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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A relationship with a King?!

The King of the universe. Unfettered, principled, and an ‘unable to be pinned down’ type of person. His ways are unchanging and they leave no room for error. For he is perfect, holy, majestic, and all-encompassing.

Would you want to listen to a King? He is the one in authority who knows best and does things that are right for his kingdom. He is like an everlasting vessel and never being able to exhaust him of his depth, wisdom, and knowledge. He knows how to steer the world! His faith, loyalty, and righteousness are perfect. And if he is perfect you know he has to be a God of love! And he has great motivation. Motivation to save the world from the enemy. Wow, what a King!

The King’s beauty is like the best masterpiece imagined, but then surpassing it! It is like having that perfect world you’ve always dreamed of HERE right now, because you have this relationship with a heavenly King and father, who through a relationship with you (and vice versa), keeps you learning and growing and becoming more like him! He pulls heaven down in a sense to you through this continuing relationship that continues to change, twist, and shape you into someone more and more Christlike as the years go by. You become more and more like this pure, heavenly masterpiece full of beauty, love, and truth.

Who wouldn’t want to listen to a King, of all people, who does these things for you? I can’t ever imagine and nor will I believe that there will EVER be any other king who rules the world and is interested in me at the same time!

This King wants to help keep people safe from harm, keep them nourished and fed, and teach them about his kingdom. Teach them about his kingdom and how to stay safe until he comes back to literally show the world HE comes. Revelation 22:20 states, “He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” He is coming to get the record straight for all people everywhere. And the enemy is powerless before God.

Jesus, the King, wants us to know that he is warning us to remain watchful for his return and how you should be ready for it. Again he wants to keep people safe from harm, hence why he has gotten The Word into our hands. Listen to the words in Matthew 24:38-41, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” To those people who denied Him in their own hearts that He had always been the King it will be a tragic scene telling of their wasted time, defiance, and pride. They will not get to be one of his chosen subjects since they had chances. “In the King we trust!” shout the others who by childlike faith trust in Jesus, Lord and King.

Kings can be merciful  or unforgiving. Some are ruthless and can chop heads off. They can be selfish and think only of themselves and what they want from this world. Their hearts are as hard as stone. They think and believe their minds are the sharpest. I’m so thankful and glad that the real King and ruler of this world is not of that type. The real King of this world is one of mercy, one who cares very much for justice, and one of second chances (forgiveness). I shudder to think who wants to listen to a ruthless, uncaring King? Isaiah 30:18 says… “For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”

What person gets to see the King let alone speak to the King? How likely would a King take the time personally for you? At the very least you’d need an appointment far ahead and even when granted how much time would you get? If it’s like a lot of doctor’s offices you’d feel like it’s all an unsatisfying and hurried process. And most importantly did you get down to the truth or the right answer?

There is a King that has time, truth, and any answer you could ever want to know. Again it is in The Word if you desire to know. I hope and pray you will have access to one and read it. His word will be a light unto your feet.

Now what King treats you like you want to be treated? Who pursues you because he’s that interested in you? Who loves you unconditionally so you can approach him as a little child would with all your concerns, stresses, and hurts? Matthew 11:30 states, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” You can approach him as a child open to an all-knowing father. The bible teaches us the Lord’s prayer, “Our father, who art in heaven…” This King tells us that he is our father and wants to be treated as one. Approach him in every sense that a father should be; hearing you, listening to you, being patient with great love for you as you bear all to him. You can with full honesty of heart tell him all of your sins, be seriously repentant, and ask him for his forgiveness. The cross of Jesus Christ is a gift of great love he gave you because that is how much he thought of you. Jesus took our sins upon the cross and died for us. He did this so we might have eternal life with him one day. He is the bridge that fills the gap between God and man.

1Tim. 6:15 calls Jesus the “King of kings and Lord of lords.”Some of the other names Jesus is addressed by in The Word are The Truth, The Alpha and The Omega, The Light of the World, The Word, Deliverer, Mediator, Head of the Church, and Everlasting Father.

We are in this story that is currently being played out. Those who have lived in the past have already had their part played out. Our life plays a significant, definite, and all-encompassing part. This King, who is not of this world will one day come back and make this world whole again as it should be. You see the world leaders left in charge of this world have tried but failed. Some have failed miserably. Rulers who were ‘allowed’ to run their own countries have not succeeded because they have been far away from the one true King, the King who knows all and is all. Revelation 1:8 states, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Our story is told in one place only, the bible. The story is a continuing one that started with the creation of the world recorded in Genesis and is continuing with each of us playing our part until our time here is done. Go there and see for yourself the significance you play and can play! And to read and find out what our true King has done and will do!

In Revelation 19 it talks about the rider on the white horse who is Jesus coming and verse 16 states, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

I pray he guide your heart and mind by his word today. Amen!

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have and I will be happy to help you.

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is 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!

 

 

 

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!

 

Have you ever felt like you’re missing something?

We are missing something in our life, aren’t we? When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin for the very first time entered into the world! Because of their disobedience to a faithful and loving God, a ‘spiritual’ death had come upon them. And they would also have to suffer a physical death down the road because of this.

Walking with God before sinning, just think, Adam and Eve had life perfect! They did not know any sorrow, pain, or death. Let’s see, great relationships – check, a beautiful home – check, great food – check, great scenery – check, and best of all – getting to walk with and talk with God himself – check! Hmmm, perfection in their world, who wouldn’t take that?

Really? No fighting, killing, hurtful words, senseless actions, no wars, drugs or multivitamins, no concern about money, no illness, no abuse, no crazy people running things, no chaos, or confusion? Sounds so peaceful… a utopian state. I could get into that! Who doesn’t want peace, love, joy, happiness, less burdens, more direction and guidance, and most of all feeling complete?!

Now there is no way that Adam and Eve could have understood all the implications of what their disobedience would cost all those who came after them, or maybe they would of thought twice don’t you think?!

So… because of this separation from God we each walk around this earth with something we are truly missing… which you may already realize, or maybe not. We are each missing our ‘spiritual’ side because of Adam and Eve’s story in the garden. God had punished Adam and Eve for sinning, putting a separation between him and them. A perfect God cannot be in the presence of any sin because he is perfect and he is holy. So God fixed this problem of our sin by sending Jesus (his son and God incarnate) to die instead of us. Jesus died on the cross and rose again three days later. He rose again defeating Satan proving he was alive and well. And He arranged for you to have this gift, free. You can do nothing to earn this. Part of Ephesians 2:5 states, …”it is by grace you have been saved.” So you’re to just come as you are, no fixing yourself up required first! An eternal, infinite sacrifice was needed to cleanse us and make us right before him. And when we genuinely take and receive this free gift (believing and realizing in this that we want to repent and turn from our sins) – he in turn forgives us and gives us eternal life with him. He gives you his holy spirit to help you, to guide you, and to become more like him as time goes on. He gives you peace and love, a joy that transcends even through your sorrows, takes away your burdens (if you let him), gives you direction and guidance in this world, and best of all makes you feel complete because you are saved! Words could not simply express how I was feeling when this happened to me so many years ago. What love and what a mystery! You have your ‘spiritual’ side now!  John 10:10 says, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” You see, there is no real life without him.

Don’t get me wrong here… life will still not be perfect, but the main thing is we will know the truth. We have Jesus, forever and for always. When we pass away we have his promises that we will be living eternally with him… where all will be made right and there will be no more crying, pain, or death. John 14:3 states, “And I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Each of us is ‘missing something’ in our life. God gives us this ‘void’ to help us to think, search, and find what we are missing. This ‘void’ is “God-shaped” – only being able to be filled by him. ‘Other’ things will never satisfy this part of yourself because what you need is something to complete you and make you whole. No one can make you whole but Jesus. No person, place, or thing (including money) will ever get you there. You, as a Jew or Gentile, have the truth now. So what are you going to do about it?

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!

Sins cut us off from God.

In Isaiah 1:18 it says, “…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

The stain of sin is permanent. Sins cut us off from God. How did this happen? Remember the ‘Adam and Eve’ story? Sometime after the angels being created and before Eve was tempted, Satan was cast out of heaven because of his pride. He was an angel, but his head got oversized and he actually ended up wanting to usurp God. He tempted Eve, and Adam listening to his wife sinned as well. So sin began. God never intended for us to be separated from him in any way, shape, or form. Satan got Eve to leave God out of her plan. He appealed to Eve, thereby placing herself above doing wrong, and what her maker had intended for her.

We all sin. We all need forgiveness. So God provided a way for our sins, like permanent stains, to be forgiven. 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.” In the old testament various animal sacrifices were made, only on a temporary basis, according to certain procedures stated plainly and explicitly from God. In the new testament Jesus is, “…the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Only an infinite sacrifice, one holy and made of blood, would suffice for the sins of the world (past, present, and future). One from a truly loving father to each one of us, allowing his son’s life to be lain down, to make a way for the separation to be removed between every man and God. John 3:16,17 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

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