Why don’t people consider cleaning their insides? We clean the outside don’t we?

We know how to clean our bodies by showering or bathing, but do we understand that we also need to get our insides cleaned? How do I know this? Because I have been confronted with this myself. What in the world do I mean? Bear with me and read these words.

Luke 11:37-44: When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal was surprised. Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor,  and everything will be clean for you. Woe to you Pharisees, because you give a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”

We need the inside of our bodies to be kept clean as well. We as people can spend an exorbitant amount of time on our outside appearance and status can’t we? But what about the inside, doesn’t this matter as well? Jesus desires for us to see our insides as the most important, not the outside. Sounds opposite of how the world thinks doesn’t it? Well it is and in a nutshell if we don’t first start looking at Jesus, the one who made us, we will never learn all there is he wants us to know about ourselves and our insides. Jesus was saying to the Pharisees, look inside yourself and at your sins and what you are doing… you are living not from me but from yourselves. The Pharisees desired only to lift themselves up in other people’s eyes, to be seen, to be recognized, to be pointed to and talked about. They cared so much for the outside but never took the time to look inside. The Old Testament had laws that said if a person touched a grave he was unclean. Jesus said because of the Pharisees corruptness they were guilty of making everyone else who came into contact with them unclean also. Innocent people therefore contaminated themselves without even knowing it.

Please read more. Luke 11:45-54: One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all. Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.

How blind can a person be right?! The Pharisees wanted to be known for building tombs for the prophets but didn’t look at how their forefathers could possibly be wrong in killing the prophets? This is because they refused to even consider Jesus. Jesus talked about the load people had to carry on the inside because of all the Pharisees’ rules, and how the ‘experts in the law’ didn’t do anything about it… uncaring, selfish and blind that they were. And even after Jesus leaves, the Pharisees continue to conspire against Jesus instead of having a look inside themselves and trying to understand even a little what Jesus was talking to them about. Attack and do not look inside to see if there might be even a grain of truth inside! And in reality if they had they would have seen that Jesus was telling them the whole truth. He was their long awaited Messiah!

Jesus tells us we cannot change from the inside out without his help. No one can ‘see’ or ‘hear’ without his help. Because it is a gift only God can give. It is only by his grace that we may receive. We may try to change but on our own we will always fall short. Why? Because we sin and fall short of God’s truth for us. Only Jesus can cleanse us from sin and from the inside out. Jesus gives hope in the true story of the cross and his dying for us and rising from the dead on the third day. Jesus is the only hope and the only way. The gift, Jesus’s death and resurrection, given to each of us to be able to connect us to God, the Father. It is a free gift given to those who desire with whole hearts to repent fully of their sins and believe in him. Come just as you are if you desire and believe he did this for you. No need to ‘clean up’ before you come because Jesus loves you right where you are at right now. Glory be to God!

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

Jewish people, sent but not forgotten.

God’s original people were the Jews. God’s original intention was for the Jews to go into the world and tell others about him. To the twelve disciples Jesus says in Matthew 10:5, 6 – …”Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” Paul, on his journeys, preached first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles.

Romans 9:29 with Paul speaking to the Jewish people states, “It is just as Isaiah said previously: Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.” Romans 9:27 says, “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” Romans 10:3, 4 explain this, “Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Verse 3 is clear, the Jews thought that by their works they would be able to obtain righteousness. But just as the Gentiles must know if they are ever to understand Christ, it is that their righteousness is not from anything we can do, for that is considered ‘a work.’ Salvation is not from anyone’s work but Jesus Christ’s. We as mere human beings cannot do a single thing to satisfy the requirement God needed to bring us into a right relationship with him. For none of us ever are good enough to bridge that gap on our own. God required a holy and righteous sacrifice. One perfect in his eyes that would be able to take on all the sins of the world. One that could not be fully human only for none are righteous in his eyes. So Jesus Christ came fully human but also fully divine, without a spot of sin or wrinkle.

A shedding of blood is required to cover and atone for sins. Hebrews 9:22 states, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” It goes on in Hebrews 9:26, “Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Jesus Christ was and is the great sacrifice, coming once for all, Jew and Gentile alike. His death on the cross and his resurrection three days later made a way for us to be able to enter by God’s grace into his presence. That is why in John 19:30 Jesus says, …”It is finished.” It is over and paid in full for the forgiveness of the people’s sins. Jesus’s love for us was sacrificial and perfect, done for you, done for me. Jesus is the bridge that fills the gap between us and God, the Father. Jesus rising three days later proving to us that there is life after death and that we will one day, rise to meet him and live eternally with him if we are born again (saved). It is only by grace we are saved. Romans 9:16 says, “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” It is a gift offered freely for any who desire to accept by faith the good news of what Jesus has done. Do you desire with all your heart to repent of all your sins, desiring to change your ways, and come to Jesus asking for his forgiveness? Do you desire a ‘new life’ in him? Come as you are and accept the free gift Jesus has for you.

Romans 11:25-27 states, “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah. Ezekiel 11:17 says, “Therefore say: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.”

John 14:6 states, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well…”

What is your role as a Jewish person in this ‘Age of the Gentiles?’ Are you meant to be reading this? Is there a purpose specifically designed for you by God? I believe you are meant to read this and yes, there is a purpose God has made you for. Even in Romans 1:16 it states, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

Coming to Christ.

As a young child once, I held a bible and a particular verse had caught my eye. It was from the book of Timothy in the new testament, 1 Timothy 2:5 to be exact. It said, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” I was puzzled. I went to my mother and said, “mom, look at these words!” Growing up a Catholic, they were stunning words, but words that rang true to my heart! I said, “This means that I really don’t have to go to the priest to tell him my sins then, right?!” My mother read them and didn’t have an answer to them for me. I absolutely hated the idea of having to confess my sins to a priest. It seemed unnatural. It seemed impossible! But here were these words that gave me new breathing space. Little did I realize that they were then given to me with a purpose in mind for farther down the road.

Those words stayed with me, sort of, in the back of my mind just nesting there.

Fast forward to being a young and not so long ago married woman. I had one little son at the time and very periodically when my husband needed help with his restaurant I would go to help him out. Since I had no immediate grandparents around to help take care of my son when I needed to help my husband I employed an elderly, widowed woman named Mildred from our small community to help take care of him. It was around this time that I started having these feelings. Feelings of vagueness, and not being able to pinpoint what it was exactly that I was feeling. I wasn’t depressed or anxious. I wasn’t down or unhappy. But I walked around myself quite a bit during that time having this feeling like I was missing something. It would come and then it would go. Gradually I started feeling little by little that there was something that I was definitely missing. I just didn’t know what. And it wasn’t an awful feeling, it was more like light and drifting thoughts passing by me of missing something in my life.

The elderly woman, now named ‘Grandma Mildred’, came over again to babysit one day. I was still having this ongoing, unavoidable feeling off and on so I kind of hesitatingly mentioned to her how I’d been feeling. She didn’t say much about it but the next time she babysat she brought me a two-paperback book set of the old and new testaments written by Pearl S. Buck. She said, “Here, I brought you something I want you to have.” One evening alone in bed I started to read them. What a beautiful rendering of the story of creation and the world that God had made us! I read the many historical stories. Then I came upon the story of Nicodemus that is from the new  testament in John chapter 3. Nicodemus visits Jesus at night. He is a member of the opposition, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council. But he desires to go and speak to Jesus alone because he has some important questions he has been wondering about. He wants to see what Jesus would say to him. Starting  in verse 2 and going through verse 8, “He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” I sat and thought. I was stunned. And then I knew what I had been missing… I had been searching… wondering… and looking. It was Jesus that I had missed! All of a sudden all the connections were there. Jesus ‘helped me to see’ it was him whom I was truly missing. Now I am born again! Additionally, the holy spirit indwells those who are born again to help them in their lives.

And Jesus will do the same for you too. Just as he drew me he draws you. You are reading this, right?! Jesus died on the cross and rose again three days later for you. He gives you this gift – for free. A most amazing gift for you to have. This gift is ‘new life’ and ‘living water’ for your soul. Come and find peace and rest. There is nothing you have to do or can do. Just come as you are and talk to him. Tell him your all. Hold nothing back. No sin is too great to wipe clean. Just look at Paul in the new testament. He persecuted Christians and witnessed and approved Stephen’s stoning. His gift is free for all with repentant and sincere hearts.

Read the bible. This will help you to learn more and grow. In Hebrews 4:12 it says, “For the word of God is living 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.” Try it and you will see.

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

Israel’s Unbelief.

The Jews expected Jesus to be a different sort of king. Because of this many don’t believe who Jesus Christ truly is. They fail to take a good look at Jesus Christ himself and see his reasoning for why he did what he did and they have kept their eyes on themselves. Israel lost their total dependence on God that it had had before. We all need to keep our eyes on Jesus Christ and his word to decipher what he is thinking and telling us. Over 300 prophecies told the Jewish people about their Messiah and some of those stated that he also would be persecuted and killed. Paul writes in Romans 9:4-5, …”the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Their heritage was the most blessed of any in the world.

To have been chosen to just be in the Jewish lineage… I would have been ecstatic!

Let’s look quickly at just a few of those 300+ prophecies that have verses corresponding  both from the old and new testaments. The Messiah rejected by own people: Psalm 69:8 & John 1:11. The Messiah silent before his accusers: Isaiah 53:7 & Mark 15:4-5. The Messiah buried with the rich: Isaiah 53:9 & Matthew 27:57-60. The Messiah resurrected from the dead: Psalm 16:10 & Matthew 28:2-7; also Psalm 49:15 & Acts 2:22-32. The Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin: Isaiah 53:5-12 & Romans 5:6-8.

In Isaiah 41:14 the LORD refers to himself as ‘your Redeemer.’ Redeemer means rescuer. How could this be possible if what Jesus did stopped at the cross?! Part of Jeremiah 31:31-34 states, “The time is coming,” declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant… “It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers…” “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. This can only happen by the power of the God and from his free gift of grace to you. It comes to us only through accepting Jesus Christ by faith and who the bible says he is. Humbly and truthfully recognizing of all our sins and true repentance, the cross, and Jesus’s death and resurrection are included. This is a new covenant that is made with Israel and with all mankind.

Matthew 5:17-20 talks of how Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; but to fulfill them. Verse 20, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” And how can this be done? Only through Jesus Christ and his righteousness. It cannot be from ourselves, good works of any kind, or anything we do that gets us into heaven because why would Jesus had to of died on the cross for us then? Here again we see God’s words pointing only to Jesus Christ, the savior of the world. We must keep our eyes on him and his word if we are to understand. The Pharisees were studious in the Law, and pious on the outside. They believed strict obedience to the Law would get you into heaven. But their hearts were far from God and his kingdom. The Pharisees allegiances were on themselves. God wants our dependence on him, not ourselves. As Jews and Gentiles we can’t do anything to make ourselves right with God. And there is only one way.

Romans 9:30-32 talks of how the Jews pursued a law of righteousness (being right with God) and were not able to attain it, but how the Gentiles obtained righteousness because of their faith. It states how the Jews thought they’d be able to attain it for themselves by their works. Again, why would we need Jesus Christ if we could get to heaven by something we ourselves could do? Romans chapter 11 talks of the remnant of Israel. Verses 5-7 states, “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened,…”

Galatians 3:23-25 says, “Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” Galatians 3:29 states, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Jesus Christ is the new covenant. Given to us as a free gift from God the Father above. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. By faith you can receive him if you want to be born again from above. Repent and trust in him.

You will know if you have truly received Jesus Christ as your savior as he gives you the Holy Spirit to guide you in this new life. You will have a new purpose along with new eyes to see, new ears to hear, and a deep faith that pleases God! Praise Jesus! Also important, continue in God’s holy word. His word is true life. Praise God!

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus Christ is coming back one day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musings for a day.

I looked at the beauty of the full moon that shown down on me last night. It’s mysterious planet-like look and it’s illuminating light is like a lamp turned on every night when it gets dark for me to view if I should want or need it. It’s light reaches down to show me how incredibly complex the vast expanse of the moon and sky are before me. The moon is so far away and it stays there night after night, year after year. Amazing. What human hand could ever pull something like that off?

And how many millions of people are in and have been in this world? And each person alone is a unique creation, like a snowflake, where no two are ever alike. Amazing. The circuitry of each and every cell within each person’s body holding unique DNA, RNA, mitochondria, chromosomes, Golgi apparatus, and the like ‘knowing’ their job and doing it consistently over our lifetimes.

I love the order that I see from all this. The stableness. The knowing.

Of course there is unstableness too. Relationships, earthquakes, wars, and the like. Doesn’t it look like sometimes that the whole earth is groaning and turbulent? That the world is full of chaos also?

I believe all this world was orchestrated for us. To see life’s chaos but also it’s order, complexity, and beauty.

God and his word bring hope to any darkness, in our lives or/and in our world. His word provides harmony and his will for us. In fact the more you read it, the more you start to understand how little you really know. Each detail of this book has a reason for being there. It is an exhaustive book, meaning you can study it deeply and still learn more each and every time you read it. Even going over the same chapter or verses that will happen. There is so much to glean and new insights come, enriching your life as nothing ever has before. It is a supernatural book, beyond science and the law of nature. Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edges sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Take me; I am no longer bound by obligation for I am bound by love. I have freedom in Christ to move and be who I am in him. I desire to do all I do in love for him. He first loved me. Shown by the cross. He gave me a gift. And he gives freely to all who come and seek him. I can be who I am in Christ because he loves me; fully, truly, and freely. Now I want to do all I can for him because he gave me this gift. And what a gift! Instantaneous love! He drew me over time. Now I desire to live for him. Thank you God that you chose me, a sinner. Thank you that I have not been the same since receiving the gift. Thank you God, for letting me get to know you! AND though I have not worldly riches, a high station in life, or the best of everything in this world; I would not trade what Jesus Christ has given me for anything. Any amount of money, a higher station in life, or even having the best of everything I could dream of. For it is mine and nothing can compare! It reminds me of the story of Christ’s temptation in Matthew 4 where Satan is tempting Jesus on a very high mountain and tried to appeal to him by telling him  that he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor if he would just bow down and worship him. We can desire power, significance, and achievement but these too are only what we think we need. That focus again is about self. Satan tries to use our weaknesses (as idols) many times to get our eyes off of Christ and onto ourselves. He likes to keep us busy keeping our eyes elsewhere, so you do not get to what Jesus Christ wants you to know; Him. Nothing in this world is worth a trade. For this world and all that it has to offer is temporary. After our deaths nothing material is taken with us.

No, this is a ‘pearl of great price.’ It is an eternal gift. One given and of no charge. Because that’s what a gift is. Is not a gift always good, free, and given with great love?

And who am I that he would think about me? I am an ordinary person, common as any you see passing by you on the street.

For there is more to this world than what you can see. Much more. There are angels, Satan, heaven, hades, and Jesus Christ. We live in a spiritual realm. We each have a spirit. When it is our turn to leave this world, that is what we are without our bodies, spirit. John 8:23 says, …”You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”

He sees and knows everything that has happened with everyone and at what time each thing occurred; and that includes all people from the past, present, and who will be in the future. Quite a thought isn’t it?! He is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (always present); so we cannot hide anywhere from him. Psalm 139 starts out, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD!”

Isaiah 46:10 in part says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come…”

I pray you would find a bible and a bible-believing church; one where you hear Jesus is alive, well, and active now in this world and for you.

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ is like a buoy.

Jesus Christ is like a buoy that keeps you afloat, his words warning us of a danger so we don’t go too close, but stay where it is safe. Like a parent concerned for a child.

Even on the bad days, after time spent with him, I am lifted back up, knowing I am going to be ‘all right’ because I have him in my life. He reassures me I am not alone and helps me in my thoughts, resulting at the end of our time (visiting) together with a feeling of joy; joy and peace. That is priceless to me my dear friends. For as many of you know, many search for it but cannot find it. He makes me feel like things are alright again. Truly, that everything is set back in it’s place, settled again as it should be. Spiritually in my heart he gets me to that point and makes it so. Isaiah 9:6 says…”And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The source of all life, Jesus Christ, has made me feel it so. He keeps my foundation on the rock; solid, steady, and forever and for always there! He is my refuge, my Lord, my shield, my best friend. Life may try to knock you down in a hundred different ways but if you have Jesus Christ as your center, your Lord and Savior, you are going to get back up again, and again, and again. Your life is not built on all those shifting sands of life. Jesus is my teacher through my sufferings; he is there welcoming me, holding me, guiding me to persevere, gain knowledge, gain more character, and to have hope. It has been many times a daunting task, going over some things an uncountable number of times to get me to the point where I need to be. We do learn and grow more through our suffering than in other ways. We do not have to like them but Jesus allows each of us to go through these times.

Jesus makes my heart shine again. As only he can. My husband, children, grandchildren, and others can help but they alone cannot give me all I need because I was built needing something eternal to aid me in making sense of all life. That is why God’s word was given to us and why Jesus Christ ‘was sent,’ in the flesh, to us. He reveals God to us. The bible says we were made for praising him. Beautiful words from Psalm 139:13-16 confirm this and state; “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” How can one not be overjoyed and full of wonder at this?!

Jesus, as a lighthouse, shares his light with me. With him in me I feel as a lighthouse too, ready to shine light into the darkness for those who come across my path for help. John 8:12 says… “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

And I think, how many times do we need to be reminded of his words, his goodness, and his promises? The very things that will help cement those thoughts in our minds? Many, many times, right?! The bible gives us all those kindly reminders of his unconditional love for us, all those things we need to learn, and all those promises for each who ventures ever closer to him. Aren’t we like a sheep in society, following this sheep or that sheep not knowing who or which way to go or follow? That’s why we have been given his words. Words that we are blessed to have, so we can know which way is correct, the way that is practical, logical, and true. It is wisdom for those who are seeking; with finding out that the more you want to know, the closer you must come to him. For in walking this path of life for any amount of time, you find the closer you walk with him, the more Christ shares and helps you to learn, like pearls of great wisdom. The longer and closer you walk with him, the more clarity you will have in your life. It is like a pair of binoculars. You see unfocused as you first look through the lenses, but find if you walk closer with him, things start coming into focus for you. But if you step and go further away from him, your life starts getting out of focus again, and maybe you don’t even recognize it until some time later. Just as in other relationships, the closer you get and the more time spent with them, the more you find out how much you don’t know!

Remember Jesus can be your buoy out there in the ocean, a symbol and a hope for you!

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus if coming back one day!

 

What say you about ‘judging?’

Romans 2:1…”for whatever point you judge (use verdict on) the other, you are condemning (sentencing to punishment) yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

Often sins most clearly noticed in others are ones that have taken root in us. Are we maybe committing the same sins only in more socially acceptable forms? Are we saying one thing to someone hypocritically and doing another? Do we not like that ‘something’ we know about someone else, but refuse to see that ‘different form’ in us? For instance, do we wonder ‘what people are thinking’ when we hear about ‘their adultery,’ but fail at holding our self accountable for mentally thinking about someone other than our spouse during the day and think nothing is wrong?

In the bible there is a parable about a woman committing adultery and the casting of the first stone.The people with the stones had judged her and wanted to give her what she deserved. The law stated if a woman was found in adultery she was to be stoned to death. She had went against the law. But what is better? Truly put yourself in her place. If that was you and your particular sin, would you want justice or mercy? Shouldn’t we treat others the way we want to be treated? The bible says love covers a multitude of sins. But what about the sin? Jesus says to the woman in John 8:10… “Has no one condemned you?” She says, “no one, sir.” Verse 11: “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He didn’t condemn or ignore the woman’s sin. The woman has been spared her life even though sinning against God. And ‘leave your life of sin’ would tell her that Jesus wanted her to change, that he didn’t approve of her doing this. Sin is never of God and Jesus cannot dwell with sin. He loved her but not her sin. She needed and desired a change of heart through all this and would need Jesus’s help. Why? She realized she had been forgiven much. She was being given a chance for a new life and needed to deal with her sin. Jesus is the only way sin can be dealt with. She is dependent upon Jesus to provide her with all she needs, and the new way of life.

How about judging by ‘the worlds’ standards; power, wealth, and beauty? Are we possibly missing some important things and  truly great Christian people here?

Let’s just look at the women that happen to be listed in Christ’s genealogy from Matthew 1. There are five. 1) Tamar – prostituted herself  with her father-in-law to gain an heir. She does this without of course going to God, but has honorable intentions. The story is found in Genesis 38 if you care to read the whole story. 2) Rahab – prostitute who hid Israelite spies. 3) Ruth – a Moabite woman who came from pagan roots. 4) Uriah’s wife – committed adultery with King David. 5) Mary – Joseph’s wife; chosen to be the virgin mother of Jesus. Both Mary and Joseph are direct descendants of King David. All of these women are of ordinary life and none were pillars of society. A few we are even told of their shady reputations. But in reading their personal stories the main attraction to me is how at the end they each had a growing heart for God. This too shows us how we can and should come to him as we are and get to know him.

If Jesus can look beyond a person’s reputation, outside appearance, wealth, poverty, station in life, and all the rest, so can we. In fact we should and need to. If Jesus looks at a person’s heart, so should we. We need to practice this until we get it straight and of course with his help for we cannot do it by ourselves. Look to these five women as examples of how God looks at people. Women he chose to have in his ancestral background, noting them because of their heart, and not because of any of the other stuff of life.

Christ didn’t come to condemn. He came to save. Did you ever read about Jesus in a story where he didn’t ‘come with love’ to talk to a person about their sin? There was no loud voice, no oppressing against their will, no putting down, no intolerance, and no side-lining the issue. Only humbleness, unconditional love, and grace. Isn’t he a good example? The best example of how to treat and love the other person, and ourselves too.

One more thing. Jesus does want us to ‘judge’ right from wrong, or what is sin. His word, the bible, will give you the truth and discernment you will need to know on the difference between them. Some big issues of the day are in the bible too. Make sure you take the time for yourself and educate yourself. A bible believing church is also a good place for fellowship and hearing the word. The ten commandments, false witness, pride, hypocrisy are all just a few examples of sin. All are ‘heart’ issues, needing help cleaning it up. And Jesus is just the person to help you do it. Proverbs 4:23 states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” So true my friend, so true. May God bless you.

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

 

 

 

Why the bible is basic to life.

Sometimes I wonder where people get their ideas. What do they build upon to understand their own world?

I would like to start this dialogue with a plea to the people out there. Please, do not take other people’s reasoning verbatim! How do you know they are right about which they speak? You must learn to think for yourself or you will continually find yourself on the yellow brick road ending up at someone else’s version of the truth.

I can remember when I was quite young, maybe 6th grade or so, paging through our family bible and I came upon 1 Tim. 2:5 which says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, …” Wow I thought! I don’t have to go to the priest and tell him my private and personal sins! I was so happy; I had always felt dislike for such a rule. I asked my mother about it and she didn’t have an answer for me. Wow, my mother didn’t know?! I grew up Catholic and I had naturally assumed my mother would know the answer. And at other times when we would discuss religious topics, she would usually say something close to “this is what the Catholic Church believes about that…” I wondered did other Catholics believe the Catholic Church was gospel on what it told too? And did God say those things in his word?

What is our measuring stick for real truth?

Fast forward a few years to a young adult in her mid-twenties. I had become a born again Christian. I had an insatiable appetite for God’s word. It told me who God was and who I was. It showed me that unless my foundation is built upon God, my foundation was like shifting sand, moving to and fro, always changing, never steady, and could send me toppling to the ground. Sand is unpredictable, hard to plan around, unmanageable,  and difficult to deal with. How can you build a marriage, a family, or have any decent relationships like that? Who needs that if you’re trying to get somewhere?

Our thoughts and emotions can be unstable vessels unless anchored in God. I now depend on Christ and not my thoughts or emotions anymore. My emotions have led me down more side roads than I ever wanted to be on. Emotions and my thoughts, I have found out, are not to be trusted. They can be like wild, unpredictable, untrustworthy waves at times. Instead I weigh any thoughts and/or emotions against Christ’s word, then I know if I should do something or not.

And the older I get, the more sereneness I like in my life. I like steady, true, reliable, and unchanging rules that help guide me. Christ is my center and I depend on him, not myself, for I have learned to trust God more than I trust myself. I need someone more knowledgeable and stronger than I to guide me in to port.

That is why God’s Word is so good. It sets my feet on solid ground, it teaches me, it gives me peace in the storm, and peace for my life. God’s word is life to us. In John 6:68 Peter says to the Lord, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It guides and can show you the way. Hebrews 4:12-13 states, “For the word of God is living 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. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.”

The Bible was given to us, first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, to use and to cherish, to be a light unto our feet. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Isn’t that a lovely thought? God being there for us, holding a light out there for you to be able to find your way in the dark. What love! And what caring! The closer you stay to him, the closer he’ll stay to you too. And he’ll help if you ask.

What will be your measuring stick for real truth? How about one that is filled with truth and love, unchanging, trustworthy, and will never pass away? Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” How about one who knows the number of hairs on your head? Luke 12:7 states, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

 

Taking time to prepare your heart.

God declares the end from the beginning. Isaiah 46:9-10 says, “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come… ” What other history book does that? Prophecy is proof that the bible is from God. How can I say this? Deuteronomy 18:21-22 states, “You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” There are over 300 prophecies that Jesus Christ has fulfilled on the topic of his life, death, and resurrection!

A good majority of God’s word is prophecy. Over 20-25% of both old and new testament scripture is prophecy. So we might say prophecy is important in the bible! 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” God’s message is clear; he exists and is in control of history!

Jesus also said to pay attention to all the signs. His words say in Hebrew 2:1-3, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” Luke 21:34-36 also says, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Christ wants us spiritually fit. Don’t be careless about life – seek God – who he is, why he came, what he did, and what he will be doing. Ask God for his help in this. Get a good bible, maybe one with a ‘life application’ and start reading.

If you knew something in the future was coming, wouldn’t you think to prepare? No one likes to be left behind anything really important, maybe even most important, right? If we know our car needs fixing we don’t wait until it falls apart to get it looked at. Or if one of our children would need to go to the emergency room suddenly, we just wouldn’t push it off would we? That is what Jesus is trying to tell us, be ready. Luke 12:40 states, “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” A lot of prophecies left to be fulfilled have to do with him coming again one day. And he wants you to prepare.

Don’t we all desire to know the future, if we can, so we can prepare? Sure, but none of us can predict that. The only safe and accurate place you can hear about the future is in prophetic scripture from God’s Holy Word, the Bible. He gives us all we need to know there. And a word to the wise; God’s word forbids magic art, palm reading, and the sort to find answers. These are occult practices and not from God.

Revelation 22:7 says, “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” Revelation 22:13 states, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” His name is the Word of God. And prophecy is about him. His word is consistent and unchanging and points to Christ. Much prophecy was fulfilled in his first coming as Jesus, our redeemer and sacrifice, and eternally living Lord. He is central and the theme in all prophecy. And with Jesus’s second coming, he is coming to rule over all nations and show everyone who really is king of the world! Let us prepare our hearts for him!

2 Peter 1:19 states, “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

Scripture is our light. It is all people’s help for the present time and the future. Light shines to guide us. Follow the ‘light of the world.’ Light draws us, it warms us, it staves off darkness, makes things visible, and sustains all life. As plants do not grow without enough light, Lord help us to see that we too wither without your light to sustain us. John 8:12 says, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

Israel and it’s past, present, and future.

The Jews are God’s chosen people. Genesis only gives the genealogy of Seth (Adam and Eve’s third son), with all of the other descendants of Adam and Eve being ignored. From Seth down to Noah, and through his son Shem, to Abraham, the twelve sons of Jacob, all the kings of Judah, and David, when we come finally to Jesus Christ, the world’s Messiah. God chose the Jewish race and nation for Jesus, the Anointed One, to be born into. 1 Kings 8:53 states, “For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance…” Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the Gentiles. Israel was to be the nation who pointed towards God and the world’s Messiah.

Isaiah 53 clearly prophesies about the Messiah suffering. Isaiah 53:10-12 says, “Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” The Jews instead of thinking of how Jesus would suffer, only loose themselves in how soon ‘the Anointed One’ would bring them victory. Wasn’t he their prophesied king, one who was to set up his kingdom and rule? This of course didn’t happen. So when Jesus Christ dies on the cross, they reject him. So Israel’s heart is hardened; but surprisingly and ultimately this actually ends up leading to a way for both Jews and Gentiles to be able to get to know God. Paul states in Romans 11:25, “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” So this was actually in God’s plan, to have Jesus crucified, being made a ransom for all.

Romans 9:23-24 says, “…whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” Romans 9:27 states, “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” Romans 9:30-33 says, “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Paul goes on in Romans 10:1-4, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 11:1-6 states, “I ask them: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah — how he appealed to God against Israel: Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” After this Jesus teaches about the vine and the branches: the tree’s natural but broken branches (Jewish) and the wild olive shoots (Gentiles); that share from the olive root (Jesus), the nourishing sap needed to grow healthy and stay strong. John 15:1-2 states, “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Jesus is the living vine today for all who want to come to him. We can bear no fruit, or be Christ-like, without knowing Jesus. For he alone is the way, the truth, and the life.

God calls us all, Jews and Gentiles alike. That was the point of him going through all he did, constructing the story for all of us how he did. Dying, as the Passover Lamb did, being the true ‘Lamb of God’ who took away then and takes away now and in the future all the sins of the world. What a gift! What a mystery, what a love, what holiness, what grace, and what a gift to give! He offers it to any who, in sincerity, will come repenting of (turning from) their sins to him, confessing to him, and asking for his forgiveness.

Israel will be restored one day. Isaiah 11:11 says, “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from…” Praise God!

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!