ephod and household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19They said to him, “Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” 20The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod and household idols and the graven image and went among the people.

      21Then they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the valuables in front of them. 22When they had gone some distance from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house assembled and overtook the sons of Dan. 23They cried to the sons of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you have assembled together?” 24He said, “You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have besides? So how can you say to me, ‘What is the matter with you?’” 25The sons of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, or else fierce men will fall upon you and you will lose your life, with the lives of your household.” 26So the sons of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

      27Then they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire. 28And there was no one to deliver them, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley which is near Beth-rehob. And they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish. 30The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31So they set up for themselves Micah’s graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.

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

Do Not Harden Your Hearts Against YHWH

Unbelief is a serious thing and it is often misunderstood. Even the demons believe Yeshua is God, but that does not mean they are saved. No, they are the enemy. They believe Yeshua is God but do not submit to his authority.

James 2:19-20

19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

Our belief is not one of recognizing that Yeshua is God, but rather submitting to and living according to his instruction and example. In that way we demonstrate our belief.

Think of it this way. If I believe in gravity, my actions show it. I hold the handrail going up stairs. I don’t walk off a roof or over a cliff. My behaviors and attitudes reflect what I believe. It affects my life.

Hebrews 3:12-19

The Peril of Unbelief

      12Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

15while it is said,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”

16For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

James points out that many who identified with his name were rebellious against him and were held accountable for not submitting to his authority. The warning is clear. Do not harden your hearts because of our desires for sin. Turn from sin and obey the Father. Pursue relationship with the Father through Yeshua.

John 14:6

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through 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.

Seek The Light; Reject The Darkness

It is interesting that Nicodemus came to Yeshua by night, as if to avoid being seen, and yet claims he knows that Yeshua has come from God as a teacher. But none the less, I will give Nicodemus some credit for coming to Yeshua to learn more when his peers would likely have pressured him to reject Yeshua all together. We will sometimes have to make similar decisions if we are to learn more about and grow in relationship with Yeshua. Many of those around us will pressure us not to do so.

Though we may struggle, like Nicodemus, to fully understand being “reborn”, it is none the less a real experience and an important one. Yeshua clearly states that we must be born of water (natural birth) and of the spirit (spiritual birth or rebirth) if we are to see the kingdom of God. Being born of the Spirit has to do with our submitting to Christ as Lord and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us as helper for us to experience the kingdom of God, to see things the way God sees things rather than just from our own perspective focused on self.

We must look to Christ and believe He died for our sins and rose again. He came to create a way for us to be forgiven and reconciled to God… it is the only way and not one of many. We must love the Light (aka Christ) more than the darkness (aka sin and self).

John 3:1-21

The New Birth

      1Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

      4Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7“Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

      9Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things? 11“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12“If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

      16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Do not be content to simply claim with words that you follow Christ. Test yourself against your life choices and attitudes. Ask YHWH to help you. Our actions will reflect truly whether or not we seek the Light of the darkness more than our words. Our behaviors and actions do not save us, but they certainly reflect our heart and whether or not we believe in Christ as savior and submit to Him.  Do not fool yourself into thinking you are submitted as it is your own salvation at risk. Test yourself against the truth of scripture… against your actions and attitudes.

Ask the Spirit to guide you and be willing to recognize you need to change to be more like Christ. It is not a journey we complete in this life, but rather one we continue on throughout our life. So if you have found yourself complacent and satisfied that you are as much like Christ as you “need to be”, then take that as a warning and check yourself. As with any journey, when you believe you have arrived, that is as far as you will ever go.

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

Let There Be Light Rather Than Darkness In You

Yeshua is the light of the world. He shown brightly as He walked this earth and taught people about the kingdom of God. He taught truth. He called out evil for what it is and did so directly. Many unbelieving people rejected Him. They could not see the truth of Christ as Messiah right before their eyes. God did not hide Christ but raised Him up publically for the light to shine brightly.

The truth of Christ is still with us today and available to lead us through the historical record of the Bible and through the Spirit of God who dwells amongst believers. Pray that the Lord would open your eyes so you could see clearly the truth of Christ… that your eye would be clear and thus your whole body full of light. We must first accept Christ and then we can, with the help of the Spirit, transform our hearts and minds to His service rather than our own desires.

In this way we become a light as well. Let us not hide our light, our faith in Christ, under a lampstand. Even if we must face adversity, let us shine forth for all to see. If we accept the world’s view of truth, we will be filled with darkness rather than light. Pray for the Spirit to lead and guide you and help you see clearly and understand the truth of God’s word and build relationship with Him.

Luke 11:29-36

   29As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. 30“For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31“The Queen of the South will rise up with the men of this generation at the judgment and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32“The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

    33“No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34“The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35“Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. 36“If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.”

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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.

Walk No Longer Just As The Gentiles Walk

When we truly accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, how we live will change. We will put less focus on doing things the way we like to and the way “we have always done” and instead begin to change to live more according to His ways.

Ephesians 4:17-32

The Christian’s Walk

     17So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

      25Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 29Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

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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.

Pray for God’s Mercy Upon Our Nation

Proper fear of God and obedience is what He expects from us if we are to walk in His blessing. The people of a nation can not ignore or rebel against Him and expect His blessing on their nation. They can not simply call upon His name and then make up their own version of good and evil in terms of how they shall live. It seems the USA follows in the example of Israel in that it was founded based on faith in Him and over time turns from Him, pridefully going their own way as to determining what is good and what is evil. As a nation they are far from God, though there is always, it seems, a righteous remnant.

Praise the Lord, though, He is a forgiving God. If we would but turn to Him and His ways and reject the worldly ways of our culture He would yet show mercy upon us.

Pray for revival amongst the true believers in your nation and the world so that they could be a light to others and draw them to the Lord. Pray for the wicked to be defeated and the righteous to rise up. Pray for God’s mercy on your nation and the world.

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.

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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.

Jehovah Is Not A Fluffy Marshmallow Man Who Accepts Everyone As They Are

One of the lies that Satan has convinced people to be true is that somehow Jehovah will accept anyone with loving arms and no consequences no matter how much they rebel against Him. The lie is attractive because it basically feeds the narrative that none of us really need to change to please God. We just “know” He loves us as we are. Suddenly this lie enables us to be complacent and not even strive to know or trust God more. We just do whatever we want and expect Him to love us as we are. The lie is most destructive in that it hinders us from turning toward God and repenting. Sin separates us from the Lord.

It should be fairly obvious that God would not just accept everyone the way they are in the midst of rebellion and sin. This would not make sense in any way. None of us could point to a meaningful example where a loving Father really did not care at all about how His children behaved or if they respected and obeyed Him. But if that is not obvious to some, let us just explore a well known example of the Lord interacting with His chosen people.

In Numbers 14, God has just led His people out of bondage in Egypt with many signs and wonders including plagues on Egypt, parting of the Red Sea, feeding the people with Manna and quail from heaven and leading them as a pillar of fire at night and pillar of smoke during the day. Incredible, right?

The people complained when the felt trapped at the Red Sea. They rebelled by worshipping a golden calf and He did not destroy them. The people complained about wanting meat and He gave it to them… along with a plague for discipline. Here we go again as the Lord delivers His people to the promised land and they still trust Him not because there is some adversity in front of them. They rebel. Ultimately, God cares… He is angered. He considers destroying them and just starting over. Moses intercedes and convinces the Lord not to destroy them. The Lord still disciplines them with a stern hand. They end up sentenced to die in the desert as they wander for 40 years before their children will get a second chance at the promised land. God is no marshmallow man just accepting everyone as they are. He is indeed slow to anger, but people must repent and submit to Him first (through Jesus Christ)… and then He accepts them with open arms, no matter what they have done before.

Numbers 14:1-19

The People Rebel

     1Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3“Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

      5Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel. 6Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8“If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. 9“Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” 10But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel.

Moses Pleads for the People

     11The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? 12“I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.”

      13But Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for by Your strength You brought up this people from their midst, 14and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, O LORD, are in the midst of this people, for You, O LORD, are seen eye to eye, while Your cloud stands over them; and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. 15“Now if You slay this people as one man, then the nations who have heard of Your fame will say, 16‘Because the LORD could not bring this people into the land which He promised them by oath, therefore He slaughtered them in the wilderness.’ 17“But now, I pray, let the power of the Lord be great, just as You have declared, 18‘The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generations.19“Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”

The LORD Pardons and Rebukes

     20So the LORD said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; 21but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD. 22“Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. 24“But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it. 25“Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys; turn tomorrow and set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”

      26The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. 28“Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. 30‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. 31‘Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. 32‘But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33‘Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. 34‘According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. 35‘I, the LORD, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.’”

      36As for the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land and who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing out a bad report concerning the land, 37even those men who brought out the very bad report of the land died by a plague before the LORD. 38But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive out of those men who went to spy out the land.

Do not fall prey to Satan’s lies. God calls us to repent from sin and turn to Him. We are called to turn away from our selfish and worldly ways and seek after and obey His instructions, which will put us at odds with those who love the flesh. We do indeed have to pick whom we will serve… Jehovah or the flesh. There is no compromise. He does care and will not accept or tolerate rebellion.

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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.

Die To the World, Be Made Alive in Christ

Whether Jew or Gentile, we all start apart from God focused on self and our sinful nature and desires. We all being in sin and trespasses against God as we walk according to the ways of the world. It is our nature. However, our Lord through Christ has made a way for all to be redeemed, to be reconciled to Him and to live according to His nature.

Let us give thanks for such demonstration of grace and love!

Ephesians 2

     1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

      11Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

Praise the Lord who invites us to follow Him according to His Spirit! Jew and Gentile alike… let us submit to Him and trust in Him. Let us cease striving to pursue redemption through works of our own hands and know that He is the Lord who redeems.

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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.