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!