Category Archives: Persecution / Glorifying God

Yeshua’s Prayer For His Disciples

Yeshua came to the Father in prayer for His disciples as He prepared to leave. We can learn much by reviewing and considering His words.

John 17:13-21

The Disciples in the World

13“But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

20“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

  • Yeshua wanted His disciples to have His joy made full in themselves
  • He gave us the instructions of YHWH to this purpose for making our joy full. We can rightly conclude He intended for us to obey them, not just be aware of them.
  • Those who follow Yeshua, like Yeshua, are not “of the world”. The world will hate and reject us, usually more so as we stand and live more boldly for Christ. This does not mean every person will hate us, but one need only look around at newspapers for national and world events to see that followers of Christ are persecuted in varying degrees depending on where they are in the world. (I do not mean people who claim Christ and live like the world… the devil and the world love these folks.)
  • We need the Father’s help to protect us from Satan. Yes, he is a real adversary.
  • Sanctify means to be set apart as holy. Yeshua asks YHWH to make us holy through truth, or through the word. Again, we can reasonably conclude He intends for us to live according to the word rather than the same way the world lives.
  • Here, Yeshua specifically calls out that He is praying not just for this specific group of men, but for all who believe in Him.
  • His desire is for us as His followers to be united. We can see this is not the case throughout the world. This can seem difficult at times, because we are not called to accept false teaching, but we are called to unity. Many disagree on the true application of scripture creating division. We should allow room for debate where scripture permits, but there are some teachings that are heretical and dangerous and need to be rejected. (e.g. The teaching that everyone who claims Yeshua in name pleases the Lord and goes to heaven even if they are without repentance and do not change their lives to match His instruction.)

I encourage you to pray and reflect on these verses and ask the Father to enlighten you on their full meaning and application for your life.

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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.

Keep God’s Commandments and Hold to the Testimony of Christ

Revelation 12 lays out some key fundamentals in the spiritual warfare between Satan and YHWH’s people in some attention grabbing visualizations. Notice you will find now labels of “Jewish” or “Christian”. These labels are not always meaningful as many call themselves by these names but do not follow YHWH or do not hold to the testimony of Yeshua. In verse 17 we see that the key is not what label someone claims, but who actually “keep[s] the commandments of God and hold[s] to the testimony of Jesus”.

It seems obvious that the Jewish people do not hold to the testimony of Yeshua. However, it may only be slightly less obvious that most who identify as “Christian”, holding to the testimony of Christ, do not keep the whole of the commandments of YHWH. Common Christian teaching holds to some commandments and dismisses many others. It is not simply about “the 10 commandments”. There is so much more to be learned and followed in studying the foundational books of the Bible, the Torah (written by Moses) and the writings of the prophets.

I encourage Jewish people to seek Messiah in Yeshua. I encourage Christians to seek to study the Bible and challenge to deepen our understanding of the Hebrew roots of our faith and the fullness of the wonderful things in the law of YHWH.  (Focused Ministries – Understanding the Hebrew Roots of Christianity)

Revelation 12

The Woman, Israel

     1A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

The Red Dragon, Satan

     3Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

The Male Child, Christ

     5And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. 6Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

The Angel, Michael

     7And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 11“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. 12“For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”

      13And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

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

O My God, In You I Trust!

Psalm 25 is an inspiring prayer for protection, guidance, and pardon. Don’t just read it, but pray it before almighty God with a genuine heart.

1To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

2O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.

3Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

4Make me know Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.

5Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

6Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.

7Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.

8Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.

9He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.

10All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

11For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.

12Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

13His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.

14The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.

15My eyes are continually toward the LORD,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.

16Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.

17The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.

18Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.

19Look upon my enemies, for they are many,
And they hate me with violent hatred.

20Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.

21Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

22Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles.

Share this prayer with others you care about!

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Opening the First Six Seals of the Scroll in Revelation

Chapter six in Revelation records what was contained as YHWH revealed to John the first six seals of the scroll. There were seven seals in all. Each one was opened according to YHWH’s timing. Sometimes we must wait to see in His timing what will come next rather than our typical desire to know all that will come, to know how something will end before we start. YHWH does not always let us know the ending before asking us to begin. There are countless examples in scripture including Moses, Gideon, Abraham, and many more.

There is much symbolism to be studied here for each of the elements. Consider taking time to read the commentaries or other study material. They may not all be correct, but they provide some thoughtful insight. Ultimately we must test the Bible against itself. For example, some have concluded that the rider on the white horse is a false messiah, imitating the return of Yeshua before He actually comes. This would not be a surprise, as we have to deal with false prophets and teachers throughout time in every generation… always coming in the guise of an “angel of light”, representing YHWH’s word all the while distorting it.

Those of us who face these times when they come will need courage and strong faith, and we will need to really seek the LORD to help us. We will not be fully protected through these times as you see the section on martyrs mentions more are being added still at this time.

Let us seek to praise and glorify Him no matter what. Yeshua mentions sticking close to YHWH and His ways several times in His message to the seven churches in Asia earlier in Revelation. It is important we do this in adversity.

Revelation 6

The First Seal—Rider on White Horse

      1Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” 2I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.

The Second Seal—War

      3When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.

The Third Seal—Famine

      5When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”

The Fourth Seal—Death

      7When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 8I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.

The Fifth Seal—Martyrs

      9When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

The Sixth Seal—Terror

      12I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 14The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

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

What Yeshua Opens, No One Can Shut

In the message to Philadelphia, Yeshua has a different opening and reminds us that what He opens, no one can shut and what He shuts, no one can open. He truly is all powerful. None can stand against Him. Yeshua reinforces that He cares about our deeds, He cares about how we live according to His word, and once again we see that He despises those who claim to follow YHWH but live their own way or blend with others. In this example, He does not like that those who are not living in obedience are calling themselves Jews.

Once again we are reminded to hold fast to what we have in our faith and walk with Yeshua. We are cautioned not to let anyone take our crown. This seems to imply that though we may be in relationship with Yeshua, we can lose that by turning away. It rebuts the “once saved, always saved” teaching, which other scriptures do as well. Yeshua wants us to endure hardship without compromising on His name or our faith to follow Him.

Revelation 3:7-13

Message to Philadelphia

      7“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:

      8‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11‘I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

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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.

Hold Fast to the Name of Yeshua and Repent from Following False Teaching

 

In the letters to the seven churches, Yeshua continues to identify Himself as the “One who has the sharp two-edged sword”, which represents the word of YHWH. It is against the word of YHWH that we are judged and encouraged or called to change.

Ephesians 6:17 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12-13 12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

We do well to remember it is by the word of YHWH and not by the opinions of men that we are ultimately judged, and remember that not everyone who claims to teach the true word of YHWH is teaching accurately. We are to test it ourselves, not just take a pastor’s word for it.

Revelation 2:12-17

Message to Pergamum

     12“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:

      13‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15‘So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’

Pergamum must have been dealing with some serious sin to say it is where Satan’s throne is. Yeshua recognizes and encourages them for holding fast to His name even when faced with persecution and death. Yeshua then also calls them out that false teaching is amongst the church, calling them to repent and turn away from it. Repenting means to turn around, to change behavior to be more like Yeshua, it is not simply to “feel bad” about something or “say you are sorry”.

We can be sure that false teaching remains today in the church encouraging us to sin and live apart from YHWH’s word and in harmony or compromise with the world’s corrupted view.

To those of us who overcome all these challenges, we are encouraged that we will receive hidden manna and a white stone and a new name. I have not studied the symbolism here, but manna is how YHWH provided for His people in the wilderness after the exodus. It is not a stretch to say it represents YHWH’s provision for His people. White represents sin having been cleansed and forgiven. The new name seems to suggest a new beginning, whether in this life or after death. I am sure you can study further and get more thoughts or studied opinions on this symbolism and I would encourage you to do so. If you do, test more than one source to get some diversity of opinion. As we are warned in today’s scripture, there is much false teaching. We must test it for truth and reject what is false.

Let us also not overlook there are negative consequences if we refuse to repent. Yeshua mentions coming quickly to make war against them if they do not repent. Keep in mind, these are people “in the church body” who are teaching false doctrine. They are not just the pagans who happen to live there. There is a mixing and mingling of good and bad that is offensive to YHWH. All too often today, Christians seem to act and teach that Yeshua will not come in judgment against those who are not living in obedience. However, scripture indicates otherwise here (and elsewhere).

I would summarize by saying we are called to hold fast to the name of Yeshua through persecution unto death, and to study, discern, and root out false teaching to ensure we are not following man’s mixed and mingled ways (good mixed with bad).

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

Be Faithful Unto Death so that You Get the Crown of Life

We are continuing to examine and reflect on the letters Yeshua sent through John in Revelation to the seven churches of Asia. They were written for a specific audience long ago, but have broad applicability for us as well. Let us test our walk and our church against these encouragements and rebukes.

Message to Smyrna

      8“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:

      9‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10‘Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

Once again, Yeshua introduces the letter with a reminder that He is one with the Father, He is the first and the last. Further, He reminds them that He is the one who died and was raised. He is not unaware of the struggles they are experiencing… tribulation, poverty, and false teaching.

Yeshua warns them that they are about to suffer difficulty so that they will be tested. He encourages them to be faithful unto death so that they would receive the crown of life from Yeshua. We should likewise take heed when we experience hardship and testing.

It would appear the second death may appear to those who are cast into hell in separation from YHWH. Those who are faithful in life, will not be hurt by the second death.

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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.

Seeking Victory Over An Oppressor

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

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

1 Samuel 7:1-14

Deliverance from the Philistines

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

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

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

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

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

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

Appreciating Those Who Serve As We Approach Veteran’s Day

Though we should always first look to the LORD with thanksgiving for our freedom and protection, we can also take time to give thanks to those who serve or have served in the military which protects our nation from foreign threats. Not every person who serves in the military should be stereotyped as some kind of automatic hero, but by and large they provide a valuable service and do so with honor and at personal risk. Most recognize that they serve for something higher than themselves, their country, freedom for themselves and others, a constitutional republic (we are actually not a democracy and there are good reasons for it), and a way of life provided by our Creator.

Thank you to all who serve actively or have served. I pray you would draw near to our Father and be blessed.

This is also a good time to remember that we should also seek to serve in the LORD’s army. We submit to him. We face difficulty and persecution for him when we live his way. We face rejection. We go where others do not wish to go or do what others do not wish to do… for a higher purpose that is beyond ourselves. We celebrate joyfully even when we have difficulty that we can bring glory to his name.

Thank you to all who serve in the LORD’s army, submitting yourself to him and trusting in him! May you also be blessed and draw near 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.