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!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus is the one, appointed from God the Father, who came to this earth to save all the people from their sins. This was prophesied long ago, of one who would be coming into this world to suffer and die for us, and to be resurrected three days later. Isaiah 7:14 states, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” More than seven hundred years before Jesus was born Isaiah 53 was written, and prophesied about Jesus and his suffering. Referring to Jesus’s resurrection Psalm 110:1 says, “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” I hope that Jews will take special note of this ‘old testament verse’ speaking about Jesus resurrected and with God!

Jesus’s resurrection is proof that Christ is who he said he was… the Son of God. Who else could do this dying and rising again thing? John 2:19 says, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The resurrection tells us that we too, if we believe, have the hope that we will rise again after our death and be with him. Our souls are immortal, our bodies are not. 1 Cor. 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:44 states, “…it is shown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” The Apostles being eyewitnesses, hid after Christ’s death, fearing for their lives. But after Jesus’s resurrection, he appears to them, and they boldly start proclaiming God’s Word. Luke 24:39 states, “Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” After Christ’s resurrection and his appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul does a total 180 degree turn around. Instead of killing Christians as he had been doing, he starts defending the very Gospel of Jesus Christ. More eyewitnesses are confirmed in 1 Cor. 15:6, “After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…”

Christ is the bridge between God and man. Without him we have no chance to be connected to God. Sin must be atoned for. Jesus gives us this free gift, himself, so we can be reconnected with God. A free gift, that is your gift, absolutely free for the taking.

Can you believe it? Can you believe Jesus gives us this gift?! Isn’t it exciting?! We have one we can go to for forgiveness, and to be continually cleansed each and every day. We can have a personal relationship with God. What happiness, what joy, knowing he did this for you. And all you have to do is accept it (what he did), repent (decide to turn away from your sins), and tell him how you feel (confess with your mouth).

John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus, the new covenant (New Testament), has replaced the old covenant (Old Testament law). By his death and resurrection he provides for those who will come to Christ, and he provides the purification and cleansing of their sins. Sins turned as white as snow from his forgiveness, and cleansed from guilt to have freedom in Christ. And knowledge of an everlasting life with him? Nothing could be better!

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